Hard Science Fiction by Brandon Q. Morris
Super Venus in our cosmic neighborhood Space

Super Venus in our cosmic neighborhood

Wolf 437, also called Gliese 486, is a red dwarf fairly close to the Sun - just 26 light-years away. What makes it interesting is a planet that astronomers now present in Science. Gliese 486 b moves around its parent star in a circular orbit within 1.5 days and at a distance of only 2.5 million kilometers (Earth: 150 million kilometers). Since its rotation around its own axis always takes the same time, the planet always turns the same side to its sun - similar to the moon to the earth. Although the star Gliese 486 is much fainter and…
Merging boson stars instead of colliding black holes? Astrophysics

Merging boson stars instead of colliding black holes?

Bosons are particles with an even spin. They include the fundamental particles that mediate the individual interactions (such as photons for electromagnetism), but also composite particles such as helium-4 atoms. Their peculiarity is that any number of them can occupy the same ground state. They are then indistinguishable from each other and form a Bose-Einstein condensate with unusual properties. Among other things, the density of the condensate can approach infinity. This would make bosons good candidates for very heavy celestial bodies, where huge masses crowd into a small space. Who doesn't think of a black hole? But a celestial…
Can supermassive black holes collapse directly from dark matter? Astrophysics

Can supermassive black holes collapse directly from dark matter?

At first glance, a black hole and dark matter sound like a perfect combination. However, there is a problem: dark matter is mainly found in the outer regions of galaxies, in massive halos. Supermassive black holes, on the other hand, form the core of a galaxy. Does there nevertheless go something together, which belongs together? Perhaps. As far as supermassive black holes are concerned, cosmology still has a problem. Because how exactly they originally formed is one of the biggest problems in the study of galaxy evolution today. Supermassive black holes were observed as early as 800 million years…
When a star rips apart … Astrophysics

When a star rips apart …

... a muon deep under the ice of Antarctica creates a trace in a gigantic detector. The muon was created because a high-energy neutrino interacted with an atom in the detector. The neutrino began its journey about 700 million years ago, around the time the first animals evolved on Earth. That's the travel time it took for the particle to get from the distant, unnamed galaxy (cataloged as 2MASX J20570298+1412165) in the constellation of The Dolphin to Earth. It occurred as a result of "AT2019dsg." This is what astronomers call an event in which a star was ripped apart…
Far far out is farther out than far out Space

Far far out is farther out than far out

It is like it is. Astronomers have now confirmed it: Dwarf planet candidate "Farfarout" really is farther away than its buddy "Farout". Farfarout was first spotted in January 2018 by the Subaru telescope on Maunakea in Hawai'i. Its discoverers could tell it was very far away, but they weren't sure exactly how far. They needed more observations. "At that point, we didn't know the orbit of the object because we only had the Subaru discovery observations over 24 hours, but it takes years of observations to get the orbit of an object around the Sun," explained co-discoverer Scott Sheppard of…
Where water will be easiest to find on Mars Life

Where water will be easiest to find on Mars

The more resources we have to transport to our neighboring planet, the more expensive a manned mission to Mars will be. Current concepts therefore rely on the human inhabitants using the resources that Mars makes available to them. On the one hand, there is the carbon dioxide atmosphere, from which methane can be obtained as fuel for the return flight - and on the other, there are water and ice deposits from which oxygen and drinking water can be obtained. It is already known that Mars is not completely dry. While the atmosphere is available everywhere (although it becomes…
How heavy is dark matter? Astrophysics

How heavy is dark matter?

Dark matter is a mysterious phenomenon. We do not know what it looks like or what it is made of. But physicists are convinced that it exists, because the effect of its gravitational pull can be observed in many examples in the cosmos. The visible universe - ourselves, the planets and stars - accounts for 25 percent of the total mass in the universe. The remaining 75 percent of its mass consists of dark matter. The fact that it interacts via gravity at least gives researchers a clue as to how heavy its particles might be. It was previously…
Three couples in a rare star dance Space

Three couples in a rare star dance

It must be quite interesting to live in the star system TYC 7037-89-1. Imagine a Galileo Galilei who has to explain this to his church highers: "Gentlemen, the earth moves around the sun while the sun moves around another sun. Just as two other stars orbit each other, with which we in turn orbit the center of mass with a third pair." But that probably still would have been the simpler option, because the three pairs of stars astronomers found using NASA's TESS satellite telescope orbit each other in very close orbits of 1.3, 1.6 and 8.2 days. A…