Friday, December 10, 2010

Dark Stars

Using our Keck Telescope atop Mauna Kea, astronomers have found that elliptical galaxies contain many more red dwarf stars than previously though. Ellipticals are some of the largest galaxies, containing around a trillion stars each. Red dwarfs, being small and dim, are particularly difficult to detect in other galaxies. The new results indicate that the Universe might have 3 times as many stars as previously thought. This affects estimates of how much dark mass is needed to fill the Universe. Galaxies might need less dark stuff than previously thought in order to be stable. CfA Press Release.

A red dwarf could greatly affect life on Earth. In 1984 Richard Muller and others proposed that Nemesis, an unseen companion to our Sun, might cause mass extinctions. By this hypothesis, the unseen Nemesis orbits into the Oort Cloud of comets every 27 million years, causing comets to spiral toward the inner solar system. In 1999 John Matese and Daniel Whitmire, using comet observations, made a similar hypothesis. The hypothetical object could be a brown dwarf, slightly larger than Jupiter, or a larger red dwarf.

The inky black of empty Space is far from empty. Today it is thought to be home many more red dwarf stars than once thought. It could also contain brown dwarfs, objects like Jupiter, in unknown numbers. Potentially Space could also contain primordial Black Holes, some of which form the cores of larger objects. One of these objects, orbiting our Sun, could cause the mass extinctions on Earth. There is far more in the Universe than meets the eye.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Kea said...

Ah, yes. You know, after 10 years of listening to Standard (LCDM) Cosmology enthusiasts say that the matter fractions were all well understood and consistent, some could say it is surprising to learn that these numbers are, in fact, incorrect. I wonder how they will make up a new set of numbers?

By the way, I noticed that your omega_b prediction was confirmed in the last round of WMAP data. Did you write a post about that?

3:17 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Great idea for an upcoming post! Thanks again.

8:56 AM  
Blogger Ulla said...

Your wmap post doesn't show up-

6:26 AM  

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