A post from The Daily Galaxy.
An interesting thought - distant parts of the universe may not be favorable
for our type of life, but may have lifeforms of their own. I wonder how
we'd interact if we could ever meet?
Happy Holidays to you all!!
Sent: 12/24/2012 6:36:31 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
Subj: The Daily Galaxy: News from Planet Earth & Beyond
_The Daily Galaxy: News from Planet Earth & Beyond_
_"Some Regions of the Universe are Not Favorable for Life" (Holiday
Posted: 24 Dec 2012 08:50 AM PST
"The answer may be that other regions of the _Universe_
are not quite so favorable for life as we
know it, and that the laws of physics we measure in our part of the
Universe are merely ‘local by-laws', in which case it is no particular surprise to
find life here," says John Webb of the University of New South Wales .
One of the most cherished principles in science - the constancy of physics
- may not be true, according to research carried out at the University of
New South Wales (UNSW), Swinburne University of Technology and the
University of Cambridge in 2011.
The study found that one of the four known fundamental forces,
electromagnetism - measured by the so-called fine-structure constant and denoted by
the symbol ‘alpha' - seems to vary across the Universe.
The first hints that alpha might not be constant came a decade ago when
Professor John Webb, Professor Victor Flambaum, and other colleagues at UNSW
and elsewhere, analysed observations from the Keck Observatory, in Hawaii.
Those observations were restricted to one broad area in the sky.
The research team, however, has doubled the number of observations and
measured the value of alpha in about 300 distant galaxies, all at huge
distances from Earth, and over a much wider area of the sky. The new observations
were obtained using the European Southern Observatory's ‘Very Large
Telescope' in Chile.
"The results astonished us," said Professor Webb. "In one direction - from
our location in the Universe - alpha gets gradually weaker, yet in the
opposite direction it gets gradually stronger."
"The discovery, if confirmed, has profound implications for our
understanding of space and time and violates one of the fundamental principles
underlying Einstein's General Relativity theory," Dr King added.
"Such violations are actually expected in some more modern ‘Theories of
Everything' that try to unify all the known fundamental forces," said
Professor Flambaum. "The smooth continuous change in alpha may also imply the
Universe is much larger than our observable part of it, possibly infinite."
"Another currently popular idea is that many universes exist, each having
its own set of physical laws," Dr Murphy said. "Even a slight change in the
_laws of Nature_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_law)
weren't ‘set in stone' when our Universe was born. The laws of Nature you see
may depend on your ‘space-time address' - when and where you happen to
live in the Universe."
Webb said these new findings also offer a very natural explanation for a
question that puzzled scientists for decades: why do the laws of physics
seem to be so finely-tuned for the existence of life?
The zones and regions of the observaaable Universe listed below are the
ones that astrobiologists have concluded have little or zero chance of
supporting life as we know it. The listing of "dead zones" was compliled for Rare
Earth -- Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe by University of
Washington scientists _Peter D. Ward_
paleontologist)) (Professor of Geological Sciences and Curator of
Paleontology) and Donald Brownlee (Professor of Astronomy and member of the
_National Academy of Sciences_
Early Universe: The most distant known galaxies are too young to have
enough metals for formation of Earth-size inner planets. Hazards include
energetic quasar-like activity and frequent super-nova explosions.
_Elliptical Galaxies_ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elliptical_galaxy)
Stars are too metal-poor. Solar mass stars have evolved into giants that are
too hot for life on inner planets.
Globular Clusters: Although they contain milllions of stars, the stars are
too metal poor to have inner planets as large as Earth. Solar mass stars
have evolved to gaints that are too hot for life on inner planets.
Small Galaxies: Most of the stars are too metal deficient.
Centers of Galaxies: Energetic star building and black-hole processes
prevent development of complex life.
Edges of Galaxies: Most stars are too metal poor.
Planetary Systems with "Hot Jupiters": Inward spiral of the giant planets
drives the inner planets into the central star.
Planetary Systems with _Giant Planets_
in Eccentric Orbits: Unstable environments. Some planets lost to
Future Stars: Uranium, potassium, and thorium too rare to provide
sufficent heat to drive plate tectonics.
The Daily Galaxy via Swinburne University of Technology
_"Gravity Doesn't Exist" --Is this Fundamental
Phenomenon of the Universe an Illusion?_
_The Unseen Universe
--"Billions of Undetected Galaxies" (Today's Most Popular)_
_Monster Quasar Discovered
with Power Outflow 100 Times Milky Way Galaxy_
Holes --Are They "Exit Doors from Our Universe"? (Weekend Feature)_
_ESO's "Very Large
Telescope" in Atacama Desert --Opens New Age of Discovery_
_Comment of the Day: Advanced ET Civilizations May Be Impossible to Detect
(Holiday Weekend Feature)_
Civilizations May Be Impossible to Detect (Holiday Weekend Feature)_
_"Organic Building Blocks Found
Everywhere in the Universe"_
_Swarms of Tiny Galaxies Found Bursting
with Star Creation_
_Holiday Weekend Image: A Spectacular Masar_
Posted: 24 Dec 2012 08:11 AM PST
Astronomers have come to realize that the process of star formation, once
thought to consist essentially of just the simple coalescence of material
by gravity, occurs in a complex series of stages. As the gas and dust in
giant molecular clouds comes together into stars, dramatic outflowing jets of
material develop around each, as do circumstellar disks (possibly
pre-planetary in nature). Other features are present as well: Astronomers in the
1960s were amazed to discover that these _star-forming regions_
sometimes produce natural _masers_
(masers are the bright, radio wavelength
analogs of lasers). Clouds of water vapor or _methanol_
vapor in regions of active star formation generate some of
the most spectacular masers.Although associated with the complex activity
of star formation, the role of masers in the building of a _new star_
is thought to be minor (although it is not
understood). However masers, because they are so bright, provide valuable
diagnostic probes of the regions where star formation is underway. Exactly
what they reveal is less clear, but many astronomers have thought that
methanol masers can signal the very earliest stages of star formation, perhaps
less than about ten thousand years old.
One of the key questions masers can possibly help resolve is how stars
more massive than the Sun form. Understanding the birth of such massive stars
is essential not only in its own right, but also because these stars end up
as supernovae which enrich the cosmos with elements essential to life. The
birth of massive stars is, however, notoriously tricky to understand
because their larger masses prompt the young star to mature very quickly, in
less than about one hundred thousand years and much faster than lower-mass
stars. As a result, many growth stages are blurred together.
are thought to offer a way
to probe these earliest times of star formation. SAO astronomers Claudia
Cyganowski and Qizhou Zhang, with five colleagues, used the Submillmeter Array
(SMA) to study regions of massive star formation identified in infrared
images as having outflows typical of massive young stars. The SMA was able to
identify all of the protostellar cores from their millimeter dust
emission. They found one such protocluster of young stars that also contained a
variety of types of methanol masers, enabling a comparative study of masers
and star- formation activity.
Writing in the latest issue of the Astrophysical Journal Letters, the
scientists report finding that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, methanol
masers thought to be associated with very young stages of star formation are
found occurring with more evolved embryos. The new results show for the
first time that the mechanisms at work to make these methanol masers, shocks
for example, are found in a much wider range of situations than previously
suspected. The new results are not atypical of progress in astronomy.
The Daily Galaxy via Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Related
Inside a Bubble in the Interstellar Medium" -- NASA Astronomers (Weekend
_Starless Galaxies Found at the Very
Limits of the Universe_
_Weekend Image: Gigantic Loop of
Black Holes and Neutron Stars_
_Spectacular Hypergiant Star
Found Passing Through "Forbidden Zone"_
_Image of the Day --Blue Dwarf Galaxy
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