Traveling at 250,000 mph would be a windy, visually spectacular ride to hell
Space news (Astrophysics: stellar nursery dynamics; runaway stars) – 170,000 light-years from Earth, near the edge of the Tarantula Nebula –
If you want to travel through the galaxy, hitch a ride on a runaway star like the one astronomers have been tracking since it came screaming out of 30 Doradus (Tarantula Nebula) in 2006. Data collected by the newly installed Cosmic Origins Spectrograph on the Hubble Space Telescope suggests a massive star, as much as 90 times the mass of Sol, was knocked out of the nebula by gravitational interactions with even more massive suns. Traveling at around 250,000 mph, voyaging through the cosmos on this runaway star would be an adventure to write home about.
The trail leads back to a star-forming region deep within the Tarantula Nebula called R136, where over 2,400 massive stars near the center of this huge nebula produce an intense wind of radiation. Astronomers think interactions with some of the 100 plus solar mass stars detected in this stellar nursery resulted in this runaway star being flung over 375 light-years by its bigger siblings.
“These results are of great interest because such dynamical processes in very dense, massive clusters have been predicted theoretically for some time, but this is the first direct observation of the process in such a region,” says Nolan Walborn of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore and a member of the COS team that observed the misfit star. “Less massive runaway stars from the much smaller Orion Nebula Cluster were first found over half a century ago, but this is the first potential confirmation of more recent predictions applying to the most massive young clusters.”
Astrophysicists studying the runaway star and the region in the Tarantula region where the trail ended believe it’s likely a massive, blue-white sun at least ten times hotter than Sol and only a few million years old. It’s far from home and in a region of space where no clusters with similar stars are found. It’s also left an egg-shaped cavity in its wake with glowing edges pointing in the direction of the center of 30 Doradus and the region of R136. A flaming trail you would see behind the star as you traveled across the cosmos and onto eternity.
“It is generally accepted, however, that R136 is sufficiently young, 1 million to 2 million years old, that the cluster’s most massive stars have not yet exploded as supernovae,” says COS team member Danny Lennon of the Space Telescope Science Institute. “This implies that the star must have been ejected through dynamical interaction.”
This runway star continues to scream across the cosmos, nearing the outskirts of 30 Doradus a star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, it will one day end its existence in a titanic explosion or supernova, and possibly leave behind one of the most mysterious and enigmatic objects discovered during the human journey to the beginning of space and time, a black hole.
Imagine riding this runaway star until it contracted into a black hole and left our universe altogether. Where would we travel? To a random location in spacetime? To another reality or universe? The possibilities abound and far exceed our ability to imagine such a reality. Scientists tell us such a journey wouldn’t be possible, but they’re just stumbling around in the dark looking for ideas to grasp. For handholds on the dark cliff we climb as we search for answers to the mysteries before us.
Astronomers continue to study the Tarantula Nebula and the star-forming region R136 looking for signs of impending supernovae among the zoo of supermassive stars within. They also continue to track this runaway star and two other blue hot, supermassive stars outside the boundary of 30 Doradus that appear to have also been ejected from their host systems. We’ll update you with any news on it, and other runaway stars as it continues to scream across the cosmos.
Blast off on a journey to the beginning of space and time using Stellarvue’s SV160 triplet refractor tonight
Astronomy Products –
Stellarvue’s flagship telescope, the SV160 is their largest production telescope and includes an air spaced apochromatic triplet objective designed, engineered and manufactured in the United States of America using Ohara FPL-53 glass. The SV160 also includes a retracting dew shield, 3.5″ Feather Touch Focuser with 2″ and 1.25″ adapters, aluminum mounting rings and a heavy duty C160 padded telescope case.
Seriously better than any imported refractor in its size and class, Stellarvue’s SV160 has the visual clarity and optical performance both amateur and professional astronomers love. Perfect for putting smiles on faces and checking out the moon or stars, the SV160 triplet refractor comes in an instrument white finish, with black trim that gives this large telescope a nice look.
Take a look at your new Stellarvue SV160 at Stellarvue.com or stop by a local telescope shop today.
Chinese astronomy and astronauts prepare to head to the stars
Astronomy News (August 2012) –
A red August sun hangs in Beijing’s afternoon sky as over 3,000 of the world’s top astronomers arrive in the city for the first hosting of the annual two-week meeting of the International Astronomical Union in China. This first hosting of the annual meeting of the top astronomers in the world marks a significant step in the Chinese desire to reclaim an astronomical heritage thousands of years in the making after a 46-year long break brought about by China’s 1966 Cultural Revolution. A break that has put Chinese astronomy and astronomers lagging behind the West in both technology and facilities designed to help man study the stars and lost China its seat as one of the leaders of the human journey to the beginning of space and time.
The roots of Chinese astronomy go deep into the history of the human journey to the beginning of space and time, back to a time when many people in the western world were still worshipping heavenly bodies in the sky as deities. As early as 2650 B.C., Chinese astronomers were recording the changes and patterns in the sky. Chinese astronomer Li Shu was recording his sightings of the sky over China during this period, including solar eclipses, which to the ancient Chinese meant dragons were devouring the sun. Total solar eclipses were often also used to determine the future health and welfare of current emperors and empires and according to some Chinese historians led to the downfall of dynasties in ancient China. A Chinese calendar from the period used the location of star Antares to mark the start of each year. Over 4 centuries later, Chinese astronomers were still timing solstices and equinoxes using Antares and three other stars as their guide, as described in the ‘Chinese Book of Documents’ Canon of Yao.
Thousands of years ago Chinese astronomers spent whole lifetimes studying the stars and charted the events they saw occurring in the night sky. They recorded the deaths of at least ninety exploding stars in the night sky between 1700 B.C. and 1600 A.D. Designed, engineered and built instruments and devices to help map the night sky and accurately keep track of time. These sky maps and timekeeping devices were then used by ancient Chinese astronomers to determine future alignments of stars and planets and the correct times to plant and harvest crops.
Drive along Chang’an Avenue, just east of Tiananmen Square, and you’ll see ancient relics of China’s astronomical past. Eight astronomical instruments, each hundreds of years old, sit poised atop the spot where Beijing’s Ancient Observatory was built during the Ming Dynasty around 1442. This location was popular with ancient Chinese astronomers of this period of history from around China and the world and was used to map the heavens for hundreds of years.
Today Chinese astronomy is once again reclaiming its seat on the human journey to the beginning of space and time. In the decades ahead China will likely be a leader and significant partner in the human desire to travel through the solar system and into the cosmos. In fact, the first human to step onto a planet in our solar system, other than Earth, could be Chinese and possibly female.
Chinese Astronomy Stands Ready to Lead the Human Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time
The Chinese celestial dragon is preparing to stand and spread its wings across the breadth of the solar system during the decades ahead. Driven by an ancient desire to understand and explore the universe, China has been investing time, energy and money during the past two decades in new facilities to help study the stars. China has started designing, engineering and building new astronomical observatories throughout the country and even in space. In the years ahead Chinese astronomers will likely provide new astronomy insights and discoveries to delight the soul and inspire the stargazer within us all. Setting the stage for China to once again take its seat as a leader of the human journey to the beginning of space and time and become a valuable partner in the human desire to reach the stars.
Chinese astronomers and astronauts stand ready to lead the next phase of human space exploration
71 miles (114 kilometers) north of Beijing, at the Xinglong Mountain Observatory, sits LAMOST (Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope) a new instrument named for 13th-century Chinese astronomer Guo Shou Jing. Built to help Chinese astronomy survey the stars of the Milky Way, in order to try to determine the structure of our galaxy, LAMOST will collect the light from around 4,000 stars at once using a 20-degree field of view. Capable of determining the line-of-sight velocity of millions of stars in the sky, Chinese astronomers expect LAMOST to achieve its greatest results when teamed with the data expected from the European Space Agency’s GAIA spacecraft, which is set to launch in 2013. Together, LAMOST and GAIA should be able to provide us with a three-dimensional catalog of millions of the stars in the Milky Way. This achievement would be a big step toward Chinese astronomy once again becoming a leader in the human journey to the beginning of space and time.
Click this link to watch a YouTube documentary on the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Astronomical Society
“Blink, blink, Demon Star. We know not what you are”
Ancient Astronomy –
Tonight the human journey to the beginning of space and time travels 93 light years to the constellation Perseus, to check out Algol, a bright blue beacon in the sky astronomers in Egypt and China studied extensively for centuries. Called the Demon Star by some stargazers, this bright blue star was believed by ancient Greeks to represent the blinking eye of Gorgon the Medusa, held high in the hands of Perseus the Hero. This is thought to be the case due to periodic changes in the Demon Star that occur every few days. The word Algol comes from the Arabic for al-Ghul – the ghoul.
Ancient astronomers in Egypt and China studied Algol
Modern astronomers studying Algol believe the Demon Star has a macabre habit to match its moniker. You see Algol’s a multiple star system composed of one star in the act of consuming the outer layers of the other. According to theory, two such stars in close proximity should be interacting
Modern astronomers have been studying Algol’s periodic blinking every few days, since sometime in the 17th century. In 1783, a young astronomer called John Goodricke sent a letter to the Royal Society of London suggesting this blinking could be due to a darker body passing in front of a star. It wasn’t until 1881 that University of Harvard astronomer Edward Dickering confirmed Algol has more than one sun. In fact, around 1912 a team of astronomers in Helsinki determined Algol has a brilliant blue star and bloated red star orbiting periodically close together, with a third star orbiting the pair at a distance.
Modern astronomers studied the Demon Star
The periodic blinking of the Demon Star occurs when the red bloated star passes in front of the blue star, merging the pair into a single point of light, which accounts for Algol turning blood red, before turning blue again around 10 hours later.
Click this link to watch a YouTube documentary on Algol. The documentary is a mix of different videos on the dying star, which the site has put into one show. Pretty cool stuff.
The human journey to the beginning of space and time begins
Astronomers watch the greatest show on Earth every night
Astronomy News ( 2013-10-15) – Walk out to the darkest star viewing spot you can find at dusk and take a seat, “The greatest show on Earth is about to begin!” Lay back on your cold seat and you become lost-in-space as you stare upwards at one of the first sights to greet human consciousness onto the stage upon awakening during the distant past. Close your eyes and let your mind boldly fly off into the night sky in search of new lands of promise warmed by alien suns. Stand upon undreamed landscapes straight out of the Twilight Zone and record ideas and thoughts that could alter the course of human history and open up avenues to undreamed of events. Human beings have looked skyward in wonder and awe for thousands of years and dreamed of voyaging to the lights in the night sky. Today humans dream of traveling to the nearest star in our sky and standing on alien landscapes which will alter human beings as a race and create history unlike anything dreamed of by science fiction writers.
Will human adventures travel across outer space to distant suns in search of answers to questions pondered throughout human history? Will human beings one day journey through the universe seeking the origins of human life or a suitable planet to call home? As Mr. Roddenberry points out, space will be one of the last frontiers of humankind. At the current rate of technological growth, it could be only a matter of time before human beings have the ability to travel across interstellar space looking for non-terrestrial life and the resources humans need to survive and prosper.
Space Exploration will be far more challenging than life on earth
Traveling across the vast stretches of outer space between Earth and a nearby star system will be far more challenging and dangerous to undertake then climbing the tallest mountain or sailing an unexplored ocean. The distances in both space and time involved in such voyages will require human beings to surmount technological and social obstacles unlike any experienced during life on planet Earth. During the past century, humans have designed and engineered mechanized devices capable of launching into outer space and crossed the short stellar distance between Earth and its moon. We have started to become acquainted with life-in-space and the challenges involved in space travel. During the next fifty years, mankind will travel into the solar system and start to develop the technology required to successfully travel to nearby star systems to begin life again under an alien sun.
Does mankind presently have the technology, will power, and resources to journey to a nearby star system? The answer at this point in human history is a realistic and resounding, “No!” Using a reaction engine similar to the liquid oxygen/hydrogen main engine of the space shuttle to travel to the nearest star system, Alpha Centauri, would require over 100 years and fuel tanks too big to carry. Nuclear powered propulsion using fusion or fission requires technology and radiation shielding presently unavailable in order for human beings to survive the journey. Doctors also have questions concerning the possible medical problems associated with long-term exposure to acceleration and deep space radiation, and the drag forces involved using this form of propulsion still have to be addressed. The often dreamed of, but at this point unrealized, warp drive will probably never make it off the pages of science fiction books and into the cold of deep space. Instead, it will be replaced by an undreamed of propulsion system allowing us to travel closer to the speed of light, or circumvent the universe’s speed limit using a new idea, yet to be conceived.
If mankind made traveling to the nearest star system the top priority during the years ahead what would be needed to make the journey a success? The answer to this question continues to change as scientists and engineers study the goal more. The closest alien sun to Earth is the Red Dwarf Proxima Centauri, which on average is the short stellar distance of just 4.22 light-years (24.7 trillion miles or 29.9 km) away. Traveling at the estimated speed of Voyager 1, around 37,000 mph, it would take a spaceship over 76,000 years to complete the journey. During this length of time, human beings would have long enough to evolve significantly in the new and alien environment of deep space. Would we recognize our human ancestors after 76,000 years evolving during a trip through outer space?
Proxima Centauri also has no known planets upon which humans could begin life again under an alien sun. This Red Dwarf star is also significantly cooler than our own sun, so the habitability of any existing alien worlds would be questionable at best. Optimistic humans point out that Proxima Centauri is part of a bigger star system, containing other possible candidates which could have habitable planets. This dim star is considered by many to be part of the bigger Alpha Centauri system, which includes the binary stars Alpha Centauri A and B, just 4.4 light-years from Earth. Astronomers and scientists have their doubts about the possibility of other habitable planets in this star system at this point. Instead, they point to star systems further out in deep space, which seem to offer a better possibility of habitable planets.
The stars can’t wait
If humans move to a new home circling an alien sun, we’ll do it in stages, beginning with the exploration of the solar system. The International Space Station will be the staging point for the next phase of the exploration of the solar system. From here we can reach outward into the solar system to see what mysteries and discoveries await us just beyond the visible horizon. We’ll need time to develop the technology required for interstellar space travel and the terraforming of alien worlds. In the meantime, we’ll continue to send out envoys and ambassadors in the form of unmanned spacecraft to nearby star systems within our reach. The first of these envoys of the human race, Voyager 1, has traveled a distance of around 11 billion miles during 35 years of continuous space travel. This puts Voyager 1 still firmly within the boundaries of the known solar system, which reaches some 4.6 trillion miles into cold space and the Oort Cloud on the fringes of our system of planets. Eventually, Voyager 1 will travel beyond the boundaries of the solar system and into interstellar space, and this is when the real human journey to the beginning of space and time begins.
Click this link to watch a YouTube video on the search for earth-like planets.
Give the Orion Parsec 8300C, a try, and see if you still look at your DSLR camera
Astronomy Products – The Orion Parsec 8300C is the latest CCD time-machine-to-the-stars capable of taking one-shot, full-frame, 8.3-megapixel color views during your “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time” in perfect resolution. The Orion Parsec 8300C Astronomical Imaging Camera is designed and engineered around Kodak’s 8.3-megapixel KAF-8300 sensor and is one of the most advanced CCD time-machines-to-the-stars you can purchase to “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time.
Amazing color images of the universe
The Orion Parsec 8300C Astronomical Imaging Camera’s color Kodak CCD chip is built around the 5.4 micron x 5.4-micron pixel size for superior resolution and uses Kodak’s microlens technology for maximum sensitivity. Regulated dual-stage thermoelectric cooling and the adjustable fan included with the Orion Parsec 8300C Astronomical Imaging Camera reduces the thermal noise you’ll experience while the internal full-frame memory buffer allows you to reliably and efficiently download your images for later use.
Top quality at a reasonable price
You get all of this Astro imaging power at a relatively low price, considering the quality of the views this outstanding CCD camera produces, and the Parsec 8300C Astronomical Imaging Camera is compatible with Windows XP and later operating systems. You just plug the Parsec 8300C Astronomical Imaging Camera into the USB 2.0 port on your computer with the included cable and power your time-machine-to-the-stars using the 12-volt DC power cable included that plugs into a car accessory jack, or other compatible power sources.
Human beings were designed to view the universe using two eyes
Astronomical binoculars are a time-machine-to-the-stars that will make your “Journey to the Beginning of Space and Time” a trip of a lifetime. The views you’ll experience during your journey will blow-your-mind using two eyes, rather than one, and you’ll return from your trip with tales of space and time your astronomy buddies will envy. The Orion BT100 Premium Binocular Telescope’s 100mm aperture helps to create bright, high-contrast 90 degree views of the universe at 24x magnification, using included 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepieces, that both your eyes will love.
Astronomical binocular telescope with amazing image quality
A 4-inch refractor that accepts standard 1 1/4 eyepieces that are focused individually for optimal performance, the Orion BT100 Premium Binocular Telescope features an all-metal body, fully multicoated achromatic objective lenses, Porro prisms made of BaK-4 glass, and removable eyepieces. Just mount your two-eyed time-machine-to-the-stars on a sturdy heavy-duty tripod, which isn’t included, slip the 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepieces into place in the integrated 90 degree prism assemblies, and blast-off from the Earth and “Journey to the beginning of Space and Time” to experience the wonders of the universe through two eyes.
Blast off to the stars with the Orion BT100 Binocular telescope