We tend to look for very specific forms of life in the universe based on what we know: an Earth-like planet in orbit around a star and at a distance that allows the water on its surface to be in a liquid state.
Much has already been said about silicon life forms or, for example, methane-based life as an alternative, but what else is theoretically possible?
According to a study by a group of physicists, hypothetically, there may well be alien species that can form, develop and flourish in the depths of stars. It all depends on how you define life.
If we take as a key the ability to encode information by some carriers and the ability of these carriers to reproduce themselves faster than they decay, then hypothetical monopole particles strung on cosmic filaments can become the basis of life inside stars, just as DNA and RNA form the basis of life on Earth.
With these “necklaces” the process of mass formation of random sequences could well have occurred until one was formed that is capable of self-replication, as was the case with RNA.
The problem is that neither cosmic strings (one-dimensional linear objects) nor monopoles (elementary particles with one magnetic pole) have been discovered so far, remaining purely hypothetical, but theory is always ahead of practice.
Back in 1988, Russian scientists Evgeny Chudnovsky and his colleague, theoretical physicist Alexander Vilenkin, predicted that cosmic strings could be captured by stars.
Cosmic necklaces can form in a series of symmetry-breaking phase transitions, according to a new study. At the first stage, monopoles appear. In the second – strings.
This can lead to a stable configuration of one monopole bead and two strings, which, in turn, can be connected, forming one, two, and even three-dimensional structures that are as similar as possible to atoms connected by chemical bonds.
Cosmic strings are hypothetical 1-dimensional topological defects which may have formed during a symmetry-breaking phase transition in the early universe when the topology of the vacuum manifold associated to this symmetry breaking was not simply connected.
Interestingly, according to the authors of the work, if the lifespan of self-replicating nuclear species is as short as the lifespan of many unstable composite nuclear objects, they can quickly evolve towards great complexity.
What might such a species of aliens look like? This, physicists believe, is a real feast for the imagination, but there is no clear direction. Our current knowledge of life as such is too tied to the life form we know on Earth.
But scientists have suggested that, since such organisms will use part of the energy of their star for survival and reproduction, this may explain the faster cooling of some of them, which does not correspond to accepted models. Randomly dimming stars can also be included here.
For example just a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic really kicked off in early 2020, the world was fixated on a distant supergiant star, 700 light-years away known as Betelgeuse. The monstrous furnace suddenly dimmed, becoming 10 times darker than usual.
To date, this is nothing more than an interesting hypothesis, but physicists plan to continue research by developing models of cosmic necklaces in stars.
Yes, it is far from certain that this will lead us to an encounter with brightly luminous aliens, but at least it can give us a better understanding of cosmic strings and monopoles. In the end, the idea that the universe is actually overflowing with the most diverse life cannot but excite the mind.
There’s one last place Planet Nine could be hiding
A study recently submitted to The Astronomical Journal
continues to search for the elusive Planet Nine (also called Planet X),
which is a hypothetical planet that potentially orbits in the outer
reaches of the solar system and well beyond the orbit of the dwarf
The goal of this study, which is available on the pre-print server arXiv,
was to narrow down the possible locations of Planet Nine and holds the
potential to help researchers better understand the makeup of our solar
system, along with its formation and evolutionary processes. So, what
was the motivation behind this study regarding narrowing down the
location of a potential Planet 9?
Dr. Mike Brown, who is a Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor of
Astronomy at Caltech and lead author of the study, tells Universe Today,
“We are continuing to try to systematically cover all of the regions of
the sky where we predict Planet Nine to be. Using data from Pan-STARRS
allowed us to cover the largest region to date.”
Pan-STARRS, which stands for Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid
Response System, is a collaborative astronomical observation system
located at Haleakala Observatory and operated by the University of
Hawai’i Institute of Astronomy. For the study, the researchers used data
from Data Release 2 (DR2) with the goal of narrowing down the possible
location of Planet Nine based on findings from past studies.
In the end, the team narrowed down possible locations of Planet Nine
by eliminating approximately 78% of possible locations that were
calculated from previous studies. Additionally, the researchers also
provided new estimates for the approximate semimajor axis (measured in
astronomical units, AU) and Earth-mass size of Planet Nine at 500 and
6.6, respectively. So, what are the most significant results from this
study, and what follow-up studies are currently being conducted or
“While I would love to say that the most significant result
was finding Planet Nine, we didn’t,” Dr. Brown tells Universe Today. “So
instead, it means that we have significantly narrowed the search area.
We’ve now surveyed approximately 80% of the regions where we think
Planet Nine might be.”
In terms of follow-up studies, Dr.
Brown tells Universe Today, “I think that the LSST is the most likely
survey to find Planet Nine. When it comes online in a year or two it
will quickly cover much of the search space and, if Planet Nine is
there, find it.”
LSST stands for Legacy Survey of Space and Time, and is an
astronomical survey currently scheduled as a 10-year program to study
the southern sky and take place at the Vera C. Rubin Observatory in
Chile, which is presently under construction.
Objectives for LSST include studying identifying near-Earth asteroids
(NEAs) and small planetary bodies within our solar system, but also
include deep space studies, as well. These include investigating the
properties of dark matter and dark energy and the evolution of the Milky
Way galaxy. But what is the importance of finding Planet Nine?
Dr. Brown tells Universe Today, “This would be the 5th
largest planet of our solar system and the only one with a mass between
Earth and Uranus. Such planets are common around other stars, and we
would suddenly have a chance to study one in our own solar system.”
Scientists began hypothesizing the existence of Planet Nine shortly
after the discovery of Neptune in 1846, including an 1880 memoir
authored by D. Kirkwood and later a 1946 paper authored by American
astronomer, Clyde Tombaugh, who was responsible for discovering Pluto in
More recent studies include studies from 2016 and 2017 presenting
evidence for the existence of Planet Nine, the former of which was
co-authored by Dr. Brown.
This most recent study marks the
most complete investigation of narrowing down the location of Planet
Nine, which Dr. Brown has long-believed exists, telling Universe Today,
“There are too many separate signs that Planet Nine is there. The solar
system is very difficult to understand without Planet Nine.”
He continues by telling Universe Today that “…Planet Nine explains
many things about orbits of objects in the outer solar system that would
be otherwise unexplainable and would each need some sort of separate
“The cluster of the directions of the orbits is the best know, but
there is also the large perihelion distances of many objects, existence
of highly inclined and even retrograde objects, and the high abundance
of very eccentric orbits which cross inside the orbit of Neptune. None
of these should happen in the solar system, but all are easily
explainable as an effect of Planet Nine.”
Michael E. Brown et al, A Pan-STARRS1 Search for Planet Nine, arXiv (2024). DOI: 10.48550/arxiv.2401.17977
‘October Surprise’: Russia To Launch Nukes in Space
The ‘national security threat’ announced on Wednesday is
about Russia planning to launch nuclear weapons in space, causing some
to speculate whether it’s really an election year ploy.
The panic began when House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner
(R-Ohio) asked President Biden to declassify information about a
“serious national security threat”.
Modernity.news reports: The weapon would reportedly be designed to be used to take out satellites.
Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) responded by telling reporters he wanted “to assure the American people, there is no need for public alarm.”
The big, scary threat is serious business and involves a space-based nuke controlled by evil dictator Putin, but it’s also “not an immediate crisis,” according to what three members of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee have told Politico.
Okay, then. Just for election season, is it?
Zero Hedge reports: “So, the question is – was this:
a) a distraction from Biden’s broken brain, or
2) a last desperate attempt to get more funding for anything-but-the-US-border, or
iii) a path to pitching Putin as the uber-bad-guy again after his interview with Tucker Carlson.”
Just by coincidence, Mike Turner recently returned from Ukraine having lobbied for billions more in weapons and aid for Zelensky’s government.
Some questioned the timing, suggesting it might all be a deep state plot to keep American voters afraid when they hit the ballot box.
Speculation will now rage as to whether this is “the event,” real or imagined, that billionaires and elitists the world over have been building underground survival bunkers in preparation for.
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