Monthly Archives: May 2014
Everybody has a different definition for the word “home.” For some, it’s the house they live in. For those with a more UNESCO-themed mindset, home is the planet Earth, our globally shared clump of rock hurtling through the dark reaches of space.
Astronomers have found that some sun-like stars have the ability to consume Earth-like planets. During their developmental stages, these sun-like stars swallow large amounts of rocky material, from which small, rocky planets such as Earth, Venus and Mars are formed.
Cosmic discoveries are important because they expand our understanding of nature and allow us to test reality against our mathematical theories. Here are 5 objects which reach the extremes we need to test the limits of our calculations—and our imaginations.
Everyone has seen pictures of galaxies in their elementary school science books, but what you might not know is that not all galaxies are created equal. In fact, some of them are downright bizarre-looking. While the Milky Way may look pristine and almost flawless, the following galaxies are the poor, snaggle-toothed children of the cosmos.
Space is pretty cool, and a lot of it is pretty weird. Planets orbit around stars, which die and are reborn, and everything in the galaxy orbits supermassive black holes that slowly pull everything to their doom. But every now …
The first stars in the universe formed from primordial hydrogen, helium, and a smattering of lithium. These materials were created in the cosmos’ first few minutes, whereas the stars formed hundreds of millions of years later. Those suns, which were likely 100 to 200 solar masses, fused heavier elements, called metals, in their cores.
There is nothing better than a bit of mythbusting (which accounts for the popularity of the television program of the same name), so here we are again, presenting you with a new list of terribly common misconceptions and myths – this time about space.
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot seems to be on a cosmic diet, shrinking rapidly before our eyes. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot might be, quite literally, the perfect storm: It’s a swirling, anti-cyclonic vortex that’s big enough to engulf three Earths and has been raging in the atmosphere of the solar system’s largest planet for at least 400 years.
One of the most fascinating things about the universe is how little we really know. And just like we want to know what happens when we die, science has asked how the universe will end for as long as man has been able to think about such concepts.
Over the past decade, we have come to appreciate that essentially every normal galaxy, including our Milky Way, harbors a supermassive black hole at its center. These monsters play an important role in the evolution of galaxies and the appearance of the observable universe, but their origin is largely unknown.
When most of us were in school, we learned about the differences in gravity between planets in our solar system. We also learned about how enormous the Sun is and that the gas giants are prone to some seriously unusual storms. But over the course of the last few years, modern astronomy has evolved, revealing our solar system to be more peculiar than we ever imagined.