Show 99. Notes for May 21st
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UFOs Crash In China; Villagers Shocked By ‘Huge Ball Of Fire’
Residents of villages in the Heilongjiang province of China reported three UFOs fell from the sky on Friday morning, according to the China News Service.
The circular, metallic objects crashed to the ground of two counties after “villagers heard…a huge piercing sound, and then some villagers saw a big fireball” that eventually fell in a vegetable garden owned by one of the residents.
“I saw a huge ball of fire, I thought it was a meteorite,” one villager said,reported. “I hid inside my house and waited until the object…landed.”
Could Mysterious UFOs in Norwegian Valley Be Natural?
As a name, Hessdalen may be more familiar to UFO watchers than scientists. The valley in Norway is prone to “strange, hovering, flashing balls of lights” best attributed, as some believe, to alien origins. Now scientists say they’re on the verge of an explanation: The valley is a giant natural battery.
Guest Stanton T. Friedman
When it Comes to Stars, Size Matters!
by Andy Fleming
We think that the Sun is huge but it’s just a small yellow dwarf star. Although there are many stars much smaller such as red dwarfs, there are many much more massive.
The largest and most luminous star known is VY Canis Majoris, a red hyper giant in the constellation Canis Major. At 2,100 solar radii it is a single star and if the Earth was a sphere one centimetre in diameter, VY Canis Majoris would have a diameter of two kilometres!
A star’s size determines its luminosity, colour, temperature and lifespan. The larger a star, the greater its mass and gravity. High mass stars with stronger gravity have greater pressure in their cores, creating higher temperatures and these lead to much faster nuclear fusion reactions, with the release of massive amounts of energy. This creates radiation pressure, and while gravity tries to contract the star, this pressure simultaneously tries to expand it. The result is a stable hydrostatic equilibrium which can last for billions of years.
However, once a star runs out of hydrogen and starts to fuse helium into even heavier elements, this equilibrium ends, and it is no longer a normal main sequence star. Because high mass stars burn their fuel much quicker due to the greater core pressure caused by gravity, they live relatively short lives ending as supernovae.
For example, Rigel in Orion, is a hot blue supergiant with seventeen solar masses. Its massive core pressure means nuclear fusion reactions are racing away and it will run out of fuel within 20 million years. Our Sun on the other hand has enough hydrogen to burn for ten billion years or more, and small red dwarfs like Proxima Centauri with lower pressure and lower temperatures will live much longer.
An interesting consequence of a star’s size and temperature is its brightness. A larger mass star, having a higher temperature will be bluer in colour, while a smaller, cooler star will be redder.
So the next time you gaze at brilliant blue white Rigel, white Sirus, or yellow Arcturus, you’re looking at stars in decreasing masses and sizes. So remember – when it comes to stars, size really does matter!