Cosmic Search Casts Doubts on Our Understanding of Galaxies and Black Holes

Cosmic Research Leads to New Ideas about Black Holes

A simulation of black holes merging.

After monitoring 24 pulsars with the Parkes Radio Telescope for 11 years, new research casts doubt on our understanding of galaxies and black holes.

For scientists gravitational waves exert a powerful appeal, as it is believed they carry information allowing us to look back into the very beginnings of the Universe. Although there is strong circumstantial evidence for their existence, they have not yet been directly detected.

The work, led by Dr Ryan Shannon (of CSIRO and the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research), is published in the journal Science.

Using Parkes, the scientists expected to detect a background ‘rumble’ of the waves, coming from the merging galaxies throughout the Universe, but they weren’t there.

The world-first research has caused scientists to think about the Universe in a different way.

“This is probably the most comprehensive, high precision science that’s ever been undertaken in this field of astronomy,” Dr Shannon said.

“By pushing ourselves to the limits required for this sort of cosmic search we’re moving into new frontiers in all areas of physics, forcing ourselves to understand how galaxies and black holes work.”


We’ve been looking for the gravitational waves theorized by Einstein for 11 years using our Parkes radio telescope. By training our sights on a distant pulsar we hoped to detect signs of gravitational waves, here’s what we found.

The fact that gravitational waves weren’t detected goes against all theoretical calculations and throws our current understanding of black holes into question.

Galaxies grow by merging and every large one is thought to have a supermassive black hole at its heart. When two galaxies unite, the black holes are drawn together and form an orbiting pair. At this point, Einstein’s theory is expected to take hold, with the pair predicted to succumb to a death spiral, sending ripples known as gravitational waves through space-time, the very fabric of the Universe.

Although Einstein’s general theory of relativity has withstood every test thrown at it by scientists, directly detecting gravitational waves remain the one missing piece of the puzzle.

To look for the waves, Dr Shannon’s team used the Parkes telescope to monitor a set of ‘millisecond pulsars’. These small stars produce highly regular trains of radio pulses and act like clocks in space. The scientists recorded the arrival times of the pulsar signals to an accuracy of ten billionths of a second.

A gravitational wave passing between Earth and a millisecond pulsar squeezes and stretches space, changing the distance between them by about 10 meters — a tiny fraction of the pulsar’s distance from Earth. This changes, very slightly, the time that the pulsar’s signals arrive on Earth.

The scientists studied their pulsars for 11 years, which should have been long enough to reveal gravitational waves.

So why haven’t they been found? There could be a few reasons, but the scientists suspect it’s because black holes merge very fast, spending little time spiraling together and generating gravitational waves.

“There could be gas surrounding the black holes that creates friction and carries away their energy, letting them come to the clinch quite quickly,” said team member Dr Paul Lasky, a postdoctoral research fellow at Monash University.

Whatever the explanation, it means that if astronomers want to detect gravitational waves by timing pulsars they’ll have to record them for many more years.

“There might also be an advantage in going to a higher frequency,” said Dr Lindley Lentati of the University of Cambridge, UK, a member of the research team who specializes in pulsar-timing techniques. Astronomers will also gain an advantage with the highly sensitive Square Kilometer Array telescope, set to start construction in 2018.

Not finding gravitational waves through pulsar timing has no implications for ground-based gravitational wave detectors such as Advanced LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory), which began its own observations of the Universe last week.

“Ground-based detectors are looking for higher-frequency gravitational waves generated by other sources, such as coalescing neutron stars,” said Dr Vikram Ravi, a member of the research team from Swinburne University (now at Caltech, in Pasadena, California).

Publication: R. M. Shannon, et al., “Gravitational waves from binary supermassive black holes missing in pulsar observations,” Science 25 September 2015: Vol. 349 no. 6255 pp. 1522-1525; DOI: 10.1126/science.aab1910

PDF Copy of the Study: Gravitational waves from binary supermassive black holes missing in pulsar observations

Source: CSIRO

16 Comments on "Cosmic Search Casts Doubts on Our Understanding of Galaxies and Black Holes"

  1. Gravity and time may be the same phenomenon and they don’t necessarily propagate as a wave. They constitute the “aether” which pervades the singularity.

    It’s our lack of understanding of continuously unfolding time and the dissipation of gravity (and mass) within the universe which is the problem, BHs and galaxies still behave as modelled.

  2. All waves undergo some attenuation as they pass through a medium.
    There is also the inverse square law.

    • “Inverse Square Law” applies to light as well.

      If we can “see” the pulsar then we would also be able to detected it in any other way we have to measure it.

  3. Because it’s the mathematical logic of the mirror, “Esoptrics” (from a Greek word for mirror) is the name I give to the cosmological theory I’ve been honing since 1957. Based on doubling/mirroring (every mirror’s fundamental behavior) and 3 kinds of progression inferred thereby, it’s the key to history’s only ALGEBRAIC (and thus purely abstract vs. Geometry’s & sense imagery’s pictorial) model of the Universe. It claims to be the only theory to describe (and in much detail and with mathematical precision to boot) the ultimate constituents from whose COLLECTIVE behavior arises what sense imagery & Geometry give us, namely: a merely apparent kind of time & merely apparent kind of space radically different from what they are at their ultimate ultramicroscopic level. It’s the same as how a bowling ball’s solidity arises from the COLLECTIVE properties of atoms radically different individually from the individual bowling balls they compose.

    Compare with pg. 471 of the Feb. 2005 Vintage Books paperback edition of Prof. Brian Greene’s “The Fabric Of The Cosmos” where he states “we’ve yet to identify” the “more fundamental constituents” from whose “collective behavior” arise the characteristics of “familiar space and time” (See also his pgs. 6, 335, 350-352, 486 & 493). It’s a claim he makes because he knows nothing of Esoptrics and its way of identifying those “more fundamental constituents” far more extensively than any other theory does — a claim justified if only by its description of what, in the “Big Bang”, did bang how and why.

    On page 350, he writes of “the fabric of space” as perhaps being, on the Planck scale (i.e.: 10^-33 cm.), akin — METAPHORICALLY of course — to a “lattice or grid” between the lines of which space would be “outside the bounds of physical reality.” Only Esoptrics’ algebraic model of the Universe explains exactly why (though at 7.35×10^-47 cm.) Prof. Greene’s metaphor ideally illustrates figuratively what “the fabric of space” is ultimately in a Universe in which, ultimately, everything’s description is in Algebra’s purely logical & abstract terms rather than in sense imagery’s & Geometry’s 3 dimensional pictures. Yes, Esoptrics, too, uses Geometry’s drawings, but only as a teaching aid.

    Until the issue of the “ultramicroscopic makeup of space, time and matter” (Greene pg. 493) is settled, it’s never possible to be even so little as REASONABLY sure what’s coming from this-or-that theoretical physicist regarding what’s ULTIMATELY REAL is not merely a repeat of the old story of the 3 blind men each experiencing too little of the elephant to get an accurate grasp of what’s confronting him. In explaining how familiar time and space arise from the COLLECTIVE EFFECT of c. 10^464 unique sets of REAL RELATIONS (each by its makeup giving itself a unique logical location in a septuplex framework of logical sequences) Esoptrics comes far closer to that “ultramicroscopic makeup” than any other theory does.

    EDWARD N. HAAS (79) – HAASWOOD, LA USA
    PRESIDENT: HONEY ISLAND TIMBER COMPANY, INC.

  4. Finally someone with an ounce of common sense acknowledges that the standard model (which includes “black holes”, quasars,neutron stars, dark matter/energy and other impossible entities) just doesn’t work any more.
    The reason this model must be discarded is that new data from radio telescopes is invalidating the theories on a daily basis. “Tweaking” the model just leads to more and more incredible hypotheses that cannot be proven or observed.
    The basic problem with the model is it relies on gravity as the driving force for star and galaxy formation. It is very clear that gravity is not strong enough to be responsible for the formation of the universe as it is now being observed. It also requires the known laws of physics and chemistry to be disregarded for the model to work. It just doesn’t make any sense and has created a cosmology that has become so weird that it isn’t believable.
    What does make sense and is being supported by all new radio telescope data is that electromagnetic forces are responsible for the observable universe. These forces are 10 to the 39th times more powerful than gravity and do not require the assistance of unobserved entities such as black holes, dark matter or neutron stars.
    For example, let’s look at “black holes”. They are neither black nor holes. These bodies are found in the centers of galaxies and should more appropriately be called “galactic centers”. They are surrounded by massive magnetic fields. Only an electric current can generate a magnetic field thus there must be an intense electric current within each galactic center. They emanate massive amounts of electromagnetic radiation including jets of plasma. This leads to the logical conclusion that these bodies are super dense, rapidly rotating plasmoids. Gravity has little to do with these extraordinary electromagnetic bodies.
    Of course they also are integrally involved in galaxy formation and structure. This model was supported by the experimental work of Anthony Peratt in the plasma physics lab at Los Alamos and confirmed by others. Dark matter, infinite mass, infinite density and dark energy were not required for galaxies to exist. Just electric current, plasma and magnetic fields.
    The recent, repetitive documentation of intergalactic currents (Birkeland currents) confirms the massive flow of charged particle in space. These currents are essential in the process of star formation. See Donald Scott’s presentations to NASA and his work titled “Modelling Birkeland Currents” for further information.
    The massive power sources referred to as neutron stars can be easily explained using high school level principles in electrical engineering. Teaspoons of matter weighing the same as the entire earth is just a ludicrous concept and only required if a gravity-based model is used. Again, Donald Scott and Wal Thornhill give precise, eloquent explanations of these entities which follow known scientific principles and make perfect sense.
    This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the theories of the standard that must be revised/discarded. It is well past the time to bring cosmology back to the level of a science. Observation, theory and experimental verification is required. Mathematical models which cannot be observed or verified are not a subsitute for sound scientific principles.
    This paradigm shift will occur despite the loss of reputations, careers and (most importantly) funding. This will be a painful transition for some but the truth can be avoided for only so long by like minded men clinging to failed theories. The sooner the better.

  5. When galaxies merge together, shouldn’t their contents cross the “Event Horizons” of each other’s Black Holes and therefore cease?!

    Speaking of Gravitational Waves, scientists have been also looking for Gravitational Waves from the Big Bang predicted by Einstein in 1916, which are embedded in the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation —CMB or CMBR— by detecting miniscule light polarizations —mentioned in the article— called B-Modes. Those Gravitational Waves from the Big Bang would confirm that the universe had a beginning and expanded at a rate faster than the speed of light within less than a trillion of a trillion of a trillion of a second —less than 10^-35 of a second— called “Inflation.”

    • One problem ……the “big bang” is mathematically impossible. The tensor equations used by Einstein and his colleagues applied only to a universe with no matter or one with a single body of matter. This is clearly a misapplication. Einstein himself had grave misgivings about his theories as they did not reflect back on an observed universe. His disciples however had no such concerns. We have been going down the wrong road for a long time.
      For an eloquent and understandable mathematical explanation of this proof please refer to Steven Carothers presentation.

  6. Anybody who wants to know what gravity IS and what CAUSES it, should read “Beyond Einstein: non-local physics” by Brian Fraser.

    • Gravity is an electromagnetic event, as is virtually eveything of which we know in the universe. From the tiniest subatomic particle to the largest galaxy. View Wal Thornhill’s presentation “The long road to understanding gravity” for a common sense and verifiable explanation of the true nature of gravity.

    • Rodrick McMillan | September 26, 2015 at 9:46 pm | Reply

      looked for your book… turned up nothing

  7. Actually creation of Dark Matter Casts Doubts on Our Understanding of Galaxies and Black Holes

    • The mathematical creation of dark matter was a desperate attempt to salvage the failure of the standard model to account for galaxy formation and function. Gravity just didn’t cut it, it’s way too weak. So oila….we now have the unobserved and and unprovable theory of dark matter runnning around as if it is fact, soaking up billions of dollars in research funding.
      Fortunately the days of these preposterous theories are coming to an end. The whole field of cosmology is being re-written and the standard model is being largely discarded thanks to new radio telescope data. Electromagnetism is being identified as the force behind stars, galaxies and the observable universe in general.
      The field of cosmology is soon to be restored as a science, leaving the science fiction stories of the current standard model behind.

  8. These cosmic searches are a joke because of make-believe (theoretical) things that “media supported” scientists keeps trying to prove based on their stubborn belief in them since they place Einstein as their “all-knowing” god.

  9. Madanagopal.V.C. | September 29, 2015 at 6:15 am | Reply

    Well! science is essentially a systematic classification of knowledge of the observed facts and their simple verification. The science has been built as a building and if any crack is observed, it is foolish to totally dismantle the building. Instead, the cause of the fault is to be ascertained and then rectified. Moreover, the failure of observation of gravitational waves will not immediately erase the fundamental laws of nature. Every fundamental law has got a rider over it. For example, electrostatic waves of attraction is limited to some angstrom (10^-8cms) distances only. The strong color forces of the quarks will be applicable only for even smaller distances in Bohrs(10^-13cms). Longer the distance, the gluons transform into particles. The weak electromagnetic forces like W+,W- and Z Bosons have the limits of the nuclear radius only, wherafter they too disintegrate into baryons like electrons and positrons. Now the gravitational forces come into play only at very long distances and never at nuclear distances. But the very long distances doesn`t mean that they are valid at infinity at inter galactic distances. By inverse square law , the force being inversely proportional to the distance square, it means the force diminishes by extending the distances of very large between galaxies in spite of the huge galactic masses. At this distance the Dark Matter forces come into play and they thwart the gravitational attraction sufficiently and that is why the galaxies are expanding. The gravitational force is attenuated thus and hence the absence of gravitational waves not being observed experimentally while merging of galaxies can be every possibility of truth. You cannot put all inverse square law forces at the same platform irrespective of the limits, both lower and higher aimed at them. Now the vacuum space need not be empty and neither ether exists there, but some sort of high energetic dark matter which constitutes 96% of the universe. This stubborn force may bundle out gravitational forces at mega distances into oblivion. Finding one little stone cannot vanish the mountain which is already there. Thank YOu.

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