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  1. What's new in this club
  2. Space Exploration

    Did they ever figure out what that was? I saw somewhere that they were investigating it for signals and such
  3. Astronomy

    NASA VIDEO: "Supermoon Trilogy!" --Tonight's Moon Kicks Off a Series of Three Supermoons on December 3, 2017, January 1, 2018, and January 31, 2018 (WATCH Video) December 03, 2017 Source Link: Daily Galaxy Mark your calendars: on December 3, 2017, January 1, 2018, and January 31, 2018. A supermoon is a Moon that is full when it is also at or near its closest point in its orbit around Earth. Since the Moon’s orbit is elliptical, one side (apogee) is about 30,000 miles (50,000 km) farther from Earth than the other (perigee). Nearby perigee full Moons appear about 14% bigger and 30% brighter than full Moons that occur near apogee in the Moon's orbit. “The supermoons are a great opportunity for people to start looking at the Moon, not just that once but every chance they have!” says Noah Petro, a research scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. It’s hard for our eyes to distinguish these small changes in size when the Moon is high amidst the vastness of the night sky. But any time you catch a full Moon as it rises or sets, while it’s suspended low on the horizon beaming through the silhouettes of trees or buildings, its apparent size might make you do a double-take. You almost feel as though you could reach out, grab the glowing orb, and drop it into your coffee cup. Even more so if it’s a supermoon. If you can only catch one episode of the supermoon trilogy, catch the third one. It will be extra special. First of all, the January 31st supermoon will feature a total lunar eclipse, with totality viewable from western North America across the pacific to Eastern Asia. The Moon’s orbit around our planet is tilted so it usually falls above or below the shadow of the Earth. About twice each year, a full Moon lines up perfectly with the Earth and Sun such that Earth’s shadow totally blocks the Sun’s light, which would normally reflect off the Moon. “The lunar eclipse on January 31 will be visible during moonset. Folks in the Eastern United States, where the eclipse will be partial, will have to get up in the morning to see it,” notes Petro. “But it’s another great chance to watch the Moon.” The Moon will lose its brightness and take on an eerie, fainter-than-normal glow from the scant sunlight that makes its way through Earth’s atmosphere. Often cast in a reddish hue because of the way the atmosphere bends the light, totally eclipsed Moons are sometimes called ‘blood Moons.’ “We’re seeing all of the Earth’s sunrises and sunsets at that moment reflected from the surface of the Moon,” says Sarah Noble, a Program Scientist at NASA headquarters. The January 31st supermoon will also be the second full Moon of the month. Some people call the second full Moon in a month a Blue Moon, that makes it a super ‘blue Moon.’ Blue Moons happen every two and a half years, on average. With the total eclipse, it’ll be a royal spectacle indeed: a ‘super blue blood’ Moon. Sometimes the celestial rhythms sync up just right to wow us. Heed your calendar reminders. On the three dates marked, step out into the moonset or moonrise and look up for a trilogy of sky watching treats! The Daily Galaxy via Moon/NASA
  4. I certainly hope we get there. And I hope we don't do something that causes the Zombie Apocalypse in the process. Like "I am Legend" or "Walking Dead" or such things.
  5. I know there is always a new promise for finding a cure for cancer or other killing diseases, but seldom have I seen a promise to possible stop and cure both cancer and HIV. Also other diseases like Zika too. I appears this university PhD student in Canada in working with university and government labs, has possibly done that. Stopping the disease from the molecular DNA level preventing it from metastasizing and spreading. I really hope this isn't another false hope. The one thing that is heartening is the research is being done on the academic, government level and not through private industry. Conspiracy theorists might not be able to win this one
  6. Earth Sciences

    Mount Agung on Bali Erupts! Mount Agung on Wikipedia London Express live coverage
  7. Astronomy

    Astronomers Observe Strange, Exotic Behavior at Titan's Polar Regions November 21, 2017 Source Link A new study led by a University of Bristol earth scientist has shown that recently reported unexpected behavior on Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, and is the only moon in our solar system to have a substantial atmosphere, is due to its unique atmospheric chemistry. Titan's polar atmosphere recently experiences and unexpected and significant cooling, contrary to all model predictions and differing from the behavior of all other terrestrial planets in our solar system. "This effect is so far unique in the solar system and is only possible because of Titan's exotic atmospheric chemistry, said Lead author Nick Teanby from the University of Bristol's School of Earth Sciences,. "A similar effect could also be occurring in many exoplanet atmospheres having implications for cloud formation and atmospheric dynamics." Usually, the high altitude polar atmosphere in a planet's winter hemisphere is warm because of sinking air being compressed and heated - similar to what happens in a bicycle pump. Puzzlingly, Titan's atmospheric polar vortex (south polar vortex above) seems to be extremely cold instead. Before its fiery demise in Saturn's atmosphere on September 15, the Cassini spacecraft obtained a long series of observations of Titan's polar atmosphere covering nearly half of Titan's 29.5 earth-year long year using the Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) instrument. The Cassini/CIRS observations showed that while the excepted polar hot spot did begin to develop at the start of winter in 2009, this soon developed into a cold spot in 2012, with temperatures as low as 120 K being observed until late 2015. Only in the most recent 2016 and 2017 observations has the expected hot-spot returned. "For the Earth, Venus, and Mars, the main atmospheric cooling mechanism is infrared radiation emitted by the trace gas CO2 and because CO2 has a long atmospheric lifetime it is well mixed at all atmospheric levels and is hardly affected by atmospheric circulation," said Tenby. "However, on Titan, exotic photochemical reactions in the atmosphere produce hydrocarbons such as ethane and acetylene, and nitriles including hydrogen cyanide and cyanoacetylene, which provide the bulk of the cooling." These gases are produced high in the atmosphere, so have a steep vertical gradient, meaning that their abundances can be significantly modified by even modest vertical atmospheric circulations. Therefore, winter polar subsidence led to massive enrichments of these radiatively active gases over the southern winter pole. Researchers used the temperature and gas abundances measured with Cassini, coupled with a numerical radiative balance model of heating and cool rates, to show that trace gas enrichment was large enough to cause significant cooling and extremely cold atmospheric temperatures. This explains earlier observations of strange hydrogen cyanide ice clouds that were observed over the pole in 2014 with Cassini's cameras. The Daily Galaxy via University of Bristol
  8. Astronomers Hunt for Oldest Stars in Our Solar Neighborhood --"May Harbor Planets with Ancient Civilizations" November 20, 2017 Source Link: Daily Galaxy "Finding old stars could also lead to the discovery of new planets. Maybe we can find some ancient civilizations around these old stars," said Dr. Wei-Chun Jao, lead author of a new study and research scientist in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Georgia State. "Maybe these stars have some planets around them that we don't know about." The Milky Way is nearly 14 billion years old, and its oldest stars developed in the early stage of the galaxy's formation, making them about six to nine billion years old. They're found in the halo, a roughly spherical component of the galaxy that formed first, in which old stars move in orbits that are highly elongated and tilted. Younger stars in the Milky Way rotate together along the galaxy's disc in roughly circular orbits, much like horses on a merry-go-round. Just like humans, stars have a life span: birth, youth, adulthood, senior and death. This study focused on old or "senior citizen" stars, also known as cool subdwarfs, that are much older and cooler in temperature than the sun. In a new study, published in the November 2017 edition of The Astronomical Journal, astronomers conducted a census of our solar neighborhood to identify how many young, adult and old stars are present. They targeted stars out to a distance of 200 light years, which is relatively nearby considering the galaxy is more than 100,000 light years across. A light year is how far light can travel in one year. This is farther than the traditional horizon for the region of space that is referred to as "the solar neighborhood," which is about 80 light years in radius. "The reason my horizon is more distant is that there are not a lot of senior citizens (old stars) in our solar neighborhood," said Jao. "There are plenty of adult stars in our solar neighborhood, but there's not a lot of senior citizens, so we have to reach farther away in the galaxy to find them." The astronomers first observed the stars over many years with the 0.9 meter telescope at the United State's Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in the foothills of the Chilean Andes. They used a technique called astrometry to measure the stars' positions and were able to determine the stars' motions across the sky, their distances and whether or not each star had a hidden companion orbiting it. The team's work increased the known population of old stars in our solar neighborhood by 25 percent. Among the new subdwarfs, the researchers discovered two old binary stars, even though older stars are typically found to be alone, rather than in pairs. "I identified two new possible double stars, called binaries," Jao said. "It's rare for senior citizens to have companions. Old folks tend to live by themselves. I then used NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to detect both stars in one of the binaries and measured the separation between them, which will allow us to measure their masses." Jao also outlined two methods to identify these rare old stars. One method uses stars' locations on a fundamental map of stellar astronomy known as the Hertzsprung-Russell (H-R) diagram. This is a classic technique that places the old stars below the sequence of dwarf stars such as the sun on the H-R diagram, hence the name "subdwarfs." The authors then took a careful look at one particular characteristic of known subdwarf stars -- how fast they move across the sky. "Every star moves across the sky," Jao said. "They don't stay still. They move in three dimensions, with a few stars moving directly toward or away from us, but most moving tangentially across the sky. In my research, I've found that if a star has a tangential velocity faster than 200 kilometers per second, it has to be old. So, based on their movements in our galaxy, I can evaluate whether a star is an old subdwarf or not. In general, the older a star is, the faster it moves." They applied the tangential velocity cutoff and compared stars in the subdwarf region of the H-R diagram to other existing star databases to identify an additional 29 previously unidentified old star candidates. In 2018, results from the European Space Agency's Gaia mission, which is measuring accurate positions and distances for millions of stars in the Milky Way, will make finding older stars much easier for astronomers. Determining the distance of stars is now very labor intensive and requires a lot of telescope time and patience. Because the Gaia mission will provide a much larger sample size, Jao says the limited sample of subdwarfs will grow, and the rarest of these rare stars -- binary subdwarfs -- will be revealed. The image at the top of the page is from the movie Prometheus, set in the late 21st century and centers on the crew of the spaceship Prometheus as it follows a star map discovered among the artifacts of several ancient Earth cultures. Seeking the origins of humanity, the crew arrives on a distant world and discovers a threat that could cause the extinction of the human species. The Daily Galaxy via Georgia State University -------- May also harbor ruins of past civs or advanced fungi with a grudge since we like mushroom gravy
  9. Earth Sciences

    Nov. 2, 2017- NASA/JPL press release Warm Air Helped Make 2017 Ozone Hole Smallest Since 1988 Measurements from satellites this year showed the hole in Earth’s ozone layer that forms over Antarctica each September was the smallest observed since 1988, scientists from NASA and NOAA announced today. This year’s ozone hole was similar in area to the hole in 1988, about 1 million miles smaller than in 2016. Although scientists predict the ozone hole will continue to shrink, this year’s smaller ozone hole had more to do with weather conditions than human intervention. Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Kathryn Mersmann Scientific Visualization Studio According to NASA, the ozone hole reached its peak extent on Sept. 11, covering an area about two and a half times the size of the United States – 7.6 million square miles in extent - and then declined through the remainder of September and into October. NOAA ground- and balloon-based measurements also showed the least amount of ozone depletion above the continent during the peak of the ozone depletion cycle since 1988. NOAA and NASA collaborate to monitor the growth and recovery of the ozone hole every year. “The Antarctic ozone hole was exceptionally weak this year,” said Paul A. Newman, chief scientist for Earth Sciences at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “This is what we would expect to see given the weather conditions in the Antarctic stratosphere.” The smaller ozone hole in 2017 was strongly influenced by an unstable and warmer Antarctic vortex – the stratospheric low pressure system that rotates clockwise in the atmosphere above Antarctica. This helped minimize polar stratospheric cloud formation in the lower stratosphere. The formation and persistence of these clouds are important first steps leading to the chlorine- and bromine-catalyzed reactions that destroy ozone, scientists said. These Antarctic conditions resemble those found in the Arctic, where ozone depletion is much less severe. Ozone depletion occurs in cold temperatures, so the ozone hole reaches its annual maximum in September or October, at the end of winter in the Southern Hemisphere. Credits: NASA/NASA Ozone Watch/Katy Mersmann In 2016, warmer stratospheric temperatures also constrained the growth of the ozone hole. Last year, the ozone hole reached a maximum 8.9 million square miles, 2 million square miles less than in 2015. The average area of these daily ozone hole maximums observed since 1991 has been roughly 10 million square miles. Although warmer-than-average stratospheric weather conditions have reduced ozone depletion during the past two years, the current ozone hole area is still large because levels of ozone-depleting substances like chlorine and bromine remain high enough to produce significant ozone loss. Scientists said the smaller ozone hole extent in 2016 and 2017 is due to natural variability and not a signal of rapid healing. First detected in 1985, the Antarctic ozone hole forms during the Southern Hemisphere’s late winter as the returning sun’s rays catalyze reactions involving man-made, chemically active forms of chlorine and bromine. These reactions destroy ozone molecules. Thirty years ago, the international community signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and began regulating ozone-depleting compounds. The ozone hole over Antarctica is expected to gradually become less severe as chlorofluorocarbons—chlorine-containing synthetic compounds once frequently used as refrigerants – continue to decline. Scientists expect the Antarctic ozone hole to recover back to 1980 levels around 2070. Ozone is a molecule comprised of three oxygen atoms that occurs naturally in small amounts. In the stratosphere, roughly 7 to 25 miles above Earth’s surface, the ozone layer acts like sunscreen, shielding the planet from potentially harmful ultraviolet radiation that can cause skin cancer and cataracts, suppress immune systems and also damage plants. Closer to the ground, ozone can also be created by photochemical reactions between the sun and pollution from vehicle emissions and other sources, forming harmful smog. Although warmer-than-average stratospheric weather conditions have reduced ozone depletion during the past two years, the current ozone hole area is still large compared to the 1980s, when the depletion of the ozone layer above Antarctica was first detected. This is because levels of ozone-depleting substances like chlorine and bromine remain high enough to produce significant ozone loss. At its peak on Sept. 11, 2017, the ozone hole extended across an area nearly two and a half times the size of the continental United States. The purple and blue colors are areas with the least ozone. Credits: NASA/NASA Ozone Watch/Katy Mersmann NASA and NOAA monitor the ozone hole via three complementary instrumental methods. Satellites, like NASA’s Aura satellite and NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite measure ozone from space. The Aura satellite’s Microwave Limb Sounder also measures certain chlorine-containing gases, providing estimates of total chlorine levels. NOAA scientists monitor the thickness of the ozone layer and its vertical distribution above the South Pole station by regularly releasing weather balloons carrying ozone-measuring “sondes” up to 21 miles in altitude, and with a ground-based instrument called a Dobson spectrophotometer. The Dobson spectrophotometer measures the total amount of ozone in a column extending from Earth’s surface to the edge of space in Dobson Units, defined as the number of ozone molecules that would be required to create a layer of pure ozone 0.01 millimeters thick at a temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit at an atmospheric pressure equivalent to Earth’s surface. This year, the ozone concentration reached a minimum over the South Pole of 136 Dobson Units on September 25— the highest minimum seen since 1988. During the 1960s, before the Antarctic ozone hole occurred, average ozone concentrations above the South Pole ranged from 250 to 350 Dobson units. Earth's ozone layer averages 300 to 500 Dobson units, which is equivalent to about 3 millimeters, or about the same as two pennies stacked one on top of the other. "In the past, we've always seen ozone at some stratospheric altitudes go to zero by the end of September," said Bryan Johnson, NOAA atmospheric chemist. "This year our balloon measurements showed the ozone loss rate stalled by the middle of September and ozone levels never reached zero." Katy Mersmann NASA's Earth Science News Team Theo Stein NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Co. Last Updated: Nov. 3, 2017 Editor: Sara Blumberg _____________________________ I have to wonder if there is some linkage to the solar minimum (that brought us 3 very ugly hurricanes) and our planets geomagnetic field. The evidence is statistical at this point but as yet no causative agent is apparent. This is where science happens- on the edge of what is understood and mysteries that nature still holds.
  10. Space Exploration

    Alien Object from a Distant Star System Invades Our Solar System --"Like Nothing We've Ever Seen" November 20, 2017 Source Link: Daily Galaxy "What a fascinating discovery this is!" said Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "It's a strange visitor from a faraway star system, shaped like nothing we've ever seen in our own solar system neighborhood." Astronomers recently scrambled to observe an intriguing asteroid that zipped through the solar system on a steep trajectory from interstellar space-the first confirmed object from another star. Now, new data reveal the interstellar interloper to be a rocky, cigar-shaped object with a somewhat reddish hue. The asteroid, named 'Oumuamua by its discoverers, is up to one-quarter mile (400 meters) long and highly-elongated-perhaps 10 times as long as it is wide. That aspect ratio is greater than that of any asteroid or comet observed in our solar system to date. While its elongated shape is quite surprising, and unlike asteroids seen in our solar system, it may provide new clues into how other solar systems formed. The observations and analyses were funded in part by NASA and appear in the Nov. 20 issue of the journal Nature. They suggest this unusual object had been wandering through the Milky Way, unattached to any star system, for hundreds of millions of years before its chance encounter with our star system. "For decades we've theorized that such interstellar objects are out there, and now - for the first time - we have direct evidence they exist," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "This history-making discovery is opening a new window to study formation of solar systems beyond our own." Immediately after its discovery, telescopes around the world, including ESO'sVery Large Telescopein Chile, were called into action to measure the object's orbit, brightness and color. Urgency for viewing from ground-based telescopes was vital to get the best data. Combining the images from theFORS instrumenton the ESO telescope using four different filters with those of other large telescopes, a team of astronomers led by Karen Meech of the Institute for Astronomy in Hawaii found that 'Oumuamua varies in brightness by a factor of 10 as it spins on its axis every 7.3 hours. No known asteroid or comet from our solar system varies so widely in brightness, with such a large ratio between length and width. The most elongated objects we have seen to date are no more than three times longer than they are wide. "This unusually big variation in brightness means that the object is highly elongated: about ten times as long as it is wide, with a complex, convoluted shape," said Meech. "We also found that it had a reddish color, similar to objects in the outer solar system, and confirmed that it is completely inert, without the faintest hint of dust around it." These properties suggest that 'Oumuamua is dense, composed of rock and possibly metals, has no water or ice, and that its surface was reddened due to the effects of irradiation from cosmic rays over hundreds of millions of years. A few large ground-based telescopes continue to track the asteroid, though it's rapidly fading as it recedes from our planet. Two of NASA's space telescopes (HubbleandSpitzer) are tracking the object the week of Nov. 20. As of Nov. 20, 'Oumuamua is travelling about 85,700 miles per hour (38.3 kilometers per second) relative to the Sun. Its location is approximately 124 million miles (200 million kilometers) from Earth -- the distance between Mars and Jupiter - though its outbound path is about 20 degrees above the plane of planets that orbit the Sun. The object passed Mars's orbit around Nov. 1 and will pass Jupiter's orbit in May of 2018. It will travel beyond Saturn's orbit in January 2019; as it leaves our solar system, 'Oumuamua will head for the constellation Pegasus. Observations from large ground-based telescopes will continue until the object becomes too faint to be detected, sometime after mid-December. NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) continues to take all available tracking measurements to refine the trajectory of 1I/2017 U1 as it exits our solar system. This remarkable object was discovered Oct. 19by the University of Hawaii's Pan-STARRS1 telescope, funded by NASA'sNear-Earth Object Observations(NEOO) Program, which finds and tracks asteroids and comets in Earth's neighborhood. NASA Planetary Defense Officer Lindley Johnson said, "We are fortunate that our sky survey telescope was looking in the right place at the right time to capture this historic moment. This serendipitous discovery is bonus science enabled by NASA's efforts to find, track and characterize near-Earth objects that could potentially pose a threat to our planet." Preliminary orbital calculations suggest that the object came from the approximate direction of the bright star Vega, in the northern constellation of Lyra. However, it took so long for the interstellar object to make the journey - even at the speed of about 59,000 miles per hour (26.4 kilometers per second) -- that Vega was not near that position when the asteroid was there about 300,000 years ago. While originally classified as a comet, observations from ESO and elsewhere revealed no signs of cometary activity after it slingshotted past the Sun on Sept. 9 at a blistering speed of 196,000 miles per hour (87.3 kilometers per second). The object has since beenreclassified as interstellar asteroid1I/2017 U1 by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), which is responsible for granting official names to bodies in the solar system and beyond. In addition to the technical name, the Pan-STARRS team dubbed it 'Oumuamua (pronounced oh MOO-uh MOO-uh), which is Hawaiian for "a messenger from afar arriving first." Astronomers estimate that an interstellar asteroid similar to 'Oumuamua passes through the inner solar system about once per year, but they are faint and hard to spot and have been missed until now. It is only recently that survey telescopes, such as Pan-STARRS, are powerful enough to have a chance to discover them. "What a fascinating discovery this is!" said Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "It's a strange visitor from a faraway star system, shaped like nothing we've ever seen in our own solar system neighborhood." The image at the top of the page is an artist's concept of interstellar asteroid 1I/2017 U1 ('Oumuamua) as it passed through the solar system after its discovery in October 2017. The aspect ratio of up to 10:1 is unlike that of any object seen in our own solar system. (European Southern Observatory / M. Kornmesser) The Daily Galaxy via NASA/JPL
  11. If you want to measure human achievement to that of advanced species among the stars:
  12. Mysterious Radioactive Cloud Over Europe Hints At Accident Farther East November 10, 20172:05 PM ET NPR Monitoring stations similar to this one in Germany detected unusual radioactive material over Europe last month. CTBTO/FLICKR European authorities are providing new details about a cloud of mysterious radioactive material that appeared over the continent last month. Monitors in Italy were among first to detect the radioactive isotope ruthenium-106 on Oct. 3, according to a fresh report by France's Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety Institute, known as IRSN. In total, 28 European countries saw the radioactive cloud, the report says. The multinational Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, which runs a network designed to monitor for nuclear weapons tests, also confirmed to NPR that it had detected the cloud. Based on the detection from monitoring stations and meteorological data, the mysterious cloud — which has since dissipated — has been traced to somewhere along the Russia-Kazakhstan border, according to Jean-Christophe Gariel, director for health at the IRSN. "It's somewhere in South Russia," he says, likely between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains. Authorities say the amount of material seen in Europe was small. "It's a very low level of radioactivity and it poses no problems for health and the environment in Europe," Gariel says. A map from French authorities suggests that the release came from the east, near the border of Russia and Kazakhstan. IRSN But modeling suggests that any people within a few kilometers of the release — wherever it occurred — would have needed to seek shelter to protect themselves from possible radiation exposure. "If it would have happened in France, we would have taken measures to protect the population in a radius of a few kilometers," Gariel says. French authorities, he adds, will conduct random checks of foodstuffs from the region to check for possible contamination of agricultural products. Ruthenium-106 is a radioactive isotope that is not found in nature. "It's an unusual isotope," says Anders Ringbom, the research director of the Swedish Defense Research Agency, which runs radioactive monitoring for that nation. "I don't think we have seen it since the Chernobyl accident." The IRSN analysis suggests that the ruthenium did not come from a nuclear reactor accident. Instead, it most likely came from either the chemical reprocessing of old nuclear fuel or the production of isotopes used in medicine. Based on the size of the release, Gariel says, whatever happened had to have been accidental. "It's not an authorized release, we are sure about that," he says. A handful of Russian nuclear facilities are located roughly in the region where the ruthenium originated, including a large nuclear reprocessing plant known as the Mayak Production Association. During the Cold War, the Mayak plant turned used nuclear fuel into material for nuclear weapons. The plant has been the site of numerous past accidents, including a 1957 explosion that rivaled the nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima and Chernobyl. Gariel says that while Mayak is a possible source of the cloud, there simply aren't enough data to conclusively link it to the release of radioactive material. He also says he has spoken to Russian safety officials over the past few days and that while they do not dispute his analysis, they are unaware of any incidents in the region in the past few months.
  13. Making Whisky

    Now, if that can be juked up to turn out an 18 or 25-year-old product, I might be interested.
  14. Now, onto the important stuff, like how to make 10-year-old whisky in a few weeks (using science, of course). https://theconversation.com/can-you-make-a-10-year-malt-whisky-in-weeks-the-chemistry-says-yes-86827
  15. Morden was a putz. If I had been working for the Shadows, we would have stuffed those nauseating Vorlons into a convenient black hole.
  16. Or they've evolved into Godlike entities aka Babylon 5 Vorlons, or Spider creatures Shadows So James, who do you serve among the godlike elder races? After several billion years, I'd imagine they'd figure out ways to build wormholes, utilize singularities as energy generators, and communicate on a non-verbal ways, like computer code. We're just too young as a species for them to communicate or share technology with, imagine an adult trying to talk to a toddler offering candy, the interstellar community probably wouldn't like that.
  17. Or have been long dead since Sparta was was top dog in Greece or Rome was in her heyday. Extinction is the Cosmic default. We're talking about billions of years of time and humanity has really only been civilized for a few thousand years,
  18. Astronomy

    When NEutron Stars collide: Neutron-Star Collision Shakes Space-Time and Lights Up the Sky
  19. So in the grand scheme of things, we're like 3 years old and the rest of the universe are teenagers and adults. Dang, no wonder no one answers our calls from the Seasme Street toy phones
  20. Physics

    "An Epic First!" --ESO's Fleet of Telescopes in Chile Detect Visible Explosion of Colliding Neutron Stars (WATCH Video) October 16, 2017 Daily Galaxy ESO’s fleet of telescopes in Chile have detected the first visible counterpart to a gravitational wave source. These historic observations suggest that this unique object is the result of the merger of two neutron stars. The cataclysmic aftermaths of this kind of merger — long-predicted events called kilonovae — disperse heavy elements such as gold and platinum throughout the Universe. This discovery, published in several papers in the journal Nature and elsewhere, also provides the strongest evidence yet that short-duration gamma-ray bursts are caused by mergers of neutron stars. For the first time ever, astronomers have observed both gravitational waves and light (electromagnetic radiation) from the same event, thanks to a global collaborative effort and the quick reactions of both ESO’s facilities and others around the world. On 17 August 2017 the NSF's Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in the United States, working with the Virgo Interferometer in Italy, detected gravitational waves passing the Earth. This event, the fifth ever detected, was named GW170817. About two seconds later, two space observatories, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and ESA’s INTErnational Gamma Ray Astrophysics Laboratory (INTEGRAL), detected a short gamma-ray burst from the same area of the sky. The LIGO–Virgo observatory network positioned the source within a large region of the southern sky, the size of several hundred full Moons and containing millions of stars [1]. As night fell in Chile many telescopes peered at this patch of sky, searching for new sources. These included ESO’s Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) and VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at the Paranal Observatory, the Italian Rapid Eye Mount (REM) telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory, the LCO 0.4-meter telescope at Las Cumbres Observatory, and the American DECam at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. The Swope 1-metre telescope was the first to announce a new point of light. It appeared very close to NGC 4993, a lenticular galaxy in the constellation of Hydra, and VISTA observations pinpointed this source at infrared wavelengths almost at the same time. As night marched west across the globe, the Hawaiian island telescopes Pan-STARRS and Subaru also picked it up and watched it evolve rapidly. “There are rare occasions when a scientist has the chance to witness a new era at its beginning,” said Elena Pian, astronomer with INAF, Italy, and lead author of one of the Nature papers. “This is one such time!” ESO launched one of the biggest ever “target of opportunity” observing campaigns and many ESO and ESO-partnered telescopes observed the object over the weeks following the detection [2]. ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), New Technology Telescope (NTT), VST, the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope, and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) [3] all observed the event and its after-effects over a wide range of wavelengths. About 70 observatories around the world also observed the event, including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Distance estimates from both the gravitational wave data and other observations agree that GW170817 was at the same distance as NGC 4993, about 130 million light-years from Earth. This makes the source both the closest gravitational wave event detected so far and also one of the closest gamma-ray burst sources ever seen [4]. The ripples in spacetime known as gravitational waves are created by moving masses, but only the most intense, created by rapid changes in the speed of very massive objects, can currently be detected. One such event is the merging of neutron stars, the extremely dense, collapsed cores of high-mass stars left behind after supernovae [5]. These mergers have so far been the leading hypothesis to explain short gamma-ray bursts. An explosive event 1000 times brighter than a typical nova — known as a kilonova — is expected to follow this type of event. The almost simultaneous detections of both gravitational waves and gamma rays from GW170817 raised hopes that this object was indeed a long-sought kilonova and observations with ESO facilities have revealed properties remarkably close to theoretical predictions. Kilonovae were suggested more than 30 years ago but this marks the first confirmed observation. Following the merger of the two neutron stars, a burst of rapidly expanding radioactive heavy chemical elements left the kilonova, moving as fast as one-fifth of the speed of light. The colour of the kilonova shifted from very blue to very red over the next few days, a faster change than that seen in any other observed stellar explosion. “When the spectrum appeared on our screens I realised that this was the most unusual transient event I’d ever seen,” remarked Stephen Smartt, who led observations with ESO’s NTT as part of the extended Public ESO Spectroscopic Survey of Transient Objects (ePESSTO) observing programme. “I had never seen anything like it. Our data, along with data from other groups, proved to everyone that this was not a supernova or a foreground variable star, but was something quite remarkable.” Spectra from ePESSTO and the VLT’s X-shooter instrument suggest the presence of caesium and tellurium ejected from the merging neutron stars. These and other heavy elements, produced during the neutron star merger, would be blown into space by the subsequent kilonova. These observations pin down the formation of elements heavier than iron through nuclear reactions within high-density stellar objects, known as r-process nucleosynthesis, something which was only theorised before. “The data we have so far are an amazingly close match to theory. It is a triumph for the theorists, a confirmation that the LIGO–VIRGO events are absolutely real, and an achievement for ESO to have gathered such an astonishing data set on the kilonova,” adds Stefano Covino, lead author of one of the Nature Astronomy papers. “ESO’s great strength is that it has a wide range of telescopes and instruments to tackle big and complex astronomical projects, and at short notice. We have entered a new era of multi-messenger astronomy!” concludes Andrew Levan, lead author of one of the papers. The Daily Galaxy via ESO
  21. I've been looking at free software. The quantity is immense, and the quality uneven but I very much like: (1) euler, a freeware programmable scientific calculator that can do symbolic as well as numerical mathematics. I tested it with the integral of x^3*sin(x^2). It is available here: http://euler.rene-grothmann.de/ (2) A freeware version of lateX, that euler can use to format its output, available here: https://miktex.en.softonic.com/?ex=DSK-309.5 (3) A program called 'golly' for John Conway's game 'Life' from here: http://golly.sourceforge.net/ (4) A periodic table program that includes lots of information about each element and has links to a series of video clips, one for each element. The link is: http://download.cnet.com/Periodic-Table-freshney-org/3001-2054_4-10803643.html
  22. Physics

    A Kilonova Detected --"A Cosmic Phenomenon Long Theorized But Never Conclusively Observed — Until Now" Daily Galaxy October 16, 2017 In the world of astrophysics, Aug. 17, 2017, was a red-letter day. “This is a game-changer for astrophysics,” said UC Santa Barbara faculty member Andy Howell, who leads the supernova group at the Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO). “A hundred years after Einstein theorized gravitational waves, we’ve seen them and traced them back to their source to find an explosion with new physics of the kind we’ve only dreamed about.” First, NASA’s orbiting Fermi satellite identified a burst of high-energy gamma rays. Then, in the minute leading up to the Fermi burst, scientists noticed microscopic distortions in space caused by gravitational waves passing through the Earth. When they combined the data from the two Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) facilities in Hanford, Washington, and Livingston, Louisiana, with the data from the Virgo detector in Italy, they realized they could localize the disturbance to a relatively small region of the sky — only about 150 times the size of the full moon — near the constellation Hydra. Astronomers at Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) in Santa Barbara activated their robotic network of 20 telescopes around the world and were one of six teams to co-discover a new source of light in that region and localize it to the galaxy NGC 4993, only about 130 million light years away. “Such a gravitational wave signal had never been seen before but was unmistakably generated by two neutron stars spiraling together,” explained Iair Arcavi, a NASA Einstein postdoctoral fellow in UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Physics and leader of the LCO follow-up effort. The resultant study appears in the journal Nature. The outburst that occurs right after two neutron stars merge is called a kilonova, a phenomenon that had long been theorized though never conclusively observed — until now. Unlike traditional ground-based facilities with single telescopes, the LCO network could observe the phenomenon every few hours for five consecutive days. During that time, the light from the explosion dimmed by a factor of 20, fading at an unprecedented rate for something so luminous. “This marks the first time in history that an astronomical phenomenon has been first sensed through gravitational waves and then seen with telescopes,” Arcavi said. “For years, we’ve heard theorists predict how a kilonova should look. I couldn’t believe we were finally seeing one for the first time.” Kilonovae are thought to be the primary source of all the elements heavier than iron in the universe. For example, most of the gold on Earth may have been created in a kilonova. The name originates from the prediction that a kilonova would be a thousand times brighter than a nova, though dimmer than a supernova. “We know now that one reason they had been so elusive is that they fade too quickly for conventional astronomical facilities to detect,” Arcavi said. “Thanks to knowing where to look and then having telescopes networked together all around the world, we were able to watch this new type of cosmic explosion rise and fade in real time,” said co-author Curtis McCully, a postdoctoral researcher at LCO and in the UCSB Department of Physics. “This is a remarkable story of the advent of gravitational wave astronomy combined with robotic internet-based optical astronomy.” LCO astronomers also used their and other facilities around the world, including the 8-meter Gemini telescope in Chile, to split the light of the kilonova into its chromatic components: a rainbow. McCully led this study, which appears in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. “We found that only a tiny amount of material was ejected in the explosion —only about 1 percent of the total matter in the system,” he noted. “The material was also flung out at an extraordinary speed, as much as 30 percent of the speed of light.” The LCO group also contributed to a third study measuring the Hubble constant, which characterizes the expansion rate of the universe. That research used the inspiraling neutron stars as “standard sirens” to determine their distance from Earth and compared that distance to the redshift, or how much light has been stretched by the expansion of the universe. That study appears in the journal Nature. The Daily Galaxy via UC Santa Barbara
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