Today’s stories range from What gravitational waves have told us about the Universe so far to Neutron stars will tell us if Dark Energy is only an illusion to Deepening Crisis Forces Physicists to Rethink Structure of Nature’s Laws, and much more. “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.
What gravitational waves have told us about the universe so far –With 90 detections now under our belt, gravitational waves are solving riddles about the evolution of galaxies and missing black holes – and they could soon give us a glimpse of dark matter, reports New Scientist.
Scientists think quantum tunneling in space led to life on Earth. This is the coolest origin story ever reported Tristan Greene for TNW. “A team of scientists recently published a paper indicating that life on Earth is the result of what can only accurately be described as cosmic teleportation. Humankind has long sought to penetrate the mystery of how life came to exist on our planet. But what if the only reason we’re here right now is because the universe cheats?”
Our universe may have a twin that runs backward in time, reports Paul Sutter for Live Science –“An anti-universe running backwards in time could explain dark matter and cosmic inflation. the new theory means that dark matter isn’t so mysterious; it’s just a new flavor of a ghostly particle called a neutrino that can only exist in this kind of universe. And the theory implies there would be no need for a period of “inflation” that rapidly expanded the size of the young cosmos soon after the Big Bang.”
Mind-bending new quantum experiments are blurring past, present and future –“Since Albert Einstein, scientists have understood that, while our experience of time can feel like an unbending arrow forward, physics paints a much more complex picture. And, as this interview with Jeff Tollaksen, professor of physics at Chapman University in California, shows, the results of recent quantum experiments have led some physicists to once again entirely reconsider how we conceive of time,” reports Aeon.
Hubble Space Telescope spots eerie galaxy ‘eye’ staring across the universe, reports Elizabeth Howell for Space.com–“You can see gas and dust embedded at the heart of this star collection. A new Hubble Space Telescope clearly captures the heart of a distant galaxy structured much like our own. The new image shows the “eye” of a galaxy called NGC 1097, which is located 48 million light-years away from Earth. NGC 1097 is a barred spiral galaxy, which puts it in the same category as the Milky Way.”
Does the Cosmos Have a Destiny?
Ukraine crisis: updates on the response from the physics and astronomy community, reports Physics World–“The deputy director of a physics laboratory in Ukraine has been shot dead by Russian forces. Vasyl Kladko, 65, was killed on Sunday 13 March in Vorzel, just outside Kyiv, writes Matin Durrani. Kladko was an experimental physicist who had been deputy director of the V Ye Lashkaryov Institute of Semiconductor Physics of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) of Ukraine, which reported his death.”
“Super-puff” Exoplanet –AAS Nova reports on a “super-puff” exoplanet that’s nearly 15 times less dense than Jupiter, reports Sky & Telescope –“Astronomers have discovered a curious exoplanet with an extremely low bulk density — nearly 15 times less dense than Jupiter and 60 times less dense than Earth. The first spectrum of this planet’s atmosphere gives clues to the cause of this unusual quality.”
The Martin Rees interview: Elon Musk could spawn the first post-humans –Astronomer Royal Martin Rees discusses the most extraordinary aspects of his distinguished career, from black holes to billionaires in space and the prospects of life beyond Earth, reports New Scientist. The first question of the interview with Richard Webb: “When you started out in cosmology, the idea that the universe began in a big bang wasn’t even accepted science. How have things changed in the past half-century?”
Among thousands of known exoplanets, astronomers flag three that are actually stars, reports Jennifer Chu for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology –“In a study appearing today in the Astronomical Journal, MIT astronomers report that three, and potentially four, planets that were originally discovered by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope are in fact misclassified. Instead, these suspected planets are likely small stars.”
Former astronaut to back off Twitter war with head of Russian space agency, reports CNN –“Veteran former astronaut Scott Kelly tells CNN he is backing off his high-profile Twitter war with the head of the Russian space agency, following a warning from a NASA official that such attacks are “damaging” to the International Space Station mission.
James Webb: ‘Fully focused’ telescope beats expectations, reports The BBC–“Engineers say they have now managed to fully focus the $10bn observatory on a test star. The pin-sharp performance is even better than hoped, they add.To get to this stage, all of Webb’s mirrors had to be aligned to tiny fractions of the width of a human hair.”
‘Quantum hair’ could resolve Hawking’s black hole paradox, say scientists –New mathematical formulation means huge paradigm shift in physics would not be necessary, reports The Guardian. “Stephen Hawking’s black hole information paradox has bedeviled scientists for half a century and led some to question the fundamental laws of physics. Now scientists say they may have resolved the infamous problem by showing that black holes have a property known as “quantum hair”.
An Antimatter Experiment Shows Surprises Near Absolute Zero –An experiment conducted on hybrid matter-antimatter atoms has defied researchers’ expectations, reports Charlie Wood for Quanta. “For decades, researchers have toyed with antimatter while searching for new laws of physics. These laws would come in the form of forces or other phenomena that would strongly favor matter over antimatter, or vice versa. Yet physicists have found nothing amiss, no conclusive sign that antimatter particles — which are just the oppositely charged twins of familiar particles — obey different rules.
‘Visionary’ US astrophysicist Eugene Parker dead at 94, reports Phys,org –“”Gene Parker was a legendary figure in our field—his vision of the Sun and the solar system was way ahead of his time,” added Angela Olinto, dean of the Physical Sciences Division at the University of Chicago.”
Neutron stars will tell us if Dark Energy is only an illusion –“A huge amount of mysterious dark energy is necessary to explain cosmological phenomena, such as the accelerated expansion of the Universe, using Einstein’s theory. But what if dark energy was just an illusion and general relativity itself had to be modified?” reports International School of Advanced Studies (SISSA)
Alpha Centauri Star System: Life On Its Earth-like Planets Have Had About a Billion Years Longer to Evolve, reports Maxwell Moe for The Daily Galaxy. “A billion years ago, our ancestors were amoeba-like creatures fond of engulfing paramecium-like creatures.”
A Deepening Crisis Forces Physicists to Rethink Structure of Nature’s Laws –For three decades, researchers hunted in vain for new elementary particles that would have explained why nature looks the way it does. As physicists confront that failure, they’re reexamining a longstanding assumption: that big stuff consists of smaller stuff, reports Natalie Wolchover for Quanta.com.
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