Monday, March 12, 2012

Tab Dump... In Space!

The darkness, that's what matters. That's how Adam Frank puts Dark Matter and Energy into perspective:
"Dark Matter is a form of mass (some new kind of particle) that simply does not emit light. Dark Energy is some kind of cosmos-filling field capable of doing work that is also invisible. But Dark Matter and Dark Energy are very different.
They were "discovered" in very different ways. The only connection they share is their ability to move stuff we can see around in detectable ways, while remaining resolutely in the shadows themselves.
They're the definition of mysterious. ...
Data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) shows that most of the universe is made up of Dark Energy, supplemented with some Dark Matter and a dollop of atoms.
The "dark universe" — the sum of Dark Matter and Dark Energy — is pretty much THE universe. Observations put the dark universe at about 95 percent of the total. That means our kind of matter and energy — the stuff you see, touch and experience every day — is a mere 1/20th of the cosmos."
The Universe Is In Us.

More Brian Cox:  a fascinating video in which he explains the Quantum Physics idea of interconnectivity to the common man. As Mario Popova puts it:
"Cox turns to the Pauli exclusion principle — a quantum mechanics theorem holding that no two identical particles may occupy the same quantum state simultaneously — to explain why everything is connected to everything else, an idea at once utterly mind-bending and utterly intuitive, found everywhere from the most ancient Buddhist scripts to the most cutting-edge research in biology and social science."
Check out Brain Pickings' good summary of Cox's book written with Jeff Forshaw: The Quantum Universe: Everything That Can Happen Does Happen.

Ethan Seigel paints the picture of our place in the cosmos:
In other words, you and everything you know resides on a tiny, wet rock nearly a million times less massive than the star that powers it, in a solar system one ten-millionth the diameter of our galaxy, which contains at least hundreds of billions of stars not so different from ours, in a Universe filled with hundreds of billions of galaxies, and maybe perhaps more.
Timelapse shots of the night sky from Joshua Tree National Park.

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