News from our Pale Blue Dot for the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend: from the “telescope that ate astronomy” to what “Impossible” meant to the legendary physicist, Richard Feynman to black-hole bubbles that could swallow to Universe to poaching triggers the evolution of tuskless elephants to tech companies ‘don’t get’ science-fiction.
“NASA’s ENIGMA (Evolution of Nanomachines In Geospheres and Microbial Ancestors) research team,” evolutionary biologist Paul Falkowski told The Daily Galaxy, “is focused on answering a single, compelling question in astrobiology: How did proteins evolve to become the predominant catalysts of life on Earth?
The Cosmos provided a bonanza of amazing news headlines and unanswered questions for our Thanksgiving Holiday enjoyment, from will a twisted Universe save cosmology to Homo sapiens “shadow species” to the expanding Universe will break the speed of light and NASA’s new “evidence of alien Life” scale. “The Galaxy Report” brings you news of space and science that has the capacity to provide clues to the mystery of our existence and adds a much needed cosmic perspective in our current Anthropocene Epoch.
In 2017, an international group of astronomers and physicists excitedly reported the first simultaneous detection of light and gravitational waves from the same source–a merger of two neutron stars. In the world of astrophysics, Aug. 17, 2017, was a red-letter day. “This is a game-changer for astrophysics,” said UC Santa Barbara faculty member Andy Howell, who leads the supernova group at the Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO). “A hundred years after Einstein theorized gravitational waves, we’ve seen them and traced them back to their source to find an explosion with new physics of the kind we’ve only dreamed about.”
Another busy week of news for our Pale Blue Dot from the detection of a second trojan asteroid sharing Earth’s orbit to searches for molecular complexity could uncover convincing evidence of extraterrestrial life to tiny black holes impacting the Moon could solve the enduring enigma of dark matter.
Black holes are usually formed in the explosive deaths of massive stars. In dense environments like globular clusters and the cores of massive galaxies, several black holes can merge together, forming an even more massive black hole. In addition, black holes at the centers of galaxies can accrete infalling gas, gaining in mass and size. If this process continues for billions of years, the black hole can become a supermassive black hole, like the one located at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy, weighing in at four million times the mass of the sun.
“Seeing this star is really amazing as we know it must have formed in the galactic center, a place very different to our local environment. It is a visitor from a strange land,” said NASA Hubble Fellow Ting Li with the Carnegie Observatories and Princeton University, about the discovery of the ultrafast star, S5-HVS1 in 2019, traveling at a blistering 6 million km/h. The doomed star was slingshotted by the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way five million years ago at the dawn of the human species.