Hard Science Fiction by Brandon Q. Morris
The birth of supermassive black holes from dark matter – and their growth Astrophysics

The birth of supermassive black holes from dark matter – and their growth

The universe is about 13.8 billion years old. In the beginning, there were no stars in it. But 600 to 800 million years later already mighty galaxies existed with gigantic black holes in their center, which are millions to billions times heavier than our sun. But where did these giants come from? For a long time it was assumed that they could have been formed by the collapse of gas clouds in protogalaxies. But the result is unsatisfactory. In this way, the black holes simply don't grow fast enough. A team led by a theoretical physicist at the University…
Mysterious shadow hides giant star Space

Mysterious shadow hides giant star

VVV-WIT-08 is a red giant star with 100 solar masses and 25,000 light years away from us. Ten years ago (25,010 years ago, of course) its brightness suddenly decreased drastically - down to one-thirtieth of its original value. There are indeed variable stars. In certain phases of life many types of stars show spontaneous changes. However, such a large decrease as in VVV-WIT-08 is rare. It speaks for the fact that the cause was not in the star itself, but in its environment. Did another object move in front of the star for a few hundred days and darken…
Surprising candidates for extraterrestrial life Life

Surprising candidates for extraterrestrial life

When astronomers look for places outside Earth where life might exist, they often first check the habitable zone of star systems. After all, the Milky Way alone is home to 100 to 400 billion stars and at least that many planets. Habitable means that water should exist there in liquid form. Water, as far as we know, is the elixir of life. It has made life on Earth possible and is essential for the continuation of all living systems on the planet. This explains why scientists are constantly searching for evidence of water on other solid bodies in the…
Brandon Q. Morris on the Internet and in social media Book

Brandon Q. Morris on the Internet and in social media

When I published my first book years ago, the plan was clear: there would also be a website for the book, plus maybe a newsletter, and a Facebook page probably had to be there, too. Well, the world has changed. I prefer to be where my readers are - and that means you can now find me on many other platforms as well. But after all, it would be boring if you read and saw the same thing everywhere. So it's time for a little overview: Where can you find what from Brandon Q. Morris and how often? Website:…
Water oceans in the crust of icy planets Life

Water oceans in the crust of icy planets

A pressure 200,000 to 400,000 times that of Earth's atmosphere, plus temperatures around 1500 Kelvin - these sound like uncomfortable conditions. They prevail where, in water-ice planets of the size of Neptune, the ice merges into the rocky core. Does liquid water exist under these conditions, and if so, how does it interact with the planet's rocky seafloor? New experiments show that on water-ice planets between the size of our Earth and up to six times that size, water selectively leaches magnesium from typical rock minerals. An international team of researchers led by Taehyun Kim of Yonsei University in Seoul,…
The first millisecond of the universe: How big bang matter drips out of the tap Astrophysics

The first millisecond of the universe: How big bang matter drips out of the tap

The beginning of the universe is notoriously difficult to investigate. Anyone who has read my book "The Disruption" (coming soon in English) knows the problem. This is not so much because it happened so long ago. Whereas 13.8 billion years are also a long time. It is more difficult for scientists because they have not yet fully understood the physics of the great beginning. Under the extreme, today hardly in the experiment to be imitated conditions at that time still completely different, superordinate laws applied, which we must still find out slowly. There are already some suggestions. And there…
The first spiral galaxy Astrophysics

The first spiral galaxy

Well, it may not have been the first spiral galaxy researchers have now discovered in data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), but it was the oldest and most distant (which is synonymous in astronomy) to date. We observed it at a time when the universe was only 1.4 billion years old. Today it is almost ten times as old. The discovery of a galaxy with a spiral structure at such an early date is an important clue to solving the classic questions of astronomy: "How and when did spiral galaxies form?" "I was excited because I had never…
Watching a star being born Astrophysics

Watching a star being born

Starforge is the name of a simulation program developed by an international team of researchers that enables the most realistic and highest-resolution 3D simulation of star formation to date. The result is a visually stunning, mathematically driven marvel that allows viewers to float around a colorful cloud of gas in 3D space as they watch sparkling stars form. STARFORGE (Star Formation in Gaseous Environments) simulates an entire gas cloud for the first time, with masses 100 times greater than previously possible. It is also the first simulation to simultaneously model star formation, evolution, and dynamics, taking into account feedbacks…