Cosmic Time Cycles


–William Hamilton III (excerpts)

(April 18, 2005)

 

The Grand Cycle

The sun is one of hundreds of billion of stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. The galaxy is composed of gaseous interstellar medium, neutral or ionized, sometimes concentrated into dense gas clouds made up of atoms molecules, and dust. All of the matter — gas, dust, and stars — rotate around a central axis perpendicular to the galactic plane. The centrifugal force caused by the rotation balances out the gravitational force, which draw all the matter toward the center.

The mass is located within the circle of the Sun’s orbit through the galaxy is about 100 billion times the mass of the Sun . Because the Sun is about average in mass, astronomers have concluded that the galaxy contains about 100 billion stars within its disk.

  • All stars in the galaxy rotate around a galactic center but not with the same period.

  • Stars at the center have a shorter period than those farther out.

  • The Sun is located in the outer part of the galaxy The Sun is located in the outer part of the galaxy

  • The speed of the solar system due to the galactic rotation is about 220 km/s.

  • The disk of stars in the Milky Way is about 100,000 light years across.

  • The sun is located about 30,000 light years from the galactic center.

Based on a distance of 30,000 light years and a speed of 220 km/s, the Sun’s orbit around the center of the Milky Way once every 225 million years. The period of time is called a cosmic year. The Sun has orbited the galaxy, more than 20 times during its 5 billion year lifetime. The motions of the period are studied by measuring the positions of lines in the galaxy spectra.

click images to enlarge click images to enlarge

Radio astronomers measure sun’s orbit around Milky Way
by Paul Recer by Paul mote
Associated Press Associated Press

CHICAGO – Astronomers focusing on a star at the center of the Milky Way say they have measured precisely for the first time how long it takes the sun to circle its home galaxy: 226 million years. The last time the sun was at this exact spot of its galactic orbit, dinosaurs ruled the world.
Using a radio telescope system that measures celestial distances 500 times more accurately than the Hubble Space Telescope , astronomers plotted the motion of the Milky Way and found that the sun and its family of planets were orbiting the galaxy at about 135 miles per second .
That means it takes the solar system about 226 million years to orbit the Milky Way and puts the most precise value ever determined on one of the fundamental motions of the Earth and its sun, said James Moran of Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass.
A report on the finding was presented Tuesday at a national meeting of the American Astronomical Society.
"Our new figure of 226 million miles is accurate to within 6 percent," Mark Reid , a Harvard-Smithsonian astronomer and leader of the team that made the measurements, said in a statement.

  • The sun is one of about 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, one of billions of ordinary galaxies in the universe.

  • The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy, with curving arms of stars pinwheeling out from a center.

  • The solar system is about halfway out on one of these arms and is about 26,000 light years from the center. A light year is about 6 trillion miles.

Reid and his team made the measurement using the Very Long Baseline Array, a system of 10 large radio-telescope placed Antennae 5000 miles across the United States, from the U.S. Virgin Islands to Hawaii.
Working together as a single unit, the antennae can measure motions in the distant universe with unprecedented accuracy.

The accuracy is such that the VLBA can look at a bit of sky that has an apparent size one ten- thousandth the diameter of a human hair held at arms length.
For their solar system measurement, the astronomers focused on Sagittarius A , a star discovered two decades ago to mark the Milky Way’s center .
The apparent motion of Sagittarius A is very, very small, just one-600,000th of what could be detected with the human eye, the astronomers said. Reid said the measurement adds supports to the idea that the Milky Way’s center contains a supermassive black hole .

"… This strengthens the idea that this object, much smaller than our own solar system, contains a black hole about 2.6 million times more massive than the sun," Reid said in a statement.

Moran said the new measurement of the solar system orbit adds new accuracy to a fundamental fact of the universe: Everything is moving constantly. Moran said the new measurement of the solar system orbit adds new accuracy to a fundamental fact of the universe: Everything is moving constantly.

  • The Earth rotates on its axis at about 1,100 miles an hour , a motion that creates day and night. The Earth rotates on its axis at about 1100 miles an hour, a motion that creates day and night.

  • The Earth orbits the sun at about 67,000 miles an hour , a motion that takes one year. The Earth orbits the sun at about 67,000 miles an hour, a motion that takes one year.

  • The sun circles the Milky Way at a speed of about 486,000 miles per hour . The sun circles the Milky Way at a speed of about 486,000 miles per hour.

And every object in the universe is moving apart from the other objects as the universe expands at a constantly accelerating rate. This press release gives us some more accurate figures to work with. And every object in the universe is moving apart from the other objects as the universe Expands at a constantly accelerating rate. This press release gives us some more accurate figures to work with.

Mass Extinctions Occur Every 62 Million Years

Let us now look at another press release from March 10, 2005:

With surprising and mysterious regularity, life on Earth has flourished and vanished in cycles of mass extinction every 62 million years , say two UC Berkeley scientists who discovered the pattern after a painstaking computer study of fossil records going back for more than 500 million years. Their findings are certain to generate a renewed burst of speculation among scientists who study the history and evolution of life.

The Berkeley researchers are physicists, not biologists or geologists or paleontologists, but they have analyzed the most exhaustive compendium of fossil records that exists — data that cover the first and last known appearances of no fewer than 36,380 separate marine genera, including millions of species that once thrived in the world’s seas, later virtually disappeared, and in many cases returned.

Richard Muller and his graduate student, Robert Rohde , are publishing a report on their exhaustive study in the journal Nature today , and in interviews this week, the two men said they have been working on the surprising evidence for about four years.

"We’ve tried everything we can think of to find an explanation for these weird cycles of biodiversity and extinction," Muller said, "and so far, we’ve failed."

But the cycles are so clear that the evidence "simply jumps out of the data," said James Kirchner , a professor of earth and planetary sciences on the Berkeley campus who was not involved in the research but who has written a commentary on the report that is also appearing in Nature today.

"Their discovery is exciting, it’s unexpected and it’s unexplained," Kirchner said. And it is certain, he added, to send other scientists in many disciplines seeking explanations for the strange cycles.  "Everyone and his brother will be proposing an explanation — and eventually, at least one or two will turn out to be right while all the others will be wrong."

Muller and Rohde conceded that they have puzzled through every conceivable phenomenon in nature in search of an explanation:

"We’ve had to think about solar system dynamics, about the causes of comet showers, about how the galaxy works, and how volcanoes work, but nothing explains what we’ve discovered," Muller said.

The evidence of strange extinction cycles that first drew Rohde’s attention emerged from an elaborate computer database he developed from the largest compendium of fossil data ever created. It was a 560-page list of marine organisms developed 14 years ago by the late J. John Sepkoski Jr., a famed paleobiologist at the University of Chicago who died at the age of 50 nearly five years ago.
Sepkoski himself had suggested that marine life appeared to have its ups and downs in cycles every 26 million years, but to Rohde and Muller , the longer cycle is strikingly more evident, although they have also seen the suggestion of even longer cycles that seem to recur every 140 million years .
Sepkoski’s fossil record of marine life extends back for 540 million years to the time of the great "Cambrian Explosion," when almost all the ancestral forms of multicellular life emerged, and Muller and Rohde built on it for their computer version.

Muller has long been known as an unconventional and imaginative physicist on the Berkeley campus and at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory . Muller has long been known as an unconventional and imaginative Physicist on the Berkeley campus and at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. It was he, for example, who suggested more than 20 years ago that an undiscovered faraway dwarf star — which he named " Nemesis " — was orbiting the sun and might have steered a huge asteroid into the collision with Earth that drove the dinosaurs to extinction.

"I’ve given up on Nemesis ," Muller said this week, "but then I thought there might be two stars somewhere out there, but I’ve given them both up now." He and Rohde have considered many other possible causes for the 62- million-year cycles , they said.

Perhaps, they suggested, there’s an unknown "Planet X" somewhere far out beyond the solar system that’s disturbing the comets in the distant region called the Oort Cloud – where they exist by the millions – to the point that they shower the Earth and cause extinctions in regular cycles. Daniel Whitmire and John Matese of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette proposed that idea as a cause of major comet showers in 1985, but no one except UFO believers has ever discovered a sign of it.

Or perhaps there’s some kind of " natural timetable " deep inside the Earth that triggers cycles of massive volcanism, Rohde has thought. Or perhaps there’s some kind of "natural timetable" deep inside the Earth that triggers cycles of massive Volcanism, Rohde has thought. There’s even a bit of evidence: A huge slab of volcanic basalt known as the Deccan Traps in India has been dated to 65 million years ago – just when the dinosaurs died, he noted. And the similar basaltic Siberian Traps were formed by volcanism about 250 million years ago, at the end of the Permian period, when the greatest of all mass extinctions drove more than 70 percent of all the world’s marine life to death, Rohde said.

The two scientists proposed more far-out ideas in their report in Nature , but only to indicate the possibilities they considered. The two scientists proposed more far-out ideas in their report in Nature, but only to indicate the possibilities they considered.
Muller ’s favorite explanation, he said informally, is that the solar system passes through an exceptionally massive arm of our own spiral Milky Way galaxy every 62 million years, and that that increase in galactic gravity might set off a hugely destructive comet shower that would drive cycles of mass extinction on Earth.

Rohde, however, prefers periodic surges of Volcanism on Earth as the least implausible explanation for the cycles, he said – although it’s only a tentative one, he conceded.

Said Muller: "We’re getting frustrated and we need help. All I can say is that we’re confident the cycles exist, and I cannot come up with any possible explanation that won’t turn out to be fascinating. There’s something going on in the fossil record, and we just don’t know what it is."

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One Response to “Cosmic Time Cycles”

  1. Hello! Excellent site, keep up the good work!

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