The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Friday, October 25, 2013

It's a Big Universe

So, I am cyber-strolling through the headlines on Google News when I come across this:

      New galaxy 'most distant' yet discovered

Instantly fascinated, I decided to read the article.  You see, I am interested in this stuff. Not obsessively, mind you, I do not stalk galaxies. In fact, I have never actually seen one, just pictures of them. I did see Jupiter from a telescope in an observatory in West Palm beach (a friend/co-worker was a astronomy buff and volunteer there). I thought that was pretty cool.

For reasons I am not totally aware of, I am fascinated by the universe. Which means I watch a lot of Science channel shows like "How the Universe Works" and such. Galaxies, especially, interest me. Some galaxies create stars, others do not. Some stars are created in Nebulae which, apparently, are not galaxies but big gas clouds. Most galaxies seem to have black holes at their centers. I would guess they all do but what do I know? Our galaxy, the Milky Way, has one. That's good enough for me. Since it is the only galaxy I live in, I will take the simplistic view and assume it is typical... which it apparently isn't.

Anyway, there was something I was hoping that article would tell me... in what direction that oldest (yet) galaxy lies. They tell us how they figured out its distance, sort of... something about measuring the light and the amount of something called "redshift." We know from this that the galaxy is some 30 million light years from us here on this clump of rocks and water. I could assume that it is farther out from the universe center than we are since that is implied.

One of the things that bothers me is the description of galaxies. They are said to gather dust and gases and they spin... and this flattens them quite a bit. I have to wonder why. Why would they flatten out?  I understand centrifugal force and how it tends to create a plane around the pivot point but that's what happens on this planet where there are other forces involved (gravity, friction, and so on) but the gravity within a galaxy is primarily at the core. Perhaps it's the Dark Matter (something else I do not grasp) which is behind it.

I should have studied astrophysics...

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