Since 1920, we’ve determined the size, scope, and origin of the observable Universe.
Cosmic inflation preceded the Big Bang, forming atomic nuclei, atoms, stars, and galaxies successively.
Still, many aspects of our standard picture remain uncertain.
Here are five potentially incorrect preliminary conclusions.
1.) Dark energy is a cosmological constant.
Distant galaxies recede ever faster as time goes on: observationally demonstrated since 1998.
But dark energy could either strengthen or weaken.
The forthcoming EUCLID and Nancy Roman telescopes could discover quintessence, instead.
2.) Stars predate black holes.
Theoretically, black holes first arise from stellar corpses.
But the Big Bang could permit primordial black holes.
Cold, massive gas streams could also birth black holes, predating stars.
3.) Jovian planets protect terrestrial ones.
Most potentially hazardous Solar System objects strike Jupiter, not Earth.
But simulations indicate Jupiter increases the terrestrial impact rate ~350%.
Perhaps giant planets are foes, not friends.
4.) Most of the galaxy is uninhabitable.
Are galactic centers too energetically variable for life?
The “galactic habitable zone” remains dubious.
Common cataclysms might not forbid planetary habitability.
5.) Globular clusters are planet-free.
Transit surveys haven’t discovered any globular cluster planets.
But gravitational interactions might not forbid them.
Heavy element-rich globulars might contain planets; the search continues.
Mostly Mute Monday tells an astronomical story in images, visuals, and no more than 200 words. Talk less; smile more.