Why deeply religious people aren’t all drawn to cosmology, I have no idea. That’s where some of the answers are. And from that field come a fascinating finding from a team of astronomers, incidentally using software written by the 15 year-old son of one of them:
Astronomy Mag — The study reveals almost 30 dwarf galaxies orbiting the larger Andromeda Galaxy in this regular, solar system-like plane. The astronomers’ expectations were that these smaller galaxies should be buzzing around randomly like bees around a hive.
“This was completely unexpected,” said Geraint Lewis from the University of Sydney. “The chance of this happening randomly is next to nothing.” The fact that astronomers now see that a majority of these little systems in fact contrive to map out an immensely large — approximately 1 million light-years across — but extremely flattened structure implies that this understanding is grossly incorrect. Either something about how these galaxies formed or subsequently evolved must have led them to trace out this peculiar coherent structure.
We could go chicken and egg on that all day. Did the seeds for the dwarf galaxies grow with the seed for Andromeda like big giant planets? Or did the dwarf material get slung out during ancient mergers? Or some combo of both?
What makes it super interesting is there’s a lot of dark matter around, we knows it’s an important influence on galaxies, and it’s not easy to see what kind of shape the dark matter might make because it’s completely invisible. But what if — and believe me this is hypothetical — there’s some sort of real planar or geometric structure to it?
Suppose we find out when we graph all the planes of a bunch of nearby galactic system — maybe we should call them each a galatcia? — they trace out the surface of a three-d … hexagonal array or something well ordered like that? That would tell us we’re missing out on a very important factor in the large scale evolution of the universe. You’d think just the possibility would be right up there on Fundie road before you get to Bullshit mountain, but it’s not.