The largest mass of water has been found surrounding a black hole in a quasar 12 billion light-years away.  Space.com says the cloud harbors “140 trillion times more water than all of Earth’s oceans combined.”  The discovery not only that “water has been prevalent in the universe for nearly its entire existence,” but that it “was present only some 1.6 billion years after the beginning of the universe.”  Alberto Bolatto, of the University of Maryland, said, “This discovery pushes the detection of water one billion years closer to the Big Bang than any previous find.”

In other cosmology news:

  1. Lumpiness problem accentuated:  A monster black hole two billion times the mass of the sun was found at redshift 7.085, just 770 million years after the big bang in the standard cosmological model (Nature June 30, 2011, pp. 583-584, doi:10.1038/474583a).  For lumpiness problem, see 06/17/2011.
  2. Theory-laden methods:  Astronomers are worried that the masses of the largest objects in the universe (galaxy clusters) appear to depend on the method used to weigh them (PhysOrg).  They call this an “axis of evil” – “it is as if the Universe is being difficult by keeping back one or two pieces of the jigsaw and so deliberately preventing us from calibrating our weighing scales properly.”
  3. Evolution upset:  Galaxies apparently do not form primarily by mergers, but by slow accretion of matter.  According to Space.com, a “surprising find” that is “questioning long held theory” is portraying galaxies as slow eaters, not gas guzzlers.
  4. Dark matters:  Astronomers in east Europe and Russia are claiming that mysterious unknown stuff, usually called dark matter, evolves the same way as ordinary observable stuff (visible matter).  The article portrays dark matter as “exotic particles, not yet known to science” (Science Daily).  See 02/28/2008, 10/08/2009.
  5. Cyclic universe because standard model needs alternatives:  A European cosmologist is trying to simultaneously resurrect the cyclic universe model and account for the predominance of matter over antimatter (PhysOrg).  Key quote: “Whether or not this scenario is accurate, Hajdukovic explains that it’s important to investigate alternatives to the standard model of cosmology, given its limitations.”….

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