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Posts tagged ‘NASA’

Asteroid: 745,000 Miles from Earth on January 26th

asteroidtofl - 2004An asteroid up to 1,800 feet (550 meters) across is headed Earth’s way. But don’t worry: It will miss us by 745,000 miles, about three times the distance between Earth and the moon.

NASA scientists say asteroid 2004 BL86 will come closest Monday. That will be the nearest the asteroid gets for another 200 years. And it will be the closest known encounter by such a giant space rock until another mega-asteroid flies by in 2027.

It was discovered in 2004 and is estimated to be about one-third of a mile in size, or between 1,600 and 1,800 feet.

Amateur astronomers across North America should be able to see it with telescopes and binoculars.

Solar Storm Heading to Earth at 200 Million MPH – 9/20/2014

Thanks to a relatively strong solar storm, those living in northern parts of the United States had a chance to take in the vivid colors that normally can only be seen from extremely high latitudes.

Experts say the combined energy from two recent solar events has arrived, prompting the Space Weather Prediction Center to issue a strong geomagnetic storm watch for Saturday.

Wait. What’s a solar storm? Basically, the sun is a giant ball of gas: 92.1% hydrogen and 7.8% helium. Every now and then, it spits out a giant burst of gas that contains magnetic properties called a coronal mass ejection. These ejections are sometimes associated with solar flares, the most explosive events in the solar system. The sun has released two ejections in the past few days, and both are linked to solar flares.

NASA says the second flare is an X1.6 class, putting it in the most intense category. The energy from those two ejections is now hitting Earth. Space weather experts aren’t sure what this solar storm will do. Earth’s atmosphere usually protects humans, but you might want to keep a flashlight handy. Solar storms can knock out power, interfere with GPS and radio communications — including those on commercial airliners — and damage satellites.

“People on the ground really don’t have to worry,” said Lika Guhathakurta, a program scientist with NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. She said solar storms don’t affect humans on the ground, although astronauts could be at risk. And our technology. But don’t worry too much.

NASA can take steps to protect the crew members on the International Space Station, and satellite operators can turn off sensitive sensors on satellites. Should we be worried the solar storm will fry our smartphones or other gadgets? “No, very unlikely,” Dr. Petrus Martens, an expert on solar flares and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Georgia State University, told CNN. “Of course if we lose the (power) grid, that will eventually affect cell phones and the Internet as well.” Besides power grids and satellites, Martens says other possible impacts are: • Distortions in GPS readings of up to a few yards. That is not much, but it can be crucial for military applications; for example, targeting by drones. • Increased corrosion of long pipelines like the Alaska oil pipeline. • Homing pigeons going off course. (Martens is not joking about that one.) Solar storms have caused havoc on Earth before. On March 13, 1989, a solar storm knocked out power for the entire province of Quebec for 12 hours. Power grids in the United States were affected but didn’t have blackouts. NASA says some satellites tumbled out of control for hours during what’s known as the Quebec Blackout. The space shuttle Discovery was in orbit at the time and had a mysterious sensor problem that went away after the storm, NASA says.

On the upside, solar storms also create beautiful aurora. Aurora watchers in the northern United States who are outside major metropolitan areas should be watching the skies the next few nights. “A fantastic display of Northern Lights as far south as the northern half of the U.S.” is possible, Martens said.–By Amanda Barnett CNN

The Esoteric Aspect:  Beneficial Opportunity to ride the Power Wave

According to study published in the New Scientist back in 1998, there is a direct connection between the Sun’s solar storms and human biological effects.

The conduit which facilitates the charged particles from the Sun to human disturbance — is the very same conduit which steers Earth’s weather —– the magnetic field. Animals and humans have a magnetic field which surrounds them — in the very same way the magnetic field surrounds the Earth as a protector.

Electromagnetic activity from the sun affects our electronic devices and human electromagnetic field. We are physically, mentally, and emotionally altered by electromagnetic charges from the sun, our body can feel sleepy but also become highly energized.

Psychological effects of CMEs (coronal mass ejections) are typically short lived and include headache, palpitations, mood swings, and feeling generally unwell. Chaotic or confused thinking, and erratic behaviors also increase. Solar storms can drive our emotions and maximize it to both good and bad side – the point here is to be aware of it.

Pineal gland in our brain is also affected by the electromagnetic activity which causes the gland to produce excess melatonin, a hormone which can cause sleepiness but it’s also known that some people have opposite side effects, usually those that are aware of the effects.

Riding the power wave – pineal gland stimulation

Our pineal glands have excess melatonin production during solar storms – electromagnetic activity. Many biological effects of melatonin are produced through activation of melatonin receptors, while others are due to its role as a pervasive and powerful antioxidant, with a particular role in the protection of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.

Pineal gland is also referred as the third eye, and the third eye is also known as the inner eye. The third eye is a mystical and esoteric concept referring in part to the ajna (brow) chakra in certain dharmic spiritual traditions, in particular Hinduism. This concept was later adopted by Christian mystics and spiritualists as well as people from other religious faiths. It is also spoken of as the gate that leads within to inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness. Among Christian mystics, the term is used in a broad sense to indicate a non-dualistic perspective. In New Age spirituality, the third eye may symbolize a state of enlightenment or the evocation of mental images having deeply personal spiritual or psychological significance. The third eye is often associated with visions, clairvoyance (which includes the ability to observe chakras and auras), precognition, and out-of-body experiences. People who have allegedly developed the capacity to utilize their third eyes are sometimes known as seers.

For the reasons most of you know – humans tend to have their pineal glands heavily calcified – sleeping.

Fluoride (found in tap water, toothpaste, processed foods…) is just one of the things that causes calcification of pineal gland. Fluoride is magnetically attracted to the pineal gland where it forms calcium phosphate crystals more than anywhere else in the body. How to decalcify pineal gland? One excellent link is here.

Third eye should be active, vibrant and strong… the process of decalcification sometimes includes headaches and sleepiness… – the same as they say for solar storms like the one in effect now.

… enjoy the weekend.

Thanksgiving 2013: Comet ISON Appears!

COMET OF THE CENTURY

 

 

 

The potential “comet of the century” Comet ISON could either become a shining visual treat or a fizzled out chunk of rock and ice when it makes its close pass of the sun, but which will it be?

As the comet moves toward its close encounter with the star, amateur astronomers are providing information that could help scientists understand more about Comet ISON’s shift into brilliance or mediocrity. You can watch a video about Comet ISON’s current brightness here on SPACE.com.

“Comet ISON is approaching Mars in the pre-dawn sky,” Carey Lisse, head of NASA’s Comet ISON Observing Campaign, said in a statement. “It is invisible to the naked eye, but within reach of backyard telescopes.” [Photos of Comet ISON: A Potentially Great Comet]

Asteroid 4179 Toutatis to Pass Earth December 12, 2012

By: Mike Wall
Published: 12/11/2012 09:15 AM EST on SPACE.com

A giant asteroid will make a flyby of Earth over the next few days, and armchair astronomers can watch the action live on their computers.

The near-Earth asteroid 4179 Toutatis, which is about 3 miles (5 kilometers) wide, will zoom within 4.3 million miles (7 million kilometers) of Earth during its closest approach early Wednesday morning (Dec. 12). That’s too far away to pose any impact threat on this pass, but close enough to put on a pretty good show through top-notch telescopes, researchers say.

And some of those scopes will be tracking Toutatis’ movements for the benefit of skywatchers around the world. The online Slooh Space Camera and Virtual Telescope Project, for example, will both stream live, free footage of the asteroid from professional-quality observatories.

Slooh will webcast Toutatis views from a scope in the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa beginning at 3 p.m. EST (2000 GMT) today (Dec. 11). Another show will follow at 10 p.m. EST tonight (0300 GMT Wednesday), with footage from an instrument in Arizona. You can watch them at Slooh’s website: http://www.slooh.com.

Both shows will feature commentary from Slooh president Patrick Paolucci and Astronomy Magazine columnist Bob Berman. [Photos: Asteroids in Deep Space]

“Slooh technical staff will let the public follow this fast-moving asteroid in two different ways. In one view, the background stars will be tracked at their own rate and the asteroid will appear as an obvious streak or a moving time-lapse dot across the starry field,” Berman said in a statement.

“In a second view, Toutatis itself will be tracked and held steady as a tiny pointlike object, while Earth’s spin makes the background stars whiz by as streaks,” Berman added. “Both methods will make the asteroid’s speedy orbital motion obvious as it passes us in space.”

Meanwhile, the Virtual Telescope Project — which is run by Gianluca Masi of Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory in Italy — will offer its own free webcast Thursday (Dec. 13) at 3 p.m. EST (2000 GMT), complete with commentary from astrophysicists.

You can see that video stream here: http://www.virtualtelescope.eu/webtv/

Asteroid Toutatis was first viewed in 1934, then officially discovered in 1989. It makes one trip around the sun every four years.

The Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Mass., lists Toutatis as a potentially hazardous object, meaning that it could pose a threat to our planet at some point in the future. The current flyby is no cause for concern, however. At its closest approach, which comes at 1:40 a.m. (0640 GMT) Wednesday, Toutatis will still be 18 times farther away from Earth than the moon is.

Toutatis would cause catastrophic damage if it ever did slam into Earth. In general, scientists think a strike by anything at least 0.6 miles (1 km) wide could have global consequences, most likely by altering the world’s climate for many years to come.

For comparison, the asteroid thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was an estimated 6 miles (10 km) across.

Follow SPACE.com senior writer Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall or SPACE.com @Spacedotcom. We’re also on Facebook and Google+.

Fomalhaut B Exoplanet Study Suggests Planetary Object, Not ‘Dust’

By: SPACE.com Staff
Published: 10/26/2012 02:49 PM EDT on SPACE.com
An enormous alien planet that some astronomers thought was dead and buried has come back to life, a new study suggests.
A new analysis of observations from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope found that the bright nearby star Fomalhaut does indeed host a huge exoplanet, which scientists dubbed a “zombie” world in an aptly Halloween-themed video on the alien planet. This conclusion contradicts other recent studies, which determined that the so-called planet — known as Fomalhaut b — is actually just a giant dust cloud.
“Given what we know about the behavior of dust and the environment where the planet is located, we think that we’re seeing a planetary object that is completely embedded in dust rather than a free-floating dust cloud,” co-author John Debes, of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, said in a statement.
The saga of Fomalhaut b began in November 2008, when Hubble astronomers announced that a planet circled Fomalhaut, which lies 25 light-years away in the constellation Piscis Austrinus. Fomalhaut b was the first alien world ever directly imaged in visible light, they said.
The planet was spotted just inside a vast debris ring surrounding but slightly offset from the star. Based on Fomalhaut b’s location and mass — estimated to be less than three times that of Jupiter — astronomers thought the planet’s gravitational pull likely explained the ring’s appearance. [Gallery: The Strangest Alien Planets]
But other scientists subsequently cast doubt on Fomalhaut b’s existence. Some have argued that the object is just a short-lived dust cloud, citing the brightness variations reported by the discovery team and the fact that NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has been unable to pick up its infrared signature.
The doubters also pointed to Fomalhaut b’s apparent motion, saying it was moving in an orbit too fast and out of line with the debris disk to have sculpted it.
But the new study detects the planet all over again, in a fresh analysis of Hubble observations from 2004 and 2006. The research team spotted Fomalhaut b in three different wavelengths of visible light. The astronomers did not detect any brightness variations this time around, further bolstering Fomalhaut b’s planethood case.
“Although our results seriously challenge the original discovery paper, they do so in a way that actually makes the object’s interpretation much cleaner and leaves intact the core conclusion — that Fomalhaut b is indeed a massive planet,” said lead author Thayne Currie, an astronomer formerly at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and now at the University of Toronto.
The new study also pins down Fomalhaut b’s orbital characteristics, finding that the planet’s gravity could indeed be shaping the debris disk, researchers said.
“What we’ve seen from our analysis is that the object’s minimum distance from the disk has hardly changed at all in two years, which is a good sign that it’s in a nice ring-sculpting orbit,” said co-author Timothy Rodigas of the University of Arizona.
The team also attempted to spot Fomalhaut b in the infrared using Hawaii’s Subaru Telescope but came up empty. The non-detections with Subaru and Spitzer imply that the planet’s mass must be less than twice that of Jupiter, researchers said.
The study has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Another team targeted the Fomalhaut system with Hubble in May; their results are expected to be published soon.
Follow SPACE.com on Twitter @Spacedotcom. We’re also on Facebook & Google+.

2012 SOLAR FLARE ERUPTIONS

After remaining quiet from 2005 to 2010, the sun began waking up last year, spouting off numerous powerful flares and CMEs.
Most experts think such outbursts will continue over the next year or so. Solar activity waxes and wanes on an 11-year cycle, and scientists expect the current one, known as Solar Cycle 24, will peak in 2013.

Early Thursday (July 19), a gigantic sunspot unleashed an intense solar flare though the solar storm shouldn’t pose any serious problems to us here on Earth.
The flare erupted from a sunspot known as AR 1520 at 1:13 a.m. EDT (0513 GMT) Thursday and peaked about 45 minutes later. The outburst qualifies as an M7.7-class solar flare, meaning it’s a bit weaker than the sun’s most powerful blast, X-class flares.

The sun storm also produced a coronal mass ejection (CME), a huge eruption of solar plasma that can streak through space at speeds of 3 million mph (5 million kph) or more. CMEs that hit Earth can wreak havoc, spawning geomagnetic storms that can disrupt GPS signals, radio communications and power grids.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, a spacecraft that constantly watches the sun in different wavelengths of light, recorded a video of the solar flare as it appeared to erupt from the edge of the sun.
Modeling efforts suggest Thursday’s CME is not headed our way, NASA researchers said. The flare also generated a minor radiation storm around Earth, but it doesn’t appear to be dangerous to astronauts or satellites.
“The S1 (minor) Solar Radiation Storm persists, but should steadily decline through the day,” scientists with the Space Weather Prediction Center, which is operated by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, wrote in an update today (July 20).

The outburst was not the first for AR 1520, which researchers say could be 186,000 miles (300,000 kilometers) long. Last week, it shot out an X1.4 flare, the strongest of the summer to that point but not the most powerful flare of the year. That distinction goes to an X5.4 behemoth that erupted in March.
Sources: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/21/sun-solar-flare-sunspot_n_1690576.html

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