The Space Thread

Hello fellow galactic travelers, welcome to the thread dedicated to the very large (as well as the very small). The universe is a fascinating place that’s, for all intents and purposes, too unfathomably large for our feeble human brains to comprehend; but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, right? :wink:

I’ve always been fascinated with the wonders of the great beyond. Being from a very small town in Michigan, with my house in the middle of nowhere, no less, I’ve been granted the delightful opportunity to gaze upon the stars in all their majesty with little obstruction. And only recently have I delved into the incredibly small (I changed my major from mechanical to materials science engineering last year).

The insane complexity of it all is quite mind-boggling. And though I’m not at all a religious person, it’s hard to believe that this all happened randomly (but please don’t turn this to a religious thread in any sort of way). Of course, my favorite idea is that before anything existed (pre-Big Bang), there weren’t any sort of laws of physics that stated that something couldn’t just start happening.

Let’s start with some fun facts:
-The Earth is spinning at 465.1 m/s (1,040.4 mph)
-The Earth is orbiting around the sun at 29,800 m/s (66,660.7 mph)
-Our solar system is is orbiting around the center of the Milky Way galaxy at 220,000 m/s (492,126 mph)
-Besides all that craziness, the Milky Way itself (along with us) is hurtling through space at the break-neck speed of 515,000 miles per hour due to the expansion of the universe.

Ok, so we’re going pretty fast (HOLD ON TO SOMETHING!).

Would all this speed cause a problem with time machines? Unless the entire system of the time machine and Earth with it’s blazing-fast velocity act as a non-inertial reference frame, then you’d be simply transported to a point in the middle of space, and consequently die.

Please, PLEASE share any information you have or any questions you have! I’ll be updating this thread periodically with tidbits of info I have on space, planets, black holes, stars, and the stuff that makes all of it up - atoms.

Theres an X2 solar flare tomorrow going towards earth that means some people might see the northern lights.

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Atoms didn’t form until 500,000 YEARS after the Big Bang! Before then, it was just a soup of hydrogen and helium nuclei with electrons just floating around and doin’ their own thang. The average temperature of the universe was around 5,000°C. And that’s before stars were born! Sound pretty hot right? Hah! Not even…

Going back a little earlier:
Around 10 seconds (a veeeery, very, very tiny number) after the Big Bang, the temperature was a tepid 10°C. For those not familiar with exponents, that’s 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000°C in just 0.000000000000000000000000000000001 seconds.

For reference, the average temperature of the universe currently is about -270°C, so things cooled down a bit.

Never trust an atom… they make up everything.

Awesome! I just looked it up - apparently for a short while HAM radio operators and mariners operating at frequencies below 10 MHz experienced total communication blackout. Crazy how nature do dat.

On another fiery-note, check out this image of meteoric fireballs that came close to Earth today! There were a reported 22 fireballs zipping through the space around our little blue ball.


not surprised on that my dad is a HAM radio operator and studied satellites in college so nothing new there he’s always been fascinated by space.

A star was recently spotted leaving our galaxy at 2.7 million miles per hour, one of the fastest moving objects we’ve observed.
There may be methane based lifeforms on Saturn’s Moon, Titan.
There was a period in the Earth’s life span when the whole planet was molten. An event called the Iron Catastrophe occurred, this event was when the denser molten materials, such as Iron and Nickel, sank to the center of our planet, forming the core.
The spinning of our dense core causes our magnetic field, without this magnetic field, we all would surely be dead, as a stream of highly charged particles hits the Earth daily, and the only thing stopping this stream from hitting the surfaces is the magnetic field which acts as a barrier. Mars is an example of a planet which has lost it’s shield.
The planets do not revolve around the sun in circles, but rather in ellipses.

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One of the most impressive things I’ve ever stumbled upon is our ability to near-perfectly calculate the trajectory for deep-space probes.

Here’s a .gif of Rosetta, which was launched on March 2nd of 2004 and it’s simply mind-boggling how precise it was when it came to gravitational assists. How do you shoot something up into space and then years later have it get just close enough to Earth to use its gravity to slingshot itself further into space? AND THEN DO IT MULTIPLE TIMES, find the comet 10 years after launch, and then, you know, LAND ON THAT ROCKY MOTHER. Space programs do NOT get enough funding…

Astronomy Picture of the Day

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Saturn’s moon Enceladus (en-sell-a-dus) has been recently found to have hot springs, a warm ocean, and hydrothermal activty on the sea floor making it one of the best candidates for life in our solar system.

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I don’t currently have anything to add but I will likely be keeping close tabs on this thread.

Fantastic idea for a thread. I love the universe and all the marvels contained therein. :slight_smile:

Very interesting thought, never really thought about it that way. Whilst I’m not usually one to say “never”, I can’t imagine time travel ever becoming a reality. There are far too many potentials for paradoxes and messing about with history.

I enjoyed the part on the big bang theory where Leonard and Sheldon agree that if they ever discover time travel they will meet back at that exact point in 5 seconds, because that actually make sense as a great way to check. I tried it myself and it looks like time travel won’t exist within my life time at any rate. :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyways, I digress…

It’s just incredible isn’t it, it’s something that’s always amazed me as well. The universe is so well-ordered and the mathematics of it are so consistent that humans can shoot a probe out into space at thousands of miles an hour, and then land it exactly where they want it (well, for the most part) on a fast moving target millions of miles away. It’s a testament both to the incredibly ordered nature of the universe and the amazing minds of the people out there calculating what makes it tick.

Also, can we get a little shoutout for our boy ‘Opportunity’ whilst we’re here?

That little Rover has some serious heart, still chugging away up there. He’s like a real-life Wall-E. :slight_smile:

This is my kind of thread, I look forward to following this closely.

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Satellites and probes have control-jets or inertial guidance systems (small wheels on x,y, z axes that move the satellite using precession) that allow them to make constant, minute adjustments to its course and speed.

I am still amazed that the Saturn-Cassini team was able to control multiple spacecraft at a remote distance of 1.2 billion kilometers. The few times I tried to fly a remote control airplane; it was far less successful; at much smaller distances.

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A scale 2d model of the solar system.

Anyone else looking forward to this summer’s arrival at Pluto by the NASA’s New Horizons probe?

I remember when it was launched in 2006. It will be thrill to finally see real pictures of the Planet (well, we called it a planet back then…) Pluto. Nine years flying at the highest speeds ever achieved by a man-made object and it will finally be there in July.

^^^ Yup. I certainly look forward to more pics. FWIW, I still call it a planet. lol