Discoveries in the Past 35 Years Unraveling Some of the Mysteries of the Universe Essay

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Over the past 35 years, astronomers and scientists have created new technologies to help us make some very exciting and some puzzling discoveries about our universe. In 2007, the McNaught comet unexpectedly captured everyone's attention as it became a daytime star, the first since 1965. 20.5 light-years away, we found an Earth-like planet that could potentially have primitive life on its surface. Also in 2007, the New Horizons spacecraft captured amazingly detailed photos of Jupiter's four biggest moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. As well as detailed photos of Jupiter's new red spot, a storm roughly 70% of Earth's size that began turning red in 2005. In 2004, NASA's spacecraft Cassini found numerous dark, smooth areas that are believed to be lakes on Saturn's largest moon Titan, now known as Titan's "Black Sea". We have new insight to what may happen during and after the Milky Way collides with the Andromeda galaxy in about 2 billion years in the future,. 7,500 light-years away, an 11th magnitude red giant was discovered to be one of the oldest stars ever known. Again in 2007, we discovered two unusually bright supernovas, one in May, and an even brighter one in October. In January of the same year, we were first able to map dark matter, the substance that takes up most of the universe that had never been seen before. From 1994 - 2010, the Large Hadron Collider has been under development to perform a wide range of experiments in outer space. In April of 2004, NASA's Gravity Probe B was launched, and was expected to perform the most difficult general relativity tests. With all of these discoveries and inventions, what could we possible do next? Out of these ten, the subject of dark matter and dark energy fascinates me most. While still a controversial issue, it is generally agreed that dark matter exists. Normal matter takes up only about 4% of our universe. Dark matter, however, takes up about 23% of our universe, while dark energy takes up 73%. But you never really hear about dark matter, what it is, or what it does. We know dark matter exists because of its gravitational effects on normal matter, like stars, planets, and galaxies. Dark matter does not absorb or emit light, but as light approaches a clump of dark matter, it bends around it in a phenomenon known as gravitational lensing. The more massive the clump, the more the light bends. As the light bends, the source of the light, whether it's a star or a galaxy, looks distorted, or stretched. Although scientifically we know how these stars or galaxies are supposed to look, if you look through a telescope, the object you're viewing may seem a little wider than it really is. Dark matter is an invisible substance. To map this substance, the Hubble Space Telescope performed the largest survey of the universe ever done. The survey is called the Cosmic Evolution Survey, more commonly known as COSMOS. Nick Scoville led an international team of 70 astronomers to carry out COSMOS. The COSMOS survey examines a large section of the…