» Home > In the News

Two rates of expansion and the zodiacal lights

10 September 2013

At http://phys.org/print297931761.html … measuring the speed the Universe is expanding has come up with a problem. The mainstream view is that the observable universe has been expanding since the Big Bang and the speed of this is known as the Hubble Constant – but how fast is the rate of expansion? Measuring cosmic microwave background radiation has been the accepted methodology until recently. The Planck satellite, belonging to the ESA, delivered a different rate of exapansion several months ago which has caused a problem. The difference is in the order to 9 per cent, which is quite significant. They used a method involving the movement of galaxies near the Milky Way which is assumed to match the exansion of the universe elsewhere – but it produced an anomaly. Now, we have the idea of a Hubble Bubble to account for the difference.

At http://phys.org/print297929395.html … discusses the amount of dust floating around the solar system, created by asteroids and comets etc. This dust, it says, is the origin of the zodiacal light, a diffuse glow in the night sky, and pyramidal in shape, and that light extends along the plane of the ecliptic (the plane of the solar system) which can be seen faintly from the Earth stretching along the zodiac (most easily after sunset or before sunrise). It is so faint nowadays that moonlight is enough to mask it.

The Earth collects dust in a series of patches which lie in a ring around the orbit. New measurements of this dust, using space instruments, have found there was much more dust than previously considered, much of it composed of such tiny grains they could not pick them up with the previous technology. Some of them move very fast – at the speed of the solar wind, accelerating as a result of the magnetic fields.  (Solar Physics, 286 page 549, 2013)

This is an interesting subject as Clube and Napier, and others, claimed dust emitted by proto Encke periodically produced streams of dust and debris, dense to begin with but dissipating over time, that caused very intense episodes of the zodiacal light phenomenon, and a visible stream of light along the plane of the ecliptic that was interpreted by different people around the world as a heavenly river (in the sky), most famously the idea of a Nile in the heavens. This is usually thought to refer to the Milky Way, a rather bulky stream of stars, for want of an alternative explanation. The river in the sky is not only a feature of Egyptian religion and myth but that of MesoAmerica too, and even Europe. The river Boyne appears to reflect such a belief, as an example, and this is why it was chosen as a location for a number of megalithic passage monuments. The same might be said of the river Avon.

Skip to content