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The Universe

Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
Fri, Jan 13, 12 at 16:33

Hey there, the last time I posted on this topic a couple of years back (not a debate, just some chat on recent astronomic discoveries) there were about 300 other planets, or solar systems, discovered within our galactic neighbor. Today there are nearly 1,000 or so confirmed. Now according to the recent news below there is probably over 100 Billion solar systems in the Milky Way. Just 15 years ago we only knew of ours and this was stuff of science fiction....

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203436904577154803588270744.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Here is a link that might be useful: 100 Billion and counting.....


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 13, 12 at 16:55

ugh, that should read as :
"...discovered within our galactic neighborhood."


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 15, 12 at 11:23

Just to update some more recent findings about the Universe around us :

- It's approximately 13.7 Billion years old.
- Our solar system is approximately 4.6 Billion years old.
- All the raw materials (elements) needed to form planets and solar systems came from the earliest stellar explosions which occurred within the first billion years of the universe. This means that conditions were ripe for other planets to exist about 8+ billion years before our sun was born. In other words, a "functional" universe with galaxies and solar systems has been around about 3x longer than the earth has existed.


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RE: The Universe

"Take me to Hot Topics."


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RE: The Universe

No ...it is 6000 years old....dont you know anything?


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 16, 12 at 10:32

now now, if anything the 13.7 billion year age is a conservative estimate, if that number is in error it's too small.,,,but I know you are way too smart and pulling my leg. And if the earth were to be just 6,000 years old then someone else with impressive terraforming technology millions of years ahead of us did convert it from a lump of rock into a garden (the generally accepted story.....minus the technology part). Now that we understand the universe a little bit better this isn't so far fetched.

But that being said, it's most likely our little rock was just in a sweet spot, perhaps 1 in a million, which would then mean that there are approx 100,000 earth like planets in the Milky Way. This doesn't rule out other "garden" worlds which exist under vastly and varied different conditions. Many if not Most of which have come and gone long before we came about.


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It's really mind boggling to contemplate thousands of solar systems, let alone 100 billion in our galaxy.

"Moreover, millions of these planets may circle two stars, astronomers using NASA's Kepler space telescope announced in a separate finding published online in Nature Wednesday�"an arrangement considered so unlikely that until a few months ago it was found only in science fiction."

I wonder if those planets have day and night? The article mentioned temperature extremes due to proximity.

Great stuff!


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 18, 12 at 11:07

Hi Althea, those binary star systems vary greatly depending upon the distance between the 2 stars. If the stars are close together then the planets may orbit on the outside of both and have day and night as we do, assuming that those planets rotate on their axis. But if say one of the binary stars is far out then the planetary orbits get a bit more complicated and both stars may have their own compliment of planets. Another binary set up would be as if one of the stars would be smaller (like a super Jupiter) and be in an orbit itself around the major star, then night and day would be varied for the other planets in similar orbit....whew, too many configurations to contend with :).

..as you have probably noticed over the years I'm a retired scientist and astronomy junkie with too much time on my hands to contemplate this stuff. But with all the new discoveries of late it's easy to graduate from speculation of the unknown to connecting the dots of the now known. I almost feel a bit sorry for specialists in these fields, they are understandably reluctant to speak what they think for fear of sounding nutz. Me, I'm too old to care :)


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RE: The Universe

Yesterday I read a little blub on The Daily Dish:

"Carl Zimmer profiles astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Here's Tyson explaining the problem of dark matter to a young boy:

[E]verything we've ever seen in the universe has gravity--Earth, the moon. And you can tell how much gravity something has by how fast something moves around it. ... Add it all up. We've done this. Add it all up and say that should give me this much gravity. But when you look at how fast things are moving, you get six times as much gravity as the stuff that we know about is generating. It was originally called the missing matter problem. Where is the matter that's making this gravity that we see? Because everything we do count up doesn't get us where we need. We now call this the dark matter problem.

But really we have no idea what's causing it. We so don't know what's causing it that we shouldn't even call it dark matter because that implies we have some understanding that it's matter. We don't know what it is. I could call it Fred. Eighty five percent all the gravity in the universe comes from something about which we know nothing. ...
[Add that to dark energy and] it is ninety six percent of the universe. Everything we know and love--electrons, protons, neutrons, light, black holes, planets, stars, everything we know and understand--occupies four percent of the universe. Dark matter and dark energy is everything else."

Now that is a stunning conclusion that the vastness of studied energy and matter in the universe is only 4% of the energy and matter that exists in the same space. If I am reading that right.


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 18, 12 at 16:33

Now you're cooking Marshall :). The double dark energy & matter conundrum has got the experts scratching their heads. It might be another couple of decades before those dots are filled in. The expansion of the universe is speeding up and the only thing that "fits" to explain this are forces yet unknown either pushing out space or pulling on it to stretch out everything. I believe that it's estimated that the universe will be "gone" in a trillion years, before that the galaxies will be isolated from each other and finally exhaust their hydrogen fuel.....but, today is a Good Day!...and if we're lucky we just might find that dark energy and tap it ;)


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The grand unification of the forces of physics that eluded Einstein just might be coming with the String Theory. It is very humbling to try and understand this stuff but I am glad there are such brilliant people who will eventually come up with the correct answer, hopefully in my rapidly dwindling lifespan...


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 19, 12 at 17:29

"It is very humbling to try and understand this stuff"

No truer words written tobr, those brilliant people you mentioned are realizing just how ignorant they really are. It almost seems as if for every question that we answer we then create more questions we hadn't even thought of yet. So in a way one might say that we're becoming more ignorant (or more self aware of it) as time goes on and more astonishing discoveries shed light on the nature of our universe. I wonder when when we'll reach the pivot point of knowing more than what we don't know?

With what we already know those filled-in dots can be easily lined up in an all to obvious direction. When dark matter & energy, string theory, multiverse, and other ideas that are now looking good on paper eventually pan out, well, who can say? Black holes used to look good on paper for a couple of decades before being confirmed. The things we already "know" should give us pause, particularly the 100 billion planet news.....at least on occasion :)


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How about the recognition, and acceptance of our ignorance is making us wiser?


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Hope SETI can keep functioning as with so many new planets discovered, and some with climates such as our own, we could have "contact" at some point; again, hopefully in my lifetime...


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 20, 12 at 15:03

Wiser Althea? With knowledge comes wisdom?.......I sure hope so, maybe in some circles but then again the ones who obtain that degree of wisdom may see it wise to keep their thoughts to themselves, esp when it comes to connecting those known dots.

SETI is a bold approach tobr, but success may be daunting. Radio wave transmission for any intelligent civilization is fleeting at best before new and more efficient ways of communicating come about (ways we have yet to invent), therefore the narrow open window would limit chances for detection. But still it's a worthy challenge, though continued failure will give weight to the false impression that's we're alone. On the other hand, trying to detect signals from advanced technologies thousands or even billions of years ahead of us would most likely be impossible. We would be like an ant hill deep in a rain forest trying to detect a space probe in orbit. If there were to be "contact" it won't be initiated from our side.


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 27, 12 at 11:40

I'm glad that I put this thread on the conversations side LOL

'Amazing' Mars Rover Opportunity Begins Year 9 on Red Planet
by Mike Wall, SPACE.com Senior WriterDate: 24 January 2012 Time: 07:00 AM ET
A NASA rover celebrates eight years on the Martian surface today (Jan. 24), and the long-lived robot is still going strong.

The Opportunity rover landed on the Red Planet at 9:05 p.m. PST Jan. 24, 2004 (12:05 a.m. EST Jan. 25), three weeks after its twin, Spirit, touched down. While NASA declared Spirit dead last year, Opportunity continues to gather data in its dotage, helping scientists understand more and more about Mars' wetter, warmer past.

"It is amazing. I have to remind myself � my God, this thing is still going!" said John Callas, Opportunity's project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "But more importantly, it is still very productive on the surface."

NASA's twin Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have now spent eight years on the surface of Mars.

Following the water

Spirit and Opportunity were originally supposed to spend 90 days searching for signs of past water activity on Mars. The solar-powered robots found plenty of such evidence at their disparate landing sites, dramatically reshaping scientists' understanding of the Red Planet and its history. [Mars Photos by Spirit and Opportunity]

Spirit, for example, found strong evidence of an ancient hydrothermal system. The discovery showed that at least some areas on Mars once had two key ingredients necessary to support life as we know it � liquid water and an energy source.

Opportunity, for its part, recently found clues that warm water may also have flowed or percolated on the rim of Mars' huge Endeavour Crater long ago.

The golf-cart-size rovers just kept chugging along, continuing to make observations years after their warranties expired.

Spirit got mired in soft sand in May 2009, after a bad wheel compromised the rover's mobility. The robot failed to maneuver into a position that would have slanted its solar panels toward the sun over the course of the 2009-2010 Martian winter, and it stopped communicating with Earth in March 2010.

NASA declared Spirit dead in May 2011, identifying hypothermia as the likely cause. But Opportunity remains an active and alert planetary explorer.

Studying Endeavour Crater

After a three-year trek, Opportunity arrived at the 14-mile-wide (22-kilometer) Endeavour Crater in August 2011. The rover spent the next few months poking along Endeavour's rim, where it recently uncovered what researchers say is the best evidence yet for liquid water on ancient Mars.

In December, Opportunity found a good spot to wait out the looming Martian winter � a rocky outcrop informally named Greeley Haven. The location allows the rover to tilt its solar panels northward at about 15 degrees, maximizing the power it can draw from the sun to stay warm, active and healthy, researchers said.

Opportunity isn't sleeping the winter away. It will stay awake though relatively stationary, investigating the rocks at Greeley Haven and taking panoramic pictures of its surroundings. And, most importantly, it will beam radio signals home to Earth.

Mission scientists will track those signals, using Opportunity's motion relative to Earth as a proxy for the rotation of Mars, Callas said. Scientists should thus be able to get very precise measurements of the planet's spin.

They'll use that information to draw inferences about Mars' mysterious interior structure � how big the planet's core is, for example, and whether that core is liquid or solid.

'A whole new landing site'

The winter solstice at Opportunity's location comes in late March; a few months after that, Callas said, solar energy should be strong enough to allow the rover to get moving again.

At that point, the plan is to send the robot south along Endeavour's rim, toward a place about 1.8 miles (3 km) away called Cape Tribulation. Mars-orbiting spacecraft have detected clay minerals � which form in water � at Cape Tribulation, so the team wants Opportunity to investigate the area.

"It speaks a lot to the biopotential and habitability of Mars in the ancient past," Callas told SPACE.com. "We want to go there. It's on some challenging slopes, some 30-degree slopes, and we'll have to do some Martian mountaineering. So it'll be a spectacular adventure with the rover to get to these locations."

Mission scientists are eager to explore large swaths of the huge crater, which offers a wealth of possible new discoveries.

"Endeavour is like a whole new landing site, and we've really only just scratched the surface so far," rover principal investigator Steve Squyres, of Cornell University, told SPACE.com in an email.

Chasing down a record

Despite an arthritic joint in Opportunity's robotic arm, the rover is in good health overall, Callas said. Still, the mission team isn't taking the aging robot's continued performance for granted.

"Every day is like a gift," Callas said. "We just keep charging ahead as if every day is our last day, and we want to maximize the science we can do with this vehicle."

While science remains the team's top priority, Callas said he'd like Opportunity to tick off one big exploration milestone as well.

The Soviet Union's Lunokhod 2 robot currently holds the record for the greatest distance traveled on the surface of another world. The unmanned rover covered 23 miles (37 km) on the moon in 1973.

Opportunity's odometer currently reads 21.35 miles (34.4 km).

"I want to beat that record," Callas said. "After the winter, I hope to knock that record off and claim the mantle of the longest distance traversed by another vehicle beyond the Earth."

Story with images below...

BTW - A new Rover/probe is on it's way. If (I say "if" but I mean "when") we finally confirm Martian microbes or fossils of such that will be a Huge Dot that's just waiting to be filled in. Combine that dot with the recent 100 billion planets dot and dot's all she wrote :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Happy Birthday Rover, Good Dog!


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 30, 12 at 17:35

Speaking of the next generation Rover....

It's called "Curiosity" ...catchy huh.
Solar Maximum is right around the corner and the probe is picking up it's radiation in route...

Rover Detects Radiation from Huge Solar Storm
SPACE.com StaffDate: 30 January 2012 Time: 12:02 PM ET SHARE
A recent eruption from the sun was so strong it was felt by NASA's Mars-bound Curiosity rover in route to the Red Planet.

The solar tempest occurred on Sunday (Jan. 22), contributing to the largest radiation storm since 2003. The solar particles released were so abundant they were enough to be registered by Curiosity's Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD), an instrument designed to measure the radiation levels on Mars.

The lucky timing also allowed the detector to measure how much radiation astronauts might be subjected to during a journey to Mars. Curiosity, the centerpiece of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission, is due to arrive at our neighboring planet in August....whole article at link below....

Here is a link that might be useful: Full Story


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Darn! I've been missing vgkg's Other Worldly posts


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Just think, some day there will be manties on Mars!


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 31, 12 at 17:37

Speaking of solar flares, or more specifically Coronal Mass Ejections...Hey Marshall, remember this topic? it was one of the first I tossed out at the SOE forum many moons ago.

If the CME that occurred in 1859 happened today our civilization would be fried. There are those who think this event will occur in tandem with the 12/21/12 Mayan doomsday stuff (not me). But coinsidenseses do happen ;)....no doomsday predictions from me anytime soon. But if a repeat of an 1859 event happens it will be very very bad for our electronic way of life....wiki has a good summary of the event as well as this nasa news site below...

Here is a link that might be useful: Blast from the Past


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some day there will be manties on Mars whereas today we only have Mars in manties.


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please keep this up vgkg It is fascinating. You have a good way of explaining things so that even this scientific nincompoop can understand most of it.


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Yes, please continue, especially for those from less enlightened countries...


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 1, 12 at 17:32

Thanks YQ, I'll keep posting good morsels of info as it comes to light, and it's coming in pretty fast these daze and it can be overwhelming at times. You can count me in as a fellow scientific nincompoop. Though I am a retired scientist I still consider myself just about as ignorant as the day I was born considering how much is still unknown about the universe we live in.
tobr, the entire world needs more enlightenment, I strive for it daily.
Too bad more don't post here as there are a lot of intelligence out there that could add their thoughts...if they dare ;o)


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Too many are wrapped up in politics these days to consider the nature of the cosmos...


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 2, 12 at 10:15

Ha, yes, more earthly matters to attend too...

Things were much easier back when there was just the earth, moon, sun, stars, and 5 other planets (or wandering stars). Not so complicated, and with the gods watching over us there was little need to look further....but as we did dare to look further it turns out that it's not so simple, though we may have been right all along that we're being watched over...


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 2, 12 at 17:51

Something new across the wires today...

Newfound Alien Planet is Best Candidate Yet to Support Life, Scientists Say
by Denise Chow, SPACE.com Staff WriterDate: 02 February 2012 Time: 10:01 AM ET

A potentially habitable alien planet � one that scientists say is the best candidate yet to harbor water, and possibly even life, on its surface � has been found around a nearby star.

The planet is located in the habitable zone of its host star, which is a narrow circumstellar region where temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water to exist on the planet's surface.

"It's the Holy Grail of exoplanet research to find a planet around a star orbiting at the right distance so it's not too close where it would lose all its water and boil away, and not too far where it would all freeze," Steven Vogt, an astronomer at the University of California, Santa Cruz, told SPACE.com. "It's right smack in the habitable zone � there's no question or discussion about it. It's not on the edge, it's right in there."

Vogt is one of the authors of the new study, which was led by Guillem Anglada-Escud� and Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution for Science, a private, nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C.

"This planet is the new best candidate to support liquid water and, perhaps, life as we know it," Anglada-Escud� said in a statement.

An alien super-Earth

The researchers estimate that the planet, called GJ 667Cc, is at least 4.5 times as massive as Earth, which makes it a so-called super-Earth. It takes roughly 28 days to make one orbital lap around its parent star, which is located a mere 22 light-years away from Earth, in the constellation Scorpius (the Scorpion).

"This is basically our next-door neighbor," Vogt said. "It's very nearby. There are only about 100 stars closer to us than this one."

Interestingly enough, the host star, GJ 667C, is a member of a triple-star system. GJ 667C is an M-class dwarf star that is about a third of the mass of the sun, and while it is faint, it can be seen by ground-based telescopes, Vogt said. [Gallery: The Strangest Alien Planets]

Story source below...

...interesting that even trinary star systems can support planets.

Here is a link that might be useful: Best Goldie Locks Planet Yet


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RE: The Universe

"Geez, all that money we waste on space exploration; just think how many bombs that would buy!"

~Craig Bruce

:)

Here is a link that might be useful: brainyquote


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 3, 12 at 10:31

The fact that space probe rockets resemble ICBMs is no accident ;o)


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Hubble snaps stunning barred spiral galaxy image:

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 4, 12 at 10:54

Thanks for contributing that David, saw that also in the news. No doubt that the Milky Way has countless twins, just as our sun has countless "yellow" star twins. The previous article about the closest earth-like goldlielocks planet has a red star which are much longer lived stars than the yellows. Which means that the "reds" have a much longer open window for planetary life before they use up their fuel. We are surely the newer kids in the hood.


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The propulsion to space got serious with Werhner van Braun who wanted to go to the moon, but Hitler had his own ideas of how to use an ICBM...


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 6, 12 at 18:08

Well it appears that Mar's surface (the top "soil" anyways) may be too krispy for microbes. But there's still the distinct probability that extremophyls lurk beneath the surface in environmentally friendly pockets that would kill earth organisms....they don's call the extremophylls for nothing....too I can't spell it, story below...

Here is a link that might be useful: Martians down under?


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But I preferred it when we thought that their were canals on Mars that lead many to think of a higher form of life existing there, not just some primitive form of worms...


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 10, 12 at 10:26

Hey Marshall, remember this story we talked about on the old SOE forum? The Russians finally broke thru the ice...

Wed Feb 8, 2012 1:33pm EST
* Russian expedition says broke through to lake on Feb. 5
* Scientists suspect lake hides unknown life forms

* Say harsh environment holds clues to life on other planets

* Drilling into lake raises contamination fears

By Alissa de Carbonnel

MOSCOW, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Russia said on Wednesday it had pierced through Antarctica's frozen crust to a vast, subglacial lake that has lain untouched for at least 14 million years hiding what scientists believe may be unknown organisms and clues to life on other planets.

Sealed deep under the ice sheet, Lake Vostok is one of the world's last unexplored frontiers. Scientists suspect its depths may reveal new life forms and a glimpse of the planet before the ice age.

If life is found in the lake's icy darkness, it may provide the best answer yet to whether life can exist in the extreme conditions on Mars or Jupiter's moon Europa.

"The 57th Russian Antarctic expedition has penetrated the waters of the subglacial Lake Vostok," Valery Lukin, head of the Russian Antarctic expedition, said in a statement.

After 20 years of stop-go drilling, the Russian team raced to chew through the final metres of ice and breached Lake Vostok in time to take the last flight out on Feb. 6 before the onset of Antarctica's harsh winter. It was here that the coldest temperature found on Earth, minus 89.2 Celsius (minus 128.6 Fahrenheit), was recorded.

Lukin said the breakthrough came on Feb. 5, on the eve of the mission's departure: "At a depth of 3,769 metres (12,365 ft) the drill bit made contact with the real body of water.

"The discovery of this lake is comparable to the first space flight in its technological complexity, its importance and its uniqueness," Lukin told Interfax.

But Russia must wait for the Antarctic summer to collect and study water samples, leaving the door open for U.S. and British missions to explore two other subglacial lakes and beat it to be the first to answer the question of whether life exists under the polar ice.

"We call it extraterrestrial life," Russian astrobiologist Sergei Bulat told Vesti 24 state television. "It will be useful to the search for life on other icy planets like Jupiter's satellite Europa."

.....full story below.....the ice :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Clues to Europa and beyond...


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Wow! Why drill through the day before and potentially leaving a variety of contaminants make taking samples next summer something of a joke.


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 11, 12 at 10:03

It does seems weird......also has the makings for a good sci-fi movie plot where something that's been trapped for millions of years escapes to the surface while things are at a stand still.....muhahahahaha ;o)


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Maybe a matter of national pride: being the first to reach ancient water world.


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 11, 12 at 17:06

It makes up a bit for their recent Mars probe failure.
Wonder what they'll find down there? 14 million years under miles of ice, under immense pressures that even impressed our ol' friend Monte at SOE. Volcanic vents under fresh water as opposed to the impressive deep ocean vent ecosystems living via chemosynthesis in the pitch blackness. Could be more than just microbes living down there? Europa's ice covered ocean would be just as impressive if we could ever drill there, but that's just a dream of NASA scientists for now. Geothermal caves on Mars seem the best bet for the first positive microbial life off world.


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 14, 12 at 16:19

Here's more info below on the frozen over lake and it's possible relationship to life on Europa

Here is a link that might be useful: Jupiter's ocean covered moon Europa & Lake vostok


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RE: The Universe : Dark Matter Bulletin

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 14, 12 at 16:30

Marshall, Japanese scientists have recently mapped out Dark Matter within 100 million light years of the Milky Way, latest update below...

Here is a link that might be useful: Can you see me now?


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Soon we will be seeing a Chinese flag on the moon...


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 15, 12 at 10:08

Good for them! and any other nation that has a drive to explore the unknown.


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Do Chinamen wear moon manties?


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Vgkg, I've never heard of the "dead photon" hypothesis toward explaining the existence of dark matter.


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Try to keep up...


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 16, 12 at 10:35

Me either Marshall, first I've heard of it too and no real hits on google for dead photons other than the tweeters comments at the posted site :

"I tend to lean upon the theory (Not yet mainstream) that Dark Matter is "Dead Photons" that at a time in the past existed as normal photons but have moved into a "Higher Dimensional State", that causes them to exist beyond our ability to observe them directly, but we still are able to know that they exist because of their Gravity Effect upon "Normal Matter". Photons (Light) has been studied for many years but in reality we have a very poor understanding of their exact nature, related to to what is possible to happen after Billions of years of existance moving within the deep space that exists between Galaxies....Today we are researching theories related to the speed of light not being "Constant", through out the Universe, if these theories prove the speed of light can vary even slightly from it now assumed unchanging speed, it will change everything we think we know about light and how it can effect our Universe."

So it's not really at "theory" status as far as I can tell, every time we come up with a new can of worms....it's hard to get a handle on the can opener :)


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Well, that's why a used the word "hypothesis" but even that is a stretch because it is not really testable given that what little evidence there is cites some gravitational effects of dark matter.

I recently read a scifi saga by Vernor Vinge, called A FIRE UPON THE DEEP. Our little part of the galaxy was said to be in the Slow Zone of the Universe where space travel was limited by the speed of light and required years of cryosleep between destinations. In the "higher" parts of the universe, travel between galaxies was measured in days and achieved by space/time jumps programmed so as not to drop into the center of some mass or other iffy spot.

Some of the higher civilizations were measured in billions of years, but most managed to kill themselves off before reaching such ages. At the "upper levels" of the universe existed a few super civilizations of immense power and influence, sort of like those imaged as gods by the Greeks and Romans. These seemed to exist in energy form and capable of controlling matter, including reforming dead people from miscellaneous parts to carry out missions.

Great stuff!


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 16, 12 at 16:55

Yes, Great Stuff indeed, his sci-fi sounds plausible. There should be very very ancient civilizations out there where our best imagination cannot even peek under the cover. In fact I dare to say that 100 years from now someone will look back at his writings and chuckle at their lack of imagination...assuming that we haven't destroyed ourselves by then ;)


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Conversations takes to the cosmos in an effort to stay alive...


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 17, 12 at 9:58

Yeah tobr we'll keep this page alive! Which is in the grand scheme of things - The Ultimate Big Picture, without question the Hottest Topic out there....perhaps too hot to handle ;)


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 24, 12 at 17:25

Maxter came to mind when I ran across this space newz...

Nomad Planets Everywhere...but thankfully it's pretty roomy out there...
Our Milky Way galaxy may be teeming with rogue planets that ramble through space instead of being locked in orbit around a star, a new study suggests.

These "nomad planets" could be surprisingly common in our bustling galaxy, according to researchers at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC), a joint institute of Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The study predicts that there may be 100,000 times more of these wandering, homeless planets than stars in the Milky Way.

If this is the case, these intriguing cosmic bodies would belong to a whole new class of alien worlds, shaking up existing theories of planet formation. These free-flying planets may also raise new and tantalizing questions in the search for life beyond Earth.

"If any of these nomad planets are big enough to have a thick atmosphere, they could have trapped enough heat for bacterial life to exist," study leader Louis Strigari said in a statement.

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And while nomad planets cannot benefit from the heat given off from their parent stars, these worlds could generate heat from tectonic activity or internal radioactive decay, the researchers said.

For now, characteristics of these foreign objects are still unknown; they could be icy bodies, similar to other objects found in the outer solar system, rocky like asteroids, or gas giants similar to the most massive planets in our solar system. [Gallery: First Earth-Size Alien Planets Found]

Over the past several decades, astronomers have keenly hunted for planets outside our solar system. So far, the search has turned up more than 700 of these exoplanets. Almost all of these newfound worlds orbit stars, but last year, scientists found about a dozen planets with no discernible host star.

The researchers used a technique called gravitational microlensing to detect these homeless planets. This method examines the effects of a massive object passing in front of a star.

From Earth, the nearby object bends and magnifies the light from the distant star like a lens, making the faraway star's light appear to brighten and fade over time. The resulting "light curve" helps astronomers distinguish characteristics of the foreground object.

Based on initial estimates, approximately two free-flying planets exist for every "normal" star in our galaxy, but the results of the new study produced even more staggering findings: nomad planets may be up to 50,000 times more common than that.

"To paraphrase Dorothy from 'The Wizard of Oz,' if correct, this extrapolation implies that we are not in Kansas anymore, and in fact we never were in Kansas," Alan Boss, of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., said in a statement. "The universe is riddled with unseen planetary-mass objects that we are just now able to detect."

The KIPAC researchers made their prediction by calculating the known gravitational pull of the Milky Way, the amount of matter available in the galaxy to make such celestial objects, and how that matter might be distributed to make up objects that range from as small as Pluto to as large as Jupiter.

These measurements were challenging since astronomers are unsure where these wandering planets came from, the researchers said. Some of these rogue worlds were likely ejected from other star systems, but there is evidence that not all of them could have been formed this way, Strigari said.

...rest of story at link...

Here is a link that might be useful: Planets Going Rouge....


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I saw Mickey Hart with his new band in December. I've never heard anything like it. No wonder. His source is discussed in this article:

"Hart has put together a new band and, in April, is releasing a new album titled "Mysterium Tremendum." It�s a good bet Deadheads and non-Deadheads alike have never heard anything like it. Hart has collaborated with Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist George Smoot to take the light waves detected in deep space that provide evidence of the Big Bang, and to translate those waves into sound.

"We�re talking about the creational moment," said Hart, who will perform with his band at the Rio Theatre on March 1. "Before now, we never had instruments to measure this kind of thing before. Everything that began with the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago created a vibration and now we can pick up this stuff from radio telescopes, and from that, we�ve developed an algorithm that turns into sound, what we call sonification.� "

Yep, that�s pretty far afield from "Sugar Magnolia."

Still, Hart is no rock-star dilettante. As a musicologist, he worked with both the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institute in the making of "Planet Drum" and still sits on the board of trustees for the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

For the "Mysterium" project, Hart has spent three years steeped in the science of sonification of the background radiation of deep space. UC Berkeley�s Smoot won the Nobel in 2006 for his cosmological work at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and has provided Hart with the data he needs for his musical interpretations.

"There�s a lot of burps, chirping, whirring and whoosing sounds out there," said Hart. "There�s a lot of noise out there, which is OK by me, because I like noise.""

The band is continuing their tour. Show dates are on the site.

Here is a link that might be useful: where no musician has gone before


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Now that is weird. A new genre of cosmic "music".


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Think I will stick to Frank's "Fly Me to the Moon"...


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 3, 12 at 16:45

Thanks Althea for adding some art to the science :)

Here's the latest on Dark Matter ---

Ray Villard
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.
410-338-4514
villard@stsci.edu
March 2, 2012
RELEASE : 12-068

Dark Matter Core Defies Explanation in NASA Hubble Image

WASHINGTON -- Astronomers using data from NASA's Hubble Telescope have observed what appears to be a clump of dark matter left behind from a wreck between massive clusters of galaxies. The result could challenge current theories about dark matter that predict galaxies should be anchored to the invisible substance even during the shock of a collision.

Abell 520 is a gigantic merger of galaxy clusters located 2.4 billion light-years away. Dark matter is not visible, although its presence and distribution is found indirectly through its effects. Dark matter can act like a magnifying glass, bending and distorting light from galaxies and clusters behind it. Astronomers can use this effect, called gravitational lensing, to infer the presence of dark matter in massive galaxy clusters.

This technique revealed the dark matter in Abell 520 had collected into a "dark core," containing far fewer galaxies than would be expected if the dark matter and galaxies were anchored together. Most of the galaxies apparently have sailed far away from the collision.

"This result is a puzzle," said astronomer James Jee of the University of California in Davis, lead author of paper about the results available online in The Astrophysical Journal. "Dark matter is not behaving as predicted, and it's not obviously clear what is going on. It is difficult to explain this Hubble observation with the current theories of galaxy formation and dark matter."

Initial detections of dark matter in the cluster, made in 2007, were so unusual that astronomers shrugged them off as unreal, because of poor data. New results from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope confirm that dark matter and galaxies separated in Abell 520.

One way to study the overall properties of dark matter is by analyzing collisions between galaxy clusters, the largest structures in the universe. When galaxy clusters crash, astronomers expect galaxies to tag along with the dark matter, like a dog on a leash. Clouds of hot, X-ray emitting intergalactic gas, however, plow into one another, slow down, and lag behind the impact.

That theory was supported by visible-light and X-ray observations of a colossal collision between two galaxy clusters called the Bullet Cluster. The galactic grouping has become an example of how dark matter should behave.

Full story below....

Here is a link that might be useful: Acting weird?...well it is weird...to us


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Stephen Hawking would have the answer if he spent more time on the problem rather than visiting strip and sex clubs as recently reported...


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Thankfully he is not another Mantie Man (probably more like a Diaper Dude.)


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 28, 12 at 9:59

It's been a while, lots of new discoveries have occurred since the last post, too many to list. But 8 days from now the US will land on Mars again. This next generation Mars Rover "Curisoity" will touchdown on Aug 5th and the landing will be live on a couple of TV networks (NASA, Sci channel). This is a large rover (mini cooper size) and the landing technique is new and no doubt NASA nails will be biting on the evening of Aug 5th. More info below...

Here is a link that might be useful: Rover


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And NASA is planning to land humans there in the 2030's...


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 31, 12 at 10:07

Yes, I recall NASA saying that 2000 was a target date too back during the moon landing. By 2030 or sooner we may not have to send humans unless we really want to establish a viable colony. Soon Robotics may be advanced enough to cover all the touchy feely bases and fully capable to perform the on site tests to determine if life is or was present in the past. Perhaps too by 2030 rockets will be a transportation mode of the past, we'll surely never reach the stars that way.


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As I understand it new rockets are being prepared and the will to have men in space rather than robots is still strong...


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 1, 12 at 10:49

Yep, I too like the idea of hands-on people being there, pretty cool stuff. But rockets are rockets, just a more complicated version of what the Chinese created for entertainment so long ago. There is a better way to defeat gravity and distance, we're not there yet but when that day comes everything will change including much here on terra firma.


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I wish they could go now as I won't be around when they do. BTW, they have a thorny consideration when it comes to sex in space on these trips if participants aren't married, but maybe no one will care by then...


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 2, 12 at 9:56

2030 is beyond my reach too...and I believe that James Bond made singles sex in space acceptable.


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Yes, it would seem by then that anything would be acceptable, and the only hope for us to witness this event would be reincarnation...LOL!


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 16, 12 at 10:40

I hope you all have pc service that can show a short 3 minute u-tube type video. The one below is from a camera on the bottom of the Mars lander/rover and starts filming right as the heat shield drops away. The entire 3 minute trip to the surface is pretty fantastic. Enjoy

Here is a link that might be useful: Perfect Landing


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A preview of what some astronauts will see as they descend to the surface...


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 17, 12 at 23:46

That's on my bucket list tobr....but I'll kick it before filling it :(


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Well, maybe the next time around...


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 29, 12 at 10:56

Our new Mars rover ain't wasting time, this adds more evidence to the previous rovers discoveries of past water on the surface. Combined with the water ice found at the north pole it could lead to liquid water below the surface.

By Amina Khan
Los Angeles Times
September 27, 2012, 3:44 p.m.

NASA�s Curiosity rover has found evidence of strong streams that once gushed across the Martian surface, mission scientists said Thursday.

Curiosity landed in Gale Crater on Aug. 5. But now, less than a couple of months into the Mars Science Laboratory�s two-year mission, the Red Planet rover used its Mast Camera to examine rocks on its way to Glenelg Intrigue. Glenelg has caught scientists� eyes because the odd spot serves as a junction between three different types of terrain.

The two outcrops in between, named Link and Hottah, have provided some exciting results in the meantime. The mission�s head scientist, Caltech geologist John Grotzinger, described the outcrop at Hottah as a raised cement section in a "jackhammered urban sidewalk," possibly caused by an impact on the surface.

The telltale rocks are made of sandy rock riddled with large pebbles. The shape of those pebbles tells the scientists that the rocks must have traveled a long way, bumping into each other and smoothing out the rough edges. The relatively large size of many of those stones � some the size of a golf ball � tells them that water, not wind, must have carried them.....full story and pics below...

Here is a link that might be useful: Source of news


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The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has produced one of its most extraordinary views of the Universe to date.

Called the eXtreme Deep Field, the picture captures a mass of galaxies stretching back almost to the time when the first stars began to shine.

But this was no simple point and snap - some of the objects in this image are too distant and too faint for that.

Rather, this view required Hubble to stare at a tiny patch of sky for more than 500 hours to detect all the light.

"It's a really spectacular image," said Dr Michele Trenti, a science team member from the University of Cambridge, UK.

The patch of sky captured in Hubble's XDF image, compared in size to the Moon
"We stared at this patch of sky for about 22 days, and have obtained a very deep view of the distant Universe, and therefore we see how galaxies were looking in its infancy."

Here is a link that might be useful: impressive picture


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Mon, Oct 1, 12 at 10:41

Thanks David for that contribution to our universal awareness. The making of the picture itself is almost as amazing as what was found that far out into relative infinity. How they can keep the Hubble focused on the same tiny tiny patch of sky for 500 hours while it's orbiting the earth which is orbiting the sun which is also traveling through space is practically impossible to imagine. Way to Go NASA & Co.!


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I imagine that tiny spot in the sky represented a terminal dimension of millions of light years across (or perhaps trillions of light years across?)


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 2, 12 at 23:35

Hey Marshall ol' Buddy! Good to see you are still out and about. As for the pic David posted, you may recall a few years ago the Hubble made another exposure which seemed to reach the end of things, but they have topped it again here. No doubt future technology will push it out ever further, are there no bounds? Or perhaps even limitless multiverses beyond the beyond? God has a lot to manage huh. maybe too much to handle even for God? Reality is weird enough as it is.

I see you are the wise one avoiding page one. Wish I could resist but alas I'm too weak. I suspect that many of our old friends like KT still lurk about too but also have the wisdom to avoid the flame. Stay well my friend,
Sincerely, a resident, and sometimes idiot, moth.


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 4, 12 at 23:40

This is gonna be Big! BIG BIG BIG!!!! (hope so)

COMET ISON

Discovered by Russian scientists about 2 weeks ago. It may be a virgin comet to our solar system and right now, even this early, it's predicted to be quite a show stopper even visible during the daytime and the head as large as a full moon. It'll take a while to get here, but will peak around next Nov/Dec 2013 and be visible to the naked eye for several months. There are several good u-tube animations available showing it's path as it approaches the earth and sun.

The only comparably decent comet I've seen was comet Bennent in 1970. Everything since then, even Halley in 86' was a dud to me. This may be a once in a lifetime comet if it fulfills expectations. Will update for sure.

Here is a link that might be useful: Comet ISON info


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Some two years ago, I was driving west late at night, out here in dark sky country, and watched a huge meteor go horizontally across the entire horizon. It took about a second to travel the visual distance.

Wow.

There were some reports about it, I believe its the one that crashed near Edmonton.


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be visible to the naked eye for several months.

Not to my near-sighted eyes, but I'll clean my glasses, and be on the watch for it. Thanks for the news!


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Hi backatcha, vgkg. Too bad you have no resistance to the lure of the Dark Side. Since I swore off political snarking and sniping, my BP and sleep have achieved levels not seen in some time...good levels.

I look forward to viewing the new comet come next Dec (2013).


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 9, 12 at 17:46

Comet ISON has a very interesting orbit around the sun, it's angle of approach in relation to the position of Earth should really give us an excellent viewing seat assuming it flares up as expected. The comet has a tight orbit that brings it over the earth's orbit as the Earth approaches. The comet will dip below the planetary disk in-between Earth and Venus then swing around the sun bringing very close to the surface much closer than Mercury. The incoming view should be grand and if the comet survives the sun's g-forces it could be even a better show on the way out as it passes by the earth again. The path, size, potential flaring, etc and other info is being refined, will update.
I'm pretty excited about this one, some have described it as being the most spectacular comet in recored history. I'm not going that far yet, I recall Kohotec, ugh...maybe not how to recall spelling it.


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Astronomers have found a planet whose skies are illuminated by four different suns - the first known of its type.

The distant world orbits one pair of stars which have a second stellar pair revolving around them.

The discovery was made by volunteers using the Planethunters.org website along with a team from UK and US institutes; follow-up observations were made with the Keck Observatory.

snip / more info at the link

I'm having trouble wrapping my head around this ..... the planet pulled this way, that way by 4 suns in a stable orbit. Or orbits.

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 16, 12 at 10:57

"I'm having trouble wrapping my head around this "

Ha, not easy for me either David, if the planet (being a gas giant) was massive enough it could have been a 5th dancing star rather than a planet. Thanks for the info.


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 21, 12 at 10:12

Here's a real Tease....

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has apparently made a discovery "for the history books," but we'll have to wait a few weeks to find out what the new Red Planet find may be, media reports suggest.

The discovery was made by Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars instrument, NPR reported Tuesday, Nov. 20. SAM is the rover's onboard chemistry lab, and it's capable of identifying organic compounds ��" the carbon-containing building blocks of life as we know it.
SAM apparently spotted something interesting in a soil sample Curiosity's huge robotic arm delivered to the instrument recently.

- Curiosity chief scientist John Grotzinger
"This data is gonna be one for the history books," Curiosity chief scientist John Grotzinger, of Caltech in Pasadena, told NPR. "It's looking really good."

Grotzinger said the rover team won't be ready to announce just what SAM found for several weeks yet, NPR reported. The scientists want to check and double-check the results, to make sure they're for real.....source below...

Here is a link that might be useful: What's up on Mars?


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I read that bit of teaser early this morning. Chunks of ice, little crawling critters in the crust, complex organic compounds arranged in a double helix?


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Thu, Nov 22, 12 at 10:29

Chunks of water ice have already been found up near the northern Marian icecap via the Polar Lander a few years ago. I suspect that this new news will relate to the presence of organic carbon being confirmed, possibly from decomposed microbe deposits which once inhabited the ancient seas on Mars. If so this would add weight to NASA's findings of fossilized microbes in a Mars rock over a decade ago (found within a meteor discovered near the south pole of Earth, it was blasted off of Mars via an impact several thousand years ago).

Just have to wait and see...be cool if they found sea shells (nyuk nyuk), but life didn't have too much time to evolve there before Mar's atmosphere escaped into space and the planet turned into a deep freeze desert. Earth had primitive microbes in it's early oceans during the 1st billion years, Mars may have, or should have too. The difference is that the Earth's early microbes produced oxygen as a waste product and after another 3-4 billion years the oxygenated atmosphere made it possible for more complex organisms to evolve. But you know this, you are wise and informed folks that hang out here ;o)....stay tuned...


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vgkg, call home...


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 23, 12 at 9:39

The Universe is my home, it's yours too tobr ;)


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Do you think that the universe wants us?


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 26, 12 at 9:13

The answer to that question is still being pondered.


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It seems that we may just be a fluke and a dangerous one, as we are likely to explore and then exploit...


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 28, 12 at 11:02

I don't believe that we're just a fluke, more of a natural progression of events as our universe evolves. Physics evolved into chemistry, chemistry evolved into biology, then under favorable conditions biology eventually evolved into us. Now the trick is for us to evolve beyond our innate survival of the fittest instinct. The next question - Is time on our side?


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The universe was here long before us and will be here long after us...


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Thu, Nov 29, 12 at 16:46

Yes, waaaaaay before us, waaaaay before our sun was even born, now that's what is really interesting.


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Do you believe in a grand design unfolding before our eyes as we advance our understanding of the universe?


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 30, 12 at 10:13

Do you mean a grand design as in someone made it happen? The whole universe? I'm still digesting the ramifications of the the big bang (theory) and whether it was spontaneous, or even just one of an infinite number of spontaneously pop-up universes. I do think that if we survive for another several thousand years that we could have the technology to "design" planets to suit our needs. Perhaps 4.5 billion years ago someone else saw our early solar system as good ground for tweaking up the Earth? To tweak up a whole universe could be possible with advanced knowledge and technology, maybe. But still this could all be possible just by chance, an ancient civilization that is billions of years ahead of us could work "magic" beyond our wildest dreams. Our universe is a pretty dangerous place, it's the vastness that makes some portions more stable than others. Perhaps a billion year old advanced civilization has found a way to get to a better place to exist than our universe and have left already?

... drifting off course on your question? Supreme Beings most likely exist, they had plenty of time to evolve before we did. Did one of them they design us? maybe, maybe not ;)


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Could we be a food supply just waiting to be harvested by some alien creatures?


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 4, 12 at 9:39

A Food source for an alien diet? That would have happened long ago, perhaps starting with Dinoburgers. I'm not a big believer in the idea that sending out radio signals will attract alien scavengers. If anyone knows that we're here they've known about the earth since our sun was born.


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 4, 12 at 17:40

BTW Tobr, I really do appreciate your questions and am happy to ponder the possibilities. The Universe has always been a Giant jigsaw puzzle and we Earthlings have accumulated a lot of key pieces during the last 50 years, esp the past decade. The remaining missing pieces are getting easier to visualize though just beyond our grasp. Keep em' coming!


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I hope to live long enough to see the images from the powerful telescope that is being built that will see back to the beginnings of the universe. The answers to man's most profound questions are coming within our reach. However, Einstein said that our brains may be too puny to comprehend it all. Do you agree?


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 5, 12 at 16:40

"our brains may be too puny to comprehend it all"

Were that his exact words? I recall him saying something along those lines. It would be interesting to know exactly what he meant. During Einstein's time we were still fairly ignorant about outer space. By his time we had come a long way from the concept of being in the center of everything, a flat earth, and stars as jewels studded in a dome far above us. But even in Einstein's day we really knew very little other than that the earth is in a solar system within a huge galaxy of countless stars. I wonder what he would think today after over 50 years of intense astronomical discovery? I'm betting that he'd find it easier to figure it all out now, but probably keep it to himself ;)


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There are a lot of physicists speculating on the ultimate nature of the universe today but perhaps none of Einstein's caliber. Maybe another one is coming along that will advance our "puny" thinking. It does seem to me like the pieces of the puzzle will be there for another Einstein to put together...


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At the link is a pretty cool short video on the latest from NASA where they used weather satellites to photograph the earth at night.

What I don't understand - why all the lights in Italy?

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 7, 12 at 17:37

Thanks David, yes very Cool!
Maybe the lights in Italy are hot late night tourist spots?
.....or Italians are afraid of the dark?


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The man who helped to discover 400 planets has switched to searching for aliens in space. Geoff Marcy, a professor at Berkeley, admits the odds are long. I would love it if he gets lucky, but it begs the question that if there are more advanced civilizations than ours why haven't they contacted us...


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 10, 12 at 9:44

I wonder if Geoff meant that the odds are excellent that they are out there but that the odds are long that he would find them? Your question "why haven't they contacted us" is age old. My question would be why would they want too? They surely wouldn't need too. If they are advanced enough to get here then they could very easily observe and absorb everything there is to know about us without having direct contact. If we were in their "shoes" we'd most likely do the same. If a more advanced civilization does exist then it's probable that a countless number of them exist in this relatively infinite universe. I'd bet they are more concerned with each other than they could ever be about little ol' us. We could be like an ant hill under a herd of elephants. Elephants that have the technological knowhow to remain as stealthy as they choose to be.


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He definitely believes that they are out there? BTW, I think that they are very much like us as I believe that the universe is consistent. They may be advanced or less advanced than us but I also believe that curiosity would make contact inevitable....


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Richard, you are assuming that the aliens are driven by the same propensities as humans, that they share similar values, so to speak. Too many Star Trek episodes under yer hat, amigo.


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Take me to your socialist leader...


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 12, 12 at 10:36

"He definitely believes that they are out there?

No that's not what I meant, was just wondering if that's what he meant, that they are there for certain but not so certain that they are easily detected. With an Earth full of doubters it would be very easy to fool us even if they make a mistake and briefly expose themselves.

I'm with Marshall too about the wide unlimited variety of intelligent species that could evolve under countless environmental circumstances. Even just a slight variation in a star (of which there are many types) and also the varied planets they warm dictates the type of life forms that result. Wish I had more time, this is fun :)


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Hopefully his efforts will be coordinated with SETI and multiply the chances of success...


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 13, 12 at 9:45

SETI is a well meaning goal but one has to wonder just how much of a window is there to detect radio signals from another solar system? Our radio wave communications technology "window" may expire once we find a more efficient way to transmit information. We on Earth really started sending out detectable radio signals be back in the 1930s, perhaps after say 200 years we'll find a better method. That would mean that someone else out there would have a 200 year window to pick up our radio signals before the window closed. So with that in mind SETI could very well be pointing it's radio wave detectors directly at an advanced civilization's solar system but would have missed their window of radio signals which were turned off long ago due to becoming antiquated. SETI is not only confronted with the problem searching for where, but also when. It would be fantastic to tune in or eavesdrop into ancient artificial radio waves as proof of other intelligence's existence but it's more likely that we will be contacted directly when the time is determined to be "right" by them.


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They are optimistic, though, as they have a bottle of champagne chilled just in case...


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 14, 12 at 9:52

I hope that SETI is successful, but more than likely there won't be any fizz left by the time they are.


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  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 20, 12 at 16:39

It's been a couple of months since the last update on ISON, it's still up in the air about how it will preform. Things look Good but the ghost of Kohutec,sp, still haunts comet fanatics. ISON is still far out beyond Jupiter but the fact that it was discovered so far away means that it's big in size for a comet and the earth/comet orbital positions in space give us a good front row seat.
Icy is Nicey... Full story below...

Here is a link that might be useful: Update on Comet ISON


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Great stuff! I bookmarked the site for future reference. Thanks...


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The earth

And now this... pretty amazing discovery

The oldest rock on the earth, about 4.4 billion years old, was found to have formed in the presence of water, which means life on earth may have started when this small blue marble formed.

It is now possible to imagine that life began on Earth almost as soon as the Earth began - that life (in the presence of water) is, if not inevitable, at least very insistent. Once you've got a planet with water - BINGO!

If that's true, chances for life in the universe suddenly improve - dramatically.

Here on Earth, life could have formed, been blown away, then formed again - and one of those times, down at the bottom of some temporary ocean, sitting by a warm vent - it stayed.

That's what this teeny chip of a rock is now allowing us to think: that life has such potency, such urgency, that as soon as life is possible - life happens!

That's a mighty big story to find in a pebble.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 13, 13 at 17:35

Thanks Momj for that contribution! Pretty amazing stuff ain't it! It was not mentioned in the article but there is also the idea that since the universe is approx 3x as old as the Earth/Sol system that life could have been seeded here from previous worlds that have come and gone. Perhaps viruses that piggybacked on space wondering fragments of other worldly rock, fell into the earth's young oceans to evolve 3-4 billion years from there on. Now that astronomers believe that solar system formation is normal for most stars (and even for weird stars) that life could be almost as old as the universe itself. As the Hubble and other advanced scopes look back in time they see ancient galaxies everywhere they look....and they keep looking bless their hearts ;)

btw, Comet ISON still looks promising but we won't know for sure until the fireworks get lit up next summer as it passes by Mars. This occurs in August (directly over Mars north pole). You can bet that every probe on and around Mars will turn their electronic eyes upward as she zooms on by.

There is another comet called PANStars which could be a good appetizer in the northern hemisphere by early March. If this one is good it'll be visible after sunset. So 2 months from now we'll see....or not see.


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RE: The Universe

Many new planets have just been discovered and some have temps that would support life and they are known as being in the Goldillocks zone. Howdy, neighbor!


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 14, 13 at 11:40

With Gazillions of beds to choose from there are surely countless ones that are jusssst right. I bet that our Earth in comparison to many others is one of the borderline ones that would be considered relatively unstable. With our super volcanoes, orbit crossing asteroids, stellar eruptions (CMEs), magnetic pole reversals, ice ages, <10% livable landmass, continental drift, etc. etc. we're a nice place to visit but not a really good place to live....for too long.


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by momj47 7A..was 6B (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 14, 13 at 13:20

It looks like LIFE is pretty tough, and resilient. It also seems to indicate that it came from somewhere else, unless the different components come together very, very quickly. The early earth wasn't very hospitable, so LIFE is pretty tenacious.

This post was edited by momj47 on Mon, Jan 14, 13 at 15:20


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RE: The Universe

And LIFE is very short so enjoy yourself...


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 23, 13 at 17:01

PanStarrs update-

The site below (Sky & Telescope) has the latest data on this potentially good comet by early March. It's acting fickle as comets go, but as indicated by S&T this comet will be experiencing 100x it's present solar heating by early March. Panstarrs' orbital angle is not ideal for best viewing though it is good enough (I'm picky about my comets :)

Comet ISON is still too far out & chilly to determine what might yet perk up to the top. ISON's orbit is about as good as it's gets for northern hemisphere viewing (sorry Shax, YQ, and our friends on the other side). This orbit takes ISON past the Earth twice, coming and going. The most spectacular viewing is dependent upon 2 things - how icy? how solid/intact? If it survives it's very close solar encounter it could be dazzling on it's way out of the solar system by around next Xmas. Probably repeating myself as this info is slow to update while ISON still sleeps...

Here is a link that might be useful: For comet position & best dates, viewing sky charts, (stuff I can't post) etc


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 25, 13 at 15:37

While we're awaiting the arrival of the Great Comet
We can look 4.5 years ahead and plan for the Great Solar Eclipse.

August 21, 2017
Hard to miss this one in the USA.
It'll be a coast-to-coast spectacular event.
Charleston, SC looks good from here - Road Trip!

Several of you must live close enough to the path of totality to have this once in a life time experience.
This one will be my 4th time in the moon's total shadow, and most likely my last trip to see one.

This post was edited by vgkg on Fri, Jan 25, 13 at 15:47


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 29, 13 at 10:03

I may have misspoke above, assuming that I'm lucky enough to make it another 11 years there is another total solar eclipse crossing the US in 2024. If you live near St Louis you are in the catbird seat of cross hairs...


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 7, 13 at 15:44

So no one is excited about the upcoming US total solar eclipses huh? ;)

How about NASA's first motion picture of comet ISON?
Below is the first video of ISON in motion, taken by the Deep Impact probe far our there (so cool how we can do this). Another article reports that ISON already sports a 40,000 mile long tail which is a very good sign since it's still way out near Jupiter's orbit. This is a pretty remarkable feat as the Deep Impact probe is almost 1/2 billion miles away from ISON. It's tail is faint but it's there as can be seen in the complied pics into a video. When it passes almost directly over Mars next August it should put on a good show for the various cameras there awaiting it's arrival.

Pan Starrs comet is still a good bet for a show by mid March.
And perhaps you heard in the recent news that another near earth asteroid will pass just 14,000 miles past the Earth on Feb 15th. A city killer if it hit, very close but no cigar...
*...this rock is 150 ft in width and would have caused a 2 megaton explosion at impact.

*updated for recent specs on this big rock.

Here is a link that might be useful: ISON on the move and tailing up...

This post was edited by vgkg on Sun, Feb 10, 13 at 17:24


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RE: The Universe

Your confusion has come through so thoroughly that I have no idea when and where the total eclipse will be. I was in Lima, Peru during a total eclipse (or close enough)in 1969 or 1970.


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 8, 13 at 10:38

I must get too excited when typing about these topics :)

Marshall, check the post above dated Jan 25 at 15:37 to see the US map.
This shows the Aug 21, 2017 nationwide path of the shadow. You'll have to travel up to Salem Oregon to view it in totality....just check the weather first ;)


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 17, 13 at 16:48

First time I've been here since the new format, I like the way it shrinks down the maps in the posts above, makes them easier to take in.

As mentioned on the discussions page, that Russian meteor was really something. It "detonated" at about 20 miles high. If it were 5 miles up it probably would have flattened that entire city area similar to the effects of the 1908 event. This 50 ft rock (have heard varying estimates) was about 1/3 the size of the other one that passed at 17,200 miles. Both were considered to be non-related encounters coming from different angles/directions. The meteor that glowed so brightly and left a huge trail was a sight to behold, can only guess what ancient man would have thought about seeing this occur....or even mankind just a few hundred years ago?


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RE: The Universe

The new format is clean, this page has a nice greenish background, so is easier on old eyes.

So you are saying that the higher the explosion, the wider and more intense the damage? I would have thought the opposite.


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 9:48

You thought right, but I said : "It detonated at about 20 miles high. If it were 5 miles up it probably would have flattened that entire city area similar to the effects of the 1908 event. "
Perhaps that read as 5 miles higher than 20 miles? but I meant just 5 miles above the ground, which is the approximated altitude blast of the 1908 event.

So the extra 15 miles of atmospheric cushioning resulted in less damage as would be expected. Odd as it seems a nuclear bomb does the most damage when it's detonated about a mile over a city rather than a direct ground hit. This way the bomb's energy isn't "wasted" by making a crater but rather as a more widespread energetic punch as the blast wave expands and flattens everything below the explosion. Kind of like a Daisy Cutter gas bomb on steroids. The Los Alamos guys figured this out prior to dropping A-bombs on Japan so altitude triggers were used to inflict maximum destruction.

This post was edited by vgkg on Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 18:14


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 1, 13 at 16:50

Since we're playing guessing games, can you guess where this picture was taken?
Is that sedimentary rock over there ?


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RE: The Universe

No scale to judge. It could be a micrograph.


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 4, 13 at 10:06

Actually it's a recent photo from the Mars rover. NASA picked this area since it appeared from orbit to have supported a body of water in the distant past. The sedimentary layers (if that's what they are?) could contain evidence of ancient fossilized microbial life. NASA is itching to dig into these layers and will do so in the coming weeks.

Remember back in the late 1990's when NASA annouced that they had found a rock that was blasted off of Mars and had landed on the southern ice sheet. NASA claimed that they had found fossilized bacteria within the rock. These sedimentary layers may yet prove them right.


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 5, 13 at 11:14

Comet PanStarrs update---
Still not all that bright but if you want to see it from the northern hemisphere then next week (Mar 10-15th) right after sun set will be your best shot. Look west towards an unobstructed setting sun on a clear evening and you might get lucky. There will be a crescent moon nearby.

Comet ISON has passed within the orbit of Jupiter and is on course to pass by Mars in August. It will pass very close to Mars and there is the possibility that the comet's coma may envelope the red planet as it passes by. There are some stories circulating that comet ISON may even hit Mars but that's doubtful and this story is getting mixed up with another new comet that will pass extremely close to Mars in Oct 2014. Our probes on and around Mars will surely have a good show to see in August, meteor showers there could rival fireworks assuming that ISON's coma does grow large enough by the time it gets there in August. Expectations are still high for a Good show from the Earth next Nov-Jan as it passes by us both coming in and heading out.

This post was edited by vgkg on Tue, Mar 5, 13 at 11:44


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 5, 13 at 17:03

Here's how Comet PanStarrs may appear with good clear skies right after sunset.


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RE: The Universe

vgkg, I'm just a "lurker" but, I read everything you have to say about "the universe". You are not alone. I have always been interested about the universe. The more... the better. Thank you!

Lynn


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 6, 13 at 15:24

Thanks Lynn, you're very welcome, I'm humbled by other's interest in what's out there and what few tidbits that I contribute here. There is so much new information to digest and so little time in today's down to earth busy world reality to take it all in. Our understanding of the universe has changed greatly since I was a kid. Many of the old theories of it's age, it's vastness, it's complexity, even our solar system's formation, etc. have dropped by the wayside. You are not alone either Lynn, it's also pretty safe to say that we are not alone....safe that is unless one is worried about their own credibility ;o)


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RE: The Universe

Please start a new thread so we don't have to scrool so much. BTW, have you heard about the array starting up in Chile this month that will go all the way back to the Big Bang? Wow!


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 7, 13 at 9:08

No I haven't heard about the new Chile array, wish I had more time to look it up, perhaps you could tack the news on here for us?
btw tobr, there's no need to scroll down, just hit the "post a follow up" button at the top of the page, there's no need to post but it saves scrolling time, you should know this by now or you just pulling my leg?


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RE: The Universe

Thanks, my learning curve on this computer stuff is a long, slow one...


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RE: The Universe

Yeah, I just learned that...here and now. I did discover a button on my typing board called Home and another called End.


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 10, 13 at 10:54

Really? Nah, say it ain't so, you 2 old timers didn't know that short cut trick to avoid scrolling? Dang! Yawl have a lot of wasted time to catch up on, maybe even more time to post now :).

VgQn and I will be going on a little comet observing trip this week, assuming the weather cooperates that is. PanStarrs is no show stopper (like ISON is expected to be) but it's worth a shot on a clear evening and open horizon right after sundown. I'll let you know what we saw or didn't saw by this Friday.


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 12, 13 at 23:27

NASA announced today that their Curiosity rover has found more evidence for life evolving conditions on early Mars. Besides the usual chemical ingredients being present there, the early water sources were drinkable by our standards. Full story at space.com site below.

...waiting for clear skies here for spotting comet PanStarrs this week.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mar Rover fetches....


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 15, 13 at 18:16

Well, after 2 nites of looking for comet PanStarrs I can say that it was a bust for us. It's moving away from both the Earth and Sun now so hopes will dim along with the comet. We had a clear sky with the cresent moon in view but the comet was too dim to see with the naked eye, from our vantage point anyways.

Still, comet ISON is promising. If ISON appears as Comet Bennett did back in 1970 I'll be happy with that. Bennett hasn't been topped since back then imho. It was a beautiful comet that one didn't have to look for, an eye popper. Comet ISON should top Bennett.

This post was edited by vgkg on Sat, Mar 16, 13 at 17:17


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RE: The Universe

I remember Bennett or maybe it was Comet West in the 1970's. Problem is that I can't remember from which continent I viewed them.

PanStarrs was a dud for me too. Too faint to see.


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 27, 13 at 17:27

As I recall, Comet Bennett was a pre-dawn comet, there was a 2 sentence news box in the newspaper that reported the comet could be seen before the sun comes up. I just happened to see it as a fluke of luck. A buddy of mine & I were staying in a fishing shack overnite on the York river at the time (42 years ago, yikes - have I told this story before, ha)). It was probably the late nite beers that later on got me up in time to view it. About 4am or so nature called. The York is over 2 miles across where we were at and I "went" outside, as I cleared the crest of the hill facing east Comet Bennett was Dazzling just hanging there in the clear pre dawn sky pointing towards the direction of the sun which was still well below the horizon. I couldn't believe my eyes, really didn't expect that kind of an amazing show. If you held out a baseball bat at arms length the comet's size from coma to tail tip would be 1.5 to 2x that relative view length. The tail widened out and I could see stars shinning through it. The tail also seemed to flicker a bit as the sun's rays hit it. I can only guess that the conditions were perfect, no light pollution over the river which was in the direction of the comet. I ran back to wake up my buddy but he was in deep sleep and couldn't be roused, I didn't waste time on him but got out a lawn chair and watched that spectacular awe striking scene until the sun came up. My pal regrets not getting up till this day.

Update : As for Comet ISON arriving this fall, there are a few reports that seem to think that the comet isn't acting as expected, it's tail has been constant for a while but it's still closer to Jupiter than it is to Mars. Comet ISON will reach temperatures close to 1 million degrees F as it rounds the sun and heads back in Earth's direction. If ISON holds together rounding the sun anything that can be vaporized will be, so there should be some kind of violent reactions going on for an interesting show. It's anyone's guess until August as ISON passes over Mars, we're still not even sure how big it is but it's at least 2 miles wide. Stay tuned


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 20, 13 at 17:34

Since this thread started with the news that 100 billion solar systems exist in the Milky Way Galaxy, below is the latest news on a newly discovered solar system that contains 2 goldilocks planets which are the most promising for liquid water and life.

Comet ISON is still on it's way to sizzle or fizzle, should know by August.

Here is a link that might be useful: NYT article on New Worlds....new to us ;)


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 24, 13 at 18:07

Hubble took this pic as Comet ISON approaches the outer edge of the asteroid belt. It heads into the inner solar system and will pass by Mars in August. ISON still looks like a good show coming up this autumn.

Here is a link that might be useful: Universe Today story on updated ISON news


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RE: The Universe

Beautiful! Can't wait for photos when the Kepler gets going...


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RE: The Universe

  • Posted by vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 25, 13 at 9:32

If all goes as expected you won't have to wait for more pics. If ISON survives it close encounter trip around the sun then by next Thanksgiving just walk outside, look up, and get startled with an eye full for several weeks as it passes by the Earth around Xmas. For some folks the unexpected sight will stir talk ranging from the 2nd coming to another doomsday...
...if, that is, ISON doesn't fizzle. Looks promising so far.


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RE: The Universe

Looks like they have found our earliest ancestor. We had a tail, big eyes and ate bugs. We were very small.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link


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