Complexity Down to the Stars

The Methuselah star is as old as the Milky Way. Born without any planets in a nearby dwarf galaxy near the beginning of time, it was drawn into our galaxy and moves around in its own galactic orbit. An unknowable consciousness, also as old as time itself, has hitched a ride and travels with Methuselah as it tours the galaxy.

milky way galaxy

The Methuselah Consciousness has forgotten its origins, but it has correctly deduced the true nature of everything around it – the whole of the Milky Way. But it is not made of the same heavy elements as you or I.

It observes the complete spectrum of the stars and understands them completely. Over billions of years it has watched the birth, life and death of countless stars. It understands and can predict the stellar life cycle and stellar evolution. It understands the physics involved and the laws of nature that cause a cloud of gas to coalesce, ignite, shine for a while, then die, giving life in turn to other stars. It knows the full range of stars including main sequence, red and blue giants, white dwarfs, cepheids, super nova, binaries, black holes and the rest.

It observes waves of photon particles and understands the spectrum of light emitted from and absorbed by hydrogen gas and all the other elements which are blown out across its path as it travels on its grand tour of the Milky Way.

The Methuselah Consciousness is a mathematician, a physicist and a scientist. It derives the laws of physics from its observations and correctly postulates the theories of General Relativity, Special Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. Its understands the nature of molecules, atoms, electrons, quarks, bosons, neutrinos and all the rest; the laws of thermodynamics; stellar chemistry; all the laws of physics which are vital to stellar evolution. All observations are explainable, backed by billions of years of data.

The Methuselah Consciousness uses Chaos Theory to explain the chaotic motion of stars in globular clusters and countless other interesting phenomena. During the evolution of the galaxy it has borne witness to amazing events. It all makes sense. The stars sing their songs in nature’s stellar symphony. The Milky Way, as one massive Complex System, is understood at the level of fundamental particles and for the whole, down to the level of the stars.

But in a handful of rare stars across time and space, there are short periods when they emit faint bursts of photons not predicted by the known physics. The Methuselah Consciousness is confused and cannot make sense of these pulses and signals, observed in certain bands of the electron magnetic spectrum.

Why are some stars affected and not others? The mathematical construct to explain and predict these observations is elusive. Is this due to a new, hither-too unknown law of nature?

It is the law of complex adaptive systems. It is the result of biological evolution.

But the Methuselah Consciousness cannot grasp this because it is so far outside of its experience. It understands the extremes of time and space, the structure of the galaxy and the stars, the laws of nature at the quantum level. Through circumstance it cannot understand, these mysterious events take place in the layers between the stars and the atoms.

The Methuselah Consciousness cannot comprehend the enormous complexity that is possible at the edge of chaos, where conditions allow relatively tiny amounts of matter to self-organise. Chemical reactions give rise to feedback loops which develop over time. Emergent systems on the edge of one chaos give rise to emergent systems on the edge of another chaos – a thousand times over. At certain levels these emergent systems can manipulate their environment so as to modulate photon bursts on the electromagnetic spectrum. They do this in new and novel ways – always different from one rare star to the next. The patterns which arrive at the Methuselah star do not match any prediction.

The grand tour continues. Who knows what what new discoveries await the Methuselah Consciousness as its understanding of the universe grows. Perhaps one day it will be pleasantly surprised to receive a visitor from one of the mysterious stars.

nebula on the edge of chaos
 

Sources and inspirations:

* “Methuselah star” cataloged as HD 140283, oldest in Milkyway. http://scitechdaily.com/hubble-confirms-hd-140283-as-the-oldest-known-star/

* Revised depiction of the milkyway. http://science.nationalgeographic.com/wallpaper/science/photos/galaxies-gallery/milky-way/

* Mandlebrot with nebula effects. http://nylander.wordpress.com/2007/05/16/nebulabrot/

* Chaos in Core Oscillations of Globular Clusters. http://www.santafe.edu/media/workingpapers/95-03-036.pdf

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