Mystery of Dark Matter May Be Explained by Showing It’s Not There #poem #poetry #Physics #gravity

cosmos_3d_dark_matter_map

There is evidence for dark matter. Weak gravitational lensing data from the Hubble Space Telescope imply this distribution of dark matter.

You and I are special
Along with all we view,
Just one in five of all that is
From this stellar clue.

The galaxy of the Milky Way,
Rotating fast, should scatter.
Based on the mass of stars we see
There must be hidden matter.

For decades we’ve accepted
This mystery profound.
It’s central to the notions
That cosmologists expound.

But data’s always coming in
As telescopes get better,
Till movements of the stars
Are described by normal matter.

Perhaps it’s relativity
That we don’t comprehend.
The shape of space and gravity
Were never quantum’s friend.

So what’s the answer when
Disagreement is so keen?
Why, get more data till we know.
God’s subtle but not mean.

by Kate Rauner

Christian Moni-Bidin, an astronomer at the University of Concepción in Chile, and his coauthors have a forthcoming paper in the Astrophysical Journal. Based on the hundreds of stars, all within 13,000 light-years of Earth, visible material explains their motion. Unseen dark matter isn’t needed, at least not this close to Earth.

The next step is to replicate the calculations for millions of stars. If dark matter really doesn’t exists, then gravity is messier than either Newton or Einstein realized.

Thanks to Albert Einstein for the quote in that last line, and to livescience.com for their article.

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Why is the Night Sky Dark? #star #science #mystery #astronomy

hubble_probes_the_early_universeThere are billions of stars in every direction. Even more than we used to think – photons aimed straight at us from every point in the sky. As NASA puts it,

the trouble with an infinite universe is that no matter where you look in the night sky, you should see a star. Stars should overlap each other in the sky like tree trunks in the middle of a very thick forest. But, if this were the case, the sky would be blazing with light.

This is the famous Olber Paradox. Though articulated in the 1800s for an infinite steady-state universe, it still offers a puzzle today. The universe may not be infinite, but it’s very very big with very very many stars. Why do I see so much dark sky between stars?

Because the universe is expanding, the light that reaches us is subject to a phenomenon called “redshift…” the wavelengths of light [stars] emit appear to stretch out. Go far enough, and the light will redshift below the level discernible by the human eye, and eventually telescopes.

Some of this radiation shows up as background light, a faint diffuse glow of light that appears to have no source. The rest, however, disappears before it ever reaches us.

Thanks to Astronomy.com for the explanation. Try to remember this for when some little kid asks. Of course, when a kid asked “why is the night sky dark?” the best answer may be “It isn’t.” The sky, that is – isn’t – it isn’t dark. Human eyes simply don’t register the emmissions. There really is a pervasive radiation from the Big Bang. So cool.

More Life’s Coming #Alien #space #star #life #poem #poetry

Stromatolites

Pre-Cambrian fossil, 3.5 billion years old, but reminds me of a starry sky by Van Gough. Thanks to the US National Park Service

Life arose on Earth
In conditions fairly rare,
Yet as the universe matures
Life could be everywhere.

With star formation winding down,
Supernovae will dwindle,
Small dim stars proliferate,
More room for life to wiggle.

Impatient were our ancestors
Or maybe we’re just lucky
Self-replicating molecules
Simply weren’t too fussy.

Earth may be a pioneer
With most life future-tense,
Good news for astrobiologists
Five billion years hence.

By Kate Rauner

My schedule got away from me this week, so I’m posting my weekly poem late. I hope it’s worth the wait, and my thanks to smithsonianmag.com

Solstice Star in the Grass #science #nature #solarsolstice #insect #star

glowworm Lampyris_noctiluca

This female glowworm’s light is green. My beetles are pale with a blue-white light

A solstice moon has washed away
Starlight from up high,
Leaving Mars and Jupiter
To dominate the sky.

But here a tiny blue-white star,
A fleck of light below,
Nestled in the parched-dry grass
That gives a steady glow.

Rare the sight in my backyard,
This pale beetle’s essence,
As wonderful as any star
Is bioluminescence.

Pressures vast drive fusion
And spark atomic fires,
While at my feet, luciferin
Lights a bug’s desire.

A star will shine a billion years,
This bug a night or two.
Yet it will breed another life
As sure as stars will do.

Every year I see a scant few glow beetles at my New Mexico mountain home – only for a few nights around the solstice, just before the monsoon rains begin – so few I hate to disturb them. Each one is tiny and pale, and does not seem to move much once it begins to glow. I’ve never seen a flying counterpart, so they’re not like the fireflies I chased as a kid in New York State. If anyone can tell me what critter I’m watching, please post a comment below. Thanks.

R&R 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.