It’s Stranger Than We Can Imagine

First, all was null and void. Well that’s easy enough. After that, things get complex. Much more complex.

For anyone who’s been paying attention to astronomy these past few decades, the situation has never been more confusing. Never have we known so little about so much.

Oh, it just seems that way, I know. First there was dark matter, maybe, then there was dark matter, definitely (both in WIMPy and MACHO style). Then there was dark energy, and the expanding universe was turned inside out, just the way Einstein had wrongly predicted over a hundred years ago (and he was exactly right. Or was he exactly wrong? I told you it was confusing…). Now there are dark stars, maybe, and they’re made entirely of – of normal stuff.

These so-called dark stars, named for the song “Dark Star” by the Grateful Dead, would contain mostly normal matter, in the form of hydrogen and helium molecules, but would be vastly larger (about 400 to 200,000 times wider) and “fluffier” than the sun and other stars.

It is conceivable that dark stars exist today, though they would not emit visible light. Instead they would produce gamma rays, neutrinos and antimatter such as positrons and antiprotons, Gondolo said.

“With your bare eyes, you can’t see a dark star,” Gondolo said, “but the radiation would fry you.”

Oh great. Solar system sized stars that you can’t see, but can burn you to a crisp. And seeing as they could very well have dominated the early universe, it’s quite possible that they established the necessary conditions for “normal” stars to be born.

Which, of course, set up the necessary conditions for you and me to be born, and do odd things like blog.

Funny, isn’t it? – how it all seems to work together? Just like magic. Gee – you’d almost think that there might be some design to it or something. Wouldn’t you?

Anyway, to lessen the confusion, dark stars are called that because 1) they don’t radiate in the visible wavelengths, 2) they are indeed made of “dark matter”, the mysterious stuff that may or may not be normal matter, but makes up most of the mass in the universe if it exists at all and 3) many astronomers are Dead Heads.

For more reading (with a less flippant attitude than I have today), I give you The New Scientist.

Explore posts in the same categories: Astronomy

One Comment on “It’s Stranger Than We Can Imagine”

  1. […] said it before and I’ll say it again – the universe is stranger than we can imagine. And just because some guy named Shakespeare used the line first doesn’t mean I won’t […]

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