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The Wonders of the Universe An Exploration into the Unknown

The Wonders of the Universe An Exploration into the Unknown

A Project by Brendan Baz

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“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff.� -Carl Sagan

Copyright © 2014 by Brendan Baz All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at the address below. Imaginary Press 1233 Pennsylvania Avenue San Francisco, CA 94909 Ordering Information: Quantity sales. Special discounts are available on quantity purchases by corporations, associations, and others. For details, contact the publisher at the address above. Orders by U.S. trade bookstores and wholesalers. Please contact Big Distribution: Tel: (800) 800-8000; Fax: (800) 800-8001 or visit Printed in the United States of America Publisher’s Cataloging-in-Publication data Baz, Brendan. A title of a book : a subtitle of the same book / Brendan Baz; with Brendan Baz. p. cm. ISBN 978-0-9000000-0-0 1. The main category of the book —Space —Other category. 2. Astronomy —From one perspective. 3. Science —And their modifiers. I. Johnson, Ben. II. Title. HF0000.A0 A00 2010 299.000 00–dc22 2010999999 First Edition 14 13 12 11 10 / 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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Table of Contents The Greats .....................................................................1 Where Are We in the Universe .............................................3 Galaxies ........................................................................5 Black Holes ....................................................................7 Supernovae ....................................................................9 Space Travel ...................................................................11

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The Greats Carl Sagan

Albert Einstein

Created the show Cosmos: A Personal Voyage which inspired millions of astronomers and astronauts to explore our universe

Discovered the theory of relativity (E=mc2) which revolutionized the entire way that we look at physics and our world.

Helped discover high surface temperatures on Venus because of a runaway greenhouse effect, providing evidence for climate change

Regarded as the father of modern physics and is often thought of as the smartest man who has ever lived.

Studied light and discovered that it could act as both a wave and a particle, and thus introduced the concept of a photon.

Warned President Roosevelt about Adolf Hitler’s plans to create an atomic bomb, and helped on the Manhattan Project allowing the US to create nuclear weapons. He says that this was the biggest mistake of his life.

Discovered Drake Equation, which showed that there were billions of planets habitable to life.

One of the main researchers at NASA and helped with many Apollo missions including Apollo 11, the mission that put Neil Armstrong on the moon.

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Stephen Hawking

Neil DeGrasse Tyson

One of the most popular scientists today. He markets himself to a younger audience in an attempt to get more people interested in science and space at an early age.

Host of the show Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a reboot of Carl Sagan’s show but with a much larger budget. It was nominated for twelve Emmy’s in 2014 and won four of them.

Continues to preach the advantages to the scientific method and encourages everyone to critically think about every aspect of their life

His hero is Carl Sagan and many people say that he is a modern day version of him.

Among his significant scientific works have been a collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems in the framework of general relativity, and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, often called Hawking Radiation.

Overcame ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) by inventing a machine to allow him to talk and continue to affect the scientific community. He is a modern day Einstein.

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Where Are We in the Universe? Our Cosmic Address

Scientists have told us for years that universe is huge. They won’t stop talking about how huge it is. But just how big is it really? And where are we in the universe? Let’s start with our planet. Earth. This is the first line of our cosmic address. If we zoom out a little bit more, we see that we are the third of eight planets orbiting our sun. Our solar system. This is the second line of our cosmic address. We are already looking at something three billion miles

long. It takes light almost four hours to get to the Kuiper Belt. This is similar to the asteroid belt in between Mars and Jupiter, except it is much larger. The Kuiper Belt is home to one of our old friends, Pluto. Many

people seem to think that Pluto is still a planet. However, it is no more a planet than any asteroid or comet is. If we zoom out a little bit more, we would see a cloud of comets encompassing the entire solar system. It is so

“We see a giant cluster of over 100 billion stars orbiting around a supermassive black hole. This is the Milky Way Galaxy.”

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massive that each object is as close to its nearest neighbor as Earth is from Saturn. It is called the Oort Cloud and it is end of the second line of our cosmos address. If we zoom out even more, we see a giant cluster of over 100 billion stars orbiting around

a supermassive black hole. This is the Milky Way Galaxy. It is one hundred thousand light years in diameter and it is the third line of our cosmic address. Now, things are so huge that we cannot even comprehend it. What would happen if we zoom out even more? We would see even more galaxies, all at least two and a half million light years apart. This is the fourth line, the Local Group. There are many local groups that gather in the fifth

line of our cosmic address known as the Virgo Supercluster. After that, is the sixth and final line, the Observable Universe. Our cosmic address is Earth: Solar System: Milk Way: Local Group: Virgo Supercluster: Observable Universe.

This image may just look like someone spilled oil based paint in water, but it is actually much bigger than anyone can possibly comprehend. Each one of these dots is a supercluster of galaxies. It is the cosmos on the grandest scale we know. It is billions of light years across and contains over 100 billion galaxies. If you do the math, each galaxy contains an average of 100 billion stars. Let’s say that each star contains an average of fifteen planets in it’s solar system. That means that there are over 150 sextillion planets in our universe. Imagine the just how many planets could harbor life? Imagine how many different ways there are of being alive? The universe is truly bigger than we can possibly conceive. Why would we not try to explore it?

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Monstrous Star Systems This is our galaxy, The Milky Way. It is a spiral galaxy, which is one of the most common forms of galaxies in our universe. The stars in this galaxy are arranged in the Fibonacci Sequence, which is a pattern that is seen throughout nature. While it may not look big, this galaxy contains over 100 billion stars and is 100,000 light years wide.

A galaxy is a massive, gravitationally bound system consisting of stars, stellar remnants, an interstellar medium of gas and dust, and dark matter, an important but poorly understood component. The word galaxy is derived from the Greek galaxias, literally “milky”, a reference to the Milky Way. Examples of galaxies range from dwarfs with as few as ten million stars to giants with one hundred trillion stars, each orbiting their galaxy’s own center of mass.

Andromeda: our closest neighbor. If we are ever going to embark on intergalactic travel, we will end up here first. But don’t get your hopes up of getting there soon. It is a grand total of 2.5 million light years away, meaning that we are looking at Andromeda 2.5 million years ago. It is 220,000 light years in diameter, over twice as big as our galaxy.

Galaxies contain varying numbers of planets, star systems, star clusters and types of interstellar clouds. In between these objects is a sparse interstellar medium of gas, dust, and cosmic rays. Supermassive black holes reside at the center of most galaxies. They are thought to be the primary driver of active galactic nuclei found at the core of some galaxies. The Milky Way galaxy is known to harbor at least one such object. Galaxies have been historically categorized according to their apparent shape, usually referred to as their visual morphology. A common form is the elliptical galaxy, which has an ellipseshaped light profile. Spiral galaxies are disk-shaped with dusty, curving arms. Those with irregular or unusual shapes are known as irregular galaxies and typically originate from

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disruption by the gravitational pull of neighboring galaxies. Such interactions between nearby galaxies, which may ultimately result in a merger, sometimes induce significantly increased incidents of star formation leading to starburst galaxies.

filled with a tenuous gas of an average density less than one atom per cubic meter. The majority of galaxies are organized into a neither fully random nor fully deterministic set of associations known as galaxy groups and clusters, which, in turn usually form larger superclusters. There are probably more than 170 At the largest scale, these associations billion galaxies in the observable are generally arranged into sheets and universe. Most are 1,000 to 100,000 filaments, which are surrounded parsecs in diameter and usually separated by immense voids. by distances on the order of millions of parsecs (or megaparsecs). Intergalactic Tens of thousands of these galaxies have space (the space between galaxies) is now been cataloged. Only a few have been given a well-established name, such as the Andromeda Galaxy, the Magellanic clouds, the Whirlpool Galaxy and the Sombrero Galaxy. Astronomers work with numbers from certain catalogs, such as the Messier catalogue, the NGC (New General Catalogue), the IC (Index Catalogue), and the CGCG, (Catalogue

of Galaxies and of Clusters of Galaxies). Because these galaxies are so ridiculously far away, every picture of a galaxy that you see is an image from the past. For example, the Andromeda galaxy is 2.5 million light years away. That means that any image of Andromeda you see is actually Andromeda 2.5 million years in the past. The galaxy UDFy-38135539 is over 13 billion light years away. To put that into perspective, the universe is only 13.8 billion years old. That means that any image of this galaxy that you see is when the universe was just forming.

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Black Holes

The Universe’s Vacuum You’ve hear this term thrown around all the time in science fiction movies. But is it just fiction? Not even close. Black holes are necessary parts of our universe, and yet we know so little about them. Don’t let the name fool you: a black hole is anything but empty space. Rather, it is a great amount of matter packed into a very small area - think of a star ten times more massive than the Sun squeezed into a sphere approximately the diameter of New York City. The result is a gravitational field so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape. In recent years, NASA instruments have painted a new picture of these strange objects that are, to many, the most fascinating objects in space.

Brendan Baz | 8 Here we see an artist’s rendering of a black hole sucking up a nearby star. The side of the star that is closest to the black hole has a stronger gravitational pull than the other side. This causes the star to stretch our and eventually, spiral into the Fibonacci Sequence around the black hole until it crosses the event horizon.

Although the term was not coined until 1967 by Princeton physicist John Wheeler, the idea of an object in space so massive and dense that light could not escape it has been around for centuries.

Scientists can’t directly observe black holes with telescopes that detect x-rays, light, or other forms of electromagnetic radiation. We can, however, infer the presence of black holes and study them by detecting their effect on other matter Most famously, black holes were nearby. If a black hole passes through predicted by Einstein’s theory of general a cloud of interstellar matter, for relativity, which showed that when example, it will draw matter inward in a massive star dies, it leaves behind a process known as accretion. A similar a small, dense remnant core. If the process can occur if a normal star passes core’s mass is more than about three close to a black hole. In this case, the times the mass of the Sun, the equations black hole can tear the star apart as it showed, the force of gravity overwhelms pulls it toward itself, as seen in the image all other forces and produces a black hole. above. As the attracted matter accelerates and heats up, it emits x-rays that radiate into space. Recent discoveries offer some tantalizing evidence that black holes have a dramatic influence on the neighborhoods around them - emitting powerful gamma ray bursts, devouring nearby stars, and spurring the growth of new stars in some areas while stalling it in others.

Sometimes, supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies emit massive pulses of energy known as quasars. They are, without a doubt, the brightest most energetic objects in the universe. They can be up to 10,000 times more luminous than the entire Milky Way Galaxy.

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Nature’s Fireworks

A blindingly bright star bursts into view in a corner of the night sky — it wasn’t there just a few hours ago, but now it burns like a beacon. That bright star isn’t actually a star, at least not anymore. The brilliant point of light is the explosion of a star that has reached the end of its life, otherwise known as a supernova. Supernovae can briefly outshine entire galaxies and radiate more energy than our sun will in its entire lifetime. They’re also the primary source of heavy elements in the universe. On average, a supernova will occur about once every 50 years in a galaxy the size of the Milky Way. Put another way, a star explodes every second or so somewhere in the universe. Exactly how a star dies depends in part on its mass. Our sun, for example, doesn’t have enough mass to explode as a supernova (though the news for Earth still isn’t good, because once the sun runs out of its nuclear fuel, perhaps in a couple billion years, it will swell into a red giant that will likely vaporize our world, before gradually cooling into a white dwarf).

Supernovae are magnificently bright. It may shine with the brightness of 10 billion suns! The total energy output may be 1044 joules, as much as the total output of the sun during its 10 billion year lifetime. And this happens every single second in our universe. You’ve heard of the phrase, “Going out with a bang.” Well, stars literally go out with a bang. Every supernova will absolutely obliterate anything orbiting the star and sometimes even neighboring solar systems.

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A star can go supernova in one of two ways. First, there is a Type I supernova. This is when a star accumulates matter from a nearby neighbor until a runaway nuclear reaction ignites. Type 1 supernovas lack a hydrogen signature in their light spectra. Type Ia supernovae are generally thought to originate from white dwarf stars in a close binary system. As the gas of the companion star accumulates onto the white dwarf, the white dwarf is progressively compressed, and eventually sets off a runaway nuclear

reaction inside that eventually leads to a cataclysmic supernova outburst. Astronomers use Type 1a supernovas as “standard candles� to measure cosmic distances because all are thought to blaze with equal brightness at their peaks. Type 1b and 1c supernovas also undergo core-collapse just as Type II supernovas do, but they have lost most of their outer hydrogen envelopes. Recent studies have found that supernovas vibrate like giant speakers and emit an audible hum before exploding. The other option is a Type II supernova. In this type of supernova, a star runs out of nuclear fuel and collapses under its own gravity. For a star to explode as a Type II supernova, it must be at several times more massive than the sun (estimates run from eight to 15 solar masses). Like the sun, it will eventually

Look at the stars in the background and compare them to the supernova. That should prove to you just how massive supernovae are. They are absolutely magnificent. The different colors are all different elements that were inside the suns core for billions of years. Also, notice how this particular supernova looks extremely similar to the iris of a human eye.

run out of hydrogen and then helium fuel at its core. However, it will have enough mass and pressure to fuse carbon. Heavier elements begin to fall into the core, with the lighter ones on top. Once the star’s core surpasses a certain mass (the Chandrasekhar limit), the star begins to implode (for this reason, these supernovas are also known as core-collapse supernovas). The core heats up and becomes denser. Eventually the implosion bounces back off the core, expelling the stellar material into space, otherwise known as The Supernova.

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Space Travel

Will We Ever Go to Other Planets? In 1903, the Wright brothers successfully invented the world’s first airplane. Sixty-seven years later, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. In less than three-quarters of a century, we went from never leaving the ground to landing on the moon. Now, we have rovers on dozens of planets and moons, as well as satellites and unmanned ships throughout our solar system. The future of space travel looks extremely bright as our technology is growing exponentially. As a matter of fact, there is a mission to get a colony on Mars within the next twenty years.

NASA has an exciting new vision of future spaceflight—the return of humans to the moon by 2020 in preparation for visits to Mars and possibly beyond. Moon missions are essential to the exploration of more distant worlds. Extended lunar stays build the experience and expertise needed for the long-term space missions required to visit other planets. The moon may also be used as a forward base of operations on which humans learn how to replenish essential supplies, such as rocket fuel and oxygen, by creating them from local material. Such skills are essential to the future expansion of human presence into deeper space. But we’ve been to the moon before. What about our closest planetary

In 1969, the world watched as man walked on the Of all of our spacecrafts, Voyager 1 has traveled moon for the first time in the history of the world. the farthest. It was launched in the 1970s and has Neil Armstrong will forever go down in history as been traveling at eleven miles per second, it will the first man to walk on anything that was not Earth. travel through space until it is hopefully picked up by Since the moon does not have an atmosphere, Neil’s intelligent life. On it is a golden record that explains footprints are all still there, unchanged. If we can who we are, where we are, and everything we know. put a man on the moon, what can’t we do? It also contains sounds of Earth an pictures of people.

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neighbor, Mars? Landing a human on the Red Planet would be far trickier than landing a robot. For instance, Curiosity hit the Martian atmosphere at 15 times the acceleration of gravity (15 gs). Traveling at such extreme speeds would be disastrous, even fatal for humans, who only experience 1g while standing on Earth’s surface. At 15gs, the retinas would detach from human eyes. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Traveling to Mars would take almost seven months, which is a painfully long time for human beings to endure. But what about traveling to other solar systems? Traveling to another star takes far more time than just developing the necessary technology. Former Astronaut Mae Jemison compares the distance to Proxima Centauri, the nearest star, to that between New York City and Los Angeles. If NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft, which launched in 1977, was en route, it would have traveled only 1 mile in the past four decades. Without the development of a method to warp or shrink space-time, or a new propulsion system humanity would need to find a way to overcome some of its instability problems. In Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, he imagines future space stations as two spinning wheels. The centripetal force of these wheels would act as artificial gravity so the astronauts could spend longer periods of time in space without succumbing to the side effects of zero gravity, like muscle atrophy. His vision in this award winning movie is by far one of the most accurate interpretations and may very well be a method that NASA uses in the future.

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Sources All imagery and information was generated, photographed, or written by NASA and is available in the public domain.

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About the Author

Brendan Baz

Many people believe that Brendan Baz is absolutely the greatest human being to step on this luscious and beautiful planet. At the age of four weeks old, he could already play the piano and had composed part of the score to Inception. This was made even more amazing by the fact that the movie had not even been thought of yet, nor had the writer and director Christopher Nolan even begun to make his mark in Hollywood yet. Brendan brought new meaning to the word child prodigy. Many people believed he was actually a direct descendant from Hercules. If you look at his sharp jaw line and fierce eyes, some people say they have felt the very presence of God. This was all before he started Kindergarten.

When he graduated high school at the age of nine, he decided to take the time to do whatever he wanted. He has climbed Mt. Everest, Mt. Whitney, Mt. Kilimanjaro, and even Olympus Mons, which is a volcano on the surface of Mars three times the height of Mt. Everest. Did I mention that he has been to Mars? Because he has. He has also visited Venus, Saturn, and even the Andromeda Galaxy when he studied abroad in high school. He is fluent in over 45 million different languages throughout the universe and is a world leader on over five hundred planets. There are over fifty thousand religions that consider him to be a god, but he denies it saying that he feels insulted for being thought of as something as low as a god. However, he loves that lesser beings consider him to be the highest form of intelligence. There are theories that he is half robot, but this is highly unlikely considering the fact that not even robots can do some of the calculations he does. Overall, Brendan Baz has shown us just how far human beings can go. He has amassed over four hundred trillion dollars in his life and has donated it all to charities. Ever heard of Bill Gates? Well he wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without funding money from Mr. Baz when Microsoft was just starting out. Many people believe this is why Bill Gates is one of the richest people in world. Oh, and one last thing. He is single. If you would like to receive his number, go to to enter. As of publication, there are already 14 million people who have signed up.

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“The fact that I have even heard of him is nothing short of an honor.” -The Dali Lama

“Meeting him was the most humbling experience of my life.” -Jesus

The Wonders of the Universe  
The Wonders of the Universe