Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life 1983 - Vera Rubin - Carl Sagan - Carlos Frenk - Horizon & Jim Al-Khalili TV - Janet Sumner - Neil deGrasse Tyson - Morgan Freeman’s Through the Wormhole TV - Lawrence Krauss - Olaf Stapledon - Big Bang TV - George Gamow - Ramesh Narayan - John Hitchison - Stephen Hawking TV - Michelle Thaller - Michio Kaku - Michael Stauss - Avi Loeb - Unfolding Universe TV - The Universe TV - Cosmic Collisions TV - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine TV - How the Universe Works TV - Vanna Bonta - Martin Ryle - Brian Cox TV - Martin Rees - Douglas Adams -
Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s revolving, and revolving at nine hundred miles an hour. It’s orbiting at ninety miles a second, so it’s reckoned, the sun that is the source of all our power. The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see are moving at a million miles a day. In an outer spiral arm at forty thousand miles an hour in a galaxy we call the Milky Way.
Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars. It’s a hundred thousand light years side to side. It bulges in the middle sixteen thousand light years thick. And out by us it’s just three thousand light years wide. We’re thirty thousand light years from galactic central point. We got round every two hundred million years. And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions in this amazing and expanding universe. The universe itself keeps expanding and expanding in all the directions it can whiz. As fast as it can go the speed of light you know twelve million miles a minutes and that’s the fastest speed there is. So remember when you’re feeling very small and insecure how amazing and unlikely is your birth. And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space. ’Cause there’s bugger all down here on Earth. Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life 1983, song & dance routine
So it was clear that our ideas about galaxies were incorrect. Dr Vera Rubin
The galaxies reveal a universal order, a beauty, but also violence on a scale never before imagined. The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent to the concerns of such creatures as we. Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan, Cosmos: The Edge of Forever, 1979
The near side of a galaxy is tens of thousands of light-years closer to us than the far side; thus we see the front as it was tens of thousands of years before the back. But typical events in galactic dynamics occupy tens of millions of years, so the error in thinking of an image of a galaxy as frozen in one moment of time is small. Carl Sagan, Cosmos
Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people. Carl Sagan
A galaxy is composed of gas and dust and stars – billions upon billions of stars. Carl Sagan
It is in these clumps of dark matter that galaxies like the Milky Way would have formed ... The dark matter is the skeleton of the universe. Carlos Frenk
And then there is the problem of lumpy galaxies: how did they form from such smooth beginnings? Horizon: Of Big Bangs, Stick Men and Galactic Holes, BBC 1991
The idea is that at the beginning there was just a soup of mass and energy existing at a single point. Then sub-atomic particles separated out from the energy. There was now a universe with tiny irregularities of mass called quantum fluctuations. Scientists believe that somehow these fluctuations grew to become the ripples on the background radiation. And it was those ripples that allowed gravity to get to work to form the galaxies. Horizon: Whispers of Creation, BBC 1994
In March 2000 two astronomers made an extraordinary discovery. One that is set to overturn our understanding of how the universe formed. What they discovered was a very simple relationship – a relationship between the galaxy we live in and the most destructive force in the universe – a super-massive black hole; it set the world of cosmology alight. Horizon: Super-Massive Black Holes, BBC 2000
Supermassive black holes could exist in two states: when it’s feeding, a giant black hole creates a bright burning gas disk around it. And then for some reason it stops feeding, leaving a dark deadly core lurking menacingly in the centre of the galaxy. ibid.
Perhaps black holes are an essential part of what galaxies are and how they work. ibid.
The size of the black hole in the end depends on how fast the stars are moving in the newly formed galaxy around it ... All giant black holes and their galaxies are connected from birth. ibid.
If our black hole has started feeding again, could this affect the Earth? ibid.
It now appears that there is a super-massive black hole at the centre of almost every galaxy. And it could be that these black holes aren’t simply agents of destruction because scientists have discovered a unique relationship they share with their parent galaxy. Horizon: Who’s Afraid of a Big Black Hole? BBC 2009
In the observable universe there are 170 billion galaxies just like it. Horizon: How Big is the Universe? BBC 2012
Lynden-Bell: inside the centre of every large galaxy in the universe lurks a supermassive black hole. Horizon: Swallowed by a Black Hole, BBC 2013
The Doppler Shift also applies to light: by measuring changes in the wavelength of light emitted from galaxies, Hubble was able to figure out that galaxies were flying away from each other. And receding galaxies could mean only one thing – the universe was expanding. Professor Jim Al-Khalili, Lost Horizons: Big Bang, BBC 2013
Galaxies it seemed could not have formed from ordinary matter alone. Normal matter just wasn’t made of the right stuff to clump together and produce galaxies quickly enough after the Big Bang. Another strange type of material must have been at work as well. But unfortunately it didn’t seem to shine like normal matter. ibid.
Dotted around the sky Herschel and others had been observing strange cloud-like objects known as nebulae. Some of these nebulae seemed to have distinctive form and complex structure. Some astronomers began to suggest a radical idea. Perhaps the Milky Way wasn’t everything there was. Jim Al-Khalili, Everything & Nothing: Everything, BBC 2011
Andromeda was indeed an island universe ... We now estimate Andromeda contains over a trillion stars. And it’s just one of a vast multitude of galaxies. ibid.
This is the Hooker Telescope on Mount Wilson, just a couple of hours from Los Angeles. In the 1920s this was the best telescope in the world. And it’s the instrument that Edwin Hubble chose for his survey of galaxies. Hubble’s twin weapons were the sheer volume of data he collected and an ability to cut through it to see what it meant. In the 1920s Hubble helped solve a huge debate about the size of the universe. Using this telescope Hubble proved that the universe was much bigger than anyone had thought, filled with galaxies some of them unimaginable distances from the Earth. Dr Janet Sumner, interview The Cosmos: A Beginner’s Guide
In this version of the WMap picture the peaks are hot-spots that show where the super-cluster of galaxies were formed. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Nova: Origins: Back to the Beginning, PBS 2004
Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is one of fifty or one-hundred billion other galaxies in the universe. And with every step, every window that modern astrophysics has opened to our mind, the person who wants to feel like they’re the center of everything ends up shrinking. Neil deGrasse Tyson
Every galaxy Vera [Rubin] looked at gave her the same seemingly crazy results: all the stars all the way to the edge of the galaxies were moving at the same speed, completely different from the way the solar system works. Morgan Freeman’s Through the Wormhole: Beyond the Darkness, Science 2013
Carlos [Frenk] has shown that galaxies should form when filled with dark matter. ibid.
Hubble deduced that every galaxy in the universe is actually hurtling away from us. ibid.
In just over five years Saul [Perlmutter] and his team spot thirty-eight different stars in thirty different galaxies called supernova. ibid.
Saul’s team had discovered a totally unexpected and unexplained repulsion between galaxies that is gradually blowing the universe apart: they called it Dark Energy ... It makes up nearly three quarters of the universe. Dark Energy rules the universe. ibid.
In 5 billion years, the expansion of the universe will have progressed to the point where all other galaxies will have receded beyond detection. Indeed, they will be receding faster than the speed of light, so detection will be impossible. Future civilizations will discover science and all its laws, and never know about other galaxies or the cosmic background radiation. They will inevitably come to the wrong conclusion about the universe ... We live in a special time, the only time, where we can observationally verify that we live in a special time. Lawrence M Krauss, A Universe From Nothing
Our galaxy is over a hundred-thousand light years across. Lawrence Krauss
Dark Energy is going to kill galaxies off. Lawrence Krauss