Astronomy: The Universe, Equipment, Stars and Planets, by Ian Ridpath, Carole Stott, Giles Sparrow

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By Ian Ridpath, Carole Stott, Giles Sparrow

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Extra info for Astronomy: The Universe, Equipment, Stars and Planets, Monthly Guides (Eyewitness Companions Guides)

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All we can say is that the universe was infinitely small, dense, and hot as it came into being. For the first 10-43 seconds, the so‑called “Planck time,” the normal laws of physics did not apply. The start of time The first 10-35 seconds of time saw the sudden burst of inflation, accompanied by a dramatic drop in pressure and temperature, and a resurgence of temperature as Inflation came to a halt. Diameter 3x10-26 ft (10-26 m) 33 ft (10 m) 60 miles (105 m / 100 km) Temp. 1,800 trillion trillion ˚F (1027 K / 1,000 trillion trillion ˚C) 18 billion trillion ˚F (1022 K / 10 billion trillion ˚C) Time A 100-billionth of a yoctosecond / 10-35 sec 1 yoctosecond / 10-24 seconds A 100-millionth of a yoctosecond / 10-32 seconds quark quark singularity at the start of time quark antiquark quarkantiquark pair X-boson inflation and The separation of f orces Inflation—a brief period of sudden expansion in the first instant of creation, during which the universe grew from smaller than an atom to bigger than a galaxy—is needed to explain the uniformity of the universe as it appears today.

This can be absorbed by surrounding gases, then reemitted at visible wavelengths, creating spectacular emission nebulae such as the Trifid Nebula. protostar with insufficient mass for nuclear reactions at the core gravity causes star to contract star shrinks to form brown dwarf 63 st e l l a r li f e c yc l es clusters or smaller, looser groups. As the cloud collapses, it becomes denser and heats up. Any random motion in the initial cloud builds up until it becomes a spinning, flattened disk. More and more material is swept up by the gravity of the central part of the cloud, called a protostar, which heats up to the point where it begins to glow.

To the untrained eye, the visible universe still appears to be just a disorganized scattering of stars, but closer inspection reveals that it is host to an enormous variety of objects. Quite apart from the nearby worlds of the solar system (covered in the next chapter), there are stars of many kinds, nebulae formed in a number of different ways, star clusters, and countless galaxies. T so far away that even the most powerful telescopes show them as nothing more than points of light. Until recently, there was no way to tell what they were—though some astronomers guessed correctly that they were stars like the Sun.

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