They’ve seen the invisible…

Researchers at Cardiff University in the U.K. have discovered a galaxy made up primarily of dark matter. As it states on their web site, “(Cardiff)…astronomers has discovered an object that appears to be an invisible galaxy made almost entirely of dark matter — the first ever detected. A dark galaxy is an area in the universe containing a large amount of mass that rotates like a galaxy, but contains no stars. Without any stars to give light, it could only be found using radio telescopes.

Here’s another good article on the BBC News site.

My only sadness about the finite life I’m living right now…is that the closest I’ll get to galactic (or intergalactic) travel is Star Trek.

What’s your hurry? Where ya goin’?

gpn2000000933According to an article today in New Scientist, “Astronomers have spotted the first star known to be hurtling out of the
Milky Way. And an encounter with the supermassive black hole at the
galaxy’s heart
may be the cause of the star’s exodus
.”

Speculation that this star has ‘slingshotted’ by a twin and thus is hurtling out in to space is discussed. It’s heading out of our galaxy at 415 miles per second and will be oughta here in 80-100 million years (damn…here’s yet *another* celestial event I’m gonna miss).

When you look at a spiral galaxy like ours, it makes perfect sense that it has to be spinning around some sort of humongous gravitational force — like water going down the drain. A black hole is the logical candidate (read more about interesting black hole theories in one of my earlier posts entitled, “Missing Link: Milkway to the Big Bang“). I guess I’m sort of intrigued that today’s article was the first time I’ve ever seen the words about the center of our Milky Way galaxy being a black hole written down. Maybe I was daydreaming in class that day.

Star Trek coming true?

200502041When the second Star Trek movie came out in 1982 (Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan), I was enamored of the premise of terraforming in one of the movie’s central themes called the “Genesis Project.” In the movie, there was a Genesis device that — when shot down to an otherwise barren planet’s surface — would cause a chain terraforming reaction creating a complete M-class (i.e., like Earth) planet with water, an atmosphere, and other ingredients required for life as we know it.

Now it looks like NASA researchers are thinking-through injecting synthetic “super” greenhouse gases into the planet’s atmosphere to raise its temperature and melt its polar ice caps to provide conditions suitable for biological life. The main thought? Injecting synthetic greenhouse gases into the negligible atmosphere of Mars could make the planet hospitable for humans.

With a travel time of two and a half years to Mars each way, NASA better get moving so I can go there while I still have my teeth.

Missing Link: Milky Way to the Big Bang

pia05988Australian astronomers have discovered the so-called missing link that relates modern galaxies such as the Milky Way to the Big Bang that created the universe almost 14 billion years ago.

“The project – called the two-degree field galaxy Redshift survey – involved mapping the three dimensional distribution in space of 220,000 galaxies, using complex astronomical instruments at the Anglo-Australian telescope in north-western New South Wales.”

220,000 galaxies!?! Regardless of how often I think about the vastness of our universe, the number of galaxies — and stars within them and planets circling each of those billions of stars — makes me continue to contemplate the unlikely possibility God placed only us in the universe.

In a Scientific American article last year it suggested that the big bang was not the origin of the universe but simply the outcome of a preexisting state. Though I cannot remember all details of this article, I do remember one theory that our universe — and its continuing expanding state — could’ve been the result of our universe being spawned out of “the back end” of a black hole.

What that means is in some *other* universe, light and matter get sucked in to a black hole. Then there is an explosion (a big bang) blowing the super condensed matter out behind it thus creating a new universe in some other dimension. Possibly there are then an infinite number of universes being born out of every black hole. Pretty cool theory, heh?

Though when I get all mystical and cosmic thinking big thoughts about our infinite universe, God and the meaning of life, I realize that there is probably some guy, in some other universe, sitting in his underwear right this minute watching their version of The Simpsons.