101 Fun Facts on Astronomy by Kevin Manning

By Kevin Manning

Astronomy is the main fascinating and enjoyable subject within the universe. after all, i'm a piece biased, yet don't you settle? utilizing a telescope to determine the invisible and glance some distance again in time, exploring the universe to benefit approximately meteors, the Moon, comets, asteroids, superstar clusters, nebulae and galaxies, and attempting to comprehend the position of black holes, darkish topic, and darkish strength, are all coated during this stress-free textual content.

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Some cosmologists like to compare the universe to a three-Â�dimensional entity on the surface of a four-Â�dimensional balloon. 46 L IFE IN S PACE If you have trouble with this concept, you’re not alone: if the universe is expanding, then what is it expanding into? There are hundreds of questions that this metaphor leaves unanswered. What is the fourth dimension? What is the substance of the balloon? How do we think about the space inside the balloon? How about the space outside the balloon? Are we€growing into something?

So we should expect to see traces of that original furnace in the night sky, and indeed we do. Background radiation, spe�cifi�cally the presence of microwaves, demonstrates the remains of an initial firestorm that included ev�ery�thing. 16 The data from WMAP show evidence of very small irregularities in the earliest visible universe. As matter in the denser areas condensed, these irregularities probably allowed for the formation of stars and galaxies. Uniformity applies with regard to space for as far and as long as we can collect data.

This realization has to do with the second law of thermodynamics, which I mentioned briefly in the last chapter. Entropy can only increase or stay the same. In the vernacular of science, entropy mea�sures the amount of order or usable energy in a system. Any closed system will either maintain its or�ga�ni�za�tion or lose or�ga�ni�za�tion with time. This section goes into a little more detail about how entropy works and what it tells us about time symmetry in the cosmos. Let us return to our thought experiment in Chapter 3 about the deck of cards.

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