Pigeon Poop Results In Echoes From The Big Bang

On March 17, 2014, scientists announced the discovery of what they believe to be the faint gravitational echo of the Big Bang.

BICEP-2 detector at the South Pole
BICEP-2 detector at the South Pole

The discovery is based on cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) observations by the “Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization” (Bicep-2) telescope at the south pole.

So what does pigeon poop have to do with this?  Well, if it were not for pigeons, we would never have known about the CMB radiation in the first place.  That’s right! Pigeons’ ubiquitous potty habits are responsible for this stuff.    I’m not lying.

In 1964, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson from Bell labs thought that pigeon droppings was the cause for static noise in their Bell Labs horn antenna in Crawford Hills, NJ.  But they still detected the noise after cleaning out the mess several times.   The world soon realized that their antenna was actually hearing CMB radiation.   They later shared the Nobel prize for a pristine antenna and their discovery.

Bell Labs' Horn Antenna in Crawford Hill, NJ

And now scientists have detected gravitational wave patterns in CMB radiation that they believe to be caused by the big bang forces that inflated our universe to its present size.

In NYT’s March 17 article, “Space Ripples Reveal Big Bang’s Smoking Gun,” Professor Marc Kamionkowski of Johns Hopkins University said, “This is huge, as big as it gets.”  And he wasn’t talking about pigeon droppings.  Rather, “this is a signal from the very earliest universe, sending a telegram encoded in gravitational waves.”

Then Mike Wall in his “Space.com” Q&A article “Cosmic Inflation Theory Confirmed?,” seems to cry out that this “new discovery, if it holds up, doesn’t just confirm that inflation actually occurred — it also tells us some of the details of the process…”  But then he seems to pull back on the cosmic exuberance by ending his thought with a one word caution…”right?”

Good question.  This major finding is but one point on a chart which has yet to reveal the direction that Artemis’ arrow takes.  The findings needs to be collaborated.  Scientists will try to duplicate the results based on the CMB radiation observations from the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite, which no doubt will be unaffected by pigeon poop.   The NYT reports that this should happen later this year.

And nothing, except pigeon showers, seems to go exactly to plan or totally follow scientific theory.   So there may still be room for competing theories about how our universe came to be–like Princeton University’s Professor Paul Steinhardt’s Ekpyrotic universe model of colliding branes.

But for me, the real question is what started inflation?

My Feb. 13, 2014 blog entry, “In the beginning,” offered one possible explanation by Seth MacFarlane that worked nicely with the big bang.  If you don’t like that one then I will offer another theory on what inflated the universe as described in my sci-fi book “Heaven’s Ant Farm” next week.

Stay tuned and follow this blog.  Thanks!

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Pilot, geek, retired, happy, healthy, loves science/engineering and writing SciFi books!! 🤓

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