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Eureka: 5 myths of astrophysics we all like to believe
by Jay Gutman
2018-08-20 08:16:02
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5 myths of astrophysics we all like to believe

1. The big bang theory myth. 6 billion years ago there was a huge explosion in the universe and laid out the 100 billion galaxies and all the stars formed or some stars cooled down and became planets yada yada yada. The truth is we have so far only observed the limits of our galaxy, the Milky Way, and there are portions of our galaxy that we have not studied very well and can't observe very well, even with very sophisticated telescopes. We would need to gather evidence from other galaxies, the more remote the better, before you can come anywhere near a conclusion on the big bang. Maybe the universe keeps expanding, maybe it keeps shrinking. Maybe the big bang was two galaxies exploding and becoming one. I could go on and on speculating.

astr0012. The gravity myth. Most physicists do not want to admit that the mixture of hydrogen and helium is probably, or most likely, what causes the three laws of gravity. And most astrophysicists believe that other galaxies are composed of hydrogen and helium. The truth is we don't know.

3. The evolution myth. When people say evolution, a lot of times they mean astrophysical evolution as much as they mean genetic evolution, geographic evolution, geological evolution and other forms of evolution. I believe in genetic evolution, I believe in geographic and geological evolution, but astrophysical evolution would blow your mind away. The universe has parallel time frames, and no one knows exactly whether the time in the universe is cyclical or random. But it is certainly not chronological. Just to give you an example, if you ever move to Jupiter, you wouldn't see 2018; you would see stuff that happened on Earth in 1789. You wouldn't see me, but you would see the French fighting each other.

4. The atomic, sub-atomic, sub-sub-atomic particle myth. They say we have identified 16 sub-atomic particles and we will identify hundreds more. Each time someone identifies a sub-atomic particle, they get Nobel prizes. The truth is we could identify dozens more sub-atomic particles, and could break them down over and over to find new stuff. If we build something of a huge, huge microscope, we can break those atoms down into 10 to the nth power sub-sub-atomic particles.

5. The “we know everything about the universe” myth. We can't even see past our galaxy. That would be like living in New York City and saying “I know everything about humanity and human beings.” Just like the guy who travels from New York City to New Delhi discovers stuff that blows their mind away, if we could see past our galaxy we would probably find stuff that would blow our minds away. Astrophysicists have a tradition where they down 8 Martinis every time they discover something. In the world of astrophysics, Martini will not go out of business.

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