15 Days Of Darkness


According to conspiracy websites skies will go dark at 3 am November 15, 2017, Earth will languish in darkness until 4:45 pm on November 30, 2017. 15 ominous black days, supposedly confirmed by former NASA administrator Charles Bolden in a “1,000 page document” presented to Barack Obama’s White House. Conspiracy isn’t fazed by the fact no such document exists, or that 15 days of darkness is utter nonsense. Much as my intent is to assure trembling masses they have nothing to fear, it’s hard not to guffaw in the face of absolute ignorance – faced with a preposterous media hoax void of grade school scientific reason, a horse barn of manure served warm to countless millions of robotic nincompoops incapable of  connecting cosmic dots, an obligation exists to ponder conspiracy rationale behind 15 days of darkness..

In a nutshell – a conjunction of Venus and Jupiter results in proximity separated by one degree. Venus then moves slightly southwest of Jupiter, now Venus shines ten times brighter than Jupiter. Light from bright Venus heats gases of Jupiter releasing unfathomable levels of hydrogen. At 2:50 am November 15 rogue Jupiter hydrogen reaches the Sun causing a behemoth explosion, facilitating a heat generated eruption so powerful it will change the Sun’s colour to blue. Earth is plunged into total darkness. For the next 14 days the Sun cools enough to regain normal temperature and colour. Conspiracy urges calm and civil obedience, quick to point out 14 days of darkness is harmless, no different than winter at the North Pole.

As conspiracy goes this hoax is hardly remarkable. Most days I wouldn’t give vacant jibber-jabber the time of day – tonight it frosts me to ponder how ridiculous millions of supposedly educated people can be.

https://www.universetoday.com/131582/no-wont-15-days-darkness-november-another-stupid-hoax/

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Help NASA Name MU69


Launched January 19, 2006 NASA’s New Horizons probe began a mission to explore Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. New Horizons made headlines in July 2015, fulfilling mission goals beyond our wildest dreams.Five billion kilometers from Earth, it took four and a half hours for messages to reach home, transmissions containing exquisite images of our solar system’s petticoat.

NASA issued fresh orders – cross 1.6 billion kilometers beyond Pluto to intercept asteroid 2014 MU69 on New Year’s Day 2019.

Artist’s concept of NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft streaking past 2014 MU69 – which might be 2 objects orbiting each other – on January 1, 2019. Image via Carlos Hernandez/ NASA.

Mu69 is minuscule by cosmic standards. One, perhaps two oddly shaped binary objects no more than 20 kilometers across. Barely noticed until passing in front of a few stars last summer, now the focus of New Horizons and a NASA contest open to anyone interested in giving MU69 a nickname. The link below takes you to the contest home page – read existing entries, vote or nominate one of your own.

http://www.frontierworlds.org/

http://earthsky.org/space/help-nickname-new-horizons-next-target-2014-mu69?mc_cid=859e237850&mc_eid=a5b828713b

Earth Has An Asteroid Buddy


In 2016 planetary astronomers at the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory discovered a small ( 100 meter ) object moving with Earth around the Sun. Dubbed 2016 OR3, initial science speculation wondered if it might be a piece of space junk, perhaps a rogue rocket booster caught in wobbly orbit occasionally intersecting Earth orbit.

Last week at the annual Division For Planetary Sciences  meeting in Provo, Utah Vishnu Reddy from University of Arizona laid speculation to rest, identifying 2016 OR3 as an asteroid, stating in part –

“2016 HO3 is a small near-Earth object (NEO) measuring no more than 100 meters (330 feet) across that, while orbiting the sun, also appears to circle around the Earth as a quasi-satellite. Only five quasi-satellites have been discovered so far, but 2016 HO3 is the most stable of them. The provenance of this object is unknown. On timescales of a few centuries, 2016 HO3 remains within 38 to 100 lunar-distances from us.”

“One way to visualize HO3’s orbit is by picturing a hula hoop dancer — the sun in this analogy — twirling two hoops around the hips at the same time, ever so slightly out of sync. While it orbits the sun, the object makes yearly loops around the Earth.

As a result, the object appears to orbit the Earth, but it is not gravitationally bound to our planet.”

2016 HO3 is seen at the top left corner of this animation made of ten 2mn long exposures in I band using MODS1 on the left side of LBT – The telescope is tracking the moving asteroid, so background stars (and even a couple of galaxies) are trailed. Image via LBTO.

Asteroid 2016 OR3 is hardly a harbinger of doom – orbiting politely at 38 – 100 lunar distance from Earth, it is a cosmic companion which now bears official designation of quasi-satellite. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory said –

The asteroid’s orbit also undergoes a slow, back-and-forth twist over multiple decades. “The asteroid’s loops around Earth drift a little ahead or behind from year to year, but when they drift too far forward or backward, Earth’s gravity is just strong enough to reverse the drift and hold onto the asteroid so that it never wanders farther away than about 100 times the distance of the moon,” said Chodas. “The same effect also prevents the asteroid from approaching much closer than about 38 times the distance of the moon. In effect, this small asteroid is caught in a little dance with Earth.”

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6537

“Caught in a little dance with Earth” makes me smile. Not for knowing Earth has an asteroid buddy, but for affirmation everything in our universe is caught in a little dance.

CosmoQuest’s Image Detectives


NASA had me at CosmoQuest, Image Detective sweetened the pot. A NASA funded citizen science project seeks public help identifying geographic features in photographs taken from the International Space Station. ISS astronauts take scores of photographs, science needs citizen help in creating a searchable image database of natural and man-made global locations. All you do is sign up, look at images and identify features.

Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) lead investigator Pamela L Gay said –

The astronauts’ photos of Earth are visually stunning, but more than that, they can be used to study our changing Earth. From erupting volcanoes, to seasonal flooding, these images document the gradual changes that happen to our landscape.

The trick is, we need to make these images searchable, and that means taking the time to sort through, analyze, and label (add metadata) the unidentified images within the database of 1.5 million plus photos.”

Jennifer Grier, Senior Education and Communication Specialist at PSI, CosmoQuest’s lead support scientist added –

This is a unique, powerful, and beautiful image data set that has already yielded excellent research science. But the data set needs the many eyes and minds of citizen scientists to reach its full potential as a publicly available, searchable catalog. With the additions that citizen scientists as detectives can make, professional research scientists will be able to conduct more research into our changing world, and do so much more effectively.”

Sign up at –

https://cosmoquest.org/x/beta/

Algerian desert from the ISS – http://hobbyspace.com/Blog/?p=14978

 

 

 

 

Goodnight Cassini


When I wake in the morning Cassini will be gone. Her fiery demise, fitting epitaph for an exquisitely orchestrated journey to benefit mankind. The cosmos doesn’t belong to soldiers or politicians, it waits for stoic civil servants dubbed Cassini to give our universe dimension.

A link detailing Cassini’s Grand Finale –

http://earthsky.org/space/cassini-finale-sept-15-2017-how-to-follow-online?mc_cid=a2c28121ad&mc_eid=a5b828713b

This video is how I say goodnight Cassini, a lullaby of images in honor of a cosmic journey that stole my heart. Goodnight Cassini, sleep well.