Follow the reluctant adventures in the life of a Welsh astrophysicist sent around the world for some reason, wherein I photograph potatoes and destroy galaxies in the name of science. And don't forget about my website, www.rhysy.net



Monday, 11 January 2016

Ask An Astronomer Anything At All About Astronomy (XIV)

These posts are getting pretty popular. A particularly rich haul of questions this week.


1) Is there any evidence other than redshifts for the expansion of the Universe ?
Yes.

2) Is there any way of explaining redshifts and the cosmic microwave background that could bring back the idea of a Steady State Universe ?
No.

3) If aliens find us, will we have to use their name for Earth instead of Earth ?
Yes.

4) Can we detect aliens on other planets by looking for gases in their atmospheres ?
Yes.

5) What is the escape velocity of Jar Jar Abrahams and is there a way to reduce this to zero ?
Indeed.

6) How do you know black holes exist ?
The usual way, really.

7) What's the general sort of error when estimating the mass of a galaxy ?
Your mum.

8) Does it make much of a difference if you use Einstein's law of gravity instead of Newton's to estimate the mass of a galaxy ?
Not really.

9) How is the mass of a galaxy cluster determined ?
Quite badly.

10) Could gamma ray bursters explain the Fermi paradox ?
No.

11) What are you planning to research for the rest of the year ?
Galaxies.

12) Why are the planets so far away ?
Because gravity is pathetic.

13) Should we throw a big barbecue when the Milky Way collides with Andromeda ?
Probably not.

14) If all the stars exploded, how long would it take for all the heavy elements to decay ?
Bloody ages.

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