Posted in creation, encouragement, God, universe

How big is the universe? How small is the smallest known object?

A friend sent me a link to a video where the scale of the universe is compared. We start with human size and drill down to the smallest known length/size, which is a string of String Theory.

NOVA – Official Website | A Sense of Scale: String Theory says of a string,

The strings of string theory are unimaginably small. Your average string, if it exists, is about 10-33 centimeters long. That’s a millionth of a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a centimeter. If an atom were magnified to the size of the solar system, a string would be the size of a tree.

Then the scale increases to compare larger objects, and ends with both the known universe’s size and the estimated universe’s size.

It is estimated that the diameter of the observable universe is about 28.5 gigaparsecs (93 billion light-years, 8.8×1026 metres or 5.5×1023 miles), putting the edge of the observable universe at about 46.5 billion light-years away. (Source)

God is bigger than all that.

The reason the video is fascinating is because of the comparison. It makes more sense to compare objects to determine relative size. If I’d have written “The observable universe is 28.5 gigaparsecs” you’d have gone, “hunh?!” But seeing the sizes of known things and pondering their sizes is easier and more productive when you have a known to latch an unknown onto.

Now, when I was a non-saved person, I’d have eagerly learned these facts about the scale of the universe. It is mystifying and wondrous to see the sizes of these things, a string to a neutrino to a DNA strand to a molecule to… and so on. But just knowing the facts for the sake of knowing them is self-glorifying.

The key for the saved person is making the comparison. God is not only bigger than all that, He MADE all that. In six days. There’s the difference.

When we compare everything to Christ things begin to assume a supernatural element which awes and fascinates.

When Paul preached to the Gentiles, he always began with creation. Gentiles didn’t know or care about the Hebrew scriptures, but every Gentile who walked the earth knew that an earth existed. Who made it? In Acts 14:14-15, the Gentiles thought Paul and Barnabas were gods. Paul told them in Lystra:

Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 

In Athens, Paul said,

For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. (Acts 17:23-25)

It is so sweet to meditate on creation balanced against the immensity of the fact that our God made it. And His attributes are just as immense, infinite, actually. His love and mercy and omniscience and power and grace…

Posted in jesus, physics, universe

Scientists discover a parallel universe bumping into ours?

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)

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Scientists believe there are many universes. In theoretical physics this theory is called multiverse. They theorize that the several, or many, universes bump into each other like bubbles and when one collides against another there’s an impact which leaves evidence. Here is Inverse, the science and culture magazine’s take on it:

Parallel universe bumping into ours

We may have, for the first time ever, just glimpsed another universe. A new analysis of data from the European Space Agency’s Planck telescope suggests that a peculiar glow out in deep space could well originate from a separate universe residing just next to ours.

The existence of multiple universes — a multiverse — has been considered scientifically plausible. If all these universes emerged from the same Big Bang, then they’re likely sitting together like ducks in a row, vibrating. If these universes touch one another, the thinking goes, the resulting collision would leave some sort of trace evidence.

Please notice the words ‘likely’, ‘if’, ‘plausible’, ‘suggests’, and ‘could well’. Hence the reason the scientists are called ‘theoretical physicists’.

Now, the bible reveals that there are three heavens. ( 2 Corinthians 12:1-4). The first one is where the birds fly. (Deut. 11:17, Deut. 28:12, Judges 5:4, Acts 14:17).

The second heaven is where the planets are. (Psalm 19:4, 6, Jeremiah 8:2, Isaiah 13:10).

The third heaven is where God dwells. It is the highest heaven. Though we can see the first and second heavens by eye, we can only presently see the third heaven by faith. (2 Corinthians 5:7). No one knows where it is. (1 Kings 8:30, Psalm 2:4, Matthew 5:16, 1 Kings 8:27, Deut. 10:14)

The UK Daily Mail is a good publication for its reporters’ skills in writing for the common man’s understanding. In their article on the subject of this potentially newly discovered multiverse reaction, they write that when they believe the two universes bumped into each other,

Parallel universe

Within this glow left over from the moments after the Big Bang, he discovered a number of spots where the microwave light is far brighter than it should be.

This extra bright light absolutely could be a simple physical reaction when some anomaly occurred in deep space. I’m not a physicist. But I am a Christian, and I do know that God’s glory shines brighter than the sun.

And after six days Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and brought them up to a high mountain by themselves. And was transfigured before them: and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. (Matthew 17:1-2)

And this is the message we have heard from him, and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)

For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:27)

In the Daily Mail article it continues,

Dr Ranga-Ram Chary says the signals he has seen suggest the alternate universe may be very different from our own. He says it could have a ratio of subatomic particles called baryons and photons that is about ten times greater than what we see in our own universe. This would mean the physics in this alternate universe could be quite different from our own.

As Christians we know that God lives outside of space and time. We also know that it is a real, physical place. Jesus has a real, glorified body, (Luke 24:39). He and also the angels can move in ways that would appear to suspend our own dimension’s physics. He walks on the surface of the sea. (Matthew 14:25). He passed untouched through a mob intent on throwing Him over a cliff. (Luke 4:30). He looks normal man one moment and His glory-light shines out the next. (Matthew 17:2). Angels dispatched from heaven appear to men before their prayer is even finished. (Daniel 9:21). It stands to reason that the physics is different in heaven than it is on earth.

Where is heaven? It seems logical that it is a parallel dimension (or “universe”) separate from but adjacent to ours. It might even overlap.

Where is heaven?

However, since God is spirit, “heaven” cannot signify a place remote from us which He inhabits. The Greek gods were thought of as spending most of their time far away from earth in sort of a celestial equivalent of the Bahamas, but the God of the Bible is not like this. He is always near us when we call on Him (James 4:8), and we are encouraged to “draw near” to Him (Hebrews 10:1, 22). Granted, the “heaven” where saints and angels dwell has to be thought of as a sort of locality, because saints and angels, as God’s creatures, exist in space and time. But when the Creator is said to be “in heaven,” the thought is that He exists on a different plane from us, rather than in a different place.

So when we read that there is an extra-bright light from what appears to be a universe bumping into ours with different physics from ours, it is entirely possible that it is heaven.

What a wonderful anticipation we have in speculating about God’s abode. This much we know:

No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. 6 The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.” (Revelation 22:3-6)

Posted in creation, encouragement, jesus, universe

The brightest light in the world

Long argued about, long wondered of, discussions ranging from “it was real” to “it’s a myth,” historical records mention it (In the second century AD the writer Lucian said Archimedes destroyed ships with fire. Anthemius of Tralles wrote of it also… Hmmm! Even the MythBusters attempted to replicate its power of reflected sunlight … eventually the class of 2009 at MIT sketched and constructed and tried it.

The Archimedes Sun Death Ray

Was it an ‘urban legend’? Or did Archimedes really build a death ray using the sun? The legend goes that Archimedes constructed a series of mirrors, that when pointed at an oncoming warship in unison under the Mediterranean sun, would ignite the ship into a fire that would subsequently sink it. And it would not take long to do, either. Above is a fresco at the Uffizzi Gallery in Florence depicting Archimedes’ Death Ray at work.

The class of 2009 at MIT wrote up a super witty essay of their experimental efforts, complete with lots of photos, here- The Archimedes Result

The experiment worked! Here is one shot of the fake ship they constructed, burning up!

We know that God created the sun. He did that in Genesis 1:16. But have you ever wondered why God put the sun on His creation schedule on Day 4 and that He said “Let there be Light” first thing on day 1? (Genesis 1:3). He IS the Light! He doesn’t need a secondary entity to illuminate His universe. His Light is first, strongest, brightest, and eventually will be the only Light filling the entire Universe. (Revelation 22:5).

It’s impressive that Archimedes used the sun’s light and power to shine a ray that could ignite a warship in under ten minutes. That is one strong light. But… how bright is God’s light? I am mindful of the verse in Matthew 24:27,

For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Or Luke 17:24–

For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other.

To compare, how bright is lightning? The average lightning strike peaks at 1 terawatt which is equal to one trillion (1012) watts. 10 to the 12th power means 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10. That’s bright!

The metaphor for Jesus’ return being as lightning evokes both the suddenness and visibility of it, and also the brightness. IMAGINE! His glory at more than full trillion wattage! No, it’s unimaginable.

If we as Christians reflect (or emit) one tiny fraction of all that glory He has given us no wonder the Apostles turned the world upside down! If mere mirrors reflecting the sun can burn a ship within 10 minutes, imagine the light of a God so big He exceeds the universe’s brightness of all its lightnings and suns! God’s glory-light is so much brighter than the sun, than lighting, than the sun and lightning combined! Our future dwelling place will be where there is no night, where the glory of the light of Jesus Christ illuminates every iota of every atom everywhere. That’s bright. And He is our Savior and friend. What a Savior He is, in Him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)

O Splendor of God’s Glory Bright

1 O splendor of God’s glory bright,
from light eternal bringing light;
O Light of light, the fountain spring,
O Day, all days illumining.

2 Come, very Sun of heaven’s love,
in lasting radiance from above,
and pour the Holy Spirit’s ray
on all we think or do today.

Posted in created, creator, physics, universe

Mystery radio signals that baffled astronomers for years came from the staff microwave

I saw that headline and I just had to laugh.

I love science and study physics when I have the chance and have a somewhat clear head to tackle the subject. What holds the universe together and what makes it tick is an endless fascination to me. Of course, coming from a Christian perspective, I know that Jesus holds the universe together by His word (Hebrews 1:3) and He sustains it (Colossians 1:17). Anything I might learn about the universe’s workings is going to be based on that fact and through Him.

APOD: May 12, 2015. Left, Marseilles France, Earth.
Right, Elysium Planitia, Mars

So while on the one hand I respect physicists and astronomers highly, on the other hand it seems that ultimately they are like ants chasing a phantom trail, always learning about the universe but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. At least, their truth, whatever man-made theory they adhere to as to the origin of the universe. Their seekings and learnings are all like the elusive dark matter they also speculate exists, the invisible space in between other visible objects that can only be detected by the effects the theorized dark matter has on other things. Seeking to know about how the universe works without knowing Jesus, brings to mind the famous quote attributed to Gertrude Stein regarding Oakland CA: “There’s no there there.” Christians know the there there is Jesus. Not knowing Jesus but seeking to know His mind as Creator (which is what physics is all about) will only bring endless theories, surprising discoveries, and an ant trail of eternally frustrating length.

There was this in 2009. Frustrating to them, amusing to me: The Case of the Mysterious Baguette:

Sometime on Nov. 3, the supercooled magnets in sector 81 of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), outside Geneva, began to dangerously overheat. Scientists rushed to diagnose the problem, since the particle accelerator has to maintain a temperature colder than deep space in order to work. The culprit? “A bit of baguette,” says Mike Lamont of the control center of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which built and maintains the LHC. Apparently, a passing bird may have dropped the chunk of bread on an electrical substation above the accelerator, causing a power cut. The baguette was removed, power to the cryogenic system was restored and within a few days the magnets returned to their supercool temperatures.

While most scientists would write off the event as a freak accident, two esteemed physicists have formulated a theory that suggests an alternative explanation: perhaps a time-traveling bird was sent from the future to sabotage the experiment. Bech Nielsen of the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen and Masao Ninomiya of the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics in Kyoto, Japan, have published several papers over the past year arguing that the CERN experiment may be the latest in a series of physics research projects whose purposes are so unacceptable to the universe that they are doomed to fail, subverted by the future.

However, that isn’t the whole story. The baguette was not found above ground in the snow damply getting mushy within a few moments of time. The baguette was found inside a cooling building. That was locked. That was surrounded by high-voltage wires. That was guarded. That is why the esteemed Japanese physicists speculated that it was a time traveling baguette. They were confounded as to how the bread got in there. I’ve been laughing about the Baguette Incident since I wrote about it in 2009.

And then there’s something like this from last week.

Mystery radio signals that baffled astronomers for years came from the staff microwave

Beginning in the late ’90s, once or twice a year, astronomers operating the telescope at the Parkes Observatory in New South Wales, Australia would pick up mysterious radio signals. These signals were known as perytons, described in a recent report as “millisecond-duration transients of terrestrial origin.” The researchers believed the perytons were linked to atmospheric activity such as lightning strikes, and they held this belief for around 17 years, until this year, when they installed a new receiver to monitor interference, The Guardian reports. The actual source of the perytons? A microwave.

Peryton? Another proposed, theorized particle to explain another proposed theory of how the universe works? I remember when they discovered strings and thought they’d nailed it. That was back in the early 1980s.

1984-6 – A series of important discoveries in string theory leads to the “first superstring revolution”, and it is first realized that string theory might be capable of describing all elementary particles as well as the interactions between them. (source)

Cut to 35 years later and not so much. Not only haven’t they described all the particles, they keep discovering new ones, much less be able to delineate all their interactions with each other. They are still seeking, learning, attempting to explain the whole, without the There there.

Rabbit trail factoid:

Artist’s rendition of imaginary peryton

Did you know that a peryton was a mythological creature?

The Peryton is a mythological hybrid animal combining the physical features of a stag and a bird. The Peryton was created and described by Jorge Luis Borges in his Book of Imaginary Beings, using a supposedly long-lost medieval manuscript as a source. The Peryton is said to have the head, neck, forelegs and antlers of a stag, combined with the plumage, wings and hindquarters of a large bird, although some interpretations portray the Peryton as a deer in all but coloration and bird’s wings. (source)

Peryton. Beautiful Bird, lovely plumage. Physicists certainly have a vivid imagination. They have to, in attempting to learn about the creation sans a Creator.

When I look to the heavens, I see God in His creation. I worship the Creator, not the created. (Romans 1:25).

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (Hebrews 11:3)

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1)

Physicists will continue to study the universe and for that I’m glad. Astonomers will continue to bring us magnificent photos of dep space and explain what we’re seeing, and I’m glad. However, never forget Who created it all, and give Him glory for his incredible Mind, His wonderful handiwork, and His power to speak a word and the existence of the universe and everything in either entered reality or will be snuffed out (Gen 1:1, 2 Peter 3:10).

And chuckle at the childish antics of the men in the Physics Lab break room heating up a Lean Cuisine in the microwave while the others at the telescope believe some breakthrough is happening because the microwave is pulsing out some kind of signal. But it’s just lunch, and their minds will never match the Mind of the One who looks down at his wayward people and laughs, because they saw His majestic work and denied Him.

He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. (Psalm 2:4)

 
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Further Reading

Watch earth live from the vantage of the International Space Station

Physics Timeline

Hubble Telescope Site 

NASA’s APOD: Astronomy Picture of the Day

The Hiesenberg Uncertainty Compensator Explained

How William Shatner Changed the World

William Shatner presents a light-hearted look at how the “Star Trek” TV series have influenced and inspired today’s technologies, including: cell phones, medical imaging, computers and software, SETI, MP3 players and iPods, virtual reality, and spaceship propulsion.
Posted in muon, mystery, universe

Shape-shifting muons solve problem of antimatter?

A new discovery.

Strange particles shape-shift from one flavor to another
“Exotic particles called neutrinos have been caught in the act of shape-shifting, switching from one flavor to another, in a discovery that could help solve the mystery of antimatter. … The discovery opens an intriguing avenue for studying antimatter, the strange cousin of matter that’s mysteriously missing in the universe.”

Why does this matter? ha ha. Here is the Telegraph UK:

“We need to look back to the start of the universe, 13.7 billion years ago, to explain why this is important. In the moments after the Big Bang, the universe – according to our understanding – consisted of equal parts matter and antimatter. If that is the case, we should expect that the two would annihilate each other, but they did not. Almost all the antimatter in the universe is long gone, but somehow, we were left with enough matter to create a working universe. That would make sense if there were some difference between antimatter and matter which meant that antimatter disappeared more readily. But it is a fundamental feature of modern physics, stretching back to Dirac’s equations, that antimatter and matter are symmetrical. “Any hint of symmetry-breaking would require a serious rethink of our understanding of nature,” says Prof Hangst. “But half of the universe has gone missing, so some kind of rethink is on the agenda.” Indeed, the very fact of our existence is one of the greatest mysteries facing modern physics.”

“A key goal of antimatter physics, then, is to find out what the asymmetry – or difference between matter and antimatter – is.”

Yeah, but then the question of the shape-shifting muons becomes, HOW do the muons know WHEN to change? Mua ha ha! Or is that “Muon ha ha?!”