Astronomer Michelle Thaller schools us on what atoms really look, the Big Bang theory, and the speed of light.
- Most people have seen atoms illustrated in textbooks and know about the Big Bang and the speed of light, but there is a good chance what you think you know is not scientifically accurate.
- Michelle Thaller, an astronomer and Assistant Director for Science Communication at NASA, is here to clear up the misconceptions and explain why atoms don't actually look that way, why the Big Bang is a misnomer, and why the speed of light is more than just really fast.
- Is there an edge of space? Does light experience time? Watch this video for answers to those and other interesting questions.
We have arrived: Big Think's most popular video of 2019 tells us light exists outside of time.
- Taking the #1 spot on Big Think's 2019 top 10 countdown, NASA's Michelle Thaller reminds us the only things that travel at the speed of light are photons.
- Nothing with any mass at all can travel at the speed of light because as it gets closer and closer to the speed of light, its mass increases. And if it were actually traveling at the speed of light, it would have an infinite mass.
- Light does not experience space or time. It's not just a speed going through something. All of the universe shifts around this constant, the speed of light. Time and space itself stop when you go that speed.
Next on Big Think's 2019 top 10 countdown, black holes may give us a glimpse of the underlying nature of reality.
- Big Think's fifth most popular video of 2019 explains that, because energy cannot be destroyed, only transformed, some argue that information — arguably a form of energy — cannot be destroyed either. So then, what happens to information when it is absorbed into a black hole? Scientists don't know for certain, but some posit that it may be possible for it to leak away from the black hole over time.
- Black holes may hold information in a two-dimensional manner similar to a hologram, which take on three dimensions when light is shone through them. Some theorize that the underlying nature of reality can be glimpsed through black holes — that all the information about the entire universe is somehow held on a two-dimensional space of something.
- To better understand how black holes work, as well as the elements surrounding them, we may need a level of physics to be developed.
We still don't have proof of intelligent life beyond that on Earth.
- One of the biggest questions is whether we are alone in the universe — could there be other intelligent life, besides us, out there? Currently, we don't have any evidence aliens exist.
- There may have been a chance for a civilization to start billions of years before life began on Earth — one that is far more advanced, technologically speaking, than us. However, they're not making it very obvious. We have no proof of this.
- If such an advanced civilization exists, though, it probably relies on solar energy to fuels its everyday activities.
Stargazing is a form of time travel.
- Light moves at 186,000 miles per second.
- As fast as light speed is, when you think about how large the universe is, light takes time — a lot of time — to actually get to us from distant objects.
- The sun is about 93 million miles away. At 186,000 miles per second, it takes about eight minutes for light from the sun to actually reach us here on Earth. Because of this, when you look up at the sun — with eye protection — you're actually seeing the star as it was nearly 10 minutes ago, not as it is in real time.