Gigantic Planet or Cold Star – Results Make You Wonder #space #astronomy #galaxy #poetry #poem

Science inspired poetry - Kate Rauner

What might a brown dwarf star look like?

So far away
It’s hard to say,
In the center of the Milky Way.

Enormous planet,
It’s gigantic,
Lensing light fantastic.

Consider brown dwarf,
But not big enough
For fusing quarks to morph.

Twenty-two thousand
Lightyears away,
That’s seven thousand parsecs
Into the Milky Way.

by Kate Rauner

OGLE-2016-BLG-1190Lb is a planet so huge (thirteen times the size of Jupiter) that it’s right at the edge of supporting fusion -of being a star.

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Fascinating Light Curves Conquer Mystery of Exoplanets #star #space #astronomy #poem #poetry

Bingo! A planet!

Bingo! A planet!

Search for exoplanets –
such a romantic story.
Find other globes round other stars
a feat that’s extrasensory.

For it’s beyond a human eye
to view transits ephemeris.
Telescopes and cameras
are what we need to see this.

A light curve like a trail of dust
blown through a window crack,
or scattered grains of sand
dribbled from a carried sack.

A blur of readings suddenly
drops down a tiny bit.
Almost imperceptibly
a planet is, in photons, writ.

You can see beyond your eyes
and hear beyond your ears,
and reach beyond your outstretched hands
to mysteries like these.

by Kate Rauner

Learn more at wikipedia and find one of the latest discoveries at phys.org/news

rr-3-coversAll my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.

Starlight Speaks – #star #science #space #poem #poetry

keckobservatory

The twin Keck Telescopes atop Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Everything we know
About the universe
Comes from feeble twinkles that
Speak grandly when observed.

When does the light arrive,
And comes from what direction?
How intense or diffuse
Are colors from refraction?

Light presents a barcode
Of dark lines to be read
Across the vibrant spectrum
From UV to infrared.

As starlight travels to the Earth

Each atom in the way
Leaves its mark within the beam
As photons fly away.

And so we know how far’s the star
How fast it moves by us,
If planets orbit ’round its disk
And what its core is made of.

by Kate Rauner

R&R 3 coversThanks for a wonderful explanation of how astronomers use starlight at fivethirtyeight.com

All my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.

Star Sugars #poem #space #star #chemistry #poetry

Eagle_nebula_pillars

Pillars of Creation, a famous stellar nursery

Via photosynthesis,
Plants store solar energy
In hydrated aldehydes,
Organics formed so cleverly.

Add nitrogen or phosphorus
For an acidic amide,
Defining protein molecules,
Solvents, enzymes, muscles, hide.

So why do interstellar clouds
Contain organic molecules,
Ubiquitous in dusty space
Where life can hardly be the rule?

There is compelling evidence,
Despite cold in extremity,
That cosmic rays are driving
An out-of-balance chemistry.

Unborn stars and planets,
Laced with heavy elements
Are interstellar nurseries
For compounds biorelevant.

By Kate Rauner

Thanks to http://www.pnas.org/content/113/28/7727 and A study of interstellar aldehydes and enols as tracers of a cosmic ray-driven nonequilibrium synthesis of complex organic molecules

Billion Year Old Ghost #star #space #science #amwriting #poem

charting the stars

charting the stars

Fourteen billion years ago,
Photons first became.
Twelve billion years ago they left
The first star ending darkness’ reign.

A star three times older
Than our own life-giving Sun,
Its photons traveled all that time
Till in our scopes their trip was done.

Our Sun will last another
Four or five billion years,
And collapse to carbon ash
Long after we were here.

The first star has had the time
To go supernova.
We see its birth when we look up
Though death has taken over.

Who will watch our Sun expand
And boil away Earth’s seas?
Who will see its giant phase?
Its helium flash recede?

Whoever turns their optics on,
Across the universe,
May still admire our pleasant orb
When Earth’s life has dispersed.

By Kate Rauner

VENTURE 2015 EBOOK CoverIn my science fiction novel Venture, a space station encounters the evolution of a

main sequence star, along with asteroid mining and crew conflicts. Journey with them.

Thanks to straightdope.com which reposted this article from April, 2000 – another message from the past.

The fate of our Sun is explained here: universetoday

Could Kepler have found #aliens? For real?! :D

That's a lot of data

That’s a lot of data

Kepler Space Telescope has been watching 150,000 stars – seeking the slight dimming and brightening patterns that indicate orbiting planets. But maybe, possibly, they found something more exciting.

Citizen Scientists Better than Computer Algorithm
“Since human eyes and minds are unsurpassed in certain sorts of pattern recognition, citizen scientists from Planet Hunters examine the data. They’ve found a weird pattern that suggests a big mess of matter circling the star, in tight formation.”

After discarding various possibilities, the only natural explanation is that a second star passed recently (as the universe considers time) and sent a flood of comets inwards. Which still seems unlikely.

This opens the door to other unlikely suggestions.

Aliens
Researchers involved with SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) “long suggested that we might be able to detect distant extraterrestrial civilizations by looking for enormous technological artifacts orbiting other stars… The unusual star’s light pattern is consistent with a ‘swarm of megastructures,’ perhaps stellar-light collectors, technology designed to catch energy from the star.” Not quite a Dyson Sphere, but maybe a step towards it.

SETI plans to point a radio telescope at the unusual star to listen for signals consistent with technological activity, and to follow up with the Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico if anything sounds promising.

OMG – could it happen in my lifetime?
Could I know, for sure, we are not alone?

I get chills, which is appropriate. Assuming all goes well, the first observation would take place in January – my North American winter. Until then I can only watch dark space near Cygnus – the star is too faint to see naked-eye – and wonder.

Thanks to theatlantic.com

Or not
Killjoy: time.com

Starlight – Haiku by Kate Rauner

Photons from the past

Have journeyed through dark eons

To rest in my eyes

My New Year's star.

My New Year’s star.