Neil talks the universe and stuffs while subjecting his tastebuds to ever-hotter hot sauces on chickeny nom-noms that could outdo the average hypernova explosion.
G’day! I’m still working on getting things done before returning to a steady blogging schedule, and it’s coming along nicely so far. On the Bengali front, I’m improving my working vocabulary and revising on previous study material. I’m creating notes, virtual flashcards and hand-drawn physical flashcards as study aids, and developing mnemonics for script and grammatical features.
‘So it goes,’ to quote Kurt Vonnegut…
Also, below, I’ve a video featuring cosmologist Sean Carroll on “Did the Universe Begin?” who discusses that very question, what we do and what we don’t currently know, still not fully settled by science despite what some apologists for Old-Earth creationism would have you believe.
At around 1:20 Dr. Carroll mentions that General Relativity is wrong, and I believe he means in the sense that while accurate as far as it goes in describing the universe, it is also inconsistent with certain experimentally verified predictions of Quantum Mechanics, and vice versa.
And so both are incomplete as theories, requiring a mature and as yet undiscovered theory of Quantum Gravity to reconcile and complement both of them. There are currently candidates for this new ‘Theory of Almost Everything,’ including versions of String Theory, but it is unknown which if any of them is the most likely correct description of the universe’s workings.
So, whether the universe had a beginning is still an open question, even in cosmology, as the full meaning and implications of the Big Bang are not fully understood even by those most qualified to know.
And when those most qualified to know are uncertain, it’s best to be intellectually humble, lest presumption and pretense to knowledge exact their terrible tolls of deceit and self-delusion…
Image of the Week: Star Cluster Westerlund 2
Sean Carroll: Did the Universe Begin?
Ever wonder how the universe would sound if we could perceive the radio emissions of distant stars, planets, pulsars, and even more exotic objects?
The universe has a story to tell in these wavelengths, an ancient story going back to the big bang.
There’s much more to the universe than just pretty pictures, there’s music and song in the heavens as well.
Honor Harger talks about amazing audio made from the radiation of distant bodies, and explains her work as an artist and technologist.
The Cosmos is calling us…and we would do well to heed the tales it tells.
Hat Tip to SpaceRip’s YouTube channel
How big can they get? What’s the largest so far detected? Where does an 18 billion solar mass black hole hide?
We’ve never seen them directly…
yet we know they are there…
Lurking within dense star clusters…
Or wandering the dust lanes of the galaxy….
Where they prey on stars…
Or swallow planets whole.
Our Milky Way may harbor millions of these black holes…
the ultra dense remnants of dead stars.
But now, in the universe far beyond our galaxy, there’s evidence of something even more ominous…
A breed of black holes that have reached incomprehensible size and destructive power.
It has taken a new era in astronomy to find them…
High-tech instruments in space tuned to sense high-energy forms of light — x-rays and gamma rays — that are invisible to our eyes.
New precision telescopes equipped with technologies that allow them to cancel out the blurring effects of the atmosphere…
and see to the far reaches of the universe.
Peering into distant galaxies, astronomers are now finding evidence that space and time can be shattered by eruptions so vast they boggle the mind.
We are just beginning to understand the impact these outbursts have had on the universe around us.
That understanding recently took a leap forward.
A team operating at the Subaru Observatory atop Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano looked out to one of the deepest reaches of the universe…
And captured a beam of light that had taken nearly 13 billion years to reach us.
It was a messenger from a time not long after the universe was born.
They focused on an object known as a quasar… short for “quasi-stellar radio source.”
It offered a stunning surprise…
A tiny region in its center is so bright that astronomers believe it’s light is coming from a single object at least a billion times the mass of our sun…
Inside this brilliant beacon, space suddenly turns dark…
as it’s literally swallowed by a giant black hole.
As strange as they may seem, even huge black holes like these are thought to be products of the familiar universe of stars and gravity.
They get their start in rare types of large stars… at least ten times the mass of our sun.
These giants burn hot and fast… and die young.
The star is a cosmic pressure-cooker. In its core, the crush of gravity produces such intense heat that atoms are stripped and rearranged.
Lighter elements like hydrogen and helium fuse together to form heavier ones like calcium, oxygen, silicon, and finally iron.
When enough iron accumulates in the core of the star, it begins to collapse under its own weight.
That can send a shock wave racing outward…
Literally blowing the star apart:…
At the moment the star dies, if enough matter falls into its core, it collapses to a point, forming a black hole.
Intense gravitational forces surround that point with a dark sphere… the event horizon… beyond which nothing, not even light, can escape.
That’s how an average-size black hole forms.
What about a monster the size of the Subaru quasar?
Recent discoveries about the rapid rise of these giant black holes have led theorists to rethink their view of cosmic history.