Echoes From the Darkness
Two discoveries announced in the past day, seemingly from different scales and regions of the Universe, may be related. The Hubble Space Telescope has found that Galaxy Cluster Cl 0024+17 is surrounded by a halo of dark mass. (This is distinct from "dark energy," which doesn't exist.) This cluster, 5 billion light-years away, apparently formed from a collision of two clusters about 1 billion years before this picture was taken or 6 billion years ago. The impact formed an expanding ring of dark mass which can be detected through gravitational lensing. Though mounting evidence exists, the nature of "dark matter" is still just a subject of speculation.
Just last week we learned of a hot gas giant orbiting inexplicably close to its star. Again using stellar occultation, astronomers have discovered that planet TrES-3 orbits its sun in only 31 hours! It's orbit takes the planet barely 3 million km from a sun. Current theories can not explain these hot Jupiters. In the immense heat near a star almost anything would boil away before forming a planet.
The Big Bang created billions of Black Holes in a variety of sizes. The biggest ones formed the seeds of galaxies and clusters. Smaller singularities formed great haloes around the galaxies, as seen near Cl 0024+17. Many times these objects have collided with a galaxy's disk. They could have formed the seeds of stars and even smaller objects like planets. Presence of a singularity inside "hot Jupiters" would explain their formation and number.
There is new evidence of disk of dark mass deep within our solar system, something I will write about sometime. There is far more out there than meets the eye.