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Friday, July 11, 2008

News from outer space

A couple of paradigm-shattering news from outer space in SD today:

1. Very High Energy (VHE) gamma rays seem now to be produced in many spots out there and also able to reach us, providing with another source of astronomical info. So far it was thought that such high energy rays lost their energy fast and were unable to reach us, except from nearby sources. The fact now seems to be, on light of MAGIC telescope research, that this is not the case at all and allows astronomers to watch things so far unknown and review some scientific assumptions - like that of most energetic sources being also the brightest stuff up there, what now seems obvious it's not the case at all, as there are objects that are only emitting in this VHE area of the spectrum. (Original news article).

2. The other finding is that of the a galaxy that has the record of stars being generated in the shortest period. It's known as the "Baby Boom galaxy" and it's creating stars at a rate of one to four thousand per year, many more than the 10 or so the Milky Way produces. It is a Galaxy from the very early universe, some 12.3 billion light-years away. This finding was made thanks to the use of several of the most modern telescopes, like Spitzer and the Very Large Array. (Original news article).

The Baby Boom galaxy


Tim said...

Strange to think we're witnessing a process which took place 12.3 billion years ago, and that we as humans are able to peer this far back into the past of our Universe.

Maju said...

Sure. But it's even more strange to think we cannot see the present at all. Even the most immediate event we can see happened a tiny fraction of micro-second ago - or 12 billion years ago, as in this case.

We live not in space and time but in spacetime, with all its implications.

amiya said...

Our exact position in the universe is really enigmatic. The fabric of space-time is, to me illusory. Quantum theory and string theory is even more maddening. Are our existences real or just an illusion? Sounds so un-scientific, but perhaps this is the fact.

Maju said...

Are our existences real or just an illusion?

[Raises an eyebrow]

Would you be able to tell the difference? If it's an illusion, it is a very good one, much more realistic than any virtual world we know.

What is clear is that we are biologically and culturally prepared to see the world in terms of matter, 3D space and lineal/circular time. And when reality happens to be energy and spacetime it kind of appears unreal to our minds.