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First Galaxies Fast and Compact

The old picture: after the big bang, matter is diffuse.  Out of the darkness, stars slowly begin to form, as the first galaxies take shape.  Galaxies start out large and slowly grow more dense and structured over billions of years.  The new picture: the first galaxies are very compact and dense, spinning rapidly, with stars […]

Hubble Snaps Colliding Galaxies

A new catalog of colliding galaxy images has been released by the Hubble Space Science Institute.  The 59 images show “close encounters that sometimes end in grand mergers and overflowing sites of new star birth as the colliding galaxies morph into wondrous new shapes.”  The release coincided with the 18th anniversary of the Hubble Space […]

Findings vs Surmisings in Astronomy

The Galex satellite (Galaxy Evolution Explorer) found “bright features” with an ultraviolet glow in the outskirts of a spiral galaxy, reported the BBC News.  What are they?  Scientists “think” they are large clusters of stars.  How much is known, and how much is interpreted?     The region imaged is the dark area around spiral […]

Astrobiology Justifying Itself

Is astrobiology a legitimate science?  Seth Shostak, director of the SETI Institute, tried to answer that question in the weekly SETI Thursday column on Space.com.  He estimates there are “approximately a thousand scientists who would be proud to print ‘astrobiologist’ on their business cards.”  Astrobiology still gets a cool reception in some quarters.  Shostak likened […]

How to Avoid Dark Energy

Who needs dark energy?  Copernicus?  George Ellis (U. of Cape Town) said we could get rid of dark energy by throwing the Copernican Principle overboard.  Writing in Nature,1 he said that dark energy may simply be an artifact of the geometry of space-time.     Copernicus did not invent the Copernican Principle.  He was just […]

Is Cosmology Getting Wimp-y?

Physics and astronomy are usually thought of as the “hard” sciences, where empiricism is king.  Read the following excerpts from a story on the BBC News science page with that in mind (suggestion: replace “dark matter” with “mysterious unknown stuff”). The first stars to appear in the Universe may have been powered by dark matter, […]

Distant Galaxy Surprises Astronomers

Using the Hubble Space Telescope viewing a distant galaxy cluster as a gravitational lens, astronomers detected a new record-holder: a galaxy bright with stars almost as old as the big bang.  The story on Science Daily called this a galaxy, with redshift 7.6, a “strong contender for the galaxy distance record.”     According to […]

Zatta Fact?  “Scientific Facts” Evolve

Every once in awhile it is good to be reminded that “scientific facts” are in a constant state of revision.  Here are some recent examples of scientists with surprised looks on their faces: Cholesterol for health:  Surprise, says EurekAlert: cholesterol may actually pose health benefits.  “… don’t push aside bacon and eggs just yet,” it […]

The Stars That Shouldn’t Exist

Theories in astronomy are fun to model on paper with equations, but once in awhile they need to stand up to observations.  Phil Berardelli wrote for Science Now: It seems as though every time astronomers point their telescopes at the night sky, some weird new finding forces them to revamp their theories.  And so it […]

Dust Became Knowledge

The Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week award goes to an Associated Press article reporting on a finding from the Spitzer Space Telescope.  It began in a very matter-of-fact manner, claiming that the one of the biggest questions of philosophy is being answered by dust.   Astronomers have taken a baby step in trying to […]

Dark Matter Sheds Light on Invisible Stars: Come Again?

Can one unknown shed light on another unknown?  That’s what some UK astronomers seem to be saying.  Before describing their model, consider this conundrum with which they ended a story in the BBC News: “We don’t know what the dark matter is, we don’t know what the first stars are.  If we bring these two […]

“We have no idea why these galaxies grew so large so soon”

Five full-sized galaxies have been detected at the edge of the visible universe, reported Science Now.  This continues a trend over the last few years where astronomers have been detecting old objects at young ages (e.g., 07/25/2007, 09/24/2006, 08/18/2006, 03/31/2006).   “The galaxies, which are forming stars very rapidly, are big for their age, meaning […]

Four Evidences of Cosmic Youth

Astronomers and planetary scientists routinely talk in millions and billions of years.  Three recent science news reports raise questions about how to fit apparently young objects into a vast timeline.  Lunar burps:  The moon is passing gas, reported Science News).  This explains the long history of observations of lunar transients, or bright flashes observed from […]

Stars Found Almost as Old as Universe

A new record was set by a Caltech team using the Keck telescopes on Hawaii: they detected a galaxy nearly as old as the universe.  The consensus age for the universe is 13.6 billion years.  The light from this galaxy, they claim, is over 13 billion years old – “a mere 500 million years after […]

Lord Kelvin’s Core Values Defended

Myth: Lord Kelvin held back the progress of geology for 100 years by insisting the Earth was younger than geologists and evolutionists believed. Myth debunked here.
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