Violence in the Cosmos
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Slide 24 of 49


This is an image of two galaxies in the process of colliding. As can be seen, stars are being hurled in different directions and the normally ordered revolutions of the galaxies have been disrupted. Fortunately for us, we live in a relatively sparsely populated area of the universe, with the nearest galaxy to us 2 million light years distant. The relative calm and stability of the Earth, the Solar System, the Milky Way galaxy are deceptive in a universe characterized as the outcome of a huge explosion. The unusual stability of the Solar System has been noted in secular circles:

"Modern astronomers are learning more about the motions they observe and uncovering some astonishing examples of chaotic behavior in the heavens. Nonetheless, the long term stability of the solar system remains a perplexing, unsolved issue." (Ivars Peterson. 1993. Newton's Clock: Chaos in the Solar System)

New observations reveal that supermassive black holes present in many galaxies known as active galaxies or blazars. These blazars produce relativistic jets, which produce terra-electron volt (TeV) gamma rays. These gamma rays are much more energetic than anything that can be produced on the earth, even in the largest supercolliders. The emission of these TeV on a regular interval would virtually guarantee that any living things in these galaxies would be killed.

A recent study (October, 1998) reveals some remarkable evidence of design in our solar system. With the continuing growth in the capabilities and sophistication of computer systems, scientists are gaining the ability to model the dynamics of the Solar System and ask "what if" questions regarding the presence and size of planets. The presence of Jupiter is required to allow advanced life to exist on the Earth (see slide 22). However, Jupiter's large mass (along with the other gas giants) has a profound destabilizing effect upon the inner planets. In the absence of the Earth-moon system, the orbital period of Jupiter sets up what is called resonance over the period of 8 million years. This resonance causes the orbits of Venus and Mercury to become highly eccentric, so much so, that eventually the orbits become close enough so that there would be a "strong Mercury-Venus encounter." Such an encounter would certainly lead to the ejection of Mercury from the Solar System, and an alteration of the orbit of Venus. In doing the simulations, the scientists learned that the stabilizing effect of the Earth-moon requires a planet with at least the mass of Mars and within 10% of the distance of the Earth from the Sun. The authors of the study used the term "design" twice in the conclusion of their study:

"Our basic finding is nevertheless an indication of the need for some sort of rudimentary "design" in the solar system to ensure long-term stability. One possible aspect of such "design" is that long-term stability may require that terrestrial orbits require a degree of irregularity to "stir" certain resonances enough so that such resonances cannot persist. (Innanen, Kimmo, S. Mikkola, and P. Wiegert. 1998. The earth-moon system and the dynamical stability of the inner solar system. The Astronomical Journal 116: 2055-2057.)

The unique arrangement of large and small planetary bodies in the solar system may be required to ensure the 4+ billion year stability of the system. Given this new information, it seems likely that few, if any, stable planetary systems, in which a small earth-like planet resides in the habitable zone, exist in any other galaxy in our universe. This does not even consider the other design parameters that are required for life to exist anywhere in the universe.

The stability of our galaxy will not continue indefinitely. In fact, the Andromeda galaxy is closing on our galaxy at 500,000 kilometers per hour. This pace will accelerate until the two galaxies collide in 3 billion years. According to astrophysicist Chris Mihos of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. "It will be a major car wreck, and we're the Yugo in this one." (Irion, R. 2000. A Crushing End for Our Galaxy. Science 287: 62-64.)

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Last updated March 31, 2008

 

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