Entries by Mark R Smith

The Reappearance of Supernova (SN) Refsdal

Space is always changing. Over thousands of years, astronomers have attempted to understand the workings. Trying to explain astronomical events offers a chance to test understandings of physics on a scale completely different from the one encountered in daily lives. A group of astronomers had the opportunity to do that. They managed to predict the…

Universe FAQ ‘Is there Evidence for the Big Bang?’

Evidence for the big bang can be provided from observational astronomy using Hubble’s law (redshift of galaxies) also known as the ‘Doppler effect’ (Roy et al 2003) where the wavelength of light from distant galaxies is shifted towards the red end of the visible spectrum and results from receding galaxies. Hubble published his observations in…

The Evolution of the Universe, Cosmic Web and Connections

The universe was not perfectly uniform when it started, some areas had higher density than others. During the evolution of the universe, these areas of high density contained most of the matter and started forming galaxies where there was the highest concentration of matter. This large scale structure (‘cosmic web’) connects the observed clusters of…

Gaia and the Race to Detect More Gravitational Waves

Gravitational waves (GW’s) are disturbances in spacetime produced by any massive object moving asymmetrically. However, only the most massive and most relativistic objects produce large enough GW’s to be detectable. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) and Virgo detectors are using laser interferometry to detect tiny ripples in the fabric of spacetime. They have…

Mathematician Mary Somerville Features in Google Doodle

The Google Doodle for 2 February 2020 celebrated Mary Somerville, the Scottish polymath and science writer, and with Caroline Herschel, the joint first ever woman to be made an honorary member of the Royal Astronomical Society. Born in Jedburgh, Scotland, in 1780, Somerville received little formal education compared to her brothers. Largely self-taught, she pursued…