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Gerardus D. Bouw, Ph.D.

This article presents some of the necessary background to appreciate the history and background of Harald Heinze's arguments in the previous installment, “Is the Universe Large or Small? Part 2.” It is important to look at the context of the quotes used in Heinze's paper since Harald has a tendency to read his speculations into them. Besides that, Heinze consistently misrepresent my position in his papers and correspondence. He claims proofs when there are none, and will disallow laboratory and solar system evidence to be used as evidence for a large universe on the basis of great uncertainties therein; but he'll use the same “questionable” evidence (e.g., spectroscopy) if it suits his purpose and then, of course, it's a proven fact.

Misrepresentations and misunderstandings

Certitude of the distance scale: I've consistently allowed that the universe could easily be much smaller (or even larger) than modern estimates. Harald prefers to paint me inflexible on this matter.

Aspden's model: Harald labors under the misconception that Harold Aspden's model of a plenum aether is the same as mine. Early in the development of my model, Aspden's was quite useful in countering the Greek arguments against an infinitely dense medium and in pointing the way to the importance of spin in any aether cosmology; but Aspden's model has unacceptable pantheistic overtones. It took several years for me to rid the plenum aether model of its pantheistic properties, which was its main impediment. In 1986 I was allowed to develop a created, pseudo-plenum aether model which would behave like a plenum as far as temporal matter was concerned and yet was itself created and finite, thus avoiding the pantheism.

Theory of light: Harald spends a lot of effort describing and analyzing Michelson's 1913 experiment. Apparently he has not noticed that Michelson's experiment is a variant of Sagnac's experiment.1 Harald erroneously assumes that I support relativity theory one-hundred percent. Perhaps he thinks this because in the past I've said that there is nothing wrong with relativity's math, just with one or two basic assumptions.

The claim that a photon has no rest mass has nothing to do with relativity. Nor does the absence of a rest mass disprove wave theory. In no case does a wave carry particles with it for any significant distance. Take sound waves as an example. Sound is a pressure wave. When we speak, sound particles do not shoot out of our mouths to hit the listener in the ear. Instead, the momentum is transferred through the air by a pressure wave which effectively shakes the molecules back and forth. A similar thing happens when shaking out a table cloth, where the wave travels from one's hand to the edge of the cloth while the fibers of the table cloth itself do not move along with the wave. Who hasn't had the corner of the tablecloth pulled out of his hand by the shock? So there is momentum in the wave, yet the wave itself has no rest mass. For light the momentum is defined as hn , Planck's constant times the frequency, not as mc, mass times the speed of light. So there is physical ”experience” behind a zero rest mass.

In his analysis of Michelson's experiment, Harald has chosen to ignore some effects, so a more careful review of the experiment is in order. Since neither mirrors A or B participate in the rotation, (something not made clear in Harald's analysis), the first photon gains speed, v, from D, presumably gains or loses none from E, loses slightly less speed than the v it gained from D at C, is reflected at a slightly altered angle from B to A, travels a bit further to end up slightly to the right of where it was reflected off A, and, in passing through mirror A is refracted to the left. The other photon will be refracted to the right in passing through mirror A, strike mirror B slightly to the right of true, and then will hit moving mirror C later, (further back) than when the first photon hit D. So it bounces off C, loosing a bit less speed than D had gained. After bouncing off E, the photon hits D and gains a bit less speed than it lost at C. This photon hits to the left of the point where it passed through mirror A.

Now for the misrepresentation. Harald ignores the conclusion I drew from Sagnac's experiment in my book and elsewhere. The Sagnac effect can only be explained if the speed of the mirrors through the aether is alternately added and subtracted to the speed of light. In the usual wave- based analysis, the speed of light is constant, c, through the aether, and the speed of the mirror, v, is added or subtracted (depending on direction) to c when computing travel times. Think of the mirror as a speedboat going upstream and downstream. Harald adds or subtracts the speed also, claiming that the photon picks up the speed, but the term is still c+v or c-v in both cases. So how can Harald claim he has proven the ballistic theory when the wave theory gives the same travel times for the experiment? Ballistic light and binary stars: By referring to a figure of 30 km/sec at 150,000,000 km, Harald leads the reader into supposing that I was stupid enough to use large cosmology numbers to describe a small universe (see the paragraph labeled “A)” on page 8). The reference is to the model I present starting with the last paragraph on page 16 of Issue No. 73. Note (par. 1, p. 18) that the two stars were 30,000 km apart, not 150,000,000 as Harald claimed. I based my analysis on observed phenomena (the behavior of the so-called spectroscopic binaries) for which he offers no explanation whatsoever. Plasma forces are much greater than gravitational at close distances, so the orbital speeds should be even higher than the 26 km/sec I derived and that makes the consequences for the ballistic theory worse. All Harald can do is to set up a straw man.

Furthermore, in issue number 73, in the same context, I analyzed Harald's explanation for the Doppler shift. He does not address that at all beyond saying “the matter is already treated above,” (p. 10, paragraph starting “P. 20”). Of course, it was nowhere “treated above.”

We've shown that Heinze's claim that Michelson's experiment proves the ballistic theory of light is erroneous. Heinze stirs up a cloud of ink hoping that the reader won't notice that there is absolutely no physical basis for his stellar models. Doppler shifts show orbital speeds of tens to hundreds of km/sec for both visual and spectroscopic binaries. In visual binaries, the Doppler shifts match the periods of the binaries as well as being consistent with gravitational theory in a large universe. There are many binary stars which have been observed for more than one revolution, ones which are well-resolved, not spectroscopic binaries. Yet Heinze offers absolutely no explanation as to how a pair of his small stars, orbiting with a period of hours, weeks or years, can be bound either gravitationally or electromagnetically. One thing's for sure, the period- orbit size seen in the stars is inverse square (gravitational), not inverse cube (electromagnetic). It looks like gravity, not plasma physics dominates in the stellar realm.

Multiple star images: My analysis of the last issue stands, for a large universe, and especially for a small universe. Note that I did not there always get multiple appearances except beyond a certain distance. The overall behavior of binary stars, that they zoom from some points to others while going very slowly over other points of the orbits is absolutely correct in a small universe, and is not at all refuted by either paper cited by Heinze. Those papers assumed large distances so that it would take light a lot longer to cross the orbit and proportionately longer to catch up with itself. Note especially that Heinze pointed to no error in either my math nor my assumptions., and also note that the context of the analysis he quotes is a doubling of “spectral lines,” not star images.

Permeability and permittivity of space: Harald claims that he has papers showing these to be unphysical. Only if there is no aether. Actually, Maxwell's derivation of these was most physical. That space has electromagnetic properties is well documented. By contrast, there is no physical theory to account for how, when an atom loses energy by its electron dropping down to a lower energy state, it ejects a ballistic particle.

Rotations: (Bottom of page 10.) The small rotation speed I derived for the edges of the Coma and Virgo clusters of galaxies require the age of the universe to be “many hundreds of billions of years,” it is claimed. Actually, a bit over a hundred billion years is correct. That was what I brought out in my paper on the rotation curves of clusters of galaxies as published in the Creation Research Society Quarterly in volume 13. Evolutionists disregard evidence for an older universe just as readily as they ignore evidence for a young universe.” The rotation structure does not “show several turns” other than that the cluster is relaxed, that is, mature. If Harald is correct, that in his model several turns have been made over the past 6,000 years, then over the last 100 years, each galaxy cluster should have made from 1/10 (1,000-year period) to 1/20 (2,000-year period) turn. These clusters have been observed for about a century, and no rotation has been detected. A twentieth of a turn is 18 degrees, more than the angle a fist subtends at arm's length. A tenth of a turn is 36 degrees. Galaxies of the Virgo cluster have been observed for about 200 years and should have moved two degrees at that rate: that's four times the apparent diameter of the full moon, yet no motion has been detectable.

As for the Magellanic Clouds, Heinze keeps claiming that the Doppler shift must figure into the motion across the line of sight. Since Doppler effects occur only along the line of sight, they do not affect observations across the line of sight which are angular measurements, not measurements in km/sec. True, the Magellanic clouds presumably do orbit the center of the Milky Way, but that's no help to Harald, for their orbital speed and the tangential speed of proper motion do not differ by more than about 6%. Since Heinze keeps insisting that the Doppler shift does play a part in the motion, but he can't say how or draw a diagram to demonstrate his point, I must assume that once again he doesn't know what he's talking about. On the other hand, if he's talking about the above 6%, it's clear he's not done the numbers.

Parallax: (Bottom of page 11.) What Harald is unwittingly claiming is that if you look at an object, your left eye looks at the left edge of the object while your right eye looks at the right edge. If the object is wider than your face, your eyes would actually go apart. He conveniently ignores the fact that an interferometer seeks the center of light, not the dimmer edge of the extended disk.

In his “recalculation” paragraph it seems that Harald confused absolute parallax (parallax angles measured on earth) with relative parallax (using background stars). Otherwise that paragraph makes no sense.

A search is under way to detect the twinkling of stars due to interstellar plasmas, but only point sources twinkle, not extended sources such as Harald's figure 3 (p. 12). Some effects have been seen, but the fluctuations are too slow to effect interferometry measures: of the order of months. Besides, interferometry of stars twinkling through the earth's atmosphere is done routinely, despite the twinkling. Harald is clutching at straws.

To use the deflection of starlight through the sun's corona (outer atmosphere) in this context is stretching things a lot. Besides, the passing of the moon in front of stars also allows measurements of the angular sizes of their disks, and those confirm interferometric measurements (p. 13).

Inconsistent applications

Spectral lines: If absorption or emission lines are used in support of Harald's model, they are produced by his star. If used in support of a large universe, they are due to intervening matter unrelated to the star. Since the absorption spectra, which shows the Doppler shift, stays in step with the binary stars throughout their orbit, it would logically follow that they are linked together, like a star and its atmosphere. If the absorber is a cloud between the star and earth, then what is that cloud doing moving regularly to and from earth, and in sych with the stars no less? Besides, not all binaries show absorption spectra, some show emission spectra as well. (Point “D)” on page 9.)

Circular reasoning: Since all we know about stars comes from their light, it would be circular reasoning to form conclusions about stellar motions which on the speed of light. Yet it's all right for Harald to form such conclusions. (Page 8.)

Prendergast's figure: (Fig. 4 and point “E)” on page 9.) The figure from Prendergast does not show that the outer velocities are “much bigger than the real velocities of the stars.” Note that even Heinze's caption contradicts him on that point. As for close binaries being embedded in a single atmosphere, that is the definition of a close binary system. The claim about the “bigger companion” is pointless and confused, there is nothing unexpected in Prendergast's figure.

Out of context quotes

Van den Bos's quote: (Point “E)” on page 9.) If you take Heinze's report at face value, you are left with the impression that discrepancies abound in the orbit determinations of binaries, but that is not so. Van den Bos used one extreme case to cautioning astronomers about selection effects which may effect statistical considerations, namely, that short- period binaries with large eccentricity or high inclination or both, will sit far from their companions for most of the time and so they might be mistaken for unrelated single stars. Then, if they are once observed close together, their period may be overestimated. Take Haley's comet, for example: most of its time is spent far out in the solar system, but for a brief time it comes close to the sun to be seen on earth. If some distant observers measured it three times about every 75 years, and saw it far from the sun each time, and then, 36 years after the third measurement they observed it a fourth time and found it close to the sun, they, too might propose that the orbit had a period of 520 years instead of the actual 75 years. That hardly supports Harald's claim that it is difficult to construct orbits of binary stars. I've done it; it's not difficult.

Alfven's quote: Alfven uses words like “not necessarily,” and “may contribute,” which Harald turns into certainties. Ultimately, Heinze's sole argument for small stars, and thus a small universe, rests entirely on the statement by Alfven that his model can form a sun-type star (not a small one) starting from a cloud of dust and gas “orders of magnitude smaller than the Jeans mass.” It is the original cloud, not the star, which is smaller. According to the nebular hypothesis, for example, the dust cloud needed to form the sun needs to be from 10 to 100 solar masses. But Harald pretends that Alfven is talking about stellar masses.

Arp's statement: For all Arp said, Harald could just as well have ended his paragraph on page 5 with: “(i.e. much larger).”

Hard facts

Harald considers the rings around supernova SN 1987A, the quasar 3C273, and Cepheid variables to be his strongest points, otherwise, why would he label these as “the hard facts?” (P. 13.)

Supernova 1987A: That's one of the problems with this publication. I have stuff in my files for years before getting a chance to publish it. The photo of SN 1987A was one of those. The other two rings were noticed in the summer of 1994 (see front cover). What makes SN 1987A so special is that it is an oddball: it is the exception. Most novae seen in the Magellanic Clouds show one regular ring such as the bright inner one seen on the cover. Still, in the absence of any photographs over the intervening years, I will not speculate. I do find the appearance reminiscent of rings I've seen around the sun and moon at times. These latter are caused by ice crystals. Could there be a similar sheet of crystals near the supernova?

As to Harald's claim that 20 to 40 times the speed of light is involved, I see no evidence of that as the whole picture is about 4.5 light years across (assuming 160,000 to 170,000 light years to the Magellanic cloud). Both rings could be foreground objects, as one, the upper on the cover, definitely is as it can be seen in front of the central star. The lower cloud appears to be in front of the upper, although I can see that only in the original, not on the cover reproduction. In that case both rings would show the same spectrum and that would be the spectrum of the supernova since all the light would come from the same plane foreground. I'll leave it at that for now, but I will scan the internet for more recent Hubble photos of SN 1987A and report back. Since the supernova is near the complex Tarantula Nebula, however, it is not surprising that its light would illuminate parts of the surrounding clouds.

3C273: I would like to deal with this matter of superluminal velocities later, for there are geocentric overtones unrelated to the size of the universe but very much related to the “missing mass” problem. For those who can't wait and would like to see a botec (back-of-the- envelope-calculation), I refer back to my original firmament paper in No. 43 of the Bulletin of the Tychonian Society, 1987 where I noted that for large systems (such as clusters of galaxies), mass starts to revert back to depending on inverse area instead of volume. Difference the two, constrain with conservation of energy, and the speed of light changes locally. I.e., the difference between the luminous mass and the gravitational mass (missing mass) for the Virgo cluster, is of the order of 100, so if energy is conserved, then the speed of light should alter by a factor of the order 10, as apparently observed, and the large distance scale is preserved. Anyhow, refinement is in order.

Cepheids: Harald conveniently ignores telling the reader what Cepheids were calibrated to. In a nutshell: first comes parallax, such as surveyors use in surveying; next comes a combination of factors culminating with the appearance of spectra of stars in a cluster which all seem to fall along a curved line at left of a color-magnitude diagram. These are applied to star clusters which contain Cepheid variables and then the Cepheids can be used to determine the distances to nearby galaxies such as the Magellanic Clouds and the Andromeda Nebula.

Are the periods of Cepheids as stable as Harald claims? The most famous Cepheid of all is Polaris, the North Star, which has started to slow down and will stop varying in about 100 years if it keeps going the way it's going. This hardly qualifies as “incredibly precise time intervals” with “high precision cycles in time” as it would be if a binary companions are the cause. Harald has apparently confused Cepheid variables with pulsars.

Harald labors under the mistaken belief that the distance to Cepheid variables is based on theory, that if he can show their theoretical framework to be wrong, that their use as distance indicators is nullified. Not so. It was observed almost 100 years ago that within any cluster, or within any Magellanic cloud, if the period of a Cepheid was plotted against its magnitude (apparent brightness), that all the Cepheids fell in a very narrow strip on that diagram. This made them a candidate for distance determination to other clusters and galaxies. Since each cluster gave the same location for the Cepheids in the color-magnitude diagram, and since the shape of the period-magnitude diagram was the same for each cluster's Cepheids, astronomers felt justified in using Cepheids to determine distances. Now this is an important distinction, for the relationship between period and apparent brightness is well established and empirically ob served. Later, when stellar evolution theory (which deals with stellar aging, not evolution) came along, models for Cepheids were developed and it is these models which are in trouble if Harald is right, not the period apparent brightness relationship. So the distance scale is not effected by what drives Cepheid variability, whether it's due to double stars, pulsations, or trillions of hamsters running on treadmills; it makes no difference.

The ability of the Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft to still point their antennae to earth argues against Harald's small universe. The furthest of these, Pioneer 10, is now 9.4 billion kilometers from earth and is still in communication with earth.

How does this argue against a small universe? In order to point their antennae to earth, these craft use three guide stars (out of some tens of alternates) to orient themselves. Since these craft are more than 2% of the way to Harald's nearest star, Alpha Centauri, which is one of the guide stars, there seems to be no significant parallax effect. At that distance from earth, Alpha Centauri's parallax, in Heinze's model, should be more about 1.3 degree, more than two and a half times the apparent diameter of the full moon. Pioneer 10's antenna should miss earth by as much as 11,000,000 miles if it is locked into three guide stars. Couple that with VLBI's failure to detect absolute stellar parallax, plus the yearly variation of the Doppler shift seen in all stars and which at least couples them to the sun, plus stellar aberration of which Harald wrote nothing, and large universe model looks to be in pretty good shape.

In conclusion, although the universe may be a lot smaller than currently believed, it cannot be the size which Harald Heinze claims for it. In order to promote his opinion, Heinze quotes out of context, misrepresents the positions of large-universe advocates, exaggerates the significance of problems and exceptions which appear in the scientific literature, inconsistently uses or discredits laboratory and solar system data, makes rash, unsupported claims, and presents plasma physics as if the entire field is geared toward constructing a smaller younger universe while its actual motive is to construct an infinite, eternal universe model. All considered, there is no observational support for a small universe.


1 G. Sagnac, 1913. Comptes Rendus, 157:708 & 1410.

Translated from WS2000 on 3 September 2005 by ws2html.