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PANORAMA

Dust on the moon update

The lack of dust on the moon has been abandoned by creationists as evidence for a young moon. This is groundless since the observed amount of falling dust from space is far greater than the adjusted amount used by those who accommodate evolution.1

In the May 8 issue of Science, the lower estimate of 30,000 tons of space dust raining to earth every year is used. [By the way, even that low figure means that under each square centimeter (half-inch square) of earth there lies 10 kg (22 lbs.) of space dust.] The authors, S. J. Kortenkamp and S. F. Dermott, claim that every now and then up to three times as much space dust rains to earth. This from cores in the sediments of the oceans. The speculate that at times this figure may go up to 300 times the 30,000 tons per year. By the way, according to A. Farley of Cal. Tech., there is no evidence in the cores that there ever was a time when 300 times as much dust fell to earth.

Evolutionarily speaking, if their inferences from the data are correct, the 1950s evidence that there should be 30 to 50 feet of dust on the moon may actually be way, too low. Of course, the astronauts found less than an inch of dust on the moon, and most of that was powdered moon, not space dust. The observed rate would deposit the observed amount of dust on the moon in 6,000 years.

Demise of the water comets?

In the last several issues of the Biblical Astronomer we've been following the debate about whether or not the earth is bombarded by 25,000 house-sized watery comets every day. At this year's meeting of the American Geophysical Union the observation seems to have been dealt its death blow.

In 1986 Louis Frank and John B. Sigwarth of the University of Iowa reported the detection of small “atmospheric holes” in images of the earth taken by the Dynamics Explorer 1 satellite. Since such “holes,” which showed up as black dots against a bright background, could only be due to water vapor, Frank proposed that 25,000 watery comets were hitting the earth per day. Last year Frank presented corroborating evidence from the new NASA Polar satellite. These images, too, showed the holes.

At this year's meeting Frank presented new observations which showed that the number of spots varied with the time of day and the season. These were quickly challenged by other participants. One objection is that the timing does not match the presumed paths of the comets in space, that is, most should be striking the earth in the evening while most seem to hit in the morning. Other searches for the comets have come up empty. The Navy's line of radar stations across the southern United States has failed to detect a single such comet during a 6-week quest.

Though Frank insists on their reality, several other hypotheses have been put forth. They could be sunlight reflected off clouds in the lower atmosphere. Indeed, their numbers vary according to the daily and seasonal cloud cover. Frank has reported detecting such cloud reflections, so evidently he can tell the difference. The spots could also be due to static electricity in the camera which presumably would not show seasonal variations. Furthermore, satellite observations of the middle atmosphere failed to find the water which the comets would inject into the atmosphere.

Underlying the discussion is an evolutionary factor which evolutionists would rather not consider. If Frank is right, then the origin of the water on the earth would have to be reconsidered. In other words, if Frank is right, all the evolutionary models for the formation of the earth's oceans would be wrong. So we're back to 1986 with Frank as the lone voice proclaiming the reality of the water comets while most of the rest of the world believes that the spots are equipment defects which some believe due to sunlight reflecting off clouds.

Ice on the moon

Water was important in the creation according to Genesis 1. The following should not be surprising, then.

Data returned by NASA's Lunar Prospector satellite suggests that water ice exists at both the moon's north and south poles. The water is not in polar sheets or ice caps but seems to be present in low concentrations (1% or less) in the soils of quite a few craters.
How much ice is there? Assuming a water ice depth of about a foot and a half (.5 meters) — the depth to which the neutron spectrometer's signal can penetrate — it appears that there's somewhere between 11 million to 330 million tons of lunar water ice, depending upon the assumptions of the model used. This quantity is dispersed over 3,600 to 18,000 square miles (10,000-50,000 square kilometers) of water ice-bearing deposits across the northern pole, and an additional 1,800 to 7,200 square miles (5,000-20,000 square kilometers) across the southern polar region. Twice as much of the water ice mixture was detected by Lunar Prospector at the Moon's north pole as at the south.

Is there an increase in the number of earthquakes?

As we approach the turn of the millennium more and more prophets of all stripes are predicting and “reporting” an ever-increasing number of earthquakes. But is the number of earthquakes really increasing?

Actually, it's hard to tell. Small quakes tend to be under-reported, but when it comes to large quakes there is no evidence that these are on the increase. The 1940s and '50s saw the largest number of violent earthquakes, over 25 per year, and the 1980s saw the fewest at 15 or fewer per year. In 1976 earthquakes killed the most people in any year this century. A total of from 295,000 to 699,000 were killed, with some 255,000 to 655,000 estimated killed by the Tangshan quake alone. 1986 saw the fewest large quakes this century with 6, while 1943 saw the most with 41.

The chart below plots the number of major quakes (7.0 or higher) for each year since 1900. (The data for the chart can be found on the internet at http://wwwneic.cr.usgs.gov/neis/eqlists/7up.html.)

95-year frequency plot 
of earthquakes Finally, let it be noted that the Bible does not say that the frequency of earthquakes will increase (Mat. 24:7; Mk. 13:8; Lu. 21:11), so those that claim that the Bible predicts more and more earthquakes are shown liars. From what the Bible does say we can only infer that there are some really great, devastating earthquakes yet to come.

More on the fossil life from Mars

Two years ago the press had a field day when fossil life was reportedly found in a rock, supposedly from Mars, found in Antarctica. In the 16 January, 1998 issue of Science, a new analysis shows that all the amino acids found in the rocks are left-handed which can only mean that the amino acids are from earth, not from Mars, and that they are quite recent. After a million years half the life-bearing left-handed amino acids should have flipped to right-handed, and from that point on they should have stayed in equal proportions. The meteorite is reported to have left Mars 16 million years ago. Furthermore, the carbon-13 abundance is terrestrial, not Martian, and the carbon-14 abundance gives an evolutionary age of between 5200 and 11,900 years which is actually 3800 to 4200 years old when corrected for changes in the earth's magnetic field.

Finally, the team from two years ago still insists that the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are from Mars, but the new team led by J. L. Bada of Scripps Institution of Oceanography thinks that terrestrial PAHs might still have coated the meteorite and found their way through the many tiny cracks in the rock. The debate continues.

Sagnac effect

Although the Michelson-Morley experiment failed to show the expected orbital motion of the earth about the sun, the variation of that experiment performed by Sagnac did show the relative rotation of the firmament about the earth. It was not clear, however, if that rotation was coupled to the stars or the sun. If coupled to the stars, its day would be 23 hours, 56 minutes; if coupled to the sun, 24 hours. The question has now been settled, the Sagnac effect is coupled to the stars.2 The measured rotation rate was 0.00007293 radians/sec which is one sidereal day.

The rotating universe

In 1949 Kurt Gödell presented a solution to a closed model of the universe (an expanding universe which does not keep on expanding forever). His solution had nine properties, one of which is still ignored. That property says that the whole universe rotates with an angular velocity

W = 2(2pGr)

where G is the gravitational constant and r is the mean density of matter.

Now the reason why this property was not further considered was that the universe appeared not to be rotating. Recently Surdin3 took a good look at the ignored Gödell property and concluded that the universe does show evidence of rotation and that the evidence is two-fold. First, the universe seems to have a magnetic field which is currently estimated to be a millionth of a Gauss and which most reasonably could be generated by its rotation. Second, the theory that the universe expands is based on the redshift, that the more distant a galaxy is from earth, the greater its redshift and, presumably, the faster it moved away from us and, by extension, the universe is expanding. The expansion rate is called the Hubble constant. What Surdin showed is that the Hubble constant is equivalent to Gödell's expected value for the angular velocity W above. In other words, the redshift of distant galaxies is evidence that the universe itself is rotating.

Now this rotation is not to be confused with the daily rotation of the firmament. Gödell's rotation is a rotation of the starry heaven, the universe, within the firmament. The Gödell rotation is such that the edge of the universe would be moving at the speed of light. Its angular velocity is 2.5 x 10-19 radians per second. The inferred magnetic field strength of the universe, taken as due to its rotation, is roughly consistent with the field strength determined from radio-wave polarization rotation values.

The most significant aspect of Surdin's work is that the redshift need not be due to an expanding universe but may simply the result of a cosmic rotation inside the firmament. If that is so, gravitational equations will have to be reworked for extremely large objects such as clusters of galaxies and, should they survive the latest onslaught, walls of galaxies.

NOTES AND REFERENCES

1 Bouw, G.D., 1994. “The Dust on the Moon,” Biblical Astronomer, 4(68):5.

2 G. E. Stedman, Z. Li, and H. R. Bilger. 1995. “Sideband Analysis and Seismic Detection In Large Ring Lasers,” Applied Optics, 34(24):5375, (20 August).

3 M. Surdin, 1995. “The Rotation of the Universe,” Physics Essays, 8:(3), 282-284.


Updated on 11 February, 2005 by GDB