Cosmological Cycles

Chaos, Galaxies and Stellar Systems

Chaotic Patterns
Chaos, Galaxies and Stellar Systems
References and Recommended Reading

Chaotic Patterns at the Scales of Galactic and Stellar Systems

Most scientists now recognize that Chaos Theory provides a rich and fertile collection of tools through which to model various systems found in Nature. These tools range from fractal mathematical techniques, geometric pattern simulations, new statistical treatments of real dynamic systems to multiscale and multi-dimensional modeling.

When faced with describing a closed cycle, it is often convenient to begin at some uniquely characteristic point to dissect and then reassemble the cycle during its analysis. In our universe, the cosmological cycle that describes how all matter aggregates, interacts as it grows to larger and more evolved complex forms and finally is reborn postpones or begs the question of where the components originated. But this seems to be a useful point of entrance into our foray on one of the major cycles occurring at cosmological scales. What should be kept in mind during this retelling of the beginningless and endless history of the universe is that if there was never a single Big Bang then everything we see and experience has always been around, ever cycling from one form to another to another.

We begin our journey as we encounter massive clouds of hydrogen atoms and diatomic hydrogen gas. Floating in thin masses many light years across, we find a restful place from which to observe them. Our eyes and instruments can see the individual atoms and molecules in this cloud and as they float or zip through space, the particles infrequently collide with each other, usually ricocheting off into a different direction. Some collisions are nearly perfectly elastic with no energy loss while others lose some energy due to various internal energy-absorbing processes the collisions induce. This kind of atomic/molecular friction causes the slower moving particles to lose enough velocity to be more susceptible to gravitational and other physical forces that are also present.

For the relatively slowest moving particles their individual spherical unidirectional gravitational field of attraction exerts its long acting, long range action between each of them, drawing them slowly towards some common center of gravity. As they begin to collect nearer to this point, shorter range forces such as van der Waals-London forces come into play allowing a loose, weak bonding force to begin to occur between them holding them together with a greater affinity. This now represents the first of a sequence of phase changes that will occur. More and more collect, adding a growing gravitational compression to develop on the initial aggregate.

Fast-forward eons later to the much larger ensemble of mainly molecular hydrogen collected now into a spheroidal shaped mass, that energetically-speaking represents the ground state configuration of such mass-containing particles. Overall the mass is much larger than the planet Jupiter but not quite yet the size of Sol. In this high temperature, high pressure domain, increasingly extreme gravitational pressure continues to restrict the molecular hydrogen leading to sequentially reduced packing arrangements. During these volumetric reductions the molecular hydrogen discontinuously passes through a series of phase changes due to the high compression and physical forces that each particle exerts on its nearest neighbors.

In its central interior, the molecular forces holding diatomic hydrogen molecules in pairs are overcome by the high kinetic energy and impacts of other molecules that knock the atoms of hydrogen out of their molecular bonding arrangements. We have reached the temperature and pressure of dissociation of molecular hydrogen into atomic hydrogen. This domain, now populated by atomic hydrogen rather than molecular hydrogen, further continues to go from one geometric packing arrangement to even more compressed packing arrangements and finally through solid, crystalline phase transitions until penultimately it arrives at the point where the individual hydrogen atoms in the central core have no wiggle room in which to move around.

Even more gas aggregates at the surface subsequently increasing the gravitational pressure. The interior core pressure now at last exceeds the intra-atomic repulsive forces that act to hold moving electrons within their atomic orbitals. As this critical point is exceeded, the electron orbitals must collapse and the individual electrons and protons must now seek a new packing geometry to accommodate this ultrahigh confinement pressure.

When atoms implode, there is a sudden and extreme collapse into a much smaller volume into which they are squeezed. A hydrogen atom occupies a volume of space almost 2000 times greater than the volume occupied by a bare proton. This also must result in a sudden increase in the kinetic energy of the electrons, much as a ping pong ball speeds up its as a paddle closes it down onto a table top. This is predicted and described by the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and the well-known effect of quantum spatial restriction through reduction of well size that leads to increasing the kinetic energy and decreasing the de Broglie wavelength of an electron in a well.

(C) Copyrighted 2008 by Joseph H. Guth, Ph.D.