Black Hole’s Opposite Twin?

Black holes are so last year. Wanna hear something more interesting? WHITE HOLES!

Black holes, as we know, do not let anything escape from their surface, engulfing anything and everything that dare come near them, deeming themselves powerful. Even light stand no chance against them, as the space time is so curved, they cannot elude.  As we learned in earlier class, there are 4 consequences should we, human, are swamped into a black hole. Those are spaghettification, magnetically ripped apart, radiation a.k.a. burned to death, or worse, pulverized.

Now, what is this thing called white hole? Scientists are having one of the most debatable questions of all time, where did galaxies come from? Where do the materials that made up galaxies come from? Well, one of the hypothesis is the existence of white hole. Contrary to black hole which does not let anything escape it, white hole does not let anything get in it. In short word, a white hole in a hypothetical surface in space which is believed to spit out astonishing amount of material from nothingness. Now this sounds like something easy to find, but in reality, no white holes have been found…yet!

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Artist illustration of the said white hole being the opposite of black hole. SOURCE

If the hypothetical white hole is somewhat real, then it should explain other mystery. Such as, the materials that made up galaxies, the laws of general relativity and many more! Some people argue, saying that the Big Bang itself is a white hole since it is the start of everything. It spewed everything out in a shot and disappeared. That causes the inability for us to actually continuously observe white hole.

What are your say about this? Do you really think there is a white hole out there, waiting to be discovered? The space is so packed with mysteries, it is simply fascinating!

Miraculous Arts in Space

I have a thing for picturesque, unique space landscape and pattern and there are two nebulae that has always been my favorite. Ever since I was in elementary school (that was when I learned about space), I found out that there are MANY beautiful and spectacular shapes of nebulae. Since then, I was hooked. Two of my favorites are Pillars of Creation and The Unicorn.

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Pillars of Creation as taken from Hubble Space Telescope. SOURCE

Pillars of Creation, situated in Eagle Nebula, was a photograph taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995. It shows three massive columns of cold gas surrounded with hot ultraviolet light emitted from the young stars around them. Some says that they look like elephant trunks of gases and dust with some newborn hot stars. Why are they called Pillars of Creation? They are named so because the gases and dust in it are actually in the process of creating new stars. Therefore, they are as if the pillars which are birthing to newborn stars. The end of each gigantic pillar shadows the cold gas below them, thus creating long structure that looked like columns.  The photo taken by the telescope was awarded one of the top ten photographs by Hubble. The Pillars of Creation, to me, look so majestic and magical. I think it is so amazing and the space sure knows how to flaunt its beauty!

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Part of Trifid Nebula that looked like the horn of a unicorn. SOURCE

The Unicorn is also one of the spectacular arts the space has to offer us. It is actually a part of Trifid Nebula which looked like the horn of a unicorn. Trifid Nebula is quite easy to find using a small telescope and it is also located in Sagittarius. The nebula also acts as a nursery of embryonic stars and new born stars. The horn is actually a ‘finger’ protruding from the dense cloud of gases pointing directly towards the star in the middle of Trifid. Trifid, which means ‘divided into three’ is a quite direct representation of three parts it hosts. A dark nebula, the emission nebula, and also the reflection nebula and they can be seen as a bright object through the small telescope. The bright and distinctive features make Trifid Nebula a favorite subject to amateur astronomers.

There are so many amazing arts out there in space that would absolutely blow our mind, and definitely more coming. Now that I have told you my favorites, what are some of yours?

Earth vs. Theia! First and Last Round!

I have a thing for stuff that is outrageous, different and intriguing. Greek Gods, bizarre happenings in space, and archaic events? Yes, please! So, I just recently learned about how Moon was the result of an ancient collision between old Earth (or some people call it Gaia) and another theoretical planet named Theia 4.5 billion years ago. Also known as The Big Splash or The Theia Impact, the historical collision was believed to be the origin of Moon.

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Simulation of how Theia (black), orbiting in Langrange point L4 before it collided head-on with Earth (blue) before the remnants condensed into Moon (gray) SOURCE

Theia, a hypothesized planetary-mass planet was said to be the size of Mars. In the early Solar System, Theia was an asteroid, also called Earth trojan, orbiting in Langrange points L4 and L5. Based on the investigation, astronomers think that the collision happened before our Solar System was formed, approximately 100 million years before. It was said that Theia had struck a nearly full formed Earth at a 45 degrees angle with a strapping side swipe, with an impactor velocity of 4m/s which is quite relatively slow. There is also a hypothesis which says that the impact initiated a vigorous mixing which made Theia’s iron core to mix into Earth’s core and Theia’s mantle assembled into Earth’s.

Due to the impact, shock wave spread out and materials from both planets were jumbled together and discharged out into the orbit. The materials, consisting of rocks and minerals orbit around the Earth for some time before they fused together, forming the Moon we know today.

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The artist’s depiction of the collision. SOURCE

One of the evidences which support this event was the similarities in the oxygen isotopes of both Earth and Moon. Edward Young, a geochemistry professor at UCLA and also the one who lead the study, found that the oxygen isotopes that were found on Earth and Moon are indistinguishable. This furthermore support the argument that Theia had thoroughy mixed into Earth before their debris coalesced to form Moon. Further read can be done here.

More investigations are still being made, and many hypothesis are still being voiced out by astronomers. The verdict? I myself am still not sure. Whatever it is, I believe that everything has their own existence.

 

 

 

 

Super-Earth(s)?

The idea of discovering new “Earth-like” planets has always intrigue me! I mean, they could be habitable planets that we can ACTUALLY live in? Just like in Terra Nova (I’ll explain more about that series in the end of this post!). Super-Earth, in short, means exoplanets in which their masses are higher than Earth’s, extra points if they are in habitable zones! For now, I am just going to focus on one habitable zone which is Kepler-62. Before that, hats off to those who guess why the zone’s name is Kepler! KEPLER is the name of NASA’s spacecraft in which its job is to find Earth-size planets orbiting another star AND it is also named after Johannes Kepler, world’s renowned astronomer.

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The illustration shows Kepler-62f (in front) and Kepler-62e (the twinkle on the right) orbiting Kepler-62 star. SOURCE

Kepler-62 is the name of a star in Lyra constellation (somewhat cooler than our Sun). It is the smallest habitable zone found and hosted about five exoplanets. There are two main planets in Kepler-62 zone which are Kepler-62e and Kepler-62f.

Most likely to be a water world, Kepler-62e is an exoplanet with 1.6 times the size of Earth. It orbits the red dwarf star once every 122 days. The planet is roughly 1200 light years from Earth and is believed to be more gaseous than rocky, thus called mini-Neptune. Another exoplanet orbiting the same Kepler-62 is called Kepler-62f. This planet is a bit farther out compared to Kepler-62e, seeing as its orbital period is 267 days. It is 1.4 times bigger than Earth and its equilibrium temperature is close to Mars’. Through estimation of its mass, Kepler-62f is most likely to be a rocky planet.

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The Kepler-62 system with its habitable zone in compared to our Solar System. Only two planets are in the zone which are Kepler-62e and Kepler-62f. SOURCE

After further research, it was found that both of the planets are similar to Earth but slightly bigger. It was also discovered that both planets are likely dominated with ocean. Any chances that there are life on those planets? Follow-ups exploration and research are being done to find out more about the habitable zones and other exoplanets. Are there any more habitable zones out there? YES. In fact, there was another zone found in 2013 and was named Kepler-69 and there are actually many more out there!

Now, there is one TV show that I would recommend you guys to watch. Titled Terra Nova, it tells us about the life of a family in far future, where Earth is no longer fit for living due to overpopulation and declining air quality. So, they have to move to another world called Terra Nova where in that world, it was as if Earth was pulled back to the past (means dinosaur still exist!) and they have to fight to survive. Quite a good series, seeing that I am into science fiction. Give it a chance, if you have some time! (It’s on Netflix, btw)

 

The Explosion That Starts Life

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POOF! And there goes the first phylum! GIF by GIPHY

Ever wonder how kingdoms of animals ever started? What causes them? When? And ultimately, HOW? It’s CAMBRIAN EXPLOSION!

Cambrian Explosion is a relatively rapid appearance of animal kingdoms or known as phyla – a taxonomic term which means the primary kingdom of animals – which happened around 530 million years ago and lasted about 54 million years. If I were to fit the entire creation of universe in a year, then the Cambrian Explosion would happen during December 15th. When Cambrian explosion (or radiation, some might say) occurred, vast diversity of animals took place and rapid animal evolution happened, be it aquatic of land. Additionally, many scientists also believed that most animals that existed today originated from the explosion.

The dominant animals that lived during the period was aquatic, given that the Earth was practically ocean and land was hardly to be seen. Trilobites were assumed to be the dominant organisms but after future research, it was proven wrong and replaced with arthropods which was mainly dominant as aquatic organisms. It was later known that trilobites were a small part of arthropods family, which demonstrate their similar structure.

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Trilobites – a subgroup of arthropod, source

Many had voiced out their theories as to how the explosion happened but the cause of it is still unknown. Many scientists believe that it was the sudden elevation of oxygen level and concentration of calcium in water that boost the evolution.

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The graph showing rise in oxygen level, source

Theories like the environmental and ecological changes on Earth and how lagoons and islands are formed were also debated. The lagoons was said to provided shallow pools as the habitat  to live in and necessary food for the animals, thus creating the rapid appearance of animals. Some other theories claimed to have genetic reasons as to why the explosion happened. There are still many unresolved questions and remarks about the period, and scientists are still muddled as to how the evolution and diversification could have happened in such a short amount of time. Those questions aside, the Cambrian period had definitely marked such an impactful event in the timeline of our universe.

Tale of The Noseless Man

It is hard trudging through the development of astronomy throughout the decades without having controversies here and there. The astronomy world has many vivid figures, but nobody quite dramatic like Tycho Brahe. The man known to be genius but eccentric, wealthy but weak mathematics-wise.

He was about two when he was taken away from his parents – who were strangely alright with it – by his uncle who was a rich Danish noble. When his uncle died, Brahe was the one who inherited all of his uncle’s property, leaving him to live in a castle with bunch of weird entertainers and people he hired (talk about eccentricity).

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Noseless man with heaping astronomical skills. Taken in IMAGE

The tale of his missing nose started with his lack of skills in mathematics and foul temper. He was having a disagreement with a Danish named Manderup Parsbjerg over a mathematics formula and due to scarce resources, they ended up having a sword fight to death. The duel resulted in Brahe having his nose sliced off. Thus, he was said to wear prosthetic nose and keep around some gold and silver noses for special occasions.

The solar eclipse that happened around 1560 boost Brahe’s interest towards researching astronomy. Having tonnes of wealth around him, he managed to build a protractor-like seat to observe the stars from a small rectangle hole on the wall (which is hard and needs a lot of concentration and patience). He was known to be the naked-eye observer as he would sit on the protractor as his assistant would adjust the angle of the seat as he instructed. His observation was able to prove Copernicus’ Saturn and Jupiter alignment and from that day onward, he aspired to compile astronomical predictions and readings as it was prized data at that time.

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Descriptive image of how Brahe was observing the stars. Taken in TYCHONOSE (they have a great article about him, so go check it out!)

His astronomical tables were so sought after that the king of Denmark wanted to keep him. His data was proven to be scientific and vital as it was accurate and reliable.  Tycho Brahe was definitely one of the early astronomer who helped discover the cosmos, bringing one piece on information to another thus connecting them into strings of fact. He was indeed remarkable, as a man without a nose.

The 13th Zodiac

This is a completely new stuff to me. Before this, I only knew 12 zodiacs, the result of early astronomers dividing the celestial sphere into 12 divisions and calling them 12 signs of zodiacs based on the brightest constellations in the sky at that particular time. Nowadays, people always associate zodiacs to astrology, the field of study that involves beliefs and movement of celestial bodies which interpretations are influenced by the perspectives of humans. Thus the predictions of one’s future and behavior based on his/her zodiac – this is what we call as horoscopes. Some other cultures also interpret zodiacs in their own way – the Chinese having zodiacs associated with 12 animals and Greeks also bringing along the meaning of zoidiakos, meaning ‘little animals’- and many more!

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the zodiacs based on the constellations on certain times in a year. Picture taken in OUROBOROS PONDEROSA (go visit! their blog is awesome!)

Contrary to popular belief, there are actually 13 zodiacal constellations (Yes! That’s so exciting! At least, to me.) One named OPHIUCHUS is now sandwiched between Scorpio Sagittarius. Now, this is an exciting news – the ancients already knew about this 13th zodiac but they thought that it was insignificant thus its disappearance from the daily horoscopes. Moving on to the astronomy part of the discussion, ophiuchus is located at the celestial equator. It is more prominent during winter in Northern Hemisphere (that’s where I live) and summer in Southern Hemisphere around November to January. It was formerly referred as Serpentarius due to its outline that looked like a man clasping a serpent.

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Ophiuchus – taken in Top Astronomer

The sudden hype about ophiuchus started when NASA reported that there has always been a 13th constellation – it is still one of the 88 modern constellations – and that caused many astrology followers to go berserk (talk about the hassle in astrological dates). However, constellations and astronomy has nothing to do with astrology. One must not let bunches of stars to dictate his/her daily actions and future, but still the decision on whether or not to follow the signs is up to you – that goes without saying – you decide who you want to be.

You can read more about the controversial sign here or you can also check the “newly updated” astrological dates here.