Scientists have speculated and then created a ‘theory’ surrounding how stars can only grow to about 150 times the mass of the sun, because for one thing, they could burn out too quickly to be seen, secondly, the winds would rip them apart, and thirdly, there is not enough material like gas and dust in most locales to gravitationally contract into a star much bigger than 150 solar masses. Well along comes R136a1, dubbed as the ‘monster star’ which falsifies the whole idea…
“The star is seen to have a mass about 265 times that of our own Sun; but the latest modeling work suggests at birth it could have been bigger, still. Perhaps as much as 320 times that of the Sun, says Professor Paul Crowther from Sheffield University, UK.” -BBC
Astronomers were “really taken aback” by the discovery. National Geographic writes…“The discovery could rewrite the laws of stellar physics, since it’s long been thought that stars beyond a certain mass would be too unstable to survive.” They will revise the limitation to this particular star but it’s also possible for another star or stars being discovered in the future that is even bigger than this new discovery which would take back Astronomers even more.
Another surprise has to do with gamma ray bursts. They have been observed and studied since 1967 but last month there was one discovered that was way off the charts!
Gamma rays are the most energetic forms of light, which means they’re capable of penetrating even denser chunks of matter than x-rays, noted Swift lead scientist David Burrows. Because of this, we can see gamma rays that have traveled from sources at very edges of the observable universe.
“Swift was designed to look for these bright events and study the initial flash of gamma rays and high-energy x-rays as well as the “afterglow” of lower-energy x-rays and ultraviolet light. Even though it can’t scan the whole sky at once, the telescope typically finds about two gamma-ray bursts a week. But on June 21 a rush of light from a minute-long gamma-ray burst proved so overwhelming that Swift’s data processing software temporarily shut down.”
“This thing was so bright it completely saturated the detectors,” said Burrows, who is also a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State University.” -National Geographic
A new mission named Xenia is going to be revised so it’s able to handle the brightest flashes produced in the Universe which is a good idea. Next is the moon, under the assumption of it’s supposed old age, the moon was deemed to be depleted of various volatiles until recently…“Researchers discover water on the moon is widespread, similar to Earth’s” reports phyorg.
Apparently samples from the Apollo mission was overlooked, a team of researchers from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville have re-analyzed some moon samples which has taken back scientists once again! This doesn’t mean they found lakes, streams or ponds on the moon rather they discovered molecular water elements known as “lunar dew” in apatite similar to amounts found in the Earth basalts.
Now you take other discoveries like the Kuyper belt, the tilted magnetic fields of Uranus and Neptune, the F-ring of Saturn, the geysers of Triton, binary asteroids, the lack of material for life on Mars, the rings of Jupiter and Uranus and Neptune and the list goes on and on. In all these discoveries, it’s not even in the ballpark of what astronomers had expected! Finding new discoveries is exciting, but what are we learning about these expectations?
Space.com quotes a character from Tom Stoppard’s novel Arcadia in his conclusion talking about scientific discoveries: “It’s the best possible time to be alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong.” Astronomers should not be treated like a “prophet” when reading of the various claims of what they think observations or non-observations should be. “Soft” science used in the old age framework has been abused and overused in situations that clearly was a huge reach to begin with. New discoveries are more exciting and clearly show the hand of God!