## Where is the Center of the Universe?

If you asked the ancient philosophers, they would have told you that Earth was the center of the universe. Perfectly stationary, the heavenly spheres revolved around Earth causing the celestial phenomenons we Earth dwellers witness each day and night. Modern science has debunked, rather profusely, the idea of geocentrism. Now, we can easily leave our atmosphere and witness the revolutions of the Earth around the Sun providing definitive proof that our planet is not at all special and the other bodies move throughout the cosmos without any care that we exist.

Cool. We are not the center of the universe. That makes sense and it is observable. But wait! Where is the center of the universe?

From a logical standpoint, one would look to the origin point and say, “Ah, yes. The center of the universe must be where the Big Bang took place.” This makes perfect sense if you assume that the geometry of the universe is a sphere; however, recently studies examining doppler shifts have suggested that the geometry of the universe, instead of being a solid, exists on a solid. This would make the “solid” that the universe rests on at least four dimensions since our world obviously exists in three dimensions.

The support for this comes from a large scale observation of doppler effects outside the Milky Way. Here’s a brief video that simply explains how that was observed.

So, now that the geometry has (somewhat) been determined we get to ask ourselves, again, “Where is the center of that shape?” Well, this turns out to be a difficult question. First, let’s ask the question, “Where is the center on the surface of a sphere?” If you think long enough, you might decide either that there is no center or that every point is the center. Start by picking any arbitrary point somewhere on the surface of the sphere. If you draw concentric areas around that point until the end of the surface you will discover that your arbitrary point provides perfect symmetry in every direction. This will hold for every possible point you could pick.

analysis via doppler

This concept translates to every regular surface of every solid, so we could apply this concept to our universe! This means that from an arbitrary standpoint we could choose any point in the universe to be the center, and in fact, this has been done for Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Turns out those ancient philosophers might have not been totally wrong.

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## You Honestly Believe We Live On A Ball?

The Earth is flat, and if you disagree you are blinded by science… In this blog post I’m going to unpack some of the most convincing arguments for a flat Earth, and provide a hopefully reasonable scientific response to these questions.

Look with your own eyes, look off into the horizon, if the earth is flat then you would no be able to see things that are far away, they would be lost from sight due to the curvature of the Earth. A simple misunderstanding of the scale of Earth relative to what an individual can perceive can lead to a real conundrum when approached with this question. Indeed from an individuals perspective, the curvature of the Earth is almost impossible to see for yourself.

Common sense will tell you that if we were really spinning on a ball at 1,000 mph while the ball itself orbits the sun traveling through space at many thousands of mph, then we would feel this incredibly fast motion, and most likely even be flung off of the earth into space. It is true that one’s common sense may lead them to this belief, but a scientific approach reminds us that what the human body really feels in regards to motion is acceleration, not velocity. So the fact of Earths orbital speed and the speed of its spin, does not mean that we should necessarily feel the motion, or be flung off the surface into space.

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## The 1 Shocking Discovery NASA Doesn’t Want You To Know…

VectorStock

For most, the discoveries of NASA are taken at face value and seen as trustworthy. However, for a growing number of conspiracists, alternative facts are rising into prevalence. I would like to introduce one of these alternative facts in this blog post. Although it may seem unbelievable, hopefully after a proper explanation, you can come to see how some people may come to adopt this mindset.

Alien life on mars is alive and well, and the government knows about it. This idea stems from an interesting photo taken of Mars’ surface.

Even a non conspiracist can recognize that this looks a lot like a face. Possibly the face of a monkey. And if there is a face of that magnitude on the surface of Mars, then there must be a sophisticated civilization on the planet capable of creating such a monument.

If you would like to travel further into this conspiracy you will have to conquer some pretty discouraging evidence. Further Mars missions have given us a much clearer view of the surface and NASA now confirms that the face was just an illusion caused by shadows and the angle of the original photos taken from the Viking 1 and 2 missions. However this could just be the claims of NASA trying to discourage the adoption of the knowledge of alien life on Mars. They could be releasing doctored photos specifically designed to cover up the alien existence.

The tendency to see patterns in placed where they are actually not intended is commonly known as pareidolia, and is a confirmed behavior that we recognize is humans in general. This is what NASA claims is happening with the face on Mars. Although there truly is no face, many people exhibit the pattern of pareidolia and perceive there to be a face. A properly entrenched conspiracy believer however may even come to the conclusion that the concept of pareidolia was itself invented to make people doubt the security of what they are seeing with their own eyes. So the people are so easily manipulated that they will believe NASA over what they see with their own eyes.

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## Gravity as the Driving Force

The Sun has a mass of 2 * 10^30 kg. Gravity exerts a compression force on the Sun proportional to this immense mass. So why doesn’t the sun collapse under the weight of its gravity?

The pressure of the center of the Sun is about 340 billion times the air pressure on Earth at sea level. Temperatures at the Sun’s core reach 15 million Kelvin. The conditions at the Sun’s core allow nuclear reactions to occur.

We will leave the exact reactions for a different time. Nevertheless, the basic reaction for stars the size of our Sun is called the proton-proton chain:

$4{_{1}^{1}\textrm{H}}\rightarrow{^{1}\textrm{He}^{2-}}+2e^{+}+2v_{e}$

The nuclear reactions inside the core result in energy and an outward pressure that combats the inward pressure of gravity. Gravity is the driving force behind the nuclear reactions that power the Sun, which in turn determines its size.

## Hydrostatic Equilibrium

While the core of the Sun is able to fuse hydrogen into helium, the size of the Sun will be relatively stable. The outward pressure of the reaction matches the inward force of gravity exerted on a star proportional to its mass.

During this period, the Sun is in “Hydrostatic Equilibrium” along the main sequence. Eventually, the Sun’s core will run out of hydrogen to fuse. The core will begin to contract and core temperatures will increase.

## Red Giants

Once the core of the Sun runs out of hydrogen material to fuse, the core will begin to collapse. The extreme temperature and pressure caused by the core collapsing allows layers of hydrogen just outside the core (which previously had no role in nuclear fusion) to begin reactions. This outer layer contains more volume. Additionally, the star uses a different fusion reaction that results in the star producing much greater net energy.

The Sun will expand and become a Red Giant due to the greater outward pressure exerted as a response to the force of gravity collapsing the star.

## Post-Red Giant

Our Red Giant Sun will eventually lose much of its mass and its emitted material will become a planetary nebula. It will become a white dwarf and slowly cool.

Gravity initiates the process that forms nebulae and stars, influences the formation and size of the star, and determines the life cycle and death of the star. In this way, gravity is the catalyst for change, and the driving force, in the life of our Sun.

### Sources

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## History of Constellations

Long before history has been recorded, humans have studied the stars in the night sky. Although we have looked at stars for thousands of years, it wasn’t until 1930 that the 88 constellations were officially named by the International Astronomical Union. 48 of these constellations were named by Ptolemy in his book The Almagest in 150 A.D. The rest of the 40 constellations were given names by various astronomers throughout the years. In modern terms, a constellation is an area or region in the sky. That area has stars within them to identifying the region, but the stars and the patterns they make are referred to as “asterisms.

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## Gravity Waves

Venus is the unfortunate victim of a runaway greenhouse effect. Not only does this make the planet uninhabitable, it also causes a tremendous degree of difficulty in observing the planet’s surface.

However, there are many interesting things to gain from Venus by just looking at the atmosphere, including a massive gravity wave. Gravity waves in an atmosphere (not to be confused with gravitational waves) are caused by some vertical force displacing otherwise stable air on the surface. Gravity tries to restore equilibrium and generates a visibly oscillating wave pattern.

A recent Japanese expedition of Venus in late 2015 with the probe Akatsuki noticed an enormous wave over a mountainous region. Note the brighter white streak across the atmosphere:

When the probe circled back a few weeks later, the wave was gone. Air likely passed over the mountains below that area, and moved on. What made this gravity wave interesting is that it was virtually stationary above the aforementioned mountains, in spite of Venus’s turbulent atmosphere.

Earth also has gravity waves! Here’s an interesting example from Antarctica:

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## Nuclear Fusion in the Sun

Nuclear fusion is the process in which the Sun and all other stars generate energy through the combination of light atoms into heavier ones. The nuclear fusion in most stars is carried out in proton-proton fusion. In the first step, two protons fused together to create a proton-neutron core and emitting a neutrino and positron. Then, the core is fused with another proton to form helium-3. Finally, two helium-3 atoms are combined together to create helium-4 with two additional protons. Since the mass of the final product in this process is lower than the mass of its original components, the “missing” mass was converted into energy. The quantity of this energy can be calculated by Einstein’s famous formula: e = mc^2. Because the speed of light is such a massive quantity, even the most tiny of masses converted into energy will yield very large outputs.

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## An Artificial Sun

In November of 2018, Chinese scientists announced their work on an artificial sun. Their goal is to develop the same nuclear fusion process that occurs within the sun (the conversion of hydrogen into helium) on Earth to ultimately create a source of unlimited clean energy.

One of the biggest challenges of this project is to reach the extremely high temperatures required for fusion to occur. Nonetheless, the scientists have announced they plan to finish the artificial sun by the end of 2019 due to such great success even in early stages. The machine is a tokamak, consisting of strong magnetic fields and plasma (made mostly of electrons and ions). Scientists have reached electron temperatures of 100 million degrees Celsius, which is comparably hotter than the core temperature of the sun of around 15 million degrees Celsius. This high of a temperature is necessary, according to scientists, even though it’s hotter that the sun because of other impacting conditions. In order to achieve fusion, scientists believe they must also have an ion temperature of the same magnitude. Currently, ion temperatures are only at about 50 million degrees Celsius. The next step is to increase this temperature, because ions are what actually generate energy during the fusion process. If China does successfully achieve nuclear fusion on earth, it would be a truly world-altering advancement.

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## The Age of a Rock

In the grand scheme of things, one can forget about how everything little thing that exists in our Universe has an age. While we consistently talk about planets and stars having ages of billions of years, we sometimes forget to think about not only how the rocks and geographical formations on Earth are formed but also how old they actually are! Thus, to help us better understand how the different parts of Earth was formed, scientists developed methods to date rocks and other sorts of similarly dense pieces of Earth.

Before actually dating the rocks, scientists decided to define the age of a rock based on how long ago the rock actually solidified (how long since the rock has been in its present arrangement of densely packed atoms). With this definition, we perform radiometric dating, or a method to carefully measure the different proportions of the rock’s different atoms and isotopes. We’re able to use radiometric dating because of how some isotopes of these elements are radioactive — knowing the half-life (how long it takes for half of a radioactive nuclei to decay) and the different proportions of isotopes in the given rock, we’re able to calculate how old the rock is (with relative accuracy). At the end of the day, the math to actually calculate age based on half-life and current amount isn’t too difficult, as it only involves proportions and logarithms (since the decay rate isn’t linear).

All in all, even though radiometric dating seems relatively complicated (involving concepts like isotopes, half-life, decay, etc.), it all boils down to something relatively simple. In essence, after knowing how many different isotopes of elements there are in a rock, we calculate how long it must have taken to reach those different amounts, leading to an age for the rock. Pretty cool stuff!

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## Finding Nuclear Fusion

Before the advent of Modern Science and its ability to explain natural phenomena relatively well, we had no idea how the Sun actually worked. Scientists had no idea that the Sun was just a giant ball of really hot gas that’s able to generate light using its own mass. However, over the course of time and after disproving several probable theories, modern scientists were able to conjure up the best explanation for how the Sun has shined and will continue to shine for billions of years.

As a bit of background, I’ll discuss some of the theories developed in the past and how they helped contribute to the ideas we have today. To start, we know that ancient thinkers had potentially thought that the sun was akin to a fire, in that it was just a lump of coal or wood burning infinitely. However, this idea was not only silly but also easily disprovable — when scientists were able to obtain measurements about the Sun in the 19th century (its size and distance from Earth), they quickly decided that the Sun was not burning, as no object of that size could continually exhaust resources.

Knowing that the Sun couldn’t subsist off of chemical processes, scientists suggested that the Sun could generate its energy from gravitational contraction (meaning that the Sun, as it continuously shrinks in size, would always have gas moving inwards which would create the thermal energy required by the Sun). And, because the Sun was so large, it would only need to shrink a very small amount to generate the required energy. However, scientists pointed out that this gravitational contraction could only occur for up to 25 million years — as we know, the Earth is much older than that. Thus, scientists had to develop a new theory to explain the Sun!

And lastly, after having exhausted both chemical and gravitational processes, modern scientists (like Albert Einstein) realized that mass itself contains a massive amount of energy (as dictated by Einstein’s special relativity equation, E=mc^2). Decades of calculations ensued — however, after details had been worked out, scientists concluded that the Sun generated energy through the process of nuclear fusion. In essence, as a result of gravitational contractions, the Sun’s core was able to reach a hot enough temperature to sustain nuclear fusion. At that point, the Sun experiences two types of equilibrium to maintain the nuclear fusion — those include gravitational equilibrium (for outward gas pressure and inward pull of gravity, i.e. gravitational contraction) and energy balance (equal rates of fusion releasing energy and the surface of the Sun radiating that energy). With these two equilibria contributing to the nuclear fusion process, the Sun will continue to generate energy for the next 5 billion years!

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