Re: Missing Mass (was Re: Big Bang: How widely accepted?)

7 Sep 1995 05:41:29 GMT

In <42ln0l$> you@somehost.somedomain (Andrew J.
Sutter) writes:
>In article <4284n7$>,
>>I think it takes a pretty open mind to accept the Big Bang.
>>Astronomers use it only as a model, and even proponents have trouble
>>with the missing mass question, etc.
>I thought the missing mass question wasn't essential to the Big Bang
>hypothesis, but only to the question of whether the universe will
>expand indefinitely or collapse back on itself sometime in the future.
>I suppose another use for the missing mass is to explain much more
>local things like weird galactic rotation curves (i.e., where the
>galaxy rotates as if it had a lot more mass in its disk than appears
>to be glowing).
>Is this correct? If so, the cosmological aspects of the "problem" of
>"missing" mass seem to me a bogus one -- it simply results from the
>aesthetics of cosmologists, who seem dissatisfied with the notion
>that there just isn't enough mass to prevent indefinite expansion
>(if the rest of their hypotheses are correct). Even scientists can
>create myths without being aware that they're doing so.
> --Andy Sutter
> Los Angeles

As I understand it, the question of where all the missing mass is
located has been boiled down to whether we have adequate means of
detecting it.

We are detecting energy on all kinds of wavelengths, not just visible
light, so objects not emitting light on the visible wavelengths should
still be detectable. In addition, mass not visible should still curve
space, and thus be deduced by bending light sources beyond it. This is
being studied. (Come on, you astronomers, help me out here. Didn't
Hubble come up with some data last year?)

Watch out with that myth stuff, though - astrophysicists have WAY more
fun debunking each other than debunking mystics. A chalkboard duel
between two astrophysicists over cosmology is worse that two junkyard
dogs fighting for a ham bone.

Wayne Johnson