Your free twice-weekly 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.
“There’s something we just don’t understand about the internal structure of how the universe works,” said Enectali Figueroa-Feliciano, an associate professor of physics at Northwestern and the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, reacting to what astronomers think may be the first real signal from the “dark universe.”
“We now think that both dark matter and dark energy can be unified into a fluid which possesses a type of ‘negative gravity’, repelling all other material around them,” said Jamie Farnes from the Oxford University e-Research Center in 2018 about the what is perhaps the great unsolved mystery of the Universe. “The outcome seems rather beautiful: dark energy and dark matter can be unified into a single substance, with both effects being simply explainable as positive mass matter surfing on a sea of negative masses.”
A tiny dwarf galaxy, ESO 495-21, three percent the size of the Milky Way, harbors a supermassive black hole that may offer clues as to how black holes and galaxies evolved in the early Universe. The origin of the central supermassive black holes in galaxies is still a matter of debate — do the galaxies form first and then crush material at their centers into black holes, or do pre-existing black holes gather galaxies around them? Do they evolve together — or could the answer be something else entirely?
“There is something about the Himalayas not possessed by the Alps, something unseen and unknown,” said mountaineer and botanist Frank Smythe…” a mystery intriguing and disturbing. Confronted by them, a man loses his grasp of ordinary things, perceiving himself as immortal, an entity capable of outdistancing all changes, all decay, all life, all death.”
“Our models show that there is a real possibility that Venus could have been habitable and radically different from the Venus we see today,” said Michael Way of The Goddard Institute for Space Science about Earth’s ‘twisted sister’ planet. “This opens up all kinds of implications for exoplanets found in what is called the ‘Venus Zone’, which may in fact host liquid water and temperate climates.”