Twinkle Twinkle Little Star: Do Stars Really Twinkle At Night?

Staring up above the sky, we notice a cluster of diamond twinkling in the sky. These are stars. Since childhood we know that Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, but do stars really twinkle at night is the biggest question. To be precise, some stars twinkle and some not. But what is the valid rationale behind the twinkling of stars?

Little bit more research on the subject deciphers that twinkling of stars is eventually the result of the gaseous mixture and other substances in our open atmosphere. When light from a far-away located star touches the earth, its light should be well-aligned but noticing stars from outer space or outside the earth, one would see them as a glare of light.

Stars twinkle twinkle

Image source: smartlearningforall

The lights are susceptible to bend due to air up to a nominal amount. The light will be enough to scatter its shine over a wider area. When the light swiftly moves through the atmosphere hitting several air pockets, the stars get out of shape and appear to be twinkle on top of the sky.

The Secret of the Universe

Stars are basically too far away from the living planet Earth. Actually, when the light from the stars moves towards the earth then it gets refracted many times. This process is called astronomical scintillation. However, despite being extra terrestrial bodies, the Sun and planets in our solar system don’t shine of their own. They are too close to our planet in comparison to others.

Each layer of Earth’s atmosphere involves some movement of air in various directions at various speeds and intensity. If an astronaut views towards stars from outer space then actually they won’t be twinkling anymore. That’s the very reason why astronauts and scientists work day and night with telescopes to unravel the secrets of the universe.  

The Truth is Stars Never Twinkle

In a nutshell, Stars do not really twinkle or shine at all although they might be appearing so from the surface of Earth. It is the atmosphere that makes stars twinkle at night. Astronomers find it extremely difficult zero on in a particular star because of its excessive twinkling. When the star twinkles, the images inside the telescope and other scientific equipment give blurrier images.

According to Aristotle, Stars twinkle so that people could magnify their vision of life, space and other things surrounding us. A few centuries later, scientists found that stars twinkle because they move from one side to another. However, it was only in the 18th century, when the great scientist Isaac Newton propounded the real reason behind star’s twinkle. He observed it was Earth’s atmosphere that is responsible for star’s twinkle. And literally, Twinkle, Twinkle little or big star could be a figment of our imagination only.

What New Space Scientists Have to Say on It

Lorne Whitehead, a physicist at the University of British Columbia stated, “A bright light, positioned far away, projects as a tiny point through the varying air densities of our atmosphere. Hundreds of these pockets act as lenses, refracting the light so that it moves like the light on the bottom of a swimming pool on a sunny day. The changing swells on the pool’s surface correspond to the turbulent shifting of our atmosphere”.

Twinkle stars

Image source: mocomipullzone

A few years later, John Kuehne of the University of Texas found that “Starlight is a set of light waves that travel perfectly in sync. The atmosphere puts wrinkles and crenelations into that wave front. Thus, it compels stars to appear twinkling at night from Earth, scientifically called stellar scintillation.

Tesla becomes the fastest car ever in the world

With SpaceX Starman riding Tesla Roadster into space earlier today, Tesla can be officially conferred as the fastest car in the world. After the launch of Falcon Heavy, the electric car and a dummy passenger (Starman) were placed into earth’s orbit. The images of the dummy astronaut riding the car became viral with the dummy’s right hand placed on the steering wheel and left arm on the door.

Starman riding Tesla in space

Starman riding Tesla in space Source and Credits: Spacex.com

 

Tesla in space

Tesla in space Source and Credits: Spacex.com

Though the Falcon Heavy Rocket launch failed as the middle booster of the rocket failed to land on its drone ship, the Starman’s ride on Tesla around the earth has definitely won hearts all over the world!

 

Humans Won’t Survive another 1000 Years on Earth: Stephen Hawking

Humans Won’t Survive another 1000 Years on Earth: Stephen Hawking

Image source: express.co.uk

Celebrated Scientist Stephen Hawking has doubted about the possibility of the human survival on earth in the next 1000 years. In his latest speech at Oxford Union a few months back, Professor Hawking stressed on the importance of life exploration on other planets since the resources of the earth are getting exhausted at an alarming rate. In his own words, the famous physicist said, “I don’t think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet.”

Considering the way non-renewable resources are being used up by human beings each passing day, a situation might come in future when all fossil fuel from the earth would get completely depleted. So, whatever Stephen Hawking mentioned in his latest Oxford event should be understood in its proper perspective.

The visionary scientist who wrote in the afterword section of a new book “How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Spaceflight” authored by journalist Julian Guthrie predicted that “I believe that life on earth is at an ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by possible disasters, such as a sudden nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus, or other dangers. I think the human race has no future if it doesn’t go to space.”

Stephen Hawking Gave a Deadline to Human’s Possible Extinction

Stephen Hawking, in fact, stunned the world when he categorically said that humans have just a 1000-year to find a new home in an outer space possibly in the form of a planet or exoplanet. No doubt, Stephen Hawking’s theory also gets more backing from the fact that NASA has already started exploring life in other planets and exoplanets too like the Trappist-1.

During his hour-long speech at the recent Oxford Union in November last year, Stephen Hawking asked scientists to focus more on the possibility of a life there. Hawking has also reservations about the technological innovations including the ultra-sophisticated Artificial Intelligence (AI) mechanics that is crucial to his own communication process. But Hawking suspected that development of full AI could virtually bring an end to human generation.

Hawking felt that earth’s catastrophe would be prompted by human’s urge towards using more earth’s limited resources which could virtually destroy the planet in its totality.

“We face a number of threats to our survival from nuclear war, catastrophic global warming, and genetically engineered viruses. The number is likely to increase in the future, with the development of new technologies, and new ways things can go wrong. Although the chance of a disaster to planet earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time,” Hawking said in November speech at Oxford.

According to Stephen Hawking, the rising threat of AI, climate change and nuclear terrorism is largely looming before the world as a whole in the next century. Hawking gave a deadline of 1000 years for humans to find another planet for survival before earth gets destructed and virtually mass extinction occurs.

NASA Discovers TRAPPIST-1, a System of 7 Earth-Like Exoplanets

NASA Discovers TRAPPIST-1, a System of 7 Earth-Like Exoplanets

Image Source: NASA

In its latest press conference, NASA took the entire world by surprise when the American premier space agency announced the discovery of seven earth-like planets, Trappist-1. It basically represents a system where seven planets almost the size of the planet Earth are located just outside the solar system. These planets are also called Exoplanets.

NASA astronauts have confirmed that these planets are rocky in nature with close proximity to stars. The scientists have discovered TRAPPIST-1 (Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope) are red dwarf having cooler atmosphere inside.

The TRAPPIST-1 is a series of 7 earth-sized exoplanets. All seven of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary orbits are closer to their host star. The system is located some 40-light years (235 trillion miles) away from Earth. These 7 planetary bodies are called exoplanets because of their location outside our solar system. TRAPPIST-1 planets are rocky with mountainous terrains. Scientists are now probing if there is a possibility of the presence of water or any other liquid inside TRAPPIST-1.

NASA is now set to launch its new Webb telescope next year, scientists are even more eager to use a specialized instrument for the purpose of detecting the chemical elements like water, oxygen, ozone and other substance from these exoplanets.

“The seven wonders of TRAPPIST-1 are the first Earth-size planets that have been found orbiting this kind of star,” said Michael Gillon, principal investigator at the University of Liege, Belgium.

It is for the first time the scientists have successfully found seven planets having similar structures and characteristics almost similar to earth. Surprisingly, scientists are having firm believe in the existence of water and life in these planets. However, no confirmation has come out as yet.

According to Sarah Ballard, an MIT researcher, “If one of these planets hosts life and the adjacent one doesn’t, why not?” stated Sarah Ballard. Exactly the same goes with Earth and Venus. While, Earth support life, its nearest planet Venus doesn’t.

However, it’s still too early to say whether all these exoplanets would support life. Actually, some of them release off as much UV rays that the Sun does. And this clearly means that it won’t support the life of any form. The temperature at these exoplanets is expected to be somewhere around 0 to 100 degree Celsius.

Amaury Triaud, a scientist at the University of Cambridge said, “We have made a crucial step towards finding life out there. Up to now, I don’t think we have had the right planets to find out. Now we have the right target.”

Interestingly, this discovery made it evident that the Milky Way might be a home to tens of billions of worlds. The invention of Trappist-1 and its further research will shed more light on it which the scientists until now were completely unaware of.

The Source of Fast Radio Bursts is Discovered

Image source: www.cmu.edu

In a successful observation by the group of astronauts, the source of a Fast Radio Bursts (FRB) is found. The FRB as per its nomenclature releases cosmic radio waves to the universe. These spark for milliseconds in the dwarf galaxy located around three-billion light-years away from the planet earth.

Fast Radio Bursts created headlines in 2007 for the first time after a lot of research on the subject that began in 2001. Earlier, there were doubts about the origin of FRB with many scientists were confused whether these rays originated within the galaxy or outside it.

Until now, around 18 fast radio bursts have already been found. Last year, a team of astronomers from the US and Canada made an in-depth study into the subject for 6 months to find the source of FRB 121102 (latest code given to Fast Radio Outbursts).

According to the team of astronauts who conducted the study, it was a herculean task. They had to use the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope to get a precise location of FRB 121102 in the open universe.

Shriharsh Tendulkar of McGill University led the team in Hawaii when his team was searching the source of FRB 121102. They were unclear whether it was coming from a galaxy or a star, but later on, it was found that the source of FRB was similar to star – tiniest speck of light. In the words of Tendulkar, “it’s 100 million times fainter than the faintest object visible to the naked eye.”

What does the Fast Radio Bursts Research say?

The astronomers found that FRB 121102 was located in a dwarf galaxy with stars all around. Earlier, they believed that FRBs would be found in larger galaxies but the latest research proved them wrong. It is assumed that some billions of years ago, a series of fast bright bursts of radio waves entered into the open space, and since then it kept on radiating bright lights.

Initially, FRB 121102 travelled all across the universe and until scientist noticed them properly in 2007. In 2015, around 16 flashes were observed and then again in 2016, nine more appeared. Relentless research finally disclosed that FRBs originate from the minuscule galaxy amidst little heavenly bodies. Scientists have unraveled many things about universe in the past but for more information on FRBs – we have to wait more – until more and more details about the subject are being unearthed by scientists. The subject matter of Fast radio bursts is still shrouded in mystery.

Scientists’ Tryst with Fast Radio Bursts

It was an accidental discovery. Scientist Duncan Lorimer in 2007 was searching something related to Pulsars – when he noticed the FRB that flashed occasionally into the open space. But it was brighter than pulsars. This marked the start of the minute research into FRBs.

According to Shami Chatterjee, the researcher into the subject, “This is a good place to go fishing because you’re more likely to see a fast radio burst at this spot,” says Chatterjee.

More study will be done to dig out further details of FRBs. It will help scientists to know if a bunch of FRBs has similar characteristics and physical fundamentals. Then it will make clear that why and what inside a dwarf galaxy lead to repeating of fast radio bursts?