A TED-Ed animation voiced by University of Hawaii Physics prof Veronica Bindi who explains how cosmic rays may help us understand the Universe. To wit:
We only know 4% of what the universe is made up of. Can we also know what lies beyond our galaxy … and if there are undiscovered forms of matter? Luckily, we have space messengers — cosmic rays — that bring us physical data from parts of the cosmos beyond our reach.
Space presents a fantastic mystery to human life. Unfathomably large, with characteristics that defy our experience and understanding, the stars have perplexed and amazed humanity for our entire recorded history, and likely before. In the present, astrophysicists and astronomers are aggressively studying the universe in an attempt to solve critical scientific and philosophical questions. One of the primary tools for measurement and observation is imaging using cameras connected to powerful telescopes on Earth and in space. And although it’s not the primary motivation for photographing space, beauty is one of the most intriguing byproducts.
This cosmological simulation follows the development of a single disk galaxy over about 13.5 billion years, from shortly after the Big Bang to the present time. Colors indicate old stars (red), young stars (white and bright blue) and the distribution of gas density (pale blue); the view is 300,000 light-years across. The simulation ran on the Pleiades supercomputer at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., and required about 1 million CPU hours. It assumes a universe dominated by dark energy and dark matter.
When ‘New Scientist’ magazine asked “Brief History of Time” author Stephen Hawking what he thinks about most, the Cambridge University professor renowned for unraveling some of the most complex questions in modern physics answered: “Women. They are a complete mystery.”