Is dark matter the twenty-first century’s version of the ether? If so, could a radical alternate explanation be not only plausible, but testable? Renowned space scientist Dr. Gregory Matloff examines the paradigm-shifting proposition that the stars might be moving in non-Newtonian manner of their own volition. What’s more, Matloff lays out the evidence for testing a hypothesis that is perhaps made tongue-in-cheek—but perhaps not.

Stars That Wander, Are You Bright:
Are Stars Conscious?

by Dr. Greg Matloff

(1) Introduction: A Personal Evolution

I have spent most of my scientific career investigating in-space propulsion, interstellar travel, SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), methods of imaging extra-solar planets and planetary atmospheres. Never in my wildest dreams that I expect that I would someday consider consciousness-the most researched and least understood topic of contemporary science and ancient philosophy. Never did I suspect that I would uncover a clue hinting at the possible emergence of stellar consciousness from myth and science fiction into the realm of speculative science. But during the last year or so, this is the quest I have been engaged in.

When one engages in such a ”magical” quest in a computer game, he or she often encounters a wise person as guide or teacher. During the 1970s, when I was a young graduate student pursuing his Ph.D., I had such an encounter. With a colleague, the late Al Fennelly, I had written a paper describing a magnetic method of interstellar travel that we hoped was a conceptual breakthrough. We submitted the manuscript to Science, a foremost journal and eagerly awaited the reviewers’ comments.

No, we had not stumbled upon the doorway to the universe! One reviewer rejected the manuscript outright; explaining why it was the concept was a “dud.” The second reviewer, in a much kinder mode, discussed how we could retrieve something useful from the concept and publish it in one of the first Interstellar Studies issues of The Journal of the British Interplanetary Society. Our concept became a magnetic scoop proposal for use with the interstellar ramjet and eventually morphed into the “magsail,” a method of reflecting interstellar ions to decelerate a speeding spacecraft that was investigated in depth by Dana Andrews and Robert Zubrin.

The kind and constructive reviewer became our friend and co-author. His name was Dr. Evan Harris Walker. Harris, who sadly died in 2006, worked a day job for much of his career as a physicist at the U.S. Army Aberdeen, Maryland proving ground. He was an expert in plasma and quantum physics and published widely on quantum mechanical aspects of human consciousness [1,2].

Harris co-authored a number of papers with Al and me on aspects of deep-space travel and extra-solar planet detection. Although Al, who sadly passed away a few years ago, had an excellent background in fundamental physics, I gravitated more towards applied physics. I was fascinated by Harris’ theoretical work on quantum consciousness although I never suspected that I could advance his cause. Starting in 1990, I tried to translate Harris’ quantum equations for my artist wife C Bangs, who began to use his equations in paintings as a sort of “sacred writing.”

A second pivotal event in my development as a scientist occurred many years later in a more prosaic context. When I finally obtained my tenure-track teaching position in 2003 with the physics Department of New York City College of Technology, a division of the City University of New York, one of my responsibilities was to develop and teach a core-curriculum, two-semester astronomy course for liberal arts students.

I structured the course so that in the first term students are exposed to historical aspects of physics and astrophysics and the astronomy of the solar system. Topics such as stellar astrophysics and cosmology are presented in the second term. One of the topics presented in the first semester of the course is relativity from a historical perspective. As part of this discussion, I introduce the “ether theory,” which was an unsuccessful attempt by mainstream physicists to “save the system” as the anomalies leading to Einstein’s breakthrough built up.

One day, I lectured to a second-semester class on galactic astronomy and cosmology. I mentioned “dark matter,” which is invoked by astrophysicists to explain a major anomaly. According to mainstream astrophysical speculation, about 75% of the mass of the universe must be composed of invisible, non-reactive matter. This seems necessary to explain anomalous motions of stars and galaxies.

One of my best students was intrigued by the idea and began to discuss it with me. “Let me see if I understand,” he said. “Am I correct that we have known of these strange motions for about 70 years?” “Yes,” I responded. “And no trace of the stuff is found in the solar system but it composes three quarters of the mass of the universe?” he questioned. “Correct once again,” I confirmed. “And all attempts to find large objects or sub-atomic particles in space or accelerators that might account for the stuff have failed for decades, as have attempts to modify Newton’s Laws?” he continued. “You are on a rol1,” I confirmed. And then he stunned me. “In my opinion, we have a modern-day ether theory. Dark Matter is nonsense and is an attempt to save the system,” was how he summed things up. I can’t remember whether he received an A or A-minus in the course, but this insight from an undergraduate, non-science major has always stayed with me, although I did not suspect at the time that I might ultimately suggest an alternative to Dark Matter.

The third aspect of my personality that led to my speculations on stellar consciousness is my interest in science fiction that began before I entered my teens. Long before I looked through a telescope, long before I could handle a differential equation, I was thrilled and inspired by the writings of Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke and Heinlein. Much later, I learned that the 1970s space-habitat research of Gerard K. O’Neill {3} and others was inspired in part by the visionary British science-fiction author and philosopher Olaf Stapledon. In his 1937 masterwork Star Maker, Stapledon presents his concepts of astro-engineering, interstellar travel and galactic/universal civilization. But his speculations on consciousness are central to his thesis, including his assumption that anomalous stellar motions are due to the fact that stars are capable of volition and they move around the centers of their galaxies in accordance with the canons of a cosmic dance.

In the summer of 2011, I was invited by The British Interplanetary Society (BIS) to participate in a commemorative symposium devoted to Olaf Stapledon. Since I have published many papers and books devoted to interstellar travel and astro-engineering, I elected to consider a topic of Stapledon’s writings closer to the main thesis of Star Maker. I devoted my talk to a consideration of stellar consciousness as an alternative to Dark Matter.

Initially, I planned to concentrate upon Stapledon’s philosophy. But when I uncovered unexpected observational evidence supporting my interpretation of Stapledon’s concept of stellar consciousness, I realized that the idea might enter the realm of speculative science. Ultimately, it might do more than offer an alternative to Dark Matter. It might as well lead the way to a change in scientific paradigm. Consciousness might actually be an intrinsic property of the universe, not merely the result of neuronal complexity.

On two previous occasions, I had the opportunity to become involved with paradigm-altering physics or astronomy. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I responded to a dare and co-developed with Michael Mautner and the late Eugene Mallove the formalism of interstellar solar sailing [3]. Before this effort, most researchers concluded that nuclear or thermonuclear propulsion were the best ways to explore the vast galactic spaces beyond our solar system. Now, at least for ventures into near-interstellar space, the sail unleashed as close to the Sun as possible seems superior.

Perhaps because of my success with interstellar sailing, I was asked by Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second Moon walker, to serve on the team of scientific consultants for his science-fiction novel co-authored with John Barnes, Encounter with Tiber. For plot reasons, Buzz and John required the existence of Jupiter-like planets located 1 Astronomical Unit (the average Earth-Sun separation) from a Sun-like star. Although quite sure that the atmosphere of such a world would rapidly evaporate, I located the appropriate equation and calculated. To my surprise, the atmosphere of such a world would be stable for billions of years!

When I considered publishing these results in a scientific journal, my nerve failed. After all, mainstream models of solar-system evolution seemed to forbid such “hot Jupiters.” To my everlasting chagrin, astronomers began to discover even hotter Jupiter-like worlds circling other stars within a very few years of my calculations.

So I worked hard to develop my presentation for the BIS Stapledon Symposium. Since I was not able to travel to London for the event, my paper was presented by Kelvin Long, who is an editor of The Journal of the British Interplanetary Society (JBIS).

The topic was well received, although it certainly was controversial. My paper required massive rewrite and modification before it finally appeared in the peer-reviewed JBIS [4]. A longer version has appeared in Paul Gilster’s Centauri-Dreams blog [5]. The results were also presented at a NYC artist salon and at two 2012 science-fiction conventions: LibertyCon and DragonCon.

The purpose of this article is, in part, to flesh out the concept of stellar consciousness as an alternative to Dark Matter and to present it to a wider audience. Also, I will discuss some of the observational and experimental approaches suggested by responders to the Centauri-Dreams blog to verify or falsify the hypothesis. Also, I will examine some observations reported after the blog was published and before the JBIS article was published that support the concept of Conscious Stars are considered.

(2) Stellar Consciousness in Myth and Mysticism

We will never know when humans began imparting a form of consciousness to celestial bodies. But the concept must have been embedded in religion and mythology by the time our forebears began to settle into agricultural communities. Initially, there must have been a Sky Father and an Earth Mother. The sky deity fertilized the Earth with light and rain, which resulted in the flowering of life on our planet. (Plate 1)

9th Century German sun goddess

Plate 1: Sunna’s Aspects, the 9th Century Germanic Sun-goddess, and her solar cycles: C Bangs.

As civilization developed, thinkers began to further differentiate the theistic environment. The earth Mother split into a friendly and gentle goddess, often called Gaia, who was a life-giver. But Poseidon, who was responsible for violent underground events such as earthquakes and volcanoes, was male and not quite as benevolent.

The sky similarly split into a number of disparate deities. Zeus, who became ruler of the Greek pantheon, hurled thunderbolts. In most (but not all traditions), the Sun (or local star) remained a male deity such as Apollo or Helios. In many ancient traditions, the Moon was identified with a goddess such as Diana or Artemis. This may be because of the similarity between the cycle of lunar phases and the typical human female menstrual cycle.

A further diversification in the celestial pantheon occurred more than 3,000 years ago, when the art of astrology developed. Not only did sky priests identify those wandering star-like objects, the planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn with the names of Babylonian, Greek or Roman deities. To many ancient people, these bright sky objects actually were those deities. The casters of horoscopes gained enormous influence since the positions of sky gods and goddesses were thought to have a great deal of control over the shifting fates of individual humans [6].

In the ancient world, the belief was very wide spread that stars contained souls or were of divine origin. According to Richard Hinckley Allen, Plato discusses the concept in Timaeus, where the belief is expressed that the creator of the universe included an equal number of stars and souls. After a virtuous life, a person’s soul could take up eternal residence in a star [7]. Some significant stars, the Pleiades for example, were identified with mythological or historical persons. Unfortunately, the rise in religious fundamentalism at the end of the classical era resulted in the loss of very many ancient philosophical and historical documents. But fortunately for our knowledge of early human history, some of this material has been preserved.

One still-existing source with roots in the ancient world is the Jewish mystical text, the Kabbalah. Many esoteric works based upon this seven to eight century old compilation of more ancient mystical traditions consider that some aspects of consciousness are universal rather than being the product of neuronal complexity [8].

Ancient western and eastern speculation on universal consciousness has led to a great deal of modern mystical conjecture, as any web search will reveal. But as a bridge between myth and science (and an appropriate bridge in a web article published by Baen Books), we next consider science-fiction treatments of stellar consciousness.

3. Stellar Consciousness in Science Fiction

According to many modern students of myth, most notably Joseph Campbell, cosmological thinking has its roots in ancient mythology and science fiction epics such as Star Wars parallel myth [9]. It is therefore not unfitting that the concept of stellar consciousness is developed in visionary science fiction decades before it begins to emerge into speculative science.

The dean of visionary science fiction is Olaf Stapledon (1886-1950). According to Wikipedia, Stapledon was born near Liverpool, UK. He was a conscientious objector during World War 1 and served with the Friends’ Ambulance Unit. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from University of Liverpool in 1925.

Although Stapledon authored non-fiction philosophical work, he is best known for his science fiction. His masterwork is Star Maker, which was originally published in 1937.

Perhaps because of what he had witnessed in the trenches, Stapledon became a committed pacifist. He was not optimistic regarding the ultimate human future, as evidenced in his 1930 novel Last and First Men, in which humanity becomes extinct before it can participate in the development of a conscious cosmos.

In Star Maker, Stapledon explores the development of a universal consciousness from the viewpoint of a disembodied contemporary Englishman who explores space and time and participates in the progress of consciousness during an out-of-body experience. In this novel, he predicts many technological developments that space-faring societies might utilize at various stages of their development. These include nuclear energy, astro-engineering projects such as space habitats, world ships (starships large enough to contain a near-planetary environment and conduct millennial-duration journeys), habitable shells around stars to capture all radiated starlight (called Dyson Spheres, since physicist Freeman Dyson has expanded upon the concept). These technological predictions have been cited by contemporary students of advanced space technology and have influenced science fiction authors including Arthur C. Clarke, Stanislaw Lem and Larry Niven.

He also develops what this author considers the only viable suggestion for interstellar war. As galactic technological societies advance, their information capabilities will ultimately result in electronic telepathy, which could lead to globally linked “hive” minds. Exploring world ships would contain their own group consciousness. Just as a certain percentage of individual human minds become insane, some of the world ship minds would become violently xenophobic. Intelligent races encountered by such entities would be either destroyed or engulfed in the collective. Almost certainly, this is the original model for Star Trek’s Borg.

As technological galactic civilizations develop further in Star Maker, a vast catastrophe occurs as they construct Dyson Spheres and attempt to alter the trajectories of selected stars. Normal main sequence stars explode or put out tendrils of hot plasma to eradicate life on their attendant planets. The planetary, organic societies ultimately learn that stars have a form of volition—they select to participate in a cosmic dance with their brethren. When the canons of this dance are interrupted by planetary “vermin”, the stars exterminate the pests or self-destruct.

Star Maker can be viewed as a morality fable as well as a collection of technological predictions. Stapledon clearly was struggling with the darkness descending upon Europe and the world in 1937. How can we postulate a benevolent universal creator in light of so much evil in the world? His solution was to track the conscious development of the cosmos as surviving planetary and stellar elements reach an accord and unite to ultimately produce a universal mentality. At the climax of the tale, this mentality is gently but firmly judged by the Creator, who is designing universes in the manner of a terrestrial artist, learning the ropes as he/she/it proceeds. Our universe, and its collective mentality is imperfect simply because the Star Maker must fiddle with a few more parameters to get it right!

After World War 2, Stapledon presented lectures at a number of learned societies. In 1948, he presented a lecture at the London headquarters of The British Interplanetary Society (BIS) that was attended by many founding members of this young organization, including Arthur C. Clarke [10].

In the early 1950s, Clarke emerged as a successor to Stapledon in the creation of visionary science fiction. His haunting 1953 short story “Expedition to Earth” also published by Amazing Stories under the title “Encounter in the Dawn,” implicitly explores some of the concepts presented by Stapledon. Bertrond, a member of an interstellar expedition to ancient Earth encounters Yaan, an ancestor of the people who will someday build Babylon. The extraterrestrial attempts to explain to the primitive that the galactic empire is doomed by the colossal explosions of its stars. He hopes that Yaan’s people, if they reach for the stars, will avoid the mistakes of the galactics. Until I read Stapledon, I had no concept of a miscalculation that might lead to the annihilation of a galactic empire’s myriad stars.

Clarke’s novel Against the Fall of Night, originally published in 1953 and later expanded into The City and the Stars, considers the ultimate future. In this far time, advanced technologies have experimented with disembodied sentience. One of their failures, the Mad Mind, is imprisoned in an artificial celestial object called The Black Sun. When this star dies as the universe ages, this entity will be freed to fight for universal dominance with Vanamonde, a more benevolent artificial sentience. This concept of a dark star housing intelligence might have triggered theoretical research by the mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose of Oxford University, which will be discussed later in this essay.

Neither Stapledon nor his protégé Clarke attempted to combine mythological concepts of stellar consciousness with their science fiction. This connection was made more recently in the novel If the Stars are Gods; a 1977 collaboration authored by physicist Greg Benford and Gordon Ecklund. An expansion of a 1974 Nebula-winning novelette with the same title, this work considers the stars to house god-like intelligence. Stellar entities can choose to eternally preserve exemplary examples of planetary life forms.

Science fiction is a vast subsection of visionary literature. There are too many instances of stellar consciousness in science fiction to be comprehensively reviewed in this article. This short summary presents a sampling of the author’s favorites.

(4) What Exactly is Consciousness?

Perhaps, if you include religious and mystical literature, more has been written about the subject of consciousness than any other topic. Theologians, philosophers, biologists, psychologists and physicists have all attempted to define this phenomenon—and it still remains slippery.

Perhaps the most direct definition of consciousness and certainly the most famous is that of the French philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes (1596-1650)—“I think, therefore I am.” The only thing we can be sure of is our own existence; all else can be a dream or elaborate simulation as in the movie “The Matrix.”

In 2001, the New York Academy 0f Sciences published the proceedings of a meeting commemorating the work of a pioneering 19th century Spanish consciousness researcher Ramon y Cajal [11]. The diversity of views among experts in this field contributing to this volume is illuminating. As reviewed in the Introduction, some believe that consciousness arises from neuronal complexity while others are convinced that a consciousness field pervades the universe. It is not even universally believed that the neurons in our brains are the only seat of consciousness World-famous micro-biologist Lynn Margulis argues that all terrestrial organic cells possess a crude form of consciousness mitigated by tiny structures called microtubules [12]. If this assertion turns out to be true, vegetarians and vegans should not be too smug!

Early in the 20th century, physicists became uncomfortably aware that one of their most successful theories—quantum mechanics—required the presence of conscious observers. This is not easy for materialists to swallow since applications of this well verified theory provide the basis for our modern civilization. Two physics professors; Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner have provided a very readable review of the encounter between consciousness and physics [13].

Even among the practioners of one discipline who have investigated this phenomenon, there is no simple, agreed upon definition for consciousness. This is certainly true for those physicists who have conducted research in this field.

One of the most influential consciousness physicists, David Bohm, argued that conscious thought should be viewed as a process rather than as an object [14]. Harris Walker believed that consciousness is not definable and should be viewed as the immediate experience of an individual’s environment and associated internal thoughts and emotions [1]. Physicist Menas Kafatos in collaboration with classicist Robert Nadeau conclude that consciousness cannot be local—it must be considered at root in a pantheistic sense as a universal field, like gravitation, that interacts with appropriate organizations of matter [15].

Even lacking an agreed upon definition, most would agree that humans and higher animals are conscious. But what about consciousness in worms, eggplant, and yeast cells? Does consciousness in some sense evolve as biological organisms evolve or does it develop as neuronal complexity allows greater interaction with a universal field?

For the purposes of this article, we attempt to circumvent the complexity by defining a conscious entity as one capable of volition—it has enough self-awareness that it can decide to take (or not take) a selected action. Following Stapledon, a conscious star can decide to alter its motion to participate in the great stellar dance as stars orbit the centers of their galaxies. Such a star need not have a human-level or god-like consciousness. A simple herding instinct is enough.

(5) Dark Matter and Anomalistic Stellar Motion

Dark Matter is a theoretical concept designed to “save the system.” If it exists, it comprises about three-quarters of the mass in the universe. But increasingly elaborate searches over a period of seven decades have failed to find it. For something so omnipresent in the universe, it is totally absent from the vicinity of our solar system, at least out to 80 times the Earth’s separation from the Sun (about twelve billion miles). As an alternative to this elusive component of our galaxy and universe, some have attempted modifications of Newton’s familiar theory of Universal Gravitation. Unfortunately, different modifications are necessary at stellar and cosmological distances!

Is it perhaps time to change the paradigm?

The dark matter saga begins during the first decades of the 20th century. In this period, the first modern telescopes became operational, notably the 100-inch aperture reflector on Mt. Wilson near Los Angeles. Skilled observers such as Edwin Hubble used cameras attached to these instruments to demonstrate the spiral nature of our Milky Way galaxy and that there were many external galaxies. Spectra were taken of many stars in our galaxy and the Milky Way’s galactic neighbors [16].

Two American astronomers, Vera Rubin and Fritz Zwicky carefully analyzed the spectra of many stars. They could determine stellar motions relative to our Sun by application of the Doppler Effect—spectral lines are blue shifted for relative motion towards the observer, red shifted for relative motion away from the observer.

Most astronomers expected that stellar motions around the center of the galaxies would be similar to those of planets around our Sun. Those stars closest to the galactic center were expected to revolve more rapidly.

Surprisingly, this was not the case. Stars in aggregate move more like they are mounted on the spokes of a rotating wheel. Those closer to the rim of the galaxy move more rapidly.

An additional problem was the computed masses of the clusters of galaxies. In order to hold these clusters together, additional invisible mass was necessary.

To allow for these discrepancies within the framework of Newton’s gravity theory, the Dark Matter hypothesis was developed. Most of the universe must be composed of an invisible substance that does not react with ordinary matter and can only be detected by the gravitational influence of its mass.

Astrophysicists reasoned that dark matter would come in one of two forms. One would be MACHOS (Massive Compact Halo Objects). The second variety is dubbed WIMPS (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles). MACHOS would likely be black holes, white dwarf stars and brown dwarfs invisible to contemporary telescopes that reside in spherical halos surrounding the galaxies. On the other hand, WIMPS are thought to be undiscovered sub-atomic particles more massive than the proton. Observations of galactic clusters in the halo of our galaxy and others do not support the existence of MACHOS. Even our most energetic particle accelerators have thus far discovered no candidate WIMPS [17].

Deep-space exploration has also not supported the existence of WIMPS. In the Early 1970s, NASA launched humanity’s first extra-solar probes. Dubbed Pioneer 10 and 11, these now silent spacecraft are approaching the heliopause, which is the boundary of the Sun ‘s galactic influence. Because of their design, it was possible to track these Pioneers with great precision. When mission controllers learned that the craft were unexpectedly decelerating slightly as they ventured towards the interstellar realm, some took this “Pioneer Anomaly” as a sign of WIMPS within the solar system.

Perhaps because of the possibility of new physics, the Planetary Society supported an effort to research the Pioneer Anomaly. Sadly for fans of WIMPS, this phenomenon is apparently caused by differential electromagnetic-radiation emission from spacecraft surfaces. It appears that at least as far out as 80.22 Astronomical Units (7.46 billion miles) from the Sun, Newtonian gravity theory is quite adequate to explain spacecraft motion [18].

If WIMPS constitute galactic dark matter, their apparent absence in the solar system indicates that they must avoid or repel normal matter. Coupling this to the requirements for invisibility and non-reactivity, such WIMPS would be exotic indeed.

Because there are indications that MACHOS are not present in galactic halos (although some form of dark matter may exist at cosmological distances [19]) some astronomers are seeking alternative explanations for the anomalous stellar motions. One possibility suggested as an alternative to Newtonian gravitation was magnetism but this can apparently be ruled out for many astrophysical objects [20].

Others have considered modifications to Newton’s gravity theory. After all, in what scripture is it written that gravitational force must vary with distance as a precise inverse-square function? Unfortunately, different modifications seem to be required at galactic and cosmological distances [21].

It seems at least possible that more than one factor is at work. Perhaps a modification of Newton’s gravity or an exotic form of matter is appropriate at extra-galactic distances. Another explanation might be found for anomalous stellar motions within our galaxy and others.

(6) A Mechanism for Star Consciousness

We do not have a real understanding of how consciousness arises in a collection of neurons (or perhaps microtubules). But some scholars in the field of quantum mechanics have begun to make an attempt [22,23]. Some of the theoretical approaches to the origin of consciousness in organic entities require quantum events to occur in appropriately sized structures in the brain such as the inter-synaptic spacing [1] or structures in organic cells such as microtubules [12].

A number of quantum processes have been suggested as candidates for the origin of consciousness in organisms. These include quantum tunneling, quantum entanglement and the Casimir Effect [1, 24, 25]. All of these effects have been experimentally verified in quantum systems (Plate 2).

Casimir diagram and Sun aspects

Plate 2: ConsciouSun, Casimir Diagram and Sun aspects. The device represented is a conceptual vacuum fluctuation battery, from a 1983 USAF report by Robert Forward (AFRPL TR-83-067): C Bangs.

Quantum tunneling in a brain might work with a wave function (representing a photon or electron) initially trapped within the physical or electromagnetic “well” imposed by the structure of neighboring synapses. Unlike the classical world where a constrained object stays put, there is a finite probability that the quantum of matter or energy might tunnel through the barrier and spread to other regions of the brain (or even other brains).

In quantum entanglement, widely separated electrons or photons might have entangled states. Entanglement seems to work at super-luminal velocities (which did not make Einstein happy).

As described in Wikipedia and Ref. 25, the Casimir effect requires molecules, which are much more abundant in nature than neurons and microtubules. Studying the electromagnetic force between atoms in molecules in 1948, the Dutch physicist H. B. G. Casimir noticed a discrepancy. He attributed this to the pressure of vacuum fluctuations that could not fit within the confines of the molecule.

Previously, Paul Dirac had demonstrated that the vacuum is not empty—it is filled at tiny intervals of time and space with vast amounts of energy and matter that instantly appear and vanish without leaving a trace. From the theory of the dynamic vacuum, Dirac successfully predicted the existence of the positron—the anti-electron.

According to the Big Bang theory, a vacuum fluctuation in a tiny volume became stabilized in some fashion about 13.7 billion years ago, resulting in our universe. The dynamic vacuum is therefore the ultimate free lunch and could be considered the most creative agency in the universe.

Casimir predicted that such a non-electromagnetic force would be present between electrically conducting plates separated by distances of about a micron (about one-millionth of a yard). In recent years, with the aid of nanotechnology, the Casimir Effect has been verified many times and is now a well-established part of modern physics.

We know little about the internal composition of stars. But it is safe to say that stars do not possess neurons or microtubules. However, many stars are cool enough to possess stable molecules in their outer layers.

It is therefore proposed that a field of proto-consciousness permeates the universe. Perhaps this field is identical to the dynamic vacuum. Consciousness of some sort is produced in those stars possessing molecules, since vacuum fluctuations play a major rule (about 30%) in maintaining molecular bonds.

Some might argue that this hypothesis is of a religious nature. It is not. Vacuum fluctuations as the source of consciousness can apply equally well in the case of the Cosmological Anthropic Principle (where a benevolent Creator designs the universe for life) or the Multiverse (where the vacuum fluctuations are essentially the work of a Creative Idiot who must produce a gizillion dead universes to arrive at our nice living one).

(7) How Could Stars Change Their Motion?

If stars are conscious and they choose to move in a manner not completely explained by Newton’s gravity theory, how could they do this? Consider first the required magnitude of the velocity change. As will become clear later, we choose a velocity increase of 20 kilometers per second (about 12 miles per second) in a time interval of one billion (1,000 million) years. Since there are about thirty million seconds in a year, the required average acceleration is 7 X 10-13 meters per square second (about 7 X 10-14 of Earth’s gravity). In a long human lifetime of 100 years, this average acceleration results in a velocity change of 0.2 centimeters per second.

Putting it another way, this acceleration will change the star’s position by about 3 kilometers or 2 miles in a 100-year long human lifetime. The author walks at least this far during a typical day! Such a small velocity and distance increment would be extremely difficult to detect until we have observed stellar motions with precision equipment for a much longer time period.

As described in Refs.4 and 5, there are at least three candidate methods for a conscious star to change motion by this magnitude. The most direct is for a young star to emit a unidirectional jet of material.

Most mature stars such as our Sun emit a variable omni-directional “solar wind” of electrically charged particles or ions. At the Earth’s distance from the Sun, the solar wind typically “blows” at 400-800 kilometers per second (250-500 miles per second). Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope and other modern telescopes have revealed that young stars go through a stage where they emit intense bipolar jets [17].

An image of such a jet is presented in Figure 1.

bipolar stellar jet

Figure 1: A bipolar stellar jet emanating from an infant star. (Courtesy NASA).

For emitted jets to contribute to changes in star motion, it would be necessary for observers to detect asymmetric jets from young stars. Surprisingly, such jets have been detected with velocities varying from one pole to its opposite by a factor as high as two [26]!

Lots of material is ejected in these jets. According to one reference, a young star might eject in its jets 103-106 (one thousand to one million) times as much material per year as does our Sun [27]. The Sun currently ejects about 10-13 of its mass per year [28].

Jet velocity has been measured for a number of young stars. For five T Tauri type stars, the jet velocity varies between 80 and 167 kilometers per second and the jet density varies 105-106 ions per cubic centimeter [29].

Let’s see what results we get when we combine all this information. Consider a T Tauri star that ejects a 100-kilometer per second velocity unipolar jet for two million years at a mass-ejection rate one-million times that of the Sun.

This star therefore ejects about 10-7 (one ten-millionth) of its mass per year or about 20% of its total mass at 100 kilometers per second during the two-million-year duration T Tauri phase of its existence. Applying Conservation of Linear Momentum, we find that the star can alter its galactic revolution velocity by 20 kilometers per second.

Clearly, unipolar or asymmetric jets from young stars is a leading candidate for how a conscious star could alter its galactic velocity. But it must be remembered that our data on stellar jets is very limited and at best represents a snapshot of a long-duration process. We do not know how long this phenomenon lasts and if, on average, unipolar jets are aligned with the galactic-motion vectors of the stars.

So we might consider alternative methods that a conscious star might use to adjust its trajectory. One possibility is electromagnetic-radiation pressure.

All mature stars eject copious amounts of electromagnetic radiation or light. The pressure of this radiation is, in fact, what keeps stars (including our Sun) from collapsing under their own self-gravitation.

But this process seems to be omni-directional in all known cases. For electromagnetic radiation pressure to play a role in altering a star’s galactic trajectory, it would have to be greater in some direction.

There is at least one additional possibility, although it is admittedly far out and must be considered on the fringe of science. This is psychokinesis (PK) or telekinesis, the mental movement of solid matter or the direct influence of mind on the motion of a physical object. As discussed in the next section, PK is a very controversial subject.

(8) The Trouble with PK

It is a fascinating topic. The mystical literature abounds of tales about wise men and gurus who can levitate above the ground or move objects with their will alone. But all this is anecdotal evidence. Is it possible that there is something real behind these tales?

Scientific studies of PK are murky at best. David Kaiser, an MIT physics professor, has written a wonderful chronicle of one major attempt to verify the existence of psychokinesis and the controversy that swirls around this attempt decades after it occurred [30]. This is also the only scientific controversy that the author has been privileged to discuss with principle participants on both sides of the aisle.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, intelligence agencies of the major Cold War powers became interested in paranormal powers as means of remotely gathering information. In the United States, an effort was conducted at the Stanford Research Institute in California to scientifically investigate these matters.

A number of individuals were tested for alleged psychic abilities. The best scoring of these, Uri Geller, later became a celebrity demonstrating his abilities to bend kitchen utensils before huge television audiences.

Several of the physicists who have viewed videotapes of Geller’s initial tests— Edgar Mitchell (who visited the Moon aboard Apollo 14), Hal Puthoff, Evan Harris Walker and Jack Sarfatti—have assured the author that Geller could not have cheated on the original tests. Walker and a colleague developed a theoretical basis for how PK could operate without violating quantum mechanics [31].

However, the author met at a Manhattan cocktail party some years ago a retired editor from Time-Life who demonstrated utensil bending and claimed that it was a trick. After Geller achieved celebrity status and became a star on the lecture circuit, this editor arranged for a lecture in Manhattan. Geller was not informed that The Amazing Randi, a professional magician was in the audience. After Geller’s performance, Randi informed the editor that utensil bending is a magic trick and Geller might be applying sleight of hand.

The editor commissioned Randi to further investigate Geller’s background. It was learned that Geller was a graduate of an Israeli magician’s college.

Not only were the quantum physicists severely embarrassed by this development. They also lost the services of their highest scoring experimental subject.

Harris Walker once demonstrated to the author the consequences of Geller’s unmasking. He used a flip chart to display a weak correlation between theoretical predictions and the experimental performance of a high-scoring Swedish alleged psychic. After receiving congratulations, Walker flipped over the transparency. The error bars were so high that the correlation essentially vanished!

All of this demonstrates the difficulties with performing quantum-level experiments on human subjects. Not only must the experimenter deal with difficulties posed by Heisenberg’s famous Uncertainty Principle. He/she also must contend with the very human profit motive.

One of the comments regarding the author’s Centauri-Dreams blog entry [5] was of special interest to students of PK. There exists a very-low temperature state of matter called the Einstein-Bose Condensate. According to Wikipedia, this state is characterized by quantum effects, which become apparent on the macroscopic level. The commenter suggested that experiments searching for a weak PK effect in humans could be repeated under controlled conditions by having the subjects attempting to mentally manipulate a Bose-Einstein Condensate.

The jury is still out. But if PK can be reliably demonstrated in human subjects, perhaps it also contributes to the motions of conscious stars.

(9) Star Motions and Star Temperatures: A Prediction

All of this theoretical musing is very nice. But without experimental or observational validation, it constitutes deductive philosophy, not science. As the author prepared his contribution for the November 2011 Olaf Stapledon Symposium at the headquarters of The British Interplanetary Society, he wondered if observational data might support (or refute) the hypothesis of stellar consciousness.

H-R diagram of stars

Figure 2: A Hertzprung-Russell (HR) Diagram with star luminosity plotted against star spectral class, temperature and (B-V) color index. The major luminosity classes (supergiants, giants, main sequence and white dwarf stars are shown. The Sun is currently an early G, about half way up from the bottom of the main sequence. (Courtesy NASA).

Figure 2 presents the familiar Hertzsprung-Russell (HR) Diagram of stellar classification, from a NASA website. The hottest, bluest, most massive stars are in Spectral Class O, the coolest reddest, least massive stars are in class M. Subdivisions in the various classes range from 0 to 9, in order of decreasing temperature. Our Sun, for example, is a G2 main sequence star. Luminosity classes include white dwarfs, main sequence, giants and supergiants. Stars similar to our Sun come on the HR diagram near giants, shrink to the main sequence. After spending most of their ~ten-billion year lives on the main sequence, Sun-like stars expand to the giant phase and burn out rapidly (at least from the viewpoint of a star). After perhaps 100 million years as a giant, they decline in luminosity to become white dwarfs. Cooler M stars spend a longer time interval (perhaps a trillion years) on the main sequence. Cool sub-luminous stars are far more common than hot stars.

More massive O and B stars only reside on the stable main sequence for millions of years. They then expand to the supergiant phase, after which they explode as supernova and contract to the white dwarf phase. Some are still sufficiently massive after the pyrotechnics to contract further to become neutron stars or black holes.

Temperatures on the HR Diagram are surface temperatures in the absolute or Kelvin scale. In order to support nuclear fusion of hydrogen nuclei, the deep interior of all main sequence stars have temperatures of many million degrees.

Absolute magnitude is a method of correcting star luminosity for star distance. It is similar to wattage of a light bulb. A +15 absolute magnitude star might be equivalent to a low-watt bulb. The radiant output of a +5 absolute magnitude star is equivalent to a much more luminous light bulb.

Also note the horizontal scale for B-V color index. This scale essentially represents the color distribution of a star’s radiant output. Red stars have a higher B-V color index than blue stars.

Class O and B stars, which only last on the main sequence for a few million years, are too hot to have many molecules in their upper layers or interiors. As stellar surface temperatures fall towards 6,000 degrees Kelvin, the signature of nitrogen molecules (N2) is detected in stellar spectra [32]. Carbon monoxide (CO) molecules are apparently present in the Sun’s photosphere [33]. Cooler M2 stars have abundant molecules including TiO and ZrO [33].

If the hypothesis of stellar volition and molecule-based stellar consciousness has any bearing on observed stellar kinematics, the following observational prediction can be made. As stars cool and become redder on the main sequence, molecules will become more abundant in their upper layers. It will be observed that such conscious stars will move faster than their hotter sisters. Hot, less conscious stars will tend to move more in accordance with Newton’s theory of Universal Gravitation. The motions or kinematics of cooler stars with more abundant molecules in their photospheres will require some other agency to supplement gravity.

10. Parenago’s Discontinuity: A Validation of the Hypothesis?

Every year, very many theoretical concepts are introduced into astrophysics. Most of them never advance from the hypothesis to theory stage because observational evidence is lacking. The author began the search for observational evidence supporting the hypothesis of stellar consciousness with the expectation that such evidence is lacking. But what he found instead was unexpected and mind blowing!

What he discovered was Parenago’s Discontinuity. According to Wikipedia, Pavel Petrovich Parenago, a Soviet astronomer (1906-1960), studied motions of stars in the Milky Way galaxy. As well as being an excellent observer, Parenago was a consummate survivor. While many of his colleagues were being purged to the Gulag, Parenago avoided trouble by ending an astronomy book with a tribute to Joseph Stalin as “the greatest genius of all mankind.”

Parenago noted a discontinuity in the motion of near stars as they move around the galactic center on orbits of about 200-million-year duration. When he plotted star motion versus spectral class, he noted that cooler, redder, longer-lived stars are a bit faster than their hotter, bluer, shorter-lived sisters. The discontinuity occurs around B-V = 0.5, for mid-F stars that are a bit larger and bluer than our Sun and live for about three billion years on the main sequence.

solar motion chart

Figure 3: Solar Motion in the direction of galactic rotation (V, in kilometers per second), vs. star (B-V) color index.

Without access to Parenago’s original data, the author has prepared an illustration presenting Parenago’s discontinuity from two separate sources (Fig. 3). The data points in this figure come from a reference by G. F. Gilmore and M. Zelik that is included in a standard sourcebook [34] and a paper by J. J. Binney and colleagues [35]. The paper by Binney et al draws upon kinematics data for 5610 main sequence stars from the data set of the European Hipparcos space observatory.

Note in Fig. 3 that the maximum star velocity differences are in the vicinity of 20 kilometers per second, which is why this velocity was chosen in the previous discussion of conscious star acceleration.

Binney et al attempt to explain Parenago’s discontinuity by invoking gravitational scattering in star birth nebulae [35]. This seems to be an unlikely explanation since F stars reside on the main sequence for around three billion years and stellar birth associations typically disperse within a few hundred million years [17].

It is very interesting and provocative to note that this discontinuity in stellar kinematics occurs at around the same place location in the HR diagram where molecules are beginning to appear in the spectral signatures of stellar upper layers. Although it does not prove the existence of molecule-based stellar consciousness as discussed above, Parenago’s discontinuity certainly adds weight to the hypothesis.

11. Falsification and Verification

According to the rules of the game, a scientific hypothesis advances to become a full-blown theory if it passes experimental or observational tests of falsification or verification. This is a criticism that has been leveled at what is commonly (and perhaps misleadingly) called “string theory.” If a theoretical idea cannot be tested inductively, it should properly be considered as higher mathematics or deductive philosophy, not science.

The author is indebted to the many scientifically literate people who commented on his star consciousness entry in Paul Gilster’s Centauri Dreams astronomical/astronautical blog [5].

Among the suggestions are:

  1. A recommendation that studies be conducted to determine whether Parenago’s discontinuity is a local or universal phenomenon. A forthcoming European space observatory dubbed Gaia is planned to investigate motions of ~ one billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy. Perhaps something occurred a few billion years ago in our region of the galaxy and Parenago’s discontinuity is a local anomaly.
  2. Future generations of space and terrestrial telescopes should be capable of resolving stars in the spiral arms of very distant spiral galaxies. Since these galaxies are distant in time as well as space, it may be possible to determine whether stars speed up as they age.
  3. Studies attempting to validate PK should be repeated using subjects who attempt to remotely alter properties of Bose-Einstein condensates, a very-low temperature form of matter in which quantum effects become macroscopic.
  4. Observers using advanced instruments could observe the motions of sub-luminous, low mass main-sequence stars of spectral classes M8 or M9. Since these stars produce far less thermonuclear energy in their interiors than do solar-mass stars, any acceleration in their motion might be more likely due to PK than unipolar jets.
  5. If a statistically significant number of unipolar stellar jets are discovered, it would be interesting to learn how they align in respect to the direction of average star motion around the galactic center.
  6. One way to test the hypothesis that consciousness may have a molecular basis via the Casimir effect is to observe the behavior of computers as their complexity approaches that of the human brain and component size approaches the molecular level. But how would we determine that our computers or networks were becoming self reflective or volitional?

The current state of observational studies of near-galactic stellar kinematics can be observed by monitoring the popular astronomical press. On April 18, 2012, a study of the motions of 400 red giant stars out to 13,000 light years was reported in [36]. Directed by Christian Modi Bidin of the University of Concepcion in Chile, this study reached the surprising conclusion that dark matter is not necessary to explain the motions of these stars.

A conflicting study directed by Silvia Barbari at the University of Zurich in Switzerland was featured a few months later in the same source [37]. From a study of the motions of thousands of main sequence orange dwarf stars in the solar vicinity, an abundance of dark matter is required!

The debate that swirls around these studies and others is fascinating. If the negative results are correct, why do so many studies require the presence of dark matter? But if the positive results are correct, why are the trajectories of our extra-solar probes out to more than 80 AU from the Sun in the case of Pioneer, unaffected?

One possible check is to investigate tabulations of the motions of super giant stars. From Table 19.11 of Ref. 34, the velocity component parallel to the direction of galactic rotation for nearby super giant stars of spectral classes gO-gB5 averages 13.4 kilometers per second. For super giants in spectral classes gF-gM, the average velocity of this velocity component is 11.7 kilometers per second. Referring to the figure presenting Parenago’s discontinuity, these velocities are lower than those of most main sequence stars.

Super giant stars tend to have masses 10-70 times greater than the Sun [38]. While they are on the main sequence (which is for millions of years, not billions), such massive stars will tend to be too hot to posses many molecules in their upper layers. The fact that these super giants revolve around the galaxy at a relatively slow velocity is supportive of the hypothesis presented here.

12. Can We Talk?

The hypothesis of conscious stars is certainly not proven. But if this turns out to be a viable explanation for anomalous stellar revolution velocities around the galactic center, one might wonder whether communication is possible between planetary and stellar conscious entities.

Of course, the type of consciousness proposed here as an alternative to dark matter to explain anomalous stellar motion need not be very advanced. Many comparatively primitive terrestrial organisms have a herding instinct at least as advanced as that required by such stars.

But what if early mythology and some science fiction are correct and stars are sentient as well as self aware and volitional? Could we communicate with such beings?

The prospects do not seem especially good, at least at our humanity’s current state of development. We have not developed in-depth communication with the most intelligent organic species that we share this planet with—dolphins and other cetaceans. Our attempts to speak with chimpanzees—our closest living relatives—are primitive at best. Other creatures reaching for intelligence—cats, dogs, and parrots—serve as domestic animal companions rather than being treated as near equals. And the cephalopods (octopi and squids) typically are served as delicious meals!

Radio astronomers conduct lengthy studies, as part of SETI—the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence—but most of them would conclude that communication with very alien intelligence would be difficult indeed.

And sentient stars would be very alien. First, they exist in relative isolation from one another. Many human lifetimes would elapse during a conversation between two relatively close stellar neighbors.

The vast difference in lifetime between humans and stars would provide another difficulty. A typical human lifetime is equivalent in duration to one second or so in the main sequence life of a Sun-like star. To the stars, our lives are those of mayflies! The difficulty in establishing communication with humans (from a star’s point of view) is analogous of that of the human explorers who contact short-lived intelligent beings on the surface of a neutron star in Robert Forward’s excellent novel Dragon’s Egg (Ballantine, NY, 1980).

In Stapledon’s Star Maker, communication between stellar and advanced planetary intelligence is of paramount importance to the evolution of the galaxy. In that novel, stars do not like being shrouded by constructions such as Dyson Shells [see Larry Niven’s Ringworld (Ballantine, NY, 1970)) for a fictional treatment of such a construction. Stars also react violently in Stapledon’s novel when their trajectories are altered by organic beings.

Perhaps the best hope for communication between planetary and stellar intellects (if the latter actually exist) is the eventual evolution of the world-wide web into a planetary consciousness, as envisioned by Stapledon and others. Individual humans might serve as neurons for such an entity, plugging in or out at will. If this global being has a sufficiently long-duration existence, perhaps it could attract the attention of the stars.

13. Conclusions: A Conscious Universe?

The arguments presented here can in no way be considered conclusive. But advocates of dark matter must admit that there are serious difficulties in invoking this material to explain anomalous stellar motions. If we assume that massive dark halo objects (MACHOs) are the predominant form of galactic dark matter, we must explain why these seem to be absent in studies of globular clusters in our galaxy’s halo. Advocates of weakly interacting massive sub-atomic particles (WIMPS) must explain how non-interacting, invisible but massive particles that constitute perhaps 75% of the galaxy’s mass do not affect spacecraft trajectories out to at least 80 AU from the Sun.

If we try instead to modify Newton’s gravity equation, there is another quandary. Apparently, different modifications are required at stellar and cosmological distances.

Recent observational data supports the existence of some form of dark matter deep in extra-galactic space [39]. So perhaps there are two phenomena at work—one local and one distant.

It is also not impossible that a mechanistic explanation will be discovered for Parenago’s discontinuity or that this will be shown to be a local phenomenon. But it is also possible that the conscious star hypothesis will survive the observational tests listed above that have been proposed by this author and others. As with all other scientific issues, the ones presented here will ultimately be resolved by further observational and experimental work.

If it can be demonstrated that stars posses a form of consciousness, what about larger structures within the universe? In Star Maker, Stapledon speculates that the galaxies themselves are conscious in a sense. He develops this idea further in his unfinished Nebula Maker (published in the US by Dodd, Mead and Co., NY, in 1983).

It should be noted that the work presented here does not represent the first scientific foray into stellar consciousness. As noted by his coauthor, the American anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff, Sir Roger Penrose’s theory of consciousness allows Bose-Einstein condensates in neutron stars to be conscious [40].

Although it is not the purpose of this essay to address the concept of galactic consciousness, it is interesting to note that galaxies undergo many mergers during their existences. How a spiral galaxy such as our Milky Way maintains its structure during such repeated events is an open question [41]. Is it possible that some form of self- organization occurs at the galactic level? If consciousness has its roots in the Casimir effect operating within molecules, we might wonder whether the entire cosmos is, in some sense, conscious.

References and Notes

  1. E. H. Walker, “The Nature of Consciousness,” Mathematical Biosciences, 7, 131-178 (1970).
  2. E. H. Walker, The Physics of Consciousness, Perseus, Cambridge, MA (2000).
  3. For a review of the technique of interstellar solar sailing, consult E. F. Mallove and G. L. Matloff, The Starflight Handbook, Wiley, NY (1989). A more technical and timely treatment of the same topic is included in G. L. Matloff, Deep-Space Probes, Springer-Praxis, Chichester, UK (2000 and 2005).
  4. G. L. Matloff, “Olaf Stapledon and Conscious Stars: Philosophy or Science?” JBIS, 65, 5-6 (2012).
  6. Any college-level astronomy textbook contains a description of the joint early history of astronomy and astrology.
  7. An excellent source of ancient star lore, containing philosophical and mythological conjectures on stellar consciousness is R. H. Allen, Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning (Dover, NY, 1963), which was originally published in 1899 by G. E. Stechert under the title Star-Names and Their Meanings. A more recent reatment of the same topic is T. Condos, Star Myths of the Greeks and Romans: A Sourcebook, Phanes, Grand Rapids, MI (1997).
  8. Many on-line sources consider aspects of the Kabbalah. One sourcebook on this topic is D. Fortune, The Mystical Qabalah, Sameul Weriser, York Beach, Maine (1997). This was first published in England in 1935.
  9. For a provocative discussion of the relationship between ancient myth and modern cosmological thought, see J. Campbell, The Inner Reaches of Outer Space: Metaphor as Myth and Religion, Harper & Row, NY (1988). Campell’s consideration of the mythological aspects of the Star Wars science-fiction epic is included in his PBS televised discussion with Bill Moyers and published in J. Campbell, The Hero’s Journey: A Biographical Portrait, Harper Collins, NY (1990.
  10. Stapledon’s 1948 lecture “Interplanetary Man?”, initially published in an early edition of JBIS (The Journal of the British Interplanetary Society), has been reprinted in the January 2012 issue of this journal, which is devoted to that author’s lasting legacy.
  11. P. C. Marijuan Ed., Cajal and Consciousness: Scientific Approaches on the Centennial of Ramon y. Cajal’s “Textura,” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 929 (2001).
  12. L. Margulis, “The Conscious Cell,” in P. C. Marijuan Ed., Cajal and Consciousness: Scientific Approaches on the Centennial of Ramon y. Cajal’s “Textura,” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 929, pp. 55-70 (2001).
  13. B. Rosenblum and F. Kuttner, Quantum Enigma, Oxford U. P., NY (2006).
  14. D. Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicit Order, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, UK (1980).
  15. M. Kafatos and R. Nadeau, The Conscious Universe, Springer-Verlag, NY (1990).
  16. O. Struve and V. Zebergs, Astronomy of the 20th Century, Macmillan, NY (1962).
  17. E. Chaisson and S. McMillan, Astronomy Today, 6th ed., Pearson Addison-Wesley, San Francisco, CA (2008).
  18. L. Kruezi, “The Pioneer Anomaly—Solved?” Astronomy, Vol. 40, No. 11, 20 (Nov. 2012).
  19. B. Andrews, “Astronomers Detect Dark Matter String,” Vol. 40, No. 11, 18 (Nov. 2012).
  20. F. J. Sanchez-Salcedo and M. Reyes-Ruiz, “Constraining the Magnetic Effects on HI Rotation Curves and the Need for Dark Halos,” Astrophysical Journal, 607, 247-257 (2004).
  21. S. Capozziello, L. Consiglio, M. De. Laurentis, G. De Rosa, and C. Di Donata, “The Missing Matter Problem: From the Dark Matter Search to Alternative Hypothesis,” arXiv:1110.5026v1 [astro-ph.CO] 23 Oct 2011.
  22. E. Schrodinger, What is Life? with Mind and Matter and Autobiographical Sketches, reprinted by Cambridge U. P., NY (1992).
  23. H. P. Stapp, Mind, Matter, and Quantum Mechanics, Springer Verlag, NY (1993).
  24. R. Penrose, “Quantum Computation, Entanglement and State Re3duction,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal society, London A, 356, 1927-1939 (1998).
  25. B. Haisch, The God Theory, Weiser, San Francisco, CA (2006).
  26. F. Namouni, “On the Flaring of Jet-Sustaining Accretion Disks,” The Astrophysical Journal, 659, 15015-1510 (2007).
  27. S. R. Cranmer, “Turbulence-driven Polar Winds from T Tauri Stars Energized by Magnetospheric Accretion,” Astrophysical Journal, 669, 316-334 (2008).
  28. P. D. Noerdlinger, “Solar Mass, the Astronomical Unit, and the Scale of the Solar System,” (accessed Oct. 12, 2012).
  29. A. I. Gomez-de Castro, E. Verdugo, abd C. Ferro-Fontan, “Wind/Jet Formation in T Tauri Stars: Theory vs. UV Observations, in Proceedings of 12th Cambridge Workshop on Cool Stars, Stellar Systems, and the Sun, July 30- Aug. 3, 2001. U. Colorado, Boulder, CO (2003), pp 40-49.
  30. D. Kaiser, How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival, Norton, NY (2011).
  31. R. D. Mattuck and E. H. Walker, “The Action of Consciousness on Matter: A Quantum Mechanical Theory of Psychokinesis,” in The Iceland Papers, ed. A. Puharich, Essentia Research Associates, Amherst WI (1979), pp. 111-160.
  32. L. H. Allen, “Interpretation of Normal Stellar Spectra,” in Stellar Atmospheres, ed. J. L. Greenstein, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Ill (1960), Chap. 5.
  33. G. F. Sitnik and M. Ch. Paude, “Two Decay Processes for CO Molecules in the Solar Photosphere,” Soviet Astronomy, 11, 588-591 (1968).
  34. G. F. Gilmore and M. Zelik, “Star Populations and the Solar Neighborhood,” in Allen’s Astrophysical Quantities, 4th ed., A. N. Cox Ed., Springer-Verlag, N. Y. (2000), Chap. 19.
  35. J. J. Binney, W. Dehnen, N. Houk, C. A. Murray, and M. J. Preston, “Kinematics of Main Sequence Stars from Hipparcos Data,” in Proceedings of the ESA Symposium Hipparcos-Venice, ’97, ESA SP-402, Venice, Italy, 13-16 May, 1997, pp. 473-477 (July 1997).
  36. C. Q. Choi, “Nearby Dark Matter Mysteriously Missing,”, April 18, 2012 (accessed Oct. 15, 2012).
  37. C. Moskowitz, “Invisible Dark Matter Likely Bountiful Near Sun,”, Aug. 10, 2012 (accessed Oct. 15, 2012).
  38. J. S. Drilling and A. U. Landolt, “Normal Stars,” in Allen’s Astrophysical Quantities, 4th ed., A. N. Cox Ed., Springer-Verlag, N. Y. (2000), Chap. 15.
  39. W. Andrews, “Astronomers Detect Dark Matter String,” Astronomy, Vol. 40, No. 11, 18 (November, 2012).
  40. S. Hameroff, “Overview: Could Life and Consciousness be Related to the Fundamental Quantum Nature of the Universe,” (accessed Oct. 22, 2012).
  41. A. Maller, “Halo Mergers, Galaxy Mergers, and Why Hubble Type Depends on Mass,” presented at Formation and Evolution of Galaxy Disks, Vatican Observatory, Rome, Oct. 1-5, 2007.

Copyright © 2012 by Dr. Gregory Matloff

Art Copyright © 2012 by C. Bangs

Dr. Gregory Matloff is Associate Emeritus and Adjunct Professor of Physics at New York City College of Technology, CUNY. He is a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society, a Hayden Associate of the American Museum of Natural History, and a Full Member of the International Academy of Astronautics. He has authored or co-authored more than 100 research papers and nine books, and is known for his pioneering theoretical work on the concept of solar sails. His most recent popular science essays can be found in Baen Books’ Going Interstellar, edited by Jack McDevitt and Les Johnson.