Dark Matter, Don’t Go!

posted in: science, science fiction, space | 0

A new study reported on Space.com suggests that dark matter, that mysterious stuff that astronomers believe helps hold the galaxies together, might not exist, after all. Researchers Fred Cooperstock of Northeastern University and Steven Tieu at the University of Victoria invoke general relativity to explain the cohesiveness of galaxies.

To which I say, No no no no no—don’t do it! The plot of Sunborn depends on dark matter to hold things together (so to speak), and if you pesky, upstart physicists go explaining away dark matter by other means, what does that leave me holding in the bag? Nothing, that’s what. Quantum vacuum, at best. And what good does that do me?

Maybe this will turn out to be wrong. But maybe not. I get very annoyed with the ephemeral nature of knowledge, sometimes.

0 Responses

  1. M Bonham
    | Reply

    I hope not too.

    Quick! Get it published! 😉

  2. Hannah Allen
    | Reply

    There’s a lot to be said for artistic round, but it’s still fun to read the stories when they thought they’d sail over the edge.

  3. Hannah Allen
    | Reply

    What was that??? It was supposed to say “A lot to be said for artistic license. They’ve since proved that the world is round…”

  4. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply

    Very true, Hannah. And I’m among the first to invoke the mantra, “The real science isn’t in on that, yet, so maybe I’ll just go ahead and do what I want, anyway.”

    Sometimes this makes good sense. We obviously have limited knowledge about what kinds of planetary systems really exist around other stars, and it used to be common wisdom that multiple star systems couldn’t have planets because their orbits would be unstable. I never bought that, personally. And now we’ve found some planets in multiple star systems.

    On the other hand, when I’m using late-model science as a plot device, it can be very inconvenient to have that late-model science turn into yesterday’s wrong science before the story is even done.

    Still, dark matter isn’t dead, even if it’s been winged. It’ll probably take years to discover whether the alternate explanations (plasma cosmology as mentioned by Duncan–no, not your dog Duncan but another Duncan, I’m pretty sure–or general relativity as the guys referenced above believe) will hold water. So I might be safe for a little while yet.

    The thing is, I don’t really care what holds the galaxy together. My use of dark matter is for another purpose altogether. I just care that there really is dark matter out there.

  5. Harry
    | Reply

    Dark matter has always smelled like ether to me, or sounded like angel’s wings, almost. In science, you cannot propose anything which cannot be detected. Dark matter wasn’t quite to that level, you could detect it indirectly but that still smelled like the ether medium. I like things which can be detected directly, at least one in a million.

    Cosmology is a wide open field right now! The search for the missing mass, if there is any missing mass, will go on for some time. I don’t think your book will be back dated really soon. Our kids will be laughing at us in twenty years about the silly inflational big bang theory they used to teach in school when we used graphite to scribble on ground up trees.

    Story dating does happen though. I can’t read Greg Bear’s book Eon any more. It has Soviets in it, which just feels SOo out of place. IMO, having Soviets is worse than having bad science. It’s like reading a spy novel that was written just before the collapse of the USSR: it just doesn’t work. A friend of mine says it is an alternate universe, like if Germany won WWII so it doesn’t bother him at all, but I like at least a little bit of a connection to the real world in the books I read.

    Harry

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