Tag Archives | Astronomy

Universe is 13.77 billion years old and it contains only 4.9% ordinary matter, says Planck data

Polarisation of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) as revealed by ESA's Planck data mapsESA - collaboration, Planck/E. Hivon/CNRS

Polarisation of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) as revealed by ESA’s Planck data maps
ESA – collaboration, Planck/E. Hivon/CNRS

Jayalakshmi K. via International Business Times:

The high precision Planck data just released has placed the age of the universe at 13.77 billion years, besides showing that the first stars were born 550 million years after the Big Bang.

Data from four years of observation by ESA’s spacecraft shows 4.9% of the Universe to be made of ordinary matter, 25.9% dark matter and 69.2% dark, unknown energy.

The researchers calculate the current rate at which space is expanding to give the age of the universe.

The Planck collaboration, which includes the CNRS, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), the French National Space Agency (CNES) and several French universities and institutions, aimed to study the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), the light left over from the Big Bang.

The Planck measurements, taken in nine frequency bands, were used to map not only the temperature of radiation but also its polarisation providing information about both the very early Universe (when it was 380,000 years old) and our Galaxy’s magnetic field.

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What if the universe had no beginning?

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woodleywonderworks (CC BY 2.0)

 

via EarthSky.org:

Reports of the death of the Big Bang have been greatly exaggerated. Big Bang theory is alive and well. At the same time, our universe may not have a beginning or end.

Are you seeing the stories this week suggesting that the Big Bang didn’t happen? According to astrophysicist Brian Koberlein – a great science communicator at Rochester Institute of Technology with a popular page on G+ – that’s not quite what the new research (published in early February 2015 Physics Letters B, has suggested. The new study isn’t suggesting there was no Big Bang, Koberlein says. It’s suggesting that the Big Bang did not start with a singularity – a point in space-time when matter is infinitely dense, as at the center of a black hole. How can this be? Koberlein explains on his website:

The catch is that by eliminating the singularity, the model predicts that the universe had no beginning.

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No Big Bang? Quantum equation predicts universe has no beginning

"This is an artist's concept of the metric expansion of space, where space (including hypothetical non-observable portions of the universe) is represented at each time by the circular sections. Note on the left the dramatic expansion (not to scale) occurring in the inflationary epoch, and at the center the expansion acceleration. The scheme is decorated with WMAP images on the left and with the representation of stars at the appropriate level of development." Credit: NASA

“This is an artist’s concept of the metric expansion of space, where space (including hypothetical non-observable portions of the universe) is represented at each time by the circular sections. Note on the left the dramatic expansion (not to scale) occurring in the inflationary epoch, and at the center the expansion acceleration. The scheme is decorated with WMAP images on the left and with the representation of stars at the appropriate level of development.” Credit: NASA

Lisa Zyga via Phys.org:

(Phys.org) —The universe may have existed forever, according to a new model that applies quantum correction terms to complement Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The model may also account for dark matter and dark energy, resolving multiple problems at once.

The widely accepted age of the , as estimated by , is 13.8 billion years. In the beginning, everything in existence is thought to have occupied a single infinitely dense point, or .

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200 billion worlds like Earth in our galaxy

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New calculations says there could be billions of habitable worlds in our Galaxy. Photo Credit: ANU

 

Gary Jones via Sunday Express:

A NEW study by planetary scientists have calculated that there could be hundreds of billions of Earth-like planets in our galaxy which might support life.

The new estimates are based on applying a 200 year-old idea to the thousands of exo-planets discovered by the Kepler space telescope, which found the standard star has about two Earth-like planets in orbit.

These two planets can be found in the so-called ‘goldilocks zone’, named for the correct distance from the star where liquid water, crucial for life, can exist.

Researchers from the Australian National University applied the 200 year-old Titius-Bode relation, which predicts a planet’s existence based on their sequence orbiting around a sun.

It has already been used to predict the existence of planets in our own Solar System and by looking at a system where it was known to hold three or more planets, detected by the Kepler space telescope, the team worked out two planets exist in the goldilock zone of each star.

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A Review of the Best Habitable Planet Candidates

Image: This diagram illustrates how the boundaries of the HZ as defined in the work of Kopparapu et al. vary as a function of star temperature and planet mass. Several potentially habitable extra solar planets are included. Credit: Chester Harman/PHL/NASA/JPL.

Image: This diagram illustrates how the boundaries of the HZ as defined in the work of Kopparapu et al. vary as a function of star temperature and planet mass. Several potentially habitable extra solar planets are included. Credit: Chester Harman/PHL/NASA/JPL.

Paul Gilster writes at Centauri Dreams:

The fascination with finding habitable planets — and perhaps someday, a planet much like Earth — drives media coverage of each new, tantalizing discovery in this direction. We have a number of candidates for habitability, but as Andrew LePage points out in this fine essay, few of these stand up to detailed examination. We’re learning more all the time about how likely worlds of a given size are to be rocky, but much more goes into the mix, as Drew explains. He also points us to several planets that do remain intriguing. LePage is Senior Project Scientist at Visidyne, Inc., and also finds time to maintain Drew ex Machina, where these issues are frequently discussed.

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Cosmic Burst of Radio Waves From Unknown Source in the Universe

Parkes Radio Telescope in Eastern Australia (via The Neils Bohr Institute)

Parkes Radio Telescope in Eastern Australia (via The Neils Bohr Institute)

Via The Niels Bohr Institute:

A strange phenomenon has been observed by astronomers right as it was happening – a ‘fast radio burst’. The eruption is described as an extremely short, sharp flash of radio waves from an unknown source in the universe. The results have been published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Over the past few years, astronomers have observed a new phenomenon, a brief burst of radio waves, lasting only a few milliseconds.

It was first seen by chance in 2007, when astronomers went through archival data from the Parkes Radio Telescope in Eastern Australia.

Since then we have seen six more such bursts in the Parkes telescope’s data and a seventh burst was found in the data from the Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico. They were almost all discovered long after they had occurred, but then astronomers began to look specifically for them right as they happen.

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The EAGLE Project: A Virtual Universe Simulated Inside a Supercomputer

redditAbout a week ago, we published this article, “Astronomers Simulate Universe and Galaxies on Cosmology Machine.” Thanks to contributor Chaos_Dynamics, it’s been brought to my attention that the astronomers working on this project did an AMA on Reddit yesterday. You can read the entire Q&A here.

brien23 asks:

Hi,

I am a layperson, i.e. not a cosmologist. I have a few questions regarding EAGLE:

  1. Is it based on our universe or is it like an independently evolving universe?
  2. Does this simulation need human input at regular intervals or is it progressing completely on its own without the need of human interference at any point?
  3. Can you turn it into an infinitely stretched universe (infinite expanse of space)? Is it a stupid thing to ask?
  4. How likely is the presence of an earth-like planet there? By ‘earth-like’ I mean a planet that is similar to Earth in its chemical and physical construction.
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Archaeoastronomy: The Stars and the Stones

SeAnAm

[disinfo ed.’s note: Excerpted from Secrets of Ancient America: Archaeoastronomy and the Legacy of the Phoenicians, Celts, and Other Forgotten Explorers by Carl Lehrburger]

Archaeo—What?

Even though astrology and astronomy were essentially the same discipline in ancient Egypt, Greece, and India, they have since the eighteenth century come to be regarded as completely separate fields. Today, astronomy is the study of objects and phenomena originating outside of Earth and is considered a scientific discipline. On the other hand, astrology uses the apparent positions of celestial objects as the basis for psychological experiences, the prediction of future events, and other esoteric knowledge. While the most important astronomers before Isaac Newton were professional astrologers (including Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, and Galileo Galilei), interest in astrology declined after Newton with the rise of the Cartesian “mechanistic” outlook during the Enlightenment.*

*The term Cartesian is derived from the Latin form of Descartes, and it refers to the philosophy of the seventeenth-century philosopher Rene Descartes (1596–1650).… Read the rest

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Occultist father of rocketry ‘written out’ of Nasa’s history

GALCIT Group members in the Arroyo Seco, November 1936. L-R: Rudolph Schott, Amo Smith, Frank Malina, Ed Forman, and Jack ParsonsNASA/JPL

GALCIT Group members in the Arroyo Seco, November 1936. L-R: Rudolph Schott, Amo Smith, Frank Malina, Ed Forman, and Jack ParsonsNASA/JPL

Via Wired UK:

Jack Parsons was a founding member of Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Lab, with some crediting him as being one of the “fathers of rocketry” and others joking that JPL was actually Jack Parsons’ Laboratory, but you won’t find much about him on Nasa’s websites. Parsons’ legacy as an engineer and chemist has been somewhat overshadowed by his interest in the occult and, and has led to what some critics describe as a rewriting of the history books.

“He’s lived in the footnotes since his death. He’s a forgotten figure,” says biographer George Pendle, author of Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parson (Jack’s full name).

Pendle did an “archeological dig” into Parsons’ life after finding a mention of him in a science book.

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Separation of Church and Space?

(photo courtesy of NASA)

(photo courtesy of NASA)

via University of Dayton:

Whether you believe the Philae probe’s landing on a speeding comet is a monumental advance or a colossal waste might depend on your religion, according to a University of Dayton researcher.

Many in the space community see the landing as a critical step in colonizing the solar system, such as NASA Planetary Science Division Director Jim Green who said, “I truly believe that a single-planet species will not survive long. It’s our destiny to move off this planet.” (see CNET article)

Yet Evangelical Protestants are much surer Jesus will return in the next 40 years than that humans will make significant strides in space exploration, according to research by University of Dayton political science assistant professor Joshua Ambrosius.

“Evangelicals have been hesitant to recognize the discoveries of modern science — from evolutionary origins to climate change,” Ambrosius said. “The data show that this overall attitude extends into space.”

Ambrosius used data from the General Social Survey and three Pew surveys to compare knowledge, interest and support for space exploration among Catholics, Evangelicals, Mainline Protestants, Jews, Eastern religions and those with no religion.

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