segunda-feira, 15 de agosto de 2011

A journey to the edge of the Universe

Earth floating in Space
We live in a joyful blue planet full of life floating in space (although we often don't appreciate it destroying beautiful ecossistems in order to create a powerful economy, under the yoke of this capitalism standard economy: it's implied the creation of financial and moneatry wealth without taking into account our devastating effect on the real wealth of the world: life, water, forests, nature...)
The truth is that I think the world is ugly, it could be better but never perfect, sometimes I feel everything here is so filthy that sometimes I'm disgusted of living, sometimes I care too much about my problems and the humanity decadence state but then I wonder if this is really the Real thing, so I look at the sky and then I understand how insignificant I am for the Universe and how insignificant we are for the Universe too, and to be honest I feel so much better when I realize that. This is my scape from all the troubles I find and it's where usually my mind lies when my eyes vacant and stray, you can completely lose your mind making a journey to the edge of Universe.

(Source: DVD, National Geographic, A journey to the limits of Universe)

The Universe is so big we think it might be infinite so, there must be more mature and developed solar systems out there but find them is like trying to find a needle in a cosmic haystack.
20 light-years from Earth, star Gliese 581 is about the same age of our Sun and orbitating it a planet similar to Earth at just the right distance from its Sun: any closer and the water would boil away, any further and it would freeze: ideal conditions for life and if comets have stuck delievering water and organic materials, then, life, complex beings like us even civilizations like our own could be down there right now and even at this distance they can be tunning our TV shows from 20 years ago. But until future generations can find a way to communicate until this vast distances all we can do is speculate. 
Star Glise 581 and orbiting it a planet similar to Earth

Us and them living parallel lives unaware of each other’s existence..unless life has been and gone, and that’s the problem with commets they’re creaters and destroyers as the dinosaurs found out the hardest way 60 millionyears ago…and this is the needle in the cosmic haystack.
This is the closest we have been to a solar system like our own, but it’s a chance encounter, there could be hundreds, thousands, millions of solar systems like our own..or none at all!
100 light-years from Earth, twin stars it’s Algol, the demon star, feared since ancient times in account of its sinister behavior : from Earth it appears to blink as it’s one star passing in front of the other  up close it’s even stranger: one star  has been stuck into the gravitational pull of the other it’s been sucked towards it. One of the first ever radio broadscoasts we listen just a faint whisper…and then silence . From here and out is like Earth have never existed, any aliens living beyond here will never know about our existence.
Algol, the demon star
Deep inside our galaxy: the Milky Way, a vast celestial library each star like a book that has a story to tell, it’s all here waiting for us to lift the cover.
Betelgeuse is the biggest and brightest star we’ve seen so far, it must be at least 600 times bigger tab our Sun.
Betelgeuse star

1 300 light years from earth, Orion's dark cloud it's a vast star factory, we've witnessed the birth of stars and the sculpture of Universe. This makes us realize that Nature is more than a scientist it is an artist on the grandest of scales. This giant horse is a masterpiece.
Stars being born, grow up and then, what? do they die? Do they slip in the night or go out with a bang?
Somewhere between here and the edge of Universe lies the answer.
Nearly 4 thousand years further, luminous clouds suspended in space encircling what was once a star like our Sun, all that is left of this is bright stellar coloured gases, elements formed by nuclear fusions deep inside the star released into space on its death : green and violet: hydrogen and helium (raw materials of Universe) , red and blue: nitrogen and oxygen, the building blocks of life on Earth.
For us to live stars like this had to die: the oxygen in our lungs, the nitrogen in our DNA it was all  produced by nuclear fusion in stars that died long before the Earth was even born.
We are stellar nuclear waste, our family tree begins here.

There's a ghost of star, it’s a white dwarf: white, hot, small but unbelievabley dense: in the stars dying moments it’s atoms fused and squeeze together that only a tea spoon would weight 1 ton!
It’s a chilling premonition of our Sun’s fate: 6 billion years from now our Sun will become a white dwarf, it makes you wonder how many more worlds have been and gone: stories untold, celestial books lost forever.

The crab nebula is 6 thousand light years from home and deep inside there's a stellar graveyard: a supernova.

In the eye of the storm a spinning pulsating star, gravity must have squeezed to this the giant star it’s just 20 km across and unimaginable dense: a Pulsar.

A black hole is what remains of a giant star that instead of contracting to a white dwarf or a pulsar it just kept on going shrinking until it’s only a few km across, if we come too close there’s no way turning back.
It’s called black hole because its gravity is so intense that not even light can escape, inside there’se no matter as we know it, there’s no time, there’s no space, all the rules of physics collaps. All that is sucked towards it disappears and nobody knows where it goes…we're looking at the limit of human comprehension. There could be millions of black holes creeping around in our galaxy, perhaps even more than all stars in the sky…but we wouldn’t see that until it’s too late.
Who’s to say we don’t live inside a vast black hole? That all the Universe is in inside one right now, inside of other Universe…think about it for too long and your mind really gets stunned.

Sometimes it seems that the more we see the less we know.
And we still on our own galaxy! How do we find a way out of here? We're 7 thousand light years from home we still deep inside of it!

Somehow we’ve stumbled into the most violent star death imagineable: an hipernova. When a star this big dies it’s a hundred times more violent than a supernova, it’s about to become a black hole :letal radiation is released outwards and the shock wave is ripping its outer layers into space. All that letal radiation is enough to have a catastrophic effect on any unlucky planet nearby.

  When hundreds os species were wiped out the Earth 450 million years ago the culprit may have been one of these: deadly hipernovas, frozen comets, incandescent planets, white dwarfs, red giants...

So, we wanted to know where we fit in, here’s the answer: civilizations past and present, everyone that ever lived, the smallest bug, the highest mountain…all of it: Invisible! Not even a tiny speck, our home is a minor planet orbiting an insignificant star, if all disappear right now who or what would even notice? And yet, so far, we found nowhere else we would rather live ,nowhere we could live.

Do you have any idea of how many stars existi n the Universe? They’re uncountable! All the mathematics probabilities tolds us that for sure that must be at least one in the vast millions of stars floating around space capable to support life!
Maybe in the swarm  of stars of the Hercules cluster. In the 70’s astrologers sent a message towards this direction with our detailed DNA structure and our solar system location…but it’s so far from home that the message went to ride at least for another 25 thousand years!!!

We haven’t found allien life yet, nevertheless we haven’t found no reason to believe it doesn’t exist or existed somewhere out in space.
There is an equation deviced to estimate the number of other advanced civilizations, crunch the numbers and the result is astonishing…there could be millions of civilizations just in our own galaxy!

Leaving Milky Way and entering in the intergalactic space there’s no horizon in sight even the closest galaxies are millions of light years away. The remains of galaxies ripped apart by the Milky Way’s gravitational pull scatter through…nothing!
All across the Universe there are thin traces of dust and gas and something else: dark matter, the whole Universe is full of it.

 Dark matter is so mysterious that we can’t feel it, touch it, taste it,measure it…yet so commun it could make upon 90% of all matter in the Universe. If dark matter does exist it means there is no such thing as empty space.
We know there is matter in space because of its strange hold  in galaxies as the Large Magalhães Cloud, 6 thousand million light years from the Milky Way Galaxy. Even travelling in the actual faster space ship. At the edge of its gravitational reach, this galaxy should spin off into space but something is holding it here, something invisible and powerfull…dark matter.

A fireball expanding out from what must have been a massive explosion: a supernova, so bright that when light reached the Earth in 1987 it was visible with a naked eye, and so violent it trigger a serial nuclear reactions forcing atoms together and creating new elements: gold, silver, platine blasting them out into space.     

The gold we have in our jewels, coins, notes, banks and mines was forged in a massive supernova like this trillions of km away, thousands of years ago.
The Andromeda Galaxy, two and a half million of years away it’s moving through space at least a million km/h!!!

Everything that’s moving in space is moving apart fragments in an explosion and today we can still looking at Andromeda and see it like our ancient ancestors could see millions of years ago!

As long as we go further through space we go further back in time…this doesn’t seem normal, isn't it? But that's the way it goes!

We're seeing a whole galaxy exploding: the only thing sufficiently large to make an explosion at this scale has to be another galaxy. But this galaxy won’t die, it will reborn with a new shape, perhaps creating even new stars  as dust and gas collide creating friction, shock waves triggering  the birth of other stars.
But there is order in this chaos, a pattern behind an infinite variety endless cicle of birth and death, creation and destruction. It is a pattern constructed through the vast tissue of Space that binds each one of these galaxies. There are billions of galaxies in the Universe each one with billions, even trillions of stars…maybe even more stars that all the sand grains in all the beaches on Earth! And we’re talking about only just the stars that exist now. What about all  that stars that have been gone? All the stars that were born or will born?
We’re finnally seeing the big picture and it’s even more magnificent than we could ever imagine!

The huge Pinwheel galaxy is so distant from Earth that sending a message for home now will take 27 million years to get there. Who knows wether our specie and our planet will still around to receive it? Most likely not!

2 billion years from home  reaching the edge of the Universe and closer to the beginning of time, we’re travelling on back through time. We passed the point where dinosaurs were whipped out and even passed the moment where the first creatures climbed onto land.
Now we’re looking at a quasar, the most powerful and deadliest thing in the Universe: a swirlling cauldron of super hot gas boiling, brightest than hundreds of galaxies, the source of this awesome power lies deep inside of a Supermassive Black Hole as heavy as a billion suns it’s ripping apart all the stars, sucking their gases, devouring them…until they’re nothing, lost forever.

8 billion light years from home we’re so far  back in time that now we can see galaxies like they were even before Earth was even born, they still young and growing, we’re getting close from where and when it all began, 12 billions of years ago the galaxies look like a primitive plancton floating in a vast dark ocean…it’s so magical: clouds of dust and gas dancing and creating a shape, creating embrionary galaxies.
The further we go back in space, the further we go back in time, now all the galaxies disappeared and we reached  the cosmic age of darkness and even before that: light, a huge explosion: the explosion that created the Universe. We made it, we reached the Edge of the Universe, 130 billions of trillions of km from home and 13 billions and half of years ago we reached the most violent and most creative moment of History, everything that ever happened follows from this moment: The Big Bang.

Every religions, every cultures pondered it, but we still don’t not know what sparked this act of creation or why…this is where our journey ends and the Universe begins: an infinite hot, small and dense point erupts creating space, time and matter…the Universe itself. First, it is the size of a sub-atomic particle, the tiniest fraction of a second later is big enough to hold in the palm of your hand, moments later it´s the size of the Earth.
Today the lights of Big Bang is still spreading out  as a hiss of radio static, your TV anthem picks it up, you can see it as the static on an untuned TV.

We go on forwards through with the blast of the shock wave.
Everything we see in our jouney through space are sparkles of the Big Bang. 
In the future, 3 billions of years from now on, the vast Andromeda galaxy smashes into our own, The Milky Way, and a new galaxy has borned: the Sun and its planets survive but they’re being throwing into a huge looping orbit around the new galaxy and the Sun has becoming a red giant swalling Mercury and Venus burning the Earth’s surface and destroying all the life on Earth (if it still existing by that time), then the Sun dies shrinking  to a white dwarf.

More stars dying too in the galaxie, they’re being replaced by white dwarfs, pulsars, black holes…the lights are going down on the galaxie.
Since the Big Bang the Universe has been fading, dying, not with a bang but with a long drown out whimper.
But there could be a way out, an escape route from of our dying Universe if  only our distant descendendts find a shortcut between space and time: a wormhole. If there are another Universes we could get out of our condemned Universe to a parallel Universe.

After all this, don't you feel insignificant? If so, does that makes you feel better or worse?
I feel definitely better.
But after all this should we still thinking we're the only inteligence form in the Universe? Maybe it's just too much swagger think that!

And the Universe really tends to the chaos like Stephen Boltzman said (entropic view) or  is it exotropic tending to harmony obeying to our thoughts? (Well I've read about exotropic minds in books like the secret, the power and self-help books).
Mystery, mystery is what it is all made about.
When the world gets unbearable awful, sometimes the only scape is seeing behiond it!
Humanity is stucked in their own stupidity and self inflicted pain, but the Universe doesn't really care about it, we're less than a second in the Earth's history, we're even less for the Universe history. No problem or damage is really importante after all. 

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