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Jupiter Martin

Horizon Tonight even more confused

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Just watched Horizon BBC2 9pm and just realised how little we really know about the begin present and future of our universe.

So many unexplained stuff such as Dark Matter, Dark Energy, Dark flow the latter I have never heard of.

The programme was interesting but has helped in confusing me even more.

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I'm with you there, I find myself plummeting into a black hole of confusion as programmes like that unfold and it just goes to show that we really know nowt. I try not to concern myself with how the universe got there and why, I just like to look it.

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I think I was left slightly more confused about "inflation" if anything? LOL. Now that I am more used to the format, I derive a certain wry amusement from exploding... "wizened balloons", theoretical physicists working from disused warehouses (with only one chair!) - Even a "grumpy woman", who apparently disliked all these theories? [mostly teasing] :headbang:

Edited by Macavity

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Yes the warehouses made me chuckle, very Brainiacs, I was waiting for the hamster to appear at any given moment.

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I like these programmes, but sometimes they make huge unexplained leaps to jump to a conclusion, then I can't understand how that conclusion was come to.

eg. they were talking about the stars on the outside of a galaxy travel at the same speed as the one's inside the galaxy, whereby they should travel faster otherwise the outer edges would stretch apart. They then made the huge leap to conclude that there must be more gravity than expected. I didn't understand how more gravity would stop the outer edges from stretching out. Of course it would help hold everything together, but then the outer edges would be travelling fast than the centre in order for it to stay together as the distance on the outer circumference is greater than the inner circumference.

Does this make sense or am I really confused?

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Sgazer your making sense not to sure if the programme made sense. When they came up with something they could not explain they seem to just call it dark something and then say so thats that our equation works now. I think the programme jumped from one unexplained theory to the next without explanation.

There are just too many unknowns in the creation of the universe for us or anyone to answer

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that's right, it was due to dark matter!

Also, how do they know how to detect dark matter, when they don't know what it is? And why, with the dark matter detector they've already built, has it not detected dark matter, despite it being apparantly bombarded with the stuff for 5 years? Just an excuse for someone to go and sit in a half mile deep hole if you ask me! :headbang:

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I'm with you there, I find myself plummeting into a black hole of confusion as programmes like that unfold and it just goes to show that we really know nowt. I try not to concern myself with how the universe got there and why, I just like to look it.

We know nowt. We know a lot. These two statements both are true, and this isn't paradoxixal.

Guess thats the best way to look at it John who cares how it got there lets just enjoy the view and the ride

I certainly enjoy the view, but I also care about how it got there!

Unfortunately, this Horizon programme is not yet available to me. Dark flow is still at the cutting edge of research, and thus is still very controversial; see

SPACE.com -- Mysterious New 'Dark Flow' Discovered in Space

Dark flow - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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i might be wrong, but by what i'm gathering is there was certain flaws in the main theory of the big bang due to einsteins gravity theory, which using that theory, the universe expanding should be slowing down, so there must be another reason why the universe is continuing to expand, and to make the big bang theory work mathematically they have to implement new theory's in why the expansion of the universe is expanding, which is why we have dark matter, dark energy. we don't know nothing about it, but it must exist for the theory to work.

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If dark matter exists and it is invisable and can pass through solid matter such as planets and us how can we ever produce something to detect it? What ever we produce will be made of matter and the dark matter we pass through undetected.

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Remember, this programme is not a scientific paper or presentation - it doesn't undergo peer review nor have to meet publisher's standards! As a presentation to excite interest in a - well - very difficult topic, I think it did fine!

Maybe the multitude of equations being scribbled on a whiteboard, under the voice-over, were a little distracting: they could have been cut a bit? Moreover it seemed to me (I'm no GR buff) that (a) the same equations were being written over and over again, and (:p they looked like they might be a fairly standard set of calculations in GR, and for all I know nothing to do with the subject of the programme. Any physicists able to correct me here?

As for the 'balloon' stuff, yes, that too, overdone a bit.

But if I were asked how I might make such a programme, I'd just start gibbering...:headbang:

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I watched this program and to be fair I think it was way too big a subject to be covered in one hour. Mind you, every time I read anything to do with cosmology I end up thinking that basically we just don't know!

The closest I got was watching Carl Sagan's cosmos and it sort of started to make sense but then I got a headache and had to lie down

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Having recorded the programme, I watched it this afternoon and have to say that it stretched the imagination as to how the programme makers justified making it an hour-long High Definition presentation. Apart from multiple replays of the red balloon inflating and the slo-mo explosion there wasn't a great deal of detail to feast ones eyes on. The crew director must have had a real brainwave to get one of the hapless contributors to draw a graph on a whitewashed concrete block wall a la Banksy. Anyway, my take on 'Dark Stuff' is as follows:- We are much like fish, swimming in the vast ocean of our reality but can't see or taste the salt that's dissolved in the galactic waters.

Wooo, possible Nobel Prize for that little gem, eh?

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"We are much like fish, swimming in the vast ocean of our reality but can't see or taste the salt that's dissolved in the galactic waters."

Now that makes sense!

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One thing I have (shamefacedly) never really understood: At what level does the "expansion of the universe" occur? I assume that atoms, even non-point like subatomic particles, retain their "local" size? Indeed average separation of their constituents might remain constant. Or maybe the effect of "universal expansion" therein would be too small to be of measurable consequence? :headbang:

I can certainly imagine, as the "vacuum"... on which all of these particles presumably "surf", expands, additional "dark stuff" might be needed to the "gaps" as the whole thing stretches/tears? :p

Edited by Macavity

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Thank you RustySprings, I was beginning to think I was the only one who understood the nature of "Dark Stuff" ..... ho ho!

Edited by budski

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Macavity - regarding the expansion of the universe and what's expanding; there seems to be mixed opionion on the subject (according to a recent talk I saw given by the Scottish Astronomer Royal) so I don't think you're alone in the confusion.

Horizon in the past 10 years seems to be getting more and more the triumph of silly graphics and fancy hand held camera techniques over acutal content. I have given up watching it.

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Maybe the multitude of equations being scribbled on a whiteboard, under the voice-over, were a little distracting: they could have been cut a bit? Moreover it seemed to me (I'm no GR buff) that (a) the same equations were being written over and over again, and[

There were at least five different equations written, and at least two of these were shown a number of times

(:headbang: they looked like they might be a fairly standard set of calculations in GR, and for all I know nothing to do with the subject of the programme. Any physicists able to correct me here?

I recognize three equations from standard general relativity and cosmology. Two more equations involve stuff that looks to be drawn from standard GR, but I have been unable to pin these equation down, so I'm not sure.

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Like John, Iam just going to stare at it all, and continue to be amazed by it. I doubt if in my lifetime someone will come along and say "Right, I have really got it all sorted now". Enjoy.

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I started life as a technocrat really, convinced that in my lifetime we'd get to the bottom of some of the answers. As time has gone by I have realised we probably dont even know what the questions are.

It always worry me when theories dont hold together and someone says 'ah well if we add in an x factor it all works out'

It fits a pet theory of mine though about science.

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Macavity - regarding the expansion of the universe and what's expanding; there seems to be mixed opionion on the subject (according to a recent talk I saw given by the Scottish Astronomer Royal) so I don't think you're alone in the confusion.
Thanks for that. :headbang:

I was even moved to pick up my "Roger Penrose" this afternoon. At my best I can get the general gist? The problem(s) come when I am asked to follow his OWN take on things. Indeed, choice between competing theories seems one for the REAL experts. :p

I see RP did notice the "rogue" (first!) point that almost "escapes" detection in:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:PowerSpectrumExt.svg

It would seem that the microwave background variation, differs most markedly from the theory, in the lowest order (quadrapole) component. Isn't that the most significant? ;)

Edited by Macavity

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I started life as a technocrat really, convinced that in my lifetime we'd get to the bottom of some of the answers. As time has gone by I have realised we probably dont even know what the questions are.

It always worry me when theories dont hold together and someone says 'ah well if we add in an x factor it all works out'

It fits a pet theory of mine though about science.

and that is the circle of creation after 20 pints

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Just watched it and thought it was typical Horizon! Lots of fancy camera work, about 55 minutes setting the scene and 5 minutes about the "new thing" that left you none-the-wiser! As I understood it, "Dark Flow" was supposed to be caused by pre-inflation matter, stuff that is too far back for us to see, but very much in our universe? They seemed to be suggesting it was coming from another universe??!!

From a personal point of view, I don't like inflation, dark matter or dark energy. They just feel like fudges, bolt-ons to plug the gaps between maths and observation. I don't really understand all the physics but a common theme, and perhaps better explanation, is our incomplete understanding of gravity.

Edited by Dangerous-Dave

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