For The Love Of Physics

I love Physics...which in turn just adds to my love and understanding of Astronomy and Cosmology. Astronomy is beautiful...it is breathtaking...and on a daily basis it baffles the brightest minds in the entire world as they try to uncover a greater understanding of the Universe. Astronomy is so much more than what you see when you look up at the night sky. An estimated 220 billion galaxies in our visible universe...each with 100-200+billion stars. At present more and more evidence is pointing towards the possibility that nearly every star has a planetary system orbiting it. This lights off an explosion in my imagination as to what could be out there in our galaxy and the rest of the visible Universe. It makes me wonder, among many other things, every single night when I go outside to look up...is there anyone looking back? There is one piece of information regarding Astronomy that disappoints me every time I think about it...and that is the unimaginably vast distances between stars. We haven't even begun to explore our solar system on the grand scale because the celestial objects contained within it too are separated by extreme distances. So it will likely be a few thousand years if not longer before we can even entertain the idea of probing even our nearest neighboring stars. If my memory serves me correctly...with our feeble jet propulsion technology it would take about 75,000 years to reach Alpha or Proxima Centauri at 4.2 light years distant, a stones throw in astronomical terms. Another example...the Voyager 1 probe left Earth in 1976, it is the fastest man made object shuffling along at about 38,000 miles per hour...and yet it is only 14 light hours away from Earth. There is one promising new propulsion technology in the works as we speak. It is the product of a very smart former Astronaut named Chang Diaz. The engine is called the Vasimir engine. It is an acronym for something, which I do not know. The basic principle is it is powered by electricity...which would in turn be nuclear generated were it on a spacecraft, it ejects plasma through it's nozzle to create propulsion. How it works is beyond my understanding. It could slowly accelerate a craft to 123,000 mph...and beings that it is not powered by traditional fuel, the craft could turn around and come back home mid-mission if it had to. It's pretty cool stuff...could send a manned craft to Mars in just 39 days. Astronomy is such a broadened study...propulsion technology, spectrography, optics, electro-magnetic field analysis, astrophysics, astrobiology, astrochemistry, astrogeology...just to name a few of the studies within Astronomy that have greatly aided our understanding our universe. Now...if someone were able to create a unified field theory combining Einstien's theory of gravity along with Quantum Theory...our understanding of the universe would be expanded to an unprecedented level. The current front runner is String Theory, or Super-String Theory...which allows for 10 dimensions of space and 1 dimension of time. I checked out a book titled String Theory Demystified...and in all of my accumulated knowledge of Physics, I didn't understand anything more than the page numbers. To end my long entry, I would like to give you all some recommended reading: Physics Demystified, For The Love of Physics - by Walter Lewin, it is an outstanding and entertaining book even for people who don't like to read about science, Mad About Physics, Physics of The Impossible by Michio Kaku, Hyperspace (which i am currently reading) by Michio Kaku, and 14 Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution by Neil Degrasse Tyson. If anyone has and physics or astronomy related questions I would love to try and answer them if my knowledge permits :-)
MusiciansHeart MusiciansHeart
22-25, M
1 Response Dec 9, 2012

http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~pogge/Lectures/vistas97.html

That's a more updated lecture on what scientists predict will be the fate of the sun and our solar system. They predict the sun will go through two separate red giant phases but won't actually consume the Earth and Venus because the sun will shed mass during these phases and the orbits of the planets will move out as a result.