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Weird Astronomical Terms Glossary

A, B, D, G, M, S, W


Anthropic Principle:
The claim or hypothesis that the existence of humans has some importance for the universe, or properties of it, or theories about it. There are several versions of this hypothesis around: The strong anthropic principle tends to claim, basically, that the universe only exists in order to serve as an environment for humans to exist. The weak anthropic principle tends to only conclude limits for certain natural constants and theoretical parameters from the fact that humans (or life, planets, stars, atoms) exist.


Big Bang:

Black Hole:
An object from which even light, with its speed of light velocity, cannot escape. Solution of Einstein's gravitational field equations within his General Relativity theory of spacetime and gravity. Although not yet directly observed, many astronomers believe that Black Holes may occur in two situations: First, as a possible but rare end state of stellar evolution, black holes of about 3 solar masses could be created, second, the supermassive central objects in galaxies are often considered to be Black Holes. The first case is limited by the fact that most if not all supernovae probably produce neutron stars instead of Black Holes, which may turn into the latter only by accumulating matter from their cosmic surroundings (especially if they are part of a binary system). Also, the exact physics of black holes may depend on currently unknown elementary particle physics.

  • Beyond Event Horizon: Black Hole article by Robert W. Lindsay
  • Black Holes - Nature's Mystery of the Cosmos: Informations on what scientists think about them
  • Black Hole FAQ
  • Stellar Black Hole Candidates (Cornell)


    Dark Matter:


    Gamma Ray Burst (GRB):
    Very short (1 second) bright flashes (often brighter than the whole sky background) of Gamma rays occurring in the sky, discovered by USAF's early-warning Vela satellites in the 1960s. Satellite investigations have revealed that their distribution in the sky is about isotropic, implying that they are probably not associated with our Milky Way Galaxy, but otherwise their nature is still unclear: They may be extremely powerful explosions in very distant galaxies, or rather nearby and less violent phenomena either of intergalactic space, or even around our solar system. It was even speculated that there occur GRBs of different origin. More on GRBs (Princeton Pulsar Group)


    Massive Dark Object (MDO), Massive Central Object:
    Most galaxies which were sufficiently investigated contain a remarkable central object within their nucleus. These objects are very dense, with several million (in some cases, even some billion) solar masses concentrated in a volume of a few light-years diameter, and are often surrounded by disks of hot gaseous and sometimes also dusty material, sometimes are also source of a considerable jet. Many astronomers suppose that these objects are supermassive Black Holes, but present observational technology is insufficient to provide direct proof of this hypothesis; what can be seen is usually bright radiation from a compact cantral region.


    Steady State Theory:


    Warp Drive:

    White Hole:

    Worm Hole:

    [SEDS] | [MAA]

    Hartmut Frommert [contact]