Astronomy Astrophysics

A Question and Answer Guide to Astronomy by Pierre-Yves Bely

By Pierre-Yves Bely

Amazon has performed a disservice to these folks that got this e-book to work out the colourful illustrations within the iPad and iPhone. All colour has been stripped.
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Meanwhile, the stars, even those orbiting at the same distance from the galactic center, have all continued to move with slightly different speeds and directions. 5 billion years ago, including the remnant of our “mother” supernova, are no longer near us, and there is no way to tell where it might be now. 35 How far out does our solar system extend? Oort cloud Shock wave Neptune Pluto Kuiper belt Saturn Jupiter Mars Earth Sun When we call up a mental picture of our solar system, we imagine the Sun, the seven planets and their moons, the asteroids, Pluto, and now Eris.

During the birth of our own solar system, most of the aggregated material in the primordial cloud collapsed into the nascent Sun, but some matter escaped that fate and was left to form a swirling disk of gas and dust in orbit around the new star. The planets, including Earth, then coalesced out of this disk material. The elements in that original cloud were the raw materials for our oceans, our land masses, and eventually all forms of life on our planet. Without the stars, the material we are made of would not exist; nor would we!

There you have it: if one star, more or less, dies each year and seven are born, the population of the Galaxy is growing, albeit slowly. 31 Are there any isolated stars, outside of the galaxies? Imagine a night sky with no stars, blank, black – with at most a small cloudy spot or two, all that can be seen of our closest neighbor galaxies. Sad, no? This is the fate of any who may live on planets that orbit around lonely stars, drifting through the vast reaches of empty, intergalactic space. When two galaxies collide, millions of stars are created from the froth born of billions of stars getting tossed wildly about, as the stellar landscape is completely and violently transformed.

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