This should read more as the space news of the month, both for timing and relevance. Yes, because in these last days we heard a lot about some (surprising is the mildest adjective I can use) discoveries and other interesting stuff. Here they are, with relevant links and brief comments.
CERN (the same of Higgs Boson, btw) has just announced the discovery of a new system of five particles all in a single analysis. Discovering a new state is worth a headline in itself – but five at once is somehow exceptional. Read the article to understand why.
As if the discovery of seven planets in the same system were not enough, we’re now able to make interesting (and sensible) hypotheses – for example, TRAPPIST-1 planets might be close enough to each other that microbes could travel from one world to another, via rocks. This raises hopes of detecting alien life signatures, at some moment in the future.
In another potentially ground-breaking discovery, researchers at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, found a gigantic ring of galaxies darting away from us much faster than predicted, which might require Einstein’s theory of gravity to be rewritten. “This 10 million light year-wide ring made up of small galaxies is expanding rapidly like a mini Big Bang. The team believe our neighbouring galaxy, Andromeda, once flew past our own Galaxy at close range, creating a sling-shot of several small galaxies.”
According to some new measurements, and contrary to what previously believed, “massive, star-forming galaxies during the peak epoch of galaxy formation, 10 billion years ago, were dominated by baryonic or ‘normal’ matter. This is in stark contrast to present-day galaxies, where the effects of mysterious dark matter seem to be much greater. This surprising result was obtained using ESO’s Very Large Telescope and suggests that dark matter was less influential in the early universe than it is today.”