View Full Version : Awesome, and/or desturctive things in the universe

09-23-2010, 04:08 PM
Okay, so I found black holes, star nurserys, great big slabs of gamma radiation, neutron stars all through youtube and the lovely BBC.
Is there anything else people more knowledgeable then me can tell me about phenomena/stuff in space. I'm looking for scary, awesome, beautiful - but most importantly amazing.
I have a kid with a time/space machine, battling fate (so not quite hard sci-fi, more science fantasy). But these things in space, to me, not only make pretty amazing scenery, they can also cause complications that can add tension/action to the plot. I also would like to introduce myself and readers to things that are truely amazing about the universe
So - anyone know much about astronomy? :)

(thanks in advance)

09-23-2010, 04:24 PM
A couple of things are novas and supernovas, and the formation of planets from a new star's planetary disk (i.e. lots of things crashing into each other and partially melting / smashing apart, eventually leaving a few big planetary bodies). Have you seen Wonders of the Solar System (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00qyxfb)? There's lots of amazing things in that, like the enormous ice fountains on Saturn's moon, Enceladus.

09-23-2010, 04:44 PM
oooh, nice. Thank you ElaraSophia. Greatly apprechiated :)

09-24-2010, 03:39 AM
Google "great attractor" It's the place where everything in our galactic neighborhood is going. Wiki (http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Attractor)describes it thus--

The Great Attractor is a gravity anomaly (http://absolutewrite.com/wiki/Gravity_anomaly) in intergalactic space (http://absolutewrite.com/wiki/Intergalactic_space) within the range of the Centaurus Supercluster (http://absolutewrite.com/wiki/Centaurus_Supercluster) that reveals the existence of a localised concentration of mass equivalent to tens of thousands of Milky Ways (http://absolutewrite.com/wiki/Milky_Way), observable by its effect on the motion of galaxies (http://absolutewrite.com/wiki/Galaxies) and their associated clusters over a region hundreds of millions of light years (http://absolutewrite.com/wiki/Light_years) across.

Also, take a look at the Wiki entry on the Andromeda Galaxy (http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda_Galaxy), which mentions its anticipated collision with our own. It's blue shifted, and approaching at
about 100 to 140 kilometres per second (62 to 87 mi/s)

It should be here in about 4.5 billion years, so don't bother to balance your checkbook--

Seems awesome to me...

09-24-2010, 10:00 AM
Thanks pdknz (what does that stand for, btw? Interesting name for sure). I'm off to google. :)

small axe
09-24-2010, 03:29 PM
I also would like to introduce myself and readers to things that are truely amazing about the universe

I don't know how you'd visualize them, but the idea of an inflationary universe (where space and somehow time themselves expand faster than the speed of light)?

Dark energy and dark matter (everything we know of, like stars and planets and people and normal matter ... is what-do-they-estimate-now? ... only 7% or so of the universe? Dark matter and energy are the great "What the #@!? Is This We Call Reality?"

The idea that Space and Time perhaps are themselves evolving into something else via dark matter and energy (see Michio Kaku) so that in the "future" Time may not be what we experience now.

Bubble/daughter universes branching off spontaneously to create entire new universes? Entire Universes full of "us" appearing from nothingness/vacuum?

I guess those are more artsy-phartsy "ideas" than any big honking Cool Thing like you're asking about though ...

Pulsars revolving like huge frenzied disco glitter balls, unleasing bizarre radiations like lighthouses as they spin ... those are kewl!

09-24-2010, 04:33 PM
I guess those are more artsy-phartsy "ideas" than any big honking Cool Thing like you're asking about though ...

Nope, nope, still sounds bloody brilliant to me. Thank you kindly small axe. the whole point of this time machine thingy is that it is a highly fantastical element, so I can explore the implications/reactions/science of absolutely anything in the universe.

All those are good ideas. Has the whole bubble/daughter universe thing much credence in scientific communities, or is seen more as speculation based upon scientific principals?

09-24-2010, 11:57 PM
It's speculation, things aren't accepted in science until they are observed experimentally.

There are these things called cosmic strings that are like black holes, but stretched out into a wire http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/everyday-myths/time-travel4.htm

Oh and gamma ray bursts are probably the most powerful event known to exist. There was a BBC doc I saw about them I saw, but I cannot find it right now.

small axe
09-25-2010, 02:49 AM
cuallito is right on insisting on the speculation vs experimentation aspect ... there was a show about string theory and its variations where one physicist smiled and said something like "Yes, it's a lovely philosophy, isn't it? Religious fervor among its adherents. I'd like it to be science, myself"

Things like bubble Universes ... how could we ever experiment with Universes in a lab setting -- "Great Scott! Quick -- get a bigger test tube, Professor Chang!":)

Which would make your novel all the more imaginative perhaps!

The new Very Impressive Hadron Collider supposedly might reveal direct evidence of other dimensions, I thought I heard, perhaps folks here can expand on that?

Certainly there are expectations of finding the Higgs boson, and that's spectacular and spooky.
Mass: there's always been far more to it than mere wine and wafers, after all! :)

09-25-2010, 04:16 AM
I thought it might be something like that. I don't normally deal with space and/or physics - I'm more of biol/chem person myself. Which generally deals with stuff you can see (the whole being able to see it part lends itself to being proven by experiment), so I was wondering if it might be any difference for physics. Because it generally (in my very limited opinion anyway) isn't about stuff that can be seen (forces ect - but you can experiment on the effect of those, I suppose)
I saw the Gamma Ray Burst on a BBC doc too - probably the same one.
Thanks thus far :)

12-12-2010, 03:11 AM
Not sure how you would work these in to your story, but I find voids pretty awe-inspiring.


01-06-2011, 12:00 AM
A book that has helped me in this regard is Dr. Phil Plait's Death from the Skies.