From Technical: Space-Time

Do Black Holes Exist after all?

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From KHouse.Org

One of the jobs of science is to teach us how very deceptive appearances can be. Cells are not just blobs of goo, but entire cities of information. Blue eyes contain no blue pigment; the scattering of light makes unpigmented eyes appear blue, just as Rayleigh scattering gives a blue color to the sky. And black holes may not exist after all, despite Zathura and other wonderful movies that show small children getting sucked into them.

From our youths we are taught about black holes, those giant vacuums at the centers of galaxies, around which billions of stars swirl in lovely spirals. Observatory scientists capture images of these spiral galaxies with the Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-Ray Observatory, and they puzzle about the full nature of black holes and big ideas like general relativity and quantum theories of gravity. Black holes are believed to be the result of giant stars that collapsed into insanely dense balls of matter that create intense gravity. Once particles, space chunks, stars and even light pass over the event horizon — the no-going-back lip of the black hole — they get pulled in and crammed into the same tight space, adding their mass and gravity to the singularity at the center.

Now, one physics professor argues that black holes are mathematically impossible. Laura Mersini-Houghton, a physics professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, recently finished a paper describing problems with black holes forming in the first place. Famous physicist Stephen Hawking predicted in 1974 that black holes give off a small bit of radiation, which has been called Hawking radiation as spots consistent with this radiation have been detected across the Universe. Mersini-Houghton argues that in the process of collapsing under their own gravity, giant stars would continue to give off Hawking radiation, losing mass in the process. The shedding of mass as the stars collapsed would prevent them from continuing to collapse into a singularity, a single point in space. An event horizon would never develop, and therefore black holes would never form.

The press release says something very interesting and controversial: “Many physicists and astronomers believe that our universe originated from a singularity that began expanding with the Big Bang. However, if singularities do not exist, then physicists have to rethink their ideas of the Big Bang and whether it ever happened.”

Denying that black holes exist? Questioning the Big Bang? The atoms are already flying in little explosive bursts throughout the scientific community. Mersini-Houghton’s math had better be faultless or other physicists will dust bin her ideas without even a nod.

Mersini-Houghton did not work the math all alone. Harald Peiffer, an expert on numerical relativity at the University of Toronto, collaborated with her on the effort. Yet, physicist and science writer Matthew R. Francis faulted the media for jumping on the idea that black holes don’t really exist, especially since the paper hasn’t been peer-reviewed. Francis read Mersini-Houghton’s paper, and he says, “The calculations are perfectly correct, as far as I can tell. However, the authors seem to have a lot more Hawking radiation in their model than other similar calculations—and the entire conclusion seems to be based on that large amount. Since the Hawking radiation at any given point in time is small for a realistic stable black hole, there seems to be something amiss.”

Something is amiss because black holes do exist, Francis insists, echoing the cry of his peers. Physicists have been studying black holes for decades. At least, by all accounts, large sources of massive gravity do sit at the center of spiral galaxies. Physicists have measured the speeds of gas clouds swirling around the center of the M87 galaxy and have determined that an object 3 billion times more massive than our sun exists in a space smaller than our solar system. X-ray emissions from Cygnus X–1 (and a dozen other galaxies) offer evidence for black holes at their centers.

Stephen Hawking himself made headlines this spring when he said black holes didn’t exist. The media jumped on that one too, but Hawking’s paper actually declared that black holes had a different nature than previously thought. He attempted to deal with the “information paradox” associated with black holes. Black holes have long been thought to utterly annihilate the ‘information’ in the particles that get crushed into their singularities – and yet, quantum mechanics predicts that information cannot be destroyed. Hawking argued that black holes do not have an event horizon past which nothing can ever escape for all eternity. He suggested black holes instead have an apparent horizon, one past which objects do get sucked into the black hole, but information can eventually escape.

If there are variables we can’t measure, though, our ideas might be altogether wrong. If our fundamental assumptions about light wave data are off, our mathematical speculations might be in error. There may be high-gravity massively dense objects at the centers of galaxies that are not black holes, and so all the worries about information paradoxes might be moot.

The fact is that nobody has ever gone to visit a black hole, and so all the theorizing we have must be based on the information we can gather from distant light sources (including X-ray emissions). We can capture light wave data from a multitude of galaxies. We can see the swirling pattern of the stars in those galaxies, and we can attempt to measure the rate of the swirling and then calculate the size and gravity of the central objects that cause the vortex. Yet, the speed of light may have been slowing down since the beginning of the Universe (see link below) confusing our measurements about the rate that galaxies spin. No matter how comfortable our current models, scientists must be always open to alternative ideas, especially when we have conflicting information coming our way. One of the jobs of science is, after all, to show us how deceptive appearances can be.

Related Articles

  • The Controversy Continues: Speed of Light Slowing Down?
    — Koinonia House
  • The SOLAR System

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    Psalm 8:3
    When I consider Thy Heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou has ordained.

    David omits the sun here, indicating his meditation was at night. If he had considered the heavens in the day all he could have seen would be the sun and sky, not the moon and stars. These he wished to introduce because of their immense variety and splendor. The sun he describes in Psalm 19: 1-6.

    Our solar system is about 6,000,000,000 miles across. Our galaxy, called the Milky way, contains roughly 400 billion stars, each with its family of planets.
    The nearest star is 26,000,000,000,000 miles away.

    It is estimated that there are 100 billion galaxies like the Milky way. This would make 40,000 million, million, million [40 sextillion] stars or suns in space.
    If each sun is the center of a solar system there are 40 sextillion solar systems or 1,480,000 million, million, million planets and satellites in space.

    Of the 360,000 million, million, million major plants 10% are believed habitable.
    The earth is believed to be 5 ½ billion years old and middle-aged by celestial standards.

    Further, it is believed that if man ever reaches other planets he may find himself just a primitive and comparatively new in existence considering other beings on other planets.
    Planets are invisible to terrestrial telescopes because they are cold masses emitting no light of their own.

    One thing is certain, the Bible teaches that the heavens are now inhabited [2 Chron. 18:18; Neh. 9:6; Job 25:3; Dan. 4:35; Matth. 22:30; Lk. 2:13-14; Eph. 1:14-15; Col. 1:16-17; Rev. 12:12; 13:6; 19:14].

    The earth which is about 25,000 miles in circumference has a solid content of 264,544,857,944 cubit miles.
    It is small compared to other planets.
    The sun is 1,300,000 times as big as the earth: Jupiter 1,400 times: Saturn 1,100 times: and Uranus 800 times, as big.

    The sun is 2,777,000 miles in circumference. Its surface is 366,252,303,118,866,128 cubic miles.
    Many of the other heavenly bodies are supposed to be much larger.
    Comets and many other bodies are bigger than the earth.

    The comet of 1811 A.D. had a head 112,000 miles in diameter and a tail 112,000,000 miles long. It is supposed to appear again in 3,000 years.

    Mercury is said to be 36,000,000 miles from the sun; Venus 67,250,000; Earth 93,000,000; Jupiter 484,000,000; Saturn 887,000,000; Uranus 1,787,000,000; Neptune 2,797,000,000; and Pluto 3,675,000,000 miles.

    A modern 200 inch telescope can see things in space over 600,000,000 light years from earth, or 3,600,000,000,000,000,000,000 [3 sextillion, 600 quintillion miles from earth].

    This is how far light can travel in this many years at the rate of 186,324 miles a second.
    A light year is about 5,800,000,000,000 miles.

    The new Supernova recently discovered is supposed to have 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 [10 septillion] times more energy than the hydrogen bomb.

    Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible – Page 618

    No Actual Dark Matter Yet!

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    From KHouse.Org

    They are still hunting for it, that mysterious invisible particle we’re told makes up 85% of the matter in the Universe. Ever since Fritz Zwicky suggested dunkle Materie to explain why the Milky Way and other spiral galaxies aren’t flying apart, physicists have been on the hunt for dark matter. Decades and billions of dollars later, they still haven’t found undisputed evidence for the elusive stuff, and yet as NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatory recently enjoyed its 15th anniversary, dim possibilities offer hope to those scientists desperate to find the material that holds the Universe together.

    Young scientists must not fear; there are still plenty of puzzles left to solve. Based on spectral line data, it appears that the outer rims of spiral galaxies are moving at the same rate as the insides of the galaxies — and that doesn’t make any sense. The galaxies should fly apart from spinning that fast. Starting with Zwicky in the 1930s, physicists have hypothesized the existence of an invisible material that provides the gravitational pull to hold the galaxies together. They imagine a fabric of unseen particles working to keep, not just galaxies, but clusters of galaxies from shooting apart as they swirl in a massive cosmic dance.

    But, this material doesn’t emit or absorb light. We can’t see it. Groups of physicists have had huge accelerators built to smash particles into it with the hopes of getting dark matter to show its face for a fraction of a second — with no real success.

    Pijushpani Bhattacharjee at Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics in West Bengal, India has spent 20 years working on high energy cosmic rays deep in the Universe. In 2008, he joined the Picasso experiment in Canada to add his efforts to the hunt for dark matter. The Picasso scientists developed a method that uses superheated liquid to detect the invisible substance. Theoretically, dark matter particles would create sound waves when they hit droplets of specially engineered liquid, but while the scientists were expecting to get at least a few “dings” a year, they’ve detected nothing notable in five years of fine-tuning.

    Cosmologists have a variety of reasons for embracing the idea of dark matter, and they are confident that dark matter comes in the form of a particle, a weakly interactive massive particle (WIMP) that creates gravitational effects but otherwise ignores normal visible particles. The trick is to get it to get some WIMPs to show themselves by hitting visible matter into them and making them say, “Ow!”

    Rick Gaitskell of Brown University has been hunting for dark matter for some 25 years and heads the team that turned on the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment in South Dakota. A mile underground in the Homestake Gold Mine, the LUX particle accelerator shoots xenon particles past ultra-sensitive detectors. If the xenon particles smack into one of these WIMPs, it should give off a little flash of electricity that the detectors can catch and record.

    So far, though, the LUX hasn’t found anything. Gaitskell told Popular Science last fall, “Every experiment has reported essentially negative results. No one even knows for sure if the d- stuff really exists.” If dark matter really does make up five-sixths of the matter in the Universe, it certainly does an excellent job of hiding itself.

    Sterile Neutrinos

    There’s still hope, though. After all, there is a true explanation for why spiral galaxies haven’t flung apart. While hunting through X-ray emission lines from 73 galaxy clusters, Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) astronomers and their colleagues recently found a faint spectral line that doesn’t apply to any known atomic transitions. They have been cautious, wanting to make sure the line was not just caused by their instruments or other factors. Still, the line was detected at both the Chandra observatory in Huntsville, Alabama and Europe’s XMM-Newton observatory. Scientists in the Netherlands, using the European Photon Imaging Camera (EPIC) of XMM-Newton also found a dim X-ray line at 3.5 keV, which gives independent corroborating evidence.

    Both groups of scientists suggest that the line could come from the decay of sterile neutrinos, a top candidate for dark matter. More experimentation must be done, though, because there are other explanations as well. The more objects they analyze, consistently offering a line that fits into the expected dark matter spectral range, the better. A. Boyarsky et al. noted in the Netherlands paper:

    The X-ray spectra of astrophysical objects are crowded with weak atomic and instrumental lines, not all of which may be known. Therefore, even if the exposure of available observations continues to increase, it is hard to exclude an astrophysical or instrumental origin of any weak line in the spectrum of individual object. However, if the same feature is present in the spectra of a number of different objects, and its surface brightness and relative normalization between objects is consistent with the expected behavior of the DM signal, this can provide much more convincing evidence about its nature.

    The Dark Herring

    Of course, dark matter may not exist after all. In his own PowerPoint slides on dark matter posted on the Brown University website, Gaitskell tells his students, “It has been a Problem in Cosmology that astrophysical assumptions often need to be made to interpret data/extra parameters.” It’s true. Scientists create models they use to interpret the information that space gives them. The models are based on certain assumptions, and if those assumptions are incorrect, the data gets interpreted wrongly. There may be entirely different explanations for the survival of spiral galaxies or gravitational lensing, explanations that don’t require invisible matter we can’t see or detect.

    The nature of the Universe is an involved mystery, a deep subject that requires a great deal more study. Yet, the hunt for dark matter highlights the importance of examining one’s assumptions in the pursuit of scientific truth. Astrophysicists need to be able to interpret data, but a great deal of time and money can be spent to prove incorrect interpretations when the underlying assumptions are misdirected.

    Related Links

  • Evidence For Dark Matter
    — Brown.edu
  • Mysteries of the Universe

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    From KHouse.Org [Archives 2.5.2007]


    “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” – Hebrews 11:3

    Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. In this case, “it” is what physicists call “dark matter.” They can’t see it, they can’t measure it (at least not directly), and they don’t know what it is made of. Yet scientists believe it constitutes over 90 percent of all the matter in the universe.

    In an ambitious undertaking, scientists worldwide are spending billions of dollars with the hopes of being the first to uncover the secrets of dark matter and to prove the existence of the so-called God particle. Together these two mysteries represent the holy grail of astronomy and physics.

    Dark Matter

    The existence of dark matter was proposed in 1932 by astronomer Jan Oort, who measured the motions of nearby stars in our Milky Way relative to the galactic plane. He found that the mass of the plane must be more than the mass of the material that can be seen. A year later, Fritz Zwicky examined the dynamics of clusters of galaxies and found their movements similarly perplexing. Over the years, many spiral galaxies were observed and found to be swirling too fast to be held together by the gravitational pull of the visible stars. If extra mass were not there exerting a pull, some of the stars would be flung away because they were moving so fast. But they’re not. That is why some scientists describe dark matter as “the glue that holds the universe together.”

    Astronomers cannot detect or measure dark matter directly because it emits no light or radiation – hence the name. Its existence is inferred from the gravitational effect it has on visible matter (such as stars and galaxies). There have been a number of conjectures regarding the nature of dark matter, but all of them have eluded any empirical validation. Meanwhile various new theories have emerged that seek to explain one of the most puzzling mysteries of our universe (see links below to learn more).

    The God Particle

    The Higgs boson, often called the God particle, is perhaps the most elusive element of particle physics. Like dark matter, scientists have yet to observe it, and cannot even prove that it exists.

    The Standard Model in particle physics, which is often compared to the Periodic Table of Elements used by chemists, consists of 16 particles that make up all matter in the universe. The problem is that the Standard Model is not complete. So in the late 1960’s a physicist by the name of Peter Higgs proposed the existence of a particle that would somehow interact with every other subatomic particle to give them all mass. Since then, scientists have been scrambling to find the so-called God particle.

    Physicists hope that future projects, like the purposed International Linear Collider will shed even more light on dark matter, dark energy, the existence of extra dimensions, and the fundamental nature of matter, energy, space and time. The International Linear Collider is an 8 billion dollar, 20-mile-long, underground laboratory. Scientists hope this massive particle accelerator, once built, will help them unlock the some of the best kept secrets in the universe. Until that happens, however, scientists must continue to trust in things unseen.

    Without Excuse

    Science, like religion, often requires us to take a leap of faith. Any scientist worth his salt must admit that despite centuries of scientific discovery and technological advances, most of our universe remains a mystery. There is so much we do not fully understand: from the basic building blocks of life to the mysterious particles that hold our entire universe together.

    Every year new scientific discoveries are made. Many hope science will one day give us the answers to life’s most troubling questions: Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are we here? Does God exist, and if He does, what is His nature? Since the time of the ancient Greek philosophers, the answers to these questions have been sought by examining the nature of the universe and its life forms. In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul made a remarkable statement regarding the relationship between our understanding of the universe and the existence and attributes of God. According to Paul, not only is the existence of God inexcusably evident, but the invisible attributes of God can also be discerned with an examination of creation:

    “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:18-20).”

    To examine Paul’s argument in further detail, check out our briefing pack Beyond Perception or our series The Creator Beyond Time and Space.
    Related Links:
    • Dark Matter And God Particle Within Reach – Space Daily
    • New VERITAS Telescope Array May Help Find ‘Dark Matter’ – YubaNet
    • Search For Dark Matter Particles Moves Underground – Space Daily
    • Mapping The Invisible – Space Daily
    • A Bleak and Lonely Outlook for Universe – MSNBC
    • The History of Dark Energy Goes Way, Way Back – Space
    • Beyond Perception – MP3 Download – Koinonia House
    • The Creator Beyond Time and Space Series on CD-ROM – Koinonia House
    • Bible Study Resources: Creation and Evolution – Koinonia House
    – From Koinonia House News Letter.

    Will we be able to image ‘Earth’s twin’?

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    From American Thinker.Com

    Rick Moran

    Scientists have confirmed the discovery of an alien planet about the size of earth orbiting a red dwarf star 600 light years away in the habitable, or “Goldilocks” zone. The discovery was made by NASA’s now crippled Kepler Space Telescope.

    This may prove to be one of the most profound discoveries in scientific history.

    New York Times:

    The planet, known as Kepler 186f, named after NASA’s Kepler planet-finding mission, which detected it, has a diameter of 8,700 miles, 10 percent wider than Earth, and its orbit lies within the “Goldilocks zone” of its star, Kepler 186 — not too hot, not too cold, where temperatures could allow for liquid water to flow at the surface, making it potentially hospitable for life.

    “Kepler 186f is the first validated, Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of another star,” Elisa V. Quintana of the SETI Institute and NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., said at a news conference on Thursday. “It has the right size and is at the right distance to have properties similar to our home planet.”

    Dr. Quintana is the lead author of a scientific paper describing the findings in this week’s issue of the journal Science. Kepler 186f is the latest planet to be sifted out of the voluminous data collected by Kepler, which kept watch over 150,000 stars, looking for slight drops in brightness when a planet passed in front.

    How sensitive was Kepler’s photometer? If it was placed in New York city, it could detect the change in brightness of a Los Angeles searchlight as a moth passed in front of it. A truly remarkable robot explorer.

    With its smaller size, Kepler 186f is more likely to have an Earth-like rocky surface, another step in astronomers’ quest for what might be called Earth 2.0.

    “It’s a progression,” said another member of the discovery team, Thomas S. Barclay of the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute. “This planet really reminds us of Earth.”

    The researchers speculate that it is made of the same stuff as Earth — iron, rock, ice, liquid water, although the relative amounts could be very different.

    The gravity on Kepler 186f, too, is likely to be roughly the same as Earth’s. “You could far more easily imagine someone being able to go there and walk around on the surface,” Stephen Kane, an astronomer at San Francisco State University and another member of the research team, said in an interview.

    Kepler 186f is not a perfect replica, however. It is closer to its star — a red dwarf that is smaller, cooler and fainter than our sun — than the Earth is to its; its year, the time to complete one orbit, is 130 days, not 365. It is also at the outer edge of the habitable zone, receiving less warmth, so perhaps more of its surface would freeze.

    “Perhaps it’s more of an Earth cousin than an Earth twin,” Dr. Barclay said.

    Sitting in the largest clean room in the world at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is another robot explorer that may be able to give us a closer look at Kepler 186F – if it ever gets off the ground.

    The James Webb Space Telescope was designed to replace the aging Hubble telescope with the promise of even more spectacular images and discoveries. But the project is now massively over budget – due largely to ridiculous budget estimates in the first place – and a recent GAO report questions whether the prime contractor – Northrup – will be able to meet its launch date in 2018.

    More than a decade after a prime contract was awarded for the development of the Hubble Space Telescope’s successor, NASA’s largest science project remains on shaky ground.

    First, the good news: Program costs for the James Webb Space Telescope being developed by Northrop Grumman Corp. have remained stable for the last few years, ever since the project was rebalanced with a 78 percent increase to the cost estimate. That, of course, propelled total program costs to $8.83 billion, from a baseline estimate in 2009 of about $5 billion.

    Unfortunately for Northrop, most of the budget increase was to accommodate ballooning development costs. Those went from $2.58 billion in 2009 to $6.19 billion with the 2011 rebalancing — a 140 percent change.

    “Since the program re-plan in 2011, Northrop Grumman’s work on the James Webb Space Telescope continues to be on budget and remains on schedule to meet the 2018 launch date,” said Northrop spokesman Randy Belote.

    The Government Accountability Office, however, isn’t so sure it will stay that way.

    The watchdog agency’s annual assessment of major NASA programs, released Tuesday, highlighted a number of issues it identified earlier this year. Development of the cryocooler that cools one JWST instrument was delayed due to technical issues, upping contract costs. Development challenges have required Northrop to allocate a significant portion of its cost reserves, depleting the amount available for the next year. (Limited reserves could require work to be extended or deferred, the GAO noted, which was a contributing factor to the project’s prior performance issues.) And the program’s master schedule, culminating in a 2018 launch date — 52 months later than prior 2009 estimates — might still be a little too optimistic, in part because delivery of three subsystems tied to the program seem likely to fall behind.

    All that translates to the potential for more delays and cost increases, which could trickle down through other NASA programs.

    As an aside, the JWST will cost more than 10 times what it cost to build and operate Kepler. But the promise of being able to image planets that are hundreds of light years away is giving impetus to the drive to finish the telescope – and damn the cost.

    It’s no way tro run a space agency and congress should have seriously considered terminating the program when it became clear it would cost almost double the original estimate. While no doubt a stunning technological achievement, poor planning and poor management led to unacceptable levels of overspending. There are 16 other nations involved in the JWST project, so at least some of the pain of cost overruns is shared. But most nations are contributing to the operation of the telescope, not its construction.

    As much as most of us space fanatics would love to see the JWST in operation, this is one more instance of NASA not showing itself capable of turning ideas into reality. If Congress had been told the project would have cost the taxpayer nearly $9 billion (the original estimate was $5 billion), it is doubtful it would have received the support to begin construction.

    Let’s hope it works as advertised. If it does, Kepler 186f will be one of its first targets in 2018.

    Passover, Lunar Eclipses, and Mature Distant Galaxies

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    From KHouse.Org

    A total lunar eclipse will mark the first day of Passover in North America this year, starting shortly before midnight on the West Coast and continuing through the early morning hours of April 15th. This eclipse will be nice and loud, a great big red moon completely blocked from the sun’s direct light by the earth’s umbral shadow. The eclipse will hit its max at 3:45 am in Washington D.C. and a quarter to midnight in Anchorage, Alaska.

    Passover is primed for lunar eclipses because it always takes place on a full moon, but this year another total lunar eclipse also marks the beginning of Sukkot on October 8th in a rare bit of excitement. What’s more, the same astronomical pattern will take place next year as well, with full blood moons on both Passover and Sukkot in 2015.

    It may be nothing to take to heart. Lunar eclipses come along a regular basis, usually between 2 and 4 times per year, and quite often they have fallen together on the first days of Passover and Sukkot (so conveniently spaced six months apart on full moons).

    Much of the time, however, these are penumbral lunar eclipses in which the moon only passes through outer part of the Earth’s shadow. A penumbral lunar eclipse is not particularly noticeable because it merely dims the moon. During a partial lunar eclipse, the moon breaks into the inner, umbral shadow of the earth – a clearly visible event. A total lunar eclipse offers the best show, as the moon passes completely into the earth’s inner shadow and turns a dark “blood” red color.

    2014 and 2015 are a bit special, however, because the lunar eclipses these years form a “tetrad” in which four lunar eclipses in a row are total eclipses. Tetrads are fairly rare, though they still take place several times per century. The last tetrad was in 2003. Tetrads that offer blood moons on both Passover and Sukkot have also taken place in the past, but not often. In fact, according to NASA’s catalog of lunar eclipses, this particular set of coincidences took place just twice in the 20th century, in 1949–1950 and in 1967–1968. The next will take place in 2032–2033.

    The rabbis say that coincidence is not a kosher word, and perhaps there’s something significant about astronomical patterns. After all, the Magi did see the Messiah’s star in the east and came to worship the baby Jesus because of it. It’s noteworthy that David Ben-Gurion formed the first government of the new State of Israel on March 8, 1949 and Israel was admitted into the United Nations on May 11, 1949, marking international recognition of Israel as a state. During the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel gained control of the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and Sinai Peninsula. Israel has since relinquished control of the Sinai, Golan Heights and Gaza, but one wonders what lies in store for the little Jewish nation this year. Or in 2032… approximately 2000 years after Jesus’ resurrection.

    Young Galaxies That Look Old

    In other astronomical news, scientists are surprised to find relatively “young” galaxies deep in space looking much more mature than expected. Because the speed of light is finite (though very very fast), the deeper into space we look, the older the light we see coming our way. This means that directing our telescopes deep into space can be considered equivalent to gazing back in time.

    In harsher humor, a meme on the Internet declares, “When you wish upon a star… you’re actually a few million years late according to astronomy. The star is dead. Just like your dreams.”

    Astronomers hope that by studying distant galaxies, they can watch the formation of the young Universe, looking at the light from galaxies that may or may not even still exist.

    Astronomers from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne Australia expressed surprise recently, because they discovered “young” galaxies from the early Universe already wearing their big boy pants. Working within an international team of scientists, the researchers found galaxies 12 billion light years away that contained up to 100 billion stars, much larger and more mature than expected. At that point, the Universe was expected to have developed only 1.6 billion years after the Big Bang, and the astronomers would have expected to see young, newly forming galaxies.

    The mature galaxies were found at a record-breaking distance of 12 billion light years, seen when the Universe was just 1.6 billion years old. Their existence at such an early time raises new questions about what forced them to grow up so quickly. The galaxies were detected using near-infrared wavelengths, and the researchers found a lot of red, which indicates older and not newly-forming stars.

    “Fifteen years ago they were predicted not to even exist within the cosmological model favoured at the time,” said Professor Karl Glazebrook, Director of the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University of Technology. “In 2004 I wrote a paper on the discovery of such galaxies existing only three billion years after the Big Bang. Now, with improved technology we are pushing back to only 1.6 billion years, which is truly exciting.”

    There are a variety of possible explanations for the unexpected results of the study. The red shift data may have been misinterpreted. The speed of light may have slowed down, and the ages of the galaxies may not be what the astronomers believe them to be. The explanation chosen by Macquarie University’s Dr Lee Spitler is a less volatile, however.

    “While the Milky Way still forms new stars at a slow rate today, the galaxies we discovered must have formed very rapidly in a relatively ‘short’ time — roughly one billion years — with explosive rates of star-formation. These must have been several hundred times higher than in the Milky Way today,” Spitler said, according to Science Daily.

    “This is the best evidence to date that these galaxies grew up in a hurry. People have reported ‘old’ galaxies before, but it was never clear until our data that they were actually ‘old.’ The excellent imaging products from the Magellan telescope allowed us to prove they are indeed ‘old.’”

    We may be able to predict lunar eclipses and send men to the moon. Modern technology does an amazing job of allowing us to look through space and even back in time. But, the Universe still holds a wide variety of mysteries, and the future is a massive adventure waiting to be discovered.

    Notes

  • Calendar For Year 1967 (Israel)
    — Time And Date
  • Alternatives to Elusive Dark Matter

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    From KHouse.Org

    The Universe is made up primarily of a mysterious substance called dark matter, a mesh, a spider web of space. That’s what popular science says, at least. Astrophysicists insist that dark matter is there; the indirect evidence is substantial. Yet, after multiple millions of dollars have been spent on trying to track down the actual physical particles that make up dark matter, science continues to come up empty. Maybe the astrophysicists need to try another approach in order to finally detect the elusive substance, or maybe they just need to adjust their current models about the nature of light, time, and the Universe itself.

    It all started with the spinning of distant galaxies. A Swiss astrophysicist named Fritz Zwicky postulated in the 1930s that invisible stuff he called “dunkle Materie” hid inside the galaxies he was studying, because they spun too fast to contain only the visible stars and gas he could account for. Scientists observe the same puzzling phenomenon today. Based on spectral line data, it appears that the outer rims of spiral galaxies are moving at the same rate as the insides of the galaxies – and that doesn’t make any sense. The galaxies should fly apart from spinning that fast.

    This problem caused Zwicky to hypothesize the existence of dunkle Materie—large amounts of invisible material that provide the gravitational pull to hold the galaxies together. It’s what physicists think dark matter is – neutral, uncharged particles that interact with visible material by massive gravitational force.

    There is also the matter of gravitational lensing. Starlight through space if often seen to bend and warp around unseen massive objects. The Hubble space telescope can often produce two or three images of the same galaxy in one single picture. The individual images may be different sizes but contain the same features, as though space were a hall of mirrors. As beams of light from the same galaxy bend around objects in space, they reach the earth from slightly different angles, giving the appearance of coming from different locations. Clumps of invisible dark matter between us and these galaxies are blamed for causing the distortions.

    Cosmologists have a variety of reasons for embracing the idea of dark matter. The problem is that its existence is inferred from physicists’ current interpretations of data; nobody has been able to directly detect the stuff yet. The physicists are confident that dark matter comes in the form of a particle, a weakly interactive massive particle (WIMP) that creates gravitational effects but otherwise ignores normal visible particles. The trick is to get it to get some WIMPs to show themselves by hitting visible matter into them and making them say, “Ow!”

    Rick Gaitskell of Brown University has been hunting for dark matter for 24 odd years and heads the team that turned on the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment in South Dakota. A mile underground in the Homestake Gold Mine, the LUX particle accelerator shoots xenon particles past ultra-sensitive detectors. If the xenon particles smack into one of these WIMPs, it should give off a little flash of electricity that the detectors can catch and record.

    So far, though, the LUX hasn’t found anything. Gaitskell told Popular Science this past autumn, “Every experiment has reported essentially negative results. No one even knows for sure if the d- stuff really exists.” If dark matter really does make up five-sixths of the matter in the Universe, it certainly does an excellent job of hiding itself.

    A Dark Herring

    Of course, dark matter may not exist after all. In his own PowerPoint slides on dark matter posted on the Brown University website, Gaitskell tells his students, “It has been a Problem in Cosmology that astrophysical assumptions often need to be made to interpret data/extra parameters.” It’s true. Scientists create models they use to interpret the information that space gives them. The models are based on certain assumptions, and if those assumptions are incorrect, the data gets interpreted wrongly.

    Possible Alternatives

    If dark matter is just an illusion, though, what is causing the observed phenomena? What does hold spinning spiral galaxies together and cause the bending of light through allegedly empty space?

    First of all, it is odd that so many spiral galaxies appear to have the same issue – the matter across their diameters all appear to be rotating at the same rate – all without flying apart. It may be that that the light information coming from them is interpreted incorrectly. The redshifts that are treated as a sort of Doppler effect – light appearing to lengthen as its source moves away from us – may have another explanation.

    In the 1970s, William Tifft at the University of Arizona noted that his redshift measurements didn’t show gradual, smooth shifting to the red. Instead, they were quantized – the measurements made small jumps as though going up a flight of stairs. Two astronomers from Scotland, Guthrie and Napier, tried to disprove Tiffts quantized redshift ideas in the 1990s, but they finally confirmed his results.

    Professor José Senovilla, Marc Mars and Raül Vera of the University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, and University of Salamanca, Spain proposed in 2011 that the redshift isn’t caused by a Doppler shift but by the slowing of Time itself. Dark energy supposedly permeates the Universe, causing the outer edges of space to expand at an accelerating rate. That’s the wrong way to interpret the light wave data, suggest these scientists. Senovilla and Vera argue that the better explanation is the opposite, that Time has been slowing down and we see its effect in the apparent stretching of light waves. The light reaching the Hubble telescope from distant galaxies might not tell us as much about the rate the galaxies are spinning as about the nature of Time itself.

    The speed of light itself may be slowing. Physicists insist that light speed is a constant, but they may have made that determination prematurely. The speed of light may not be dropping very quickly, but a variety of papers have been written in the past several decades that suggest light speed is not a constant after all. Paul Davies, currently of Arizona State, argued in 2002 that the speed of light may be slowing down, and physicist Barry Setterfield has written extensively on the subject.

    Yves-Henri Sanejouand from the University of Nantes in France in 2010 showed a possible slowing of the speed of light by about 0.02–0.03 m/s per year. That’s not much, but it demonstrates the real possibility of a much faster speed of light in the past. “The constancy of the speed of light is one of the fundamental pillars of contemporary physics,” explains Sanejouand, “so the possibility that it may instead vary (even at a slow rate) has far reaching consequences (although mostly on the theoretical side).”

    It may also be that spiral galaxies haven’t had time to fly apart. If the speed of light has been slowing, methods for dating the age of the Universe might be way off. The age of the Universe itself may have been overestimated.

    While dark matter is credited with causing gravitational lensing, Anirudh Pradhan of Hindu P. G. College in India suggests that the observed bending of light might be caused by the refraction of light as it hits the gasses around various astronomical bodies. We see the refraction of light all the time in everyday life. The fisherman who goes to stab a fish in the water cannot aim directly at the image of the fish, because the light changes direction as it leaves the denser water and hits the less dense air. The refraction of light makes the fish look like it’s in a spot that it isn’t. The same thing can happen in space. As light shoots through the vacuum of space, it hits clouds of gasses that cause it to change direction so that when it reaches us, multiple images of various sizes are produced – and we can’t be certain of where they actually originated.

    The nature of the Universe is an involved mystery, a deep subject that requires a great deal more study. Yet, the hunt for dark matter highlights the importance of examining one’s assumptions in the pursuit of scientific truth. Assumptions are required to interpret data, but a great deal of time and money can be spent to prove incorrect interpretations when the underlying assumptions are faulty.

    Further Reading

  • Too Much Dark Matter in Galaxy Cluster? ‘Dark Core’ May Not Be So Dark After All
    — Science Daily
  • Space Age and Idolatry

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    From KHouse.Org

    In his Commentary on Hosea (at chapter 2, verse 4), Chuck Missler mentions that “we have invented the most insulting “god” of all: random chance as our creator…” Dr. Missler is referring to the Theory of Evolution that was devised by Charles Darwin.

    A much-ignored quote from Darwin himself says, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” (Darwin, p. 191)

    At the time Darwin developed his theory, the scientific world knew little of the inner workings of the cell. An article on the CreationMoments.com website says:

    “In Darwin’s day, the cell was thought to be just a simple sac filled with jellied carbon. This concept is the origin of the term protoplasm. However, nearly 150 years of cell research has shown us that even protozoan and fungi cells are hugely complex. Today we know that even the simplest of these cells, eukaryotes, have an estimated 100,000 parts.”

    There is no doubt that Darwin would think again if he had this information, yet his theory has become the foundation of all that is believed and taught in the field of biology. Secular science has suppressed the truth of creation and follows the pattern described by Paul in Romans:

    “For God’s wrath is being revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness and wickedness of those who in their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God himself has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible attributes—his eternal power and divine nature—have been understood and observed by what he made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him. Instead, their thoughts turned to worthless things, and their senseless hearts were darkened. Though claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images that looked like mortal human beings, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.” — Romans 1:18–23, ISV

    As the complexities of the cell have been discovered, the response should be to see God’s work, glorify Him and give thanks. God shows Himself clearly as modern science has allowed us to see the invisible through microscopes, among other things.

    The choice, though, was made to reject God. Therefore the judgment of darkened hearts was pronounced upon secular scientists so that they could not see Him, no matter how obvious He was. Though they do indeed profess to be wise, they are fools. In the end they make idols out of created things.

    There is a new trend in idolatry that is making much headway in the academic world. In an article in Discovery News, Ray Villard reports that:

    Vladimir I. shCherbak of al-Farabi Kazakh National University of Kazakhstan, and Maxim A. Makukov of the Fesenkov Astrophysical Institute, hypothesize that an intelligent signal embedded in our genetic code would be a mathematical and semantic message that cannot be accounted for by Darwinian evolution. They call it “biological SETI.” What’s more, they argue that the scheme has much greater longevity and chance of detecting E.T. than a transient extraterrestrial radio transmission.

    Scientists have started waking up to the fact that Darwinian evolution cannot account for parts of our genetic code. This, of course, is an understatement, since Darwinian evolution also cannot account for any of our genetic code nor the cells that hold it.

    Villard goes on to quote his source saying, “Simple arrangements of the code reveal an ensemble of arithmetical and ideographical patterns of symbolic language.” In other words, there are more than just mathematical structures, but patterns of data that resemble language.

    Villard asks the question, “Could our genes have an intelligently designed ‘manufacturer’s stamp’ inside them, written eons ago elsewhere in our galaxy?” He has stated it as a rhetorical question; however the slightest knowledge of Scripture reveals the answer. Yes we do have a manufacturer’s stamp inside us written a long time ago by God.

    After a discussion in which Villard suggests aliens engineered humans and placed them here, he goes on to attempt to debunk the obvious answer: Intelligent Design (ID). He says “To date, ID has been nothing more than Biblical creationism in sheep’s clothing.” This logic is the pinnacle of Villard’s debunking and does not go far to prove any point.

    Ultimately he asks, “And, even if the genetic code is ultimately considered the handprint of an extraterrestrial grand designer, then who designed the designer?”

    Villard’s rhetorical question has a clear answer. Sadly Villard’s heart seems too dark to hear it. In Jeremiah 1:5, God tells the prophet, “I knew you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart for me before you were born …”

    Each of us does indeed have the mark of our maker, but that maker isn’t an alien race. The Maker is God Himself. Scientists like Ray Villard need prayer that God will humble them and give them no rest until they find rest in Jesus Christ.

    Related Links:

  • Is An Alien Message Embedded In Our Genetic Code? – Discovery News
  • Dark Energy and the Accelerating Universe

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    From KHouse.Org

    “Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:” — Isa 40:21–22

  • Beyond Newton Briefing Pack – K-House Store
  • According to most astrophysicists, the Universe has been expanding since the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. Then, about the time the Earth was formed, that expansion got FASTER.

    Come again?

    Since the time of Edwin Hubble, cosmologists have believed the Universe to be inflating, speeding into the nothingness to make it somethingness. They expected that eventually gravity would pull the mass of the Universe back in toward itself, and the expansion would slow down, possibly collapsing back in on itself. In 1998, three supernova experts presented data that shocked the world of astronomers and physicists alike. In 2011, Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt, and Adam Riess won the Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering what is believed to be the accelerating expansion of the Universe. The Universe isn’t getting slower in its race into the void, they concluded; it’s speeding up.

    It goes back to supernovae. A type Ia supernova is a super compact white dwarf star in a binary system with a red giant. Material from the red star is pulled onto the white dwarf until the highly dense star reaches a mass limit of about 1.4 solar masses (1.4 times the mass of our sun) and in a runaway thermonuclear reaction it just explodes. Because they blow up under the same conditions, type Ia supernovae reach about the same brightness each time, which means they can be used as “standard candles” for measuring distance. The brighter the supernovae, the closer the supernovae.

    There are other independent ways of measuring supernova distance as well, but Ia supernova at the same distances should be about the same brightness when they explode. So when Perlmutter, Schmidt, and Riess noticed dimmer-than-expected supernovae, they were puzzled. They told the world in 1998, “Um… these supernovae we’re seeing aren’t bright enough for their distances. Something’s odd here.”

    Perlmutter on one team, and Schmidt and Riess on another, independently found some 50 distant supernovae whose light reached Earth more weakly than anticipated. The scientists were expecting the expansion of the Universe to be slowing down, causing the supernovae to appear brighter. Instead, the light from the supernovae was fading. They concluded that the exploding stars had been carried away through space at an ever increasing velocity, along with the rest of their galaxies. In other words, it appeared that the Universe was accelerating.

    Then, in 2001, a supernovae 10 billion light years away – the farthest ever observed – once again disrupted expectations because it was determined to be too bright. This indicated that when that particular supernova exploded, the Universe was still slowing down..

    “Long ago, when the light left this distant supernova, the Universe appears to have been slowing down due to the mutual tug of all the mass in the Universe,” said Riess in 2001. “Billions of years later, when the light left more recent supernovae, the Universe had begun accelerating, stretching the expanse between galaxies and making objects in them appear dimmer.”

    What? How could that even work?

    Newtonian physics requires that in order for a mass to increase in velocity, force has to be added to it according to the equation F=ma. Force equals mass times acceleration. What could have happened that would have suddenly forced the Universe to expand more quickly? (Or make it appear as though it were expanding faster?)

    Right now, the culprit is called “dark energy.” It’s not a super villain, a cosmological nemesis of the superhero Quasar Man. No. It’s just energy nobody can see. Or prove directly. Astrophysicists have no clue what dark energy might be or what causes it, but its most important characteristic is its negative pressure evenly distributed in space. Dark energy supposedly accounts for 73 percent of the total energy density of the entire Universe. “Dark matter” accounts for another 23 percent, and boring matter made of regular old atoms we can detect makes up just 4 percent of the energy density.

    Of course, dark energy and dark matter are hypothetical. They are used to try to explain the data astronomers have been collecting, but nobody has any good answers. Saul Perlmutter writes, “The dark energy evinced by the accelerating cosmic expansion grants us almost no clues to its identity. Its tiny density and its feeble interactions presumably preclude identification in the laboratory. By construction, of course, it does affect the expansion rate of the Universe, and different dark-energy models imply different expansion rates in different epochs. So we must hunt for the fingerprints of dark energy in the fine details of the history of cosmic expansion.”

    Perlmutter states we cannot detect dark energy on Earth, presumably because of its “feeble” interactions, and yet it has the power to force galaxies to move at increasing rates through the cosmos?

    It may be that astrophysicists need to revamp their models. Perhaps they’ve missed something. Something important.

    The idea that the Universe is expanding it largely based on the red shift—the fact that light from deep in space shifts to the red. The same way that a motorcycle sounds deeper as it zooms away from us, the red waves—the longest waves of light—that reach us from supernovae cause most astronomers to assume that the sources of light are moving away from us. However, William Tifft in 1976 determined that the red shift was quantized, not continuous. If it were caused by stars moving away at high speeds, it should be continuous, not bundled in little packages. In the 1980s, Guthrie and Napier at the Edinburgh Observatory spent ten years challenging this view, and confirmed that Tifft was correct. There is also the potential that the speed of light has been slowing down, which we have touched on in previous articles [see the links below].

    At the same time, the term “stretching the heavens” appears at least 17 times in the Scriptures. According to the Scriptures, the heavens can be “torn” (Isa 64:1); “worn out” like a garment (Ps 102:25) “shaken” (Heb 12:26; Hag 2:6; Isa 13:13); “burnt up” (2 Pet 3:12); “split apart” like a scroll (Rev 6:14); “rolled up” like a mantle (Heb 1:12); or a scroll (Isa 34:4) “Rolled up?”

    How can all the data best be reconciled? The astronomers and physicists and child prodigies are still working on it. In the meanwhile, we congratulate the Nobel Prize in Physics winners and their dedicated hard work in trying to hammer out the mysteries of the Universe.

    Related Links:

    Groping in the Deep Dark

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    From KHouse.Org

    It has been observed that science is no longer Science. This rather shocking statement seems very radical and inflammatory, but while it may be inflammatory, it isn’t radical.

    Over the last several decades, science has taken a grand “turn”. In the early years of science, there was an understanding that one had to be a rigorous slave to the systematic requirements of discovery. To “know” anything it had to be measured and tested, and then retested.

    Conclusions could only be drawn from what was ascertained, not only from testing but from the duplication of the results by independent sources. This would inhibit emotional and political biases from “sneaking” into the pool of what was understood as Truth at the time. Even then it was understood that one piece of new data could “turn over” their perspective in any given area, or possibly their entire world view.

    As measuring devises became more and more precise, more and more was discovered to be either outright wrong, or at least suspect. There was a certain humility built into the system. Somewhere in time, science changed from being an area of discovering to a religion dedicated to proving its dogma. Whether this was a result of cross-contamination from the involvement of the church, or a reaction to the realization that the universe (and consequently the data in it) was much more vast than anticipated, science drifted away from “theorizing-and-then-proving” to “proving-the-theory”.

    This may seem like a minor point, but it is one which can violate the very definition of science itself. SCIENCE requires conclusions to be drawn from hard (provable, see it to believe it) data. Now theories can be treated as if they are Laws. Then the task is to disprove the theory. No longer is hard data required—only consensus of the majority, the most influential, most political or wealthiest.

    This is present in our everyday discussions. Do we ever discuss the “Law of Evolution”? Even its proponents still refer to it as “the Theory of Evolution” while they militantly assure you that it is absolutely the foundational Truth. Any data that threatens any of its dogmas is attacked with accusations of biased, uneducated “opinions”. This is the true dominant religion of our time.

    Science is a system, and as with all systems, the systems can be in error without the parts, for the most part, having some devious agenda. Most scientists are well-meaning, hard-working, dedicated technicians. But, much like the persecutions that took place when rigorous science first started drawing conclusions that threatened the prevailing dogma, those trying to adhere to a conservative definition of science are being vilified, isolated and condemned within their disciplines.

    96% of the Universe

    There has been a problem for some time with the mathematics of the universe. For all to work within the current “theories” of a gravitational Universe there is a factor that is off by 96%. All of the visible matter in the Universe amounts to approximately 4% of what the math tells us should be there. With such a large discrepancy, there are two possible obvious explanations: 1) the missing 96% is there but can’t be seen, or 2) the underlying presuppositions of the math are wrong. Of course, we are told that the most likely explanation is that this 96% consists of “dark matter” (you can’t see it or measure it). And so, in a worldwide effort involving billions of dollars (and Euros, Yen, etc.) there has been a frantic attempt to find this unseen mass. After all the time and money spent, there really hasn’t been much in the way of hard data proof revealed. With the pressures of failure looming, they are now looking for secondary “effects” or by-product particles.

    About a year and a half ago, an “antimatter” (positron) detector in space started its search. Just this week the first results were released with excitement and hesitation. The excitement was that positrons were actually detected. The disappointment was that there is no fundamental understanding of the various sources of positrons.

    It is “theorized” that when dark matter particles collide, one of the resultant effects is the release of positrons. The difficulty is that Pulsars, a rotating super-dense star, emits positrons also. Our understanding of this release by pulsars is not fully understood.

    The only conclusion to be drawn so far is that there are positrons in space (which we already knew). The space-based detector has proved more sensitive than their terrestrial counterparts. But with no ground zero calculation on the “normal” background resulting from other sources, there is no hope of drawing any concrete conclusion on the existence of dark matter.

    Since we know that Pulsars emit positrons, it is more likely that they are the sources of the positrons recently detected. Since there is no evidence for dark matter, there must be another explanation in which the mathematics actually works.

    Of course there are other “theories” that could explain this mathematical discrepancy, but that would involve giving up some of our most engrained accepted “theories,” such as a gravitational-dependent universe, black holes (which have never really been seen, you know), fusion cycle in the stars, etc.

    As with all “revolutions” in science, it takes at least 50 years to discard one paradigm for a new one. There is always great social upheaval involved. Scientific edifices fall and others are raised up. As we build one “theory” on top of another, we are crawling further out on the limb. Be discerning about what you believe is true.

    Related Links:

  • The Dark Side of Matter – Euronews