skytalk

Is ours THE universe … or A universe?


New data collected at South Pole indicates light polarized in a way that can only be caused by gravity waves that were specifically predicted to have been generated by inflation of the universe just after the Big Bang… One of the most interesting outcomes is that theorists say it’s very difficult to build a model that doesn’t include multiverses! Venus showing signs of CURRENT volcanic activity – If confirmed, it indicates that Venus is possibly still building its crust and is internally very hot. Planets still strung across the sky evening into pre-dawn. Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus, Mercury! Venus farthest west for this orbit.


March 24, 2014

 

[Dave Heller] Last week’s announcement by physicists indicating they’ve discovered a signal from just moments after the universe began — now begets the question, which universe? Lending gravity to the discussion is Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute. Derrick, what is gravity?

[Derrick Pitts] Hopefully as a result of the discoveries last week, we might be able to get a better grip on what gravity actually is. I mean, last week wasn’t the first time that we knew that gravity waves existed, because we’ve been able to see gravity waves coming from the interaction of neutron stars orbiting each other. In this case, what astronomers discovered was the leftover signature from this period of time called the inflationary period — an extraordinarily short period of time in which the universe expanded from an infinitesimally small to something not far from what we see today in size.

Are we now in the post-inflationary period?

Oh, we’re definitely in the post-inflationary period in that the major inflation occurred back at that time, almost 14 billion years ago. One of the effects of that is that the universe is still expanding, faster and faster and faster. So as we go and look at the greatest distances out, we see that the galaxies are receding at higher and higher rates. But it’s not that the galaxies are flying through the volume of the universe, it’s that the universe is expanding at this ever increasing rate and the galaxies are being dragged along with that expansion of the universe.

So stuck in our three dimensions, I’m left to wonder when we’ll bump up against the next universe?

Well that’s a really fabulous question. And the reason why it is is because any model that really indicates an inflationary period also includes the very strong possibility that there are many other universes — not just this ONE. Now, do we have any information about those other universes? No, we don’t. But the model that shows that inflationary period occurring also includes that there must be other universes, too.

  • Early universe discovery

    This image provided by the BICEP2 Collaboration shows slight temperature fluctuations, indicated by variations in color, of the cosmic microwave background of a small patch of sky and the orientation of its polarization, shown as short black lines. Researchers say since the cosmic microwave background is a form of light, it exhibits all the properties of light, including polarization. The changes in a particular type of polarization, indicated here, are theorized to be caused by gravitational waves. These waves are signals of an extremely rapid inflation of the universe in its first moments. (AP Photo/BICEP2 Collaboration)

Listeners cannot see my eyes right now rolling around in my head … Let’s talk about something we know a little bit more about: Volcanoes on Venus.

And I’m more than happy to talk about something that’s much more concrete, because it makes my brain roll around in my head trying to grapple with this stuff. Yeah, volcanoes on Venus — Who thought that that could be possible? When we look at how these planets are put together in our solar system, particularly the inner rocky planets, one might assume that there would be volcanic activity still happening on these planets. And as we look around, we can see that there are volcanic cones on Venus, certainly activity on the Earth, volcanic cones on Mars indicating that at some point in Mars’ past there were volcanic eruptions. But now we’ve seen what could be evidence that there’s still ongoing volcanic activity on Venus. It was thought that perhaps that could be, but no evidence had been seen. The Venus Express Orbiter has been photographing the surface and has detected what looks like a signature of four eruptions on the surface of Venus. Now, it could be a 16 mile-long lava flow, or it could be four cinder cones, or it could be a hotspot on the surface. But the temperature is significantly above the ambient temperature of Venus, which is about 700 – 800 degrees Farenheit. So at 1500, these show up very, very brightly on a detector, showing that there is some kind of activity going on there on Venus.

  • Venus volcano

Is Venus among the pantheon of planets available to be seen in the night sky this week?

In fact it is, but the way you trace it down is you either get up very early in the morning, at 6 a.m., or you can stay up all night. But here’s a nifty way to see five planets of the solar system without very much stress. Do it like this: If you start on a clear evening this week right after sunset, you can look high overhead in the south, southwest and you’ll see brilliant Jupiter among the stars of Gemini. Well now you can go to bed and get up early the next morning; first you’ll see Mars over in the southwest, and if we move to our left over toward the southeast, we’ll then be able to catch the planet Saturn. And then lower on the eastern horizon — and we’re now talking at around 6 a.m., 6:15 a.m. — we’ll find brilliant Venus over in the east, shining brilliantly, can’t miss it. And then down a little closer to the horizon, you’ll see the elusive planet Mercury. You might need binoculars for that, clear view of the eastern horizon. But, you’ll be able to see four planets in the predawn sky with Jupiter in the evening sky.



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