Questions You’ve Asked Yourself

The vastness of space and the puzzling nature of the cosmic objects that occupy it provides no shortage of material for astronomers to ponder.

What is on the Other Side of a Black Hole?

blackQuestion: What is on the other side of a black hole?

Answer: There is no other side. Science fiction has populated the idea that a black hole serves a portal to another world. If you could pass through, where does a black hole go? Perhaps you’ll come to some other dimension, or re-emerge from some other part of the Universe? No, a black hole only leads to death, for you, your spaceship, and another else that’s unlucky enough to fall in.

Imagine you fell into a star like our Sun, there would be no question what would happen to you. The intense heat, gravity and pressure would kill you. If you compress more than 5x the mass of the Sun into a tight little area, you get a black hole. But the gravity, heat and pressure are all still there, just much more intense.

If you actually fell into a black hole, the tidal forces pulling at you are so extreme that the force on your feet is dramatically stronger than the force at your head. You would be stretched out and torn into pieces, and then those pieces would be torn into pieces. You would eventually be pulled into a stream of atoms, winding their way down to the surface of the black hole. For this process, scientists have a technical term: spaghettification. Let’s say you could survive this journey.

Where does the black hole lead? No where. All of the mass of the star that came before the black hole is still there, pulling at you with all its gravity. This intense gravity would tear every molecule apart, and all the atoms. Protons and electrons would be crushed together to create neutrons, and then these would be crushed together even further into some kind of exotic form of superdense matter. It’s even possible that the heart of a black hole is single point of infinitely small size, containing the mass of many stars. This black hole is not a portal to anywhere, it’s just a final destination. Source: Universe Today


Why are Distant Galaxies Moving Away Faster?

SpiralQuestion: Why are more distant galaxies moving away faster?

Answer: As you know, the Universe is expanding after the Big Bang. That means that every part of the Universe was once crammed into a tiny spot smaller than a grain of sand. Then it began expanding, and here we are, 13.7 billion years later with a growing Universe. The expansive force of dark energy is actually accelerating the expansion even faster.

But we won’t bring that in to make things even more complex. As we look out into the Universe, we see galaxies moving away from us faster and faster. The more distant a galaxy is, the more quickly it’s moving away. To understand why this is happening, go and get a balloon (or blow one up in your mind). Once you’ve got it blown up a little, draw a bunch of dots on the surface of the balloon; some close and others much further away.

Then blow up the balloon more and watch how the dots expand away from each other. From the perspective of any one dot on the surface of the balloon, the nearby dots aren’t expanding away too quickly, maybe just a few centimeters. But the dots on the other side of the balloon are quite far away. It took the same amount of time for all the dots to change their positions, so the more distant dots appeared to be moving faster. That’s how it works with the Universe. Because space itself is expanding, the more further a galaxy is, the faster it seems to be receding. Source: Universe Today


Why Does Jupiter Have the Great Red Spot?

Another 'Great Spot' has been found at Jupiter, this one cold and high

Question: Why Does Jupiter Have a Red Spot?

 Answer: Jupiter is beautiful to look at, both in a backyard telescope and with the Hubble Space Telescope. Even in the smallest telescope you can see atmospheric bands across the planet, and its 4 largest moons orbiting around it. With larger telescopes you can see the famous Great Red Spot – a swirling storm larger than the Earth. Astronomers have been observing the Great Red Spot for more than 300 years, so it’s incredibly long lasting. But it is changing.

In 2004, the Great Red Spot was only half the size it was a century earlier, reaching a total size of 40,000 km. At this current rate, astronomers think it will become circular by 2040.

Thanks to recent missions to Jupiter, like Galileo, Cassini and New Horizons, scientists are learning a tremendous amount about how the atmosphere on Jupiter works. Hot gases in Jupiter’s atmosphere are constantly swirling around, rising and falling. As cooler gas falls down through the atmosphere, the Coriolis force causes the region to start swirling.

These eddies can last for a long time because there is no solid ground on Jupiter to create friction. These eddies can move around and merge into one another, creating larger and larger storms, which last for longer periods. According to theories, several of these larger storms came together, combining their energy to create the long lived Great Red Spot. We can see this process happening again with another spot on Jupiter called Oval BA. It was first discovered a few years ago when three white storms merged together.

This new “Red Spot Jr.” has been stable in the atmosphere of Jupiter for more than 6 years now. It and the larger Red Spot have even passed each other several times now, and not caused much damage. Scientists think the Great Red Spot has its characteristic red color because the strength of the storm is digging down into Jupiter’s atmosphere, bringing complex organic molecules to the high atmosphere. Source: Universe Today

Can You See the Great Wall of China From Space?

Question: Can You See the Great Wall of China From Space?

Answer: This is a popular myth: the Great Wall of China is the only human structure that can be seen from space. But it’s not true. The reality is that you can’t easily see the wall from space with the unaided eye.

In fact, when China’s first astronaut, Yang Liwei, went into space, he said that he couldn’t see the structure of the wall from out his capsule window.

NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao attempted to photograph the Great Wall of China from out his window on the International Space Station. He photographed a region of Inner Mongolia, about 200 miles north of Beijing. Chiao and NASA believe they can identify parts of the Great Wall in his photograph, but it’s not easy to see.

The ancient pyramids at Giza are easy to see out the window of the International Space Station, however. This myth goes even further, though. People somehow think that the Great Wall of China can be seen from the Moon. The Apollo astronauts confirmed that you can’t see the Great Wall of China from the Moon.

The best you can see is the white and blue marble of our home planet.With all of the human construction, many buildings and other structures can be seen from space. But you can’t see the Great Wall of China from space. Source: Universe Today

Read previous post:
NASA Raises Safety Concerns Over SpaceX & Boeing Spacecraft

The goal of NASA’s commercial crew transportation program is to allow...

First Super Blue Blood Moon In Over 150 Years Coming

FOR THE FIRST time in over 150 years, three lunar...

Ice Just Below Surface Of Mars May Sustain Human Bases

SCIENTISTS USING IMAGES from a NASA Mars orbiting spacecraft have...