Cities gather us in different ways, we dwell them, walk around its streets and avenues attending our own eagerness. Many cities have rise over us with huge buildings that show the ability of societies to overcome our scale, and so in a display of phenomenal energy, cities keep moving.
Now days, electric light seems to be a primary need for todays society. Cities and their lights shine over the night sky, blinding our eyes of the ordinary exercise of looking to the starry night that practice our ancestors. Those who have been in the Atacama Desert know that once is late night, looking at the stars there is a different experience, from the one we are used to when we look at the stars from our “shining” cities. This thought becomes most significant while we start to think about our everyday experience. Have we lost something in the way?
Our culture as human beings, have always been related to the night sky observation. Today, new planetary systems are discovered weekly, observation tools and instruments are increasingly sophisticated; we can look at the origin of the Universe and make an image of it. We live in a fast and fascinating era in which we can dazzle with images of supernova’s explosions, nebula clouds and faraway galaxies. The understanding of what “surround us” changes radically and Astronomy raises new questions, challenging the limits of our comprehension. Now we can look farther and farther and so wider the horizon becomes.
Facing this prospect, we propose to add different points of view. Contributing to the astronomical reflection from different angles, being the scientific perspective one in many others possible. Because we are interested in poetry, music, art and design, also in casual conversation, laughter, awkwardness and contradictions, in things that move and those who stay quiet, we are interested in large and small questions of humanity.
This first edition of Galatic Magazine is the number cero and has as main subject the Birth, the origin of things and also the origin of this project. This is a starting point of a conversation that we hope will spread in time, and so will convene many voices and many views.
Are there other universes?
In 2009 the satellite Plank was launched into space. Its mission was to observe the Cosmic microwave background (cmb). This is the cosmic radiation that was left after the Big Bang.
The Herschel Space Observatory, mounted on the satellite, has been able to cover submillimetre wave bands. With this instrument it was possible to capture a photograph of the oldest light there is which dates back to the time the Cosmos was only 380 thousand years old.
This image shows very small fluctuations of temperature which correspond to variations in the density of the universe which represents the seeds of the structures we see today: planets and planetary systems, starsstars and star clusters, galaxies and galaxy clusters; plus the unknown dark matter and dark energy, both recently discovered.
After studying these variations, some anomalies were found in the photographs. These irregularities have different meanings and interpretations that are being discussed. However, particularly, one of the anomalies – a cold piece larger than expected – is thought to be the print of the interaction between this Universe and another, just before our Universe grew rapidly during the cosmologic inflation. If this is true; we will be in front of the first observational proof of the existence of other universes.
Is there life in other planets?
This question has unsettled man since earlier times. Currently, scientists from different places in the world work to find life on planets located in the habitable zone; the ring around a star in which the stellar energy release allows the terrestrial surface of a planet to keep the right temperature for the existence of liquid water.
It’s very difficult to sustain theories about the existence or inexistence of life in other places of the Universe. The famous Drake equation (1961) tries to predict the probability of the existence of life in our galaxy, but that is not a theory. Astronomers cannot say whether there is life or not, we can only comment how likely it is. Neither can we refute the possibility of having life in conditions completely different to the ones we know until now; in environments without water or oxygen, for example.
I cannot speak on behalf of the scientific community but I asked some astronomers from the European Southern Observatory (eso) in Chile and the majority believes that it is very likely that there is life in other places in the Universe. However, these appreciations only cover the possibility of life in general, not intelligent life. The latter is less likely because it needs many stable conditions through time.