An international team of 31 astronomers, cooperating in what is called The Supernova Cosmology Project (SCP), has just produced the first positive identification of Einstein’s infamous cosmological constant.
This discovery yields what may be the most profound evidence to date for divine design of the cosmos.1
Einstein’s cosmological constant, once widely ridiculed, represents an anti-gravity factor. It predicts that space, independent of any matter associated with it, has the property of stretching itself, and the more stretched out it becomes the faster it will continue to stretch.
Last year this group announced a “probable” detection of the cosmological constant based on their observations of just a few special types of exploding giant stars (type Ia supernovae)2, 3 Confirmation required more data.
The group now has measurements based on 42 very distant type Ia supernovae. Using models that accurately reflect the clumpiness of the universe, their measurements attest that a cosmological constant definitely exists.4, 5 This constant speeds up the expansion of the universe while the mass of the universe slows the expansion (because of gravity). When the universe was younger and, therefore, smaller, matter (thus, gravity) dominated the dynamics of the cosmos. Now that the universe is older and therefore larger, the cosmological constant (an energy factor) has superceded gravity’s effect.
The team’s results indicate that the universe transitioned from a decelerating mode (gravity dominated) to an accelerating mode (energy dominated) about six billion years ago. Any difference in either the mass density of the universe (hence the braking effect of gravity) or in the cosmological constant (the stretching effect of energy) would so dramatically change the characteristics of the universe as to render life impossible.6 For physical life to be possible at any time or place in the history of the universe, the value of the mass density of the universe must be fine-tuned to within one part in 1060. The value of the cosmological constant must be fine-tuned to within one part in 10120.7
To put these numbers in perspective, I’ll cite the best example of human engineering capability: a gravity wave telescope that can make measurements to within one part in 1023. The Creator’s engineering is at least ten trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion times more precise than ours.
Look for more details on this remarkable research in the inaugural issue of our forthcoming magazine, Facts for Faith.
- S. Perlmutter et al , “Measurements of and L from 42 High-Redshift Supernovae,” Astrophysical Journal, 517 (1999), pp. 565-586.
- Hugh Ross, “Big Bang Gets New Adjectives—Open and Hot,” Facts & Faith , v. 12, n. 1 (1998), pp. 4-5.
- S. Perlmutter, et al, “Discovery of a Supernova Explosion at Half the Age of the Universe,” Nature, 391 (1998), pp. 51-54.
- S. Perlmutter, et al, Astrophysical Journal, p. 580.
- S. Perlmutter, et al , p. 581.
- S. Perlmutter, et al , pp. 579, 581.
- Lawrence M. Krauss, “The End of the Age Problem and the Case for a Cosmological Constant Revisited,” Astrophysical Journal, 501 (1998), p. 461.