There is a heated argument in the astronomy world right now having to do with the concept of “the big bang theory.” The big bang theory is a theory for how the galaxy got to be what it is today. It states that originally the universe was a an extremely hot and dense state that expanded rapidly. If this is true we are currently still moving. I agree with this theory, although many people do not. For a long time scientists did not believe in the big bang theory, but instead believed in “cosomological models.” Many people believe that the big bang theory is a religious way of how we got to be here because it was originally proposed by the Roman Catholic Priest Pope Pius XII. In the end many scientists believe it though. Personally, I believe in the big bang theory because it offers a complex way of how the Universe formed. There aren’t really any other theories as complex and widely accepted and thus I feel it is the truth! The Big bang theory implies that we will continue growing and moving into the unknown. A pretty crazy thought!
Although, this isn’t a question many people usually wonder about. I think it’s an interesting one for many reasons. Here are some of the answers. Galaxies can range is size from having just a few million stars to having over a trillion stars. Unfortunately, because the Universe is such a big place we can never be sure what the biggest galaxy out there is. We just have to go with what’s the biggest galaxy that we know of. The largest galaxies in the universe are called the giant elliptical galaxies . Giant elliptical galaxies are giant galaxies shaped like eggs that are home to thousands of stars. These are formed when smaller galaxies collide into one another. A fun fact is that in a few billion years our galaxy “The Milky Way” is scheduled to collide with the galaxy “Andromeda.” The result of this collision will most likely be a giant elliptical galaxy with a few trillion stars. The galaxies that are the largest are the ones at the center of galaxy clusters. These are coined the term “bright cluster galaxies,” and grow by gobbling any other galaxies that come near to them. One of these types of galaxies can be 10 times brighter than the milky way, with about a hundred times as much mass. These galaxies can have a diameter of 6 million light years across, for a comparison the milky way is only 100,000 light years across.
Hello readers! I am extremely sorry it’s been so long since I’ve blogged. I hope you haven’t missed my interesting space facts too much! Today I will be going over some interesting facts about the ‘long lost’ planet, that is no longer a planet called Pluto. Growing up, many were informed that Pluto was the farthest plane away from the sun in our Solar System. Pluto orbits around the sun just like all the other planets so scientists believed it was a planet for a very long time. In August of 2006, the International Astronomical Union announced that Pluto is NOT a real planet. Many are probably wondering why Pluto isn’t considered a real planet, and here is the answer. Pluto was discovered 81 years ago by Clyde Tombaugh when he was trying to figure out why Neptune and Uranus didn’t have a normal ellipse around the Sun. He blamed and spotted Pluto when making a careful survey of the sky from Lowell Observatory in Arizona. On January 23rd, 1930 Tombuagh spotted Pluto, said to be a “small speck moving around the stars,” he quickly called it the ninth planet. It was also the first planet ever discovered by an american, so people were very proud all over the United States. But something didn’t add up, because pluto is so small it is near impossible to disrupt the obrits of Neptune and Uranus. Years later scientists realized that there was nothing wrong with their orbits, it was all a big mistake! Pluto was off in many ways. Firstly, Pluto is tiny. It is SIX times smaller than Planet Earth, and even smaller than seven of our solar system moons. Secondly, Pluto’s orbit is very weird. Instead of traveling in a circle around the Sun, it travels in an egg shape and even crosses inside Neptune’s orbit, making it the 8th planet occasionally. Pluto’s validity started to be questioned in the year 1992 when astronomers realized that pluto lies in the Kuiper Belt, which is filled with tons of icy bodies the size of asteroids. Astronomers became concerned when they realized that pluto might just be an icy ball in the Kuiper Belt and not a planet. On August 16th, 2006 the International Astronomical Union formed a planet “definitions” committee, which came up with a definition of what a plane must be to be considered a “real planet.” The following is their definition: “A planet is a celestial body that (a) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (b) is in orbit around a star, and is neither a star nor a satellite of a planet.”
Pluto does not meet this criterion because it is in the Kuiper Belt. Therefore it is not a planet. Many people are extremely upset about this fact and petitions have even been made to try and get Pluto to be considered a planet again! Many haven’t taken this news well. Hopefully over time, people will adjust to the new news.
Pluto is a huge issue right now in the astronomy field. Some people are die hard Pluto fans who still believe this “ice chunk” should still be considered a planet. On the other hand many scientists believe it should never have been called a planet! Right now there are two different sides on this issue and some people are extremely for their argument. This issue is controversial because it is hard to make rules for what can be considered a planet and what is just matter floating around the sun. The lines have been blurred.
I was reading the Science Daily brushing up on recent astrology news when a link caught my eye. A link titled “Black Holes.” Black holes have always caught my attention because of their daunting enormity and unknown. I remember when I was little wondering about black holes and what it would be like to get sucked into one. In Physics I remember learning that time gets warped around black holes. Everything we know would get changed! This piece of news has to do with a new Black Hole that has been discovered. This particular black hole is 5.4 times greater in mass than our Sun! It has been discovered in an X-Ray Binary system. X-Ray binaries are composed of a black hole and a ‘normal’ star. The black hole slowly sucks matter out of the star and adds it to it’s own mass by a spiral disk surrounding it. This binary system is located in the Vulpecula constellation, and was discovered by a satellite. It was spotted during one of it’s “eruptions.” These systems are usually calm but can sometimes break into eruption stages which is where the star matter getting sucked into the black hole is triggered and starts getting sucked in rapidly. Black holes are created by the collapse of neutron stars. This information about the black hole that was discovered is extremely interesting! The fact that we know that there are black holes around us is very interesting.
Here is a very informative video about black holes done by National Geographic! Enjoy!
Many were appalled when the Minnesota Planetary Board stated that there are 13 star signs versus the 12 many of us have grown up with. On January 13th, 2011 a new star sign called Ophiuchus was added to the astrology calender. The reason it was added is due to the gravitational pull of the moon the Earth. The star signs were one month out of orbit. Ancient babylonians originally had 13 constellations, but they wanted only twelve so they threw out the Ophiucus. Now since the star signs are out of orbit, astrologers decided it was time to put Ophiucuz back into the picture. However, only people born from January 13th,2011 on will be born as Ophiucus. For the rest of us born earlier we are still the same zodiac sign. Since Ophiucus was added it has shifted all the other signs and there dates. Here is the new star sign calender:
Capricorn: Jan. 20-Feb. 16.
Aquarius: Feb. 16-March 11.
Pisces: March 11-April 18.
Aries: April 18-May 13.
Taurus: May 13-June 21.
Gemini: June 21-July 20.
Cancer: July 20-Aug. 10.
Leo: Aug. 10-Sept. 16.
Virgo: Sept. 16-Oct. 30.
Libra: Oct. 30-Nov. 23.
Scorpio: Nov. 23-29.
Ophiuchus: Nov. 29-Dec. 17.
Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20.
Now let’s take a deeper look into the new star sign. Ophiucus is anyone born between November 29th and December 17th. It is the only sign depicting a human, and is a man splitting a snake in two halves. The Ophiucus sign is associated with healing, enlightenment, medicine, and higher education.
Here is a comical video of one man’s view on the new star sign:
Many were in awe last Saturday night as news got around about the infamous “Supermoon.” Radio shows were buzzing and the internet was blowing up about the supermoon.. Many eager people of all ages were sure to stay up late to check out the huge moon as it blessed our Saturday night sky. People were obviously very excited about this moon, but many were left in question about how it got to be the size it was. Did the moon magically blow up a few sizes for one night? Why in the world was the moon all of the sudden huge? Well, let’s get technical.
The moon travels in an ellipse around the Earth, meaning that it does not travel in an exact circle. Therefore when the moon is closest to us in it’s orbit it is called the Perigee, and when the moon is farther from us it is referred to as apogee. A supermoon is the term given to a moon that is full and also at perigee. This definition was given in 1979 by the astrologer Richard Nolle. On Saturday the moon was only 221,566 miles from Earth, this is the closest it’s been since 1993! You can read more about the Supermoon here.
Many people are trying to link the natural disaster of the March Eartquake in Japan to the supermoon. Explaining that moons are responsible for the tides of the ocean and are gravity and when the moon is off it can cause mass hysteria. This is untrue, at the last 1993 Supermoon, nothing happened, and is therefore pure coincidence with the Earthquake in Japan.
I have attached a short video about the supermoon, be sure to give it a watch!
Our neighbor to right is sometimes referred to as the “red planet” because of it’s reddish color. Mars is it’s real name, it is named after the roman god of war. Mars is approximately half the radius of Planet Earth, and is less dense. One thing that I often wonder about other planets is: what are their surfaces like? Are they simply gas? Or are they solid? Would a meteor pass straight through them or would it hit a solid surface?
For Mars, the surface appears to be mainly composed of basalt. Most of the surface is deeply covered in fine grains of iron(III) oxide dust. It is this dust that gives mars it’s reddish color. Mars has a core and a crust just like Earth does, except Earth’s crust is one third the size of mars. The highest known mountain in the solar system can be found on Mars! It is known as Olympus Mons, and is almost three times as large as Mount Everest, it is an extinct volcano in a region called Tharsis. Unlike Earth, Mars does not have tectonic plates so therefore there is no shifting in it’s crust, such that the flow of lava to the mountain has enabled it to reach great heights. Mars also contains a large basin that covers forty-percent of the planet and is most likely due to a large impact millions of years ago, this basin can be called Borealis Basin and is located in the northern hemisphere.
One question many have been wondering is: is there water on mars? The answer is no, liquid water can not exist on the surface of mars because of low atmospheric pressure. However, mars has two polar ice caps, that seem to be made largely of water.
The atmosphere on mars is made up of 95% Carbon Dioxide, 3% Nitrogen, and 1.6% Argon, it also contains traces of water and oxygen. I can’t even imagine standing on Mars, all we know as humans is looking up to the sky from Earth. The atmosphere on Mars is quite dusty, this gives the martian sky a yellow brown color when seen from the surface. Imagine that! A sky that isn’t blue…
Of all the planets in the solar system, the seasons of mars are most like that of Earths. However, the length of the seasons are about twice those of Earths. Since Mars is closer to the sun, each martian year is about 2 years on Earth. Mars is a lot colder than Earth, it’s winter temperatures can get as cold as 125 degrees Fahrenheit. And it’s summer temperatures are around 23 degreed Fahrenheit. Since Mars is farther away from the sun, it only gets 43% of the sunlight.
Fun fact: Mars also has the biggest dust storms in the solar system, the tend to happen when mars is closest to the sun and can raise the temperature of the planet.
Attached is a video about Mars and the conditions on the planet, it goes over some points I made in the blog: