White dwarfs are one of the most fascinating topics in the history of astronomy: celestial bodies were discovered for the first time, possessing properties that are very far from those with which we deal in terrestrial conditions. And, in all likelihood, the resolution of the riddle of white dwarfs laid the foundation for studies of the mysterious nature of matter hidden somewhere in different corners of the Universe.
There are many white dwarfs in the universe. At one time, they were considered rare, but a careful study of the photographic plates obtained at Mount Palomar Observatory (USA) showed that their number exceeds 1500. It was possible to estimate the spatial density of white dwarfs: it turns out that in a sphere with a radius of 30 light-years there Continue reading
In one of his speeches, A. Einstein said (in 1929): “To be honest, we want to not only find out how it works, but also if possible to achieve the goal of a utopian and daring-looking – to understand why nature is such. “This is the Promethean element of scientific creativity.”
Galaxies have been the subject of cosmogonic research since the 1920s, when their true nature was reliably established, and it turned out that these are not nebulae, i.e. not clouds of gas and dust, which are not far from us, but huge star worlds lying from us at very great distances from us. Discoveries and research in the field of cosmology have clarified in recent decades much of what concerns the background of galaxies and stars, the physical state of discharged matter from which they formed in very distant times. The whole of modern Continue reading
In the 1840s, with the help of Newtonian mechanics, Urbain Le Verrier predicted the position of the then undetected planet Neptune based on an analysis of perturbations of the orbit of Uranus. Subsequent observations of Neptune at the end of the 19th century led astronomers to suggest that, in addition to Neptune, another planet also has an impact on the orbit of Uranus. In 1906, Percival Lowell, a wealthy resident of Boston who founded the Lowell Observatory in 1894, initiated an extensive project to find the ninth planet in the solar system, which he named Planet X. By 1909, Lowell and William Henry Pickering had suggested several possible celestial coordinates for this planet. Lowell and his observatory continued to search for the planet until his death in 1916, but to no avail. In fact, on March 19, 1915, two low-level images of Pluto were obtained at his observatory without Lowell’s knowledge, but he was not recognized on them.
Mount Wilson Observatory could also claim the discovery of Pluto in 1919. That year, Milton Humason, on behalf of William Pickering, searched for the ninth planet, and Pluto’s image fell on a photographic Continue reading