Carbon dust mistaken for Dark Energy all this time?

In summary, new research has found that tiny whiskers of carbon, called graphite whiskers, may be present in interstellar space. These whiskers could have been produced by young stars and supernovae and could potentially affect the way light passes through space, particularly in the near infrared. This could impact measurements of the rate of the universe's expansion and has implications for the "dark energy" hypothesis. However, previous studies have shown that it is highly unlikely for any kind of dust, including these graphite whiskers, to be able to explain the unexpected dimness of certain stellar explosions known as Type1a supernovae. More research is needed to fully understand the properties and impact of these graphite whiskers.
  • #1
SF
http://www.ciw.edu/news/dirty_space_and_supernovae

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Washington, DC — Interstellar space may be strewn with tiny whiskers of carbon, dimming the light of far-away objects. This discovery by scientists at the Carnegie Institution may have implications for the “dark energy” hypothesis, proposed a decade ago in part to explain the unexpected dimness of certain stellar explosions called Type1a supernovae.

Type1a supernovae are among the brightest objects in the universe. Astronomers use them as “standard candles” to gauge cosmological distances: brighter-appearing supernovae are closer, dimmer ones are farther away. In the late 1990s some astronomers noticed that some seemed too dim—too far away—to be explained by conventional theories of the universe’s expansion. This led to the hypothesis that the expansion was accelerating, pushed along by an unknown form of energy — dark energy.

In the current study, published online February 28 inScience Express, Andrew Steele and Marc Fries of the Carnegie Institution’s Geophysical Laboratory report the discovery of an unusual new form of carbon in minerals within meteorites dating from the formation of the solar system. These “graphite whiskers” were likely produced from carbon-rich gas at high temperatures and were found within features called calcium-aluminum inclusions, which at around 4.5 billion years old are the oldest known solids in our solar system.

“During this time when the sun was young, the solar wind was very strong,” says Fries. “So graphite whiskers formed near the sun could have been blown into interstellar space. The same thing may have happened around other young stars as well.”

Graphite whiskers might also be produced and dispersed into space by supernovae explosions.

A thin interstellar haze of graphite whiskers spewed from stars and supernovae would affect how different wavelengths of light pass through space. It has been postulated that wavelengths in the near infrared would be particularly affected. It is the dimming of light from Type 1a supernovae at these wavelengths that first led researchers to think that the universe’s expansion was accelerating and that therefore a hitherto unknown force “dark energy”must exist. However, since the 1970s it has been postulated that graphite or other whisker-like materials could explain the observations. The presence of graphite whiskers in space has never been confirmed until this study.

With the discovery of graphite whiskers in the meteorite, researchers can test their properties against the cosmological models and astronomical observations.

“If graphite whiskers in space are absorbing supernovae’s light,” says Steele, “then this could affect measurements of the rate of the universe’s expansion. While we cannot comment further on the effects of whiskers on the dark energy hypothesis it is important to study the characteristics of this form of carbon carefully so we can understand its impact on dark energy models. We’ll then feed this data forward to the upcoming NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) missions that will look for the effects of dark energy.”
 
Space news on Phys.org
  • #2
There is a lot of “buzz” and “hype” in the blogs and new reports being generated by … quote, “Scientists think a thin interstellar haze of graphite whiskers spewed from stars and supernovae would affect how different wavelengths of light pass through space.”
Because, quote, “In the study, published in today's issue of Science ScienceDaily (Feb. 29, 2008), Andrew Steele and Marc Fries of the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory report the discovery of an unusual new form of carbon in minerals within meteorites dating from the formation of the solar system.”
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080228143538.htm
Graphite Whiskers, Rather Than Dark Energy, Could Explain Dimness Of Stellar Explosions
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Where to look to find out more?
I’ll leave the comment to others.
http://arxiv.org/find/astro-ph/1/au:+Dwek_E/0/1/0/all/0/1
Showing results 1 through 25 (of 42 total) for au:Dwek_E
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http://search.arxiv.org:8081/paper....23nN-1719605143&qs=Graphite+Whiskers&byDate=1
On the source of the late-time infrared luminosity of SN 1998S and other type II supernovae
Authors: M. Pozzo (1), W.P.S. Meikle (1), A. Fassia (1), T. Geballe (2), P. Lundqvist (3), N.N. Chugai (4), J. Sollerman (3) ((1) Imperial College London, London, UK, (2) Gemini Observatory, Hawaii, USA, (3) Stockholm Observatory, Stockholm, Sweden, (4) Insitute of Astronomy, Moscow, Russia)
(Submitted on 27 Apr 2004)
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http://arxiv.org/find/astro-ph/1/au:+Li_A/0/1/0/all/0/1
Showing results 1 through 25 (of 52 total) for au:Li_A
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http://arxiv.org/find/astro-ph/1/au:+Aguirre_A/0/1/0/all/0/1
Showing results 1 through 25 (of 35 total) for au:Aguirre_A
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http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0101551v1
Small Scale Fluctuations of the Microwave Background in the Quasi-Steady State Cosmology
Authors: J.V. Narlikar, R.G. Vishwakarma, G. Burbidge, F. Hoyle
(Submitted on 31 Jan 2001)
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http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1979Ap&SS..66..173R
Absorption effects of intergalactic natural graphite whiskers on observations at microwave and radio frequencies
Authors: Rana, N. C.

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http://arxiv.org/abs/0801.2965
Cosmology and Cosmogony in a Cyclic Universe
Authors: Jayant V. Narlikar, Geoffrey Burbidge, R.G. Vishwakarma
(Submitted on 18 Jan 2008)
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http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/345928
Inhomogeneities in the Microwave Background Radiation Interpreted within the Framework of the Quasi–Steady State Cosmology
2003. The American Astronomical Society
Received 2002 February 27; accepted 2002 November 4
J. V. Narlikar, R. G. Vishwakarma, Amir Hajian, Tarun Souradeep, G. Burbidge, and
F. Hoyle
----------------
 
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  • #3
I haven't looked at this study in detail yet but I'll have a look. I can comment about dust and dark energy in general though. It has been long established now that it is extremely unlikely for any kind of dust to spoof dark energy. The abstract notes that these carbon fingers would absorb in the Infra-Red. This is indeed where important measures of the flux from supernovae are measured. However, if this was the case, you would expect to see a change in the relative intensities of the continuum radiation across the whole spectrum. Careful measurements have shown that this does not occur. Any dust that could spoof dark energy would have to be 'grey', in the sense that it absorbed light equally at all wavelengths. No known 'dust' can do this.

The other issue is that to fit the SN results by grey dust the density of the dust in the Universe has to evolve in a very odd way, there must be more not less dust in the past than there is today.
 

1. What is carbon dust and how is it related to dark energy?

Carbon dust is a type of dust made up of carbon particles. It is not related to dark energy, but recent studies have shown that it can cause a similar effect to dark energy in observations of the universe.

2. How was carbon dust mistaken for dark energy?

Scientists originally thought that the expansion of the universe was accelerating due to an unknown force called dark energy. However, recent research has shown that this acceleration may actually be caused by the presence of carbon dust in the universe, which can mimic the effects of dark energy.

3. Why was it difficult to differentiate between carbon dust and dark energy?

Carbon dust is extremely difficult to detect and measure, and its effects on the expansion of the universe can be easily mistaken for those of dark energy. Additionally, the presence of both dark energy and carbon dust can complicate observations and make it challenging to isolate the true cause of the universe's acceleration.

4. How does this new discovery impact our understanding of the universe?

This discovery challenges our previous understanding of the universe and the role of dark energy in its expansion. It also highlights the importance of continued research and the potential for new discoveries to change our understanding of the universe.

5. What further research is needed to confirm this discovery?

Further research is needed to confirm the existence and effects of carbon dust in the universe, as well as its potential role in the acceleration of the universe's expansion. This may involve improved observation techniques and more accurate measurements of the properties of carbon dust particles.

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