Building Blocks for Life Found at Milky Way’s Center to Does Light Live Forever? (The Galaxy Report Weekend)

ESO Observatories

 

This weekend’s stories range from Signals From Deep Space Contain Signs of New Physics to How to Follow the Webb’s Next Steps to Dark Galaxies Swarmed in the Early Universe, and much more.

The Building Blocks for Life Found at Center of the Milky Way. Did life here begin out there? reports Phil Plait for SyFy. “We don’t know the chemical path life took. Surely simple molecules built up into more complex ones, eventually becoming able to store information and self-replicate. And then, abracadabra, DNA popped up and the rest is biological history.”

Strange Radio Signals From Deep Space Contain Signs of New Physics, Scientists Say. “Scientists have spotted mysterious radio structures in the midst of an immense cluster of galaxies located 800 million light years away, reports a new study,” reports Vice Science.

New Book Argues That We Live In A Cosmological Multiverse, reports Bruce Dorminey for Forbes. “Quantum cosmologist Mersini-Houghton advocates a theory that marries quantum physics with a multiverse. That is, a hypothetical collection of identical or diverse universes, including the one which we inhabit.”

 

Do ‘bouncing universes’ have a beginning?, asks the University of Buffalo–Some cosmological models propose that the universe expands and contracts in infinite cycles, but new research finds a crucial flaw in the latest version of this theory.

How to Follow Webb’s Next Steps, reports NASA. “The observatory has a packed schedule of science programs looking at all kinds of cosmic phenomena, like planets, stars, galaxies, black holes, and more. Webb will revolutionize our understanding of the universe — but first, researchers need time to analyze data and make sure that they understand what they’re seeing. Here are four things to know about Webb’s next steps.”

Incredible ‘Shrinking’ Planets Could Be a Missing Link Between Worlds–Four mini-Neptunes in close proximity to their stars have been found leaking their atmospheres at a rate consistent with eventual total loss. This suggests that these worlds will eventually shrink into terrestrial, roughly Earth-sized planets – and moreover, it’s the fault of their stars that they will do so, reports Science Alert.

Does light really live forever?–In all the Universe, only a few particles are eternally stable. The photon, the quantum of light, has an infinite lifetime. Or does it? asks Ethan Siegel for Big Think.

A Large Object Landed on His Sheep Farm. It Came From Space. –“It’s not something you see every day on a sheep farm,” a farmer said of the pieces of debris that wound up in rural Australia. They are thought to be from a SpaceX spacecraft, reports The New York Times.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has taken a new image of the most distant individual star ever seen at nearly 28 billion light years away. At such enormous distances, we can usually only make out entire galaxies, but a lucky coincidence has allowed researchers to spot this star, called Earendel, with the Hubble Space Telescope and then observe it again with JWST on 30 July, reports New Scientist.

“Black widow” neutron star devoured its mate to become heaviest found yet –This work may set an upper limit on just how large neutron stars can become, reports Ars Technica.

Super-Earth planet zips through the habitable zone of red dwarf star, reports Robert Lea for space.com–“The newly discovered exoplanet is 37 light-years from Earth and was found by astronomers using a new instrument on the Subaru Telescope in Hawai’i. 

Wide view of early universe hints at galaxy among earliest ever detected, reports the University of Texas at Austin. “The unprecedentedly sharp images reveal a flurry of complex galaxies evolving over time—some elegantly mature pinwheels, others blobby toddlers, still others gauzy swirls of do-si-doing neighbors. The images, which took about 24 hours to collect, are from a patch of sky near the handle of the Big Dipper, a constellation formally named Ursa Major. This same area of sky was observed previously by the Hubble Space Telescope, as seen in the Extended Groth Strip.”

In the Early Universe, Dark Galaxies Swarmed. They were dark on the outside, but broiling star-forming chaos on the inside, reports Phil Plait for Bad Astronomy. “These weird galaxies have been a mystery for a while, but now a team of astronomers thinks they have the answer: These galaxies aren’t just dusty, they’re choked with dust, so much that they completely block the starlight coming from inside them.”

The Fermi Paradox Revisited and Resolved?, asks The Daily Galaxy. “In February 2020, four distinguished astrophysicists —Jonathan Carroll-Nellenback, Adam Frank, Jason Wright, Caleb Scharf— suggested that Earth may have remained unvisited by space-faring civilizations all the while existing in a galaxy of interstellar civilizations seeded by moving stars that spread alien life, offering a solution to the perplexing Fermi paradox.”

Truths about dark matter that no scientist can deny –Dark matter has never been directly detected, but the astronomical evidence for its existence is overwhelming. Here’s what to know, reports Ethan Siegel for  Big Think. “Many have often wondered if you could simply modify our theory of gravity to do away with dark matter entirely, but the answer is no: not if you want to explain these five key pieces of evidence all at once.”

Five headlines this week that prove we are living in a science fiction novel, reports David Pescovitz for Boing Boing.

Seven significant spacecraft that lie in low Earth orbit –-From GPS to the venerable Hubble Space Telescope, low Earth orbit has proved to be a very useful piece of space real estate indeed, reports  Christopher McFadden for Interesting Engineering.

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