Questioning Astrophysics and Revealing Connections
between Stellar Ignition, Luminous Galactic Structures, Dark Matter,
Galactic Jets, and the Origin of Heavy Elements
J. Marvin Herndondon
Ours is a
time of unparalleled richness in astronomical observations, but understanding
seems to be absent throughout broad areas of astrophysics. Among some groups of
astrophysicists there appears to be measured degrees of consensus, as indicated
by the prevalence of so-called “standard models”, but in science consensus is
nonsense; science is a logical process, not a democratic process, and logical
connections in many instances seem to be lacking. So the question
astrophysicists should ask is this: “What’s wrong with astrophysics?” Finding
out what’s wrong is not only the necessary precursor to righting what’s wrong,
but will open the way to new advances in astrophysics. Toward that end, one may
question the basic assumptions upon which astrophysics is founded, as well as
question the approaches astrophysicists currently employ. Here I describe one
methodology and provide specific examples, the details of which are set forth
elsewhere [1-3]. In doing so, I place into a logical sequence seemingly
unrelated astronomical observations, including certain Hubble Space Telescope
images, so that causal relationships become evident and understanding becomes
possible; as a consequence, profound new implications follow, for example
bearing on the origin of diverse galactic structures and the origin of the heavy
purpose of science is to determine the true nature of the Universe and its
components, which may be entirely different from making models that do not have
to be true. In the past, the varied morphologies observed among galaxies have
been explained on the basis astrophysical models which are based upon
assumptions. Beneath the assumptions explicitly set forth for the particular
models, there are underlying implicit assumptions, which some may not even
recognize as assumptions. One of the most fundamental implicit assumptions
underlying much of astrophysics pertains to the ignition of stars, specifically
the assumption that stellar thermonuclear fusion reactions ignite automatically
as a consequence of the heat generated by the gravitational collapse of dust and
gas during star formation. I question the validity of that assumption.
mid-1938, the thermonuclear reactions thought to power stars were reasonably
well understood . Those reactions are called “thermonuclear” because
temperatures on the order of a million degrees Celsius are required for
ignition. At the time it was assumed that million-degree temperatures would be
attained as a consequence of the gravitational collapse of dust and gas during
star formation; in mid-1938, no other energy source for that purpose was known.
That concept of stellar ignition has persisted to the present although clearly
there were indications of a problem. In 1965, Hayashi and Nakano from their
calculations realized that thermonuclear ignition temperatures of a million
degrees Celsius would not be attained during stellar formation . The reason
for the difficulty of attaining million-degree temperatures is that heating
produced by the in-fall of dust and gas is off-set by radiation from the
surface, which is a function of the fourth power of temperature. Rather than
questioning the underlying astrophysical assumptions, for more than four decades
astrophysicists just tweaked their modeling parameters, such as opacity and
formation rate or added additional ad hoc hypotheses, such as a
shock-wave induced sudden flare-up [6, 7].
over-riding reason for questioning science in general and astrophysics in
particular is that the circumstances and knowledge at the time certain concepts
were formulated may have changed with subsequent discoveries. In the case of
stellar ignition, in December 1938 nuclear fission was discovered. Then, nuclear
fission chain reactions were discovered, and proven capable of powering atomic
bombs (A-bombs) and proven capable of igniting hydrogen bombs (H-bombs),
thermonuclear fusion bombs. Every thermonuclear fusion H-bomb is ignited by its
own nuclear fission A-bomb, and every H-bomb detonation is an experimental
verification that nuclear fission chain reactions can ignite thermonuclear
fusion reactions (picture at left). In a paper published in 1994 in the Proceedings
of the Royal Society of London, I suggested that stars, like H-bombs, are
ignited by nuclear fission chain reactions .
a profound and fundamental difference between stellar thermonuclear ignition by
nuclear fission, as I have suggested, and the previous idea which had its
beginnings before nuclear fission was discovered. With the pre-1938 idea, which
continues to the present, the implicit assumption is that stars automatically
ignite as a consequence of the heat produced through the in-fall of dust and gas
during formation. My 1994 concept of stellar thermonuclear ignition by nuclear
fission, on the other hand, leads to the possibility of stellar non-ignition, to
dark stars, which will remain dark stars unless and until seeded with
century ago, Burbidge, Burbidge, Fowler and Hoyle set forth the basis for
thinking that the chemical elements are synthesized in stars, with the heavy
elements being formed by rapid neutron capture in the supernova phase at the end
of a star’s life . I do not question the possibility of heavy element
formation in supernovae, but I question B2FH’s lack of generality.
The conditions and circumstances at galactic centers appear to harbor the
necessary pressures for producing highly dense nuclear matter and the means to
jet that nuclear matter out into the galaxy (Hubble photo at right) where it seeds dark stars
that it encounters with fissionable elements, turning dark stars into luminous
a more-or-less spherical, gravitationally bound assemblage of dark (Population
III) stars, a not-yet-ignited dark galaxy. Now, consider the galactic nucleus as
it becomes massive and shoots its first jet of nuclear matter into the galaxy of
dark stars, igniting those stars which it contacts. How might such a galaxy at
that point appear? I suggest it would appear quite similar to NGC4676 (Figure 3)
or to NGC10214 (Figure 4).
are often found in disc galaxies
. Both bars (left) and the arms of spiral galaxies, such as M101 (right),
possess morphologies which, I suggest, occur as a consequence of galactic
jetting of fissionable elements into the galaxy of dark stars, seeding the dark
stars encountered with fissionable elements, thus making possible ignition of
thermonuclear fusion reactions.
of the dark matter necessary for dynamical stability? It is just where it must
be to impart rotational stability to the luminous structure .
scientific thinking is underlain by mistaken understanding, further progress is
not possible, like trying to navigate the streets of London with a Chicago city
map. Really good scientists will understand the importance of questioning
astrophysics and will appreciate finding mistakes because righting underlying
mistakes will inevitably open the door for new advances and discoveries. But
some will try to bury or to suppress the idea of questioning astrophysics; these
are the science-barbarians whose ignorance, arrogance and lack of scruples cheat
the astrophysics community and the taxpayers who support astrophysics. Between
the two extremes are a great many well meaning astrophysicists who may not yet
have learned how to make advances and discoveries instead of making models. For
those, questioning astrophysics may be like taking the first step through a
portal into a different realm of science where fundamental discoveries await.
For those individuals, I have described a methodology and a variety of
techniques that can be employed to aid in making discoveries . For pdf of
this paper, (click here)
Herndon, J. M., Thermonuclear nuclear ignition of dark
galaxies. arXiv:astro-ph/0604307, 2006
(click here for pdf)
Rubin, V. C., The rotation of spiral
galaxies. Science, 1983, 220, 1339-1344.
Herndon, J. M., New concept for internal heat
production in hot Jupiter exo-planets, thermonuclear ignition of dark
galaxies, and the basis for galactic luminous star distributions.
Current Science, 2009, 96, 1453-1456.
(click here for pdf)
Bethe, H. A., Energy production in stars.
Review, 1939, 55(5), 434-456.
Hayashi, C. and Nakano,
T, Thermal and dynamic properties of a protostar and its contraction to
the stage of quasi-static equilibrium.Progress in Theoretical
Physics, 1965, 35, 754-775.
Larson, R. B., Gravitational torques and star formation.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 1984, 206,
Stahler, S. W., The early evolution of protostellar disks.
Astrophysical Journal, 1994, 431, 341-358.
Herndon, J. M., Planetary
and protostellar nuclear fission: Implications for planetary change,
stellar ignition and dark matter. Proceedings of the Royal Society
of London, 1994, A455, 453-461. (click
here for pdf)
Burbidge, E. M., et al.,
Synthesis of the elements in stars. Reviews of Modern Physics, 1957,
Gadotti, D. A., Barred
galaxies: an observer's prospective. arXiv:0802.0495, 2008.