Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Life of a Star

Before looking at how a star collapses to become a black hole, let’s look at its life. Stars are formed inside vast clouds of gas and dust to drift together to form clumps called protostars. Each protostar shrinks until its center becomes so dense that nuclear reactions begin inside it, and it starts to shine. The Orion nebula, a huge cloud of gas and dust is lit by the light of nearby stars. Stars come in different sizes. The Sun is a pretty average star, which glows yellow. Larger stars glow blue or white because they are hotter, but they don’t shine for as long. Smaller stars glow Orange or red. They are cooler and last longer.
After thousands of millions of years, the nuclear reactions in the sun will stop. Gravity will then squeeze the core, creating heat that will make the outer layers swell, swallowing Earth. The outer layers will drift into space, leaving a planet-sized star called a White dwarf.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Formation of Black Holes

Karl Schwarzschild predicted that a Black hole would be formed when a massive star stopped shining and collapsed in on itself. The gravity would be so large that the material would become more and more dense, making the gravity still stronger. Gravity would eventually become so great that the star would keep collapsing past its gravitational field! In 1939, American astrophysicists Robert Oppenheimer and Hartland Snyder used mathematics to show that this collapse would happen.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gravitational Radius

The French Mathematician Pierre Laplace used Newton’s laws to calculate the size of a body that would stop light from escaping. Karl Schwarzschild calculated at what distance from the center of a body the escape velocity would be the speed of light. He used Einstein’s relativity theory. Remember that the force of gravity between two objects gets greater as the objects get close together. At a certain distance from a body, the gravity becomes so great that the escape velocity becomes greater than the Speed of light.
Schwarzschild calculated the relationship between this distance from a body’s center and the mass of the body. This distance is known as the Schwarzschild radius. For bodies such as planets and stars, Schwarzschild’s radius is mush smaller than the body. For example for Earth it is less than one half of an inch, and it is about one and a half miles for the sun.
Schwarzschild’s theory was that a black hole was formed if the gravitational radius of a body was larger than its actual radius. This means a body would have to be squeezed into an extremely tiny space. For example, Earth would have to be squashed to the size of a pea for it to become a Black hole.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Theoretical Black Hole

Armed with Einstein’s theories, the German astronomer Karl Schwarzschild (1873-1916) developed the idea of the black hole as we know it today. He did not call it a black hole. This term was first used in the late 1960s by the American physicist John Wheeler. Before Wheeler, they were called “Frozen stars”.Reference for Technorati

Monday, November 30, 2009

Changing the Rules

There are two important differences between Laplace’s idea of a dark star and the modern idea of a Black hole. The differences are due to two important discoveries of modern astrophysics. The first discovery is that nothing can travel faster than light. This means that if light cannot escape from a massive star, nothing can. This also means that a dark star is a hole, because nothing that is pulled in by the star’s gravity can never escape. The second difference is that Laplace used Newton’s law of gravity as the basis of his work. Modern astrophysics says that these laws do not work in and around Black holes.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dark Stars

Pierre Laplace (1749-1827), a French mathematician and astronomer, was one of the first people suggest that black holes could exist. As an expert on celestial Mechanics, he knew how the planets and moons move around the sun. In his book, Exposition of the System of the world, published in 1795, Laplace made an amazing prediction. Laplace realized that if a star were massive enough, its escape velocity would be greater than the speed of light. So he calculated how big a star would have to be, if it had the same overall density as Earth, to have an escape velocity equal to the speed of light. He calculated that the star would have to be 250 times the diameter of the Sun. Laplace predicted that a star of this size would have such an enormous gravitational pull that light particles would have such an enormous gravitational pull that light particles would never leave its surface. The star would be invisible.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Light and gravity

When Sir Isaac Newton devised his Law of universal Gravitation, he also suggested that light was subjected to the pull of gravity. On Earth, light always travels in a straight line, unless it hits an object. But light does bend as it passes close to bodies with very strong gravitational fields, such as very massive stars. This shows that the things we take for granted on Earth do not necessarily apply when super strong gravity is at work.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Black Hole

A black hole is a place in space where gravity is so super strong that nothing can escape it not even light. When scientists call a black hole a giant cosmic vacuum, they do not mean it sucks up anything that comes near it. However, anything passing close to a black hole will be affected by its strong gravitational pull. Astronomers think that events become very strange both near and inside black holes. The known world ceases to exist, time slows down, space is warped, and the accepted laws of physics no longer apply. No one should go into a mysterious black hole to investigate, because they would never return.
In most great mysteries, such as UFOs, science tries to explain the strange things that people claim to have seen. In the case of black holes, however things are the other way around. Scientists predicted the existence of black holes long before there was any real evidence that they existed. In fact, the very nature of black holes means they cannot be seen to be believed!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Varying Heights

Astronauts become 1-2 inches taller while they are in space. Without Earth’s gravity tugging on their bodies, the vertebrae in their spines stretch out. The extra height is only temporary, though. Astronauts shrink back to their normal size after returning to Earth.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Life in the slow lane

Time slows down when traveling at great speed in space, so space travelers age more slowly than they do on Earth. Albert Einstein figured this out
In 1905, long before we started flying in space. Einstein knew the speed of light never changes as it is constant. Time however, is relative said Einstein. It can change. It changes according to the speed of what is measuring it. The faster the speed, the slower time passes. In fact, a very accurate clock aboard a space shuttle was measured after its return to Earth it lost 2.95 x 10^-10 seconds for each second of the trip. If the shuttle had been traveling near the speed of light and had been gone for several years, the time loss would have been bigger. So if you went on a very long space trip and our space craft could travel close to speed of light we would be younger than our current same-age friends when we returned to Earth.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Weight on different Planets

Planet Earth Weight Multiply by Our Space Weight
Mercury ----- x .38 =
Venus ----- x .91 =
Earth ----- x 1.00 =
Mars ----- x .38 =
Jupiter ----- x 2.34 =
Saturn ----- x .93 =
Uranus ----- x .79 =
Neptune ----- x 1.14 =
Pluto ----- x .04 =

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Relative theory of Einstein

Einstein made other predictions in his General Theory of Relativity. He said that in super strong gravitational fields, time passes more slowly than it does outside the field. And as gravity becomes infinitely strong, time actually slows to a stop. He also said that all laws of geometry would no longer be true because three-dimensional space would be changed and distorted. For example, the geometry rule that the area of a square is equal to its length multiplied by its width would not be true in super strong gravity.
Einstein’s other great theory, the special Theory of relativity, predicted that the passing of time and the measurement of distance change as movement becomes faster and faster. The effects of this become noticeable only as the speed of light is approached. This would have the consequences for black holes, since objects that fall into black holes would begin to go as fast as the speed of light.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mass and Weight

Mass and weight are often confused. In physics, the mass of an object is the amount of matter in it. Mass is measured in kilograms (kg). Weight is the pull of gravity on an object. Weight is a force. It is measured by both the mass and gravity. It is measured in units called Newton (N). The mass of an object is always the same, but its weight can change.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Escape Velocity

Imagine throwing any object straight up. The Earth’s gravity would gradually slow it down and make it fall back to Earth. But if the object was thrown upward fast enough, gravity would not be able to stop it escaping into space. The minimum speed needed for this to happen is called Escape Velocity is 25,000 miles per hour. Space Rockets must accelerate to a minimum of 17,000 miles per hour to stay in orbit around Earth. They must travel faster to escape from Earth.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Astrophysics is the branch of astronomy that describes the physical characteristics of things in the Universe. Two of the characteristics that astrophysicists study are Gravity and Light

Monday, November 2, 2009

Nature of light

Light travels in waves of particles called photons. Eyes detect light. Some objects, such as stars, can be seen because they make light. Other objects, such as planets of this book, can be seen because light bounces off them. Light travels very fast. In the vacuum of space, the speed of light is 186,282 miles (300,000 kilometers) per second. Its sped decreases when it passes through substances, such as air and glass.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Gravity is a force that attracts every object that has mass towards every other object that has mass towards every other object. Mass is the amount of matter an object, or body contains. The amount of gravitational pull between two bodies depends on the mass of the two bodies and the distance between them. The greater the masses the greater the force. The further the distance between them, the smaller the force. The amount of gravitational pull between bodies is very massive, such as a planet.
This is called the Law of Universal Gravitation. It was first written by the English scientist Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727). This law of gravity explains how the gravitational pull between bodies causes the planets to orbit the sun. A body has a gravitational field around it. Any other object in the field experiences a pull from the body, which pulls the object towards it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Unsolved Mysteries

For centuries, people have been puzzled and fascinated by mysterious places, creatures, and events. Why have ships and planes vanished without a trace when crossing Bermuda Triangle? Are some houses really haunted by ghosts? Does the Abominable Snowmen actually exist? What secrets are held by a black hole? Read on my future posts to know about some of these facts.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Halley’s Comet zooms by Earth regularly, and so it has a chance a tiny one of colliding with our planet. During a flyby, the famous chunk of ice is easy to spot, even without a telescope. For example, there are reports from 240 B.C., when ancient Chinese stargazers saw it without any problem.
Here’s a timeline that shows some of the world changing events that happened between Halley’s visits. As you will see, Halley doesn’t appear at exactly even intervals. By computing the averages time between visits what year would you except the comet to turn up next?
1338- Hundred Years war starts between England and France on 1301 Visit.
1405- Chinese Sailors explore the Indian Ocean on 1378 Visit.
1492- Columbus sets sail to find a route to Asia through the Pacific.
on 1456 visit.
1910- World War I begins on 1910 visit.
1986- First Official U.S. observation of Martin Luther king Jr. Day, in honor of slain civil rights leader, space shuttle Challenger explodes

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Meteor Master

Hero who could spot and stop Doomsday Meteor would be Carolyn Shoemaker. Since 1983, she has discovered more than 800 asteroids and 32 comets, some of which cross Earth’s orbit. Mrs. Shoemaker is already a hero in the eyes of world astronomers. Working with her husband, Gene, and David Levy, she discovered Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9.
Jupiter’s gravity had grabbed the comet and forced it to orbit the gas giant instead of the Sun. The powerful gravity ripped the comet into 21 pieces, all of which slammed into Jupiter in 1994. The spectacular crash gave astronomers an exciting glimpse at the chemistry of Jupiter’s mysterious atmosphere.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Stick Man

It’s a map of galaxies! In 1986, astronomer Margaret Geller led a team of researchers to pinpoint the location of more than 1,000 nearby galaxies. The map shows that galaxies are not evenly spaced in the universe, but grouped together in narrow bands with large spaces or voids between them. Geller nicknamed the image the “Stick Man” because it resembled a stick figure with arms outstretched.

Monday, October 19, 2009


The closest major galaxy to Earth, the spiral-shaped AndromedaGalaxy is the most distant object visible to the naked eye. It lies about 2.5 million light-years from Earth and contains over 200 billion stars.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hang Ten

The circle of sky is divided into 360 degrees. The “hang ten” sign shows about a 20-degree distance when holding your hand out at arm’s length. This is roughly the length of the Big Dipper. A closed fist measures about 10 degrees, and one finger equals one degree. At night, identify a major constellation, like Orion or Ursa Major.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


As a red supergiant, Betelgeuse boasts a distinctive orange color that stands out against the mostly blue stars of Orion. Its brightness varies over a period of about seven years and is unpredictable, sometimes changing in just few weeks.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Orion is one of the most easily recognized constellations with its distinctive “belt” of three bright stars. The Greeks saw the star as a hunter, but Native Americans saw a group of running deer. Syrian astronomers believed the stars formed a giant called AI Jabbar. In the northern hemisphere, you cannot see Orion in June. However, you can see it in Chile in June.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


All of the planets in our solar system orbit the sun in a band of the sky known as the Ecliptic. Ancient astronomers divided the stars in the ecliptic in to 12 constellations. Most of these constellations are named for animals or mythological creatures, so Greeks gave this band of stars the name Zodiac, meaning “Circle of animals.” The zodiac is used in astrology, the belief that the planets’ positions can influence the future. Astrology is not the same thing as astronomy, the scientific study of the universe. Astrology has no scientific basis at all.

Monday, October 12, 2009


A nebula is an enormous cloud of gas atoms and tiny particles. Nebulae are the birth place of new stars and some dying stars leave nebula as wreckage. The smallest nebula is much larger than the solar system and the largest are hundreds of light years across. Some nebula is bright while others are dark. The brightness could be due to their atoms getting affected by the energy given out by neighboring stars. Dark nebulae appear as black starless areas, since they are absorbing light from stars beyond

Big Dipper

The Big Dipper- a star group appeared in the sky in early March, 10.30 p.m., but by 3.30 a.m. It’s moved far to the west. The stars don’t really move, of course, but the earth is constantly on the go. Imagine the sky as the inside of a great hollow sphere, with the stars as fixed points on the sphere. Picture the earth as the center of that sphere.
Where you are on the earth and how the earth is moving determines which parts of the inside of the sphere you see. As the Earth revolves on its axis, the stars and constellations appear to revolve in the sky around a point directly over the axis. The earth not only revolves on its axis, but it also changes position as it orbits the Sun.
So in late September the Big Dipper will appear low in the sky. And in March of next year, it will appear to be in the same place it was this march.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Also called the Pole Star and the North star, Polaris sits almost exactly over the North Pole. Polaris has long been important to navigators because of its position. It is located at the tip of the handle of the Little Dipper (Part of Ursa Minor)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

BInary Star

A Binary star or a double star is a pair of stars that revolve around each other and are held together by gravity. The closer a pair of stars are, the faster they revolve. Some Binary stars are almost touching and go around each other in a few hours, while others, which are separated by hundreds of times the diameter of the solar system, may take a million years to orbit each other. About a quarter of all known stars belong to binary systems. Most of these, particularly the close pairs, must have been born together. In most cases, one star is large, cool and reddish while the other star is small and white hot.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Images of Neutron Star

Neutron Star

A neutron star is the smallest and densest kind of star. An atom has electrons in its orbits and solid protons and neutrons form the centre or nucleus, which takes a small portion of the atom. As long as a star shines, the power of its radiation holds all the parts of atoms apart. But when the star begins to die, the gravity in the star makes the outer layer collapse inwards with such force that the centre is crushed to solid neutrons because the electrons and protons are forced together to make neutrons. A neutron star is one of the strangest objects in the universe. It becomes a million times heavier than lead. A pinhead size of a neutron star would weigh as much as a multi stored building.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Images of Sirius


Sirius is the brightest star in the sky. It is at a distance of 9.5 light years from the Earth. It is also known as the Dog Star because it lies in the constellation of Canis Major, the Greater Dog. Sirius is actually a binary star and it is made of two stars that orbit around each other. Only the brighter of the two can be seen with the naked eye. Sirius was important in ancient Egypt before the calendars were developed. The appearance of Sirius coincided with the annual flooding of river Nile.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Proxima Centauri

Proxima Centauri is the closest known star in the Solar System and is about 10,000 times dimmer than the Sun. It is about 4.3 light years away and is visible with binoculars. It is the faintest member of a triple star system called Alpha Centauri present in the constellation of Centaurus. The other two stars form a brilliant double star when viewed through a small astronomical telescope. They are each about as bright as the Sun and take 80 years to orbit each other. The Proxima Centauri flares up every now and then and appears brighter than normal for just a few minutes. It takes about a million years to orbit the bright stars.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Horsehead Nebula

The “horsehead” is a dense cloud of interstellar dust and gas. Found throughout the universe, gas and dust fill the spaces between the stars. In some places they gather in great enough quantities to form a spectacular cloud, called a nebula. Dust in the horse’s “head” is so thick that it blocks light behind it. Dust and gas also make for the brilliant red color in the nebula. The blue color comes from dust that reflects the light of nearby stars.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Supernova Remnant

Rings of glowing gas are all that remain of a supernova explosion. While this star ended its life in a spectacular eruption of energy and material more than 170,000 years ago, light from the catastrophe didn’t reach Earth until 1987.
Once it burned bright in the sky and then faded to the glowing rings as shown in the picture.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sombrero Galaxy

When viewed from the side, this spiral galaxy bulges in the middle like a sombrero, or Mexican Hat. Scientists suspect that a Black hole as massive as 1 billion Suns may lie at the galaxy’s center. Around its center lie billions of old, faint stars that form the enormous bulge of light.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Eta Carinae

When super massive star Eta Carinae exploded about 150 years ago, it became the brightest object in the sky. Eta Carinae released as much light as a supernova, but it managed to survive as a star. Today the debris stretches over a distance equivalent to the diameter of our solar system. Its outer edges are moving away from the center at about 1.5 million miles per hour.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pleiades Star Cluster

Glittering like jewels in the night sky, the Pleiades is a cluster of new stars over 4000 light years from Earth. Though only a few are visible to us, the cluster contains hundreds of stars. The bluish glow that seems to surround the stars is a cloud of interstellar gas and dust, which scatters blue light from the stars. Different people have called the cluster “Seven Sisters”, “Bunch of Grapes”, and “Sailing Stars.”

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Megellanic Clouds

The Megellanic Clouds are part of the larger group to which our Milky Way galaxy belongs. These two galaxies are nearest to our Milky Way in space. They were discovered around 1520 by the Portuguese adventurer Megellan when he sailed through the southern areas. These clouds can be seen in the night sky in the Southern Hemisphere or near the equator as hazy glowing patches. Through a powerful telescope, they can be seen to contain millions of stars.
The large Megellanic cloud is about 10,000 million stars. The small Megellanic cloud is 2, 30,000 light years away and contains fewer stars. Both clouds contain bright nebulae where new stars are formed.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Types of Galaxies

There are three main kinds of galaxies:
1. Irregular Shaped,
2. Spiral with trailing arms of stars and nebulae
3. Elliptical.
The spiral and irregular galaxies have both old and young stars and reserves of gas and dust to make new stars. The special ones like our own galaxy Milky Way, has a centre which consists of red giants or dying stars while the new stars are formed in the dusty arms. Elliptical galaxies are supposed to be spiral galaxies that have lost their arms in due course of time. They consist mainly of red giant stars.

Admin says,
As we had an introduction to what is universe. Let me introduce some new terminologies which are unknown to common people in the next post.

Types of Galaxies(IMAGE)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Over a very long time and a great deal of thought, scientists developed a theory. Today many scientists think that there was a time before time when all matter, all energy, and all space was condensed into something the size of a pinpoint. This was our Universe in the moment before its birth. Then a huge explosion occurred, one that produced nothing but hot energy. In the first few minutes the universe expanded to 2,000 times the size of our Sun.

About 300,000 years later, when things cooled, atoms formed. The elements hydrogen and helium were created: Gravity brought them together in clumps. These clumps became the seeds of galaxies. Stars formed, including the Sun, our closest star. It took a long time for the universe to form. Scientists refer to the formation of the universe as the Big Bang theory. Other theories have also been offered, but the Bing Bang has the widest acceptance.

There were no eyewitnesses, so it’s impossible to be absolutely sure what really happened and we probably will never know. It’s unlikely that Big Bang theory, or any other theory, will ever be proved as fact. Our planets revolve around the Sun, and our Solar system moves along the spiral arms of our galaxy, the Milky Way. Gravity holds together this galaxy made up of billions of stars, dust, and gas. The Milky Way is just one of the millions of galaxies scattered across the universe. In between galaxies are enormous voids, or spaces full of nothing.


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