Breaking News - Galaxy Getting Fatter

The Procrastinator

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Why do people apostrophise plural's? Is it capital
OK its not getting fatter - but it is expanding! One of my friends is a research astronomer and as part of his PhD he has discovered evidence that our galaxy is in fact expanding! Yes, not only is the universe expanding, but our galaxy is expanding within the expansion! A very exciting discovery, yet to be written up (he said he won't be getting the credit for it, thats for more important people - but he's very happy to have been involved!)

Anyway, watch out for publications, all interested peeps! This could shake things up a bit! What's worse, I can't stop using exclamation marks!

Actually I was so blown away by the concept I had to go and do a clay design about it (which my astronomer friend wants first dibs on, when its finally complete), so to celebrate people who sit up all night examining the spectrographic output of stellar phenomena:
 

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The Judge

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I don't have the first idea of what the science means, but that design is wonderful. I also look forward to seeing it in all its finished glory.
 

Vertigo

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Fascinating but possibly not too surprising. The big surprise was when they discovered that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. Given that fact and the implication that there must be an unknown force involved to cause such acceleration. It would seem logical that components within the universe such as galaxies would also be expanding. Do you know if they have found the galactic expansion to be steady, decelerating or accelerating? I would be very interested to know that.

PS. I also love the design. Could you tell me how it is made - material and so forth I can't quite figure it from the picture?
 

Ursa major

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I have a question.

Is the galaxy expanding in the sense:
  • of taking up more space** because its components (e.g. stars) are moving apart (i.e. they moving through space at different speeds, increasing their separation);
  • that the volume of space in which the galaxy is situated is expanding (i.e. space is being created within our galaxy, not just between it and other galaxies)?

** - Or spacetime if you like.
 

Vertigo

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I'm not sure anyone knows the answer to that one Ursa, the same question (possibly more so) applies to the expansion of the universe. You could almost argue that it is impossible to say given no stable reference point. For example if I walk away from you down a road it is easy to say that I am further from you and also that I am on a different bit of road. But in the context of glactic space what would your reference be (equivalent to that road)? Other stars would be no good since they are all doing the same sort of thing.
 

The Procrastinator

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Don't ask me technical questions! I just draw the pretty pictures! People with an actual scientific knowledge of astronomy will just have to wait for the articles or books or whatever for the details of what is moving where and what is relative to whom and how fast and would it go faster if it was red.

I am only qualified to answer the below:
Could you tell me how it is made - material and so forth I can't quite figure it from the picture?

The material is wet clay. It was not made on a potter's wheel, it was pressed - we have a hydraulic ram press with internally complex plaster moulds, in which we are able to make batches of very simple shapes like this one (this kind of shape would be prohibitively difficult to produce by hand in any numbers). It is presently about 35cm by 45cm in size, and when dry (in a month or so) will be closer to 30cm by 40cm. It will also be a lot lighter in colour. This particular clay fires a warm creamy colour at high earthenware temperatures. The pattern was engraved freehand into the damp clay and took me quite a while. It will eventually be painted with glazes and fired.

A side note: because we work with wheels and centrifugal force so much, potters love galaxies.
 

Vertigo

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The material is wet clay. It was not made on a potter's wheel, it was pressed - we have a hydraulic ram press with internally complex plaster moulds, in which we are able to make batches of very simple shapes like this one (this kind of shape would be prohibitively difficult to produce by hand in any numbers). It is presently about 35cm by 45cm in size, and when dry (in a month or so) will be closer to 30cm by 40cm. It will also be a lot lighter in colour. This particular clay fires a warm creamy colour at high earthenware temperatures. The pattern was engraved freehand into the damp clay and took me quite a while. It will eventually be painted with glazes and fired.

A side note: because we work with wheels and centrifugal force so much, potters love galaxies.

Fascinating I thought it might possibly be clay with the pattern engraved. Serious respect for achieving that freehand! Can you erase mistakes? Like smooth them over or something. Or would that never come out looking properly smooth?
 

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