Tomorrow June 1 at 11:12 AM  the Euclid satellite will be launched by
SpaceX at Cape Kennedy, it had been set to be launched by Russia but after
they invaded Ukraine they pulled out and SpaceX took over. Euclid is a €1.4
billion project designed to investigate Dark Energy, the mysterious force
that is causing the universe's expansion to accelerate; in particular
Euclid's purpose is to find the value of Ω, a number that describes the
effect Dark Energy has on that acceleration. We already know Ω is close to
-1, if it's exactly -1 then the acceleration is constant and can be
explained by General Relativity if even a perfect vacuum has an inherent
amount of energy, but if that number is anything other than -1 then the
acceleration could increase leading to a Big Rip, or decrease or even
reverse leading to a Big Crunch. Euclid may provide the answers to some of
the most profound questions imaginable, it will probably take a few years
but in just 2 days it will be able to survey more of the universe than the
Hubble telescope has managed to do in the last 30 years.

The other big astronomy news is of course yesterday's announcement of the
discovery of Gravitational Waves that have a wavelength of several hundred
light years. LIGO first detected Gravitational Waves several years ago but
they only had a wavelength of a mile or two. Waves more than a light year
long were expected to be produced by Supermassive Black Holes in the
centers of galaxies; however the waves they saw were about twice as intense
as expected. I've heard several theories to explain this excess, such as
the wiggling of Cosmic Strings, theoretical one dimensional structures much
thinner than a proton but millions or billions of light years long that
 have a mass of 10 million billion tons per centimeter. I've also heard
some say this is evidence the universe is cyclical and what we're seeing are
 the Gravitational Waves produced in a Big Crunch that ended the last
iteration of the universe. But nobody really knows what's causing the exces

John K Clark    See what's on my new list at  Extropolis

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