“Something is going on on Enceladus – is active and we want to know,” said astrophysicist Laura Danly, curator at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn observed surface fissures on Enceladus that are unique in our Solar System and are perpetually erupting with water ice from its global subsurface ocean, that appear as parallel, evenly spaced “stripes” that are some 130 kilometers long and 35 kilometers apart.
In about 5 billion years, our Sun will expand to become a red giant, lose its hydrogen-rich envelope, and leave behind a white dwarf star, which is the compact remnant core with about half the original mass of our Sun. In rare instances, a star can become an extremely low mass (ELM) white dwarf. Less than one-third the mass of the Sun, these stars present a conundrum: if stellar evolution calculations are correct, all ELM white dwarfs would seem to be more than 13.8 billion years old—older than the age of the universe itself and thus, physically impossible.
The young star Eta Carinae –one of the most massive in the Milky Way – survived a titanic eruption 170 years ago. Although located relatively far away from Earth (about seven thousand light-years away, as compared with the average distance of naked-eye stars of about a thousand light-years), it can be seen easily by people in the southern hemisphere because it is extraordinarily bright—about five million times more luminous than our Sun.
The Universe has showered us with amazing, thought-provoking headlines this week, from why alien hunters have spent 60 years finding new solutions for the Drake Equation to the biggest “Oh No” moment in the Solar System to humanity’s unlikely gateway to space.
“We should plan ahead,” warned physicist Stephen Hawking who died March, 2018, and was buried next to Isaac Newton. “If a superior alien civilization sent us a text message saying, ‘We’ll arrive in a few decades,’ would we just reply, ‘OK, call us when you get here, we’ll leave the lights on’? Probably not, but this is more or less what has happened with AI.”
Black holes have been described as “the most perfect macroscopic objects there are in the universe: the only elements in their construction are our concepts of space and time” by Nobel-Prize laureate Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar.
“Oxygen flooded into the atmosphere as a pollutant, even a poison, until natural selection shaped living things to thrive on the stuff and, indeed, suffocate without it,” wrote evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, in The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.