The Sentinel
Sept 3, 2023
Dark Matter
Dark Matter is a theoretical element that is believed to account for approximately 85 percent of the universe’s matter, and nearly 25 percent of its total energy output. Although no empirical observation of this element has occurred, its presence in the universe is implied due to a number of astrophysical and gravitational anomalies that cannot be explained with current scientific models
Exoplanets refer to planets that exist beyond the realm of our solar system. Thousands of these planets have been observed in the past few decades by astronomers, with each of them holding unique properties and characteristics. Although technological limitations hinder up-close observations of these planets (at this time), scientists are able to infer a number of basic assumptions about each of the Exoplanets discovered. This includes their overall size, relative composition, suitability for life, and similarities to Earth.
Quasars refer to extremely bright jets of light that are believed to be powered by supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies. Discovered nearly half a century ago, quasars are believed to result from light, gas, and dust being accelerated away from the edges of a black hole at the speed of light. Due to the hypervelocity of the light’s movement (and its concentration into a jet-like stream), the overall light emitted by a single quasar can be 10 to 100,000 times brighter than the Milky Way Galaxy itself.
Rogue Planets
Rogue planets refer to planets that wander aimlessly throughout the Milky Way due to their ejection from the planetary system in which they formed. Bound only to the gravitational pull of the Milky Way’s center, rogue planets drift throughout space at incredibly high speeds. It is currently hypothesized that billions of rogue planets exist within the confines of our galaxy; however, only 20 have been observed from Earth (as of 2020).
‘Oumuamua refers to the first-known interstellar object to have passed through our solar system in 2017. Observed by the Haleakala Observatory in Hawaii, the object was spotted approximately 21 million miles away from the Earth and was observed heading away from our sun at a speed of 196,000 mph. Believed to have been nearly 3,280 feet long and approximately 548 feet wide, the strange object was observed with a dark red coloration along with a cigar-like appearance.
Neutron Stars
Neutron stars are incredibly small stars the size of Earth-like cities, but possess a total mass that exceeds 1.4 times that of our sun. Neutron stars are believed to result from the death of larger stars in excess of 4 to 8 times the mass of our sun. As these stars explode and go supernova, the violent explosion often blows away the star’s outer layers leaving a small (but dense) core that continues to collapse
Hoag’s Object
Hoag’s Object refers to a galaxy approximately 600 million light years away from Earth. The strange object is unique in the universe due to its unusual shape and design. Rather than following an elliptical or spiral-like shape (as most galaxies), Hoag’s Object possesses a yellow-like core surrounded by an outer ring of stars. First discovered by Arthur Hoag in 1950, the celestial object was originally believed to be a planetary nebula due to its unusual configuration.
Magnetars are a type of neutron star first discovered in 1992 by Robert Duncan and Christopher Thompson. As their name implies, it is theorized that magnetars possess extremely powerful magnetic fields that emit high-levels of electromagnetic radiation (in the form of X-rays and gamma rays) into space. It is currently estimated that the magnetic field of a magnetar is approximately 1000 trillion times that of Earth’s magnetosphere.