Rogue Planets

There are rogue or nomadic planets wandering through the Milky Way Galaxy without being attached to the tether of a sun.  There also are planets attached to the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy moving through our galaxy, so it is possible that one of these planets could wander into our solar system.

You may not know it, but our galaxy is colliding with the Sagittarius galaxy right now.   Galaxy collisions are very common in our universe, but the stars in each galaxy are so far apart that collisions between stars are very rare.  Our galaxy and the Andromeda Galaxy will collide in about 4 billion years.

It is possible that these giant galaxies, Milky Way and Andromeda, passed close to each other about 10 billion years ago.  The force of gravity on each other probably caused the galaxies to bend out of shape.  This interaction may have had a significant impact on the development of our solar system.  Some scientists speculate that this interaction could have created some of the stars in our galaxy.  Gravity from the neighboring galaxy could have compressed gas clouds, causing them to collapse and to ignite, forming new stars.

On December 24th on the night before Christmas, Venus was setting in the west while Jupiter was rising in the east, creating a bookend effect with our brightest planets sitting opposite from each other near the horizons.  If you were in the plains or in a level area, you could see both of them from dusk to about one hour after dusk.

The full moon is the brightest night object with about a 13 magnitude, while Venus, the brightest planet, is about one-third of that brightness at about 4.6.  Mars and Jupiter have about the same magnitude, about 2.7.  

At 11:00 am on December 24th a planet with a magnitude of somewhere between the moon and Venus, about a 6, was about 60 degrees in elevation in the eastern sky.  It was as bright as the landing lights from an airplane. 

All indications are that it is Jupiter, but its magnitude seems to be unusually high for Jupiter, which is usually about half this brightness.  However, if you follow a line from Rigel to Betelgeuse in the constellation Orion, it takes you to this planet, which must be Jupiter.  Its analemma travels go through the Gemini constellation just to the right of Castor and Pollux.  Typically, Jupiter travels from the east to the north and then will do a retrograde motion back to the east, creating a crunched “z” in its pattern.  I will continue to monitor this throughout 2014.  

When I examined it with a telescope, it appeared to have large craters similar to the moon, which could be Jupiter’s circular storms, one of which is the giant Red Spot.  But I did not see the traditional stripes around the planet.  Its relative size to our moon with the naked eye at this distance was about 1 to 20. 

It had at least one moon circling it at an unbelievable speed.  I timed it and it took only several minutes for its moon to circle the planet.  The only other possibility was that it had two moons in the same general orbit.  Again, it has to be Jupiter because that planet has four large moons, while Venus has none.  Venus also is in the western quadrant, so we can rule out Venus.

So, my conclusion is that it must be Jupiter, although I still have many questions: (1) why is Jupiter brighter than normal, (2) why does Jupiter appear to have craters without its traditional striping pattern, and (3) why does its moon circle the planet so quickly?

On the next night, January 12, 2014, Jupiter sat low at about 20 degrees elevation, moving to about 30 degrees and located in the east of northeast section at sunset.  The only two objects I could see in the early dusk were the moon and this planet.  I watched the landing lights of an airplane, which looked identical to the magnitude of this planet’s light.  Castor and Pollux were to its north (left) and Rigel and Betelgeuse were south (right) of it.  So, it must be Jupiter with an unusual high magnitude.

On February 15, 2014, at about 11:00 pm, the sky was very cloudy so that there were only two visible objects in the sky.  One, of course, was the moon, which barely could be seen.  The other, interestingly enough, was the overhead light of a planet breaking through the thick cloud cover.  I found this to be very unusual that a planet’s light was so bright that it could penetrate the heavy snow clouds.

On February 17, 2014, at about 11:00 pm, the sky was very cloudy so that there was only one visible object in the sky.  It was not the moon.  Believe it or not, it was the light of the planet coming through the pea soup.


The Incredible Shrinking Universe

Introduction

The majority of cosmologists believe our universe is expanding at increasing speeds.  This theory is supported by the “red shift” discovered by Edwin Hubbell and others.  In effect, inflation and the Big Bang theories explained the shift to the red, the lower frequency part of the spectrum, for light emitted from galaxies. 

The red shift became greater for the more distant galaxies.   Hubbell and most modern cosmologists believed this proved that the universe was expanding at accelerating speeds.  But this cannot be explained by gravity, which would cause a decrease in expansion over time. 

Many cosmologists look to dark energy to explain what is happening; however, this mysterious force is glued into the inflationary theme in an effort to prop the old beliefs up, rather than examining new ideas.

A new theory of cosmology may be in order.  Christof Wetterich, a physicist at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, believes that the universe may be shrinking.   In his paper, A Universe without Expansion, he discussed a new theory “where the universe shrinks rather than expands during the radiation and matter dominated periods”.  He argued that the red shift also could be explained by a shrinking universe. 

He wrote:  “Only dimensionless ratios as the distance between galaxies divided by the atom radius are observable.  The cosmological increase of this ratio would also be attributed to shrinking atoms.”  He noted that the light emitted by atoms was also determined by masses of the elementary particles, including electrons.  If the mass of an atom decreased, its frequency would be red-shifted.

Wetterich’s shrinking universe did not negate the expansion of the universe during a short inflationary period.  But under his theory, the Big Bang no longer was a ‘singularity’ where the density of the universe would be infinite.  Now, the Big Bang stretched back in the past for basically an infinite period of time without a singularity.  One theory might be that the combination of expansion from the Big Bang and contraction into the Big Crunch would alternate back and forth forever.

However, Wetterich’s theory cannot be tested.  Mass can be measured only relative to something else.  For example, scientists compare any mass being measured relative to a kilogram standard in a vault in Paris.   If the mass in our universe were shrinking proportionally, there would be no way to prove it.

Is Our Universe Shrinking?

So is there any evidence that our universe is shrinking?  There may be.  Typically, scientists would look for similar interactions between matter and energy.  So, let’s consider the conversion of matter to energy in the sun.  Currently, the amount of hydrogen in the sun is 70%, helium is 28%, and the other elements are 2%.  We know this will change as the sun converts more hydrogen into helium and eventually into heavier elements.  This percentage is eerily similar to the amount of dark energy in the universe which is 72%, dark matter is 24%, and other matter is 4%.

God – Intellect vs. Emotion – Comparison Between Sun & Universe

What if dark energy were consuming matter within our observable universe similar to the fusion activity on the sun?  If this were true, this could explain the red shift without the problematic singularity.  If galaxies were being contracted by dark energy, they would remain proportional as to each other because the decrease in size would be consistent throughout the universe, assuming a homogenous or isotropic universe which most cosmologists believe.

The sun is about 4.6 billion years old, while the universe is about 13.8 billion years old, so this makes this comparison even more interesting.  The dark energy may have been consuming matter longer than the sun has been consuming hydrogen, so it makes sense that the percentage of dark energy is so high. 

The two processes are opposites.  Dark matter would increase while hydrogen would decrease.  Think of the conversion to energy by dark matter as more like fission as compared to fusion of the sun.  Nuclear fusion and fission are two types of energy released from atomic bonds between particles in the nucleus.  The primary difference is that fission is a splitting of an atom into smaller atoms and fusion is combining two smaller atoms into a larger one.  The amount of energy needed for fission is less than that for fusion, but the energy released by fusion is higher than that for fission. 

However, we do not know that dark energy is a result of fission.  We don’t even know for certain that dark energy is energy.  We just do not know what it is.  It is like putting a jig saw puzzle together which has big pieces missing.  You cannot see the missing pieces, but you can sometimes determine what they might look like based on the openings formed by the pieces of the puzzle that you do have locked in place. 

We do know that the sun is about half way through its life.  The percentage of about 70% could be the middle point for both the sun and the universe’s contraction stage, since we believe that the last stages will consume matter exponentially in a runaway conversion to energy. 

The universe may have expanded rapidly until gravity lost out to dark energy.  The expansion period probably was for a short period as gravity was a weak force.  The expansion more than likely stopped billions of years before our sun and solar system were formed.  If this were true, we would be deep into a contraction period now, perhaps over half way through it.  However, there could be an argument that since the dark energy already is at the 72% mark, the contraction event is in its last stages.

The other elements in our sun do not include all the elements in the universe, so again it is not surprising that the other elements in the universe are 4%, while the sun only has 2%.   It would seem logical to conclude that the 24% dark matter and 4% other matter would be consumed at the same rate.  All matter in the galaxies, including the supermassive black holes in the center of galaxies, should be decreasing in size equally.  Everything within the galaxy would remain the same as to each other, except anything related to gravity.  For example, the black holes would continue to feed on other matter in the galaxies, while some galaxies would continue to merge into neighboring galaxies like Andromeda and the Milky Way.   

Coincidental or Coincident Percentages?

The percentages of the elements in the sun and the universe are strikingly similar.  Is this by a coincidental accident or is it a coincident impact on both since there are similar forces working on each?  The sun is composed of 70% hydrogen, 28% helium, and 2% of other elements.  The sun will not create all the elements until it explodes.  The universe is composed of 72% dark energy, 24% dark matter, and 4% of all other matter.   Are these percentages just a coincidence or is this further proof of homogeneity in the universe?  Is there a universal force, perhaps dark energy, which keeps everything equally balanced?

The event of changing from expansion to contraction must have occurred sometime during the 13.8 billion years.  Our solar system and earth may have been in the contraction phase since their inception.

Could there also be a parallel in the ending for the sun and the universe?  In other words, could the death of the sun as it consumes the last of its hydrogen be an example of the same fate for our universe?  If that is true, then we could visualize multiple Big Crunches and Big Bangs, alternating back and forth, much like the suns exploding in supernovas and then accumulating and being born again as stars.  This would eliminate the singularity problem in the Big Bang theory.

Closed or Open Universe

Our universe is either closed or open.  If it is closed, it has a boundary, but not necessarily a separating line or ending location.  It could be a separating event.  If it is open, it has no edges or boundaries.

God – Intellect vs. Emotion – Closed Universe

God – Intellect vs. Emotion – Open Universe

Many cosmologists believe that the universe is open and will continue its expansion forever as a result of insufficient gravitational attraction of mass to halt that expansion.  This comports with the Big Bang expansion theory.  However, cosmologists may find the closed universe theory more compelling if offered a new perspective.

The typical explanation of a closed universe is that it has boundaries just like a circle.  In a closed universe, there would be a Big Bang causing matter to expand and then dark energy would cause the universe to collapse in a final singularity, the Big Crunch.

God – Intellect vs. Emotion – Big Crunch

 However, if the limit of our closed universe were an event, then the shape of the universe would be unlike anything we know on earth.  For example, the Big Bang could have started the expansion which could have continued on until an event when dark energy reversed this process, causing a contraction.

If our universe were expanding forever into deep space, sometimes called the “Big Freeze,” then we would be living in an open universe.  Is there any evidence proving that this is a closed universe since that seems to be a minority opinion? 

Well, there might be four arguments that favor a closed system. 

1.      There are clear boundaries between the macroworld of gravity and the microworld of quantum mechanics.  Boundaries between these two universes are obvious because the laws of gravity do not apply in the quantum world.  And demarcation lines prove closures exist. 

2.      The Big Bang theory proves that our universe broke out of a shell as if it broke open the boundary and popped into a closed universe.  We cannot see beyond the Big Bang because it probably is not in our universe.  The “Big Freeze” theory does not make sense since our universe is expanding at increasing speeds.  Clearly, if our universe were headed out into an infinite open space, it would be slowing down.  Interestingly, the outermost solar systems in galaxies are moving around the center of the galaxies at the same speed as the inner systems.  We would expect the systems near the edge of the galaxy to slow down since the gravitational attraction of the super-massive black holes in the center of the galaxies would decrease. 

3.      This proves that there is an invisible order in our universe, which would not exist in an open system.  It could be dark energy or the original imprint from the creation of the galaxy, but for the purposes of our argument, it doesn’t matter what you call it.  We just know that it exists. 

4.      In an open system, entropy would be the rule as everything slowed down, failed, disintegrated, and came to a final, frozen end.  In a closed system, there would be an order and design imprinted on galaxies and everything else in the universe.  Of course, entropy also exists in a closed universe, but it is offset by order and design.

Conservation of Matter and Energy

In a closed universe, there is a law called conservation of matter (mass) and energy, which means that all matter and energy within our universe can neither be created nor destroyed.  Matter may be converted to energy and energy may transform into matter, but the total amount of matter and energy in our universe would remain constant.

This transformation from one form to another may be the mechanism that allows our universe to run infinitely.  We understand that a circle is representative of a form that permits an infinite pattern of repetition.  It is a little more difficult for us to imagine a closed universe that is like a balloon in that it expands to a point and then it contracts back again in a perpetual motion machine for our universe.  It is quite possible that “dark energy” in our universe is increasing in strength as more matter may be turning into this strange form.  Mathematical formulas indicate that this poorly understood force currently accounts for about 72% of our universe and it may be increasing.

If dark energy were able to convert matter into itself, we might expect that the matter within our universe (solar systems, galaxies, clouds of interstellar dust, and dark matter) could be shrinking.  If the downsizing of matter is consistent, then galaxies would appear to be pulling away from each other.  The only exceptions would be the galaxies that are so close to each other that gravity of matter would control their movement, drawing them together.

The red shift discussed above proves exactly that.  Gravity only impacts those galaxies that are in proximity to each other.  Dark energy may be converting mass to energy, and as the dark energy is enhanced, the shrinkage of matter would increase.

Are Shrinking Galaxies Remaining Proportional?

The galaxies may remain proportionate to each other since the effect of dark energy may be consistent on any matter throughout our observable universe.  The shrinking of galaxies would look like the galaxies were racing away from each other toward a larger gravitational force.  Is there any evidence that galaxies are remaining proportionally the same?  There may be. 

Let’s examine the Milky Way galaxy.  Based on our understanding of the theory of gravity, the outer stars of our galaxy should be moving more slowly as their speeds would be decelerating.  That’s not happening.  The stars on the outside rim of the galaxy are moving just as fast as the inner stars.  This does not comport with our understanding of gravity.  This appears to be pretty good evidence that the mass of our Milky Way is locked into the same configuration, proportion, and speed.

 

Runaway Deflation

If the dark energy is exerting this force, reducing the size of matter as it gobbles it up, the galaxies will be racing away from each other because they could be decreasing in size at an increasing rate.  This shrinking effect could accelerate as dark energy became more prominent in our universe.  In Einstein’s formula (E=mc squared) a kilogram of mass is converted to 299,792,458 squared joules of energy.  If all the mass in our existing universe is being converted to energy, the amount of energy produced would become so astronomical that at some point, there would probably be runaway conversion.  In other words, the acceleration of our shrinking mass in the universe would increase exponentially.

Conclusion

There is much that we do not know and perhaps never will.  Most of the universe is invisible to us, and even if it were visible, we probably still would not understand it.  But the law of conservation of matter and energy seems to be a solid law with no exceptions in a closed universe.  That is why it is critical for cosmologists and other scientists to think outside the box.  Even though the theory of a shrinking universe, which involve a combination of the Big Bang, the Big Crunch, and the Big Bounce, cannot be proven, it cannot be proven wrong either.  It should be considered as a mainstream theory along with the expansion theory.

 

Our Incredible Shrinking Universe

The majority of cosmologists believe our universe is expanding at increasing speeds.  This theory is supported by the “red shift” discovered by Edwin Hubbell and others.  In effect, inflation and the Big Bang theories explained the shift to the red, the lower frequency part of the spectrum, for light emitted from galaxies.  The red shift became greater for the more distant galaxies.   Hubbell and most modern cosmologists believed this proved that the universe was expanding at accelerating speeds.

However, Christof Wetterich, a physicist at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, believes that the universe may be shrinking.   In his paper, A Universe without Expansion, he discussed a new theory “where the universe shrinks rather than expands during the radiation and matter dominated periods”.  He argued that the red shift also could be explained by shrinking universe.  He wrote:  “Only dimensionless ratios as the distance between galaxies divided by the atom radius are observable.  The cosmological increase of this ratio would also be attributed to shrinking atoms.”  He noted that the light emitted by atoms was also determined by masses of the elementary particles, including electrons.  If the mass of an atom decreased, its frequency would be red-shifted.

Wetterich’s shrinking universe did not negate the expansion of the universe during a short inflationary period.  But under his theory, the Big Bang no longer contained a ‘singularity’ where the density of the universe would be infinite.  Now, the Big Bang stretched out in the past over an essentially infinite period of time without a singularity.

However, Wetterich’s theory cannot be tested.  Mass can be measured only relative to something else.  For example, scientists compare any mass being measured relative to a kilogram standard in a vault in Paris.   If the mass in our universe were shrinking proportionally, there would be no way to prove it.

The law of conservation of matter (mass) and energy simply means that all matter and energy within a closed universe can neither be created nor destroyed.  Matter may be converted to energy and energy may transform into matter, but the total amount of matter and energy in our universe would remain constant.

It is quite possible that “dark energy” in our universe is increasing in strength as more matter may be turning into this strange form of energy.  Mathematical formulas indicate that this poorly understood energy currently accounts for about 75% of our universe.

If dark energy were able to convert matter into itself, we might expect that the matter within our universe (solar systems, galaxies, clouds of interstellar dust, and dark matter) could be shrinking.  If the downsizing of matter is consistent, then galaxies would appear to be pulling away from each other.  The only exceptions would be the galaxies that are so close to each other that gravity of matter would control their movement, drawing them together. 

The red shift discussed above proves exactly that.  Gravity only impacts those galaxies that are in proximity to each other.  Dark energy may be converting mass to energy, and as the dark energy is enhanced, the shrinkage of matter would increase.   

The galaxies may remain proportionate to each other since the effect of dark energy may be consistent on any matter throughout our observable universe.  The shrinking of galaxies would look like the galaxies were racing away from each other toward a larger gravitational force.  Is there any evidence that galaxies are remaining proportionally the same?  There may be. 

Let’s examine the Milky Way galaxy.  Based on our understanding of the theory of gravity, the outer stars of our galaxy should be moving more slowly as their speeds would be decelerating.  That’s not happening.  The stars on the outside rim of the galaxy are moving just as fast as the inner stars.  This does not comport with our understanding of gravity.  This appears to be pretty good evidence that the mass of our Milky Way is locked into the same configuration, proportion, and speed.

If the dark energy is exerting this force, reducing the size of matter as it gobbles it up, the galaxies will be racing away from each other because they could be decreasing in size at an increasing rate.  This shrinking effect could accelerate as dark energy became more prominent in our universe.  In Einstein’s formula (E=mc squared) a kilogram of mass is converted to 299,792,458 squared joules of energy.  If all the mass in our existing universe is being converted to energy, the amount of energy produced would become so astronomical that at some point, there would probably be runaway conversion.  In other words, the acceleration of our shrinking mass in the universe would increase exponentially.

There is much that we do not know and perhaps never will.  Most of the universe is invisible to us, and even if it were visible, we probably still would not understand it.  But the law of conservation of matter and energy seems to be a solid law with no exceptions in a closed universe.  That is why it is critical for cosmologists and other scientists to think outside the box.  Even though the theory of a shrinking universe cannot be proven, it cannot be disproven either.  It should be considered as a mainstream theory along with the expansion theory.

The Beatitudes

One of the more interesting sermons provided by Jesus was the Beatitudes or Sermon on the Mount found in the fifth chapter of Matthew.  He mentioned the commandments in the Old Testament, which were similar to criminal laws; but He seemed to place the emphasis on what you should be thinking at death, not on what you had accomplished during your life.

Even though He specifically listed the laws against killing and not committing adultery, His focus was not on the acts themselves, but on what you were thinking that could have led to these acts.  In the case of murder, you may have been angry at the victim.  And you may have lusted for a woman prior to committing adultery.

But was Jesus concerned about stopping these crimes at their formative stages?  Or did He want us to think differently?  He said that lusting for a woman was committing adultery in your heart.  Some men would say that not thinking about being with beautiful women is impossible.  Others would say that they could control this urge sometimes, but on other occasions, they could not prevent that thought from entering their minds.

However, Jesus may have had a different meaning in Beatitudes than a metrics evaluation of our past thoughts on judgment day.  There is no difference between counting the times you committed adultery and the times you thought about having sex with someone.  Your prior acts and thoughts during life may not have any bearing on the price of admission to heaven.  But your thoughts after death probably face the critical test.  In other words, Jesus may have been telling us that we need to practice controlling our thoughts during life, so that we will be ready for the final exam after death.

Jesus also said that your righteousness must exceed that of the religious leaders, who even though following the laws, allowed their self-serving thoughts to control their lives.  In effect, He was saying that cloaking yourself with the rules and ceremony of religion and church is not the key to entering the kingdom of heaven.

Why did Jesus emphasize thinking?  Well, we know that deeds during life will not advance you to heaven.  It is only your belief or your thinking after death that will open the door to heaven.  Jesus focused on our thought process because He knew that our thoughts would be all that we would carry from our past life as we passed through the portal of chaos.  The key to heaven was what you will be thinking at death, not what you have done during life.

Jesus knew that we would need discipline and control over our minds before we entered the chamber of darkness.  Like lifting barbells, you can increase repetitions and add weight as you get stronger.  Your control over your thoughts will improve with time and effort.

If you believe without any reservations that the first familiar face you will see is Jesus, then that is who you will see.  Jesus would then be your guide through this mysterious antechamber.  In unfamiliar territory, you will need a guide.  You cannot travel this path by yourself.  With Jesus by your side, you will be calmer and have a certain degree of control even when everything running through your mind might be attempting to distract you from your true and final destination.

Jesus knew that moderate and clear thought would be your ally in the battle for control of these thoughts.  Billions of thoughts are possible, many of them leading to the chaotic dark side of the afterlife.  It is only by following the guidance of Jesus that you will be saved.

You must think differently.  Your thoughts must be pure, cleansed by accepting Jesus as your savior.  Let the impure thoughts fall into the deep well of hell.  Keep only those that would come from an innocent, plucked from the field of sinners by Jesus and held high above the swirling, destructive clouds of chaos.  Jesus will bring you to God only if you truly believe.

True Believer – Giving and Accepting

We humans are almost identical in our genes, proving that there was a bottleneck about 75,000 years ago when our species was reduced to about a thousand scattered around the world.  Some scientists speculate that the super-massive eruption of Mt. Toba in Indonesia was the culprit that nearly caused the extermination of mankind.

Yet, we are all different in how we deal with the gift of life.  You might think that Homo sapiens would act the same since the genetic material is so close to being the same.  But you would be wrong.  We are given choices, and we are very creative in how we make the billions of choices in our lifetimes.  That’s why our species uniquely decides to commit mass murders, to torture, to rape, to mutilate, to sodomize, etc.  There is no bottom in the depths of depravity.

But some of our species go in the opposite direction, finding religion and becoming better humans as each day passes.  Generally, these people thank God for His gift of life and accept His gift of life with humility and deep appreciation.  Then they accept God’s gift of eternal life.  Then some take another step to give His gift to others.  They pass on the secret gift of eternal life to nonbelievers.

Many turn away from religion since they associate it with cults and mindless followers or, in other cases, with extremists who will burn witches, who will become suicide terrorists, or who will murder under the guise of doing God’s will.  Even though man’s history is littered with these sordid tales, these faux religious leaders and followers were not true believers. 

A true believer is a good solid thinker and would never allow evil thoughts to prevail.  A true believer is a complex thinker and is not tempted to follow simplistic, hollow thoughts.  In effect, a true believer both gives and accepts with great thought.  A true believer gives of himself/herself by explaining the deceptions of life to others.  The great deception is that man is the center of his life, and is deceived into believing that he should enjoy it, taking whatever he wants, because he will soon die and there will be no consequences for his actions. 

I cannot prove that this is incorrect.  But, on the other hand, nobody can prove that we will not continue thinking after we die.  It’s possible that evil could consume mankind with no consequences, but there is always the question of what is behind the door of death.  Nobody knows with any degree of certainty exactly what happens in the afterlife. 

But a true believer would be prepared for whatever may come.  If a true believer is still thinking after death, all the anguish from poor decisions and self-torture will not come to pass.  The true believer has accepted Jesus death on the cross as dying for his sins, so will not think of them anymore.  Acceptance is critical.  Many people would have trouble accepting somebody dying for them, but a true believer does because that person knows that Jesus already gave His life for that purpose, so it would be a waste to cast this gift aside.  Also, it is the only way to completely eradicate the guilt that would pull you down into deep dark thoughts, leading to the gates of Hell.     

Matter (Mass) and Energy Infinitely Exist in our Universe

The law of conservation of matter (mass) and energy simply means that all matter and energy within a closed universe can neither be created nor destroyed.  Matter may be converted to energy and energy may transform into matter, but the total amount of matter and energy in our universe would remain constant.

It is quite possible that “dark energy” in our universe is increasing in strength as more matter may be turning into this strange form of energy.  Mathematical formulas indicate that this poorly understood energy currently accounts for about 75% of our universe.

If dark energy were able to convert matter into itself, we might expect that the matter within our universe (solar systems, galaxies, and clouds of interstellar dust) could be shrinking.  If the downsizing of matter is consistent, then galaxies would appear to be pulling away from each other.  The only exceptions would be the galaxies that are so close to each other that gravity of matter would control their movement, drawing them together. 

Interestingly enough, the red shift discovered by Edwin Hubbell proves exactly that.  Hubbell found that galaxies are moving away from each other at an accelerated rate.  Gravity only impacts those galaxies that are in proximity to each other.  Dark energy may be converting mass to energy, and as the dark energy is enhanced, the shrinkage of matter would increase.  This could be called the Big Crunch. 

If galaxies remain proportionate to each other, the shrinking of galaxies would look like the galaxies were racing away from each other toward a larger gravitational force.  Is there any evidence that galaxies are remaining proportionally the same?  There may be. 

If the mass of our Milky Way galaxy were only due to visible stars, the outer stars would be moving more slowly as their speed would be decelerating.  That’s not happening.  The stars on the outside rim of the galaxy are moving just as fast as the inner stars.  This does not comport with our understanding of gravity.  This appears to be pretty good evidence that the mass of our Milky Way is locked into the same configuration, proportion, speed, and size.

If the dark energy is exerting this force, reducing the size of matter as it gobbles it up, the galaxies will be racing away from each other because they could be decreasing in size at an increasing rate.

This shrinking effect could accelerate as dark energy became more prominent in our universe.  In Einstein’s formula (E=mc square) a kilogram of mass is converted to 299,792,458 squared joules of energy.  If all the mass in our existing universe is being converted to energy, the amount of energy produced would become so astronomical that at some point, there would probably be runaway conversion.  In other words, the acceleration of our shrinking mass in the universe could increase exponentially.

There is much that we do not know and perhaps never will.  Most of the universe is invisible to us, and even if it were visible, we probably still would not understand it.  But the law of conservation of matter and energy seems to be a solid law with no exceptions in a closed universe. 

Assuming this law to be true, we wonder about our thinking.  Is our thinking based on matter or energy or both?  We know about the brain, which is certainly matter, but most animals think with instincts that are ingrained in their brains.  Mankind makes decisions based on intentional selections.  This is different than other animals.  Is this freedom to make choices part of our brain or is it an energy that we have, different from others in the animal kingdom? 

It may not be important since your thinking cannot be destroyed in a closed universe.  Whether it is matter, energy, or both, thinking must continue in some fashion.  If you die and continue thinking, you may wonder what that would be like.  Nobody knows, but it might be similar to sensory-deprivation, which I am told has been used to torture prisoners.  After a few minutes, the detainees start to hallucinate, having nightmarish dreams.  Can you imagine being imprisoned with only your thoughts for infinity?        

If You Just Believe

This time of year, surrounded by holidays like bookends, is a great time to do a year-end accounting of what transpired over the course of 365 days.  What did you really accomplish?  No, not what did you accomplish?  What did you really accomplish?

That question is usually answered with lists about how much money you made, how you improved the house, how much weight you lost, how many vacations you took, how many times you had sex, etc.  But what did you really accomplish?

Did you find something to believe in last year?  Now, that would be an accomplishment.

Once upon a time, you may have believed in Santa Claus.  But that belief eroded as we got older.  We simply believed in receiving gifts as adults.  But that belief in Santa was magical.  Armed with that belief, we discovered all the warm, wonderful feelings of the Christmas spirit.  Unfortunately, the spirit died along with the belief.

So, believing in something is important.  It’s important to make your life better, and it may be most important after you die.  And since it is a simple thing to do, you would think that more people would take advantage of it.  But they don’t. 

Why?  Well, perhaps it is because we all get caught up in the problems of life.  We have to make a living.  We have to provide for our family.  We are distracted 24/7, so that many years go by without any thought being given to what you believe.  It is like 365 Ground Hog days, all alike with no distinctions or creative thoughts permitted.

Can you just spend a few minutes, breaking out of your shell?  Can you think outside the box for a moment?  Can you just stop and think for a second?  What do you believe in?  I know sometimes you believe that you are stuck in this world with nothing to believe in.  But have you ever reached down deep inside yourself and found that spark of magic that does believe in something?  And if so, what is it that you believe in?

If you examine the history of mankind, we find that religion is the source of many of our strong beliefs.  That may mean that religion is the fountain for beliefs.  If that is true, then you should examine all religions.  You may find one that fits your unique belief system. 

I’m not saying that you have to go to church to find a belief.  You can find it in your own place and time.  You may find it as you watch the sun set in the evening.  You may find it as your youngest child reaches up to grab your hand.  You may find it as you kiss your wife goodnight.  It doesn’t matter how you find it.  You just need to discover your belief.  If you just believe, it will make your life better; and if there is an afterlife, it will absolutely, positively help you navigate through that potentially dark, chaotic environment.