What an amazing week: from an unknown Milky Way signal that may be a gravitational wave, mind-boggling cosmic string, or primordial black hole to a renegade black hole that’s breaking the laws of physics.
Astrophysicist Warns Aliens May Be Boring or Unreachable –Researchers are taking the emissions from the vicinity of exoplanet Proxima B seriously. But if it is truly a technological signal, what would follow? asks Columbia University astrophysicist Caleb Scarf. “Boring? How very un-Star Trek of them! But it’s possible. Perhaps other life in the universe is, in the end, utterly dull.” Why might he think so?
Unknown Milky Way Signal –“A Gravitational Wave, Cosmic String, or Primordial Black Hole?” asks The Daily Galaxy. In 1993 Stephen Hawking proposed in Black Holes and Baby Universes that there might be “primordial black holes which were formed in the early universe that could be less than the size of the nucleus of an atom, yet their mass could be a billion tons, the mass of Mount Fuji. A black hole weighing a billion tons,” Hawking explained, “would have a radius of about 10-13 centimeter (the size of a neutron or a proton). It could be in orbit either around the sun or around the center of the galaxy, emitting hard gamma rays with an energy of about 100 million electron volts.”
Hunting for a Giant Black Hole, Astronomers Found a Nest of Darkness, reports Dennis Overbye for The New York Times. –No Gargantua dwells at the heart of stellar cluster NGC 6397. Instead, a few dozen smaller black holes seem to be swarming around in there, throwing their considerable masses around.
“Cities of Galaxies” –Most Dense Cluster in the Primitive Universe Discovered, reports The Daily Galaxy. Ancient galaxy clusters have been described as “the dark skeletons of the cosmos.” Astronomers have found the most densely populated galaxy cluster in formation in the primitive universe. The researchers predict that this structure, among the largest astronomical objects in the Universe, which is at a distance of 12.5 billion light years from us, will have evolved becoming a cluster similar to the 1,300 galaxies of the Virgo Cluster, a neighbor of the Local Group of galaxies to which harbors our home galaxy, the Milky Way.”
‘Oumumamua and the search for life in the universe–In the search for alien civilizations, the first step in making sure we understand what it is we’re looking for, reports Astronomy.com.
“Dinosaurs On the Moon” — The Impossible Magnitude-12 Earthquake That Changed Our World, reports The Daily Galaxy. Sixty Six million years ago a 14 kilometer long, Mount Everest sized asteroid blasted a hole in the ground, the Chicxulub Impact, releasing the equivalent of 100 million megatons of TNT creating a 20-mile deep, 110-mile hole and sterilizing the remaining 170 million square miles of the ancient continent of Pangaea, killing virtually every species on Earth and, oddly, paving the way for the emergence of the human species.
This Renegade Black Hole is Breaking the Rules of Astrophysics –Stephen Hawking was wrong about Cygnus X-1. We all were. reports Inverse. “The first-ever photo of a black hole, taken in 2019, offered a glimpse of a dark center encased in a fiery ring that can bend space and time with its incredible gravitational pull. Our knowledge of these strange beings is constantly evolving— the black hole from the 2019 photograph, for example, has since been found to be wobbly. In a study published Thursday in the journal Science, scientists have added another twist to this tale. A new measurement of a specific kind of black hole reveals it is so massive it calls into question fundamental aspects of stellar evolution.”
“First Second After” –Gravitational Waves Unveil Hidden Secrets of the Big Bang, reports The Daily Galaxy. “It is undeniable that we are profoundly puzzled, especially when it comes to the first fraction of a second that followed the Big Bang,” wrote theoretical physicist Dan Hooper, author of The Edge of Time in an email to The Daily Galaxy–Great Discoveries Channel. “I have no doubt that these earliest moments hold incredible secrets, but our universe holds its secrets closely. It is up to us to coax those secrets from its grip, transforming them from mystery into discovery.”
The Milky Way –“A Dynamic Museum of Ancient Merging Relics, River-like Streams of Stars”, reports The Daily Galaxy.
New Season of The Joy of x Podcast Explores Scientists’ Inner Lives, reports Quanta. In a second season of enlightened conversations, leading researchers nourish our pandemic-starved minds. The host …”the mathematician and author Steven Strogatz, has a voracious intellectual curiosity, but it’s his warm and empathetic nature that makes listening to these interviews such a rewarding, even moving experience.”
Mapping Monsters of the Cosmos –Theoretical physicists have described supermassive black holes as the most perfect objects there are in the universe –“the only elements in their construction are our concepts of space and time.” Some have described these cosmic monsters as the “Gates of Hell” and others as “gateways to another universe” and the largest hard disk that exists in nature, in two dimensions, reports The Daily Galaxy.
Once Upon a Time on Mars –A dune buggy is about to set off on behalf of its human owners to fulfill a primordial yearning, reports Dennis Overbye for The New York Times. –“…humans have sent their progeny across time and 300 million miles of space in search of long-lost relatives, ancient roots of a family tree that might be traced in the Red Planet’s soil.
Are the Egyptian pyramids aligned with the stars? –The ancient Egyptians watched Earth’s night sky closely and named constellations after their gods. But did the builders of the pyramids really make these monuments with the stars in mind? asks Astronomy.com
Meteorites remember conditions of stellar explosions –Radioactivity in meteorites sheds light on origin of heaviest elements in our solar system, reports Michigan State University. Heavy elements we encounter in our everyday life, like iron and silver, did not exist at the beginning of the universe, 13.7 billion years ago. A team of international researchers went back to the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago to gain new insights into the cosmic origin of the heaviest elements on the periodic table.
Astrophysicist’s 2004 Theory Confirmed: Why the Sun’s Chemical Composition Varies, reports SciTechDaily. –About 17 years ago, J. Martin Laming, an astrophysicist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, theorized why the chemical composition of the Sun’s tenuous outermost layer differs from that lower down. His theory has recently been validated by combined observations of the Sun’s magnetic waves from the Earth and from space.
Decades-Long Quest Reveals Details of the Proton’s Inner Antimatter, reports Natalie Wolchover for Quanta –Twenty years ago, physicists set out to investigate a mysterious asymmetry in the proton’s interior. Their results, published today, show how antimatter helps stabilize every atom’s core.