We’re kicking off the week with intriguing stories from our Universe beyond–from exoplanets in the ancient, densely populated bulge of the Milky Way to the mystery of eternal brown dwarfs to the soon approaching, long awaited launch of the iconic Hubble spacecraft’s successor.
Milky Way Galaxy’s Bulge Could Have Planetary Systems, Too, reports Enrico de Lazaro for SciNews–“The Milky Way’s bulge is the ancient and crowded central hub of our Galaxy. It contains about one quarter of the total stellar mass of the Milky Way and has a very different stellar environment from the solar neighborhood, including stellar densities over 10 times higher and an older stellar population.”
Primordial black holes may flood the universe. Could one hit Earth? asks Paul Sutter for Space.com –“So, what are the chances that one of these ancient monsters will come wandering toward Earth? One astrophysicist has run the numbers.”
What ‘molecular fossils’ could tell us about life on other planets, reports Stanford University –“Stanford Associate Professor Paula Welander and her student Marisa Mayer discuss how microscopic traces of early life – called microbial lipid biomarkers – could help demystify the origins of life and life beyond Earth.”
TESS Detects Mystery Objects –“Neither a Brown Dwarf or a Star”, reports Maxwell Moe for The Daily Galaxy. “It is estimated that up to 60 billion brown dwarfs make their home in the Milky Way. Because these elusive celestial objects do not fuse hydrogen in their core, they spend their lives cooling as they lose that gravitational energy from their formation, morphing as they age from looking like a low-mass star to looking like Jupiter. Every brown dwarf that was ever created still exists because they can’t fuse hydrogen, giving them a calm, sustained existence on the vast timeframe of the cosmos.”
James Webb’s Upper Stage is off to the Launch Site, reports Universe Today –“In November (or early December) of this year, after many excruciating delays, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will finally launch to space. As the most advanced and complex observatory ever deployed, the James Webb will use its advanced suite of instruments to observe stars, exoplanets, and galaxies in the near and mid-infrared spectrum. In the process, it will address some of the most enduring mysteries about the nature of the Universe.”
Singularities Can Exist Outside Black Holes—in Other Universes –Recent work has shown how “naked singularities” might defy the cosmic censorship conjecture, reports Brendan Z. Foster for Scientific American.
The new reality of UFOs: An interview with journalist Leslie Kean, reports Leonard David for Space.com –The past few years have seen a big change in how UFOs are perceived, both by the public and by government officials.
Extraterrestrial Life –“Is Earth the ‘Standard Model’ for the Universe?” asks The Daily Galaxy –“By the end of this century, says astrophysicist Martin Rees, we should be able to ask whether or not we live in a multiverse, and how much variety of the laws of physics its constituent ‘universes’ display. The answer to this question, says Rees, “will determine how we should interpret the ‘biofriendly’ universe in which we live (sharing it with any aliens with whom we might one day make contact).”
Death by Primordial Black Hole –If such an object a mere 1,000 times bigger than an atom passed through your body, the result would not be pretty, reports Avi Loeb for Scientific American.
5 Takeaways When Considering The Cosmos’ Remaining Mysteries, reports Bruce Dorminey for Forbes–“in his compelling new book, “What’s Eating the Universe: and Other Cosmic Questions,” Paul Davies excels in succinctly addressing the big intangibles; the cosmological conundrums that haven’t received as much attention as dark matter, dark energy, what triggered the big bang and the ultimate fate of the universe.”
UW, Carnegie Mellon to pioneer platforms that harness astrophysical data to unravel the universe’s mysteries, reports the University of Washington. “The University of Washington and Carnegie Mellon University have announced an expansive, multiyear collaboration to create new software platforms to analyze large astronomical datasets generated by the upcoming Legacy Survey of Space and Time, or LSST, which will be carried out by the Vera C. Rubin Observatory in northern Chile.”
AI Reveals Alien-Planet Signals Buried in NASA Spacecraft Data, reports Maxwell Moe The Daily Galaxy –“Perhaps someday in the near future the first signal from an alien intelligence will be detected by artificial intelligence. The future of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms for finding exoplanets hidden in datasets was paved by one such algorithm developed by the University of Texas at Austin in partnership with Google in 2019 to probe the entire Kepler 2 data set of approximately 300,000 stars.”
Quantum nature of gravity may be detectable with gravitational waves, reports New Scientist –“The question of how gravity and quantum mechanics fit together has been one of the biggest problems in physics for decades. The way that quantum fluctuations affect gravitational waves – ripples in space-time caused by the movements of massive objects – may give physicists a way to solve it.
What would this cyclic model of the universe mean for the Big Bang? –Meet the Big Crunch: In this theory on the origins of the universe, the Big Bang was not the beginning, but a repeating pattern of expansion and contraction, reports Astronomy.
How star-making pollutes the cosmos, reports the ARC Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3D (ASTRO 3D) –“A team of astronomers used a new imaging system on at the WM Keck Observatory in Hawaii to confirm that what flows into a galaxy is a lot cleaner than what flows out.”
Recent Galaxy Reports
Your free daily email of stories of space and science –a random journey from Planet Earth through the Cosmos– that has the capacity to provide clues to our existence and add a much needed cosmic perspective in our Anthropocene epoch.