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Ever watch a whirlpool? How about water going down a drain or even a I Love Skateboarding, Enjoy Wear Cool Skateboard Street Raglan Baseball Tee of cream swirled into your coffee? It sometimes looks like a spiral galaxy. And we once thought gravity was holding a galaxy together. If you watch a whirlpool carefully you will notice the outside orbits the center slowly and the closer to the middle you are the faster it spins. But this was a bit of a problem for galaxies because this would make the arms of the galaxy wind up tight. They would not last for millions of years. Earlier in the century, before computers, astronomer would hire dozens of women who were good at math to do calculations for them. One of them made an important discovery: the speed of the stars in the outer arms was way faster than it should be. The galaxy was spinning like a solid LP record album! According to the laws of gravity, which we know quite well, it shouldn’t behave like this…unless there was WAY more mass than we could see. And the issue of *dark matter* was born. Yes, there would be a lot of dust and gas and planets and small stars we couldn’t see. But all that is still not enough for the behavior we observe. It is a mystery we are still working on!

A I Love Skateboarding, Enjoy Wear Cool Skateboard Street Raglan Baseball Tee – though somewhat indirect and subtle – method used for stars that do not fit into these categories (which is the majority of them, at least in our own galaxy) is as follows: First deduce the likely temperature and size of the star from its dominant colour and the atomic spectra present in its light (temperature is related to colour, and different chemical elements are produced under different conditions of temperature and pressure, which in turn depend on the mass and age of a star). From these we can work out the likely luminosity. From the luminosity we can deduce the stars absolute magnitude [1] (i.e. how bright it would appear at a standard, fixed distance of 10 parsecs from us). Comparing this with the star’s apparent (i.e observed) magnitude, we can then calculate it’s actual distance from us. To me, this method of deducing a star’s distance from us merely by studying its light, and then doing a few calculations based on thermodynamics, nuclear physics, atomic physics and stellar dynamics, represents one of the most beautiful examples of the power of human ingenuity and careful, deductive reasoning in the history of science.

 

I Love Skateboarding, Enjoy Wear Cool Skateboard Street Raglan Baseball Tee

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The majority of I Don’t Chase Boys I Pin Them Wrestling teen girls Women T Shirt in the Milky Way, around 80%, are red dwarfs, small stars between about half the size of our sun and 10% the size of our sun. That still leaves between 40–80 billion stars much like the sun. If one in five of those has an Earth-like planet, that means there may be between eight and sixteen billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way. Of course these numbers may be off. The number of sun-like stars may be lower, or higher. The number of Earth-like planets may be more, or less. We just can’t know, so far. Further, there is no reason to assume that only stars like our sun will have planets capable of supporting life. Or that only a planet will support life. There may be intelligent life on a large moon of a gas giant exoplanet in the “Goldilocks zone” of a red dwarf. There is also no way to know how typical the Sol system is with it’s eight planets, half of which are ice or gas giants, and half of which are small rocky planets like Earth. Most of the exoplanets we know about are gas giants like Jupiter, just because they are easier to detect. Remember, we haven’t actually “seen” any exoplanets. We only know they are there by the way their gravity affects their home stars, causing a wobble, or they are aligned with Earth such that the transit of the planet between Earth and its star causes the star to flicker. Small, rocky planets like Earth are just harder to find. So there may be lots of them, or not. We just don’t know, yet.
So, are there lots of I Don’t Chase Boys I Pin Them Wrestling teen girls Women T Shirt systems like our own? We don’t know. Are systems like ours the only place life, especially intelligent life, can develop? We don’t know. Unfortunately, this area of science is still in the tedious process of collecting sufficient data to make reliable predictions. We know for certain there are exoplanets out there, and there are LOTS of them. The chance that some of them are like Earth is very high. The chance of finding lots of star systems similar to our own is also pretty high; there is no reason to assume we are unique. As our techniques for finding exoplanets get better, as we build better telescopes and better ways of interpreting the data they deliver, we will almost certainly find star systems very like our own. It will just take time. 

 

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