It’s been another prolific week in the Cosmos from Homo sapiens might be the children of black holes and neutron stars to intrepid scientists are questioning Einstein’s theory of spacetime. Could he be wrong? We wouldn’t bet on it.
The largest space telescope in history is about to blow our minds –The James Webb Space Telescope will be 100 times as powerful as the Hubble. It will change how we see the universe, reports Vox. “The launch, which will propel the Webb to nearly a million miles away, is now scheduled for December 18, 2021. When it fully deploys in space, the Webb will usher in a new age of astronomy, scientists say, and show humanity things it has never seen before.”
Are we the children of neutron stars and black holes?–Are the stellar remnants in our cosmic backyard actually our parents and grandparents? asks Ethan Siegel for Forbes.
The Biggest Simulation of the Universe Yet Stretches Back to the Big Bang--reports Singularity Hub. “Named Uchuu, or Japanese for “outer space,” the simulation covers some 13.8 billion years and will help scientists study how dark matter has driven cosmic evolution since the Big Bang.”
New Type of Dark Energy Could Solve Universe Expansion Mystery –Hints of a previously unknown, primordial form of the substance could explain why the cosmos now seems to be expanding faster than theory predicts, reports Scientific American. “Two separate studies — both posted on the arXiv preprint server in the past week — have detected a tentative first trace of this ‘early dark energy’ in data collected between 2013 and 2016 by the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) in Chile.”
A Ferocious Asteroid Strike Demolished an Ancient Middle Eastern City 3,600 Years Ago, reports Singularity Hub –“As the inhabitants of an ancient Middle Eastern city now called Tall el-Hammam went about their daily business one day about 3,600 years ago, they had no idea an unseen icy space rock was speeding toward them at about 38,000 mph (61,000 kph).”
Mars Habitability Limited By Its Small Size, Isotope Study Suggests –“Mars’ fate was decided from the beginning,” said Kun Wang, assistant professor of earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University, senior author of the study. “There is likely a threshold on the size requirements of rocky planets to retain enough water to enable habitability and plate tectonics, with mass exceeding that of Mars.”
The Origin of Extraterrestrial Technosignatures –Signs of technology might point to life in the universe, but we have to ask what really gives rise to technology in the first place, writes astrophysicist Caleb Scharf for Scientific American.
Surprise discovery suggests that black holes are more complex than thought, reports Space.com–“Astronomers Xavier Calmet and Folkert Kuipers concluded that black holes exert pressure as they studied the changes in gravitational forces caused by the behavior of quantum particles at the edge of black holes and the entropy, or the available energy, of that system.”
Was Einstein wrong? Why some astrophysicists are questioning the theory of space-time–To better understand the universe, we may need to kill off one of the most important theories of all time, reports Space.com
A Tour of China’s Future Tiangong Space Station, reports the New York Times –A new outpost for astronauts will soon be finished in orbit: China’s new Tiangong space station, or Heavenly Palace. Tiangong will be able to support three astronauts, or up to six people during crew rotations.”
Former Pentagon UFO Official Luis Elizondo to Reveal “Shocking Details” in New Book –The former head of the U.S. government’s secretive UFO program will pen a book for HarperCollins that includes “profound implications for humanity.”
O UFOs, Where Art Thou? –-Five reasons why sorting all of this out is so scientifically challenging, reports Caleb Scharf for Scientific American.
The Information We Create Has a Life of Its Own –In his new book, astronomer Caleb Scharf explores how our relationship with data will affect our ongoing evolution as a species.
Astronomers discover mysterious 500-light-year-wide ‘cavity’ in our Milky Way, reports Samantha Mathewson for Space.com. A supernova likely carved it out millions of years ago. “The bubble-shaped void is 500 light-years wide and is located between star-forming regions in the Perseus and Taurus constellations, a new study reports.”
Jupiter’s aurorae trigger heat waves –The same forces that produce dazzling displays of light above Jupiter’s poles also pack some serious heat.
Earth and Venus Grew up as Rambunctious Planets –-What doesn’t stick comes around: Using machine learning and simulations of giant impacts, researchers at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory found that the planets residing in the inner solar systems were likely born from repeated hit-and-run collisions, challenging conventional models of planet formation, reports the University of Arizona.
The Wonder of Avi Loeb –-The physicist thinks we might have glimpsed evidence of an alien civilization. Despite controversy, he’s determined to find more, reports The Smithsonian.
‘Dead’ Galaxies Mysteriously Ran Out of Fuel to Make Stars in Early Universe –Taking advantage of a phenomenon that allows astronomers to use massive galaxy clusters as natural magnifying glasses, researchers have discovered strange galaxies that stopped making stars before their time, reports the University of Arizona.