Seeing the unseeable dark matter
They could now see even the unseeable. Hooray for science, astronomy in particular!
US astronomers on Tuesday, May 15, presented the most solid proof yet of the existence of dark matter, a mysterious substance believed to make up more than a quarter of the universe.
NASA handout image shows a dark matter ring in a galaxy center.
(I wonder why they called it “dark matter.” It’s so generic for a scientific term. They could have called it “dark stuff” or “dark whatever”!)
Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope spotted a ring of dark matter in a galaxy cluster some five billion light-years away from Earth, which measured some 2.6 million light-years across.
“This is the first time we have detected dark matter as having a unique structure that is different from the gas and galaxies in the cluster,” said James Jee, a member of NASA’s team of astronomers.
Astronomers have long suspected there must be some substance holding galaxy clusters together, otherwise galaxies would only have the gravity from their visible stars, which would not be enough to keep them from flying apart.
Though invisible, astronomers have inferred dark matter exists by observing how its gravity bends the light of more distant background galaxies.
“Although the invisible matter has been found before in other galaxy clusters, it has never been detected to be so largely separated from the hot gas and the galaxies that make up galaxy clusters,” said Jee, who works at the Johns Hopkins University.
(Wow, they were really scanning the whole universe for this dark matter. Some people could find it much, much closer to home – either in their toilet bowl –yuck! – or in their mind. Me, I only have green matter!)
Shut up Harry Potter blabber!
To all big-mouthed Harry Potter fans: Zip it up! Otherwise – riddikulus! – you’re gonna find your mouth stitched up!
J.K. Rowling has a request for those with inside dirt on her seventh and final
Harry Potter book: Please keep it to yourself.
“We’re a little under three months away, now, and the first distant rumblings of the weirdness that usually precedes a Harry Potter publication can be heard on the horizon,” Rowling wrote on her Web site on Monday.
“I want the readers who have, in many instances, grown up with Harry, to embark on the last adventure they will share with him without knowing where they are they going.”
Rowling had said two major characters will die in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” which comes out July 21. Although the Potter books are released under tight security, copies often are obtained before the publication date.
“If Harry dies, we don’t want to know about it until J.K. Rowling decides to tell us,” Leaky Cauldron webmaster Melissa Anelli wrote. “And if you decide to tell us before that, you’ll incur the wrath of a staff of almost 200, most of whom have been waiting almost 10 years for these final revelations and can NEVER get back the moment you rob by spoiling them.
“That’s some wrath right there. We own pitchforks, hot wax and feathers. And we’re not afraid to use them.”
On Monday, Rowling seconded the fan site’s plea.
“Some, perhaps, will read this and take the view that all publicity is good publicity, that spoilers are part of hype, and that I am trying to protect sales rather than my readership,” Rowling wrote on http://www.jkrowling.com. “However, spoilers won’t stop people buying the book, they never have – all it will do is diminish their pleasure in the book.”
More than 300 million copies have sold of the previous six Potter books. “Deathly Hallows” has more than 1 million pre-orders on Amazon.com alone.
This one has shut up for good: Evangelist Jerry Falwell, 73
OK, the world has one less blabber.
US evangelist Jerry Falwell, who helped turn the religious right into a powerful political force and fired controversy with his battles against abortion and homosexuality, died on Tuesday, May 15, at the age of 73.
He was found unconscious in his office at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital just over an hour later, said Dr. Carl Moore, his personal physician.
The evangelist, who had a history of heart problems, had no heartbeat when he was found by colleagues, Moore said, adding he apparently died of a heart rhythm abnormality.
Falwell’s increasing influence in the 1970s and 1980s coincided with the rise of the US religious right, whose votes helped send conservative Republicans including Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush to the White House.
Fond of quipping that the Bible referred to “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” Falwell provoked a storm of protest when he said gays, lesbians and health workers who provide abortions were partly to blame for the September 11 attacks.
“I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians … all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say: you helped this happen,” he said.
Adam and Steve could now get the plug off their ears. Whew! The air is clear!