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Is the Universe Expanding at an Accelerated Rate?

by Dr. Amira Val Baker, Resonance Science Foundation Astrophysicist

A new study challenges the cosmological model and suggests that the universe is not expanding at an accelerated rate.

The standard model of cosmology assumes that the universe is isotropic with no preferred direction and no preferred frame of reference; that is, we are not special and our position in the universe is not from a privileged vantage point. Within this framework, observational data led us to the conclusion that 70% of the universe is expanding at an accelerated rate, and this accelerating force is due to an unknown form of energy known as ‘dark energy’. This so-called ‘dark energy’ is now thought to be due to quantum fluctuations of the vacuum energy.

However, a new study by a team of European scientists explored these ideas further. They wanted to see what would happen when they measure the deceleration parameter – the measurement of cosmic acceleration – from our...

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Was a Star Ejected from Our Central Black Hole?

by Dr. Amira Val Baker, Resonance Science Foundation Astrophysicist

Generally thought to be the point of no return, our very own black hole seems to have ejected a star at hyper velocity.

In something known as the Hills mechanism – which occurs in binary star systems when they are disrupted by a super massive black hole – the stars are pulled apart and left to continue on their separate journeys. The closest star is pulled into an orbit around the black hole while the other is ejected at extremely high velocity. However, although this was proposed in 1988 by astronomer Jack Hills, it has never been confirmed.

Now, a worldwide team of scientists led by Ting Li have observed what they believe to be the first example of such a mechanism.

The team utilised data from the 3.9 metre Anglo-Australian Telescope as part of the Southern Stellar Stream Spectroscopic Survey – a survey that aims to map the kinematics and chemistry of long, dense regions of stars, known as...

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Could the Information Paradox Finally Be Resolved?

by Dr. Amira Val Baker, Resonance Science Foundation Astrophysicist

The information paradox may finally be resolved with the help of the holographic theory – but this time on a fractal scale.

Ever since Hawking predicted the thermal emission of black holes and their subsequent evaporation, the question arose as to where this information goes. In the context of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics – which states that the information about a system is entirely encoded in its wave function – information is always conserved. Thus, any loss in information, like that predicted by Hawking and his evaporating black holes, would violate quantum theory. This problem is known as the information paradox.

To resolve this paradox, physicists have been actively looking for a mechanism to explain how the information of the infalling particles re-emerges in the outgoing radiation. To begin, they need to determine the entropy of the Hawking radiation.

Assuming the...

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Ancient Light Suggests Universe Could Loop Back on Itself!

 Image: The cosmic microwave background as seen by the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite. Credit: ESA and the Planck Collaboration

By Dr. Inés Urdaneta / Physicist at Resonance Science Foundation

The photo above is quite common among astronomers and astrophysicists. It depicts what is known as the cosmic microwave background (CMB), the very ancient light coming from the beginnings of our universe. It is supposed to be the leftovers of the grand explosion birthing our Universe, called the Big Bang.

When analyzing the expansion of the universe, astrophysicists imagined that the expansion could be rewinded, just like a film, and that this backward movement would show the collapse into a singularity. Together with the astronomical observations of the CMB radiation, they concluded that the universe had to be flat. But recent observations with better precision are showing a different picture. An anomaly in data from the best-ever measurement of the CMB is offering...

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The Far Reaches of the Cosmic Web

by Dr. Amira Val Baker, Resonance Science Foundation Research Scientist

Galaxies seem to be communicating with each other across vast distances never thought possible before, putting the cosmological principle into question again.

These gravitationally bound structures consisting of gas, dust and trillions of stars exist in the trillions. Most observed galaxies are spiral galaxies like our very own Milky Way, with others being elliptical, lenticular or irregular. The formation and evolution of a galaxy is generally revealed in galactic kinematics, particularly the rotation which is constrained by the conservation of angular momentum. Through studying the rotation of galaxies, scientists can thus infer how the galaxy was formed and how it evolved. Did it form from a rotating dust cloud? Did it evolve as a merger?

As would be expected, galactic behaviour – including its rotation – is influenced by that of its neighbours. However, in a recent report, Korean scientists Joon...

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The Expanding Universe

by Dr. Amira Val Baker, Resonance Science Foundation Research Scientist

The universe now seems to be expanding at a rate even faster than previously thought.

Since first proposed by George Lemaitre and the subsequent confirmation by Edwin Hubble’s observational studies of galactic recession velocities, the expansion of the universe has long been a topic of debate. Improved methods along with differing techniques has continuously yielded discrepancies. For example, techniques utilizing standard candles, in the form of Supernovae Type 1a, Cepheid variables or Quasars, for nearby observations of the modern universe yields higher values than those found from the distant Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) observations of the early universe.

Now a team of scientists at the University of California, Davis, have found the highest value yet, suggesting that the universe is expanding at an even greater rate than previously thought.

The team led by Geoff Chen combined new adaptive optics...

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Unexpected Dip in Gamma Rays from the Sun

by Dr. Amira Val Baker, Resonance Science Foundation Astrophysicist

The sun radiates at a range of energies from the high-energy range to the low-energy range. However, new data, spanning this broad energy range, reveals just how much we don’t know about our own star.

The gamma-rays we observe from the Sun are thought to be due to the interactions of hadronic cosmic rays with the solar atmosphere. Although gamma rays are produced in the solar interior, they are thought to leave the sun as much lower energy waves due to scattering effects. Back in 1991 David Seckel, Todor Stanev and Thomas Gaisser thus proposed that cosmic rays from outer space would be turned around or “mirrored” before entering the sun, thus emerging as a faint glow of gamma-rays. However, the underlying mechanism responsible for the production of these gamma rays is not fully understood – all that is known is that its efficiency must be enhanced by magnetic field interactions. Read more ...

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Black Holes… Black Suns?

By Dr. Inés Urdaneta / Physicist at Resonance Science Foundation

Image from ESA

Stars were thought to be the principal and most important component for life to thrive… till now. Researchers from Harvard university explain that radiation coming from Black holes could do the same!

Habitable zones in outer space have been defined with respect to stars (suns), as regions where the stars radiation and energy are suitable for emergence of life. Closer or farther away from this source of energy, temperature would be too cold or too hot in order for liquid water to exist in a planet´s surface. The zones were liquid water and biological opportunity can happen are known as “Goldilocks zone”.

A new study published in The Astrophysical Journal have found such zones around supermassive black holes as well. This is quite surprising, since the surroundings of a black hole, consisting on swirling disks of gas and dust called Active Galactic Nuclei -AGN-, emit...

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A Tiny Galaxy With A Big Heart!

By Dr. Inés Urdaneta / Physicist at Resonance Science Foundation

Photo: Hubble image depicting galaxy ESO 495-21 at the center. From NASA/ESA

Evolution of our understanding of Black Holes (BH) has gone from the mathematical outcome with no physical counterpart, up to their detection at the center of various galaxies and visualization of their shadow through the reconstructed image presented for the first time just a few months ago by the EHT global initiative ( Now it is thought that every galaxy hosts a BH in its core. When the first BHs were inferred from cosmological observations, we believed they were an extravagant exceptional behavior in the universe. Since, they have proven not so exceptional as they are detected with increased frequency, but they remain an extravagancy, and not for the same reasons.

ESO 495-21 is a galaxy just 3.000 light years across in diameter, very small compared to...

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Missing Molecule Finally Discovered

by Dr. Amira Val Baker, Resonance Science Foundation Astrophysicist

The evolution from the first molecule to the complex chemistry that exists in our universe today is now one step closer to being understood.

When we think of complex chemistry, we usually think of all the matter that exists on our planet which in our atmosphere is a massive 10 trillion trillion molecules per cubic meter. As we move away from our planet this drops exponentially. However, surprising as it may be, space space – like the interstellar and intergalactic regions – are host to a myriad of molecules. Albeit not at quite the same high densities.

How these molecules formed and became the complex chemistry that we see today remains to be fully understood. It is currently agreed that the early universe consisted of only a few kinds of atoms and it wasn’t until the age of 100,000 years that hydrogen and helium combined to form the first molecule – helium hydride. However, although...

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