Do you remember the last time you glanced up and looked at the night sky studded with twinkling stars?
If you don’t remember, then do it tonight for the sake of two latest mind-blowing discoveries in the field of space and astronomy.
1. Gravitational waves from black holes
You’ve read about gravitation and black holes in your science textbooks in school. You have also heard about the famous physicist Albert Einstein. Well, around 100 years back in 1916, Einstein had predicted the presence of gravitational waves in space as part of his famous theory of general relativity.
Now, for more than 10 years, about 1000 scientists from 15 countries were working in a focused manner to detect the presence of gravitational waves in outer space. The scientists monitored this experiment at Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) within the United States.
The painstaking effort of this LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) was suitably rewarded last year in September 2015. More precisely, September 14 was the day when their set-up of lasers and mirrors finally detected and registered gravitational waves that washed over Earth on the day.
These waves were emitted as a result of collision of two big black holes in space. At the point of impact, the gravitational waves spread like ripples in the grand cosmic pond and finally touched our planet on September 14. To give you an idea, a black hole is caused by the death and collapse of a massive star. Upon collision of the two black holes, the resultant waves (termed as wrinkles in the fabric of space-time) travelled a distance of 1.3 billion light years and touched Earth.
This major discovery was announced on February 11, 2016 and has been underlined as a big jump for astronomy. Astronomers will now be able to look deeper into the cosmos and even make attempts to detect waves that emanated from the ‘Big Bang’ that led to the creation of the universe in the first place!
Just imagine. There are countless stars in our current estimate of 200 billion galaxies in our limitless universe. But what amazing knowledge has come into the hands of humans.
We are small, insignificant humans ….., living in one small planet Earth ….., that is part of one small solar system powered by one small star called Sun ….., in one small galaxy called Milky Way.
And this small Milky Way galaxy itself has probably about one trillion stars and 100 billion planets!
But now this little human being belonging to the Milky Way galaxy has been granted the key to unravel the secrets of the deep and mysterious universe.
Mind-blowing isn’t it?
2. New galaxies in our neighbourhood
The second major recent discovery is an even bigger surprise for the scientific and non-scientific community.
Researchers have discovered hundreds of galaxies hidden just behind our own Milky Way galaxy!
Located just 250 light years away in our galactic neighbourhood, these galaxies were always there right from the beginning of creation. Interestingly, our scientists discovered the presence of our Milky Way galaxy decades back, but failed to see so many more galaxies sitting right behind Milky Way!
In a survey that was completed by International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research and published in the latest issue of Astronomical Journal, readers came to know something astounding. Out of the 883 mapped and surveyed galaxies hiding behind the Milky Way so far, one-third of these galaxies were never discovered before!
The prime reason for not discovering these galaxies was that scientific technology was not advanced enough till date. But today, with the use of a powerful new receiver on a radio telescope, researchers were able to find the hidden galaxies.
The other reason was that our Milky Way galaxy is comprised of dust, stars, light and space — all swirled together in one bright spiral. So, human technology was still not able to get past the bright light of our galaxy. But now, with latest equipment, the new galaxies were spotted.
Had the famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes been told about this fact, he would have said to his friend, “Elementary, my dear Watson.”
Your inner space
Now you know about these two recent major discoveries related to astronomy and outer space. What does it make you think?
One thought could be that despite all that science has discovered so far, there is still so much more left to discover. In other words, there is still so much more that is hidden.
At this point, let me take you away from the telescope and bring you to the microscope. This microscope is now gazing inside your mind.
What this microscope is clearly able to reveal is the vast expanse of your inner space. The depth of your mind and all its thoughts cannot be calculated. There is no known human instrument so far that can do so.
The fact remains that your inner space is as vast as the large outer space.
But the fact remains that your inner space is as vast as the large outer space. So much has been discovered about your inner space by psychological studies so far. Yet, the inner working of the human mind continues to remain a mystery, just like the outer mysterious universe that you can glimpse when you watch the night sky.
Let me be even more precise. What about the universe that you carry inside you?
How much have you discovered about your own self so far? Are you even aware about the depth of your own mind? Have you ever tried to travel deeper inside yourself and find those amazing hidden galaxies just waiting to be discovered?