The Universe in Your Backyard


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“Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars - mere globs of gas atoms. I, too, can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more?” - Richard P. Feynman

We all have wondered about the origins of our universe. How did it all begin? What do we see when we look up at the night sky? What exactly is dark matter? Are there more universes out there? What about aliens?

Jaya — a student of astronomy — is on her way to discovering the answers to these questions and unravelling other mysteries of our universe. She’s here this weekend to share what she’s learnt so far with us.

Date: Saturday, January 8, 2011
Time: Presentation at 8:00 PM, followed by a discussion, dinner and some star-gazing.
Venue: Tunnel Top, Mini Matheran Resort

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The Universe in Your Backyard

  1. 1. the universe in your backyard Projector Friday with Jaya Ramchandani January 8, 2010 (Near) Mumbai
  2. 2. Today’s talk Future of the Universe Alien-where Stars and Constellations Galaxies Our Solar System Astro-talk Big Bang Theory Dark Energy Relativity Hindu Cosmology
  3. 3. tonight’s observations 8:00 PM Planet Jupiter and its moons (Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto) 10:00 PM Andromeda M31 (largest galaxy in our local cluster) Open Star Cluster Plaides 12:00 AM Orion Nebula (M47), M37, M35 2:00 – 3:00 AM Saturn 6:00 AM Venus
  4. 4. What is Light?
  5. 5. What is Light? Energy travels in waves at the speed of light (300,000 km/sec) 1 Light Year = How far light travels in one year = 9.4605284 × 1015 meters
  6. 6. Distances in cosmology Sun’s nearest brother is 4.24 light years away or 40,000,000,000,000 km away.
  7. 7. What’s in an atom?
  8. 8. The forces of nature
  9. 9. A human being is part of a whole, called by us ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. ~Albert Einstein, Founder of the Big Bang Cosmology
  10. 10. movie
  11. 11. Galactic redshift (universe is expanding) Cosmic background radiation Observation of Helium which agree with the standard Big Bang model. Evidence for big bang
  12. 12. Secret to these observations Radio Telescopes Space Telescopes
  13. 13. Composition of the current universe “Normal Matter” 4% Dark Energy 73% Dark Matter 23%
  14. 14. What is dark energy? Dark energy is a hypothetical form of energy that permeates all of space and tends to increase the rate of expansion of the universe. In the standard model of cosmology, dark energy currently accounts for 73% of the total mass-energy of the universe.
  15. 15. What is dark Matter? Dark matter is matter that is inferred to exist from gravitational effects on visible matter and background radiation, but is undetectable by emitted or scattered electromagnetic radiation.
  16. 16. Travel to the Stars? Kinetic Energy = 1/2 Mv2 What does it take to get a 1000-ton spaceship to 10% of the speed of light? (43 years to Alpha Centauri) M=106 kg, v = 3 x 107 m/sec KE = 1/2 x 106 x 9 x 1014 = 4.5 x 1020 joules Equals U.S. Energy Production for 4.5 years Once you get there, you have to stop.
  17. 17. Hindu cosmological time cycle Vedic and Puranic units of time span from the truti (microsecond) to the mahamanvantara (311.04 trillion years). Hindu theology considers the creation and destruction of the universe a cyclic process trasarenu is the combination of 6 celestial atoms. truti is the time needed to integrate 3 trasarenus, or 1/1687.5th of a second.
  18. 18. Hindu cosmological time cycle 50 years of Brahma have elapsed and we are in the first Day of the 51st year. This Brahma's day, Kalpa, is named as ShvetaVarahaKalpa. We are in the Kaliyuga of the 28th Mahayuga. This Kaliyuga began in the year 3102 BC The time elapsed since the current Brahma has taken over the task of creation can be calculated as 155.52 Trillion Years
  19. 19. What about string theory? We perceive the Universe in four dimensions: x, y, z, t But there are problems because of the conflict between general relativity and quantum theory“There can’t be a singularity at the instant of the Big Bang…”
  20. 20. What about string theory? This (and other considerations) have led to the idea of cosmic strings occupying a 10-dimensional space…
  21. 21. The Multiverse Are multiple universes possible?
  22. 22. Trillions of years: Star formation ends 10-100 trillion years: Stars stop radiating 1015 – 1020 years: Planetary orbits decay 1032 – 1041 years: Protons decay Heat Death? Big Crunch? Big Bounce? How will it all end?
  23. 23. Will you ever see an alien? Frank Drake developed Drake’s Equation N = Ns*fs-p*fp-e*fp-l*fl-i*fi-c*Tc / Tg N =#of communicative civilizations in our galaxy, right now
  24. 24. Drake’s equation Ns= number of stars in the Galaxy fs-p= fraction of stars with planets fp-e= fraction of planets that are “earthlike” fp-l = fraction of “earthlike” planets that develop life fl-i= fraction of above that develop intelligence fi-c= fraction of above that develop communication Tc = lifetime of communicative civilization Tg= age of Galaxy
  25. 25. Solving drake’s equation N ~ 10000 Say the galaxy contains ~ 10^11 stars, if N ~ 104, we would expect to have to survey ~10^7 stars before we found one ETI. Even then, ETIs will rarely co-exist at the same time. “We may really be alone…we should have a better picture in the next 50 years if we use instruments with fast survey speeds.” – My radio astronomy professor
  26. 26. Anatomy of a star A large ball of gas that is held together by gravity Formed from nuclear fusion Nuclear fusion produces tremendous energy (stars shine because of this energy) High temperature and high pressure
  27. 27. 28 a star’s life
  28. 28. Star classification
  29. 29. constellations Constellations: Recognizable patterns in the sky are called Constellations. There are 88 Constellations: Orion, Leo, Aries, Taurus, etc. 12 are based on the Zodiac. Asterisms: Recognizable patterns of stars that are not one of the constellations are called Asterisms: Big Dipper, Little Dipper, Summer Triangle
  30. 30. The zodiac The zodiac is the ring of constellations that lines the ecliptic, which is the apparent path of the Sun across the celestial sphere over the course of the year.
  31. 31. The milky way The band of light called the “Milky Way” traces the galactic plane as it appears from our location in the outskirts of the galaxy.
  32. 32. Other types of galaxies Spiral Elliptical Irregular
  33. 33. The local group
  34. 34. The local super cluster
  35. 35. Large scale structure
  36. 36. Formation of our solar system Cloud of “dust” starts to pull in and contract due to gravity Nuclear fusion starts the sun Loose rock starts to pull together to form the planets Solar system forms – about 5.5 billion years ago Earth is about 4.6 billion years old
  37. 37. Our planets
  38. 38. Interesting video clips Can a Planet Have Two Suns? Why Isn’t Pluto a Planet Any More? Why Is the Sky Blue? Why Doesn’t the Moon Fall Down? What Will Happen to the Earth When the Sun Dies? Do the Stars Really Move? Where Is the Center of the Universe? What Causes an Eclipse of the Moon? Why Does the Moon Look Like It Changes?
  39. 39. Thank You!