Our Active Cosmos

It is way too easy to dismiss the Universe as a static entity that doesn’t change as we go about our daily activities.  We catch a glimpse of the night sky from time to time, but never stop and watch it night after night as our ancestors did.  Thanks to modern technology we can compress years into seconds, and see amazing things unfold that we would have missed otherwise.

A good example of this is the supernova 1987A (which occurred in 1987) in the Large Magellanic Cloud.  In this video you can see how the shock wave has propagated through space from 1994 to 2006. This image from Hubble (below) shows in even better detail the shock wave as it heats the gas and dust that were ejected from the star thousands of years before it went nova. Shocked Region Around SN 1987A
Source: Hubblesite.org

Another video that always amazes me is one from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) that shows the stars at the center of the Milky Way orbiting around a dark common point over a period of16 years.  This common point is undoubtedly a massive black hole.  It can not be seen in the images, but by the motion of the stars, the mass of the object has been calculated to be about 4 million times the mass of our Sun.  You can read more about this in an article I did: “Stellar Motion: Do Stars Really Move?”

Our Universe is constantly changing.  We just have to slow down enough to see it.

Till next time,

RC Davison

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