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Glass rain may give planet blue hue

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The turbulent alien world lies some 63 light-years from Earth

For the first time, astronomers have determined the true colour of a planet orbiting another star.

The world, known as HD189733b, has a deep azure hue – probably the result of silicate (glass) rain in the atmosphere, which scatters blue light.

Details of the discovery, made with the Hubble Space Telescope, are to appear in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Although it might resemble Earth from a distance, HD189733b is a huge gas giant which orbits close to its host star.

The temperature of the planet’s atmosphere is a scorching 1,000C, and it rains glass, sideways, in howling 7,000km-per-hour winds.

Its atmosphere has been found to be dramatically changeable and exotic, with hazes and violent bursts of evaporation.

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Is it time to leave… again?

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I have read several accounts that strongly suggest we (humans) are not from this planet. There is some evidence and conjecture that we may have come here from Mars after we had made the planet inhabitable, but that we aren’t even from there, but further afield. Suggesting the possibility that we are in fact a race of space nomads.

If we are not from here, that would explain why they can’t find the so called ‘missing link’ between us and apes; there isn’t one.

We have succeeded in stripping this planet and making it uninhabitable, is this why we are searching so far and wide in the galaxies at great expense to find the next port of call?

solongandthanksforallthefish

Was Douglas Adams spoof ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy‘ terribly far off the mark? “So long and thanks for all the fish!”

Maybe we’ve found our next home…

Star is crowded by super-Earths

An impression of what the sky might look like from the exoplanet Gliese 667Cd, looking towards the parent star and featuring, at top, the other super-Earths in the habitable zone

Scientists have identified three new planets around a star they already suspected of hosting a trio of worlds.

It means this relatively nearby star, Gliese 667C, now has three so-called super-Earths orbiting in its “habitable zone”.

This is the region where temperatures ought to allow for the possibility of liquid water, although no-one can say for sure what conditions are really like on these planets.

Gliese 667C is 22 light-years away.

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22 light-years, just next door really.

 

Ice blades threaten Europa landing

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Jagged blades of ice may cover the equatorial area of Europa

Jupiter’s icy moon Europa is a prime target for future space missions as it harbours a buried ocean that could have the right conditions for life.

But attempts to land may face a major hazard: jagged “blades” of ice up to 10m long.

A major US conference has heard the moon may have ideal conditions for icy spikes called “penitentes” to form.

Scientists would like to send a lander down to sample surface regions where water wells up through the icy crust.

These areas could allow a robotic probe to sample a proxy for ocean water that lies several kilometres deep.

Details of the penitentes theory were announced as scientists outlined another proposal to explore the jovian moon with robotic spacecraft.

On Earth, these features (so named because of their resemblance to the pointed caps worn by “penitents” in Easter processions around the Spanish-speaking world) form in high altitude regions such as the Andes.

Here, the air is both cold and dry, allowing ice to sublimate (turn from a solid into vapour without passing through a liquid phase).

Penitentes begin to form when irregularities in the surface of the snow are enhanced by the Sun’s energy. These furrows then act as a trap for solar radiation, and, as they deepen, the tall peaks are left behind.

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Chicken Little “The sky is falling!”

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Asteroid DA14

Asteroid DA14

chickenlittle

After the huge meteorite explosion over Russia reports are coming in from around the globe:

Japan: Huge Fireball on Valentines Day

Cuba: Suspected Meteor Explosion in Cuba

USA: Fireball Lights up Northern California Skies

All this combined with the passing DA14 asteroid…

Meteor fragments slam into Russia

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Streak seen in upper-left of image from amateur video provided by Reuters news agency is apparently from meteor officials say crossed skies over Russia’s Ural Mountains Feb. 15, 2013. / Reuters/Amateur video

MOSCOW A meteor streaked across the sky above Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and injuring more than 400 people, many of them hurt by broken glass.

Fragments of the meteor fell in a thinly populated area of the Chelyabinsk region, the Emergency Ministry said in a statement. About 6,000 square feet of a roof at a zinc factory collapsed, but it was unclear whether that was caused by meteor fragments impacting the building, or by a shock wave from a nearby impact.

“There was panic. People had no idea what was happening. Everyone was going around to people’s houses to check if they were OK,” said Sergey Hametov, a resident of Chelyabinsk, about 930 miles east of Moscow, the biggest city in the affected region.

“We saw a big burst of light then went outside to see what it was and we heard a really loud thundering sound,” he told The Associated Press by telephone.

Reports conflicted on what exactly happened in the clear skies. A spokeswoman for the Emergency Ministry, Irina Rossius, told The Associated Press that there was a meteor shower, but another ministry spokeswoman, Elena Smirnikh, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying it was a single meteor.

A meteorite contrail is seen in Chelyabinsk region of Russia In this photo taken with a mobile phone, a meteorite contrail is seen in Chelyabinsk region of Russia, Feb. 15, 2013. / AP

At least part of the event was captured on amateur video. Amateur video broadcast on Russian television showed an object speeding across the sky about 9:20 a.m. local time (0320 GMT), leaving a thick white contrail and an intense flash.

Interior Ministry spokesman Vadim Kolesnikov said more than 400 people had sought medical treatment after the blasts, and at least three had been hospitalized in serious condition. Many of the injuries were from glass broken by the explosions.

Russian news reports noted that the meteor hit less than a day before the asteroid 2012 DA14 is to make the closest recorded pass of an asteroid — about 17,150 miles. The European Space Agency, in a post on its Twitter account, said its experts had determined there was no connection.

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STOP throwing rocks at us!

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Asteroid will come closer than satellites – but it’s not the end of the world

Lump of rock 50 metres long will soar through sky at about 8 miles a second

Asteroid DA14

Asteroid DA14 image inserted in place of video clip

 

Anyone happening to glance towards the heavens in a week’s time and glimpses a 50-metre-long lump of rock hurtling ominously through the skies need not panic.

Although it will pass closer to us than any asteroid has for the past 15 years – closer even than the TV satellites that girdle the planet – Nasa insists that 2012 DA14 will miss Earth by a good 17,100 miles (27,520km).

“No Earth impact is possible,” said Donald Yeomans, an astronomer with the US space agency.

He also pointed out that the planet was bombarded by about 100 tonnes of space material every day.

“Basketball-sized objects come in daily,” he said. “Volkswagen-sized objects come in every couple of weeks. As you get to larger and larger sizes the number of objects out there is less and less, so the frequency of hits goes down.”

Yeomans added that asteroids as big as DA14, which is abou t 46 metres wide, are estimated to strike Earth about every 1,200 years.

“For objects of this size, this is the closest predicted encounter that we’re aware of,” he said.

Credit: Guardian graphics

DA14, which was discovered last year by a group of amateur astronomers in Spain, will soar through the sky at about 8 miles a second. At that speed, an object of similar size on a collision course with Earth would strike with the force of about 2.4m tonnes of dynamite.

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Apparently, there’s nothing to worry about just yet, but I read somewhere that there’s a high probability of a direct hit in 2036…

I won’t be here!

 

Gamma-ray burst ‘hit Earth in 8th Century’

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Gamma-ray bursts can occur when two neutron stars merge

A gamma ray burst, the most powerful explosion known in the Universe, may have hit the Earth in the 8th Century.

In 2012 researchers found evidence that our planet had been struck by a blast of radiation during the Middle Ages, but there was debate over what kind of cosmic event could have caused this.

Now a study suggests it was the result of two black holes or neutron stars merging in our galaxy.

This collision would have hurled out vast amounts of energy.

Nature’s snapshot

Last year, a team of researchers found that some ancient cedar trees in Japan had an unusual level of a radioactive type of carbon known as carbon-14.

In Antarctica, too, there was a spike in levels of a form of beryllium – beryllium-10 – in the ice.

These isotopes are created when intense radiation hits the atoms in the upper atmosphere, suggesting that a blast of energy had once hit our planet from space.

Using tree rings and ice-core data, researchers were able to pinpoint that this would have occurred between the years AD 774 and AD 775, but the cause of the event was a puzzle.

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Mars Covered In Oceans Of Water

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How The Red Planet Might Have Looked Billions Of Years Ago”

by Tibi Puiu
“Using combined imagery delivered by the  High-Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) and recent color channel data, the European Space Agency has recently discovered the vestiges of an ancient river that used to flow through Mars’ highlands. The river is 1,000 miles long and at some points 4 miles wide and 1,000 feet deep.

The images are simply stunning and it’s enough to catch a glimpse for imagination to take care of the rest. A stunning world riddled with rivers and oceans tells of a watery past, not too dissimilar from modern day Earth, possibly blossoming with life. With this in mind, I highly recommend you check these fantastic and realistic-looking renditions of how Mars might have looked like a few billion years ago.

There seems to be consisting evidence supplied both by past and recent rover missions – like the ever sturdy Opportunity, the eager newcomer Curiosity – and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter – a spacecraft currently hovering over Mars – that our neighboring red planet was once most likely covered by oceans and lakes and was layered by a thick atmosphere, very much similar to Earth. Kevin Gill, a New Hampshire software engineer, digitally painted how Mars might have looked like some two billion years ago using scientific data and human imagination – the end result is strikingly provocative and stunning at the same time.

 
The image from above shows the western hemisphere of Mars, while the one below shows the eastern hemisphere.
Gill used an open-source geospatial program to design the terrain for the “paradisaical” Mars, while atmosphere and vegetation features were added based on NASA’s Blue Marble: Next Generation imagery. The painting’s geological features were plotted based on genuine elevation data from topographical NASA mappings. Countless surveys have revealed Mars’ surface was layered with river deltas, gullies, and oceanic coastlines. Also, previous findings suggest that Mars was once covered in a thick atmosphere, which gradually became ever thinner from the lack of a magnetic field. Concerning the vegetation, clouds and other features painted in these quite exquisite views, these were all based on Gill’s artistic impression of how Mars might have looked like in its heyday.
“There is no scientific reasoning behind how I painted it; I tried to envision how the land would appear given certain features or the effects of likely atmospheric climate. For example, I didn’t see much green taking hold within the area of Olympus Mons and the surrounding volcanoes, both due to the volcanic activity and the proximity to the equator,” Gill says. “This wasn’t intended as an exhaustive scientific scenario as I’m sure (and expect) some of my assumptions will prove incorrect,” Gill continued. “I’m hoping at least to trigger the imagination, so please enjoy!”
As presented above, Mars would definitely be capable of harboring life, although no one is currently capable of positively asserting that life was or is presented on the red planet – so far. This is what Curiosity is tasked with and this is why we’re so keen on following the rover’s every step. Maybe an even more interesting idea inevitably pops when looking at these dazzling photos – can we, humans, turn these stunning views of Mars into reality through terraforming?”

– http://www.zmescience.com/research/esa-discovers-martian-river-1000-miles-long/
– http://www.zmescience.com/space/mars-covered-in-water-photos-32332/

 

My source: Running ‘Cause I Can’t Fly

What was Flying over Santiago, Chile 4 Days Ago?

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On the 17th & 18th of December this year several glowing orbs, which looked like an alien fleet was observed over Santiago, Chile.

Usually these things are pronounced a hoax, but these seem to be filmed  from three different sources.

The wonderful thing about the mainstream media, not a word has been printed in five days…

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You can check The Canadian for more videos, photos and story.

UFOs, are they real?

I note that no air or military authority has commented either, maybe this one is too hard to explain.

Makemake

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Dwarf planet Makemake examined for the first time

An artist’s impression shows the rocky world, distant from the Sun and lacking any obvious atmosphere

Astronomers have obtained an important first look at the dwarf planet Makemake – finding it has no atmosphere.

One of five such dwarfs in our Solar System including former planet Pluto, Makemake had until now eluded study.

But in April 2011, it passed between the Earth and a distant star, and astronomers used seven telescopes to study how the star’s light was changed.

A report in Nature outlines how they unpicked Makemake’s size, lack of atmosphere, and even its density.

Few battles in the astronomy community are as fierce as the one surrounding the demotion of the planet Pluto from planet status in 2006 to one of what the International Astronomical Union then dubbed “dwarf planets”.

Pluto shares the category with four other little worlds: Ceres, Haumea, Eris and Makemake.

Ceres, as the only inner Solar System dwarf, has been analysed directly with telescopes.

The far more distant Eris and Haumea have both been analysed separately in the same kind of “occultation” that has now given clues as to Makemake’s makeup.

Haumea was shown to be icy like Pluto, while Eris added to Pluto’s indignities by ousting it as the largest dwarf.

Now Makemake has come under scrutiny by an international team led by Jose Luis Ortiz of the the Andalucian Institute of Astrophysics in Spain, making use of seven different telescopes across Brazil and Chile.

They watched as the dwarf planet blocked the light of distant star Nomad 1181-0235723, only for about one minute.

The dwarf was known to be about two-thirds the size of Pluto, but the team put the measurement on a firmer footing, measuring it to be not quite spherical – about 1,430km across in one direction and 1,500km across the other.

The team estimates that Makemake has a density of 1.7 grams per cubic centimetre (similar to that of Pluto, but still less than a third that of Earth) – but the key test was that of the dwarf planet’s atmosphere.

“As Makemake passed in front of the star and blocked it out, the star disappeared and reappeared very abruptly, rather than fading and brightening gradually,” said Dr Ortiz.

“This means that the little dwarf planet has no significant atmosphere. It was thought that Makemake had a good chance of having developed an atmosphere – that it has no sign of one at all shows just how much we have yet to learn about these mysterious bodies.

“Finding out about Makemake’s properties for the first time is a big step forward in our study of the select club of icy dwarf planets.”

Comment:

I am surprised. In my youth I was always keenly interested in matters astronomical, but it seems that progress has overtaken me again. I never knew about Makemake, nor Ceres and the others. Of course in my day Pluto was a planet, and it wasn’t only Pluto that was indignant at being relegated to a ‘dwarf’; I was somewhat more than miffed myself. Pluto was a mystery, the furthermost planet from the Sun, so it held a special place. Not much, at a schoolboy level, was known about ‘things’ beyond Pluto; and besides it shared its name with the rather geeky looking dog of Disney fame.

Now I find that a further indignity has been heaped upon the poor Pluto, it has been further relegated to second biggest.

Time stands still for no man.

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