I had fun researching and writing my ‘Everything’ series. If you haven’t read it, click the following links to check it out.
I submitted the articles to r/AskScience in the hopes that some scientists would tell me about any mistakes. I got a lot of hits but understandably, only a couple replies. It is quite a lot to read in one sitting. Luckily, I did get one correction though! “Why are you so happy that you were wrong about something?” you may be asking. I’m happy because that is how science is supposed to work. Now, I don’t have have any delusions that I’m anything more than a total layman on this subject. However, it was fun and interesting to get a glimpse into the mindset of someone who has written a confident sounding paper on a subject, and then had to submit it to be scrutinized and critiqued by people much more knowledgable and experienced. That’s what scientists have to do every day. The process of peer-review, whereby scientific ideas and experiments are picked apart by other scientists, can be brutal. But, this is the only way that error can be separated from the truth in the scientific community.
So, with that in mind, here is the one correction I received on my articles. I’m sure there were more errors, it’s just that scientists are very busy and probably didn’t have the time to read through the articles entirely.
In ‘Everything Part 2 – The Cosmos’ I said, “In the same way, ‘the observable universe’ is defined as the 13.76 billion light-year sphere centered around whoever is doing the observing.”
I should have said that the sphere of the observable universe has a 13.76 billion light year radius. Which would make the sphere 27.52 billion light years across. But, interestingly, the picture is a little more complicated than that. Because in the 13.76 billion years that the light from the most distant objects has taken to reach us, those objects have been moving away from us due to cosmic expansion. So, the objects that look 13.76 billion light years away to us now, have moved to about 48 billion light years away. Huge distances like this can be tricky to work with. So for this reason, there are actually four ways of measuring distance is cosmology.
Originally I planned to have a longer post about my multiple errors, but I actually only received this one critique, which was actually more of a clarification. So, let’s just look at a couple interesting science videos!
The International Space Station travels at about 17,000 MPH! It orbits the Earth every 91 minutes! However, it still experiences slight drag from our atmosphere, so it slows down and the orbit decays by 2km per month. This means that it periodically has to be boosted back up into a higher orbit. When this happens, the ISS actually accellerated away from the astronauts inside. Check out a video of this happening below!
And as a bonus, here is a video of the “sound” made by the rings of Uranus! The video explains what is going on.