At roughly 13.8 billion years old, the Universe might seem like it’s been around for a long time, but a new study suggests that Earth is one of the first habitable planets to form – and we’re probably too early to the party to get a chance to meet future alien civilisations.
The research looked at data from the Hubble and Kepler space telescopes, and predicted that 92 percent of the Universe’s habitable planets have yet to be born. And most won’t form until after our Sun burns out in 6 billion years’ time.
VLT finds hottest and most massive touching double star
21 October 2015
Using ESO’s Very Large Telescope, an international team of astronomers have found the hottest and most massive double star with components so close that they touch each other. The two stars in the extreme system VFTS 352 could be heading for a dramatic end, during which the two stars either coalesce to create a single giant star, or form a binary black hole.
The double star system VFTS 352 is located about 160 000 light-years away in the Tarantula Nebula . This remarkable region is the most active nursery of new stars in the nearby Universe and new observations from ESO’s VLT  have revealed that this pair of young stars is among the most extreme and strangest yet found.
VFTS 352 is composed of two very hot, bright and massive stars that orbit each other in little more than a day. The centres of the stars are separated by just 12 million kilometres . In fact, the stars are so close that their surfaces overlap and a bridge has formed between them. VFTS 352 is not only the most massive known in this tiny class of “overcontact binaries” — it has a combined mass of about 57 times that of the Sun — but it also contains the hottest components — with surface temperatures above 40 000 degrees Celsius.
Uploaded on Dec 15, 2009
The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. Every star, planet, and quasar seen in the film is possible because of the world’s most complete four-dimensional map of the universe, the Digital Universe Atlas that is maintained and updated by astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History. The new film, created by the Museum, is part of an exhibition, Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean to an Evolving Universe, at the Rubin Museum of Art in Manhattan through May 2010.
Data: Digital Universe, American Museum of Natural History
Visualization Software: Uniview by SCISS
Director: Carter Emmart
Curator: Ben R. Oppenheimer
Producer: Michael Hoffman
Executive Producer: Ro Kinzler
Co-Executive Producer: Martin Brauen
Manager, Digital Universe Atlas: Brian Abbott
Created in Blender, at 1920×1080 resolution, 25 fps.
What is that blue square near the end?
It’s the river/moat around the temple of Angkor Watt in Cambodia.
Is every detail accurate?
It’s an accurate guide to “the sort of thing” you would find. For example, real atoms are basically full of empty space, but I showed a lot of crazy patterns because there are quantum fluctuations and probability fields that make atoms fascinating links to infinite possibilities.
Can you make a video that zooms into something else?
Yes! I can change the person for sixty dollars, or a complete new video costs a thousand dollars. That is only a fraction of what it costs me to make it, assuming I pay myself minimum wage. A full video like this requires fifty high resolution images, and each one a day to find (because I need royalty free images at far below commercial rates). Then another day to edit seamlessly into the next image. Then the completed video takes a couple of weeks to put together, mainly because Blender is not designed for stuff like this and it takes ages to tweak those spline curves. It really needs Adobe AfterEffects, but that costs a fortune. So each new video takes four month’s skilled work. But I’m happy to do it if you want to pay!
This video uses three pieces. In order, they are:
“Haunting” by Matthew Milne of Logan Leistikow’s Public Music Project. The PMP was a site devoted to providing free (and royalty free) music for projects like this. Milne confirmed by email that he is happy for me to use this piece. He’s a great guy.
“Tenebrous Brothers Carnival – Mermaid” and “Long Road Ahead” by Kevin McLeod of http://Incompetech.com. McLeod is the patron saint of poverty stricken YouTubers, providing quality, royalty free music at no charge. Visit his site!
Music was merged using Audacity. Audacity and Blender (and the Gimp for the art) are free and open source.
All images are either created by me, public domain, or based on creative commons “attribution only, derivatives allowed” or similar license. Some of it is “sharealike” but the YouTube license does not allow downloading. So if you want a free copy of this video for your own mashups, contact me and I’ll send it by email.
“Close up eye” by Ben Mortimer Photography.
“My left retina” by martin Cathrae
Electron microscopy images from Dartmouth College (public domain) Thanks, Dartmouth!
Small molecules generated by the Gimp (marble madness plugin)
Large molecules: “eclipses” and “OBAFGKM” by fdecomite
Subatomic fractal details rendered in Apophysis, using data adapted from flames by “mutequacky” (the beautiful central image) and “kugel”.
Galaxies: a combination of numerous NASA public domain images. E.g. the main Milky Way image is adapted from “cosmological masterpiece” and “Hubble snaps heavyweight” by NASA/Goddard, uploaded to their Flickr account under creative commons 2.0.
Star fields: Random stars generated in The Gimp.
Planet Earth: public domain images from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, via the Visible Earth project.
Cambodia from space: public domain images via NASA’s Earth Observatory.
Angkor Watt from the air: by “jurvetson” and several photos by “oldandsolo”
Close up of Angkor buildings: Victoria Peckham”, “alex.ch”, and “michael clarke stuff”
Tree roots by “reibai”
Door details by “David A. Villa” and “mckaysavage”
Still images were adapted and merged in Photoshop Elements 5 and the Gimp.