Wish Upon A Bright Winter Star


It’s a fact, Northern Hemisphere stars appear brighter in winter than summer. Why? Our infinitesimally small solar system resides within the Milky Way galaxy, roughly 100,000 light years across with its centre 25-28 thousand light years away from plucky planet Earth. During December, January and February Northern Hemisphere night skies face away from the centre toward outskirts less muddied by cosmic dust. There are fewer stars between us and extragalactic space at this time of year. We’re gazing toward the Orion Arm, a minor spiraling tendril of the Milky Way housing our solar system. At this time of year large stars within the Orion Arm appear closer and brighter courtesy less galactic dust.

Why are the stars so bright tonight? | Astronomy Essentials | EarthSky

Bright winter stars have nothing to do with cold nights, everything to do with orbital alignment in relation to the heart of our galaxy. Don’t be shy, when night skies clear look up and wish upon a bright winter star.

See the source image

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Zoom To The Milky Way


Ever wanted a closer look at our Milky Way? Nick Risinger of ESO (Emerson Digitized Sky Observatory) zooms beyond Earth in the direction of Sagittarius. Beyond Sagittarius the camera switches to infrared, allowing us to see through and beyond cosmic dust clouds to objects orbiting the supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy.

This is the perfect week to lay naked eyes on the Milky Way. August 14 heralds a new moon, for the next week a waxing crescent moon sets just after sunset. From a rural location moonless night delivers Milky Ways iconic smudge across our sky. (The same Milky Way thousands of panicked callers reported as a UFO when California lights went out after the Northridge earthquake)

http://earthsky.org/tonight/time-to-see-the-starlit-milky-way

Do We Live In a Wormhole?


This week, an international team of astrophysicists published their hypothesis in the Annuals of Physics – our Milky Way galaxy might be a wormhole. In a nutshell, a tunnel of space and time able to transport us to unimaginable corners of the cosmos. By factoring “dark matter” into the “bulk” of our cosmic backyard, the Milky Way appears dense enough to support a wormhole at its heart.

By combining theories of relativity with a complex “map” of dark matter in the galaxy, (admittedly their own map) – they determined we all need to smarten up and consider dark matter possibilities.

“Dark matter may be ‘another dimension,’ perhaps even a major galactic transport system. In any case, we really need to start asking ourselves what it is.”

Paolo Salucci, astrophysicist of the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste and a dark matter expert, explained:

If we combine the map of the dark matter in the Milky Way with the most recent Big Bang model to explain the universe and we hypothesize the existence of space-time tunnels, what we get is that our galaxy could really contain one of these tunnels, and that the tunnel could even be the size of the galaxy itself.

But there’s more. We could even travel through this tunnel, since, based on our calculations, it could be navigable. Just like the one we’ve all seen in the recent film ‘Interstellar.’

Although space-time tunnels (or wormholes or Einstein-Rosen bridges) have only recently gained great popularity among the public thanks to Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi film, they have been the focus of astrophysicists’ attention for many years. Salucci joked:

What we tried to do in our study was to solve the very equation that the astrophysicist ‘Murph’ was working on. Clearly we did it long before the film came out.

It is, in fact, an extremely interesting problem for dark matter studies.

Obviously we’re not claiming that our galaxy is definitely a wormhole, but simply that, according to theoretical models, this hypothesis is a possibility.

http://earthsky.org/space/is-our-milky-way-a-wormhole?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=d7da6dddc6-EarthSky_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-d7da6dddc6-393970565

Our Little Corner of The Universe


Pondering our place in the universe is difficult – comprehension relies on points of reference. Take our sun – sure it’s a star yet we would never call warmth or light “star light” – stars are something a child wishes upon, they live outside the realm of sunlight. We feel the sun’s warmth, watch it rise and fall, take it for granted as air and water. Our sun is tangible, we see it every day – grasping what lies beyond our little corner, visualizing the universe in all its enormity without blowing a fuse – that’s the tricky part.

“Baby steps” elude when discussion of universal scope enter the ring. That said – I’ll give it a try. On a clear night, away from city lights with a dark sky void of moonlit interference – systematic dedication might result in counting 8 or 9 thousand stars. A friend shows up with respectable binoculars and perhaps 200,000 is possible.  A good backyard telescope materializes and upwards of 15 million stars blow your mind. In reality – our Milky Way galaxy is home to over 300 billion stars.

Ours is an average sized galaxy – measuring about 120,000 light years from end to end, ( one light year is approximately 9.5 trillion kilometres). Astronomers estimate over 170 billion galaxies in the “observable” universe – stretching outward from us for 14 billion light years in every direction.

Professor Marshall McCall of York University published a “map” of  galaxies within 20 million light years of planet Earth.

Image credit: Marshall McCall / York University

View larger. | A diagram showing the brightest galaxies within 20 million light years of the Milky Way, as seen from above. The largest galaxies, here shown in yellow at different points around the dotted line, make up the ‘Council of Giants’. Image credit: Marshall McCall/York University

https://earthsky.org/space/astronomers-map-out-earths-place-in-the-universe?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=451b768a18-EarthSky_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-451b768a18-393970565

The universe can’t be defined – exceeding imagination being the only definition I can offer. All I ask is that you “look at the damn sky” and at least try.