Tuesday, December 20, 2005

 

A grid of stars?

Many years ago, I wrote a science-fiction story about an astronomer named Kalinda. While gazing out into space using a powerful telescope, she saw the most startling arrangement of stars beyond the constellation Canis Major. She immediately picked up her phone and called her friend, a Dr. Carl Sagan, for advice and counsel. Both Kalinda and Sagan were stumped by the peculiar arrangement.

What Kalinda discovered with her new, powerful telescope was a perfectly arranged array of stars in the shape of a cubical grid. About ten stars formed each edge of the cube.

To confirm her initial observations, she decided to use the Hubble Space Telescope’s camera to more clearly resolve the star grid, which was located some seven billion light years from Earth. Because peering at distant stars is like looking back in time, the images revealed a star grid that existed when the universe was 60 percent of its current age.

If our scientists today discovered such a grid of stars, how do you think it would affect society and current scientific thinking? Would the artifact have religions repercussions? How would you react? Image what a similar arrangement might have had on the writers of the Bible if the arrangement were visible to the naked eye.

Comments:
Personally, I would bet it would mean very little to most, but I could see it having some meaning or interest to New Agers and those who believe in Mayan prophecies, etc.

I don't get the impression Christians would think much of it (unless it was in the shape of a cross).
 
Cosmic, man. The idea that something, mind or spirit, is behind the universe is central to religion. Some would be ecstatic. Some would yawn.

How would a creator deliberately reveal that fact to his/her creations? By messages encoded in the digits of pi?

http://pi.nersc.gov/


Some other physical constants? A most universal way to leave a message is hinted at here:

http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0510102

Fascinating.

Ms. Spock
 
It didn't happen,
so forget it

Pseudo-Socratic hypotheticals
cannot grasp the
smallest portion
of any divinity issues

When will you learn?
 
People in the SETI movement seriously conjecture something like this, I think. If you were a very advanced civilisation and saw merit in allowing less advanced planets know "You're not alone. There is other life in the Universe", creating a cosmic-scaled signpost is much more effective than beaming radio out into space. For one thing, not everyone may be listening in the EM spectrum, or that part of the spectrum, or at that exact moment, but a huge, geometric structure of stars may last for hundreds of millions of years and carries the message merely by it's existence. It might be energy/time intensive to set up, but I'd be skeptical if such a race would do the hard work itself. All you would need to do is create self-replicating automata programmed with the necessary instructions (although, what a gargantuan task! Stellar engineering! You probably wouldn't move your suns into position. You'd probably seed proto-stellar clouds to collapse in a rigged, specified way).

Note I'm avoiding the other alternative entirely: That such a structure is proof-positive of a "God". Occam's razor, that's all. For me, although the existence of God is self-evident, knowledge of such a wonderful structure is far, far more likely to suggest the existence of a more advanced, but non-supernatural, species, not a God.
 
Seven Billion light years? Non of our instruments can make out individual stars at that distance.
 
I only have a ten inch Schmidt-Cassegrain, but what I have learned from having it tells me even Hubble with glasses might be pressed to see stars at that distance.

Aside from that, lets say it could. The grid to people would probably constitute little more than a curiosity.

In fact I'd be surprised, with eyes like that, if there weren't reports of battling chariots.
 
pHello js vp ,

Calling such inquiry "pseudo-Socratic " is a rather facile remark !
 
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