Tag Archives: astronomy

Planet Nine: Will We Ever Find It?



Planet Nine: will we ever find it?
How many planets are there in the Solar System? 
Well, it seems not so easy to say. Our current classifications say there are 8 planets.
The four smaller inner planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, are terrestrial planets, being primarily composed of rock and metal.
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But now astronomers are asking themselves if there could be a 9th planet. 
Why is that? Well, observational data show an unusual clustering of orbits for a group of Trans Neptunian objects. (TNOs). These tend to make their closest approaches to the Sun in one sector, and their orbits are similarly tilted!
Follow me on this video to get to know more about the famous Planet Nine!

Planet Nine, sometimes incorrectly referred to as Planet X, is a hypothetical planet in the outer region of the Solar System. 
Does it exist?
Well, we don’t know yet.
As we said, its gravitational effects could explain the unusual clustering of orbits for a group of extreme trans-Neptunian objects (eTNOs), bodies beyond Neptune that orbit the Sun at distances averaging more than 250 times that of the Earth. These eTNOs tend to make their closest approaches to the Sun in one sector, and their orbits are similarly tilted. These alignments suggest that an undiscovered planet may be shepherding the orbits of the most distant known Solar System objects.
But how Planet Nine would be, if it existed?
Based on earlier considerations, it would be a super-Earth sized planet, with a mass of five to ten times that of the Earth, and a huge elongated orbit, 400 to 800 times as far from the Sun as the Earth. If the Sun was in New York and the Earth was in Washington, one would have to cover about ten times the distance from New York to Beijing to reach planet Nine!
Konstantin Batygin and Michael E. Brown suggested that Planet Nine could be the core of a giant planet that was ejected from its original orbit by Jupiter during the genesis of the Solar System. Others proposed that the planet was captured from another star, was once a rogue planet, or that it formed on a distant orbit and was pulled into an eccentric orbit by a passing star.
Anyway, if it existed, we would not have any doubt about its planet nature. 
In fact, according to IAU (international astronomical union), a planet is a celestial body which: 
1)is in orbit around the Sun;
2)has sufficient mass to assume hydrostatic equilibrium (a nearly round shape);
3)has “cleared the neighbourhood” around its orbit.
(Among other things, this definition caused Pluto to no longer be classified as a planet, a change from how it had been widely considered until that point. We want to spend some words here reporting a fun fact: when Pluto was finally classified as a dwarf planet, some people joined the “Pluto is a planet” protest. Here are some photos taken during those protests.)

If Planet Nine exists, its mass is sufficient to clear its orbit of large bodies in 4.6 billion years, the age of the Solar System, and its gravity dominates the outer edge of the Solar System, which is sufficient to make it a planet by the above definition.
As of February 2021, no observation of Planet Nine had been announced.

But if planet nine exists, why can’t we find it?

The answer is that while we can see the effects of this hypothetical planet, finding it is a different matter. 
In fact, in order to find planets, astronomers make use of various methods.
The most famous, and perhaps the one you’ve heard of, is the transit method. From our position, if a planet crosses across its star, we can see the dip in light that causes.
Measuring three of these dips, we can work out the mass and orbit of the planet. Not all planets transit their star with respect to us, however, so we can’t use this for every star.
Another method is called the radial velocity. This involves noting the tiny, tiny gravitational tug a planet exerts on its star. For smaller planets in wide orbits, this is incredibly difficult, but for larger planets in tighter orbits, such as hot Jupiters, this can be quite useful.
Then there’s gravitational microlensing.
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#InsaneCuriosity #Planet9 #SpaceMysteries

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Ariel: Uranus Brightest Moon



From its discovery in the depths of space, to what makes it special in terms of composition, and more! Allow us to show you Ariel Uranus Brightest Moon.
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10. The Discovery of Ariel
In terms of its finding, Ariel was discovered on October 24, 1851 by William Lassell, it is named for a sky spirit in an Alexander Pope’s story and Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Which is not too uncommon given the power that literature and mythology have in regards to naming things like this.
Both Ariel and the slightly larger Uranian satellite Umbriel were discovered by William Lassell on the same day believe it or not.
9. Its Surface
All of Uranus’ larger moons, including Ariel, are thought to consist mostly of roughly equal amounts of water ice and silicate rock. Carbon dioxide has also been detected on Ariel. Which is important in helping determine various things about the moon itself.
8. Rotations and Orbits
Among Uranus’s five major moons, Ariel is the second closest to the planet, orbiting at the distance of about 190,000 km, or over 118,000 miles.
7. Observation and Exploration
The only close-up images of Ariel were obtained by the Voyager 2 probe (one of the most important scientific tools in the history of the space program), which photographed the moon during its flyby of Uranus in January 1986.
6. Atmosphere
Despite there being carbon dioxide on the moon of Ariel in some capacity, there is no detectable atmosphere or magnetosphere that we can find.
5. Surface Temperature
Measurements have shown that Ariel’s surface temperature rises and falls quickly with the coming and going of sunlight, without a “thermal inertia” lag. That supports the picture of a porous surface, which would tend to insulate the moon and keep the subsurface from heating up. This texture could be the result of eons of micrometeorite strikes tilling the soil.

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#InsaneCuriosity #Arielmoon #TheSolarSystem

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Could K2-18b Sustain Life?



Its name is K2-18 b, also known as…wait for it… EPIC 201912552 b.
It is an exoplanet orbiting a red dwarf star, located about 111 light-years from Earth.
If you were able to reach half of the speed of light and travel at that constant speed, you will take about 222 years to get to K2-18b. And we don’t even know how to reach that huge speed. So I guess you and I will never go for a trip to K2-18b planet.

Not only earth-based telescope is being used to catch exoplanets. 
In fact, we make large use of some space telescopes, such as the famous Kepler Space Telescope.
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We are living in the Age of Exoplanets!
A lot of Astrophysicists and Physicians, as well as Biologists, are currently involved in projects which try to understand whether in the universe exists other forms of life as we know it, or not.
That’s why we search for exoplanets, hoping one day we’ll find a habitable one, just like ours, the Earth.
As we’ve said, the planet was discovered through the Kepler space telescope, using the transit method.
What scientists found is that it has about eight times the mass of Earth and it completes an orbit around its host star in about 33 days (it means that if we lived on that planet, our year would last 33 solar days!). 
It is also in the so-called Habitable zone of the planet, which is what makes it a potential candidate for life as we know it. 
But is it enough to be In the habitable zone in order to host life as we know it?
Well, things are harder than that. 
First, we should search for some clues about water. Is there water on K2 18 b?

With the help of the telescopes Kepler, Hubble and Spitzer (which works in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum), two independent research studies found that there are significant amounts of water vapour in K2 18 b’s atmosphere. 
This was a groundbreaking discovery because it was the first time we had clues of water within the habitable zone of a star. 

But is the presence of water the only requirement in order to host life as we know it?
Of course, it is not. Some other factors play a big role in this game. 
For example, let’s talk about K2 18 b size and let’s see what we can say about the presence (or not) of life. 
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#InsaneCuriosity #K218b #exoplanets

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The Strange Case Of 2019yvr Supernova



In a recent study, a team of astronomers led by Northwestern University describes the characteristics of a supernova that exploded in 2019 and its progenitor star, a yellow supergiant, observed two and a half years apart. The results show a discrepancy in the hydrogen content that leads to a re-evaluation of what is possible during the end of life of the most massive stars.
Follow me in this video to get to know more about the explosive death of stars! You won’t regret it!
This is the strange case of 2019yvr supernova
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The Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, that in 1572 was among those who noticed a new bright object in the constellation Cassiopeia. 
Adding fuel to the intellectual fire that Copernicus started, Tycho showed this “new star” was far beyond the Moon, and that it was possible for the universe beyond the Sun and planets to change.
Astronomers now know that Tycho’s new star was not new at all. Rather it signalled the death of a star in a supernova, an explosion so bright that it can outshine the light from an entire galaxy. This particular supernova was a Type Ia, which occurs when a white dwarf star pulls material from or merges with, a nearby companion star until an explosion is triggered. The white dwarf star is obliterated, sending its debris hurtling into space.
In its two decades of operation, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has captured unparalleled X-ray images of many supernova remnants, and of course it took a look at Tycho.
Chandra telescope revealed an intriguing pattern of bright clumps and fainter areas in Tycho’s Supernova.
Here you can see Tycho’s supernova as seen by Chandra.
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#InsaneCuriosity #Supernovaexplosion #ChandraX-rayObservatory

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What If We Could See Through a Black Hole?

What If We Could See Through a Black Hole?

Get more insightful information about black holes with Pr. Clifford Johnson:

This star is about to transform into a black hole. And we’re about to travel inside it to see what’s on the other side. The only problem is that we’ll never be able to report our findings back to Earth. Because once you go inside a black hole, there’s no coming back. So maybe there’s a better way to find out what’s on the other side. Could we use a special telescope? How would light behave inside a black hole? And why could the first image of a black hole provide all the answers?

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3 Nations Arrive On Mars!

3 Nations Arrive On Mars!

The Mars race to the red planet has long appeared to be exclusive to the biggest billionaires and their corporate backups, but someone else has crossed the white ribbon first. We’ll talk about these folks and more in today’s episode!
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If you’re like me who loves all the news going around about the red planet, you probably would have already heard about the biggest players in the game of getting to Mars first. Of course, first and foremost, there’s the ever popular SpaceX program by Elon Musk. Then we also have Blue Origin by Jeff Bezos.You can really tell that there’s really huge interest in bagging the medal of being the first corporate entity to bring Earth to Mars. I mean, for something to get two of the world’s biggest billionaires? I don’t think they are men who like to waste time on anything they wouldn’t believe have any value whatsoever. Be honest, guys. Who among these two did you place your bets on?
Well, if you did place any money on either of them, then I have bad news for you.

After beginning their 480 million kilometer journey — or, for you Americans watching the show, about 300 million miles — mid July last year, Mars gets visited by not just one, but two unmanned space probes just this February 10th. The first one, arriving at the 9th was United Arab Emirates’ Hope, followed by China’s Tianwen-1 just about a day after.

This amazing feat placed both countries as the fifth and sixth cultures from Earth to successfully be welcomed by our vermillion neighbor. The first four to make it there were, firstly of course, the USA, followed by, India, the old Soviet Union and Europe through the European Space Agency.

Actually, if we include NASA’s Perseverance arriving by the 18th, that puts Elon and Jeff way, way behind. Keep up, boys!

As of the current moment, Hope and Tianwen-1 are already orbiting the Martian atmosphere. A Herculean challenge that they completed with flying colors.

The amazing feat that these two spacecraft accomplished is already super impressive, considering that about half of missions sent to Mars were unsuccessful. You see how many crash-and-burns SpaceX missions had in its lifetime, right?

But, okay, I know that Mars appears to be an extremely popular destination for some of the most important entities and individuals in the world, but these missions did not go there just to have a vacation. Let’s talk about what these probes were sent there to do, shall we? Let’s begin with the first to get there, UAE’s flagship interplanetary mission, Hope…or Al-Amal, as locally known in Arabic.

UAE is not entirely a newbie in terms of sending instruments in space. Officially speaking, Hope is the fourth one in their resume. You can imagine the level of sophistication in the technology that they are bringing, with the history of space missions they have already launched.
Now, let’s move on to the next visitor to our sister planet and potential future home: China’s Tianwen-1. I’d like to talk about the name for a bit before going any further, because I just can’t get over the fact that it is an extremely poetic name.

One translation of the probe’s name is “a quest for the heavenly truth”.
Last but not the least, let’s now talk about the last visitor to Mars, NASA’s Perseverance. Or Percy for short. Pretty cute name, isn’t it?

Following a long line of predecessors, one including the popular names such as Opportunity and Curiosity, this probe is tasked with a mission to know more about the Red Planet. Upon arriving within the vicinity of Mars, it’s scheduled to land on the Jezero Crater.

And did I tell you that Percy didn’t come all by himself? The rover is also carrying Ingenuity, a robotic helicopter that will serve as a part of a handful of tech demonstrations that will be carried out by the rover. The mini helicopter is aimed to determine the feasibility of flight on the red planet. Moreover, Ingenuity will fly over the landing site of Perseverance to help plan its route better, and to look for targets that could be interesting to pick up.

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#InsaneCuriosity #MarsRace #MarsMission

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What If We Settled on an Exoplanet?

What If We Settled on an Exoplanet?

Are you looking for a change of scenery? Are you tired of boring old Earth?
How would you like a new home away from home? Really far away from home. Like outside our Solar System far. What exoplanet would suit us best? Are there any pros? And more importantly, what are the cons?

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What If is a mini-documentary web series that takes you on an epic journey through hypothetical worlds and possibilities. Join us on an imaginary adventure through time, space and chance while we (hopefully) boil down complex subjects in a fun and entertaining way.

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Hope: The First "Emirates Mars Mission"!

Hope: The First Emirates Mars Mission!

Every nation right now is racing to make contact with Mars, if not in person, then at least with a robotic spacecraft in preparations for humans to one day land on the red planet.

And I hope you’re all as excited as we are for a new nation joining the quest towards exploring Mars, we’re talking about the United Arab Emirates.

Yes, the United Arab Emirates is going to be the first Arab and gulf region country to send a scientific mission to the red planet on July 20th. How exciting!
China’s Tianwen -1 Mars Mission!
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The motivation for the mission started back in the year 2014, and along six years, the United Arab Emirates Space Agency and its collaborators around the world went into planning the mission and designing its probe, and now, the UAE nation’s dream is finally going to become a reality.

The official name of the mission is “Emirates Mars Mission” and the probe was given the name “Hope Probe” to represent the hope of the Emirati youth and nation to conquer space exploration starting with a mission towards Mars.

Fun fact, the word “Hope” in Arabic is “Amal”, to pronounce it correctly, think of George Clooney’s wife; “Amal Clooney”, it’s literally the same name!

The 200 million dollar mission will be worth every cent, not only for the massive scientific advancements, but also for being the first in the Arab region and the Middle East to push its limits and visit the red planet.

The “Emirates Mars Mission” will not be landing on Mars, it is designed as a probe to orbit the planet and gather information remotely. The probe is very light weight with only 1.35 Kilograms (2.97 pounds) including fuel, and dimensions up to 3 meter x 7.9 meters (9.8 feet x 25.9 feet) and that’s while the solar panels are open.

The probe is equipped with 600 watts solar panels to collect enough power for the equipment on board and a 1.85 meter (72 inch) antenna to communicate back and forth with Earth.

But what exactly will the probe be doing up there orbiting Mars?

The mission goals are aligned with the international goals of “The Mars Exploration Program Advisory Group”; an international group that decides the most important scientific questions to be answered regarding Mars.

The group proposes 4 major scientific goals, the “Emirates Mars Mission” is specially concerned with the second of these goals which is to understand the processes and history of climate on Mars, and more specifically, to study the lower and upper atmosphere of the planet.

These goals are further broken down into 3 scientific objectives:
1. Analysing the lower Martian atmosphere to understand the climate dynamics.
2. Analysing the upper Martian atmosphere to understand the weather changes and the escape of Hydrogen and Oxygen.
3. Identifying why Mars is losing Hydrogen and Oxygen into space.

In satisfying these objectives, the “Hope Probe” will be Mars’ first ever weather satellite; continuously monitoring Mars’ weather during all the seasons from an orbital inclination of 25 degrees and a minimum orbital distance of 20000 kilometers (12.4 thousands miles) to a maximum of 43000 kilometeres (26.7 thousands miles.)

The “Emirates Mars Mission” objectives will be realised by 3 instruments aboard the “Hope Probe”:

The first is the “Emirates Mars Infrared Spectrometer” or (EMIR) for short, this instrument will study the atmosphere of the red planet in the infrared spectrum of light, and it has a spatial resolution of 100 to 300 kilometers.

The spectrometer will scan Mars’ lower atmosphere to understand the distribution of water vapor and ice water as well as dust, and It will also observe the thermal conditions of Mars’ atmosphere.

The second is the “Emirates Exploration Imager” or (EXI) for short which is a camera that takes 12 megapixel high resolution coloured images of Mars and observes the Martian atmosphere in both the visible and the ultraviolet spectrums of light.

The visible light system has a surface resolution of 4.6 km per pixel when the probe is at the farthest point to the planet and a resolution of 2.2 km per pixel at the nearest point.

The ultraviolet light system on the other hand, has a surface resolution of 4.9 km per pixel at the farthest point, and a resolution of 2.3 km per pixel at the nearest point.
The control and operation of the “Hope Probe” will be a collaborative effort between facilities across the world not only in the United Arab Emirates, let’s start with the launch itself that will entirely be under the control of the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA.)

#InsaneCuriosity #HopeEmiratesMarsMission #HopeMarsMission #MarsFactsAndHistory

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Discovered Two Super Earth Exoplanets Orbiting A Star! (Gliese 887b And Gliese 887c)

Discovered Two Super Earth Exoplanets Orbiting A Star! (Gliese 887b And Gliese 887c)

From what this new exoplanet is, to what it could mean for our understanding of the universe as a whole, and more! Join us as we reveal to you the discovered two super-Earth exoplanets orbiting a star! (Gliese 887b And Gliese 887c)
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Humanity has a goal to explore the stars, a goal that may find itself getting a boost in feasibility by the end of the decade. But we also know that to look outside our solar system is important because we can learn even more from the planets and stars that range across the solar system and see how it reflects what is near us. To that end, one of our greatest goals is to find and research as many exoplanets (a planet which orbits a star outside the solar system) as we can and see what they are like and what we can learn from them. Which is good, because we just found a major discovery which might just change things forever.
Because looking at the brightest red dwarf star in the sky may have presented the best chance astronomers have yet to analyze the atmospheres of alien worlds — and perhaps detect whether those worlds have life. This is according to a new study that was recently released.
Scientists focused on the red dwarf star GJ 887, also known as Gliese 887. (Red dwarfs are the most common kind of star in the galaxy, and weigh between 7.5% and 50% the mass of the sun.) At a distance of about 10.7 light-years from Earth, Gliese 887 is the twelfth-closest star. Furthermore, at visible wavelengths, Gliese 887 is the brightest red dwarf in the sky, and with nearly half the sun’s mass, Gliese 887 is the heaviest red dwarf star within about 20 light-years of Earth. That may sound like a lot of needless stats but when it comes to stars you need to know as much about them to fully understand their power, potential, and lifespan.
Previous work found that many red dwarfs host planetary systems, ones usually made up of multiple small worlds. Still, “we’ve been looking for exoplanets orbiting Gliese 887 for nearly 20 years, and while we saw hints of a planetary signal, it wasn’t strong enough to convince ourselves that it was a planet,” study lead author Sandra Jeffers, an astrophysicist at the University of Göttingen in Germany, told Space.com.
But that has now changed in a major way.
Pressing forward, the researchers examined Gliese 887 for 80 nights in 2018. They relied on the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) instrument at La Silla Observatory in Chile, combining this data with archival measurements of the star spanning nearly two decades.
Astronomers use two strategies to discover most exoplanets, or worlds beyond our solar system. One method relies on how distant worlds regularly block out a fraction of light from their stars as they pass in front of their stars from the observer’s perspective. However, this method will only spot planets that pass through the line of sight between Earth and their stars, meaning it will only detect a small fraction of exoplanets.
Instead, the scientists in this latest work looked for any wobbles from Gliese 887 due to gravitational tugs from orbiting planets. This was where their breakthrough came from. They found the red dwarf has at least two “super-Earth” exoplanets, dubbed Gliese 887 b and Gliese 887 c. The former is about 4.2 times Earth’s mass and orbits just 6.8% of an astronomical unit (AU) from its star (one astronomical unit is the average distance between Earth and the sun), whereas the latter is about 7.6 times Earth’s mass and orbits 12% of an AU from the red dwarf.
To be honest, finding even one exoplanet there after two decades of finding nothing would’ve been momentous in its own right, but finding two? That is something truly special. And yet, that wasn’t all.
The researchers also found evidence for a possible third planet farther out from Gliese 887. Although the red dwarf’s two confirmed planets are likely too hot for life as we know it on Earth, this potential third planet might lie within the star’s habitable zone, where surface temperatures are suitable to host liquid water. Which by our definitions is important to have life, which is one of the many reasons we search for exoplanets so we can see if there’s another planet of life out there.

#InsaneCuriosity #Exoplanets #Gliese887

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What is the Great Attractor?

What is the Great Attractor?

Is there anything in the universe that’s just so eccentric, so breathtaking, and so beyond our understanding, that it gets a badass name? That’s what we’ll find out together in today’s episode! What is the Great Attractor?
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Okay, let’s do a bit of thought experiment to kick off the show.

I bet everybody here has been to the mall, right? Have you ever experienced a time when you are walking, and suddenly, you saw a bunch of people moving towards something?

Now, you don’t know what it is. You don’t know if it’s some food stall that’s really hitting the sales, or a new product being sold. You just know that it’s pulling people towards it. And to top it all off, you, with your ever curious mind, gets drawn to it as well! So, before you know it, you start walking.

It’s crazy, right? You don’t know why people are gathering, and yet you are attracted to that place where you’re absolutely clueless about what’s there to see, or even if what’s there could harm you. You just know that you’re curious and you want to find out. Something that you don’t understand is too charismatic for you to resist.

That, my dear friends, is the characteristic of our topic for today. A weird thing in space that is so bizarre, so unimaginably weird, and so difficult to grasp, that all we can do is to give it an appropriate name, The Great Attractor.

I hope we can say that The Great Attractor is a gigantic floating Harry Styles or Captain Ri from CLOY lightyears away in space from us, but that’s the problem. We don’t exactly know what it is. But we don’t actually know, so why not? It may actually be Henry Cavill in space.

Is he still popular now? I’m not keeping up with Hollywood stuff. Moving on.

Okay, here’s what we know about it so far. We don’t know what it is, but we know that it’s there. We’re sure it’s there, and we can see signs that it’s there.

It’s like having a gigantic stuffed toy in a very, very dark room. We can touch the fur, and we can feel how soft it is, maybe even smell it a bit, but that’s all the information we have. We’re not sure if it’s really a stuffed toy. It could be something else entirely.

So what are our observations leading us to think that it’s there? What are our touches to the fur and our sniffs to it?

We know that Hubble’s observations in 1929 lead us to believe that the universe is actually expanding, after he realized that a lot of galaxies are moving away from us. And not just moving away, it’s moving at an extremely fast pace faster than the speed of light.

This phenomenon is now something that we know as the Hubble flow: the movement of the galaxies due to the expansion of the universe.

To make that more visually appealing, say that you have a balloon that hasn’t been blown up yet. To add a little more playfulness, let’s say you decided to draw some random dots on it.

Now, you can measure the distance between the dots you made in the balloon, right? Okay, say at this point, you find a pump and you start blowing air into the balloon. Naturally, the balloon expands. But what else is happening here? The dots you drew earlier are now moving apart from one another. If earlier, one dot is a centimeter from another, now it’s maybe 5 centimeters.

The dot didn’t move, but it’s now farther away from the other because where it’s drawn at expanded.

The universe does this as well. It expands in a way similar to what we described in the balloon analogy. The galaxies are moving apart from one another at some velocity, so we expect them to be farther and farther from one another at a constant rate, right?

Oddly, this is not what scientists observe to be actually happening. Instead, they see a lot of galaxies seemingly gravitate towards a region in space. Even our very own Milky Way galaxy! The Great Attractor!

What scientists are sure of is that whatever it is, it’s definitely one powerful gravitational anomaly.

So how exactly did scientists arrive at this conclusion? That we are heading something so mysterious and puzzling?

Well, firstly, there’s this thing called expectation. The universe is expanding at an astoundingly fast rate of 2.2 million kilometers per hour!

So keeping this in mind, then, if we try to measure the speed at which a nearby galaxy is moving away from us, say, Andromeda, then we ought to get that speed right? Apparently not. This is one of the first odd measurements scientists found.

#InsaneCuriosity #TheGreatAttractor #HowTheUniverseWorks

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