April 7, 2022 | David F. Coppedge

Stars Burst Into Existence

It’s like a Cambrian explosion for cosmology: there were
more “starburst” galaxies than models predict

The most embarrassing fossil evidence to Darwin was the sudden appearance of new body plans at the base of the Cambrian fossil beds. Before that, in the Precambrian, there were microbes and a few sleepy colonies of things. Then in the geological blink of an eye (using the evolutionary chronology), bang! At least 18 new body plans appear in the early Cambrian strata without ancestors. Darwin had no answer, and today’s Darwin disciples still have no answer. In fact, after 160 years of exploration, the fossils still say “no” to evolution.

A similar situation exists in cosmology. After the alleged “Big Bang” of a universe from (allegedly) nothing, stars and galaxies appeared in another big bang (or burst) of formation.

Artwork of theoretical first stars.

Early Universe bristled with starburst galaxies (Astronomy.nl, Netherlands, 4 April 2022).

It shouldn’t be, but it is: the vast majority of stars and galaxies appeared in the first 10% of the universe. (For the sake of argument, we will assume the secular cosmological timeline that believes the universe is about 13.7 billion years old.)

In the first few billion years after the Big Bang, the universe contained far more so-called starburst galaxies than models predict. As many as 60 to 90 percent of the stars in the early universe appear to have been produced by galaxies undergoing a growth spurt. This is what an analysis of more than 20,000 distant galaxies show. The team, led by astronomers from University of Groningen (the Netherlands) will soon publish its findings in The Astrophysical Journal.

Calling something a “growth spurt” is misleading. Stars and galaxies have no genome and no programmed event like puberty. The press release is using a metaphor that is more confusing than explanatory. Further down in the press release, the writer presses the metaphor further, saying, “you can compare it to the growth spurt in humans. That is also strongest during infancy.”

Graphic by David Coppedge

A PhD student analyzed more than 20,000 distant galaxies from Hubble Telescope data and other sources. The results were unexpected.

The analysis shows that in the first few billion years after the Big Bang, about 20 to 40 percent of all star-forming galaxies were starburst galaxies. These galaxies in a growth spurt accounted for 60 to 90 percent of the new increase in stars. By comparison, today the Universe is much quieter and only about 10 percent of new stars are born in starburst galaxies.

Even in secular theory, stars and galaxies cannot grow without major influxes of material like gas and dust. Do the researchers have any explanation for the mismatch with expectations?

The results came as a surprise because until recently, starburst galaxies were considered unusual and of minor importance in the formation and growth of galaxies. “Even the latest and most sophisticated models of galaxy formation had not predicted this,” said Rinaldi. ” It seems likely that the physical processes occur at too small a scale for the models to account for them.”

One of the researchers found a way to save face over this embarrassment. “Of course, it gives us something to think about with regard to those models,” the student’s advisor remarked. “And that’s a good sign.”

Yes, thinking is good, but the falsification of their expectations is a bad sign. It means they were not thinking properly.

The comparison of a rapidly-growing galaxy to a human growth spurt is absurd. Stars and galaxies are not like human infants in any meaningful way. Stars and galaxies are not alive, and they differ in size from babies by many orders of magnitude. Watch out for misleading metaphors like that in scientific press releases. Galaxies are not supposed to have “growth spurts.” If the material from a big bang was rushing out in all directions, getting farther apart, how was it supposed to collect into dense structures? This is another instance of the “lumpiness problem” in big bang theory. It predicts a smooth, homogeneous distribution of matter, not lumps like stars and galaxies.

In the 22 years since CEH launched, we have seen this theme of “early maturity” in astronomy many times. It was one of the first announcements we reported: “The grand finale came first” was one early story from NASA. They had no explanation then, and they have no explanation now.

Credit: J. Beverly Greene

The Bible, though, does have an explanation. God created the stars on the Fourth Day of Creation Week, using processes that were unique to that event. You can’t extrapolate processes as they operate today back onto a unique event in the past. That can lead to very bad conclusions, just like geologists who see a small river in a deep canyon and think the river formed the canyon when instead it was formed by a megaflood.

The heavens had a purpose, too: to declare His glory, and to act as timekeepers for days, seasons and years. For that, they had to be visible on the Earth from that day, not billions of years later. The stars are useful to us for indicating the passage of time. Seeing different stars in different times of the year is useful for navigators, farmers and everyone interested in observing the nature of the reality. To see why, imagine living on a planet with nothing to see around it, or on a stationary world where the sky always looked the same. A universe of forces, orbits and motion adds tremendous variety to our human lives, and provides endless opportunities to investigate the attributes of God through the operations of what He has made.

The vastness of the heavens and the beauty of the stars have been leading motivators for humility, awe, and gratitude. They serve those purposes well, but sinners always find ways to misinterpret the message from God, and worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator.

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Categories: Cosmology


  • mlmticket says:

    Astronomers discover furthest known galaxy, known as HD1, 2 days ago. This is a starburst galaxy too but they said it is filled by population III stars!

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