Reasons to Believe

Star Formation in Dwarf Galaxies As a Test of Big Bang Cosmology

The universe is predominantly comprised of dark energy

Astronomers’ observations1 of the universe continue to support big bang cosmology–which the Bible has taught for centuries.2 The evidence shows, among other things, 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). This particular cosmic creation model is known as the dark energy dominated cold dark exotic matter (ΛCDM) model. A team of astronomers from four American universities has developed another tool for testing it.

The ΛCDM model predicts a specified star formation history for dwarf galaxies. Testing for this history requires an enormous amount of information about the properties of thousands of stars in each of many dwarf galaxies. Thanks to twenty years of Hubble Space Telescope observations, such a database has now been accumulated.

Using Hubble Space Telescope observations of the colors and brightness of stars in Local Group dwarf galaxies, the American team calculated the ages of the stars, and, hence, their formation times.3 The researchers demonstrated that the ΛCDM model correctly predicts for the dwarf galaxies in the Local Group “the fractions of stars formed in the last 5 and 10 billion years.”4

They did uncover a few minor discrepancies between the model and the observations. The most significant being that observations revealed more stars forming within the past 2 billion years than the model predicts. However, one or more adjustments to the model easily resolve this issue. The first such adjustment would be to take into account recent tidal disruptions of associations between Local Group dwarf galaxies.5 The second would be to employ a more detailed model for star formation than the simple “Schmidt law” used by the team. They, therefore, concluded that “the observed star formation histories of Local Group dwarfs are generally consistent with the expected star formation cold dark matter haloes.”6 Consequently, the cosmic creation model most consistent with the Bible 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. Chris Orban et al., “Delving Deeper into the Tumultuous Lives of Galactic Dwarfs: Modeling Star Formation Histories,” Astrophysical Journal 686 (October 20, 2008): 1030-44.
  4. Orban et al., 1030.
  5. 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.
  6. Orban et al., 1030.