Universe Discoveries

Space: News | Strange Ideas

Return to Space Index | News Index | Strange Index


5/23/04 Space. (scinasa) This story is from a few years ago, but considering the age of the universe, this is really like ... from a few seconds ago... The pic is pretty cool. Check out the movie too.

"Scientists for the first time have seen energy being extracted from a black hole. Like an electric dynamo, this black hole spins and pumps energy out through cable-like magnetic field lines into the chaotic gas whipping around it, making the gas -- already infernally hot from the sheer force of crushing gravity -- even hotter.

"The gravity in this region appears to be so intense that the very fabric of space twists around the black hole, dragging magnetic field lines along with it," said Wilms. "The magnetic fields tighten about the black hole, slowing its spin. This 'friction' heats the region to even higher temperatures."

5/19/04 Space (Yahoonews). Researchers confirm the theory that our universe is rapidly expanding. "WASHINGTON (AFP) - The universe is expanding at an ever increasing pace, British researchers announced, confirming, with the use of a NASA ( news - web sites ) telescope, findings that offer an important potential insight into the future of the cosmos. Their conclusions are based on observing dark energy with the aid of the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the researchers explained, unveiling their work before journalists at NASA headquarters here. ... Researchers as yet are unsure what dark energy is composed of, but believe that its density determines the rhythm of expansion of the universe."

You may find it interesting to read more about dark energy and dark matter. What are they? We don't really know.

3/1/2004: Oldest Galaxy Found: No it isn't. A yahoo story says someone just discovered Abell 1835 IR1916, which, at 13.23 billion light-years from Earth is the farthest galaxy in the Universe. No it isn't. Back in February 8, 2002 there was a NASA story that a guy named Ellis, "observed a faint cloud of stars lying 13.4 billion light-years from Earth." That is older. Perhaps a faint cloud of stars does not a galaxy make? Scientists think our Universe is 13.7 billion years old.

2/16/2004: Oldest Galaxy Found: ( MSNBC | AJC ) In a discovery that offers a rare glimpse back to when the universe was just 750 million years old, a team of astrophysicists said Sunday they have detected a tiny galaxy (2,000 light-years across) that is the farthest known object from Earth. &Ati;We are confident it is the most distant known object, California Institute of Technology astronomer Richard Ellis said of the galaxy, which lies roughly 13 billion light-years from Earth. Put another way, the light traveled for 13 billion years to reach Earth.

That is interesting because this is a new story (abc Monday, 16 February  2004 ), yet back in February 8, 2002 there was a NASA story that Ellis, "observed a faint cloud of stars lying 13.4 billion light-years from Earth."

I guess the difference is that this new discovery is an entire galaxy? For reference, the general idea is that the Big Bang happened 13.7 billion years ago.

9/16/03: Most Magnetic Stars: Speaking of things magnetic, SGR 1806-20, is one of only ten unusual neutron stars classified as magnetars, thousands of times more magnetic than ordinary neutron stars and billions of times more magnetic than the most powerful magnets built on Earth.

11-3-02: Our Exploding Universe: Expansion of the Universe is Accelerating. Using a search technique that enables scientists to see violent explosions of dying stars "on demand," Saul Perlmutter of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory led a team to the surprising discovery that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, and thus is likely to continue doing so forever. ... This work overturned the common assumption that the expansion of the universe was slowing down because of gravity. The results also provided strong evidence of a mysterious, self-repelling property of empty space... All the stars you can see in the sky with your naked eye belong to our Milky Way Galaxy. If different galaxies are flying away from each other at a faster and faster rate there will be no Big Crunch. It has been about 12 billion years since the Big Bang. Odds are you won't be around 150 billion years from now when the milky way is adrift in a lonely see of blackness. Is our galaxy flying apart as well? Is gravity the result of matter shielding other matter from the dark energy which creates the "self-repelling" pressure of empty space? Is this the same pressure demonstrated by Zero Point Energy created from the quantum flux, the continual creation and destruction of sub atomic particles? If you've felt lately like things keep speeding up and flying apart, you were right.

10-8-02: New Planet Discovered: beyond Pluto! Bigger than all known asteroids combined, but smaller than our moon. The planet was named Quaoar, pronounced Kwah-o-ar, after an ancient American tribe. Quaoar, immediately north-west of the constellation Scorpio, is four billion miles from planet Earth and takes 288 years to orbit the sun..


Return to Space Index | News Index | Strange Index