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Does the accelerated Expansion add credibility to Steady State Cosmology?

  1. Jun 20, 2008 #1
    Recently the expansion of the Universe has been found to accelerate. When studying Hoyle, Gold and Bondi's Steady State Cosmology, it clearly predicts an acceleration like this. I realize that this theory has been 'put to bed', and abolished, and all the other colorful language people like to use, but I'm still surprised about the slience behind this. The Big Bang has holes as well, weak points in the arguement (like predicting a 2.7 degree CMBR, and large scale structure, etc.) but people still enthusiastically support it, with all kinds of justifications. I am not saying that the Big Bang is wrong, or that Hoyle's cosmology is as credible, but I still don't understand why NOONE is at least referencing the fact that their hypothesis clearly predicted this find (I also understand that there are lines of arguement that claim this acceleration is not well-matched with SSC, but the arguements are not facts they are interpretive). In a proper scientific field, especially like cosmology where it is chalk full of speculation and interpretation, should not all ideas be given their proper consideration. I don't think it's valid to dismiss one theory out-right, when at least it made one very special prediction. Although we won't suddenly embrace SSC, should't it at least have credit? Thougt's anyone?

    (I also want to point out that the australian deep field studies don't find the same radio count that the british did. In fact their finds did not contradict SSC. Beyond this the CMBR is too low for Big Bang. The CMBR is nothing more than the fusion radiation from the helium abundance, which leaves no room what so ever for a 'seathing and dense hot sea' of radiation for years after the first moment of Ex Nihilo.)
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  3. Jun 20, 2008 #2


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    Are you talking about the steady state model, or some adaptation of the steady state model to account for the acceleration of the universe? It would really help if you had a link to a paper which gave a discussion of the claims you make.
  4. Jun 20, 2008 #3
    Hi Cristo, thanks for the feedback. What I am refering to is a basic assumption made by Hoyle, Bondi and Gold ( I am refering specifically to their model, not any other steady-state type universe, like Einstein's which was static). Basically, they assumed that the universe would expand according to Hubble's law, but they further insisted that Hubble's law was a true constant, which did not evolve over time (contradicting the Big Bang and the Friedman models). According to Hubble's law, any galaxy at a given distance, should receed from our home galaxy at a specific velocity. The farther away the galaxy is, the faster it receeds from us. In the Steady-State interpretation, this implies that as any galaxy moves away form us, it gets farther away from us over time, and therefore it must speedup to match the Hubble velocity at it's new distance. The farther away it gets, that faster it must be receeding. Of course this implies a Lambda like force, spread through out all of space-time, but this is exactly what has been discovered recently. Basically, the expansion behaves exponentially. One of the main reasons the Big Bang was so attractive, is because it did not imply a Lamda force, and therefore, there was no dark energy to be explained. It's also important to point out, that with the SSC interpretation, there is no singularity at the begining of time. If you reverse the Hubble expansion backward, the galaxies never merge, because they are constantly slowing down as they approach, never quite reaching one another. Thank you for the heads-up, I hope this helps to clarify the discussion.
  5. Jun 20, 2008 #4
    That is an interesting observation. Do you know if the steady state model can reproduce the "S" curve that is observed in the expansion? In other words a certain amount of deceleration in an earlier epoch followed by the acceleration we see now?

    That implies an infinite coordinate time for the universe but not necessarily an infinite proper time for the age of galaxies etc. It is also consistent with the initial condition of very high density but not necessarily infinite density. Rapid initial inflation also removes the requirement to extrapolate back to an exact zero volume point.
  6. Jun 21, 2008 #5
    What bothers you about the Big Bang exactly?
  7. Jun 21, 2008 #6


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    Steady State Cosmology, in which H is constant for all time is simply a terrible model given current data. Indeed, there have been a number of studies that have sought to avoid assuming any model for dark energy and have simply fit the data (supernovae results being the more important) by some function H(z) (z=redshift). The data overwhelmingly demonstrates that H(z) most definitely changes over time. That is before you go into how SSC can explain the observed evolution of structure (i.e. the structure in the Universe is observed to change as a function of redshift), the evolution of the galaxies luminosity function etc etc, the list could go on for some time.

    I've made a couple of plots to show how bad the fit is for SSC. The first one shows three curves for H(z). The black line is for the standard LCDM model, although the paramters of this LCDM shown are not the exact best fits, I just put in 0.3,0.7 the best values are similar to this. The red line is for a matter only universe, so no decceleration. The green line is SSC, in which H(z) is always unity. Note that what is plotted is actually H(z)/H(0). Clearly the green line looks very different to the white, which is the one we know fits the data.

    To demonstrate the fit to data, I've plotted the distance modulus [tex]\mu[/tex] for these models against some of the supernovae data as a function of redshift (the data are the blue crosses). The data is a little old, there are many more points and points at higher redshift known now but I had these older ones in a data file already. Adding the newer data doesn't change this demonstration. As can be seen, a universe with no acceleration (red line) poorly fits the data. The black line is a good fit while the green line is also clearly a bad fit.

    The reason we don't talk about SSC much these days is simply because is performs very poorly at explaining the data. It was a good model when it was developed, since there was less data, but even Hoyle, the champion of the model, accepted that it had been ruled out by the data late in his life. That was data that was much less precise than we have today, that continues to make this model a poorer and poorer fit.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 21, 2008
  8. Jun 22, 2008 #7
    Just to clarify, this thread is not intended to bring doubt to the Big Bang model. The BB is a very elegant and well developed theory, which I personally believe to be the best currently available. My only commentary is the unusual silence regarding the SSC theory, which I have always liked as well. It just seems that there are all kinds of esoteric theories about cosmology, which get plenty of discussion, even though these alternate theories have zero observational support (strings, dark matter, etc.). I'm not expecting people to drop BB for SSC, BUT I do expect the community to have some kind of acknowledgement when we suddenly find the universe to be accelerating, which IS a central component to an SSC universe like Hoyle's.

    Beyond this, I understand that SSC has dropped out of favor because of observation (it has the unusual advantage that it is directly testable, and therefore may be disproven), but complete abandonment of any theory, especially in cosmology is simply unscientific. For example, when this new accelerating data became available, everybody started talking about Einstein's Lambda again, refering to his 'greatest blunder' and how it might now have some validity. All I'm getting at is, why doesn't the community say "Wow, Hoyle predicted that with his very popular SSC model. Maybe we can look back and examine how he was able to make such a prediction and see if there is anything to draw from it?" This is not an attack on the Big Bang, I'm simply pointing to an unusual resistance to a once popular theory, in a field of research that is very speculative and interpretive.
  9. Jun 22, 2008 #8
    Hi Wallace, thank you for the great data and explanations. Things should always be discussed in the context of direct evidence. I'm curious, the first diagram you showed seems fairly straight forward, but second one seemed more scattered. At a glance, all of the models seem valid (some of the data were beyond the green line). Do you have any advice on how to interpret this graph correctly that I may be missing? Is this older data not as clear as the new data, or as supportive? It's a subtle point, but I think it's one of the more important observations we have made supporting BB and I'm still trying to get my head around it.
  10. Jun 22, 2008 #9


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    You are mixing fields here. Let me get this straight, observational cosmology is not a speculative field and has established, from observations, a model for the expansion of the Universe that is remarkably consistent with a wide range of independent data sets. When we observed that the Universe was accelerating, it was also seen that this acceleration was no where near the function form (i.e. q(z) ) of SSC. That is why this model wasn't dug up, because it didn't fit the data. Not for any other reason. Einsteins \Lambda did appear to fit (and still does with newer data) so that is why that was the old theory that was dug up and not Hoyle's.

    Now, as for the speculative side of things, string theory etc are in no way connected to observational cosmology. It is hoped that such a theory may one day explain why the Universe started accelerating, but we don't need to consider the 'why' in order to simply try and understand what is happening. The what looks nothing like Hoyle's model. This is why it is good science to not actively consider this model, because it doesn't predict anything correctly. You seem to think it is 'unscientific' to hold onto a theory even if it doesn't fit available data? I don't understand how this makes sense.

    Don't confuse the speculative fields of theoretical physics like string theory and LQG (or LQC) with observational cosmology which can in no way be described as speculative. There is no good reason based on current evidence to think that a steady state model is a good model at this point. This is always a transient statement dependent entirely on new data and new ideas, but Hoyle's model predicts no data set correctly and hence is a very bad model to start playing around with at the current time.
  11. Jun 22, 2008 #10


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    Note that almost all the blue crosses lie below the green curve, and almost all above the red. The black line goes through the middle of them. Note again that this is not the best fit LCDM model, just a rough (0.3,0.7) so the actual fit is better than the black line. It may seem to the eye that there is not much difference, but this is real data we are talking about that have uncertainties. You have to consider that if the green line was the 'correct' model, what is the chance that almost all the data points happen to have been observed to lie below it, basically equivalent to say tossing 100 heads in a row. Anyway, that's a very rough way of putting it, using proper statistics you could quantify exactly what the odds would be, and they would be very low, hence this is a bad model.

    The curve may seem close to each individual point but the key thing is that we must consider all points. If they all lie on one side of a curve that curve can't be a good model.

    Edit: Oh and yes, newer data is important. Note that the curves separate more and more at high redshifts. Much of the new data is at a higher redshift than what I have shown, so make the differences between models more stark. This is particularly true for SSC since in that model there is only acceleration, wheares what we find is that SN above about z~1 show that the Universe was decelerating then, followed by the more recent acceleration. SSC doesn't predict this so would perform very poorly for the high redshift data.

    Note also the SN are just one observation (although very important admittedly) and the other bits of evidence also suggest deceleration followed by acceleration.
  12. Jun 23, 2008 #11
    Wallace, again thank you for the great feedback. I apologize if I am 'shooting a dead horse' but in speaking with an associate of mine, I found myself talking about this subject and I realized I didn't have any understanding of how the data is analyzed. Do you have a good explanation of how we are able to find deceleration and acceleration in past epochs with data we have available to us today? I understand that the deeper into space we look, the closer to the Big Bang we are seeing (back in time), but I don't understand how the data is analyzed to draw these conclusions. I'm curious how much of this is interpretive, etc. Any feedback is appreciated. Cheers.
  13. Jun 24, 2008 #12


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    Supernovae Type 1A are roughly, once you take several factors into account, standard candles. This means that there is a consistency to them, each explosion (when corrected by known factors) is about the same brightness, known to astronomers as the absolute magnitude [tex]M[/tex]. By observing how bright they appear to be, the apparent magnitude [tex]m[/tex] we can then determine how far away they were as a function of redshift, since more distant objects appear dimmer. We can't simply use the normal intensity dropping as 1/distance squared in an expanding general relativistic universe, but instead we need to determine the luminosity distance, [tex] d_L [/tex] which is function that depends on the particular cosmology. This luminosity distance for a given model predicts how the supernovae would appear to us as a function of redshift if they were perfect standard candles and there was no uncertainty in measurement.

    What I plotted on the graphs is actually distance modulus [tex] \mu [/tex] which is defined as

    [tex] \mu = m - M = 25 + 5 log d_L [/tex]

    so for the blue crosses of the data, the difference between the absolute magnitude of SN type 1A and the observed magnitude gives us [tex]\mu[/tex] and then for the curves, the cosmology gives us [tex]d_L[/tex] which is converted to [tex]\mu[/tex] as shown.

    In particular

    [tex] d_L(z) = \frac{c(1+z)}{H_0} \int_0^z \frac{dz}{H(z)} [/tex]

    which is how you get from the graphs I gave of H(z) to the second one. Does that answer your question? Let me know if you need anything clarified, more info etc.

    Edit: Note the last formula for luminosity distance is valid only for a flat universe, open and closed universes have a somewhat more complex formula, but the principle is the same.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2008
  14. Jun 24, 2008 #13
    Ok, I see. Mathematically, the relationship of luminosity vs. redshift should appear different given different assumptions about the nature of the expansion. Hence the lines on the graphs. Each makes there own prediction about the curve and we then plot observation against it. I'm not familiar with the equations (they are too advanced), but I think the general point is there. That is interesting. So what you are saying is that the nature of the curve reveals acceleration and/or deceleration.

    My only other question would then be; how reliable is the standard candle approach? Are these supernovae events all as similar as this assumes? Perhaps, if they are not, are we using somekind of probability algorythm to 'average out' so to speak a general pattern? At this point, I am no longer refuting anything, I am genuinely trying to understand the reality of this. Thank you again.
  15. Jun 24, 2008 #14


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    I think you've got the idea of it. In general, acceleration makes something be at a further distance from us as a function of redshift, hence the supernovae are dimmer (confusingly a magnitudes are defined bass-ackwards so that higher magnitudes indicate a dimmer object). You can see that in the curves. The red line has no acceleration, the black has some and the green has a lot more. Importantly the black curves shows deceleration at even higher redshifts, which you can just see in that plot, note how the black line is starting to flatten compared to the green by redshift 1. At higher redshifts this is more pronunced as the black line gets closer to the red again.

    It is a good question, and one that a lot of work is done towards. In the local Universe we a pretty sure the SN are standard candles, but the high redshift Universe was a very different environment to today and since we don't really know much about the actual mechanism behind this type of SN it is possible that high redshift SN are just intrinsically dimmer, mimicking acceleration! This is somewhat unlikely because the spectra of these SN look the same, indicating that they do appear to be similar events.

    The biggest non-standard candle-ness of SN can be nicely removed by a process known as 'stretch correction'. This where there is a relationship between the SN peak brightness and the light curve width (how long in days it shines for). Once the light curves are corrected for redshift (redshift stretches the light curve out in the same way as it stretches the light wavelength) they look like the top plot in the attached figure. Note that the peak brightness of them is all quite different. However, once a simple scaling is applied to the the brightness as a function of light curve width, the bottom plot is achieved. These stretch corrected light curves are then remarkably standard. Note that this stretch correction is an empirical result. It appears to work even though we don't have a great idea of the physics behind why it works. This is a gap in knowledge that a lot of theoretical work and low redshift SN observations are working to solve.

    Attached Files:

  16. Jun 26, 2008 #15
    This is very cool. I understand that the redshift should also apply to the duration of the SN. I'm assuming that it is stretched in the same way a photon wavelength is stretched, hence redshift...

    ...This result is interesting. When we apply this algorythm to the graphs, are you saying we're not entirely sure why the match is so good? Does this relationship (the change from the original to the stretched fit) imply some fundamental property of SN that we are now attempting to unravel? I guess what I'm asking is wether the relationship of peak lum. vs. duration may imply some kind of physical property about SN that we are trying to understand, hence when we stretch-fit the data in this way, it fits remarkalby well? Can we learn more about the nature of SN by analyzing this result as a clue to something? Sorry for rambling, I've always been fascinated by Super Novae.
  17. Jun 26, 2008 #16


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    This is starting to reach to the edges of what I am sure about, but I will answer the question as best I can, and hope I don't mislead you!

    The stretch correction process certainly indicates that there is some physical mechanism in the Supernovae explosion that leads to this correlation. I believe there is some relationship between the stretch correction and properties of the SN spectra, in particular the strength of some metal lines, particularly Nickel. The strength of the line tells us how much of that metal is present in the SN progenitor (the thing that the SN is before it goes boom) and I think it is the different metal abundance that regulates the peak brightness and width. This is another reason to doubt that high redshift SN1A are different from low redshift ones, since we can observe these abundances in both cases.
  18. Jun 26, 2008 #17
    Fascinating. Thank you for the extensive feedback with all of this, Wallace. It's great to get straight feedback and insight regarding the technical side of these things. I will keep a close eye on Super Novae research from now on!

    Cheers All.
  19. Jun 26, 2008 #18


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    No worries. There is a project underway at the moment dubbed 'the nearby supernovae factory' (or something like that) which is aiming the look in detail at hundreds (possibly thousands?) of SN1A in the low redshift Universe. Since they aren't looking at the distant stuff they can do it with a small telescope ( I think it is only ~1m) and get lots of observing time, since small telescopes aren't so sought after. You can't do much cosmology with these local SN, but they hope to get a much better understanding of them in order to better inform observations of the high redshift ones. And of course just to understand these SN in their own right!
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