Cosmological Enigmas: Pulsars, Quasars, and Other Deep-Space by Mark Kidger

By Mark Kidger

The universe is gigantic. particularly titanic. And it will get greater each day. In Cosmological Enigmas, Mark Kidger weaves jointly background, technology, and technology fiction to contemplate questions about the bigness of area and the unusual gadgets that lie trembling on the fringe of infinity. What are quasars, blazars, and gamma-ray bursters? might we ever shuttle to the celebs? will we fairly count on extraterrestrial beings to touch us? From the profound (what facts can we need to aid the large bang theory?) to the weird (can there be a couple of 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 understand it. Reflecting on how stars shine and what may well lie past the sting of the universe, Kidger takes us at the final cosmic trip. (October 2008)

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Extra resources for Cosmological Enigmas: Pulsars, Quasars, and Other Deep-Space Questions

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There is a second way that a black hole can appear. When a galaxy forms, the mass of material increases tremendously toward the center. It is possible that the density is so great in the center of the galaxy that material accumulates naturally until there is so much and it is so dense that it collapses into a black hole, which will then go on growing as it accumulates material. In this way, the black hole starts off much larger and thus grows far faster than if it starts with a star. Black Holes in the Universe Whether we like it or not, black holes are a fact of life for modern astronomers.

In the Andromeda Galaxy, for example, they could see that stars in the center were rotating rapidly around the center and could work out how massive the center of the galaxy had to be to allow them to move that fast. They could also work out from the brightness of the center of the galaxy how many stars there were there. In every case, it was found that the stars rotated far more rapidly than could be explained by the mass of visible stars. These galaxies had some huge dark mass in the center that could not be observed, one that had a strong force of gravity.

In one particular case, the polarization, amazingly, was greater than 40 percent. But the polarization of these objects was also highly variable. The blazar 3C345, in the constellation of Hercules, went from showing essentially zero polarization to 35 percent polarization in only a few weeks.

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