Turbulent Moons

The many layers of Titan's atmosphereThere were quite a number of articles in the 31 January edition of the journal Nature that would be potential topics for a post from the ICR. These included the discovery of the bizarre underlying genetic mechanism (pdf) behind the two different social structures of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta, which has implications for the evolution of sex chromosomes; a review of a biography of Louis Agassiz, “a great science populariser who resisted Darwinism”; an obituary for Carl Woese (though we’ve already looked at that topic); and some rigid biomemetic polymers, a field which creationists adore. But the article that Jake Hebert – yes, him again – has written about is a feature called Caught in the act. “We may be seeing some of the Solar System’s most striking objects during rare moments of glory.” His own article is called Youthful Solar System Bodies Puzzle Evolutionary Scientists.

A feature story in a recent issue of the journal Nature described four solar system bodies that are puzzling to evolutionary scientists. Specifically, the article discussed the rings of Saturn, two of Saturn’s moons (Enceladus and Titan), and Jupiter’s moon Io. These four bodies all exhibit properties that cannot persist for billions of years.

The Nature article is free to view (though Hebert doesn’t link to it), and is a good read. You’ll certainly find much more detailed and nuanced information there than what Hebert provides. Continue reading

The Universe Was Created Recently, ish

Many clock-like processes operating in the solar system and beyond indicate that the universe is young. For example, spiral galaxies should not exist if they are billions of years old. The stars near their centers rotate around the galactic cores faster than stars at the perimeters. If a cosmology based on long ages is correct, they should have blended into disk-shaped galaxies by now.

“Spiral galaxies” aren’t in the solar system, but I’m sure I’ve already made worse mistakes. In any case, this is… odd. Unlike with the DpSU’s, there are no references in this article, so I can’t see where it’s coming from here. What makes a spiral galaxy not a disk galaxy also? If he is referring to the Galactic Bulge, this could be formed by cannibalism of other galaxies, and there are spiral galaxies without them. And the winding problem? There are answers, but the author hasn’t bothered to counter them in any way.

Comets pose a similar problem. They lose material each time they pass around the sun. Why would they still exist after vast eons?

There are thought to be billions of comets-in-waiting in the Oort cloud and in the nearer Kuiper Belt. Short period comets like Haley need not have gone round and around for all of the last few billion years.

Saturn’s rings still look new and shiny. And many planets and moons are very geologically active. Surely the energy they continually expend should have been spent long ago if they are as old as they are usually claimed to be.

The current material in Saturn’s rings is not all that old, coming from the break up of a moon. (Edit: or maybe not. Here’s a relevant blog post on the subject.). They are kept fresh by the constituent particles of ice bumping into each other and creating new, clean surfaces for light to reflect on. And I’ve already covered Io, which can be extended further. (As it happens, I’ve been alerted to the existence of a paper from nature on this subject, which very much suggests that the problem has been resolved, and not in favour of the creationists).

Instead, the more astronomers learn about the heavens, the more evidence there is that the universe is young.

Yeah, no… Try again.