This week’s report from the Cosmos brings amazing stories ranging from What Existed Before the Big Bang to Forms of Consciousness We Can’t Recognize to World’s Scientists Share Their Expectations for the James Webb Space Telescope.
Another week of amazing news from our Pale Blue Dot, with stories ranging from strange things are happening at the outer edges of our solar system to plants feel pain and might even see to a wrinkle in nature could lead to alien life.
“Something is going on on Enceladus – is active and we want to know,” said astrophysicist Laura Danly, curator at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn observed surface fissures on Enceladus that are unique in our Solar System and are perpetually erupting with water ice from its global subsurface ocean, that appear as parallel, evenly spaced “stripes” that are some 130 kilometers long and 35 kilometers apart.
In 2019, scientists confirmed the existence of “superionic ice,” a new almost metal-like phase of water that is black and hot, first theoretically predicted more than 30 years ago. Although it has never been seen until then, scientists think this new state of matter might be among the most common forms of water in the universe. “It’s not quite a new phase of water. It’s really a new state of matter,” said physicist Livia Bove of France’s National Center for Scientific Research and Pierre and Marie Curie University. “Which is rather spectacular.”
At present, our Solar System is in its twentieth orbit of the Milky Way near the inner edge of a spiral feature known as the Orion Arm or, less poetically, the Local Arm. The ghostly arms are not permanent features of a disc galaxy like the Milky Way. Rather, they are concentrations of gas and dust where stars form, produced by disturbances within the Milky Way, or on occasions by a jolt from outside, such as a supernova or the passage of the Solar System through one of the dusty gas clouds that congregate in spiral arms.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Planet Nine has already been imaged in one of the large sky surveys currently underway, but, if not, it will be hard for it to hide from the Vera Rubin Observatory once it starts operations in a few years,” Caltech’s Michael Brown told The Daily Galaxy. Brown, along with Caltech’s Konstantin Batygin, presented the first evidence that there might be a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit through the outer solar system in 2016.