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The Dark Side of the Universe
by Jack Wellman
2009-08-03 09:14:50
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When other boys were reading comic books, and some (if they got lucky) a National Geographic, if done nonchalantly and without blushing cheeks. But as for me, I have never gotten over the ask-itis that I have had since a child. I would instead be found reading Encyclopedias! Then looking up those things in the Dictionary. No few times would you find me in a closet, after bed time, flashlight in hand…just reading.

Absorbing….sponging…pondering. But there was no mention of it in my old Encyclopedias (yes, honey they had color pictures then!…that came just after the dinosaurs). Yes, I still have some of my old ones…banished to the garage, but…yes, the Man Cave!
When I was doing the article for Ovi Magazine called Finite or Infinite Universe?, I was doing some research on Dark Matter. And why does this Matter, matter (sorry)? Well, there are more questions than answers. There are so many mysteries to it.
So I sat down to research Dark Matter…and have been researching Dark Matter and may continue to do so for awhile. This may end up as a two part series. But I want to know what it is… or what it isn't . No, I mean…Ohhhh, I give up! The definition of Dark Matter baffles me! But I don't feel so bad though, since scientists have no firm idea on what dark matter actually is either. They haven't even agreed on a single definition for the mysterious stuff, because they can only guess as to what it's made of. So your guess might be as good as theirs. You see the problem of writing an article about something that doesn’t even have a single definition to it yet! But I’ll try. Here’s what we know:
Dark matter is a source of gravity and reacts with regular matter on large scales, it has no measurable effect on small scales (for instance, within our solar system), there is no picture of it and there's no known way to detect it directly. But the effects are clearly seen.
Okay, the problem is it doesn’t affect those bodies within the solar system, that I can give you. But. Wait a minute. Since it must effect our solar system as a whole, by being part and parcel of the larger “whole” of the galaxy it resides in, which they believe that this Dark Matter does have an effect on. So, it might not throw your watch off time, but you know like those snow-globes? Shake them up and it snows? Well, let’s say you walk by the table where it’s sitting. The kinetic energy of the breeze of you walking my will not directly impact the inside of the globe. The breeze is invisible, undetectable…to the naked eye. But you see the evidence (dust on the table for example). This is only an analogy of, I believe, their description of it and its effects.
Dark Matter: What is it? Does it serve a purpose? Why be left “in the dark about Dark Matter?“ In December, 2008, new discoveries were ascertained about it. It’s now detailed in the online version of the journal Science. It challenges the notion that dark matter hangs out in halos around large galaxies. Instead, it has been found within the galaxies, which means it also affects solar systems, like ours [so…I was right!? I knew it! That‘s what I thought].
Is this the Dark Side of the universe? Luke Skywalker aside, there is a light side to this dark side of matter and energy. For example, Dark Matter acts as gravitational glue, holding millions or billions of stars together in galactic globs or disks. Without it, "our own galaxy should have fallen apart by now," said Frederic Bournaud, an astrophysicist with the French Atomic Energy Commission …So dark matter — this unseen force — is somewhere keeping it glued together." [1] Dark Energy is the same thing, except it is unseen and undetected energy that joins with the Dark Matter in acting as a cohesive force in galaxies. It is not Star Wars' “dark side” but the truth of it is stranger than fiction.
What the theory of inflation provides is a justification, like in this text. If I justify the text, it keeps it from getting the words too close together, and in theory, too far apart. Since most versions of inflation predict that the early universe was driven extremely close to being flat, and that even today, it is still relatively flat, it justifies it from being flat as a pancake.
If this is true, then at least 90% of the energy of the in the entire universe is Dark Energy! [2] I am not sure if these two should be grouped together: Dark Energy and Dark Matter. They are so broad as to be impossible to wrap one’s mind around even one alone. And now it is believed that there is exponentially more Dark Energy than we had previously believed, meaning that there must be exceedingly more Dark Matter than once thought. You might notice that although the universe may be close to flat, that does not mean that matter makes up the critical density. Within this Dark Matter there resides Dark Energy, a so called Cosmological Constant, that needs to be included in the accounting. [2]

Too late to make my old Encyclopedias…but not for those of today. Better yet, the links below give you more headaches…no, no, I mean might give you more questions than answers, but will answer some. I may attempt to dive into these to explain to me first, and then to readers, what Dark Matter is and is not, and what Dark Energy is and is not; perhaps in parts two or three on these. Is there a much deeper purpose behind mysteries….by what is not seen, but what by effects is known.

You know what this remind me of? Hebrews One: “Faith is the realization (or confidence) of what is hoped for and evidence (Greek, substance) of things not seen.”  Luke, who is believed to have written Hebrews, and he being an educated physician, might have realized that there is more to the eye than we see.
Note to self and readers; if you don’t hear from me for awhile…it could be that I have lost my own energy…no energy, no matter. Sometimes I am in the dark anyway, and have no energy, but by then (zzzzzzzzzz)… it doesn’t “matter” anyway. Still processing…..back to the Man Cave.

1. Frederic Bournaud, as quoted by Dave Mosher MSNBC, Thursday, May 10, 2007.

2. http://astro.berkeley.edu/~mwhite/darkmatter/dm.html

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