Reasons to Believe

Dwarf Galaxy Test of Big Bang Cosmology

Exotic dark matter haloes are not missing

The big bang creation event— as taught by the Bible for centuries1— now stands well established by astronomers’ observations of the universe.2This observational evidence shows that the universe is predominantly comprised of dark energy (energy embedded in the space surface of the universe that causes the cosmic surface to expand faster and faster as the universe ages) and cold exotic dark matter (slow moving particles that weakly interact with photons). However, this model— known as the dark energy dominated cold exotic dark matter (ΛCDM) model— predicts that thousands of cold exotic dark matter haloes should accompany galaxies as large as the Milky Way and Andromeda. The gravitational pull of these haloes ought to attract enough ordinary matter (protons, neutrons, and electrons) to produce populations of stars, or dwarf galaxies, that astronomers should be able to detect through their largest telescopes.

Astronomers do see lots of dwarf galaxies, but not nearly enough to satisfy the ΛCDM model’s predictions. According to the model, astronomers should detect over ten times more exotic dark matter haloes than the number of dwarf galaxies they have actually found. This shortfall is known as the missing galaxies problem.

Several new discoveries now provide a resolution to the issue. They demonstrate that the exotic dark matter haloes are not missing. Rather, only a small percentage of them produce enough stars for the combined light of these stars to reach the light detection capabilities of the most powerful telescopes.

Two astronomers at the University of Zurich noted that seven of the eleven brightest dwarf galaxies associated with the Milky Way Galaxy (MWG) are not only situated in the proximity of the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (the two largest dwarf galaxies in the vicinity of the MWG) but also lie along the plane of the orbit of the Large Magellanic Cloud.3 They surmised that these galaxies are all part of the tidal breakup of the Magellanic Group.

The University of Zurich astronomers then produced calculations demonstrating that the tidal breakup of the galaxies ignited star formation in each of them. Such ignition lit up the galaxies brilliantly enough that they exceeded the light detection limits of the largest telescopes. The two astronomers concluded their research paper with the proposal that most dwarf galaxies exist in tight associations with other dwarf galaxies. Unless such associations are broken up by a close encounter with a large enough galaxy such as the Milky Way, the smaller dwarf galaxies will remain much too dim to be detected by even the largest telescopes. If indeed the vast majority of exotic dark matter haloes produce too few stars for haloes to be observed, then the missing dwarf galaxy problem has been solved.

In the same issue of the Astrophysical Journal Letters, a team of ten astronomers announced the discovery of a new dwarf galaxy, Leo V.4 Leo V is an exceptionally dim galaxy that the team identified in the data of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (follow-up analysis was conducted using the Isaac Newton and Multiple Mirror Telescopes). Their analysis established that Leo V quite likely is in the same tidal stream as another small dwarf galaxy, Leo IV. Consequently, the conclusions of the University of Zurich astronomers find confirmation in the discovery and subsequent analysis of Leo V.

Given what astronomers now know about detected dwarf galaxies, there is no reason to presume that a missing galaxy problem plagues the ΛCDM big bang creation model. The issue appears simply to be the result of a gross underestimation of the ratio of cold exotic dark matter to ordinary matter in the smaller dwarf galaxies and a faulty assumption that such dwarf galaxies would, under ordinary conditions, produce a large number of stars. Consequently, the cosmic creation model that is most consistent with the Bible’s predictions remains even more securely established.

Subjects: Big Bang, Origin of the Universe, TCM - Cosmic Design, TCM - Origin of the Universe, Universe Design

Dr. Hugh Ross

Reasons to Believe emerged from my passion to research, develop, and proclaim the most powerful new reasons to believe in Christ as Creator, Lord, and Savior and to use those new reasons to reach people for Christ. Read more about Dr. Hugh Ross.

References:

  1. Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos, 3rd ed. (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2001), 23-29.
  2. Ibid., 31-67, 99-199; Hugh Ross, Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008), 27-106, 209-14.
  3. Elena D’Onghia and George Lake, “Small Dwarf Galaxies within Larger Dwarfs: Why Some Are Luminous While Most Go Dark,” Astrophysical Journal Letters 686 (October 20, 2008): L61-L65.
  4. V. Belokurov et al., “Leo V: A Companion of a Companion of the Milky Way Galaxy?” Astrophysical Journal Letters 686 (October 20, 2008): L83-L86.