It’s been over 20 years since astronomers first discovered that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating thanks to dark energy. And in these decades, astronomers still don’t have much evidence for what could be causing the increased expansion rate. Maybe there’s something else going on to explain it.
The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation tells us so much about the Universe. After that era, the Universe went dark. Then, as gas pulled together into the first stars and eventually galaxies, light returned, beginning the Age of Reionization.
As astronomers look out across the Universe, they see various objects spewing jets of material light years into space. What causes these jets, and what impact do they have on the Universe.
Today, we gaze into the future of space and astronomy. What upcoming missions and events are we excited about?
It’s been a while since we checked to make sure the Universe was still expanding. Yeah, apparently, that’s still a thing. But in the last few years powerful new telescopes and expansive surveys have given us much more knowledge about what’s happening.
You might be familiar with the cosmic microwave background, but that’s just one of the background radiations astronomers look at. Some are well known and cataloged, while others are just starting to be possible to see. All of them tell us more about our Universe.
Some of the most powerful explosions in the Universe are gamma ray bursts, capable of blasting a beam of death halfway across the galaxy. In just the last few years, astronomers have discovered a tremendous amount about these blasts, and what’s actually causing them. The answer, of course, is that it’s more complicated than we thought.
I’ve got some bad news for you: stars die. At some point in the next few billion years or so, our Sun is going to start heating up, using up all the fuel in its core, and then eventually die, becoming a white dwarf. It will then slowly cool down to the background temperature of the universe, becoming a black dwarf.
You might be surprised to hear that we’ve never done an episode of Astronomy Cast featuring Betelgeuse. Well, good news, this is that episode. Let’s talk about the star, why it might be dimming, and what could happen if it explodes as a supernova.
This is our second episode in a two part series where we look at Transients in astronomy. In last week’s episode, we talked about things that change here in our own Solar System. Now we’ll talk about everything else in the Milky Way and beyond.
Astronomers have found that sometimes the Universe changes. Things move, things explode, things get brighter or dimmer. In fact, knowing this has helped astronomers discover some very important aspects of the Universe. Today we begin a two part series on Transients and their role in astronomy.
We always say the Universe is trying to kill us. But there was this one time, when the Universe used our own fear of nuclear attack against us, nearly setting off a global nuclear war. Nice try Universe, we’re on to you now.
Space is a hostile environment in so many ways. But one of its worst features is the various kinds of radiation you can find. When astronauts go back beyond the protective environment of the Earth’s magnetosphere, what are the various kinds of radiation they’ll encounter. And is there anything we’ll be able to do about it?