Category: thanksgiving

Why Humans Should Be Thankful That Our Universe Has Dark Matter

“In a Universe without dark matter, we might still have stars and galaxies, but the only planets would be gas giant worlds, with no rocky ones to speak of. Without carbon, there are no organic molecules; without oxygen, there is no liquid water; without a whole slew of elements from the periodic table, biochemical life would be completely impossible.

Only with the presence of massive dark matter halos, surrounding galaxies and driving the growth of the cosmic web, can a planet like Earth or carbon-based life like we find terrestrially be formed. As we’ve come to understand what makes up our Universe and how it grew to be this way, one inescapable conclusion emerges: dark matter is fundamentally necessary for life to arise. Without it, the chemistry that underlies all life could never have occurred. Today and every day, we should be thankful for every part of the cosmic story that allowed us to exist. Even dark matter.”

Today marks American Thanksgiving, a holiday where we give thanks for all the positive things that have impacted our lives and the bountiful harvest that nature provides in order for us to survive through the harsh winters. But one of the things that’s not only unappreciated, but often derided in the popular media is dark matter, a substance which interacts gravitationally but not through any other known force.

Yet, without dark matter, humans, chemical-based life, or even rocky planets wouldn’t be able to exist in our Universe. Here’s why you, and everyone, should be thankful for it.

Spectacular Planetary And Lunar Alignment To Grace The Post-Sunset Thanksgiving Skies

“As 2019 has progressed, Saturn has followed Jupiter in its sky-crossing migration from east to west. Meanwhile, for about the past month, Venus has emerged as an evening star after sunset, drifting from west to east. On Sunday, November 24, Venus and Jupiter nearly met — achieving a conjunction — coming within 1.4° of each other.”

Normally, astronomical conjunctions are a big and spectacular deal, especially when they’re close, and particularly when they’re between the two brightest planets of all: Venus and Jupiter. But on American Thanksgiving, November 28, an extraordinary and unusual event will occur: the young crescent Moon will align with Venus and Jupiter as well, fresh off a conjunction. While skywatchers worldwide will get a spectacular show, the best views come for people in European and African longitudes, as they’ll see the Moon appear between closely spaced Venus and Jupiter.

This rare sight will only last for that one night, so make sure you know where to look and what to look for, because it’s your last chance to experience it for years!

10 Scientific Phenomena To Be Thankful For, Today And Every Day

“2.) Be thankful for an asymmetric Universe. There are all sorts of important symmetries, but if everything were completely symmetric, there would have been perfectly equal amounts of matter and antimatter. As the Universe cooled and expanded, they would have annihilated away almost completely, leaving just a sparse set of particles and antiparticles less than one-billionth as dense as the Universe today. But instead, we have a Universe filled with matter and not antimatter, and that makes all the difference. How that asymmetry came to be is still a mystery, albeit one with many possible outcomes. Nevertheless, that the Universe is asymmetric is a certainty, and one that enabled our very existence.”

Today, American Thanksgiving, is a day to appreciate the good things we have in life. That includes the people who love us and that we love, the things that make us feel good, fulfilled, happy, and well, and the bounty that this world provides. But it goes beyond that, too, to the natural gifts of the Universe that enabled us to be here in the first place. Here are 10 scientific phenomena that enabled our existence, our world, and our very lives. Without them, there would be no Earth, no humans, and no opportunity to give thanks for the cosmic blessings that allow us to simply be. Take a moment to give thanks for all the good things we have, and take a moment to appreciate the fact that this Universe, exactly as it is, allows you and I to be here inhabiting it.

Here are 10 scientific phenomena that are worth giving thanks for. Not just today, but every single day. Without them, we simply couldn’t be.