Showing posts with label Cosmology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cosmology. Show all posts

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pope praises Galileo's astronomy


Pope Benedict XVI has paid tribute to 17th-Century astronomer Galileo Galilei, whose scientific theories once drew the wrath of the Catholic Church.  BBC NEWS

It has been nearly 400 years since the papal trial in which he was found vehemently suspect of heresy for his teaching of the heliocentric theory.  Galileo was then placed under house arrest and his movements restricted by Pope Urban VIII.

I am delighted that the current pope has seen fit to acknowledge the truth of Galileo’s observations and his accounts thereof.  But I can only wonder how many more years it will require for the Catholic Church and the other religions of the world to acknowledge that God is a myth.

"There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell."
"There is only our natural world."
"Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."
Freedom From Religion Foundation

Friday, April 25, 2008

Reaching the Stars

Humans need to realize that for the foreseeable future we are stuck on our planet and we can not soon leave it.  A better way to recognize this is to look at the numbers.

The stars that are nearest to our sun are about 4.4 light years away from us.  That is over 25 trillion miles away.

Traveling at a million miles an hour that would take almost 26 million years for a group of human colonists to get there.  To get there in just one thousand years would require an average speed of 26 billion miles an hour.   To protect the human inhabitants, the colony ship would have to speed up and then slow down in an orderly fashion.  Consequently the maximum speed the ship reached would have to be far greater.  Needless to say, we have not yet achieved the million mile an hour speed.

Another issue is that, even if the colony ship could attain the necessary speed, one thousand years is around 35 to 40 generations of humans living and dying aboard our spacecraft.   Assuming that the colony ship would be equipped to support these generations of humans, think of all that has occurred here on Earth in the last thousand years and you can well imagine that the social problems those colonists would face.

Even more of an issue is that only 3 stars are even as close as 4.4 light years from us.  None of these seem to have habitable planets.  Even if we expand out to 25 light years from Earth, perhaps only a dozen star systems may possibly be capable of hosting Earth type planets in stable orbits within their habitable zones.  This means that there still may be no habitable planets within 25 light years of Earth.

I am not optimistic that humans will soon colonize our galaxy. The massive technological, social and political issues with exploration and colonization that confront us are beyond daunting.  However, I envision that our robotic surrogates can and will do our exploring for us.

I suggest that we humans must develop machines that will venture beyond our solar system and travel out into the galaxy. These machines would be self-sustaining, capable of self repair and self replication. When each machine locates an appropriate object - planet, moon, asteroid, etc -  it would be capable of safely landing on the object and then it  would proceed to mine the object for materials to replenish and repair itself and construct clones of itself. Each clone would be launched in into a different part of the galaxy where it would repeat the process of exploration and cloning.

All of these machines would have the capability of maintaining contact with each other and humans here on earth. They would collect and transmit data about their journey and a huge database of information would be amassed for our use. At the same time a huge network surrounding our solar system would develop and expand.

Then many millennia from now perhaps humans will have solved all of our technological, social and political problems and be well prepared to venture out into space. The information gathered by these explorer robots would be invaluable to determining destinations for our colonists and provide a communication network for them and their descendants.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Expanding Universe: A Theory

Dark Energy and Dark Matter

The universe is a violent place and energy abounds in it. Huge amounts of matter are continuously expelled from stars and other objects. Massive solar flares add to the great volumes of matter hurling out into space in the form of solar winds. Super Novas, gamma ray bursts, pulsars, and black holes generate enormous amounts of matter and energy and that energy radiates out from each and every galaxy in the universe; this is the intergalactic wind. In the vast regions between galaxies the intergalactic wind flows unimpeded toward the next galaxy with constant and great amount of force.

Consequently when the intergalactic wind encounters another galaxy it exerts pressure on that galaxy. From all parts of the universe each galaxy is receiving pressure from the intergalactic winds pummeling it. Were the universe somehow bounded or if there were an endless array of galaxies everywhere in an unbounded universe, the pressure of the intergalactic wind would have little or no impact on any galaxy. It would all balance out.

However the universe is not bounded and out there somewhere, in a place we are poised on finding, there are no more galaxies. At some point we will find galaxies that beyond which there is simply nothing.

These outermost galaxies at the edge of the universe receive the constant pressure of the intergalactic wind exerted only on one side. There is no pressure being exerted on the opposite side of these galaxies. Over time then, gradually each of these outermost galaxies will slowly be moved by the wind out into the vast nothingness that borders them.

In this manner, the extent of the entire universe expands. Further, toward the center of the universe, there is a lighter pressure of the intergalactic wind coming from the edge of the universe with its lesser concentration of galaxies. Thus all of the interior galaxies of the universe will slowly migrate outward in the direction of the lesser pressure. Hence the space between all galaxies expands.

As each galaxy moves a greater distance from its neighbors there is a lessening in the gravitational attraction between galaxies. Because of this reduction in the gravitational attraction felt by adjacent galaxies and because no new matter is being created in the universe, the expansion between galaxies will accelerate as the physical size of the populated universe expands and occupies more and more of the emptiness around it.

However, stars within a galaxy as well as local groups of galaxies that are bound by their mutual gravitation will not expand. They will continue to remain much the same size as we find them today.

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