Uneven Gravity


Our planet isn’t a perfect sphere, as such Earth’s mass is distributed unevenly. Ponder how uneven mass manifests itself as uneven gravity.

There's uneven gravity

Pictured above Hudson Bay, Canada, one of Earth’s gravitational anomalies.

Science has pondered lower gravity in Hudson Bay since the 1960s. Basic laws of gravity dictate its force is proportional to mass in a given region. One theory steps 20,000 years back to the last ice age, a time when behemoth ice sheets crinkled Earth’s crust, displacing mass. Another theory credits tectonic plates, movement of magma and subduction.

We think of gravity as constant, one planet, one equal gravitational force. I wonder how many know they weigh 1% less at the equator than the poles. Rotation creates centrifugal force which varies by latitude because our planet is a oblate sphere. Centrifugal is an outward force, gravity a inward phenomenon. Earth spins fastest at the equator, outward centrifugal forces cancel gravity resulting in diminished measurable weight. The link below is a great resource –

http://wtamu.edu/~cbaird/sq/2014/01/07/do-i-weigh-less-on-the-equator-than-at-the-north-pole/

Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation states that every particle attracts every other particle in the universe with a force which is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between their centers.

https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton%27s_law_of_universal_gravitation

Uneven gravity isn’t fickle or complicated, uneven distribution of mass and centrifugal force account for gravitational anomalies. Everything happens for a reason.

https://www.rankred.com/why-we-observe-uneven-gravity-on-earth/

 

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Geomagnetic Storm


It began with a routine check of space weather before bed. I say routine because it used to be daily ritual until a few months ago when work took siege of every waking moment. Not so long ago I would have been all over a geomagnetic storm, auroras are my thing and I miss them. SpaceWeather http://spaceweather.com/ told of “the next geomagnetic storm”, Earth’s exit from one solar stream and anticipated arrival of another on November 18. Oh man, what solar stream? Then I remembered Adrien Mauduit, newly discovered astro-photographer and visionary whose efforts warm my heart.

Sure enough, Mauduit not only knew of last weekend’s solar storm, he captured its ethereal beauty in HD.

Adrien Mauduit wrote “If you missed the show last night, here’s a recap of what happened from the Aurora observatory on Senja island, Norway. “

Hubble Coma Eclipsed By Death Of Kepler


October 5, 2018 – NASA announced Hubble slept in a scientifically induced coma. One of three gyroscopes tasked with pointing/steadying Hubble’s telescope malfunctioned, NASA placed Hubble in “safe mode” buying time to find a fix. On October 27, recovery and implementation of a back-up gyro returned Hubble to fully operational mission status.Launched in 1990 by Space Shuttle Discovery, initial life expectancy was 15 years. 28 years later and counting, NASA optimistically suggests tenacious little Hubble might hang in there for 10-20 more. Ponder this –

 

Image result for hubble famous images

View top 10 Hubble images at – https://www.scientificamerican.com/slideshow/top-10-images-taken-by-the-hubble-space-telescope/

More troublesome than fretting over a briefly comatose Hubble, is news of Kepler’s demise. Launched in 2009, Kepler searched for alien worlds using the “transit method” ( identifying exoplanets by recognizing diminished light when planets pass in front of their Sun ). Of 3,800 confirmed exoplanets known to date, 70% were discovered by Kepler. Ponder – https://www.space.com/21172-greatest-alien-planet-discoveries-nasa-kepler.html

Science always knew Kepler’s fuel would run dry. Confirmation of Kepler’s passing wasn’t unexpected. That said, in my heart of hearts I imagined a period of remission. RIP Kepler, you served humanity well.

https://www.space.com/41363-kepler-exoplanet-hunting-telescope-dead.html?utm_source=sdc-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20181031-sdc

Solar Sector Boundary Crossing Coincides With Historic 150th Anniversary


September 2nd marks a historic 150th anniversary. On this day in 1859 miners in Virginia woke at 3 am thinking glowing skies signaled sunrise. From the North Pole to Cuba, Hawaii, most of Mexico, parts of Central America and Colombia, China and Japan, brilliant auroras delivered a electromagnetic circus. All across Europe and North America telegraph wires sparked, stations caught fire, some operators reported sending and receiving messages even after disconnecting power lines.

150 years ago British astronomer Richard Carrington witnessed a unprecedented solar flare – today we know it as the Carrington Event. A similar event today would devastate life as we know it. Ponder weeks, months, possibly years without electricity, internet, ATMs, GPS, power to pump water and fuel, air, road or rail travel. Space weather is real and it matters.

Image result for carrington event

https://www.history.com/news/a-perfect-solar-superstorm-the-1859-carrington-event

On September 3rd space weather predicts a solar sector boundary crossing.

Our sun produces wind (currently 316.9 Km/second) blasts across the cosmos. Just like Earth, the Sun has a magnetic field – known as the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF).  Whipped into spiral rotation, wind driven IMF rotates in one direction. It divides into spiral sections pointing to and away from the sun along the ecliptic plane ( a direct line between Earth and the Sun). The edge of this swirling mass has a surface separating polarities of planetary and solar magnetism called the heliosphere current sheet.

http://spaceweather.com/glossary/imf.html

Earth’s magnetic field points north at the magnetopause (the point of contact between our magnetosphere and the IMF). If the IMF happens to point south at contact (scientific term, southward Bz) the two fields link causing partial cancellation of Earth’s magnetic field – in other words, opening a temporary door for solar energy to enter our atmosphere. Welcome solar sector boundary crossing – a phenomenon born of high solar wind and coronal mass ejections (CME’s – aka solar flares).

It takes 3 or 4 days for magnetism to sort itself out – during that time expect occasional high frequency radio wave disruption,  wonky GPS and cell phone service peppered with sudden power grid failure events. On the upside, we’re treated to kick ass auroras.

Space weather really does matter.

Diamond Rain, Bergs and Liquid Floaters


Earthly diamonds begin as carbon deposits 100 miles or more below the surface. Location is everything – carbon heated to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, squeezed under pressure of 725,000 pounds per square inch, lucky enough to cool quickly by hitching a ride on upward flowing magma, become diamonds.

Science knows there’s more than one way to make a diamond. Just as bakers adjust recipes for high altitude cooking, the cosmos creatively adapts to unique circumstance. Earthly optimists turn lemons into lemonade, cosmic forces create diamonds from carbon in the unlikeliest  of places.

Science has speculated for some time that chilly cores of Neptune and Uranus glisten with diamonds. A few years ago science singled out 55 Cancri e, an exo-planet 40 light years from our solar system as a planetary body comprised almost entirely of diamonds. Recently, science said – “new data available has confirmed that at depth, diamonds may be floating around inside of Saturn, some growing so large that they could perhaps be called ‘diamondbergs,'”. Diomand-bergs, good grief! What does that even mean?

Apparently behemoth lightening storms on Saturn and Jupiter create elemental carbon in the form of soot and graphite. Falling deep into the atmosphere, heat and pressure produce diamonds of unfathomable girth. Deeper still, extreme heat and pressures melt solid gems into diamond rain. From diamond-bergs floating in a hidden sea of fluid hydrogen and helium, to other worldly ghost clouds of diamond rain a simple truth emerges – the universe sparkles, even in the shadows it knows how to bake a diamond.

https://www.space.com/23135-diamond-rain-jupiter-saturn.html

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Ponder The Preciousness Of Time


On June 15, Stephen Hawking’s ashes were interred at Westminster Abby between those of Darwin and Newton. During the ceremony 1,000 attendees chosen by ballot learned Hawking’s voice will be sent into space by the European Space Agency.

“The broadcast will be beamed towards the nearest black hole, 1A 0620-00, which lives in a binary system with a fairly ordinary orange dwarf star,” his daughter, Lucy Hawking, said.

“It is a message of peace and hope, about unity and the need for us to live together in harmony on this planet.”

Image result for stephen hawking ashes

Ponder the preciousness of time, a tribute to Stephen Hawking….

 

Insect Digesting Proof of Evolution


Regardless of determination to dismiss, avoid or walk away from slippery slopes leading to fundamentalist Christian jibber-jabber, every so often it pays to have an arsenal of politely dispatched counterpoints up your sleeve.Scientific proof of insect digesting genomes lingering in the soup of our current gene pool serves the purpose nicely.

Ancient mammal ancestors of all animal species, including humans, were insect eaters. 66 million years ago small insect digesting mammals darted between dinosaur toes. Able to escape asteroid induced dinosaur apocalypse by burrowing underground, formerly inconsequential bug eaters gave rise to life as we know it. Fickle as evolution may be, it saw no reason to deny humans chitinases markers, genetic enzymes capable of breaking down chitin, the hard outer shells of ingested insects.

Research published by Christopher Emerling of UC Berkeley in the journal Science Advances, based analysis of 107 different animal species genomes to conclude –

“One of the coolest things is, if you look at humans, at Fido your dog, Whiskers your cat, your horse, your cow; pick any animal, generally speaking, they have remnants in their genomes of a time when mammals were small, probably insectivorous and running around when dinosaurs were still roaming Earth,” said postdoctoral fellow Christopher Emerling. “It is a signature in your genome that says, once upon a time you were not the dominant group of organisms on Earth. By looking at our genomes, we are looking at this ancestral past and a lifestyle that we don’t even live with anymore.”

Evolution is why millions of people around the world digest insects. God unleashed a plague of locusts to punish humanity, evolution shrugged and sat down at the dinner table.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-05-inherited-bug-eating-ancestors.html#jCp

Image result for gene inherited from bug eating ancestors

A spectral tarsier (Tarsius tarsier) feeding on a grasshopper in Tangkoko National Park, Northern Sulawesi, Indonesia. Tarsiers have five chitinase genes to digest the high amount of chitin in their insectivorous diet, which likely …more

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-05-inherited-bug-eating-ancestors.html#jCp