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Pristine Big Bang Gas Found

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the drill-baby-drill dept.

Space 220

New submitter cekerr sends this quote from Discovery News: "U.S. scientists have found two interstellar clouds of original gas, which contain only original elements created moments after the universe's birth (abstract). Unlike everything else in the universe, the gas clouds have never mingled with elements forged later in stars. The existence of pristine gas that formed minutes after the Big Bang explosion, some 13.7 billion years ago, had been predicted, but never before observed."

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220 comments

Space Stem Cells (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026126)

Booya

Re:Space Stem Cells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026288)

I don't see what the big deal is. They essentially discovered that clouds containing pristine gases existed ~2 billion years after the big bang. It is just more than mildly interesting.

Posting as AC, because I care about my karma. :P

Re:Space Stem Cells (4, Insightful)

Zephyn (415698) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026384)

Because when a theory predicts that 'X ought to exist', and then later on you find solid empirical evidence of X, that makes the theory a lot more solid and provides a starting point for further avenues of research.

Remember, the first step in figuring out how to get nature to work for you is figuring out how nature works.

The whole universe was in a hot, dense state... (3, Funny)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026146)

Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started, wait...

Re:The whole universe was in a hot, dense state... (3, Funny)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026370)

The whole universe was in a hot, dense state

Florida? Alabama?

Re:The whole universe was in a hot, dense state... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026506)

Florida? Alabama?
Nope.
Mississippi.

Re:The whole universe was in a hot, dense state... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026446)

Terrible show.

Re:The whole universe was in a hot, dense state... (0)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026636)

When do we build a wall.. BUILD THE PYRAMIDS!???

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING

Re:The whole universe was in a hot, dense state... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026994)

C'mon, join in!

The Earth began to cool,

The autotrophs began to drool,

Neanderthals developed tools,

We built a wall (we built the pyramids),

Math, science, history, unraveling the mystery,

That all started with a big bang! Bang!"

There is a second verse. My daughter knows the words and sings it after the first verse at the beginning of every show. (I have a very small part -- I shout "they froze their asses off" at the right time.)

Only show with physics problems in the vanity card.

Re:The whole universe was in a hot, dense state... (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027360)

I'm sure I wasn't the only one who found themself shouting out answers to the problems in the Physics Bowl episode and getting weird looks from housemates ;)

Re:The whole universe was in a hot, dense state... (3, Informative)

RMingin (985478) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027372)

Three verses. One of the few MP3s I've purchased from Amazon.

Our whole universe was in a hot dense state,
Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started. Wait...
The Earth began to cool,
The autotrophs began to drool,
Neanderthals developed tools,
We built a wall (we built the pyramids),
Math, science, history, unravelling the mystery,
That all started with the big bang! BANG!

Since the dawn of man is really not that long,
As every galaxy was formed in less time
than it takes to sing this song.
A fraction of a second and the elements were made.
The bipeds stood up straight,
The dinosaurs all met their fate,
They tried to leap but they were late
And they all died (they froze their asses off)

The oceans and Pangaea
See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya!
Set in motion by the same big bang!

It all started with a big BANG!

It's expanding ever outward but one day
It will pause, then start to go the other way,
Collapsing ever inward,
we won't be here, it wont be heard
Our best and brightest figure that
it'll make an even bigger bang!

Australopithecus would really have been sick of us
Debating how we're here,
they're catching deer (we're catching viruses)
Religion or astronomy, Encarta, Deuteronomy
It all started with a big bang!

Music and mythology, Einstein and astrology
It all started with a big bang!
It all started with a big BANG!

They found the farts of God! (-1, Offtopic)

dominux (731134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026170)

No, really they didn't. There is no $deity, the universe was not formed from the flatus of a magic sky fairy with wind. Sorry to disappoint but the science is way more exciting and interesting than the alternative.

Re:They found the farts of God! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026244)

Why are you arguing against yourself? Or do you belong to that religion called Atheism that feels superior and must interject all of their thoughts into conversation as if they are priceless artifacts?

Point being, bringing it up is like drawing attention to non-existent racism. Crying pre-emptive foul only detracts from the purpose of the article.

Re:They found the farts of God! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026322)

Yes, dominux is a moron

- d

Re:They found the farts of God! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026324)

Or do you belong to that religion called Atheism that feels superior and must interject all of their thoughts into conversation as if they are priceless artifacts?

Atheism is the lack of belief in gods. Nothing more. And you know it. Your willfully dishonest assignment of additional traits makes you guilty of precisely what you accuse your parent poster of.

Re:They found the farts of God! (0)

groslyunderpaid (950152) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026382)

*Your* parent poster was using hyperbole. And *you* know it.

Re:They found the farts of God! (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026730)

*YOU* know this is the Internet, where accusations of dishonest arguments and lack of acknowledgment of subtlety, often on purpose, is *par for the course*.

Re:They found the farts of God! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026586)

Atheism is the lack of belief in gods. Nothing more. And you know it. Your willfully dishonest assignment of additional traits makes you guilty of precisely what you accuse your parent poster of.

You might like to frame it like that, but since any god worth mentioning is not a testable theory, your statement is logically equivalent to "atheism is the belief that no god exists." Philosophically, atheism doesn't differ from any given religion.

Re:They found the farts of God! (2, Interesting)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026758)

Atheism is the lack of belief in gods. Nothing more. And you know it. Your willfully dishonest assignment of additional traits makes you guilty of precisely what you accuse your parent poster of.

You, sir, are a dumbass and in dire need of a dictionary.

atheism [ey-thee-iz-uhm] noun
1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings

Atheism is an affirmative statement of belief in a position that has precisely as much empirical evidence supporting it as do the beliefs in the christian god, the islamic god, kali, or the flying spaghetti monster.

Re:They found the farts of God! (1)

Saintwolf (1224524) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027106)

I believe his argument fits the definition of 2. rather nicely actually. just replace 'supreme being' with 'god' (They're just synonyms of each other anyway).

Re:They found the farts of God! (3, Insightful)

starfishsystems (834319) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026782)

"Atheism is a religion in the same sense as not collecting stamps is a hobby."

Re:They found the farts of God! (1)

dbrueck (1872018) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027618)

That's cute, and I think it's fair to say that atheism is not a "religion" per se (as "religion" means all sorts of things), but I hope you'll at least agree that atheism *is* based on beliefs much in the same way that religion is based on beliefs. There's nothing wrong with that - to each his own - but atheistic vs "religious" is orthogonal to scientific vs not.

Re:They found the farts of God! (1, Offtopic)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026372)

Calling atheism a religion is sort of like calling space a form of matter.

And if atheists feel superior to others, surely they learned it from watching Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc...

Re:They found the farts of God! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026474)

well, seeing that a religion is an organization based around an ideology, and I do believe there is an atheist organization and it is an ideology, Yeah, I'm going with atheism is a religion.

Re:They found the farts of God! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026678)

well, seeing that a religion is an organization based around an ideology

False. Many religions are not organized, and many organizations based around ideologies are not religions.

and I do believe there is an atheist organization

False. There is no organization that represents even a significant minority of atheists, let alone all of them. There is no atheist equivalent of the Catholic Church.

and it is an ideology

False. Lack of belief in a god is not an ideology.

Yeah, I'm going with atheism is a religion.

Then you are either ignorant or lying.

Re:They found the farts of God! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026804)

You say that most religions are not organized, then you claim that atheism isn't a religion because it isn't organized...

Re:They found the farts of God! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38027092)

Not at all what happened. You should read the post you're responding to.

Re:They found the farts of God! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38027394)

You say that most religions are not organized, then you claim that atheism isn't a religion because it isn't organized...

First, there is no contradiction there. That atheism shares a "not organized" trait with some religions does not magically make it a religion itself.

Second, I did not claim that "atheism isn't a religion because it isn't organized". I refuted a specific claim that there is such a thing as an "atheist organization", the existence of which supposedly makes atheism a religion. The point is that whether atheism is organized is a separate question from whether it is a religion, even though the answer to both is "no".

Third, I did not say "most" religions are not organized. I said many of them are not. The difference between "many" and "most" should be readily apparent even to you.

Re:They found the farts of God! (1)

smelch (1988698) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026940)

There is no $deity

See, that sounds like a belief in a lack of gods, not a lack of belief in gods to me. This whole "lack of belief in a god is not an ideology" would hold up if that was actually the reality of the situation for a person. However, it does not apply to the people like the OP who go on and on about how there is no God definitively, and snidely.

Re:They found the farts of God! (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026932)

by your weak-ass definition, Republicans are a religion. Fail.

Re:They found the farts of God! (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027412)

A cult, maybe.
 
  People repeating doctrine given to them by charismatic leaders? check

Arguing for their side without considering facts? check

Belief that it's wrong to believe otherwise? check

Suppose democrats are one too.

Re:They found the farts of God! (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027574)

By the original weak-ass definition, pretty much everything except nihilism becomes a religion. It's semantic stretching to try to make an equivocation, and it doesn't work. Cults can be non-religious, if I am to believe the phrase "Cult of personality". Though I wonder if that is simply an idiomatic/incorrect usage of the word, I am too lazy to look it up right now.

Re:They found the farts of God! (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026516)

"I learned it from watching YOU!"

Parents who are holier than thou have children who are holier than thou.

This message brought you by the Partnership for a Arrogance Free America.

Re:They found the farts of God! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026524)

Atheism is a specific statement of belief, not an absence of belief. I don't think your analogy works.

Re:They found the farts of God! (0)

Commontwist (2452418) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026536)

I approve of any religion/philosophy that does not say that you are doomed to death/will burn in Hell/will be killed for being infidel if you don't follow that religion and promotes doing one's best to be doing as little (not none because doing nothing can be just as bad as something) harm to your fellow human beings as possible.

Re:They found the farts of God! (0)

dan828 (753380) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026640)

Well, how to you feel about a religion/philosophy that does none of that, but whose adherents just tend to act like assholes all the time?

Re:They found the farts of God! (1)

Commontwist (2452418) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026844)

That's where 'emotional' harm comes into play.

Re:They found the farts of God! (1, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026478)

Or do you belong to that religion called Atheism

I see that you belong to a group that thinks not collecting stamps is a nice hobby.

Re:They found the farts of God! (0)

Commontwist (2452418) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026272)

Awww... You mean we can't blame $deity on the body counts of all 'acts of god'?

Re:They found the farts of God! (2, Insightful)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026310)

Really ... a supreme all powerful all knowing being, if one does/did exist, could certainly have created our entire observable universe, and all the laws of physics, inside a fish bowl on its coffee table for amusement. Science is indeed interesting, and useful, but only a fool claims to know for a fact, whether or not, a supreme does exist. A wise man understands and admits he does not know, because it is not possible to know, until such time as it is possible to know, if that time ever comes. In summary ... you aren't special, and you don't know the unknowable.

Re:They found the farts of God! (2, Interesting)

Sique (173459) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026368)

A wise man undrstands and admits that statements whose truth proveably can not be determined are there only for our amusement and are generally useless for our understanding of the world, while the question why those statements can not be decided might be of some interest though ;)

Re:They found the farts of God! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026362)

Alternative? Science and religion are not alternatives to each other. Science merely illuminates the majesty of God's creation. It attempts to explain how it came to be, but it does nothing to explain why it came to be, or what our role within it is.

Re:They found the farts of God! (0)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026564)

Alternative? Science and religion are not alternatives to each other.

The concept of the scientific method is fundamentally incompatible with faith.

Science merely illuminates the majesty of God's creation.

Or gods. Or no god. The assertion that there exists such things is unfounded and thus incompatible with statement #1.

It attempts to explain how it came to be, but it does nothing to explain why it came to be or what our role within it is.

Well, if our role is to cause misery, we're bloody good at that. Although if one is to say we have a role - from a skeptical POV - it would be to do our best to propagate our genetic information. Why? Because those that don't do so aren't around to fill that role.

Re:They found the farts of God! (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026686)

Neither the scientific method nor the concept thereof are incompatible with faith. That's such a ridiculous assertion that only a slashdotter could have made it.

That science allows us to discover and reason how things work and how things came to be does not remove the ability to have beliefs pertaining to things that science has not (yet) explained.

Having faith in an idea that is contradicted by scientific evidence may be irrational. That, however, is a separate discussion.

Re:They found the farts of God! (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027352)

Neither the scientific method nor the concept thereof are incompatible with faith.

The concept is that you do not accept unproven concepts, you only show that a hypothesis to an observation is wrong. You do not say an unproven concept is wrong, you just don't accept them. That is a complete contradiction with taking faith, which is accepting an unproven concept as true. In fact, in science, there are no absolute truths, just accepted observations and explanations. "Accepted" meaning that the hypothesis has yet to be shown wrong with respect to given data and agreed upon error.

That's such a ridiculous assertion that only a slashdotter could have made it.

How is that any more ridiculous than ignorance of what the scientific method is?

Re:They found the farts of God! (1)

smelch (1988698) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027206)

Do you apply the scientific method to everything? That seems to be your whole argument, that everything you think and do rests on the scientific method. When your mother told you she loved you did you say she couldn't prove that so she shouldn't assert it? Tell me, do the ladies just love that about you? Do you ever think about things like morality or justice, things that aren't science based? There are some things the scientific method do not apply to (like religion) and in your mind that means they shouldn't matter and should be discarded. In reality it just means there is more to humanity than science. You should have just said "I don't believe in God" and you would have been as big of a waste of time as the parent, but you at least wouldn't sound like a fool trying to prove science and religion are alternatives when clearly they are not but your own argument. They serve completely different roles and are abused on both sides.

Re:They found the farts of God! (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027560)

Do you apply the scientific method to everything? That seems to be your whole argument, that everything you think and do rests on the scientific method. When your mother told you she loved you did you say she couldn't prove that so she shouldn't assert it? Tell me, do the ladies just love that about you?

I did not, and never did, say anything remotely like that. In the vernacular, we call that an "epic fail". I merely said that the method is incompatible with faith. How in the hell you arrived with that mess of idiotic gibberish, I do not wish to know.

Do you ever think about things like morality or justice, things that aren't science based?

That, of course, is completely unrelated to the point.

There are some things the scientific method do not apply to (like religion) and in your mind that means they shouldn't matter and should be discarded.

In my mind? Not only did I say that they didn't matter, and that I definitely didn't say they should be discarded, but that's also not what I think. Which makes your characterization either dishonest or stupid. Pick your poison.

In reality it just means there is more to humanity than science. You should have just said "I don't believe in God" and you would have been as big of a waste of time as the parent, but you at least wouldn't sound like a fool trying to prove science and religion are alternatives when clearly they are not but your own argument.

Better than a fool with no reading comprehension.

Re:They found the farts of God! (5, Informative)

cobrausn (1915176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026378)

I hate to feed the trolls, but just so you know, the big bang theory was brought to you by Georges Lemaître [wikipedia.org] , a Belgian priest and physics professor at Catholic University of Louvain.

Re:They found the farts of God! (5, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026736)

So what?

The greatest feature of science is that the person doesn't matter. It makes no difference if Darwin was a god hating rascist trying to justify his hate. It makes no difference if Newton liked to try to turn lead into gold. It makes no difference if Lemaitre was attempting to reconcile his faith and science. It makes no difference if scientist X was a pedophile and serial killer.

As long as the ideas match observation and make some testable prediction science as a whole can take them and benefit from them. Even if major shifts will be met with resistance because scientists are egotistical humans, over time the theories which best match observation will win out.

Whereas in religion it makes a difference. An unrepetentant rascist serial killer's explanations of the sacrifice of Jesus can be dismissed just because of the person making them. Following his moral guidelines would be a bad idea. Testing his scientific theories and keeping those that provide a better explanation that better matches reality is perfectly fine.

Re:They found the farts of God! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026398)

Lately after reading C.S.Lewis (his Christian writings), I have had this troubling thought: why after a couple of millenia or so, the vast majority of humanity is still believing in and worshiping a god that was invented by iron age people? And yet, if we say that there's no possibility of such a creature existing we're are called "arrogant". And yet those very same people would commit an adult who still believed in Santa Claus - or at least consider them to be "developmentally challenged".

It's not just Judeo-Christianity, it's also Eastern Religions. I can't tell you how many lay people (mostly Chinese) at my Buddhist monastery who think Buddha had these "powers" - even though the historical Buddha was quite adamant that he possessed no such thing and he was a man and only a man.

It's amazing that humanity has progressed at all. We may have fancier tools, but mentally and emotionally, we're pretty much the same as the people who created God. Some very wise things were said by the founders of the major religions but unfortunately, their teaching have been ignored for the sake of orthodoxy. And even after these centuries of scientific thought, most people cling to their old superstitions and defend them even at the expense of their neighbor's life.

Humanity really disgusts me.

Re:They found the farts of God! (1)

Killer Instinct (851436) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026514)

In the beginning, Man created god in his own image. amd then said the god i created is better then the god you created, so you are going to hell.

I on the other hand, find it completely amazing our species evolved to the point where we(or the vast majority) can assign something we imagined to be the thing that created us. Faith and belief must have had a large part in our species making it this far, and yet I think it is probably the one flaw which will cause our species to go extinct.

-KI

Re:They found the farts of God! (1)

dbrueck (1872018) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027472)

Lately after reading C.S.Lewis (his Christian writings), I have had this troubling thought: why after a couple of millenia or so, the vast majority of humanity is still believing in and worshiping a god that was invented by iron age people?

What if he wasn't invented by them? That would be a pretty straightforward explanation for the continued belief. I'm not asking you to believe, just pointing out that that is one explanation for it. There are multiple possible explanations, but if you consider yourself scientifically-minded you should at least include that in your list.

And yet, if we say that there's no possibility of such a creature existing we're are called "arrogant".

Yes, it's the assertion that there's a 0% possibility that makes such statements arrogant. In fact, it's unscientific to make such an assertion. To say you don't believe is fine. To say that you think the probability is very, even remotely low, is fine. But once you begin to assert it's impossible (which is what you do when you say there's "no possibility"), then you've crossed the line because neither science nor logic will support you in that. You not encountering sufficient evidence yet one way or another is not the same thing as proof of non-existence, so it's incorrect (and fairly arrogant) to claim otherwise.

Re:They found the farts of God! (1)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026692)

No, really they didn't. There is no $deity, the universe was not formed from the flatus of a magic sky fairy with wind. Sorry to disappoint but the science is way more exciting and interesting than the alternative.

That's exactly 3 minutes between first post and an off topic anti-religion post (par for the course on slashdot).

People like you need religion more than anybody else. Since your mother didn't teach you to not be an asshole, maybe fear of $deity could make you behave like a decent person.

Big Whoop (3, Funny)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026172)

Every day I have a bowl of beans at lunch and make some "Pristine Big Bang Gas".

Re:Big Whoop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026266)

Yeah, but dude, this is brand new hydrogen, not that heavily recycled hydrogen you've been expelling. Think about it man, BRAND NEW HYDROGEN! I mean, it's got to be better, right?

Re:Big Whoop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026336)

Man I don't wait for lunch to kick start my big bang. I have a bunch of Timbits in the morning and by 10am, I'm already screaming from my other hole. Talk about weapons of Ass destruction.

Re:Big Whoop (0)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026402)

At best, this is completely lame.

Re:Big Whoop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026676)

Everyone thinks their own big bang gas smells pristine, but have you asked any of your co-workers for their opinions?

frist! (3, Funny)

Tyler Durden (136036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026242)

It seems that these gas clouds have the ultimate claims to First Post.

Pristine Big Bang Gas Found? (5, Funny)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026252)

Was it in the vicinity of Uranus?

[okay, okay, someone had to say it]

Re:Pristine Big Bang Gas Found? (2)

qwertyatwork (668720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026684)

On a more serious note, scientists have finally probed the gassy innards of Uranus.

Re:Pristine Big Bang Gas Found? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38027032)

No, it was past Uranus......

Re:Pristine Big Bang Gas Found? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38027434)

i hear adam sandler is furiously working on a script treatment as we speak.

Pristine... (1)

doston (2372830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026254)

From when the big bang gave the crab nebula a dutch oven

This proves one thing. (3, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026260)

This clearly proves that Taco Bell seven-layer-burrito is more ancient than our galaxy. Where else could that pristine gas could have come from, I ask.

But what did it sound like? (2)

jdastrup (1075795) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026264)

With all that helium and hydrogen, I would imagine it was pretty high-pitched.

Re:But what did it sound like? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026584)

No, it's hydrogen and hydrogen. Deuterium is an isotope of hydrogen, not helium.

Obligatory Uranus Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026480)

I came here for the obligatory Uranus post.

I was only mildly disappointed.

Isotopes != elements (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026496)

In analyzing the light coming from quasars (active nuclei of distant galaxies), astronomers realized the rays had passed through gas that contained only hydrogen and deuterium, elements that formed minutes after the Big Bang.

So, the cloud contains only hydrogen and hydrogen but they refer to hydrogen as multiple elements? ;)

I'm assuming they meant to say "The cloud contains nothing but two isotopes (hydrogen-1 and deuterium) of a single element, hydrogen.

More seriously though, how can they conclusively state this is from the big bang? It's a big universe and there was bound to be a cloud containing only hydrogen somewhere. There is probably a cloud containing nothing but radon (the heaviest elemental gas) somewhere in the universe as well, right? If that exists would it disprove the big bang, or would it simply have been there by chance for billions of years, just like this one could have been?

Re:Isotopes != elements (2)

next_ghost (1868792) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026682)

So, the cloud contains only hydrogen and hydrogen but they refer to hydrogen as multiple elements? ;)

I'm assuming they meant to say "The cloud contains nothing but two isotopes (hydrogen-1 and deuterium) of a single element, hydrogen.

You know, there's a reason the word "assume" starts with "ass". If you actually read TFA instead of assuming, you'd have found out that those multiple elements are hydrogen, helium and lithium.

Re:Isotopes != elements (5, Informative)

JohnnyDanger (680986) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027386)

There is probably a cloud containing nothing but radon (the heaviest elemental gas) somewhere in the universe as well, right? If that exists would it disprove the big bang, or would it simply have been there by chance for billions of years, just like this one could have been?

Hydrogen and helium isotopes (and a little bit of lithium and beryllium) are made in the Big Bang. Everything heavier is made in stars. So these pure clouds can exist only as long as there are no stars nearby to pollute them with heavier elements. Stars are common in the modern universe, which is why it has been so hard to find such clouds.

Radon in particular is made in supernova explosions (and by the decay of radioactives which were made in supernova explosions) and there is no natural mechanism to separate it back out from mixtures of supernova debris. So in a sense, yes, if a massive, primordial, pure radon cloud was out there, it would disprove the Big Bang theory's prediction of nucleosynthesis, which can only make light elements.

Re:Isotopes != elements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38027426)

Anyone who is even casually interested in modern cosmology knows that finding only hydrogen isotopes in such a cloud would be completely unexpected.

And the /. community greets this news (5, Insightful)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026600)

with fart jokes and a discussion about religion...

Re:And the /. community greets this news (4, Insightful)

cobrausn (1915176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026662)

I think using the term 'discussion' for what's going on up there is being a bit too generous.

Re:And the /. community greets this news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38027298)

If it's the Big Bang, perhaps queef jokes would be more appropriate.

huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026622)

So they found what they believed should have existed once long ago, not mixed with anything other then what they guess should be in it and deduce it is from long ago ( as opposed to formed in some other way ) because it looks like what they expected to find. Then since what they were looking for exists and they were able to find it , that somehow supports a particular theory.

To which all i have to say interesting Guess guys ... how about adding a little objective evidence to your science.

A question. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026664)

If the big bang was more energetic than as supernova why did it only create Hydrogen and Helium? Why not at least some Lithium?

Re:A question. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026960)

[...] big bang [...] why did it only create Hydrogen and Helium? Why not at least some Lithium?

Only pedagogically conclusive answers can be in textbooks, and for your intelligent questions was no space reserved in textbooks ;)

Re:A question. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027086)

Actually Lithium was a bad choice. Lithium in that kind of an environment would probably under go fission into Tritium and Helium like what happens in Hydrogen bombs. Maybe Boron would have been a better choice.

Re:A question. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38027290)

If the big bang was more energetic than as supernova why did it only create Hydrogen and Helium? Why not at least some Lithium?

The article says it did. Hydrogen (with 0 neutrons and with 1(deuterium)), Helium, and Lithium.

My question is did these just form spontaneously, or was there something to trigger their formation. And yes, why not anything heavier?

Re:A question. (3, Funny)

thrich81 (1357561) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027428)

This is going to be not quite right, but ... Supernova explosions and the Big Bang started with different precursors and followed different mechanisms. Supernovas start with a big batch of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium to begin with ( could be all the way up to iron, I think) then they blow up in an extremely dense mixture of the elements, during which there are tremendous neutron fluxes to build heavier elements. During the Big Bang there were no elemental precursors just mass-energy beyond current physics -- as it expanded many particles "condensed" out of the mass energy, but it all was expanding so fast that there was no time for all that many stable particles to form (and the antimatter and matter mostly annihilated each other). There was only enough time where the whole thing was dense enough to form atomic nuclei for hydrogen, helium and a tiny amount of lithium to form. Now, I'll stand back to be demolished by someone who really knows the field.

Re:A question. (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027466)

Because it was mostly isotropic and in equilibrium so there was't any pressure to fuse nuclei? Just a hunch.

Are we alone? (4, Interesting)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026848)

It's things like this that lead me to believe we are more alone in the universe than we think we are. Given human propensity to destroy anything in a "pristine" state, I would have thought that sometime in the past 14 billion years an advanced alien civilization would have built an interstellar parking garage over these gas clouds. They haven't. Why not?

Re:Are we alone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38027002)

Maybe they have. If the gas clouds are 14 billion light years away, then we are seeing them as they were 14 billion years ago. They may not be there anymore. For all we know, they have dissipated, burned, collapsed into stars, or been consumed by another civilization. Or, if we are alone, they may still be there, undisturned. But that's depressing to think about :-).

Re:Are we alone? (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027052)

Sadly, I thought of this about 5 seconds after hitting the reply button, went to the article and saw they are indeed 12 billion light years out. Derp.

Re:Are we alone? (1)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027196)

That's a false dichotomy. Either there are no aliens, or there are aliens parking starships everywhere. The universe is a huge thing. It's also an empty thing. Expecting alien space parking garages everywhere is beyond science fiction and is quite ludicrous.

It's one thing for aliens to exist. It's another for them to be common. It's optimistic to then expect that they are more advanced than us. It's amazing if they are all into space travel. It would be quite startling if they are into interstellar travel. It would be madness if they are into intergalactic travel, not even Star Trek has done that. And even then, expecting to detect their spaceship exhaust in every corner of the universe is beyond imagination.

Re:Are we alone? (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027400)

That's a false dichotomy. Either there are no aliens, or there are aliens parking starships everywhere.

I was just musing not expecting to really be taken seriously. Let me put a finer point on it though. Considering we are at least a third generation star system, if you believe advanced life isn't so ridiculously far-fetched that it rarely happens, it stands to reason that there have been many advanced civilizations that have come and gone long before us. For a species to have made it through the eons of evolution, individuals of that species would have to have a strong sense of self-preservation. One component of that is controlling space and resources. The universe is a vast resource and for a civilization with millions of years of history and technical achievement, it doesn't seem like a very large intellectual leap that they would be involved in engineering that could be noticed from a very long way away. Despite this, the universe in every direction appears perfectly natural. Yes, it is full of surprises but none of them appear to be anything that wouldn't occur without intelligent intervention. I would expect something...different.

Re:Are we alone? (1)

brainboyz (114458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027308)

You're assuming other civilizations have overcome the leash holding them to their flying rock. For all we know there's another world just as screwed up as ours with another civilization just as stuck as we are.

Re:Are we alone? (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027498)

This is just a short blip fueled by cheap energy. Once it's over there will be time to build a sustainable civilization. It won't be very tech intensive though and there won't be very many people.
That's the solution to Fermi's paradox.

Big Bang "Explosion"... (1)

DC2088 (2343764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026854)

.... Come on. This is the worst choice of expressions, as it furthers the misrepresentation of Big Bang theory as "there was nothing which exploded."

Timing? Logic? (1)

rabenja (919226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026956)

In analyzing the light coming from quasars (active nuclei of distant galaxies), astronomers realized the rays had passed through gas that contained only hydrogen and deuterium, elements that formed minutes after the Big Bang.

The clouds, which are located about 12 billion light-years from Earth...

...a quasar is a compact region in the center of a massive galaxy surrounding its central supermassive black hole.

Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

Over a long period of time, the slightly denser regions of the nearly uniformly distributed matter gravitationally attracted nearby matter and thus grew even denser, forming gas clouds, stars, galaxies, and the other astronomical structures observable today.

Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

...so light from "a compact region in the center of a massive galaxy" went through a gas cloud 12 billion years ago. That would mean that if the universe is 13.7 billion years old, the massive galaxy had formed in less than 1.7 billion years... hmmm

Confused and Curious (0)

Lord of the Fries (132154) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027136)

I'm fine with the big bang theory and all that. I don't have a belief system that needs observed data to fit a pattern. OTOH, I'm struggling with the leaps here. Some scientists found some high quality hydrogen clouds. Their purity is a bit of an anomaly. But I don't see how this proves or disproves the Big Bang theory really. If I found a pocket of really pristine gold ore out around the Mount Ararat area could I use that to prove the biblical account in Exodus (which seems to have involved a lot of gold)?

I find the leaps that many of the "we're just science" community make now days not that far off of what the religious community is fond of grabbing at. Observe the data, document it, study it. But quit jumping at it to prove one model or the other please. Or at least state that in context. E.g "We observed some really anomalous gas purities. This is cool. We want to study it some more. It fits with some of the postulates of the Big Bang Model. It also fits with the fact that it's a big universe and we're not, and strange stuff happens in it."

The older I get the more prescient the observations about Science as a Religion in the Foundation series by Asimov seem to be coming to pass.

Re:Confused and Curious (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027508)

If you read the scientific paper you will find that kind of discussion. If you read the news stories about science, you will find a lot more of the sensationalism. Scientific papers are about developing objective truth, scientific journalism is about getting people to click that link and getting the ad impressions.

Re:Confused and Curious (2)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027546)

There is no such thing as proof in science, only in math.
All there is is hypotheses and theories and data/evidence to support them.

Re:Confused and Curious (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027590)

I think what happens is this:

Researcher: "We observed some really anomalous gas purities. This is cool. We want to study it some more. It fits with some of the postulates of the Big Bang Model. It also fits with the fact that it's a big universe and we're not, and strange stuff happens in it."
Science Journal: "Pristine Big Bang Gas Found". Slashdotter: "The gas proves the Big Bang".

Seems like not that long... (1)

jimmifett (2434568) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027320)

OK, so the universe is about 13.7 billion years old... Our solar system is about 4.5 billion years old...
So our solar system has been around for 1/3 of time. The average star age is 1-10 billion years.

For some reason, that doesn't seem very long, I was under the impression that the universe was much older and that stars have formed, died, and material reformed hundreds to thousands of times in a given area, now it seems like half a dozen repetitions of this cycle in a given area would be optimistic.

Re:Seems like not that long... (4, Informative)

stevelinton (4044) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027630)

Large bright stars don't last nearly as long as smaller dimmer ones like the Sun, and it's the big ones that actually explode at the end of their lives and spray heavy elements into the interstellar medium, so, especially in the early life of a galaxy, gas may get processed through many generations of big stars.

Stem cells of the universe... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38027382)

That's all.

Big fat fairytale... (-1, Troll)

Panaflex (13191) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027542)

Oh come on now! How does "pristine gas" equate to "Big Bang particles." This is a stretch of the imagination, as such a cloud could also point to intelligent life, or perhaps some other unknown phenomena.

To label it as "Big Bang" worthy is dishonest tripe.

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