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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Astronomy Haiku 2-5-21
This poetry came out of the February 2, 2021 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by Anthony Barrette. It also fills "The Night Is Mine" square in my 2-1-21 "Romance Book Titles" card for the Valentines Bingo fest. This section is the second installment of this year's Astronomy Haiku poetry collection. Start with "Exotic Planets."

The creative forces described below come from theoretical astronomy and quantum physics. Science dealing in the earliest known phases of the Universe is complicated because we only have one model -- the one we're standing in -- readily available for study and we can't replicate those early conditions for testing. So these are concepts that people have come up with to explain observations. See footnotes for scientific references.


the quantum vacuum:
before anything, pregnant
with all potentials

* * *
a pea instanton
sprouts in a burst of glory
and seeds into suns

* * *
the Big Bang bursts forth,
cools into clouds of atoms,
then -- let there be light!

* * *
clouds of cosmic stuff
create black holes directly
without forming stars

* * *
in the dark ages,
neutral hydrogen scattered
light like so much fog

* * *
light a sea of hydrogen,
releasing photons

* * *
first stars burned away
the hydrogen fog, knocking
off its electrons

* * *
for thousands of years
energy slowly settled
to become matter

* * *
short-lived stars made of
hydrogen and helium
flashed and dimmed like sparks

* * *
in the beginning
a spinning universe twirls
galaxies like tops

* * *
a glimpse of the past:
cosmic microwave background
whispers beginnings

* * *
galaxies blowing
bubbles in the hydrogen --
creation's playful

* * *
small galaxies crashed
to become big galaxies:
cosmic bumpercars

* * *
supernovas spread
heavy elements: nickel,
gold, silver, and lead

* * *
the Phoenix Stream trails
around the Milky Way like
a firebird's sparks

* * *


The quantum vacuum is the background energy for the Universe.

The pea instanton is one possible form of the early Universe.

The early universe included the "dark ages" when neutral hydrogen scattered light.

Shortly after the Big Bang, a cloud of molten material may have formed black holes directly.

Matter and energy are basically just two versions of the same thing, and it took about 24,000 years after the Big Bang for the Universe to settle into more matter than energy.

New data suggests that the whole Universe emerged from its birth with spin, like a planet or a galaxy.

The cosmic microwave background hints at what the early universe was like.

Ancient galaxies created bubbles of ionized hydrogen around themselves, facilitating the transmission of light.

About 3,000,000,000 years after the Big Bang, small galaxies often crashed together, forming larger ones.

The earliest stars were big and brief, but their ash included heavier and heavier elements. By 6,000,000,000 years after the Big Bang, supernova explosions began to distribute heavy elements such as nickel, gold, silver, and lead into the universe. We are all made from the dust of ancient stars.

The Phoenix Stream is a mysterious trail of ancient stars around the Milky Way.

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