Dipl.Ing. NT , Astrophysiker
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When we take a stand on our existence, sometimes a few contemplative words suddenly slip from our lips, such as the following:
I live with a WONDERFUL STAR ON A WONDERFUL PLANET
At the same time, I keep thinking about why stars actually shine, planets are hidden from view, they are only illuminated by the sun. Stars simply shine themselves;
and they do this because they fuse atomic nuclei together inside them. Simply put, the lightest element, hydrogen, becomes helium, which becomes carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and so on. All the elements mentioned are bred in stars. The reactor is driven by a force, it is the gravitational force of its own mass because it holds the star together as a ball of gas and provides the gigantic fusion energy. As long as the energy released can overcome the gravitational pressure, the star radiates.
Energy sources can run dry and this happens in their interior. The fusion process I described earlier then stops! What does that mean for the star? Yes, it collapses under itself. However, such a collapse releases so much energy in the form of heat that the fusion of further, heavier atomic nuclei is restarted. I like to say: a natural physical process. Even gold and uranium are created. But in the end, the collapsing stellar mass encounters the resistance of a solid core at its core and is, it is easy to imagine, hurled back into space like a trampoline.
In this way, the star described comes to a furious end in the form of a supernova: it is torn apart by an explosion that distributes the heavy elements throughout the universe as condensation nuclei for the formation of new stars and planets. I am sure that hundreds of thousands, millions, perhaps even billions of planetary systems have already been formed in this way in the Milky Way and, of course, in many other galaxies. I’ll give an example for the very curious :
NGC 3603, the nebula known to us in the constellation Keel of the Ship, is only 22,000 light years away from Earth. As described, stars burst into supernovas and blow gas and dust into space. These condense again until nuclear fusion ignites again and a new star is formed. Dear reader, you will now notice……………This is also how our sun was formed. Let us now turn our attention to one of these planetary systems, namely our own cosmic home in the wonderful glow of our sun. Its (planetary system) formation alone is an incredible story.
I am afraid that the readers will ask an understandable question!
….and that is
But how do we know what happened back then? After all, nobody was there.
We therefore set off in search of clues – in the truest sense of the word – and a special one at that: the trail of stones. When researching the history of the formation of our solar system, the stones that are left over from that time, the meteorites, can tell us a lot. They. They are highly „talkative“. Yes, it sounds adventurous, but stones have a special kind of voice. Based on the universal validity of the laws of nature and their natural constants, it is possible to read from a meteorite how it was formed. The astrophysicist is also acting as an archaeologist here, actually even as a forensic scientist, because with the stone he has a piece of evidence in his hand that allows him to make statements about an event that took place around 4.5 billion years ago and lasted approximately 750,000 to 1.5 million years. By analyzing the rocks, we learn that a star must have exploded near the gas cloud that would eventually become the solar system, before this gas cloud collapsed under its own weight. The explosion dispersed its chemical elements into the environment, where they were later used again in the formation of our solar system. That’s what I call :
Once created, always there!
What do we read in the meteorites ? It is the frequency and concentration of the elements contained in the meteorites that tells us that the star that exploded at that time could only have been about one light year away from the place where the meteorites were formed and that this star was about 25 times as heavy as our sun. You may be thinking, whether 25, 50 or 200 times as big, it doesn’t matter. …….For the sake of it!
Most stars in the Milky Way are about as heavy as the sun. (Or small …?) The average star in the Milky Way has 0.8 solar masses, so our sun is slightly (minimally) above average. Now I ask the following question, and it must come………
But why are there so few heavier stars? Quite simply: the greater the mass, the greater the pressure on the inner region of the star, which in turn accelerates the fusion reactions of the atomic nuclei. Heavy stars ignite their entire „burning stages“ within a few million years and in the end they explode. … …in human terms, it’s like dying!
There is something I don’t want to rule out, namely the possibility that the gas cloud was even given angular momentum by the bombardment with remnants of the giant star. Because it is certain that it must have rotated, and with it the new star that emerged from it.
Only in this way was it possible for planets to form on a disk of gas dust in the equatorial plane of the new star. Without angular momentum and thus the ability to maintain a certain orbit around the sun, the planets would have either crashed into the sun or disappeared into the universe. As you can see, without angular momentum, our solar system would have come to nothing and, ultimately, so would we. What should we call this existing effect from today’s perspective? A happy coincidence or a perfect coincidence? Careful, don’t drift off into religion, I’d better say a typical repetitive process in the universe. But one thing is certain: without this effect, the Anthropocene would never have happened. The fact is, about 4.6 to 4.7 billion years ago, our very special star was formed. I’m raving again: it’s a wonderful star, because it wasn’t too big or too small, neither too hot nor too cold. It was just right-this G star, that’s how we astrophysicists categorized it.
G as in good for life – OUR SUN A wonderful star – about 4.7 billion years old. How is its astro – life planned by the peculiarities of the universe. Well, in about 8 billion years this „yellow dwarf“ will grow into a „red giant“. At the latest then, I prefer to say a long time before that, the Anthropocene will also come to an end, or rather its end.
So let’s move on to the future solar system!
Within a very short time, the first planets formed in the gas and dust cloud surrounding the star: they were the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn. Jupiter is 317 times heavier than the Earth and twice as heavy as all the other planets put together. And Saturn – it is called the Lord of the Rings for good reason.
These two giants rubbed against the gas and dust of the disk in which they were also formed, which caused them to lose some „orbital angular momentum“ and initially drift towards the central star. By an interesting coincidence, however, the balance of forces later changed again, so that Jupiter and Saturn moved outwards again. During such a „maiden voyage“, as I call this movement, they shook up the forming system of asteroids and planets. This still young solar system was only about 5 million years old when the first „rocky planets“ formed from colliding asteroids. Then, after another 100 million years or so, all the planets we know today were finally present. That’s it !
However, I think it is very important to note that some of them were so far away from the sun that they even had frozen water. These were hurled into the interior of the solar system with their rather precious cargo by the rather wild motion of Saturn and Jupiter and in this way the water probably also came to Mars, a particularly enigmatic planet. I must note at this point that there is no real consensus on its origin. Some of us „astros“ think it is a so-called runaway moon from Jupiter, because it is very light, with only ten percent of our Earth’s mass. It is therefore still not clear how this „lightweight“ could have ended up in its place in the solar system as Earth’s outer neighbor.
However, we now know that the asteroids beyond the orbit of Mars originate from a so-called debris cloud, which was apparently thrown into severe turbulence by the interaction with the gas planets, as well as the two ice giants Neptune and Uranus. Many of the debris particles must have later penetrated into the interior of the solar system and brought this wonderful substance to the planets orbiting there, because, as we know, it became very important for them – water.
Another mystery is and remains the formation of the rocky planets in our solar system. ( 4 in number ).
I had already mentioned the theory of collapsing asteroids, but this would have required at least a planetary core to attract the asteroids. But it wasn’t there yet, it takes a very, very long time for it to form, and the universe had it, after all, and ultimately only dust particles collided in the interior of the solar system that was just forming, dust fluff, really no more than what everyone finds at home when they haven’t vacuumed for a long time. Yes, fluff, it sounds funny, were the germs from which the planets grew. These became entangled, knotted and pressed together to form small chunks and pieces, roughly the size of a house. These then collided at speeds of a few kilometers per second and in turn joined together and grew in size again and again …… While the gas planets further out in the gas disk had long since been completed, four rocky planets were growing inside the solar system.
At the very center: the planet Mercury. This poor fellow is so close to the sun that the tidal force slows it down in its own rotation until it can only ever show the sun the same side.
Number two: the planet Venus. It is almost as heavy as the Earth, yet it has developed quite differently. Until well into the 1960s, it was thought that Venusians might be having fun under the impenetrable cloud cover of Venus – which is why some „fools“ call it the planet of love. I remark: typical human chatter. But lo and behold, then Russian Venus probes with their measurements took the charm out of the whole romance. Because these measurements on the surface of Venus showed that it has a pressure of 95 atmospheres and a temperature of around 450 degrees Celsius. Even the very robust Soviet technology therefore gave up on its guest „Venus“ after a few minutes.
The third rocky planet is our Earth. A planet worth living on, as it turned out. And one orbit further out:
the planet Mars. If you are looking for an order of formation, I will simply say that the four planets were formed in exactly this order. Let’s move „discovery-wise“ a little further out, where the gas and ice giants are orbiting today. If we look at their gravitational effect with a very pleasant feeling, we realize that they are responsible for the pleasant effect that many asteroids cannot penetrate the interior of our solar system. Simply super, I say. The best example is „Jupiter“, which ensures that a devastating asteroid strikes our planet only once every 50 million years. Without it, there would be such an impact every 100,000 years.
I say, you could also thank a gas planet, yes?…better no?
Unfortunately, no humans lived 65 million years ago and fortunately there was no thought of it 64.83 million years ago. …great sentence !…….
But how unpleasant is the event at that time, because it was 65 million years ago that the dinosaurs were the ones to suffer – they died out. …..and an asteroid not hindered by Jupiter hit our Earth !
OUR SUN SYSTEM The third planet, protected by the great Jupiter! brought to rest A small side note on our own behalf: We should, no, we absolutely must continue to observe interstellar space, and to an even greater extent than before. Question: Why is this so important? Answer: Because of the danger of an asteroid impact. Because a kilometer-sized cosmic chunk would bring humanity to a really abrupt end, or should I say a present? Because my observation and assessment of the Antropocene says yes, bestow!
So let’s simply extrapolate from the past into the future. Then the question is not whether it will happen, but only when-and then we should be prepared. It is of existential advantage to finally push our sensible activity zone further out into space so that we can identify and destroy eternal cosmic intruders early enough! This cannot and should not be automated, because only routine can be automated. If I look at the whole thing a little further……..The approach of an impactor is not routine and hopefully will not become routine. We need to have people on the ground who can steer asteroids off course or destroy them.
Will humanity be ready and able to do this before the end?
I say …no…rather invent the non plus ultra !
So we have a solar system that has formed over the course of 100 million years. In addition to the Earth, there are other rocky planets and rocky moons of gaseous planets. Let’s take a look at the orbits of these planets – It has been established that all planets
planets move in almost circular orbits around the sun and this is precisely what makes their orbits so stable, because if they were to move through the solar system in a clearly elliptical manner, they would be deflected so strongly that sooner or later they would either fall into the sun, collide with other planets or be catapulted out of the planetary system.
Our system is extremely unstable, vulnerable and even sensitive. A major disturbance caused by a body entering the system from outside would immediately lead to the inner planets being thrown out of their orbits. This would have catastrophic consequences that could not even be prevented by manned space travel. So we would indeed go down in history. But who would write it then? But since the Earth has still been around – for 4.567 billion years – the system must obviously have a certain stability, simply because there are no sufficiently strong disturbances in our part of the Milky Way. No star has flown past us at close range, no stellar corpse, no black holes, no neutron stars, nothing. We live in a part of the Milky Way where nothing is going on. A boring corner of the universe, isn’t it? That, some would say, is another significant stroke of luck! ……. or so believing clowns do otherwise. I’m sure the god would have to serve again !
The earth, as we know ? from all the other planets. Although the four inner ones are even called earth-like planets. Yet the least Earth-like planet is the Earth itself, because we have „water“ …… and a moon. And what a moon! How did it get there? And the water, has it always been on Earth? These stories don’t just sound incredible, no, they are.
Let’s take a look at the solar system in its early phase. I know today that the distance between the solar system and the Earth’s current orbit was much too hot. To put it strangely ? The planet Earth, it was just in its formation phase, very dry. Only I had already mentioned that the water was brought, or rather brought in, by cosmic suppliers. Yes, they were called asteroids; their origin can be assumed to be somewhere between Mars and Jupiter. But wait a minute, why am I just saying that, nobody was there? My answer to that :
Because, I cannot emphasize this often enough, the laws of nature that we know on Earth also apply everywhere and at all times in the universe. And that is precisely why we know that there are different isotopes of a chemical element, and these are atomic nuclei with the same number of protons, but different numbers of electrically „neutral“ neutrons…. and I must also explain that in special stony meteorites, the so-called „carbonaceous chondrites“, we find the same total isotopic composition as in our water on Earth. This is, of course, proof that the water was brought to our planet by asteroids. Despite the high temperature, the „gravitational“ property of the Earth was able to hold on to the water, first as water vapor and later, as it (the Earth) cooled further and further on its surface, even as liquid water. By the way, it rains every day and a lot of atmospheric carbon, especially in the form of carbon dioxide, was washed out by the rain and sunk into the oceans as limestone.
Venus has never had large amounts of water. Its atmosphere still contains almost 98 percent carbon dioxide and this is associated with a huge greenhouse effect that has frozen Venus at 450 degrees Celsius. Plus, of course.
I also have to say something sad, but I’m sure it only concerns my colleagues and me on this planet, because we’ve been curiously searching … for whom or for what? I’ll explain briefly.
In our search for „Earth-like“ planets, we have not yet encountered any on which liquid water could be detected. So let me say satisfactorily:
We are once again really lucky on Earth in this respect!
So let’s also talk about the water…….All the fresh and salt water together would make a sphere with a radius of 700 kilometers. Is that a lot or not? But we can say one thing, it was certainly enough for the origin of life.
Our moon can also tell a great story and does so here:
In military terms, it doesn’t actually belong to us, but rather to a large planet like Jupiter, because its gravity is capable of attracting sufficient material. But how did our „small“ Earth come to have such a giant moon? The most fantastic theories are still circulating in astronomy circles, namely these :
The Earth must have captured it or, another entertaining scenario, it spun so fast that it came out like a drop. As far as I know, all these human BRAIN-DROP theories are complete nonsense. After all, we know from analyses of moon rocks (that’s right, the Americans really did land on the moon) that our satellite is composed exactly like the Earth’s mantle rock, but without its volatile elements. Without volatile elements? But what could that indicate? Exactly, to very high temperatures at which certain elements dissolve into gas. So the moon was formed under very high heat. We now know that it was formed by the impact of an impactor on the primordial Earth, which must have been at least twice as heavy as Mars, perhaps even three or four times as heavy. Its enormous impact force not only led to the melting of Earth’s rock, but also blew a huge chunk of rock off our planet, which was catapulted some 10,000 kilometers away. A considerable part of the impactor then sank into the Earth’s interior, where it is still responsible for the high temperature that not only keeps the lithospheric plates in motion, but also represents a considerable source of energy for us today: „geothermal energy“. Without this additional free heating, it would be much colder on our planet and the plate movements would be significantly less. I’ll talk about this a little later when I talk about the great „transformation“ of dead matter.
But let’s stay with the moon. It belongs to our planet Earth, which children as young as 4 years old can already see and then ask about. But most of them wait until they die for good, correct answers. ….and they don’t get them. The interaction that takes place (What is interaction in physics? The principle of interaction is Netwon’s third law and is also known as actio equals reactio. It states that when a force from one body acts on another, an equal force always acts in the opposite direction) between it and the Earth has completely changed the rotation of both bodies. While the moonless Earth once rotated around its own axis in two to three, perhaps four to five hours, the satellite at its side has slowed it down to the 24 hours it has today. You know that the earth and the moon act on each other in a different way, they hold each other so tightly that the earth’s satellite always shows the same side from the beginning – we call this a bound rotation. Just imagine if the earth were to rotate on its own axis in just a few hours today – what a mess of weather we would have here! Tornadoes would be the daily norm. And any living creatures would be constantly exposed to the wind from the front, they would be very flat in every respect and would have to put their ears back to avoid being blown away. And there is yet another, from today’s perspective extremely beneficial effect for us humans that can be attributed to the Earth’s satellite. Since the early stages of the Earth’s history, the moon has caused water to slosh rhythmically back and forth on the blue planet. Yes, there is movement in the primordial soup! EBB AND FLOW . You don’t necessarily have to start swaying and celebrating now, but we can justifiably sing the praises of a very special planet among countless inhospitable others, which not only has water, the right atmosphere and the right temperature, but also revolves around itself in the right way. In short, the planet „Earth“ has everything it needs to celebrate the great festival of life every day. This celebration began four billion years ago. And here it comes……It all started with molecules doing what molecules do full-time:
You look to see if you can connect with someone.