Connect with us

Space

Compression of the Universe, or how to fit all its stars in the Milky Way

Compression of the Universe, or how to fit all its stars in the Milky Way 86

Every day we are faced with compression in one form or another. When we squeeze water out of a sponge, pack a suitcase before vacation, trying to fill all the empty space with the necessary things, compress the files before sending them by e-mail. The idea of ​​removing “empty” space is very familiar.

Milky Way

Both on the cosmic and atomic scales, scientists have repeatedly confirmed that emptiness occupies the main space. And yet it is extremely surprising how true this statement is! When Dr. Caleb A. Sharf of Columbia University (USA) wrote his new book, “The Zoomable Universe,” he, by his own admission, planned to use it for some kind of dramatic effect.

What if we somehow manage to collect all the stars of the Milky Way and place them next to each other, like apples tightly packed in a large box? Of course, nature will never allow man to subjugate gravity, and stars will most likely merge into one colossal black hole. But, as a thought experiment, this is a great way to illustrate the amount of space in the Galaxy.

The result is shocking. If we assume that the Milky Way can have about 200 billion stars, and we generously believe that they are all the diameter of the Sun (which is overestimated, since the vast majority of stars are less massive and smaller in size), we could still assemble them into a cube, the length of the faces of which corresponds to two distances from Neptune to the Sun.

“There is a huge amount of empty space in space. And that brings me to the next level of craziness,” Dr. Scarf writes. According to the observable Universe, defined by the cosmic horizon of light movement since the Big Bang, current estimates suggest that there are between 200 billion and 2 trillion galaxies. Although this large number includes all the small “protogalaxies”, which will eventually merge into large galaxies.

Let’s be brave and take the largest number of them, after which we will pack all the stars in all these galaxies. Impressively generous, suppose they are all the size of the Milky Way (although most are actually much smaller than our Galaxy). We will get 2 trillion cubes, the faces of which will be 10 ^ 13 meters. We place these cubes in a larger cube, and we will remain with a megacube with a side length of approximately 10 ^ 17 meters.

Pretty big, right? But not on a cosmic scale. The diameter of the Milky Way is about 10 ^ 21 meters, so a cube of 10 ^ 17 meters in size still occupies only 1/10 000 of the size of the Galaxy. In fact, 10 ^ 17 meters is about 10 light years!

Naturally, this is just a little trick. But it effectively indicates how small the volume of the Universe actually occupied by dense matter, compared with the emptiness of space, perfectly characterized by Douglas Adams: “The cosmos is great. Really great. You simply won’t believe how vast, enormous, breathtakingly large the cosmos is. Here’s what we mean: you might think that the nearest diner is far away, but for space it means nothing.” (“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy ”).

Comments

Space

KOI-5Ab, the curious planet that orbits in a system of three suns

KOI-5Ab, the curious planet that orbits in a system of three suns 99
Photo: (Caltech / R. Hurt (IPAC))

To us, the Sun alone seems perfectly normal, but our solar system is actually a strange exception.

Most stars in the Milky Way galaxy have at least one companion star. In a system 1,800 light-years away, astronomers have finally confirmed the existence of a gas giant planet orbiting stars in a triple star system.

Called KOI-5, the system is located in the constellation Cygnus, and the exoplanet was confirmed ten years after it was first detected by the Kepler space telescope.

In fact, the planet – now known as KOI-5Ab – was discovered by Kepler when it began operations back in 2009.

“KOI-5Ab was dropped because it was difficult and we had thousands of other candidates,” astronomer David Siardi of NASA’s Exoplanet Science Institute said.

“There were lighter dives than the KOI-5Ab, and every day we learned something new from Kepler, so the KOI-5 was almost forgotten.”

Exoplanet hunters tend to avoid the complexities of multi-star systems; of the more than 4,300 exoplanets confirmed to date, less than 10 percent are multi-star systems, although such systems dominate the galaxy. As a result, little is known about the properties of exoplanets in multi-star systems compared to those orbiting a lone star.

After Kepler’s discovery, Chardy and other astronomers used ground-based telescopes such as the Palomar Observatory, Keck Observatory, and the Gemini North Telescope to study the system. By 2014, they had identified two companion stars, KOI-5B and KOI-5C.

Scientists were able to establish that the planet KOI-5Ab, is a gas giant that is about half the mass of Saturn and 7 times the size of Earth, and is in a very close five-day orbit around KOI-5A. KOI-5A and KOI-5B, both of roughly the same mass as the Sun, form a relatively close binary system with an orbital period of about 30 years.

KOI-5Ab, the curious planet that orbits in a system of three suns 100

A third star, KOI-5C, orbits the binary system at a much greater distance, with a period of about 400 years – slightly longer than Pluto’s 248-year orbit.

“By studying this system in more detail, perhaps we can understand how planets are created in the universe.”

The discovery was announced at the 237th meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

Continue Reading

Space

Why the universe does not fit into science

Why the universe does not fit into science 101
Photo: YouTube

Science can be compared to an artist painting what he has never seen, or to a writer describing other people’s travels: objects that he has never seen, places where he has never been. Sometimes such scientific “arts” turn out to be beautiful and interesting, but most of them will forever remain only theories, because they are beyond human capabilities.

In fact, science has the right only to speculate: how our universe appeared, how old it is, how many stars and other objects it contains.

Universe model

Why the universe does not fit into science 102

How many stars are there in the sky?

With an unarmed eye, a person can see about nine thousand stars in the sky in one cloudless and moonless night. And armed with binoculars or a telescope, much more – up to several million. However, this is much less than their true number in the universe. Indeed, only in our one galaxy (the Milky Way) there are about 400 billion stars. The exact amount, of course, is not known to science. And the visible universe contains about 170 billion galaxies.

It is worth clarifying that scientists can see the universe 46 billion light years deep in all directions. And the visible (observable) universe includes the space accessible to our eyes from the moment of the Big Explosion. In other words, only this (accessible to human perception) space science refers to our universe. Science does not consider everything that follows.

It is believed that there are supposedly a ceptillion (10 to 24 degrees) stars in our universe. These are theoretical calculations based on the approximate size and age of the universe. The origin of the universe is explained by the Big Bang theory. This is why the universe is constantly expanding and the more time passes, the more complex the universe and its components become.

Why the universe does not fit into science 103

It is not entirely correct to consider and perceive this scientific theory “head-on”. Scientists always claim that that explosion was not exactly an explosion, and the point that exploded was not the only one. After all, it was everywhere, because space did not exist then. And in general – everything happened quite differently from what is described in the Big Bang theory, but all other descriptions of the origin of the universe are even more incredible and inaccurate.

Separate but interconnected

That which is beyond the reach of human perception is usually discarded by science, or recognized as non-existent. Recognizing one thing, science does not want to recognize the existence of the other, although everything in our world is interconnected and is not able to exist separately – by itself.

Each object of the universe is a part of it much more than an independent, separate object.

Any person, like any material object of our world, consists of components: organs, cells, molecules, atoms. And each of its constituent parts can represent the whole world. Separate, and at the same time connected with all the others.

However, science, as a rule, perceives all the components of the universe – people, animals, plants, objects, the Earth, the Sun, other planets and stars – as separate subjects, thereby limiting itself.

Why the universe does not fit into science 104

Even what is considered the visible universe, one of the atoms of which could be called our solar system, is not subject to the boundaries of human perception. But perhaps the atom is an exaggeration, and our solar system is not even an atom, but one of its elements!

How, being so far from the truth, can one reason about something with the degree of probability with which science tries to reason about the origin of the universe?

Continue Reading

Space

An unexplained wobble shifts the poles of Mars

An unexplained wobble shifts the poles of Mars 105

The red planet sways from side to side like a whirligig when it loses speed. The new study allowed scientists to notice that the poles of Mars deviate slightly from the axis of rotation of the planet. On average, they move 10 cm from the center with a period of 200 days.

Such changes are called the Chandler Oscillations  – after the American astronomer Seth Chandler, who discovered them in 1891. Previously, they were only seen on Earth. It is known that the displacement of the poles of rotation of our planet occurs with a period of 433 days, while the amplitude reaches 15 meters. There is no exact answer why this is happening. It is believed that the fluctuations are influenced by processes in the ocean and the Earth’s atmosphere.

Chandler’s wobbles on Mars are equally perplexing. The authors of the study discovered them by comparing data from 18 years of studying the planet. The information was obtained thanks to three spacecraft that orbit the Red Planet: Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Global Surveyor. 

Since Mars has no oceans, it is likely that the Red Planet’s wobbly rotation is due to changes in atmospheric pressure. This is the first explanation that researchers have shared. In the future, there should be new details about the fluctuations that have so interested the scientific community.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

DO NOT MISS

Trending