By Mark Kidger
The universe is gigantic. rather huge. And it will get greater on a daily basis. In Cosmological Enigmas, Mark Kidger weaves jointly heritage, technological know-how, and technological know-how fiction to think about questions about the bigness of house and the unusual items that lie trembling on the fringe of infinity. What are quasars, blazars, and gamma-ray bursters? might we ever commute to the celebrities? will we rather anticipate extraterrestrial beings to touch us? From the profound (what proof can we need to aid the massive bang theory?) to the unusual (can there be multiple universe and, if that is so, what number dimensions does it possess?) to the everyday-yet-profound (why is the sky darkish at night?), Kidger explains not just what we all know yet how we got here to grasp it. Reflecting on how stars shine and what could lie past the sting of the universe, Kidger takes us at the final cosmic trip. (October 2008)
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Extra info for Cosmological Enigmas: Pulsars, Quasars, and Other Deep-Space Questions
29 The first discovery was that of pulsars. In September 1967 a young graduate student at Cambridge University, Jocelyn Bell, became aware that a little patch of unusual noise or “scruﬀ” kept reappearing in the 30 meters of paper chart that the radio telescope she was controlling produced every single day. The noise seemed to come from the same part of the sky each time it appeared in the paper trace. By October, it seemed time to investigate the mysterious object further and make a high-speed recording of its signals.
7 Astronomers realized rapidly that when they observed OJ287, life was rarely boring. By the mid-1970s astronomers knew that OJ287 and several similar objects belonged to a new class of beast in the cosmic zoo. These objects showed extreme behavior: rapid and violent variations occurred in all ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum; their spectra were featureless or nearly featureless; and, most surprisingly, their light was strongly polarized. 8 The name comes from BL Lac quasar, but also neatly describes their unusual ability to blaze out suddenly with huge increases in brightness.
Bigger and Better Black Holes Even before there was definitive proof of the existence of black holes in our own Galaxy, astronomers speculated about the existence of giant black holes in other galaxies. In 1969 the British astronomer Donald Lynden-Bell wrote an article for the journal Nature in which he really set the bases of the theory that quasars were galaxies with a giant black hole in the center. This central black hole was swallowing material from the galaxy and producing enormous quantities of energy in the process.
Cosmological Enigmas: Pulsars, Quasars, and Other Deep-Space Questions by Mark Kidger