THE RIGHT NEIGHBOURHOOD
As I spoke about in my blog ‘Lost in Space’ , our earth resides in a very quiet place in space. We are actually 26,000 light years from the galactic centre.
Apart from our sun and the other planets that circle it. It’s ‘all quiet in the western front.’ In fact, if we could travel at ten percent of the speed of light it would take us forty plus years to reach the closest star. Our universe is massive. Words fail to adequately describe how big it is.
But here’s the thing, astronomers agree that our earth and solar system had to be in a vastly different place in space in order to get the abundance of elements and the heavy metals we and indeed our planets and sun have.
Astronomers study indicate that the solar system formed 12000, light years from the Milky Way galactic centre where the highest concentrations of heavy elements are. This also happens to be the most dangerous place in the galaxy for life. Their study indicates that it occurred in a dense cluster of numerous super massive stars. But it’s not as straight forward as it sounds, you see, different stars formed provide different elements. This random showering and mixing of elements appears anything but random.
The earth needs all ninety eight elements in the periodic table. A study by astronomers from the (MIT and Carnegie Institution for Science, and the Joint Institute for Nuclear physics in 2016) demonstrated that half of the elements heavier than iron including gold and uranium the (r-process elements) are derived NOT from supernovas that occur more frequently but from the merger of neutron stars and black holes which are a “rare event.”
But It continues as astronomer Dr Jeff Zweerink says in his blog, “Later, multiple different types of stars and supernovae continue to produce the vast suite of elements earth contains. A recently published article in Science provides powerful evidence that the sun formed in a dense, swirling cluster of massive stars that both enriched the solar system with heavy elements and triggered its formation. Compared to stars (and systems) of the same age, the solar system is particularly rich in elements that form only in the interiors of stars more than ten times the mass of the sun.”
But here’s where the picture gets even more interesting. As mentioned earlier, at its birth the sun and its planets are residing in a part of the galaxy where life is not possible. At the very least neighbouring stars would have constantly blasted the system with radiation catastrophic for life.
Consider this. It’s the 2002 footy final , Brisbane Lions are playing Collingwood. There’s only a few points between the teams. At the 5 min warning desperation hangs in the air. There’s a scuffle but Jason Akermanis emerges from the mass of bodies and kicks a lefty over his head to score a much needed goal. The crowd goes wild.😝🤗😮😂🤣😡😳🥴
Much like a football in Aker’s hands . Astrophysicist Dr Ross explains “Our solar system experiences a gravitational encounter with several large stars that strongly eject it from the star cluster. ‘To infinity perhaps’! The sun and its system of (young) planets is hurled away from one of the most dangerous for life locations in the Milky Way galaxy.”
But it gets better. It’s sounds like something out of an encounter with life ‘2000 leagues under the sea.’ On this trajectory our solar system avoids giant molecular clouds, x-Ray sources, giant stars, and star -forming nebulae.
But there’s more! Amazingly It encounters another group of large stars whose gravitational force slows down the spinning sun and it’s young planets so that it settles in the ‘Just Right Neighbourhood.’ and on a just right Newtonian orbit. (look it up for more info)
Now that, I would wager is the goal of galactic proportions! One worth seeing!
Like physicist John Gribbin, (non-theist) emphasises, the improbability of life existing at all in his book ‘Why Our Planet is Unique .’ “The reasons why we are here form a chain so improbable that the chance of any other technological civilization existing in the Milky Way Galaxy at the present time is vanishingly small. We are alone, and we had better get used to it.”
As Astronomer Jeff Zweerink adds in his blog in regard to the solar systems beginning. “This scenario certainly comports well with the idea of a divine hand providentially preparing a suitable habitat for us to live.”
Now if you’ve spent your life in the astrophysics department looking at this amazing evidence that your colleagues undeniably agree is nothing short of miraculous. No wonder more scientists in this field are deists (believing in a God of some sort) and many like Dr Francis Collins, the co mapper of the DNA, are Christians.
As he says here “In this modern era of cosmology, ….and the human genome, is there still the possibility of a richly satisfying harmony between the scientific and spiritual worldviews? I answer with a resounding yes! In my view, there is no conflict in being a rigorous scientist and a person who believes in a God who takes a personal interest in each one of us. Science’s domain is to explore nature. God’s domain is in the spiritual world, a realm not possible to explore with the tools and language of science. It must be examined with the heart, the mind, and the soul—and the mind must find a way to embrace both realms.”
And on that note …”To infinity and beyond”!
See:Science magazine vol 316 issue 5828 (Evidence of late Supernova)
Francis S. Collins, ‘The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief’
& reasons.org …Jeff Zweerink blog ‘Solar system turns out well despite violent birthplace.’(2007) & Hugh Ross blog ‘Thank God for Merging Neutron Stars ‘&his books Why the Universe is the way it Is.’& ‘Improbable Planet.’
2016 Nature article 531(31march 2016) P Alexander P, A Frebel, Joshua Simon, (Neutron star mergers) – I like this page