Cometary knots in the planetary Helix nebula as a modern analog of baryonic dark matter in the form of primordial, self-gravitating, planetary-mass gas globules (paleons) ejected from Population III stars by coronal mass ejection, during their terminal thermally-pulsing asymptotic giant branch (TP-AGB) phase


    Early-onset Big Bang nucleosynthesis (BBN), in the context of the gravitational collapse of neutrons, followed by early-onset hydrogen recombination, in the context of the gravitational collapse of decoupled helium, may provide a possibility for baryonic dark matter (DM) today in the form of self-gravitating gas globules ejected from Population III stars.

    The first occurrence of baryonic DM occurred at the hadron epoch, which fused charged quarks into neutral neutrons that were decoupled from primordial photons; then following neutrino decoupling at about 1 second after the Big Bang, neutrons became susceptible to gravitational collapse. Gravitational fragmentation occurred at the prevailing Jeans mass scale, with neutrons suggested to have collapsed into super massive black holes (SMBHs) during BBN. Baryonic DM increases the baryon-to-photon ratio in the universe by about 6 fold above the ΛCDM model, and while the concordant model does a fairly good job of predicting the BBN reaction product concentrations for primordial deuterium and helium-3 assuming exotic DM under canonical conditions, the steep density, temperature and proton-to-neutron-ratio gradients in the context gravitational collapse of neutrons would have been far from homogeneous.

    The second occurrence of baryonic DM occurred at second helium recombination at z ≈ 2000 from the ΛCDM perspective, which decoupled helium from primordial photons, allowing helium to undergo gravitational collapse at the prevailing Jeans mass scale, which is suggested to have been ~ 108 M☉, forming gravitationally-bound super globules of neutral helium and ionized hydrogen. The accompanying density and temperature gradients would have caused the primordial photons to diffuse out of collapsing centers and into the cooler interstitial voids where early-onset hydrogen recombination is suggested to have occurred, and the loss of primordial photons from the collapsing centers allowed ionized hydrogen to collapse without undergoing recombination.
    Super globules presumably collapsed down to a 1-10 pc scale before condensing Population III stars, which halted the collapse. A significant portion of Pop III stars are suggested to have expired as AGB stars, complete with planetary nebulae and self-gravitating planetary-mass gas globules hurled off in by coronal mass ejections (CMEs), coincident with the planetary-mass cometary knots of the planetary Helix nebula. These CME gas globules presumably accreted the vast majority of the leftover gas from the first Pop III star aftermath, accompanied by the condensation of some Pop II stars.
    The the CME gas globules gradually went dark as their stellar metallicity ‘snowed out’ and accreted into moon-mass icy nuclei at their centers of mass, likely with a residual gaseous carbon monoxide concentration maintaining the core temperature just below the CO triple point temperature of 67.9 K. The accretion of loose gas by paleons accompanied by going dark converted these primordial super globules into the DM-dominated dwarf spheroidal galaxies (dSphs) of today.


      ΛCDM assumes exotic DM particles of unspecified nature to explain the observed rotational rates of spiral galaxy disks and the degree of gravitational lensing of distant quasars by foreground galaxies and galaxy clusters, but so far, all attempts to detect exotic DM particles have failed. Baryonic DM appears to be excluded by the concordant ΛCDM model by BBN reaction product concentrations, which are highly dependent on the baryon-to-photon ratio and appear to support noninteracting (exotic) DM. Additionally, the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation telegraphs the extent of cosmic expansion since hydrogen recombination, which also agrees with the ΛCDM model.
      Baryonic DM appears require help both at BBN and at recombination, which is suggested here to be early-onset BBN mediated by the gravitational collapse of decoupled neutrons and early-onset hydrogen recombination mediated by the gravitational collapse of decoupled helium. Steep local inhomogeneity at BBN would invalidate the assumption of canonical conditions, and if second helium recombination triggered early-onset hydrogen recombination when the baryonic density was about 6 times greater than hypothesized by the canonical ΛCDM model, then the CMB red shift is not a hindrance to baryonic DM.

      The most intuitive DM candidate is baryonic matter in the form of hydrogen and helium, cloaked by some mechanism, and baryonic DM needn’t be particularly dark in a universe contaminated with luminous baryonic matter in innumerable states, concentrations and configurations, which are not fully characterized. Condensed baryonic DM, such as black holes, neutron stars, black dwarfs, brown dwarfs and rogue gas-giant planets have been effectively ruled out by microlensing studies, leaving cold, self-gravitating gas globules as perhaps the final unexcluded possible DM reservoirs. Cold, dense molecular hydrogen is difficult to detect (Pfenniger and Combes 1994; Pfenniger, Combes and Martinet 1994), and particularly if the vast majority of its stellar metallicity is sequestered into moon-mass icy nuclei.

      One means of detecting cold gas might be the occultation of pinpoint radio sources, such as quasars and pulsars, in the form of radio scintillation, but in this case, their gaseous surfaces may have to be ionized by intense UV radiation by nearby hot stars. Quasar scintillation caused by high electron density plasma has been detected for years, but only very recently has this scintillation been tied to hot (O,B,A) stars with copious UV radiation (Walker et al., 2017). Walker et al., 2017 suggest the scintillation to be caused by as many as 100,000 self-gravitating gas globules trapped in the Hill spheres of hot stars and ionized by their UV radiation, with the mass of the numerous gas globules similar to the mass of the star itself.
      Alternatively, it is suggested here that quasar scintillation associated with hot stars is caused by recent coronal mass ejections (CMEs) rather than by primordial gas globules. The connection between solar CMEs and Pop III star CMEs (ejecting primordial gas globules) is around 12 orders of magnitude in mass, with suggested quasar scintillation CME of hot stars lying around 6 orders of magnitude in between.

Gravitational collapse of neutron DM in the hadron epoch, causing early-onset BBN:

    Early-onset Big Bang nucleosynthesis (BBN), promoted by gravitational collapse of decoupled neutrons, may provide a pathway for baryonic DM, despite the approximately 6 fold increase in the baryon-to-photon ratio implied by baryonic DM.

    The fusion of charged quarks into hadrons concluded by about 1 second after the Big Bang, accompanied by the decoupling of neutrinos, creating neutrons decoupled from primordial photons and neutrinos and thus susceptible to gravitational collapse. Neutrons are suggested to have collapsed at a galactic Jeans mass scale, terminating with the formation of super massive black holes (SMBHs).
    The gravitational collapse of neutrons caused steep local density and temperature gradients, with relative low-density low-temperature voids opening between collapsing centers where early-onset BBN occurred.
    Conventionally, BBN occurred from about 10 seconds to 10 minutes after the Big Bang, fusing neutrons with protons to predominantly form helium-4, and trace quantities of other light BBN fusion-product isotopes, namely deuterium, helium-3 and lithium-7, which place tight constraints on BBN conditions. The universe appears to be depleted in primordial lithium by a factor of about 3 according to canonical (homogeneous) BBN theory, casting a shadow over the assumption of homogeneous canonical conditions at BBN.
    Gravitational collapse caused a steep density and temperature gradient, causing photons to diffuse from collapsing centers into the surrounding relatively-rarified voids, locally lowering the baryon-to-photon ratio in the relative voids where early-onset BBN occurred. Additionally, neutron collapse depleted the voids of neutrons, locally lowering the neutron-to-proton ratio. Finally, the gravitational collapse rarefaction cooling in the relative voids added to the rate of cosmic expansion cooling, creating an early-onset BBN cooling rate in excess of that anticipated by the ΛCDM model. All of the above; photon enrichment, neutron depletion and cooling enhancement in the relative voids affected the resulting reaction products, including the primordial deuterium/hydrogen (D/H) ratio.
    BBN progressed from the outside in with respect to the collapsing centers, beginning with early-onset BBN in the cooler voids, with nucleation progressively moving inward and terminating with late-onset BBN in the densified cores of collapse centers. As BBN progressed inward and neutral neutrons fused with positive protons into positively charge nuclei, the collapsing centers became progressively more elastic until gravitational collapse halted and electrostatically rebounded with the pressure of primordial photons, converting collapsing centers into expanding centers. Late-onset BBN in the collapse center cores would have occurred with neutron enrichment, photon depletion and a cooling rate not expected to coincide with the canonical ΛCDM model. Additionally, the time delay inherent in late-onset nucleation in collapsing centers would have caused a percentage of the neutrons to have decayed into protons, where free neutrons have a half life of about 13 minutes.

    The Jeans mass scale calculation of neutron collapse is far beyond the scope of this conceptual approach; however, the typical specific angular momentum of spiral galaxies suggests the scale of the elastic rebound, with the Local Group suggested as a typical rebound center with a mass of ~ 2.4 x 1012 M☉. The energy of elastic rebound was not able to freely expand like a supernova into the vacuum of space, but instead plowed into gas at the typical density found in stellar cores today, forcing the rebounding material to turn back on itself in the form of eddies. Additionally, the self gravity of the rebounding over densities constrained the form of the rebound by limiting its surface area, tending to form bilaterally-symmetrical twin-binary clumps of gravitationally-bound material rebounding in opposing directions, and with opposing angular momentum vectors.
    Gravitational collapse presumably formed solitary SMBHs in collapse centers,
such that only one twin-binary rebounding component acquired the primordial SMBH. In the twin-binary pair constituting Andromeda and The Milky Way, Andromeda apparently acquired the primordial SMBH, accounting for the SMBH mass discrepancy, with Andromeda having a (1.1-2.3) × 108 M☉ SMBH compared to the much-smaller 4 x 106 M☉ SMBH at the center of our Galaxy. And this asymmetrical apportioning of a solitary primordial SMBH to only one of a twin-binary pair of proto (spiral) may in itself have engendered rotation.

Gravitational collapse of helium DM in the late photon epoch, causing early-onset hydrogen recombination:

    A baryonic DM hypothesis requires about 6 times the apparent baryon density in today’s universe. But if hydrogen recombination occurred at canonical conditions in a homogeneous continuum, and if there was no baryonic matter already sequestered into DM at recombination, then the measured redshift of the CMB precludes baryonic dark matter, since it yields an extrapolated baryon density today that agrees well with the observed (luminous) baryon density in today’s universe.
    There appear to be 2 possibilities that may allow for baryonic DM under special conditions; first, if 5/6 of the baryonic matter were already dark and thus did not participate in hydrogen recombination, or second, if the universe were sufficiently inhomogenous that early-onset recombination could occur at the cold low-density extremes when the baryon density was 6 times the canonical hydrogen recombination density. In the absence of any likely sequestering mechanism for the first possibility and the suggestion for a likely inhomogeneity mechanism for the second possibility, early-onset recombination emerges as the likely candidate for baryonic DM.

    Significantly, second helium recombination appears to have occurred at almost exactly the redshift when the universe was 6 times denser than at canonical hydrogen recombination, at z ≈ 2000 from the ΛCDM perspective. The cube root of 6 gives the increased redshift factor, which when multiplied by the measured cosmic microwave background (CMB) redshift (z = 1100) gives the apparent redshift when the universe was 6 times denser: 1100 * 6(1/3) = 1998.8.
    Second helium recombination, occurring at z ≈ 2000 from the ΛCDM perspective, created neutral atomic helium, which decoupled helium from the primordial photons, but helium was still subject to gravity. Electromagnetic decoupling at second helium recombination made helium the dark matter of the late photon epoch, freeing helium to undergo gravitational collapse at the prevailing Jeans mass scale, forming progressively-densifying ‘super globules’.
    Gravitational collapse densified and heated the hydrogen and helium within the collapsing helium super globules, while rarefying and cooling the voids that opened up in between, with helium collapse creating a progressively steepening temperature and pressure gradient over time.

    When the conditions in the rarefying voids decreased to locally canonical hydrogen recombination conditions, protons and electrons reacted to form neutral atomic hydrogen, which locally decoupled the primordial photons, releasing them into increasingly-transparent network of voids surrounding the collapsing ionized super globules. The localized temperature and pressure gradients caused the primordial photons to diffuse out of the densifying globules into the rarefying neutral voids in between, and this loss of primordial photons from the collapsing super globules allowed ionized hydrogen to begin collapsing as well, which dramatically increased the pressure and temperature gradient by positive feedback into runaway diffusion and decoupling of the primordial photons.
    Compton scattering cooled the primordial photons to the frequency corresponding to the canonical recombination temperature of ~ 3000 K, as they diffused from warmer, denser super globules into the cooler more-rarefied voids, regulating the photon frequency to the recombination temperature, despite the steep temperature and pressure gradient at early onset. As long as the local inhomogeneity scale was smaller than the scale recorded in the CMB anisotropies, and as long as photon diffusion was relatively-rapid compared to the rate of early-onset recombination, these local inhomogeneities should not affect the observed CMB power spectrum.
    Baryon acoustic oscillation (BAO) created density gradients at almost the horizon scale, with BAO traveling at almost the speed of light, making BAO compressions and rarefactions essentially adiabatic, thus BAO gradients were accompanied by no appreciable photon diffusion. So in order for significant photon diffusion in an early-onset scenario, the local inhomogeneity scale would have to have been orders of magnitude below the BAO scale.

    Compton scattering cooled (regulated) diffusing primordial photons to the canonical recombination temperature, and after being locally decoupled, the photons began experiencing cosmic redshift, the same as they would have in a homogeneous ΛCDM universe, and this despite ricocheting off the ubiquitous ionized super globules in an inhomogeneous early-onset universe. At the recombination temperature, the vast majority of scattering events were elastic Thomson scattering, which does not change the photon frequency, such that ricocheting off ionized super globules should be undetectable in the CMB power spectrum. Thomson scattering is overwhelmingly predominant over Compton scattering when the photon energy is much much less than the electron rest energy: photon energy at 3000 K = 2-3 eV << 0.511 MeV (electron rest energy). The overwhelming majority of photon scattering during photon diffusion out of the densifying super globules was also elastic Thomson scattering, but a sufficient minority were Compton scattering to clamp the photon frequency to the local plasma temperature during photon diffusion.

    Early-onset hydrogen recombination only appears to have occurred at redshift of z ≈ 2000 from the ΛCDM perspective, but CMB photons record the actual redshift to be z = 1100. Early-onset recombination appears to suggest a universe that’s 1/6 the volume of the ΛCDM model, with early-onset hydrogen recombination occurring significantly earlier when the universe was 6 times denser, apparently making the universe younger and smaller. A smaller, denser, younger universe is an illusion, however, when considering that exotic DM is merely replaced with baryons in a universe of the same age and size from either perspective. Thus the baryon acoustic oscillation (BAO) scale would be identical in both perspectives.

    Big Bang nucleosynthesis is a primary process, concerned with proton-neutron reaction products. By comparison, hydrogen recombination is concerned with the secondary process of photon decoupling, which does not necessitate universal hydrogen recombination in the context of a steep density gradient with photon diffusion. Early-onset recombination suggests that the primordial photons can be liberated after only a small percentage of hydrogen recombines locally, in the context of a steep inhomogeneity gradients with photon diffusion into the low-density low-temperature extremes.

    Baryonic DM suggests that second helium recombination occurred almost simultaneously with hydrogen recombination at z = 1100, with global second helium recombination rapidly initiating local, early-onset hydrogen recombination, precipitated by the gravitational collapse of decoupled helium at the prevailing Jeans mass scale.

Emergence of baryonic DM following the Dark Ages:

    The gravitational collapse of decoupled helium at second helium recombination is suggested to have formed super globules at the prevailing Jeans mass scale that evolved into the DM-dominated dwarf spheroidal galaxies (dSphs) of today.
    DSphs appear to be one of the absolutes of cosmology, exhibiting a typical mass range of 107-108 M☉. This circumscribed mass range along with their primitive DM-dominated composition suggests the Jeans mass fragmentation scale following second helium recombination of ~ 108 M☉.

    With early-onset hydrogen recombination occurring almost on top of second helium recombination, at z = 1100, the outward diffusion of primordial photons allowed ionized hydrogen to participate in gravitational collapse along with neutral helium. Super globules presumably collapsed down to a 1-10 pc scale before gravitationally fragmenting into dense cores that precipitated Population III stars.
    A significant number of Pop III stars are suggested to have evolved along the asymptotic giant branch (AGB) to end their lives in planetary nebulae, ejecting a sizable portion of their mass as self-gravitating (hydrostatic) planetary-mass gas globules, ‘paleons’, presumably by coronal mass ejection (CME) during the terminal thermally pulsing phase. Planetary-mass cometary knots in planetary nebulae are suggested to be the modern analogs of primordial paleons, with the planetary Helix nebula as the best example.
    If helium-shell flash in TP-AGB stars indirectly creates sub-Mars-mass CKs by the CME mechanism, then one would expect that in order to sequester 5/6 of all baryonic matter into self-gravitating paleons, paleon formation would have had to be ultra efficient; however, ultra-efficient paleon formation is contraindicated by the relative absence of degenerate Pop III stars, in the form of white dwarfs (now black dwarfs) that should have been detected in MACHO microlensing studies. Instead, low to moderate paleon formation efficiency seems to be indicated, with ultra-efficiency occurring subsequently in the gradual accretion of the leftover gas from the formation and aftermath of Pop III stars.

    Like cometary knots today, primordial paleons were ejected at escape velocity during the TP-AGB phase of Pop III stars, but they remained gravitationally bound within their larger super globules. The CME ejection speed of paleons partially reinflated super globules; however, initially, paleons may have represented as little as a few percent of the super globule mass, and perhaps less than that. Paleons have large diameters compared to condensed objects like stars, with their scale measured in astronomical units, with their large cross sections making them ultra-efficient accretionary objects within the relatively-small inner cores of super globules. Cometary knots (CKs) in the Helix nebula are estimated to have 60-200 AU diameters (O’Dell and Handron, 1996), although CKs are hardly in a quiescent state while still within the ionized bubble of their host stars and in their 6,500 year old infancy in the Helix nebula.
    Paleon mop up transformed gaseous super globules into the relative gas free dSphs of today. The paleons on relatively short-period orbits around the super globule would have accreted gas more quickly than those on longer-period orbits, and accretion of gas would have slowed them down, decreasing their orbital periods and increasing their cross-sectional ability to accrete new gas in runaway accretion, creating a core of high mass paleons, likely on a 1-10 pc scale, surrounded by a cloud of lower-mass paleons to a distance of hundreds of pc. Paleon accretion raced against the gravitational collapse of the Pop III star aftermath to form Pop II stars, with most super globules forming relatively-few Pop II stars.

    Paleons gradually went dark as the vast majority of their stellar metallicity snowed out in the low-temperature high-pressure cores. Dust and ice is not hydrostatically supported in hydrostatic gas globules, so it undergoes freefall to the center of mass, presumably forming solitary moon-mass icy nuclei. Originally, accretion may have formed a swarm of icy comets, but these quickly coalesced into solitary icy nuclei due to gas drag in the high gas pressure of paleon cores. A hypothetical Earth-mass paleon with 1% stellar metallicity would should possess an icy nucleus with a mass similar to Earth’s Moon.
    To constitute invisible DM, hydrostatic gaseous paleons require very-low gaseous metallicity, very low dust, and relatively-low temperatures, below ~ 100 K. A residual gaseous metallicity is necessary to radiate incoming energy in the form of cosmic rays and stellar photons in order to clamp the temperature below the point at which molecular hydrogen becomes visible in the infrared spectrum. Trace quantities of gaseous carbon monoxide are likely the temperature regulating material, with paleon core temperature clamped to just below the triple point temperature of CO.
    The triple point of CO occurs at 67.9 K and 15.35 kPa, which suggests condensation at core pressures of many thousands of atmospheres in order to wring out sufficient CO for paleons to be dark. With paleons continuously accreting Pop I star metallicity across their enormous surfaces, and with ultra efficiency, there must also be an efficient mechanism for circulating gas from paleon extremities into the inner core where gaseous condensation takes place. This suggests/requires a temperature inversion to drive circulation efficiently. A negative radial temperature gradient would drive buoyant thermal circulation, introducing recently-accreted gaseous metallicity from the periphery into the core where gas pressures are sufficient to condense CO and other gaseous metallicity.
    Apparently the column density of CO in paleons is below noticeable levels, if not below the level of detection, which is presumably several orders of magnitude lower than the CO column density of IRDCs, which are capable of blotting out background stars entirely in the visual spectrum.
    Both temperature and mass affect the diameter of paleons, but calculations are beyond the scope of this conceptual approach.

Evolution of super globules into globular clusters and dSphs:

    The large cross sections of paleons are suggested to be efficient at accreting gas and dust in their orbits around super globules, following their formation by CME in Pop III stars. The paleons with the shortest periods gained the most mass which further decreased their orbital periods which resulted in run away accretion, likely creating a 1-10 pc core of high-mass paleons, surrounded by a tenuous halo hundreds of parsecs across composed of orbiting low-mass paleons.
    Paleons must be less than a Jeans mass to prevent their collapse into condensed objects, such as brown dwarfs. Presumably few paleons have suffered this fate, or they would have been detected by microlensing studies searching for MACHO DM.
    All hydrostatic gas globules are susceptible to erosion by intense stellar radiation, outgassing to form cometary tails that stream away from the radiation source. Low-mass paleons are susceptible to complete disruption when eroded below their minimum-sustainable self-gravitating mass, whereas high-mass paleons could sustain considerable stellar erosion.

    In most cases, paleon accretion seems to greatly outperform the gravitational collapse of gas into Pop II stars; however, globular clusters are suggested here to be the outcome when gravitational collapse prevails over paleon accretion. The trigger for efficient star formation in super globule cores is suggested to be collisions between super globules. Super globule collisions that occur when a significant portion of the core gas is ionized by planetary nebulae and supernovae may be susceptible to magnetic constriction caused by the directional perforation of dense ionized gas by the paleons of a mutual collision. When myriads of paleons pass through a clump of ionized gas in the same direction, creating parallel ionized streams of gas, the resulting magnetic fields tend to pinch together, like parallel wires with electric current flowing in the same direction. And this magnetic pinching affect is suggested to compress partially or fully ionized gas into circa .1 pc width filaments of highly-densified gas with low turbulence, ideal for star formation. While in situ paleons are continuously perforating their own super-globule cores, their magnetic affects are isotropic and therefore tend to cancel out, which is why mutual super-globule collisions may be necessary for creating star bursts in super globule cores in the early universe before the core gas is mopped up by paleons.
    Globular clusters differ from star clusters of the Galactic plane in having older stellar populations composed of stars of different ages from multiple starbursts. Multiple star bursts in globular clusters suggests recycling of core gas while still residing within the confining potential well of paleon DM, with multiple starbursts representing multiple super-globule-super-globule collisions.
    Giant elliptical galaxies formed by spiral galaxy mergers contain a younger population of high-metallicity globular clusters that are thought to form during merger process, and if these are the result of dSph-dSph mergers, then there must be a mechanism for efficiently converting paleon DM to stars in modern dSphs as well.

Luminosity-size plane comparing globular clusters (GCs) with dwarf spheroidal galaxies (dSphs)

borrowed from Norris et al., 2015, Is There a Fundamental Upper Limit to the Mass of a Star Cluster?

    Dwarf spheroidal galaxies are small spherical galaxies with little dust and gas that tend to be very dim, but can span several orders of magnitude in luminosity. They have older stellar populations, like globular clusters, but with radii that are many times larger than globular clusters. And unlike globular clusters, dSphs tend to be DM dominated–indeed, they may be the most DM dominated of all galaxies. “Despite the broad range of observed luminosities, the dark matter masses for all of the pre-SDSS satellites are constrained to within relatively narrow range, approximately ∼ [1 − 6] × 107 M☉ within their inner 600 pc.” (Strigari et al., 2007) Visually, low-luminosity dSphs can be difficult to discriminate from star clusters of the Galactic plane; however, dSphs exhibit a more complex star formation histories than star clusters, where dSphs typically contain stars of distinctly different ages, indicating multiple star bursts at distinct intervals. Weak star bursts within dSphs compared to robust starbursts within globular clusters may represent star formation without the benefit of mutual super-globule collisions.

    Giant elliptical galaxies have many times as many globular clusters as spiral galaxies, with M87 having as many as 13,000 globular clusters. Some studies have concluded that giant elliptical galaxies have little or no dark matter at all. While rotation is difficult to measure in ellipticals, a 2013 gravitational lensing study eliminates this difficulty by measuring Einstein rings of quasars by gravitational lensing. They concluded that DM if present at all does not exceed the amount of luminous matter and its density follows that of luminous matter, in sharp contrast with spiral galaxies (Margain and Chantry, 2013). Giant elliptical galaxies are often understood to have formed from the merger of large spiral galaxies, which apparently converted the bulk of DM to stars, including the presumed conversion of dSphs to globular clusters.

Cometary knots (CKs) in the Helix nebula:

    The Helix planetary nebula is estimated to possess 40,000 cometary knots (Matsuura et al 2009).
    (O’Dell and Handron, 1996) give the density, mass and size of the neutral gas in the estimated 3500 cometary knots of the Helix nebula as, hydrogen density ~ 4 x 106 cm-3, with a CK mass range of ~ 4 x 1025 g to 4 x 1026 g and radii of 60-200 AU, based on the distance to the nebula of 213 pc. This suggests a circa Mars mass (6.4 x 1026 g) upper range for CKs, but does not imply that CKs are self gravitating. CKs are non-existent less than 115″ from the host star, and increase in number to the point of overlapping at a distance of 180″. “The fact that there are none in the innermost region argues that the Cometary Knots are confined to a flattened volume rather than being spherically distributed.”

    (O’Dell and Handron, 1996) suggest Rayleigh-Taylor instability for CK formation, either in the late planetary nebula phase or early ‘primordial’ accretion disk phase of the young stellar object. If primordial, the objects are suggested to be either solid comets, or vastly-larger self-gravitating clouds; however, none of the O’Dell and Handron hypotheses predate the host star itself.

    Manly Astrophysics (Walker et al. 2017) presumes preexisting self-gravitating planetary-mass molecular-hydrogen paleons become trapped in their hot host star Hill sphere gravity well during stellar formation, with the cometary knots of the Helix nebula as a luminous example of this otherwise dark form of baryonic matter.

    The alternative suggested here is CK formation by massive coronal mass ejection (CME) during the thermally-pulsing asymptotic giant branch (TP-AGB) phase. Solar CME is suggested to be related to modern CKs in planetary nebulae and primordial paleons from Population III stars by a common formation mechanism, differing only in scale.

Quasar scintillation:

    Manly Astrophysics (Walker et al., 2017) proposes baryonic DM in the form of primordial planetary-mass globules of self-gravitating gas in hydrostatic equilibrium, originating the designation, ‘paleons’. Their evidence for paleons comes from the scintillation of distant quasars by foreground plasma. Recent publications have isolated these scintillating plasma masses within or just beyond the Hill spheres of hot A stars. Curiously, the scintillating plasma in the vicinity of hot A stars is radially elongated toward the hot stars, and the plasma has a relatively-small differential velocity with respect to their presumed host stars. The quantity of gas globules (~ 105) necessary to explain the rate of quasar scintillation around hot stars is calculated to be on the order of the mass of the host star itself, assuming paleons are long-lived hydrostatic objects that require a planetary-mass to be self gravitating. Manly Astrophysics hypothesizes that ~ 105 paleons are gravitationally bound within the Hill spheres of hot stars, which are nominally detectable through quasar scintillation and may become visually evident in planetary nebulae terminal phase.

    Alternatively, a CME origin for hot-star quasar scintillation requires a continual production of massive CMEs to keep the Roche sphere populated, since CMEs are born with escape velocity. CMEs are born with escape velocity, requiring continual production to create the observed frequency of quasar scintillation, and since solar CMEs expand at an exponential rate, scintillating CMEs at distance would have to be many orders of magnitude more massive than solar CMEs, but also many orders of magnitude less massive than the CKs of planetary nebulae, or primordial paleons.
    Solar CMEs have varying ejection velocities, some slower than the mean solar wind velocity of 145 km/s and some faster, where solar CME interaction with the solar wind speeds up the slower ones and slows down the faster ones. The 40 km/s expansion rate of the inner ring of the Helix nebula (O’Dell et al., 2004) has apparently overtaken the CKs to create cometary tails, indicating a lower radial velocity for the CKs themselves, suggesting that larger CMEs may have smaller radial velocities.

    The expansion of solar CMEs reduces the electron density to about 10 cm-3 at a radial distance of 1 AU, falling off rapidly as a function of R-3 (University of Reading, PROPAGATION OF INFORMATION WITHIN CORONAL MASS EJECTION). Coincidentally, the 1 AU solar electron density of 10 cm-3 is the calculated electron density responsible for intra-day variability (IDV) quasar scintillation (Tuntsov, Bignall and Walker 2013).
    The Manly Astrophysics calculated quantity of scintillating plasma masses (105) within hot star Roche spheres is not an issue for a CME origin, considering that solar CME are created at a rate of about 3 a day near solar maxima, and one every 5 days near solar minima (NASA archive, ‘Coronal Mass Ejection’); however, exponential expansion of CME may not require nearly as many plasma masses to create the observed rate of quasar scintillation, if exponentially-expanding hot star CME are much larger in area than hydrostatic paleons.
    The first stellar CME was measured in 2019 around OU Andromedae (HR 9024), with a calculated CME mass of 1.2 +2.6 -0.8 x 1021 g and a velocity of 90 +/- 30 km/s (Argiroffi et al., 2019), which is about 6 orders of magnitude more massive than solar CME. By a completely naive calculation (beginning with the same volume as a solar CME but 106 more massive and expanding at a constant R-3 rate) a OU Andromedae mass CME would only drop off to an electron density of 10 cm-3 at a distance of 4-1/2 pc, well beyond the Roche sphere of even the largest A type stars. More realistically, the original CME volume of an OU Andromeda-mass CME would be considerably larger than a solar CME, but probably not by a factor of 106 larger, and the expansion rate for a vastly-larger initial mass would likely differ from the solar CME expansion rate.

    There may be a connection between variable stars and massive CMEs, considering TP-AGB stars as the mother of all variable stars that eject planetary-mass CKs. And indeed, the first CME event recorded on a star beyond the sun is a variable star with fast rotation, OU Andromedae (HR 9024). Additionally, 2 recent quasar scintillation studies, with ionization attributed to hot stars, involve variable stars. A 2019 study (Bignall et al., 2019) of scintillating quasar, PKS B1322−110, attributes scintillating ionization to hot variable star, Spica. A 2017 study (Walker et al., 2017) of two scintillating quasars, J1819+3845 and PKS1257-326.
– J1819+3845: Quasar line of sight passes through the Hill sphere of the rapidly-rotating hot variable star, Vega at a radial distance of 0.461 pc.
– PKS1257-326: Quasar line of sight passes through the Hill sphere of the hot variable star HD 112934 at a distance of 0.16 pc; however, the orientation of the scintillating plasma is not parallel with the line joining the star and the radio source, so HD 112934 is rejected as the host star in favor of Iota Centauri (Alhakim), at more than 10 times radial distance of 1.75 pc. But for the 1.75 pc radial distance of Alhakim to lie within the Hill sphere of Alhakim would minimally require an additional mass of 5 M☉, tripling the mass of the system, which the authors presume to be composed of planetary-mass paleons.

Molecular filaments in infrared dark clouds (IRDCs):

    Circa .1 parsec wide stellar-nursery filaments of molecular gas in IRDCs are counterintuitive from a gravitational collapse perspective, suggesting electromagnetic involvement. DSphs composed of predominantly of paleons slamming into giant molecular clouds (GMCs) of the disk plane would bore innumerable holes through the densified gas of the GMCs. If the GMC gas were partially ionized, paleon incursions would entrain some of the plasma, creating parallel streams of moving charges, resulting in magnetic fields that tend to pinch together, the way two wires carrying electric current in the same direction magnetically attract one another.
    And if multiple filaments are magnetically attracted to one another, they may themselves pinch together to form hub-filaments, with the central hub as massive as ≳ 1000 M⊙ pc-1 (Tokuda et al., 2019).


    This is merely a conceptual outline, requiring calculations for the range of possible paleon masses, from the minimum self-gravitating mass up to the Jeans mass threshold, along with their corresponding volumes as function of temperature and mass. Constraints on metallicity concentrations and temperature ranges in the context of invisibility need to be compared to the physics of self-gravitating globules to determine whether hypothesized paleons could in theory be sufficiently invisible as to remain undetected.

    Paleons must be composed of molecular hydrogen, or they would have been discovered by their 21 cm radiation; however, molecular hydrogen generally requires shielding from UV photons, which isn’t possible for DM, so perhaps thermal inversion causing substantial circulation of neutral helium into the core where very high gas pressures may assist in combining atomic hydrogen back into molecular hydrogen.

    Paleons may be most readily detected where their concentrations are the highest, in the cores of dSphs, where perhaps the sustained observation of a large number of dSph stars may observe occultations by resident paleons in the form of changes in the stellar absorption spectrum of hydrogen and helium.

    If quasar scintillation is indeed caused by recent CMEs around hot, predominantly variable stars, then we may not yet have detected any primordial paleons, which puts any baryonic DM hypothesis on strictly theoretical grounds, similar to that of WIMP DM theories; however, modern cometary knots within planetary nebulae may lend paleon formation by CME a plausible modern analog not enjoyed by WIMP DM theories.

    Baryonic DM offers a predictive explanation for the absence of DM in globular clusters, its relative absence in galactic bulges (cuspy halo problem), and its possible dearth in giant elliptical galaxies, if baryonic DM converts to luminous gas and stars in regions of high stellar luminosity by way of paleon erosion. By comparison, exotic DM theories rely on secondary mechanisms to prevent their falsification, such as the suggested expulsion of exotic DM by supernovae radiation from globular clusters and galactic cores, or by fine tuning in the form of warm DM that is not theoretically cuspy like cold DM.

    The suggested sequestering of Pop III star metallicity into moon-mass icy nuclei would make these icy nuclei by far the most prevalent objects of their size and composition in the universe. Paleon nuclei are suggested to be more volatile enriched than protoplanetary planetesimals formed by streaming instability for a couple of reasons. First, hydrostatic paleon cores possess much higher pressures, allowing for efficient condensation of the most volatile stellar metallicity, and their gradual formation by accretion would result in less formational warming than planetesimals formed catastrophically by streaming instability (gravitational collapse), which is means by which protoplanetary planetesimals are suggested to form. In our own solar system, the sponge-like Saturn moon Hyperion is the likeliest paleon nucleus interloper in our solar system, with its mean density of only 0.544 g/cm3 in a 270 km Dia moon. The predominantly water-ice composition of Hyperion, with very little rocky material, suggests a paleon nucleus that has lost its most-volatile components, with its irregular shape suggesting explosive volatile loss.

    The predicted formation of spiral galaxies in twin-binary pairs with a bimodal distribution of SMBH masses should be statistically testable in small clusters of galaxies such as the Local Group.


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