Evolution of the Universe

[This is the 2nd post in a series that I am writing in the run up to the Goa Thinkfest organized by Tehelka]
Picture Courtesy: Mathias Pedersen
Murder on the Galactic Street! That is what Michael Brown is famous for and famous as. His twitter handle @plutokiller says it all. Yes, he is the one who banished our dear little Pluto - which was meek enough not to cross anyone's path except Neptune's and that too from a distance and that too once in 228 years. But let bygones be bygones, not to mention that he gave ample reasons for his actions.

When he speaks at the Goa Thinkfest this November, many of us will have the golden opportunity ask him questions that have orbited our heads for long. Have you ever wondered about the evolution of the universe or the solar system or the milky way? Is it possible to talk about the evolution of astronomical entities like these in the same way as we talk about the evolution of living beings on Earth? As life progresses on our planet, it evolves to adapt to changing conditions. But does such a rule govern the workings of the planets, starts and other celestial organisms if I can call them so?

Everytime, I am drawn to the thought of our planet revolving around a star along with other members of the Solar System, I invariably am drawn to the though of origin of time. Since when are the planets romancing the Sun like this? If it happened because of the Big Bang, was the setting up our Solar System immediate? Or did it evolve based on the gravitational pull between these bodies? How does it feel to be inhabiting a lone planet in a HUGE universe? Does it feel like sitting in a car in the night in a huge car lot (close to full) and assuming that we are the only ones there?

The mere thought of the sky is so confounding that many of us tend to not think about it - atleast that is what stops me from thinking about it. Because within 5 minutes of thinking about the sky, I am back to the same question - when did time start? More importantly, is this question philosophical or scientific or both? Do you remember that haunting track from the television adaptation of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's Discovery of India? That talks about the origin of creation :)

See you at the Thinkfest!

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