Archive for the ‘astronomy’ Category

How wonderful… Here we go again!

image

Peace.

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vatsamp

You might know of this—I think I’d read the headline and noted it but those neurons were inactive since so it was akin to forgetting.

vatican library logo And it’s true, Just visit the site of the Vatican Apostolic Library and you will be able to browse the over 4,400 ancient texts and manuscripts. The library claims to hold 82,000 documents and it is a real pleasure knowing that they intend to do them all!

The library had its Grand Opening in 1451AD, so it is posited that they are not lacking in experience.

vatlib2

From an article by Michael Kozlowski, we read:

The Vatican Apostolic Library is now digitizing its valuable ancient religious manuscripts and putting them online via its website. All of the content is available for free.

The Library was originally founded in 1451 AD and holds over 80,000 manuscripts, prints, drawings, plates and books printed prior to 1500 AD. The titles are all written throughout history by people who had different faiths or religions, from all over the world.

Not only are paintings, religious iconography and books being published online, but also letters by from important historical figures, drawings and notes by artists and scientists such as Michelangelo and Galileo, as well as treaties from all eras in history.

I hope they finish it. They seek donations, which is alright, I guess but they are in fact one of thte major holders of wealth on the planet so in a sense it is, I dont know, less alright, perhaps. Anyway I hope it gets done. They estimate fifteen years, which is reasonable.

 

vatsamp2

Enjoy!

Peace.

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Published on Dec 10, 2013

When NASA’s Juno spacecraft flew past Earth on Oct. 9, 2013, it received a boost in speed of more than 8,800 mph (about 7.3 kilometer per second), which set it on course for a July 4, 2016, rendezvous with Jupiter.

One of Juno’s sensors, a special kind of camera optimized to track faint stars, also had a unique view of the Earth-moon system. The result was an intriguing, low-resolution glimpse of what our world would look like to a visitor from afar.

The cameras that took the images for the movie are located near the pointed tip of one of the spacecraft’s three solar-array arms. They are part of Juno’s Magnetic Field Investigation (MAG) and are normally used to determine the orientation of the magnetic sensors. These cameras look away from the sunlit side of the solar array, so as the spacecraft approached, the system’s four cameras pointed toward Earth. Earth and the moon came into view when Juno was about 600,000 miles (966,000 kilometers) away — about three times the Earth-moon separation.

During the flyby, timing was everything. Juno was traveling about twice as fast as a typical satellite, and the spacecraft itself was spinning at 2 rpm. To assemble a movie that wouldn’t make viewers dizzy, the star tracker had to capture a frame each time the camera was facing Earth at exactly the right instant. The frames were sent to Earth, where they were processed into video format.

The music accompaniment is an original score by Vangelis.

The full image caption for this movie is available at:http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/cata…

600,000 miles away.

Damn, no wonder it’s so small.

Adds a humbling perspective to things.

Don’t it?

Peace.

Ah ha! The weirdness continues!

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope set of images from Sept. 10, 2013 reveals a never-before-seen set of six comet-like tails radiating from a body in the asteroid belt designated P/2013 P5. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, D.Jewitt/UCLA

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope set of images from Sept. 10, 2013 reveals a never-before-seen set of six comet-like tails radiating from a body in the asteroid belt designated P/2013 P5. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, D.Jewitt/UCLA

Sploid Gizmodo – 11/07/13 — The object in these photographs captured by Hubble is not a comet. It’s something that no astronomer has ever seen before, according to NASA: An asteroid with six comet-like tails that isn’t moving like a comet and it’s not made of ice. It’s just hanging up there, rotating like a crazy space spider.

According to lead investigator David Jewitt of the University of California at Los Angeles, “we were literally dumbfounded when we saw it [in the solar system’s asteroid belt] We were completely knocked out.”

NASA says that “unlike all other known asteroids, which appear simply as tiny points of light, this asteroid, designated P/2013 P5, resembles a rotating lawn sprinkler. Astronomers are puzzled over the asteroid’s unusual appearance.” Read more…

A lot of discoveries out there these days! The more, the merrier, right? Keep ‘em coming!

Some seem to think it’s from a collision. Or rotational breakup. Or pressure from the Sun. Or something. NASA itself doesn’t seem to know what to make of it at the moment.

Good.

Discovery! Investigation! Science!

Peace.

Well now, this is mighty unusual…

PSO J318.5-22, artist's impression

PSO J318.5-22, artist’s impression. Credit: MPIA/V. Ch. Quetz

Science Daily – Oct. 9, 2013 — An international team of astronomers has discovered an exotic young planet that is not orbiting a star. This free-floating planet, dubbed PSO J318.5-22, is just 80 light-years away from Earth and has a mass only six times that of Jupiter. The planet formed a mere 12 million years ago — a newborn in planet lifetimes.

It was identified from its faint and unique heat signature by the Pan-STARRS 1 (PS1) wide-field survey telescope on Haleakala, Maui. Follow-up observations using other telescopes in Hawaii show that it has properties similar to those of gas-giant planets found orbiting around young stars. And yet PSO J318.5-22 is all by itself, without a host star.

“We have never before seen an object free-floating in space that that looks like this. It has all the characteristics of young planets found around other stars, but it is drifting out there all alone,” explained team leader Dr. Michael Liu of the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. “I had often wondered if such solitary objects exist, and now we know they do.”

Read more…

The last line above from Dr. Liu gives me a smile and some hope. The sense of wonder is so important to us. I am glad it’s still out there. Really.

If it can be imagined, it’s out there. Things that can’t be imagined are no doubt out there, too. That’s exciting.

So many questions. Did it form out there? Around a star? If so, what happened to it? Maybe it’s a Dyson Sphere! Might it have life? I bet it does.

We need to build a way to go there and see. That should be our planetary goal.

Peace.

Boffins Baffled!

LOL!

Sorry, I’m OK now.

Hehe. It’s just that I love when the boffins are baffled. Especially in astronomy. There are so many things we have no idea about. Models and paradigms are created based on the data at hand and are seemingly ingrained as fact in the minds of many. But they are not facts, they are merely good ideas given what information is available and people’s interpretation of it.

Planet Kepler-78b, a rocky planet much like our own, has just been discovered orbiting a star that is also much like our own.  It is however, so different that astronomers simply do not understand how it can possibly exist. I like that.

Kepler78b, artist's impression. Credit: TNG/Avet Harutyunyan

Kepler-78b, artist’s impression. Credit: TNG/Avet Harutyunyan

Sky Mania – October 30, 2013 — “This planet is a complete mystery,” says astronomer David Latham of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). “We don’t know how it formed or how it got to where it is today. What we do know is that it’s not going to last forever.” Colleague Dimitar Sasselov said: “Kepler-78b is going to end up in the star very soon, astronomically speaking. It couldn’t have formed in place because you can’t form a planet inside a star. It couldn’t have formed further out and migrated inward, because it would have migrated all the way into the star. This planet is an enigma.” Dr Ken Rice, of the University of Edinburgh said: “Although this planet is clearly too hot to support life, it is still very exciting to now be discovering planets that are not only similar in mass to the Earth, but also similar in composition.”

Read more…

The main difficulty is that the orbit is only a million miles from the star. A year on it lasts a quick 8 and a half hours. The rocks at the surface are pretty toasty and would be much like permanently molten lava. It is thought that stars shrink as they age, so the mere presence of this object where it sits seems impossible with current thought.

And yet… there it is.

Awesome.

Peace.

This is simply too pretty not to share…

photo by FG

Pretty slick. Looks like something the Electric Universe guys or the Plasma peeps would like.

From the post at Spaceweather.com entitled Unidentified Object:

Details:

I took this picture in Novo Hamburgo city, in the south of Brazil, photographed – between 8:30 and 9 PM on october 22nd – a strange object in the sky.
Canon Rebel T-4, ISO 100, f/4.5, 30s exposure, 35mm

EXIF Data:
Camera Used: Canon Canon EOS REBEL T4i
Exposure Time: 30/1
Aperture: f/4.5
ISO: 100
Date Taken: 2013:10:24 09:55:10

I usually shy away from UFO stuff these days, even though I have seen several, but, I like this one. As mentioned I think it is visually impressive. And it’s on Spaceweather, which doesn’t hurt. Also appearing here in the local paper/site (in Portuguese (Google translation)). They wrote:

Strange object (maybe an UFO?) In the sky

A citizen from Novo Hamburgo, in the south of Brazil, photographed – between 8:30 and 9 PM on 22nd october – a strange object in the sky. Specialists disagree on what it would be. One of Them que said it’s not a weather balloon. Another said that’s not a paramotor. Some say it’s a drone (unmanned the vehicle). And there are Those Who que defend it’s just lens flare.

Was included in this post for our readers foreign language, an English summary of the original text published in the print edition of the ABC Sunday.

Is it a UFO? Technically, yes, it is, but semantically it depends on what you personally think of when you hear that term. Lens flare is popular in the comments section, as expected. Could very well be lens flare. I don’t think it is at this moment, though. Could of course be lots of things.

Here’s the full photo:

FG full photo

Anyway, enjoy the eye candy, folks.

Peace.

ETA: Interesting date and time discrepancy in the EXIF data. Not sure what if anything that implies. Still like it…

Galaxy MACS0647-JD

Source PUBLISHED: 06:09 EST, 16 November 2012 | UPDATED: 07:11 EST, 16 November 2012

Researchers have identified the furthest ever galaxy discovered in space – a staggering 13.3 billion light-years from Earth.

The galaxy was observed around 420 million years after the Big Bang when the universe was just 3 per cent of its current age.

Astronomers have calculated the galaxy is a 13.3 billion light-years from Earth with a single light-year representing 5,878,625 million miles.

It was spotted using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, and one of nature’s own natural ‘zoom lenses’ in space.

Scientists say the object is in the first stages of galaxy formation with analysis showing it is less than 600 light-years across.

Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is 150,000 light-years across with the Solar System a third of the age of the newly discovered galaxy.

Dan Coe, from the Space Telescope Science Institute, said. ‘This object may be one of many building blocks of a galaxy.

‘Over the next 13 billion years, it may have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of merging events with other galaxies and galaxy fragments.’

Coe and his collaborators spent months ruling out alternative explanations for the object’s identity – such as red stars, brown dwarfs, and red galaxies – to conclude it was a very distant galaxy.

The object, named MACS0647-JD, is the latest discovery from a programme which uses natural zoom lenses to reveal distant galaxies in the early universe.

The Cluster Lensing And Supernova survey with Hubble (CLASH) is using massive galaxy clusters as cosmic telescopes to magnify distant galaxies behind them, an effect called gravitational lensing.

Rychard Bouwens, from Leiden University, Holland, said: ‘While one occasionally expects to find an extremely distant galaxy using the tremendous power of gravitational lensing, this latest discovery has outstripped even my expectations of what would be possible with the CLASH program.
“The science output in this regard has been incredible.’

It is such a good feeling when things like this are found. Things so old the mind can hardly comprehend it. I’m not a fan of the Big Bang, though. It’s a nice theory, I guess, but it remains just a theory, regardless of it usually being presented as if it is fact. All of these astronomers seem to take it as if it were a fact… I sometimes find that a little disturbing.

I often wonder what they’ll do when an object is found that calculates out to 15 billion years. Hehe. And I am quite certain that if they point a scope at some dark spot and let the shutter go for a couple of months that that will happen.

Interestingly, the above article was published in 2012 and then just recently we find the one below. With a very similar title. But I always thought that 13.3 was farther than 13.1. Perhaps they forgot about the older one.

Anyway, this next one’s cool too.

galaxy z8_GND_5296. Photograph by V. Tilvi (Texas A&M), S. Finkelstein (UT Austin), the CANDELS Team, and HST/NASA

Galaxy z8_GND_5296. Photograph by V. Tilvi (Texas A&M), S. Finkelstein (UT Austin), the CANDELS Team, and HST/NASA

Andrew Fazekas

National Geographic

Published October 23, 2013

Astronomers have found a galaxy 13.1 billion light-years from Earth, making it officially the most distant object ever detected.

A faint, infrared speck of light from this ancient galaxy, called z8_GND_5296, was spotted using the Hubble Space Telescope and one of the world’s largest ground-based telescopes, a ten-meter telescope at Keck Observatory at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

Light from this baby galaxy began its journey when the universe was about 700 million years old and just emerging from the cosmic mist left over from its birth, said Casey Papovich, one of the lead authors of the study and an astronomer at Texas A&M University in College Station.

The former record holder is a fellow youngster, an ultra-faint galaxy about 100 million light-years closer to Earth.

Past claims of galaxies at these extreme distances were mined from deep field images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. But many of these would-be candidates turned out to be much closer than previously thought, according to Papovich.

How Far Back Can We Go?

Can we push the record back even further, closer to the Big Bang?

Richard Ellis, an astronomer not connected to the study, says it is definitely possible. But we do not yet have telescopes powerful enough to do the job.

“We have the capability, in principle, to push to redshifts of ten and beyond, corresponding to a time when the universe was only 350 million years old, or only 3 percent of its present age,” said Ellis, an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
national geographic

Wow, good stuff, eh?

I wonder what these things look like now… or even if they still exist!

Peace.

Han Solo on Mercury! Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution

He Will Not Be Permanently Damaged

Release Date: September 13, 2013
Topics: Caloris, Rough Terrain, WAC
Date acquired: July 27, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 220245203
Image ID: 556691
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 51.9°
Center Longitude: 167.6° E
Resolution: 75 meters/pixel
Scale: This scene is 96 km (59.7 mi.) across
Incidence Angle: 84.5°
Emission Angle: 35.3°
Phase Angle: 119.8°
North is up in this image.

Of Interest: If there are two things you should remember, it’s not to cross a Hutt, and that Mercury’s surface can throw up all kinds of surprises. In this image, a portion of the terrain surrounding the northern margin of the Caloris basin hosts an elevated block in the shape of a certain carbonite-encased smuggler who can make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. This block may be part of the original surface that pre-dates the formation of Caloris, which was shaped by material ejected during the basin-forming event. The act of seeing a meaningful shape in random landforms is a form of pareidolia—and has been seen for Mercury more than a few times before…

The MESSENGER spacecraft is the first ever to orbit the planet Mercury, and the spacecraft’sseven scientific instruments and radio science investigation are unraveling the history and evolution of the Solar System’s innermost planet. During the first two years of orbital operations, MESSENGER acquired over 150,000 images and extensive other data sets. MESSENGER is capable of continuing orbital operations until early 2015.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Link to the press release on the Messenger site.

Hahaha! Looks like Han Solo’s on Mercury! Does Boba Fett know? Does Jabba?

Ah, pareidolia can be such fun, can’t it? and it’s good to see NASA having a laugh.

Peace.

On the 19th of July, 2013, the spacecraft called Cassini took about 20 minutes out of its mission at Saturn to look far, far away – 898 million miles back in the direction it had come, held itself very still… and took some inspiring pictures of its home…

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From NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Cal Tech’s news release… comes this snippet:

“We can’t see individual continents or people in this portrait of Earth, but this pale blue dot is a succinct summary of who we were on July 19,” said Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “Cassini’s picture reminds us how tiny our home planet is in the vastness of space, and also testifies to the ingenuity of the citizens of this tiny planet to send a robotic spacecraft so far away from home to study Saturn and take a look-back photo of Earth.”

Nicely put, Ms. Spilker…

Back in 1990, the Voyager 1 spacecraft also took Earth’s picture as it bid farewell to the solar system. A truly amazing image it is… one that prompted Carl Sagan to offer some thoughts on the implications of what thereafter became known as The Pale Blue Dot.

Here is that image, from 4 billion miles away – followed by Dr. Sagan’s words…

Pale Blue Dot by Voyager 1 1990 via nprImage source, a fine article on NPR.

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Inspiring times we live in. I still hope someday that we can heed the words above… just imagine what could be done… what wonders could be found,,, how rich our lives could be.

MrSpechtler Published on Jun 2, 2013

Die ESA-Sonde Mars Express ist seit 10 Jahren unterwegs und umkreist seitdem den Roten Planeten. Das Original-Video stammt von der DRL und kann sich auch unter nachfolgender URL angeschaut werden: http://www.dlr.de/dlr/desktopdefault….

Google translation: The ESA’s Mars Express has been 10 years since the road and circled the Red Planet. The original video is from the DRL and can be looked at under the following URL: http://www.dlr.de/dlr/desktopdefault ….

Nice views. Beautiful views.

Not much to say at the moment as the distractions of duty abound… so, for your viewing pleasure… watch this.

It’s a series of aerial flyby views of various Martian landscapes.

It is done by overlaying photographs from the craft’s stereo camera onto 3D maps made from precise laser altimeter data. This allows them to use 3D programs to generate the flyovers.

They could also, if they wanted, generate ground level walkthroughs… that would be spectacular, I bet.

Enjoy and Peace.

Planetfall, Enceladus, vents

Space.com – Enceladus vents water into space from its south polar region. The moon is lit by the Sun on the left, and backlit by the vast reflecting surface of its parent planet to the right. Icy crystals from these plumes are likely the source of Saturn’s nebulous E ring, within which Enceladus orbits. Mosaic composite photograph. Cassini, December 25, 2009.
CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Michael Benson/Kinetikon Pictures. © All rights reserved.

From Saturn Moon Enceladus Eyed for Sample-Return Mission at Space.com:

SAN FRANCISCO — Scientists are developing a mission concept that would snag icy particles from Saturn’s moon Enceladus and return them to Earth, where they could be analyzed for signs of life.

The spacecraft would fly through the icy plume blasted into space by geysers near Enceladus’ south pole, then send the collected particles back to our planet in a return capsule. Enceladus may be capable of supporting life, and the flyby sample-return mission would bring pieces from its depths to Earth at a reasonable price, researchers said.

“This is really the low-hanging fruit” of sample-return missions, said study leader Peter Tsou of Sample Exploration Systems in La Canada, Calif., who presented the idea here Wednesday (Dec. 5) at the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union. “It would be a shame not to pick it.”

[]

If the mission is approved, it could probably be ready to launch by 2020, Tsou added. Samples from Enceladus’ plume would make it to Earth about 14 years later.

Enceladus is a great candidate for sample-return, Tsou said. Its geyser-blasted particles are fresh, having come right out of the moon’s subsurface ocean. The mission can be done without landing on and re-launching from another world, two costly and complicating extra steps. And Enceladus seems to have all the ingredients necessary to support life.

“That doesn’t mean life is there,” Tsou said. “But we want to find out.”

Well, dang, doc, I want to find out, too!

I mean, just think… !

Enceladus is an awesome place. Seriously, I have always had a gut feeling that there are critters there.

Too bad it will be so far off, man, seven long years… but

It would be awesome if a base could be established, robotic, no doubt, that would bore through the ice to the ocean below… and have streaming video. Should be able to sort out the streaming part by then, eh?

There’s a strange old post here from October ‘09 called The Critters Of Enceladus,

Ha! That was a fun one.

Here’s a pic…

Resident of Enceladus? image N00121336(crop) NASA/JPL

Resident of Enceladus? image N00121336(crop) NASA/JPL

shocking

Yes, indeed, Enceladus is a fine place to get real and tangible material to study.

Peace.

P.S. This was a draft from way back in January… sigh.

 

Cool! This is really cool!

And here it is… one of Project 1640’s direct images of the HR 8799 planetary system, located a mere 128 light years from Earth:

Project 1640's direct image of the HR 8799 planetary system, 128 light years from Earth.

This image of the HR 8799 planets was taken with starlight optically suppressed and data processing conducted to remove residual starlight. The star is at the center of the blackened circle in the image. The four spots indicated with the letters b through e are the planets. This is a composite image using 30 wavelengths of light and was obtained over a period of 1.25 hours on June 14 and 15, 2012. Credit: Project 1640

I like this.

This Project 1640 that scientists led by Ben R. Oppenheimer at the American Museum of Natural History cooked up is most impressive.

Ben R. Oppenheimer is associate curator and chair of the Astrophysics Department at the American Museum of Natural History.

Researchers have conducted a remote reconnaissance of a distant solar system with a new telescope imaging system that sifts through the blinding light of stars. Using a suite of high-tech instrumentation and software called Project 1640, the scientists collected the first chemical fingerprints, or spectra, of this system’s four red exoplanets, which orbit a star 128 light years away from Earth. A detailed description of the planets—showing how drastically different they are from the known worlds in the universe—was accepted Friday for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.

I’m thinking that this success will be repeated quite often in future. It seems likely to my way of thinking that most stars would have a planetary system as standard equipment if the disc accretion theory is right. There are, it would seem, on cursory inspection… a lot of stars.

1640 instrument in the Hale scope.

This photo shows the Project 1640 instrument in the telescope dome of the 200-inch Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory, prior to being installed for observations. Credit: Palomar Observatory/S. Kardel

The instrument, which uses all 200 inches of the nicely formed optics within the world-renowned Hale telescope at Palomar Observatory in California, has 200 of those stars listed in its target itinerary.

The mission is a three-year survey, launched in June 2012. The 200 stars in the list are all within about 150 light years of our solar system.

The project involves researchers from the California Institute of Technology, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Cambridge University, New York University, and the Space Telescope Science Institute, in addition to Oppenheimer’s team at the Museum.

The image above is not in the visual range, as the instrument is a spectrograph. It reveals the chemical composition of objects in its field of view. This is vital data which shows what a planet, or at least its atmosphere, is made out of. And that means that it can detect if a planet has or is capable of having life onboard. How cool is that?

These four, which had actually been imaged before this development, are not candidates for life as we know it, unfortunately but they are intriguing as it would appear that they are quite weird!

I like that, too! Ha!

The results are “quite strange,” Oppenheimer said. “These warm, red planets are unlike any other known object in our universe. All four planets have different spectra, and all four are peculiar. The theorists have a lot of work to do now.”

Also…

“The spectra of these four worlds clearly show that they are far too toxic and hot to sustain life as we know it,” said co-author Ian Parry, a senior lecturer at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge University. “But the really exciting thing is that one day, the techniques we’ve developed will give us our first secure evidence of the existence of life on a planet outside our solar system.”

And…

In addition to revealing unique planets, the research debuts a new capability to observe and rapidly characterize exoplanetary systems in a routine manner, something that has eluded astronomers until now because the light that stars emit is tens of millions to billions of times brighter than the light given off by planets. This makes directly imaging and analyzing exoplanets extremely difficult: as Oppenheimer says, “It’s like taking a single picture of the Empire State Building from an airplane that reveals the height of the building as well as taking a picture of a bump on the sidewalk next to it that is as high as a couple of bacteria.”

I am excited by the implications of this remarkable development in spectroscopic instrumentation. This is going to give us some fabulous things to think about. We can only hope that the results that I expect will eventually show themselves will do wonders for the inspiration of many and trigger a renewed sense of the need to explore. Exploration is a wonderful thing.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-03-astronomers-remote-reconnaissance-solar.html#jCp

To view the science paper and supporting images, go to: http://www.amnh.org/our-research/physical-sciences/astrophysics/research/project-1640

To see where HR 8799 is in relation to Earth, watch this Digital Universe visualization: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDNAk0bwLrU

American Museum of Natural History (amnh.org)

Enjoy… and wonder!

Peace.

Hey, get a load of this…

Titan's Nile (full)

From Wired

Vast Alien River System Spotted on Saturn’s Moon Titan

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has spotted a river system stretching more than 200 miles on Saturn’s moon Titan.

Though it isn’t the Nile — which is more than 20 times as long — the mighty river provides further evidence that this odd little moon is a wet world not unlike our own. Many lakes and small rivers have been found already on Titan but the newly discovered stream is the largest yet and represents the first time scientists have seen such a vast liquid system on any world other than Earth.

Titan’s mini-Nile doesn’t flow with water, which freezes to be hard as stone on the moon, but rather liquid hydrocarbons such as methane and ethane, which are stable in the moon’s -290 degree Fahrenheit average temperatures. From its headwaters, the flow follows a fault line and runs into the Kraken Mare, one of three gigantic seas that cover Titan’s northern hemisphere. Titan’s liquid cycle also includes seasonal downpours, which have been spotted from orbit. Whether all this liquid improves the chances for life on Titan remains an open mystery.

The enormous image above was acquired on Sept. 26 but only released on Dec. 12.

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI

The Saturnian system has always excited me. It is seriously cool… and seriously exotic. A treasure trove of anomalies. I have long said that the farther out you go, the stranger and weirder things get; and I am pleased to report that this observation has yet to disappoint me.

Okay, so this river isn’t exactly weird, being, well, a river, but it’s nice and long and actually is pretty exotic as outlined above and I, for one, am more than willing to speculate that there are a wide variety of critters living in and around those currents. And eddies! I love eddies. Sorry.

Not to go too off-topic, but you can probably guess that I really, truly like the fact that the ocean this river feeds is called the Kraken Mare. WAAAH!
I am hoping with all my heart that naming it that proves to be the very definition of “foresight!”

I’d say this calls for at least a rover. Better yet, how about a sub to go with it!

Edit to add that the Kraken Mare is five times bigger than Lake Superior!

Peace.

Share your strangest news with your weirdest friends… with help from my latest anomalistic art…

Strange Object

This fractal nebula-like object has some very strange linear features at it’s center, which are of interest to scientists. The interest for most will be the fascinating region at the top. What is it, we wonder? Is there life there?

The Fold

The Fold is one of the strangest objects in outer space. A sheet of energetic plasma has folded in on itself. Scientists don’t know what to make of it.

Greenie, Close Up!

A zoomed in look at The Green Anomaly, which is a fanciful fractal rendition of a strange and energetic nebula-like area deep in outer space. Very deep.

Purple Anomaly

The Purple Anomaly is a fanciful fractal rendition of a strange, energetic nebula-like region located far out into the depths of outer space

RIP Neil Armstrong

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

 What can I really say. Such terribly sad news. This man was, is and will always be a real hero to me… and millions of others.

I can only hope I have within myself a small portion of the stuff that this man had running through his veins.

Godspeed, Sir.

Astronaut Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on moon, dies at age 82

Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died Saturday, weeks after heart surgery and days after his 82nd birthday.

Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, and he radioed back to Earth the historic news of “one giant leap for mankind.” He spent nearly three hours walking on the moon with fellow astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin. Armstrong and his wife, Carol, married in 1999, made their home in the Cincinnati suburb of Indian Hill, but he had largely stayed out of public view in recent years.

He spoke at Ohio State University during a February event honoring fellow astronaut John Glenn and the 50th anniversary of Glenn becoming the first American to orbit the Earth. In May, Armstrong joined Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, at Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida to support the opening of The National Flight Academy, which aims to teach math and science to kids through an aviation-oriented camp.

And now, let us relive the moment that thrilled us to the core…

the footprint

Here is the full text of his famous address… the one the profoundly misguided love to quote from:

Thank you, Mr. Vice President, Mr. President, members of Congress, fellow astronauts, ladies and gentlemen.

Wilbur Wright once noted that the only bird that could talk was the parrot, and he didn’t fly very well. So I’ll be brief. This week America has been recalling the Apollo program and reliving the memories of those times in which so many of us here, colleagues here in the first rows, were immersed. Our old astrogeology mentor, Gene Shoemaker, even called in one of his comets to mark the occasion with spectacular Jovian fireworks. And reminding us once again of the power and consequence of celestial extracurricular activities.

Many Americans were part of Apollo, about one or two in each thousand citizens, all across the country. They were asked by their country to do the impossible–to envisage the design and to build a method of breaking the bonds of earth’s gravity and then sally forth to visit another heavenly body. The principal elements–leaving earth, navigating in space and descending to a planet unencumbered with runways and traffic control–would include major requirements necessary for a space-faring people.

Today a space shuttle flies overhead with an international crew. A number of countries have international space programs. During the space age we have increased our knowledge of our universe a thousand-fold.

Today we have with us a group of students, among America’s best. To you we say we have only completed a beginning. We leave you much that is undone. There are great ideas undiscovered, breakthroughs available to those who can remove one of the truth’s protective layers. There are many places to go beyond belief. Those challenges are yours–in many fields, not the least of which is space, because there lies human destiny.

Peace

Oh dear. First my dear Doc Watson… and now Ray Bradbury, who, as you might imagine, meant a whole heck of a lot to this searching mind. I can’t really write too much at the moment, I’m sorry, it’s too emotional.

What a beautiful, sweet man. And what an inspiration he has been and will continue forever to be to so many.

I will just play these two videos in his honor.

In Memoriam: Ray Bradbury 1920-2012

Published on Jun 6, 2012 by 

A Mars rover driver pays tribute to author and visionary, Ray Bradbury.

Published on Jun 6, 2012 by 

Through the years, Ray Bradbury attended several major space mission events at JPL/Caltech.

On Nov. 12, 1971, on the eve of Mariner 9 going into orbit at Mars, Bradbury took part in a symposium at Caltech with Arthur C. Clarke, journalist Walter Sullivan, and scientists Carl Sagan and Bruce Murray. In this excerpt, Bradbury reads his poem, If Only We Had Taller Been.

Sir, be seeing you…

Peace.

Solar Dark Matter by SDO/GSFC/NASAWow, they never told me that in school! 

To be fair to my teachers, this was only discovered in 1995 and confirmed in 1997; and I learned of it only yesterday via my buddy Domenick DiMaggio, who was as surprised as I by this revelation. He called attention to the implications of this discovery. Those implications are, indeed, very deep, as I am sure you will understand.

As you may have heard, “Where there is water, there is life.” Not saying that there’s life on the Sun exactly, but it surely means that if water can exist on a star, then water is present pretty much everywhere and those  are the implications we are getting at.

It is the feeling and belief around these parts that we should just assume that there is life wherever we look. It’s that way here on Earth; and this evidence makes it all but a foregone conclusion for any location anywhere else, in my humble opinion at least. And yes, I mean not only planets and moons, but asteroids, comets, itty, bitty lumps of rock and ice and yes… quite possibly on the stars themselves.

Below are the abstract of the study and the press release… note that the study is from a biotechnology institution. Life, anyone?

This is exciting!

Here’s the abstract of the study results from the National Center for Biotechnology InformationU.S. National Library of Medicine:

Science. 1997 Jul 18;277(5324):346-8.

Water on the sun: line assignments based on variational calculations.

Polyansky OLZobov NFViti STennyson JBernath PFWallace L.

Source

Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK.

Abstract

The infrared spectrum of hot water observed in a sunspot has been assigned. The high temperature of the sunspot (3200 K) gave rise to a highly congested pure rotational spectrum in the 10-micrometer region that involved energy levels at least halfway to dissociation. Traditional spectroscopy, based on perturbation theory, is inadequate for this problem. Instead, accurate variational solutions of the vibration-rotation Schrödinger equation were used to make assignments, revealing unexpected features, including rotational difference bands and fewer degeneracies than anticipated. These results indicate that a shift away from perturbation theory to first principles calculations is necessary in order to assign spectra of hot polyatomic molecules such as water.

And here’s the press release from Stanford University:

Researchers Confirm that Water Exists On The Sun

Press Release no. 115 — July 17, 1997
University of Waterloo

WATERLOO, Ont. — An international team of scientists, including a University of Waterloo chemistry professor, has conclusively demonstrated that water (actually steam) does exist on the sun, confirming a breakthrough finding made two years ago.

The team used an innovative method to calculate the water spectrum at sunspot temperatures. The method will be useful in modelling systems with an abundance of extremely hot water molecules, such as forest fires.

The team was led by Oleg Polyansky, a theoretician from Russia’s Institute of Applied Physics; Nizhnii Novgorod, who works with co-researcher Jonathan Tennyson, a physicist at University College, London; and UW chemistry Prof. Peter Bernath, an expert in molecular astronomy. Other team members included Serena Viti, a physicist at University College, London; Nikolai Zobov, a physicist at University College, London; and Lloyd Wallace, an astronomer at Kitt Peak National Observatory, Tucson, Ariz.

In their 1995 study, the team recorded evidence of water — not in liquid form because the sun is too hot, but as vapor or steam — in dark sunspots. The scientists compared the laboratory infrared spectrum of hot water with that of a sunspot.

The water in the sunspots causes a sort of “stellar greenhouse effect” that affects the sunspot’s energy output. Hot water molecules are also the most important absorbers of infrared radiation in the atmospheres of cool stars, such as “variable red giants.”

In their follow-up study, to be published today in the journal Science, the scientists examined the spectrum of extremely hot water such as that found in sunspots and in the laboratory. Hot water has a complicated infrared spectrum characterized by a dense series of sharp absorption lines.

But the transitions that give rise to those lines were not known, until now. The research team carried out a simulation of the infrared spectrum based purely on theoretical calculations, allowing accurate assignments of the absorption lines.

“The detailed interpretation of the infrared spectrum of hot water is one of the important unsolved problems in molecular spectroscopy,” the researchers write in their Science  article.

The spectroscopic data will be useful in modelling other systems that contain extremely hot water molecules, such as forest fires and rocket plumes. Spectral analysis captures the characteristic spectra, or wavelength patterns, emitted or absorbed by molecules.

“Our research team solved the problem by doing something completely different,” Bernath said. “Starting with a mathematical model that is progressively improved through perturbation theory doesn’t work for hot water.”

Instead, the team went directly to theory and used the calculated interaction energies of the atoms of water. By using sophisticated variational calculations of energy levels, the researchers predicted the position of transitions that give rise to absorption lines.

“The calculations were so good that they were close enough to the observations for us to make sense of the spectrum,” said Bernath, who led the team that carried out the laboratory spectroscopy. Spectroscopy is the study of the interaction of light and matter.

Contact: John Morris, UW News Bureau, (519) 888-4567, ext. 6047 Prof. Peter Bernath, (519) 888-4567, ext. 4814

Wow!

And yowza, folks, as a bonus for reading this far it can be reported that a team using The National Science Foundation’s Very Large Array found in 1991, (and again in 1994), that Mercury has water, too! Whee!

Here is their summary of the study:

The Discovery of Water Ice on Mercury

 

Mercury as seen by the VLA

Mercury, the innermost planet of our Solar System, is less than half as distant from the Sun as the Earth. Because of this proximity, parts of Mercury’s surface are heated to temperatures nearing 425 degrees Celsius (800 degrees Farenheit). Thus, it was long considered one of the least likely places to find ice.

Though Mercury is one of Earth’s closest planetary neighbors, we know less about it than we do many of the more-distant planets. In 1974 and 1975, the Mariner 10 spacecraft made three passes by Mercury, sending back photos of 45 percent of the planet’s surface. The rest of Mercury is little known, however, so ground-based observers continue to study the planet.

In 1991, planetary scientists Duane Muhleman and Bryan Butler from Caltech and Martin Slade from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, studied Mercury using a radar system consisting of a 70-meter (230-foot) dish antenna at Goldstone, CA, equipped with a half-million-watt transmitter, and the VLA as the receiving system. The beam of 8.5-GHz microwaves sent from Goldstone bounced off Mercury and was collected at the VLA to produce a radar image of the planet. The researchers used the Goldstone-VLA radar system to look at the side of Mercury that was not photographed by Mariner 10.

The resulting radar image, shown here, contained a stunning surprise. In this image, red indicates strong reflection of the radar signal and yellow, green, and blue, progressively weaker reflection. The bright red dot at the top of the image indicates strong radar reflection at Mercury’s north pole. In fact, it resembles the strong radar echo seen from the ice-rich polar caps of Mars.

“Normal” ice, such as that found on Earth, absorbs radio waves, but ice at very low temperatures is a very effective reflector of radio waves. The strong reflection seen on Mercury is too large to be caused by a momentary “glint” off a crater wall, and when studied in more detail shares the characteristics of reflections from the water ice seen on Mars and the icy moons of Jupiter.

Scientists now believe that the ice resides on the floors of craters at Mercury’s north pole, where it can remain permanently shaded from the Sun and reach temperatures as low as 125 degrees Kelvin (-235 degrees Farenheit).

The VLA, with its great angular resolution, or ability to see fine detail, was crucial to this discovery. It was able to provide sufficient detail of small regions (down to 100 meters in this observation) to reveal the ice reflections. Other analytical capabilities of the VLA helped to further confirm the discovery. In 1994, the same observing team discovered a similar radar reflection from Mercury’s south pole. In sum, the VLA’s capabilities provided major new insight into the nature of this planet.

Good gracious.

Peace.

Lake on Titan by Cassini. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech and NASA/USGS)

A recent study finds that the lake known as Ontario Lacus on Saturn's moon Titan (left) bears striking similarity to a salt pan on Earth known as the Etosha Pan (right). (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech and NASA/USGS)

Now this is pretty rad!

Seems the cycle of liquids on Titan works much the same as our water cycle.This is in a desert area and its quite flat and shallow. Cyclically it would fill up with liquid, drain and repeat… in this case, it seems… liquid hydrocarbons.

ScienceDaily (Apr. 20, 2012) — A new study analyzing data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft suggests that the lake, known as Ontario Lacus, behaves most similarly to what we call a salt pan on Earth.

A group led by Thomas Cornet of the Université de Nantes, France, a Cassini associate, found evidence for long-standing channels etched into the lake bed within the southern boundary of the depression. This suggests that Ontario Lacus, previously thought to be completely filled with liquid hydrocarbons, could actually be a depression that drains and refills from below, exposing liquid areas ringed by materials like saturated sand or mudflats.

“We conclude that the solid floor of Ontario Lacus is most probably exposed in those areas,” said Cornet, whose paper appears in a recent issue of the journal Icarus.

These characteristics make Ontario Lacus very similar to the Etosha salt pan on Earth, which is a lake bed that fills with a shallow layer of water from groundwater levels that rise during the rainy season. This layer then evaporates and leaves sediments like tide marks showing the previous extent of the water.

“Some of the things we see happening in our own backyard are right there on Titan to study and learn from,” said Bonnie Buratti, a co-author and Cassini team member based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “On Earth, salt pans tend to form in deserts where liquids can suddenly accumulate, so it appears the same thing is happening on Titan.“

And that is yet another thing to bolster the chances of finding critters out there. And what mind-blowing critters they’d be! As this lake fills and drains regularly with some juicy stuff, my vote is for carbon-based life swimmin’ around in there. As much of Titan is more concerned with elements other than carbon, though, there’s speculation that life based on other elements would likely be the critters of choice.

They’d be a bit different from us I’d imagine, being based on something other than carbon. This is by no means a new concept of course. There is some concern bubbling round in me brainpan regarding a thought on that.

Since carbon is all we know and posts at the forum cannot fathom how other substances would “work,” would we, then, have the innate ability to recognize something that is alive – but bears no quality other than being alive – that we have ever experienced before?

An excellent question.

Spotted this in a recent post at ATS which led to the source article at Science Daily.

Peace.

Pretty sure you will agree with me when I posit that the preponderance of precision matches mentioned in the video simply cannot be mere coincidences. Actually, truth be told, I do not believe in coincidences. Remember, it’s all connected.

Speed of light, huh? Hmmm. Speed of light, indeed.

I dunno, this sort of thing fascinates me no end. Look at how many decimal places that match goes to. And all the others. Don’t worry there’s even more of them below.

I’m going to have to watch the rest of this series eventually, I can tell. Hopefully soon. Very cool.

Yep, even more. Just doesn’t quit, does it?

The original idea was just to post the first vid above to show you the amazing relationships therein, but then I watched these other two… and there were more! And then I saw with delight that he mentions some of the work of a dear, dear man, the late John Michell, who was a personal friend of mine. He hugged me, man! What a beautiful mind… you all should read his books. And then he mentions the work of R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz, the man who’s work started my very wise and learned mentor off on his journey into the secrets of ancient Egypt.

My interest, needless to say, was significantly peaked.

And as such, here they are for you all to enjoy.

Uploaded by on Oct 27, 2010

Secrets In Plain Sight is an awe inspiring exploration of great art, architecture, and urban design which skillfully unveils an unlikely intersection of geometry, politics, numerical philosophy, religious mysticism, new physics, music, astronomy, and world history.

Exploring key monuments and their positions in Egypt, Stonehenge, Jerusalem, Rome, Paris, London, Edinburgh, Washington DC, New York, and San Francisco brings to light a secret obsession shared by pharaohs, philosophers and kings; templars and freemasons; great artists and architects; popes and presidents, spanning the whole of recorded history up to the present time.

As the series of videos reveals how profound ancient knowledge inherited from Egypt has been encoded in units of measurement, in famous works of art, in the design of major buildings, in the layout of city streets and public spaces, and in the precise placement of obelisks and other important monuments upon the Earth, the viewer is led to perceive an elegant harmonic system linking the human body with the architectural, urban, planetary, solar, and galactic scales.

Wow.

What does it all really mean? Seriously. What?

Peace.