Reasons to Believe

Locating the Ordinary Dark Matter

In the book of Job, God poses the questions, “Where does darkness reside?...Do you know the paths to their dwellings?”1

For centuries, science students were taught that darkness was not some kind of stuff but rather simply the absence of light. Thanks to recent astronomical discoveries, we now know that the oldest book of the Bible is correct in stating that darkness is a real substance residing in specific locations in the universe. These same recent discoveries also strengthen the establishment of the biblically predicted big bang creation model.2

Much to the chagrin of the opposition, astronomers’ observations of the universe3 continue to provide ample support for a cosmic creation event such as what the Bible has taught for millennia.4 This 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 cosmic model predicts that thousands of cold exotic dark matter haloes should accompany large galaxies. 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 prediction arising from the dark energy-dominated cold exotic dark matter (ΛCDM) model. The model predicts more than ten times as many exotic dark matter haloes than the number of dwarf galaxies astronomers have actually detected. This shortfall is known as the missing galaxies problem.

Now a team of American and South African astronomers, led by Stacy McGaugh of the University of Maryland, has conducted a detailed inventory of the universe’s ordinary matter.5 Their inventory simultaneously solves the missing galaxies problem and provides stronger evidence for the biblically predicted big bang creation model.

First, McGaugh’s team referred to the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) research team’s determination that the early universe was an extremely uniform and homogeneous mixture of exotic and ordinary dark matter.6 The WMAP team also established that the ratio of matter in the universe, then and now, was and is 83 percent exotic matter and 17 percent ordinary matter.

Second, McGaugh’s team examined the full range of cosmic structure sizes to determine in each size range the percentage of ordinary matter that is fully detected, either in the form of stars or as gaseous nebulae. They found that for the largest galaxies in the richest clusters of galaxies almost all of the ordinary matter has been converted into stars. On the other hand, for the smallest dwarf galaxies less than one percent of the ordinary matter known to be located there exists in the form of stars and gaseous nebulae.

That so very little of the ordinary matter in small dwarf galaxies is present in the form of stars and gaseous nebulae explains the missing galaxies problem. The galaxies are not missing. They simply emit far too little light for present generation telescopes to detect them. Consequently, the ΛCDM hot big bang creation model is consistent with the entirety of the astronomical database. The inventory produced by McGaugh’s team is yet one more example demonstrating that the more astronomers learn about the universe, the more evidence they uncover in support of the biblical cosmic creation model, even if unintentionally. New observations continually and consistently provide increasingly stronger proofs for a big bang creation event and the big bang Creator.

Subjects: Big Bang, 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. Job 38:19–20.
  2. Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos, 3rd ed. (Colorado Springs, NavPress, 2001), 23–29.
  3. Ibid.: 31–67, 99–199; Hugh Ross, Why the Universe Is the Way It Is (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008), 27–106, 209–14
  4. Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos, 3rd ed. (Colorado Springs, NavPress, 2001), 23–29.
  5. Stacy S. McGaugh et al., “The Baryon Content of Cosmic Structures,” Astrophysical Journal Letters 708 (January 1, 2010): L14–L17.
  6. Eichiro Komatsu et al., “Five-Year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe Observations: Cosmological Interpretation,” Astrophysical Journal Supplement 180 (February 2009): 330–76.