Today’s stories range from The “Science-Fiction Star” -Is There a Dark-Universe Origin for Gravitational Waves? to A New Place for Consciousness in Our Understanding of the Universe to Massive Black Holes Shown to Act Like Quantum Particles , 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.
Alien life: What would constitute “smoking gun” evidence? –Multiple lines of evidence — physical, chemical, and biological — must converge for scientists to conclude that alien life has been found, reports Big Think.
Jupiter’s Alien Twin –Kepler telescope delivers new planetary discovery from the grave, reports the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics “The exoplanet, K2-2016-BLG-0005Lb, is almost identical to Jupiter in terms of its mass and distance from the sun, was discovered using data obtained in 2016 by NASA’s Kepler space telescope. The exoplanetary system is twice as distant as any seen previously by Kepler, which found over 2,700 confirmed planets before ceasing operations in 2018.”
Beyond the Second Law –Thanks to the power of fluctuation relations, physicists are taking the second law of thermodynamics to settings once thought impossible, reports Dr. Nicole Yunger Halpern for Quanta.com. Halpern is a postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard who re-envisions 19th-century thermodynamics for 21st-century settings—small, quantum, and far-from-equilibrium contexts—using the mathematical toolkit of quantum information theory.
1967: Carl Sagan and Frank Drake on The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence –There can be little doubt that civilizations more advanced than the earth’s exist elsewhere in the universe. The probabilities involved in locating one of them call for a substantial effort, reports Scientific American. “Is mankind alone in the universe?” they ask, “Or are there somewhere other intelligent beings looking up into their night sky from very different worlds and asking the same kind of question?”
Where did the Universe come from? asks Ethan Siegel for Big Think. To answer any physical question, you must ask the Universe itself. But what happens when the answers aren’t around anymore? The farther back we go, we find we run into an inevitable problem: the Universe cannot provide answers beyond a certain point. What we make of that is up to us.”
“Ping Pong-Sized Monsters” -Primordial Black Holes Could Be of Any Size and Anywhere in the Milky Way, reports Maxell Moe for The Daily Galaxy. “Recent studies show that wandering, nomadic black holes smaller than 10 billion solar masses greatly outnumber the central supermassive black holes in the universe at large, which would make for interesting, if not danger-fraught, future starship explorations of our Milky Way!”
NASA’s New Message for Extraterrestrials –An updated communication could be beamed out for space alien listeners in hopes of making first contact, reports Daniel Oberhaus for Scientific American. “NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory posted the paper, the “Beacon in the Galaxy” meant to be a basic introduction to mathematics, chemistry and biology. The researchers included a detailed plan for the best time of year to broadcast the message and proposed a dense ring of stars near the center of our galaxy as a promising destination.
Hubble Space Telescope Spots Most Distant Star Ever Seen, offering a glimpse 12.8 billion years into past –A star in a galaxy that is now more than 27 billion light years away may allow us to understand the very first stars after the big bang. Because light takes time to travel across the universe, this means that we are seeing the star as it existed just 900 million years after the big bang, providing a potentially valuable window into the early universe.”
NASA James Webb Space Telescope’s Hunt for Alien Life Gets New Clues –If a rocky exoplanet meets these specific conditions, it might also house a few alien beings, reports C/Net. “Tending to that question, scientists published a paper Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences to explain what, precisely, Webb should be looking for in pursuit of alien life. The short answer is methane, a molecule with four hydrogens and a carbon.
A new place for consciousness in our understanding of the universe –To make sense of mysteries like quantum mechanics and the passage of time, theorists are trying to reformulate physics to include subjective experience as a physical constituent of the world, reports New Scientist. ““There is no question more difficult and confusing,” says Lee Smolin, a theoretical physicist. We will never make sense of the universe’s mysteries unless we reimagine the relationship between matter and mind.”
“Ten One-Billionths of Cosmic History” –Past Homo Species Could Not Survive –The human experience on our pale blue dot “has lasted for less than 10 one-billionths of cosmic history surrounded by a vast lifeless space, yet we humans are congratulating ourselves,” says Peter Brannen author of Ends of the World about the current reign of humans recently named the Anthropocene –the period dating from the Atomic Age of the 1950s during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment, reports The Daily Galaxy.
How Einstein Arrived at His Theory of General Relativity –“In 1907, two years after putting forward his special relativity, Einstein confronted the question: How does Newton’s theory of gravity fit in with his principles? The simple answer: It doesn’t. This was actually related to a deficiency of Newton’s law of gravitation that was clear from the moment he promulgated it, reports LitHub.
Giant Ice Volcanoes on Pluto Unique in Solar System, reports NASA New Horizons Mission –“Scientists on NASA’s New Horizons mission team have determined multiple episodes of cryovolcanism may have created some kinds of surface structures on Pluto, the likes of which are not seen anywhere else in the solar system. Material expelled from below the surface of this distant, icy planet could have created a region of large domes and rises flanked by hills, mounds and depressions. New Horizons was NASA’s mission to make the first exploration of Pluto and its system of five moons.”
The “Science-Fiction Star” -Is There a Dark-Universe Origin for Gravitational Waves? asks Maxwell Moe for The Daily Galaxy. “Scientists working at the frontier of particle physics are proposing the existence of a theoretical exotic, ultra-light boson with a mass billions of times smaller than that of the electron. They are seeking a ‘darker’ origin of the ripples in spacetime, at the same time proving the existence of a dark-matter particle –one of the biggest questions in science.
Mysterious Death of a Carbon Star, reports the NRAO. “Scientists studying V Hydrae (V Hya),a carbon-rich asymptotic giant branch (AGB) star, have witnessed the star’s mysterious death throes in unprecedented detail. Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and data from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), the team discovered six slowly-expanding rings and two hourglass-shaped structures caused by the high-speed ejection of matter out into space.”
Massive Black Holes Shown to Act Like Quantum Particles –Physicists are using quantum math to understand what happens when black holes collide. In a surprise, they’ve shown that a single particle can describe a collision’s entire gravitational wave, reports Charlie Wood for Quanta. “Physicists are starting to flounder as they attempt to use Einstein’s thorny equations to extract ultra-precise shapes of all possible reverberations. These currently unknowable details will be essential to fully understand the fine ripples that next-generation observatories should pick up.”
A New Tool for Finding Dark Matter Digs Up Nothing –Physicists are devising clever new ways to exploit the extreme sensitivity of gravitational wave detectors like LIGO. But so far, they’ve seen no signs of exotica, reports Thomas Lewton for Quanta.com
Thirteen new pulsars discovered with MeerKAT, reports Tomasz Nowakowski for Phys.org –“Using the MeerKAT radio telescope, an international team of astronomers has detected 13 new pulsars in the globular cluster NGC 1851. Twelve of them turned out to be millisecond pulsars (MSPs).”
Astronomers Reveal Remarkable Simulations of the Early Universe, from the Dark Ages through First Light, reports Harvard CfA–“New high-resolution simulations show one million galaxies forming some 13 billion years ago. It looks like fireflies flickering in the darkness. Slowly, more and more amass, lighting up the screen in large chunks and clusters.But this is not a video about insects. It’s a simulation of the early universe, a time after the Big Bang when the cosmos transformed from a place of utter darkness to a radiant, light-filled environment.”
A Primordial “Magnetic Soul” Pervades the Universe, reports Maxwell Moe for The Daily Galaxy. “The world’s astronomers are increasingly probing the mystery of where the enormous magnetic fields that permeate our universe come from –from Earth to Mars to the Milky Way to intergalactic voids and beyond to the darkest, most remote regions of the cosmos.”
Share “The Galaxy Report” on your LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter pages -With Our thanks! The Edit Team
Recent Galaxy Reports: