09 Gas and Dust Clouds


Gas and Dust Clouds

As explained in Chapter 1, the original aggregates into which the primitive dispersed matter separates are the predecessors of the globular clusters. At first they are merely masses of the primitive matter in gravitational equilibrium, but they are caused to contract for reasons previously stated, and they eventually arrive at a density sufficient to justify calling them clouds of dust and gas. If these clouds remain undisturbed for a sufficient length of time, they ultimately condense into globular clusters of stars, as indicated in the earlier chapters.

Although the protoclusters are probably somewhere near the same size, they are subject to different conditions because of such factors as the amount of fragmentary old material present, and the position of the protocluster in what we have called the group. Consequently, the rate at which condensation into stars takes place is subject to considerable variation. In the preceding pages we have been tracing the development of the faster aggregates, but we have now reached the point where the slower group enters into the evolutionary process in a significant way. We will therefore want to take a look at what has happened to the slower aggregates while all of this development of the faster ones has been going on.

The slower aggregates are subject to the same external gravitational forces as the faster group. Thus they undergo the same kind of combination and capture processes as their more advanced counterparts. It is possible that some of them may remain isolated long enough to complete the process of consolidation into clusters of stars. In that event they follow the course that we have been describing. But because of the difference in the amount of time required for completion of the condensation process, many of the slower aggregates are captured while they are still in the gas and dust cloud stage. As a result, they enter into the galactic structure as clouds of particles rather than as stars.

We have already noted (in Chapter 3) the existence of evidence indicating that the Galaxy is capturing some globular clusters in a pre-stellar stage. One report reads as follows:

The most striking result of surveys of the distribution and motions of neutral hydrogen away from the galactic plane is the discovery of several high velocity hydrogen clouds or concentrations, nearly all having negative (approaching) radial velocities of up to about 200 km/s-1.104

Here we see that the unconsolidated clusters like the globular star clusters are moving “as freely falling objects attracted by the galactic center,”28 in accordance with the conclusions that we derive from the theory of a universe of motion. The observed approach of these aggregates implies that there have been captures of similar aggregates in the past, and that the remains of these immature globular clusters are present in the Galaxy. Unlike the star clusters, which are broken into relatively small units as soon as they fall into the rotating disk, the particles of which the clouds are composed are able to penetrate into the interstellar spaces, and they envelop the stars that they encounter, rather than colliding with their radial force fields. A cloud of this kind therefore tends to maintain its identity for a substantial period of time, although its shape may be greatly modified by the objects that it encounters.

Until quite recently no evidence of gas and dust aggregates of globular cluster size had been found within the Galaxy. Smaller aggregates—nebulae, as they are called—have been recognized ever since the early days of astronomy; some bright, others dark. Only within the last few years has it begun to be recognized that many, perhaps most, of these identified nebulae are portions of much larger aggregates. For instance, Bok and Bok report that the Orion nebula, the most conspicuous of these objects, is actually a part of a larger cloud with a total mass of 50,000 to 100,000 solar units (comparable to the size of the globular clusters that are being captured). They characterize the Orion nebula as “just a little sore spot of ionized hydrogen in the larger complex.”105

Still more recently it has been found that there are many larger clouds of gas in the Galaxy that have masses comparable to those of, the large globular clusters in the range from 100,000 to 200,000 solar masses. According to a report by Leo Blitz, these giant clouds are about 20 times as numerous in the Galaxy as the globular clusters. Both of these characteristics (size and abundance) are in agreement with what would be expected on the basis of the theoretical origin of the clouds as captured immature globular clusters. The gas cloud is less subject to loss of mass in approaching the Galaxy than the star clusters because of the vastly greater number of units involved (particles in one ease, stars in the other), while, as already noted, it is not subject to being broken up by contact with the moving stars of the Galaxy in the manner of the globular star clusters.

The report by Blitz contributes some further information that verifies the identification of these giant gas clouds with the immature globular clusters. “The density of the gas in each clouds he says,” is l00 times greater than the average density of the interstellar medium.”106 It is difficult, probably impossible to explain the formation of a distinct aggregate of this size within a rotating galaxy, and since the observed density establishes the cloud as a definite unit, distinct from the interstellar medium, the observations lend strong support to the theoretical conclusion that the clouds were formed outside the Galaxy and captured later. Furthermore, Blitz also reports that “the gas in each cloud is organized into clumps whose density is 10 times greater than the average density in the cloud.” He adds that some clumps with much greater density have been observed. The nature of these “clumps” is practically obvious, in the light of our findings. Here, of course, are the immature stars of the immature globular cluster. The clumps that are larger than the average are the aggregates that would have followed the upper branch OAC of the Class l evolutionary path if capture by the Galaxy had not intervened to prevent the consolidation that would have given these clumps the status of stars.

The simple history of these gas and dust clouds, as derived from theory—formation by the globular cluster process, capture by the Galaxy, mixing with the galactic stars, eventually expanding into and merging with the interstellar medium—is in direct conflict with the upside down evolutionary view derived from the physicists, assumption as to the nature of the stellar energy generation process. Since the astronomers have accepted that erroneous view of the direction of evolution, they are forced to invent processes whereby the normal course of events is reversed. Instead of originating as massive aggregates and being gradually disintegrated by the rotational forces of the Galaxy, forces that are known to exist and to operate in that direction, the astronomers find it necessary to assume the existence of some unknown counterforce that causes the clouds to form and grow to their present size against the normal direction of change. “Some mechanism must be continually farming them in the galaxy”, says Blitz. But he admits that the mechanisms thus far suggested—“density waves”, magnetic effects, etc.—are not convincing. “The solution to the problem of how the complexes form does not seem to be close at hand”, he concludes. This is another understatement of the kind that is so common in the astronomers comments on their problems. The solution not only is not “close at hand”; it is not perceptible even in the far distance. The problem is still further complicated for the astronomers because their theory requires the clouds to form and then disperse again, while they remain in the same environment and subject to the same forces.

The specific words used in the quotation in the preceding paragraph are worth a few comments, as they are repeated over and over again in current astronomical literature, and they epitomize the attitude that has made it possible for such a large theoretical structure of an imaginary nature to develop in the astronomical field. Some mechanism must exist, the author says, to take care of the problems that are encountered in trying to reconcile the observations with the deductions from the basic premises of the current theory. We have met this contention many times in the earlier pages, and we will encounter it again and again in the pages that follow. The observed facts stubbornly refuse to cooperate with the theorists, but the basic assumptions from which the theoretical conclusions are derived, particularly the assumption as to the nature of the stellar energy generation process, are sacrosanct. They cannot be questioned. There must be something, somewhere—“some mechanism”—that brings the recalcitrant facts into line current astronomical thought insists.

One of the reasons why the astronomers are having so much difficulty in dealing with the dust and gas clouds in the Galaxy is that they have never arrived at an understanding of their structure, just what it is that maintains them in their existing condition. As explained, by Blitz in his article:

Under normal circumstances the pressure inside a cloud roughly balances the cloud’s self-gravitation, which would tend to collapse the cloud if its action were unopposed. What generates the pressure is a major unanswered question.

The truth is that this is the same “major unanswered question” that the astronomers face with respect to the structure of the globular clusters. They have managed to avoid conceding their inability to explain the cluster situation, but they have no option in the case of the clouds, as the opportunities for ad hoc assumptions that would enable them to evade the issues are too limited. There is clearly no rotation, and the temperature reveals the particle velocities, which is observable. As conceded in the foregoing quotation, it is clear that there is something missing in the current understanding of the physics of the clouds.

The theory of the universe of motion identifies this missing ingredient as the outward progression of the natural reference system relative to the conventional stationary system of reference. Once again we meet the antagonist to gravitation. Both the particles in the cloud and the stars in the cluster are subject to the outward progression as well as to the inward gravitational motion. Main sequence stars are gravitationally stable; that is, the inward gravitational force acting on their outermost atoms exceeds the outward force due to the progression of the reference system. In aggregates of stars or dispersed particles, on the other hand, the net force acting on their outer units is outward unless the mass of the aggregate exceeds a certain limit. For aggregates of the type that we are now considering, this limit is in the neighborhood of the mass of a large globular cluster. Any mass smaller than this limit is subject to expansion and loss of its outer units.

The rate of loss depends on the size of the units, the mass of the aggregate, relative to the limiting value, the speed of movement of the constituent units (the temperature, in the case of the clouds), and the external forces exerted on the aggregate, if any. For the gas and dust clouds that exist in the Galaxy, all of these factors are favorable to a slow rate of loss. The units are very small, the clouds themselves are large, the temperature is very low, and the net external forces exerted on the clouds are small. It appears probable, therefore, that the existence of a cloud as a distinct unit eventually terminates as a result of processes other than escape of its outer particles principally the mixing action that takes place by reason of the motion of the associated stars. The effects of this process are clearly visible. The aggregates, originally spherical, are now observed to be irregular in shape and often elongated.

Accretion of matter from a cloud by the stars enveloped within it during the mixing process reduces the mass of the diffuse aggregate substantially while the gradual destruction of the cloud is taking place. This accretion explains the presence of “new” stars in the clouds, especially the hot stars of the O and B classes, whose existence in these locations is currently ascribed to condensation directly from the dust and gas.

The association of O and B type stars with gas and dust clouds is well established. Since the astronomers regard these stars as very young, astronomically speaking, they have concluded that the stars must have been formed from the clouds, somewhere near their present locations. Our finding that they are relatively old changes this picture drastically. There is now no reason why we must assume, in the face of all of the evidence to the contrary, that the dust and gas clouds in the spiral arms condense into stars. The simple and logical explanation of the presence of these stars in the clouds is that they are stars of the galactic population that have been mixed into the incoming dust and gas, and have grown to their present size by accretion from the clouds. This explanation fits all of the observational evidence, and it accounts for the existence of stars of these types by the operation of simple processes that are known to be capable of producing the observed results, and are known to be operative under the conditions existing in the clouds.

The extent to which accretion of material by the stars takes place has long been subject to differences of opinion. Some astronomers regard it as minimal. S. P. Wyatt, for instance, says that “There is virtually no replenishment from the outside.”107 The most that he is willing to concede is the capture of an occasional meteoroid. In fact, however, even a planet does better than that, in spite of strong competition from the sun. It is reported that “there is an extremely large flux of meteoroids near the planet Jupiter.”108 The truth is that the astronomers, conclusions as to the amount of accretion by stars have been little more than guesswork. The existence of some accretion is well established, notwithstanding assertions such as that by Wyatt. The only open question concerns the quantities. In this connection it is significant that within very recent years the general astronomical opinion has moved a long way in the direction of recognizing the importance of dust and gas in the universe from a concept of interstellar and intergalactic space as essentially empty to a realization that the total amount of matter in these regions is very large, and may even exceed the amount that has been gathered into stars.

Calculations on which adverse conclusions regarding accretion are based generally assume that the stars are moving through the gas and dust clouds, and that this motion prevents any substantial amount of accretion. Our theoretical study indicates, however, that these clouds are participating in the rotation of the Galaxy in the same manner as the stars, and that the stars are therefore nearly stationary with respect to the clouds, a situation that is much more favorable to accretion. Bok and Bok specifically say that “the interstellar gas partakes in the general rotation of the galaxy.”109

From the theoretical standpoint, there is nothing uncertain about the accretion situation. In the cyclic universe of motion everything that enters the material sector must be counterbalanced by the ejection of its equivalent. As we will see in the final chapters of this volume, only the explosion products of stars and stellar aggregates can acquire the speed that is needed in order to cross the regional boundary. It follows that all of the gas and dust formed from the primitive matter that enters this sector must either be condensed into stars or accreted by stars. We have already seen that the condensation into stars is not complete. As we trace the pattern of stellar behavior, it will also become evident that a great deal of material escapes from the stars before the final explosive events in which they are ejected from the material sector, and another substantial amount is scattered into space in connection with those explosions. Some of this dispersed matter is incorporated into the globular cluster stars as they are formed, but the rest has to be picked up by existing stars sooner or later. The average star must therefore increase in mass quite considerably during its lifetime.

It is true that matter is being converted into energy in the stars, and is being lost from them by radiation, but in a cyclic universe all processes are in equilibrium. The mass loss by conversion to radiant energy is necessarily counterbalanced by an equivalent conversion of radiation to matter in processes of the inverse nature. Thus the existence of the radiation process does not alter the fact that all of the mass entering the material sector in dispersed form must be aggregated into stars in order to be ejected back into the cosmic sector to keep the cycle in equilibrium.

The foregoing theoretical conclusions can be summarized by stating that they indicate that the dust and gas in interstellar and intergalactic space exists in much greater quantities and plays a much greater part in the evolutionary development of stars and galaxies, than the astronomers have been willing to concede, on the basis of their observations. Since there is no source of empirical information other than these observations, we have heretofore had to rely on the cogency of the reasoning by which our conclusions were reached, together with the absence of any actual evidence that would contradict those conclusions Now, however, the situation has been revolutionized by the results of observations with the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS).

The first observations with this satellite show that dust (and presumably gas) does, indeed, exist in interstellar space on the massive scale required by the theory of the universe of motion. As reported in an article in a current periodical (March 1984), “Dust is what IRAS found everywhere.”349 The discovery, also reported in this article, of substantial quantities of dust surrounding Vega and Fomalhaut, together with indications that similar concentrations may exist around 50 other stars, is particularly relevant to the accretion situation. After a quarter of a century, the astronomers are finally arriving at the same kind of a view of the stellar environment as that which was derived from theory, and described in the first edition of this work, published in 1959.

The accretion process is theoretically applicable to stars of all kinds, but if the cloud in which the accretion takes place is located well above the galactic plane, as is true of the Orion nebula and some of the others that are frequently characterized as “birthplaces” of stars, it is probable that most of the stars intermixed with the nebulae are of the globular cluster type In this event, the effect of the accelerated accretion is to move the stars to the left from their positions on the two branches of the evolutionary path, and to distribute them along nearly horizontal lines intersecting the main sequence at relatively high temperatures This is where the Orion stars are actually found.110

Occasionally some astronomer does concede that the O and B stars in the nebulae may be accretion products. For instance, George Gamow, like most of his colleagues, minimized the importance of the accretion process, but nevertheless admitted that “it is not impossible that the… Blue Giants found in spiral arms are actually old stars formed during the original process which were rejuvenated by accretion.”111

But the orthodox astronomical view at present is that the stars of the O and to associations are new stars condensed out of the dust and gas clouds by some thus far unidentified process. Wyatt, for example, refers to “the unquestionable evidence that stars form out of interstellar matter.”112 Here, then, the same textbook author who tells us that the strong gravitational forces of a stable galactic star are capable of “virtually no” accretion of matter is, at the same time, contending that the galactic dust clouds, which are known to exert no net gravitational force on their, constituents, are in some unknown way able to pull those constituents together to form a star. These two propositions are obviously incompatible, and their coexistence illustrates the disconnected and compartment nature of present-day astronomical theory. The absence of any general structure of theory encourages reliance on negative rather than positive evidence. Since the theorist has no explanation whose validity he can prove, what he attempts to do is to devise an explanation that cannot be disproved In this connection it is interesting to follow the chain of reasoning by which one prominent astronomer arrives at the currently orthodox conclusion with respect to condensation of stars from dust and gas clouds. The following are the essential statements from the five paragraphs in which he outlines the development of thought:

There are virtually no clouds observed in which gravity is strong enough to overwhelm the temperature effects based on the measurements that can be made at present…
There may be a way out of this dilemma…
We really do not yet know how much molecular hydrogen lies in typical atomic hydrogen clouds. Such a situation is tailor-made for any theoretician to work with because there are no data that could contradict any assumption made about the amount of additional matter in the clouds…
We assume it [the cloud] must have enough matter to cause it to contract.113 (Gerrit Verschuur)

This explanation of the background of one of the current theories of star formation in the galactic gas and dust clouds should make it evident why the astronomers are having so much difficulty in getting down to details. Verschuur is simply assuming the problem out of existence. Other theorists rely on some different assumptions—a hypothetical process to supplement the effect of gravitation, for example—but they all operate on the same principle; that is, they construct their hypotheses in such a way that “there are no data that could contradict” the assumptions. As might be expected, all details are vague. Verschuur admits that “We are far from understanding all the details of how clouds actually become stars.”114 Perhaps the best assessment of the situation is that it illustrates the validity of this comment from the British scientific journal Nature (1974):

Indeed, a great many theoretical astronomers delight in a situation where there is just enough evidence to make model building worthwhile, but not enough to prove that their favored model is incorrect.115

The effect of the availability of dust and gas on the rate of evolution is illustrated by the globular clusters that are located in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Here the gravitational distortion of the structure of the Cloud has resulted in an irregular distribution of the dust and gas, and some globular clusters have entered regions of relatively high density. The rotational forces that would normally break up the clusters as they approach the central plane of the galaxy (the LMC) have also been greatly reduced by the gravitational distortion. As a result, some of the globular clusters remain intact in dusty regions for a long enough period to permit their constituent stars to reach an evolutionary stage comparable to that of the stars of the open clusters. While the shape and size of these clusters are those of normal globular clusters their stars are members of Class 1B, like those of the open clusters.

We can correlate the evolutionary stages of the stars in the two Magellanic Clouds with the galactic ages, although the more heterogeneous populations of these larger aggregates make this correlation less specific than the corresponding results of the globular cluster study. The most significant observation, in this connection, is that the LMC has many red supergiant stars associated with hot blue stars in hydrogen clouds. As brought out in Chapter 5, these two very different types of stars are closely related from the evolutionary standpoint. The hot blue star (Class 1B, is near the supernova stage. The red giant of the second cycle (Class 2C) is the first visually observable post-supernova star. The presence of these red giants thus identifies the LMC as an aggregate in which the most advanced stars have reached the second evolutionary cycle.

Stars of this class are not found in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC).116 Nor have any supernova remnants been located there.117 Their absence indicates that the most advanced stars of this galaxy are still in the first cycle. The concentration of Cepheid variables per unit of volume is much higher in the SMC.118 This is consistent with the evidence from the giants, as the first Cepheids are Class 1A stars, and the evolution around the cycle reduces the number of stars of the earlier classes. The conclusion to be drawn from these observations is that the main body of the SMC is composed of stars of Classes 1A and 1B, whereas the average star in the LMC is in a more advanced evolutionary stage. The number of lA stars has decreased and some of the l B stars have passed into the 2C stage.

The stellar compositions of the two galaxies thus support the conclusion, based on their relative sizes, that the LMC is older than the SMC. They also provide the answer to a question asked in the book from which the data cited above were taken: “Why has the Large Cloud so many more very young stars than the Small Cloud?”119 The answer is that the “very young” stars to which the questioner refers are actually relatively old second-generation stars, and the LMC has more of these stars than the SMC because it is an older galaxy.

While the gas and dust clouds in the Galaxy are undergoing the changes that have been described, their constituents are also aggregating into larger units; that is, atoms are combining to form molecules and dust particles. It has been known for many years that a number of the elements above helium are present in these clouds, but recently it has been discovered that these elements are, to some extent, organized into molecules. Over fifty different molecules, some of considerable complexity, have been identified so far.

In view of the extremely low density and low temperature of the clouds, which limit the frequency of contact of the constituents, the observed amount of molecule formation was not anticipated. The results of this present investigation indicate, however, that the conditions in the clouds are much investigation indicate, however, that the conditions in the clouds are much more favorable for combination, up to a certain limit, than previously believed. The reason was explained in Chapter 1. Inside unit distance, 4.56×10-6 cm, the net motion, other than thermal, is inward until an equilibrium point is reached. At the very low temperatures of the clouds, estimated at about 10 K (reference106), capture on contact, or even on a near miss, therefore has a high probability. As brought out in Volume II physical state is inherently a property of the individual molecule. At 10 K even the hydrogen molecule is in the solid state. The contact process is thus capable not only of producing a variety of molecules, but also of building up solid aggregates to sizes in the neighborhood of unit distance. As noted in the earlier discussion, the cohesive forces of the molecules enable the maximum size of the dust particles to exceed unit distance by a relatively small amount. Any further increment puts the particle into the region where the net motion is outward, and gravitational control over dispersed matter is possible only in very large aggregates.

With the benefit of the information contained in this and the preceding chapters, we are now in a position to complete the comparison of the Reciprocal System and conventional astronomical theory from the standpoint of their ability to explain what is now known about the globular clusters. This addition to the comparison in Chapter 3 will be set up in the same manner as the original, and since 13 sets of observed facts were discussed in that chapter, we will begin with number 14.

  1. Observation: The stars of the globular clusters are confined to the region above and to the right of the main sequence in the CM diagram, and to a relatively short section of the main sequence.

    Comment: Both theories have explanations for the observed situation. Opinions as to their relative merits will no doubt differ, as long as this situation is considered is isolation.

  2. Observation: Some clusters (M 67, for example) are classified as open clusters on the basis of size, shape, and location, but have CM diagrams very similar to those of the globular clusters.

    Comment: It is difficult to account for the existence of these hybrid clusters in terms of the totally different cluster origins portrayed in conventional theory. The derivation from the theory of the universe of motion arrives at a simple and straightforward explanation. It identifies M 67 and the others of the same general type as former globular clusters or parts thereof, which have only recently reached the galactic disk. The modification of the cluster structure under the influence of the strong rotational forces of the Galaxy is already under way, but the acceleration of the evolution of the stars by reason of the availability of more dust and gas for accretion is a slower process, and it has not yet had time to show much effect.

  3. Observation The observed motions of the stars in the open clusters show that these groups are disintegrating at a relatively rapid rate. The large number of these clusters now in existence in spite of the short indicated life means that some process of replenishment of the supply must be in operation.

    Comment: As indicated in the discussion of this subject in Chapter 8, current astronomical theory has nothing to offer on this problem but pure speculation. The theory of the universe of motion identifies the source of the replacements.

  4. Observation: Studies indicate that clusters similar to M 67 have a greater density and are located higher above the galactic plane than clusters that resemble the double cluster in Perseus.

    Comment: The significance of these observations has also been noted earlier. They constitute prima facie evidence that the accepted view of the direction of evolution of the clusters and their constituent stars is wrong.

  5. Observation: In addition to globular clusters of the Norma type, the Magellanic Clouds contain some clusters that have the size and shape of globular clusters, but are composed of stars that resemble those of the open clusters in the galaxy.

    Comment: As Bart J. Bok pointed out in the statement quoted in Chapter 8, the existence of stars of different evolutionary ages in globular clusters is inconsistent with current astronomical theory, which views these clusters as having been formed early in the history of the universe. But it is easily understood on the basis of the theory of the universe of motion.

    Summarizing, we can add to the previous count one set of facts (number 14) explained, by current astronomical theory, two (15 and 16) without any explanation and two (17 and 18) for which the current explanations are inconsistent with the observed facts. As reported in Chapter 3, this makes the total score for current astronomical theory 4 items explained, 7 with no explanation, and 7 with untenable explanations. In sharp contrast to this dismal record, the deductions from the postulates that define the universe of motion, which are totally independent of any input from astronomical observation, lead to explanations for all 18 items that are fully consistent with the observations.

    This globular cluster situation is not an isolated case. It is merely a particularly conspicuous example of the results of basing astronomical theory on pure assumptions. The principal assumptions that have been made, and the manner in which they have been utilized to construct a wholly imaginary astronomical universe, will be reviewed in Chapter 28, after the pertinent information that can be derived from the theory of the universe of motion has been more fully developed

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