"Dark energy is incredibly strange, but actually it makes sense to me that it went unnoticed," said Noble Prize winning physicist Adam Riess in an interview. "I have absolutely no clue what dark energy is. Dark energy appears strong enough to push the entire universe - yet its source is unknown, its location is unknown and its physics are highly speculative."
Continue reading "The Dark Energy Enigma --"The Entire Universe is Being Pushed by an Unknown Force No One Can Locate"" »
Martin Bojowald, a professor of phycics at Penn State University, presents his fascinating ideas about “Loop Quantum Cosmology” in Once Before Time: A Whole Story of the Universe. "Will we ever," Bojowald asks, "with a precision that meets scientific standards, see the shape of the universe before the big bang? The answer to such questions remains open. We have a multitude of indications and mathematical models for what might have happened. A diverse set of results within quantum gravity has revealed different phenomena important for revealing what happened at the big bang. But for a reliable extrapolation, parameters would be required with a precision far out of reach of current measurement accuracies.
Continue reading ""Quantum Hell" --The Universe Before the Big Bang (A 'Galaxy' Insight)" »
The moon was formed by a violent, head-on collision between the early Earth and a "planetary embryo" called Theia approximately 100 million years after the Earth formed, UCLA geochemists and colleagues report. Scientists had already known about this high-speed crash, which occurred almost 4.5 billion years ago, but many thought the Earth collided with Theia at an angle of 45 degrees or more -- a powerful side-swipe (simulated in this 2012 YouTube video). New evidence reported Jan. 29 in the journal Science substantially strengthens the case for a head-on assault.
Continue reading "Apollo Mission Moon Rocks --"Evidence of a Head-On Collision 4.5 Billion Years Ago" " »
Since astronomers discovered the Smith Cloud, a giant gas cloud plummeting toward the Milky Way, they have been unable to determine its composition, which would hold clues as to its origin. Astronomers have now determined that the cloud contains elements similar to our sun, which means the cloud originated in the Milky Way’s outer edges and not in intergalactic space as some have speculated.
Continue reading "Colossal Cloud Ejected From Milky Way 70 Million Years Ago --Plummeting Back!" »
"If you want to know where the universe came from and where it's going, you need to know about time," says Joan Vaccaro at the Griffith University's Center for Quantum Dynamics. "Experiments on subatomic particles over the past 50 years ago show that nature doesn't treat both directions of time equally. In particular, subatomic particles called K and B mesons behave slightly differently depending on the direction of time."
Continue reading "The Quantum Asymmetry Between Space and Time --"There May be a Deeper Origin of Time"" »
"The results help to assess the survival ability and long-term stability of microorganisms and bioindicators on the surface of Mars, information which becomes fundamental and relevant for future experiments centred around the search for life on the red planet," says Rosa de la Torre Noetzel from Spain's National Institute of Aerospace Technology.
Continue reading "Search for Life on Mars --"Organisms on the ISS Survive a Red-Planet Environment"" »
A fifth force may exist that disrupts the predictions general relativity makes outside our own galaxy, on cosmic-length scales. University of Pennsylvania astrophysicist, Bhuvnesh Jain, says the nature of gravity is the question of a lifetime. As scientists have been able to see farther and deeper into the universe, the laws of gravity have been revealed to be under the influence of an unexplained force.
Continue reading ""Gravity Is Altered By an Unknown Force" (Today's 'Galaxy' Insight)" »
IC 1613 is a dwarf galaxy in the constellation of Cetus (The Sea Monster). This VST image above shows the galaxy's unconventional beauty, all scattered stars and bright pink gas, in great detail. Astronomers have found it to be an irregular dwarf that lacks many of the features, such as a starry disc, found in some other diminutive galaxies.
Continue reading "The Milky Way's Odd, Shapeless Pristine Neighbor (ESO)" »
Two reserachers have concluded that the idea that life has or could arise in an Earth-like environment has only a small amount of supporting evidence, most of it extrapolated from what is known about abiogenesis, or the emergence of life, on early Earth. Instead, their analysis showed that the expectations of life cropping up on exoplanets discovered by the Kepler Space Telescope are largely based on the assumption that it would or will happen under the same conditions that allowed life to flourish on this planet.
Continue reading ""Life on Earth is a Cosmic Aberration" (Today's 'Galaxy' Insight)" »
New Year's Day, 1801, the dawn of the 19th century, was a historic moment for astronomy, and for a space mission called Dawn more than 200 years later. That night, Giuseppe Piazzi pointed his telescope at the sky and observed a distant object that we now know as Ceres.
Continue reading "A Brief History of Ceres: "The Missing Planet" (NASA/JPL)" »