Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.

Galaxies collide!

Using data from then space telescope Gaia, astronomers have identified evidence that 8 to 10 billion years ago the Milky Way collided with a dwarf galaxy.

The astronomers propose that around 8 billion to 10 billion years ago, an unknown dwarf galaxy smashed into our own Milky Way. The dwarf did not survive the impact: It quickly fell apart, and the wreckage is now all around us.

“The collision ripped the dwarf to shreds, leaving its stars moving in very radial orbits” that are long and narrow like needles, said Vasily Belokurov of the University of Cambridge and the Center for Computational Astrophysics at the Flatiron Institute in New York City. The stars’ paths take them “very close to the center of our galaxy. This is a telltale sign that the dwarf galaxy came in on a really eccentric orbit and its fate was sealed.”

It is thought that this dwarf galaxy was quite large for a dwarf galaxy.

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  • BSJ

    Collision, crash, smashed, impact. Over-hype much?

    The likelihood that any objects within either galaxy actually impacted one another is highly unlikely!

  • BSJ

    Argh. What a poorly written sentence! Would have been better with …highly improbable!

  • Localfluff

    @BSJ human words are too small to describe this. How do you want to describe it? Billions of stars forming and exploding in a galactic merger is not much like when you bump into another car while parking clumsily.

    When everything becomes radiation, what would you call that?

  • wayne

    good stuff.
    If I recall correctly, the average distance between stars in our galaxy, is roughly 6 light-years.

    (btw– great rocket-launch website you referenced recently in another thread.)

    I’m fond of Conformal Cyclic Cosmology and refer you to Roger Penrose:

    Copernicus Center Lecture 2010

    I’m going to mangle this description, but it goes something (loosely) like this, for Penrose:
    ( correct me if I’m mistaken, doing this from memory…)

    All matter will eventually wind up inside black holes.
    Black holes evaporate away eventually.
    Mass (rest-mass) determines how fast clocks run.
    Massless particles always travel at C, and experience no time.
    When all matter has transformed into energy, time ceases to exist.
    When Time ceases to exist, there is no such thing as space.
    Everything re-conforms and starts over.

    (more poetically stated: future infinity is the past singularity and vice versa. something like that…)

    Alan Parsons Project
    Some other Time

  • BSJ

    A merging of two galaxies.

    No more spectacular than two rain clouds becoming one.

    Space is big. I mean really, really big.

  • Localfluff

    Two clouds merging and causing rainfall and thus strange things growing up, is spectacular indeed. And interstellarly that is how stars and worlds are made, and destroyed. If that is not spectacular, I don’t know what could be.

  • Edward

    Although this is not a simulation with a dwarf galaxy, the following shows what happens when galaxies collide and compares it with some observations: (1 minute)

    The second simulation in the following video may be a better approximation of what the Gaia Sausage article is telling us: (3 minutes)

  • Localfluff

    @Edward That’s a stunning simulation, and I’ve seen variations of it. They are rightly proud of being able to simulate this stuff literally picture perfect.

    The Backward Galaxy NGC4622 is funny. It’s a spiral galaxy that rotates the wrong way around. All other spiral galaxies rotate in the same way relative to their beautiful spirals. Someone spent his/her time determining yet another galaxy’s rotation rate, after having already 10,000 registered. As if the next one would show any surprise. And it did. This is astronomy. Some funny stuff going on out there.

  • Max

    Perhaps this explains why there is so much material comets/astroids that pass through our solar system.
    I was curious if this sausage galaxy had a prior name given to it that would sound familiar. I had not realize just how many galaxies there were in the local cluster.

    “54” of them.

    The Milky Way galaxy (with 600 billion stars) has 16 satellite galaxies (mostly faint and irregular with two of them being very close and visible called the large and small magellenic cloud.
    The larger Galaxy Andromeda (with 1 trillion stars) has 25 satellite galaxies.
    The smaller triangulum galaxy (having 40 billion stars) has only one confirmed satellite galaxy. **WOW**

  • wayne

    Star Trek (original series)
    “By Any Other Name”

    Aliens from the galaxy of Andromeda take the Enterprise across the “energy barrier” at the edge of our galaxy.

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