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WOW facts!!...


Mike73
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One of the reasons l have grown to love astronomy is that simple feeling of looking through your scope seeing an object and being in awe of the sheer size and mind boggling scale of what we know and see.

Surely this applies to anyone looking up at night either with the mk1 eyeball to professional astronomers looking far into space, we all must share that WOW feeling when we learn a new fact.

So just for the sake of it, what WOW facts have you learnt recently?

Yesterday l read in S@N that our galaxy may have 100 billion planets!! 100 billion!!!!!!:)

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Yesterday l read in S@N that our galaxy may have 100 billion planets!! 100 billion!!!!!!:)
Very likely. Current estimates put the figure at 1.6 planets per star. If Isaac Asimov's Galactic Empire were ever to come into being, I don't think it could cope....

When you consider that of the 700-odd exoplanets known to date, a high proportion of them have been discovered by the transit method - the planet passing directly in front of its star as viewed from Earth. How likely is it that a planet's orbit should be so precisely aligned with the Earth's line-of-sight, as to make that possible? After all, consider how uncommon transits of Venus are: only two in every 120 years or so....

Wow factor indeed!

Edited by 661-pete
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For me its the facts we dont know i find the most engrossing. Sounds bizarre i know but the current arguments that rage around various theories are simply fantastic. For instance if time actually exists or is simply a creation of mankinds conscious. If real then did it exists before the big bang was a creation of the big event. Fascinating stuff.

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I heard recently on a TV program about inifinity that there are not enough atoms in the known universe to write out a Googol (10 to the power of 100) even if you write one zero on each atom. And even more mindbending, a Googol is not even approaching anywhere near infinity.

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Indeed - I was giggling all the way through at the absurdity and beauty of numbers and the vastness of space. I am not surrprised that the guys who had spent their lives trying to figure out infinity had very glazed over eyes! It made me feel strangely emotional at the end too. Highly recommended.

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I heard recently on a TV program about inifinity that there are not enough atoms in the known universe to write out a Googol (10 to the power of 100) even if you write one zero on each atom. And even more mindbending, a Googol is not even approaching anywhere near infinity.
I think you mean a googolplex (10^10^100) which would need 10^100 zeros to write it out, rather than a googol - but I get your drift. The number of normal matter particles (protons, electrons, etc.) in the universe, is estimated at about 10^87. However, if we factor in dark matter....

However I can write out a googol - 10^100 - quite easily. It's:

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

:)

Edited by 661-pete
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I always feel a sense of "Wow !" when I'm looking at one of the brighter globular clusters such as M13 or M92. With my 10" scope I can resolve stars pretty much to the core with these objects and at 150x using my 8mm Ethos eyepiece the views are stunning. The thought of hundreds of thousands of stars clumped together in a ball 145 light years across and 25,000 light years away is rather mind blowing :)

Much less spectacular but equally mind-stretching was seeing the pale glimmer of a supernova that occurred in a faint galaxy in Ursa Major last year. The galaxy is around 67 million light years from us so the catastrophic event that emitted the photons that were entering my scope that night had occurred when dinosaurs still walked the Earth. Amazing stuff :)

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I always lol when i look @ the night sky, just trying to comprehend anything and everything out there, the fact that everything is so big, and vast, and in relation, we're merely a speck of dust in the cosmos.....thats my wow moment! :)

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I think you mean a googolplex (10^10^100) which would need 10^100 zeros to write it out, rather than a googol - but I get your drift. The number of normal matter particles (protons, electrons, etc.) in the universe, is estimated at about 10^87. However, if we factor in dark matter....

However I can write out a googol - 10^100 - quite easily. It's:

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

:)

ha ha OK OK :)

yes, I mean a googolplex :) :)

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Lots of WOW facts for me, the facts that make a total eclipse possible (moon 400x smaller than the sun but 400x closer), the time it has taken for the light to reach us from distant galaxies, its all mind blowing when you really think about it :)

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The one I read the other day was that it takes about 100,000 years for a photon produced in the centre of the sun to escape through the surface because of all the bouncing around it has to do, but it takes eight minutes to get here once it got out.

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my wow moment is that if you put all the stars you can see and add them to all the galaxies you can see then multiply it by 1000 to the power of 100 it would still be raining or cloudy when you buy a new scope :)

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my wow moment is that if you put all the stars you can see and add them to all the galaxies you can see then multiply it by 1000 to the power of 100 it would still be raining or cloudy when you buy a new scope :)

ROFL very true

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Yesterday I discovered that NASA has a 747 with a 2.5M Telescope that they can use in flight.

That's the IR imaging scope, isn't it? There was a piece about it on a television programme last year, but I don't recall which for the moment. IIRC they cool the scope to near absolute freezing so it's own warmth doesn't interfere with the images it's collecting.

James

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That's the IR imaging scope, isn't it? There was a piece about it on a television programme last year, but I don't recall which for the moment. IIRC they cool the scope to near absolute freezing so it's own warmth doesn't interfere with the images it's collecting.

James

I think it was on one of the Horizon episodes, a facinating episode it was too.

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One thing I recently discovered, now im not entirely sure about the exact figures so dont quote me! But I was amazed to think of the structure of our native star The Sun and the emmitance of photons. To think it takes possibly thousands of years for a gamma ray that was produced from the core to escape the outer layers and become a photon (considering the diameter of the sun is less than a million miles) and that once escaped the photon takes only 8 minutes to reach us here on Earth, a little over 90 million miles away!!

To me the consideration of the time scales is phenomenal.

Edited by Anweniel
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Lots of WOW facts for me, the facts that make a total eclipse possible (moon 400x smaller than the sun but 400x closer), the time it has taken for the light to reach us from distant galaxies, its all mind blowing when you really think about it :)

Indeed, as if there was not enough things that had to be "just so" to enable life here on earth, the moon being just the right size and distance from the sun to enable a total eclipse is like whoever or whatever created all of this left a calling card or signed his work...

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Indeed, as if there was not enough things that had to be "just so" to enable life here on earth, the moon being just the right size and distance from the sun to enable a total eclipse is like whoever or whatever created all of this left a calling card or signed his work...
Lots of WOW facts for me, the facts that make a total eclipse possible (moon 400x smaller than the sun but 400x closer), the time it has taken for the light to reach us from distant galaxies, its all mind blowing when you really think about it :)

Of course it's only at the moment that total eclipses are possible.

In 1,000,000 (or something like that) years they will all be annular.

That could even be a Wow ?!?

Edited by ScubaMike
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