galactic corpses

8 November 2014

At … we learn there is a mystery at the heart of our galaxy, the Milky Way. It has lots of gas, dust, and a huge black hole three million times the size of our Sun, but it has no pulsars – the corpses of dead stars. It is thought a lot of pulsars should exist at the galactic centre as stars form, thrive, and die – much like us. Eyes are being drawn towards the black hole – has it been munching on pulsars?

Pulsars are rapidly spinning corpse stars according to the jargon, a mainstream view that may have to be modified. An article in Physical Review Letters seeks to establish why the Milky Way is short of desert (the pulsars). The finger is pointed at an imbalance in dark energy. As you can't see it, smell it, or prove it exists, it is a convenient toilet for any idea that comes to mind.

At … we learn that physicists have spent almost 30 years searching for evidence that dark matter consists of certain exotic particles – to no avail. Dark matter is unseen but physicists think it makes up a quarter of the universe. A new theory has been aired and it is suggested that instead of WIMPS (weakly interacting low mass particles), the flavour of the month just a few days ago, we have the idea of the virtual opposite – macroscopic objects that can be as big as an asteroid.

At … we learn that a new satellite, dubbed with the name Gaia, may go on to discover tens of thousands of planets durings its 5 years of shelf life. Another objective of the mission is to establish the distance from Earth to various stars using high precision  triangulation. The outcome will be interesting.

At … a CME explosion from the Sun ionised the upper layer of the Earth's atmsophere and as a result there are lots of auroral phenomena within the Arctic Circle. They are formed when the solar wind presses against the Earth's magnetic field.

Skip to content