We are Trapped in Time: “Reality is Shaped By the Speed of Light” (The Galaxy Report)

ESO Observatories Chile


Today’s stories from our amazing Universe include Predicting ‘Earth-like’ planets around red dwarf stars to What an advanced alien civilization can  teach us about survival to Why Gravity is the biggest challenge to physicists, and much more.

How reality is shaped by the speed of light--“You are trapped in time. You never live in the world as it is but only as you experience it as it was,” reports Adam Frank for Big Think. “When you look at a picture of a galaxy that is 75 million light-years away, you are seeing that galaxy at a time when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. What you perceive as “now” is really layer after layer of light reaching your eye from many different moments in the past.

Predicting ‘Earth-like’ planets around red dwarfs, reports Nature.com –“The Earth is a rocky planet in the so-called classical habitable zone (HZ), with a surface ocean taking up just ~10–4 of its total mass. A study suggests that 5–10% of Earth-sized planets in the HZ around red dwarfs are ‘Earth-like’: rocky, with a small but non-zero amount of water on their surface.”

The Case of the “Missing Exoplanets”, reports Matt Williams for Universe Today. “The number of confirmed exoplanets stands at 5,197 in 3,888 planetary systems, with another 8,992 candidates awaiting confirmation. The majority have been particularly massive planets, ranging from Jupiter and Neptune-sized gas giants, which have radii about 2.5 times that of Earth. Another statistically significant population has been rocky planets that measure about 1.4 Earth radii(“Super-Earths”).

Inside a controversial new idea about consciousness–We are still struggling to account for consciousness. A new hypothesis by psychologist Nicholas Humphrey challenges the basis of the discussion and argues sentience isn’t what we think, reports New Scientist.

If an advanced alien civilization exists, what can they teach us about survival? asks Big Think. “How would it change us to make contact with an intelligent species from elsewhere in the Universe? For one, it would refocus the human tribe, bringing an accelerated and much needed sense of unity to our species. If intelligent aliens survived for millions of years, what are their secrets? By imagining that they do exist, we can plot our own path for survival. 

How to Prepare for Alien First Contact–If a verified signal came tomorrow—”Astrobiologist Dr. Nathalie Cabrol pointed out in her paper Alien Mindscapes—A Perspective on the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (Opens in a new window), “powerful evidence that our solar system is not an exception but simply one out of countless others in the universe.” So we’re not (totally) unique. But is there life out there as we know it? And does it know we’re here?”

The Most Important Discovery of 2022 Is Our Best Bet at Finding Extraterrestrial Life--Thanks to the James Webb Space Telescope, our view of the universe includes evidence of amazing phenomena, including water on an exoplanet, reports Popular Mechanics.

How an Astrophysicist Spends Her Sundays–Jackie Faherty is a people person, but the sky is a “familiar and safe friend,” too, reports The New York Times. “Jackie Faherty knew she wanted to be an astronomer after she saw “Contact,” the 1997 movie based on the novel by the uber-famous astronomer Carl Sagan. “I walked into the theater my freshman year at Notre Dame one person, and walked out a different person,” she said.

Harvard Astrophysicists Confirm Existing Theories of Composition, Expansion of the Universe, reports The Harvard Crimson. ““We’ve essentially doubled our ability to constrain dark energy and the acceleration of the universe compared to the next best analysis of this kind.”

We tested Einstein’s theory of gravity on the scale of the universe – here’s what we found, reports The Conversation. “Everything in the universe has gravity – and feels it too. Yet this most common of all fundamental forces is also the one that presents the biggest challenges to physicists. Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity has been remarkably successful in describing the gravity of stars and planets, but it doesn’t seem to apply perfectly on all scales.”

What would actually happen if we discovered a message from an alien planet? reports Stuart Clark for BBC Science Focus. “I’m optimistic. I’m quite certain that there’s no point in sending a signal that you don’t want to be understood. So it’ll be understandable,” says Sheri Wells-Jensen, associate professor of linguistics at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, and a board member of the Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) organization.

Earth’s Oldest Stromatolites And The Search For Life On Mars, reports Astrobiology.com –“An article released Friday in the Geological Society of America journal Geology uses a range of advanced two- and three-dimensional analytical techniques to establish the biological origins of Earth’s oldest stromatolites from the 3.48-billion-year-old Dresser Formation, Pilbara, Western Australia.”

‘Overweight’ neutron star defies a black hole theory, say astronomers, reports The Guardian. “Gamma-ray burst from colliding stars unexpectedly gave way to day-long sight of hypermassive body.”

Body found in Chilean desert after search for missing UK astronomer–Prof Tom Marsh, 60, who had been missing since 16 September, described as ‘inspirational academic and mentor’, reports The Guardian. In a statement, Warwick University said no formal identification of the body has yet been made.

Curated by The Daily Galaxy Editorial Staff

THe Galaxy Report

Your free daily fix 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.

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