Archive for the ‘Astrophysics’ Category

A New Form of Space Weather on Betelgeuse

Posted: August 18, 2022 by oldbrew in Astrophysics, Solar physics
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“We’re watching stellar evolution in real time.”

Spaceweather.com

August 12, 2022: You’ve heard of a CME, a “coronal mass ejection.” They happen all the time. A piece of the sun’s tenuous outer atmosphere (corona) blows off and sometimes hits Earth. Something far more terrible has happened to Betegeuse. The red giant star produced an SME, or “surface mass ejection.”

Above: An artist’s concept of an SME on Betelgeuse. Credit: Elizabeth Wheatley (STScI)

Astronomers believe that in 2019 a colossal piece of Betelgeuse’s surface blew off the star. The mass of the SME was 400 billion times greater than a CME or several times the mass of Earth’s Moon. Data from multiple telescopes, especially Hubble, suggest that a convective plume more than a million miles across bubbled up from deep inside the star, producing shocks and pulsations that blasted a chunk off the surface.

“We’ve never before seen such a huge mass ejection from the surface of a…

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Solar flare erupting from a sunspot [image credit: space.com]


Who knew!? – asks ScienceAlert. The article links to an interesting new paper on solar cycles, which makes some predictions for the current SC 25 (see section 3.2: Forecasting Using the Solar Unit Cycle). One of those is that it should end in October 2031 ± 9 months, and the authors go on to suggest forthcoming NASA and ESA missions make it probable that ‘Cycle 25 will be the last solar activity cycle that is not fully understood.’
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Something weird is going on with the Sun.

So far, almost every day in 2022 it has erupted in flares and coronal mass ejections, some of which were the most powerful eruptions our star is capable of.

By itself, an erupting Sun is not weird. It erupts regularly as it goes through periods of high and low activity, in cycles that last roughly 11 years.

The current activity is significantly higher than the official NASA and NOAA predictions for the current solar cycle, and solar activity has consistently exceeded predictions as far back as September 2020.

But a solar scientist will tell you that even this isn’t all that weird.

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Over at WUWT, Willis has been up to his usual trick of mangling data in a vain attempt to discredit scientists who find strong links between the Sun’s variation and Earth’s weather and climatic patterns. This time it’s Le Mouel et al who get the treatment in his ‘analysis’ of their 2010 paper “Solar forcing of the semi‐annual variation of length‐of‐day

As usual, Willis gets things upside down and then sets up a straw-man argument. He asks: “So … is there a correlation between sunspots and zonal wind speeds?” The answer to which is no, and the paper’s authors never claimed there was. However, as Fig 1 of Le Mouel et al’s paper shows, there is a strong anti-correlation between solar variation and the semi-annual variation of Length of Day (LOD) which is itself well correlated with changes in zonal wind speeds. For obvious reasons, Willis doesn’t show his readers Fig 1, reproduced here for your academic study.

Figure 1. Long‐term variations in the amplitude a of the semiannual oscillation in lod (in blue). A 4‐yr centered sliding
window is used. (a) Comparison of the semiannual amplitude of lod with the sunspot number WN (red); WN is both
reversed in sign and offset by one year
(see text). (b) Comparison of the detrended semiannual amplitude of lod (blue) with
the sunspot number WN (red); WN is reversed in sign and offset by one year. (c) Comparison of the semiannual amplitude
of lod (blue) with galactic cosmic ray flux GCR (red); GCR is neither reversed in sign nor offset (see text).
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A year after I wrote the original ‘Why Phi’ post explaining my discovery of the Fibonacci sequence links between solar system orbits and planetary synodic periods here at the Talkshop in 2013, my time and effort got diverted into politics. The majority of ongoing research into this important topic has been furthered by my co-blogger Stuart ‘Oldbrew’ Graham. Over the last eight years he has published many articles here using the ‘Why Phi’ tag looking at various subsystems of planetary and solar interaction periodicities, resonances, and their relationships with well known climatic periodicities such as the De Vries, Hallstatt, Hale and Jose cycles, as well as exoplanetary systems exhibiting the same Fibonacci-resonant arrangements.

Recently, Stuart contacted me with news of a major breakthrough in his investigations. In the space of a few hours spent making his calculator hot, major pieces of the giant jigsaw had all come together and brought ‘the big picture’ into focus. In fact, so much progress has been made that we’re not going to try to put it all into a single post. Instead, we’ll provide an overview here, and follow it up with further articles getting into greater detail.

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But what kind of volcanoes? One researcher has a theory.

Spaceweather.com

Oct. 14, 2021: So you think you know what a comet is? Think again. Comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann is challenging old ideas. Astronomers call it a comet, but, really, “giant space volcano” might be a better description. It’s a 60-km-wide ball of ice orbiting the Sun beyond Jupiter, and it appears to be one of the most volcanically active bodies in the entire Solar System.

Comet 29P just blew its top … again. In late September 2021, 29P erupted 4 times in quick succession, blowing shells of “cryomagma” into space. Arizona amateur astronomer Eliot Herman has been monitoring the debris:

“Initially it looked like a bright compact object,” says Herman. “Now the expanding cloud is 1.3 arcminutes wide (bigger than Jupiter) and sufficiently transparent for background stars to shine through.”

When this object was discovered in 1927, astronomers thought they had found a fairly run-of-the-mill comet, unusual mainly because it was trapped…

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Milky_Way

The Milky Way in the night sky over Black Rock Desert, Nevada [image credit: Steve Jurvetson / Wikipedia]

Not only that, but it’s likely ‘rotating on a scale never seen before’, says Phys.org. ‘How the angular momentum responsible for the rotation is generated in a cosmological context is one of the key unsolved problems of cosmology.’
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How big is too big? – asks Space.com.

A newly discovered crescent of galaxies spanning 3.3 billion light-years is among the largest known structures in the universe and challenges some of astronomers’ most basic assumptions about the cosmos.

The epic arrangement, called the Giant Arc, consists of galaxies, galactic clusters, and lots of gas and dust.

It is located 9.2 billion light-years away and stretches across roughly a 15th of the observable universe.

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Einstein’s Eclipse

Posted: March 23, 2021 by oldbrew in Astrophysics, Gravity, solar system dynamics
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Some real science to remember.

Spaceweather.com

March 22, 2021: On May 29, 1919, the Moon slid in front of the sun and forever altered our understanding of spacetime. It’s known as “Einstein’s Eclipse.” Using his newly-developed theory of relativity, the young German physicist predicted that the sun’s gravity should bend starlight–an effect which could only be seen during a total eclipse. More than 100 years later, Petr Horálek (ESO Photo Ambassador) and Miloslav Druckmüller (Brno University of Technology) have just released a stunning restoration of the photo that proved Einstein right:

The original picture was taken in May 1919 by astronomers Andrew Crommelin and Charles Rundle Davidson, who traveled from the Greenwich Observatory in London to the path of totality in Sobral, Brazil. They were part of a global expedition organized by Sir Arthur Eddington, who wanted to test Einstein’s strange ideas. Glass photographic plates from the expedition were typical of early 20th century astrophotography, colorless…

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Ned Nikolov, Ph.D. Has written to me with news of the presentations he made at this years AMS meeting. It’s vital we get people to understand the implications of the discoveries he and Karl Zeller have made. With our western governments jumping aboard the ‘Green New Deal’ and ‘NetZero’ bandwagons, we will need to work hard to rise awareness of viable alternative hypotheses for ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’ which better explain the phenomena we can measure around us. Ned and Karl’s work should be given proper attention, because it strives for universality and general application of physics solar system wide, rather then treating Earth as a ‘special case’.

Two studies presented at the American Meteorological Society’s 34th Conference on Climate Variability and Change in January 2021 employed a novel approach to identify the forcing of Earth’s climate at various time scales. The new method, never attempted in climate science before, relies on the fundamental premise that the laws of nature are invariant across spacetime.

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Data courtesy of Solen.info

Back in November it looked like solar cycle 25 was finally getting underway, with daily sunspot numbers peaking up to 80, and the 30 day Wolf number climbing over 30 in early December. Since then though, the Sun has relapsed into a low activity state.

This won’t come as any surprise to Talkshop followers, we’ve been saying that cycle 25 would be very low for most of the last decade. Our group research culminated in late 2013 with publication of Rick Salvador’s orbital resonance model in the journal ‘Pattern Recognition in Physics’. We provided an update on the validation of the model a while back, showing it has remained on track since publication.

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The Canterbury Swarm and the Taurids

Posted: December 10, 2020 by tallbloke in Astrophysics, Celestial Mechanics, moon


John Michael Godier: An exploration of the concept of the Canterbury meteor swarm and its links to the annual Taurid meteor shower and how these sometimes produce very large impacts on the moon and earth.

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It’s always good to chat with Roger Pielke Senior. He’s informative, and more open minded than most climate scientists. Here’s a transcript of the conversation we just had on twitter.

 
Rog Tallbloke 
@RogTallbloke
Roger. Mt Everest summit winter avg -30C. Base camp -17C. Air pressure difference 20kPa. What really causes Earth’s ‘greenhouse effect’, 1% of water vapour + 0.04% CO2 or 100% of atmospheric MASS. Think man, think! CC @RogerAPielkeSr
 
Roger A. Pielke Sr
@RogerAPielkeSr
Relative Roles of CO2 and Water Vapor in Radiative Forcing
In the second edition of our book “Cotton, W.R. and R.A. Pielke, 2007: Human impacts on weather and climate, Cambridge University Press, 330 pp”, we present a new analysis completed for…
pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com
 
 

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Super-WASP telescope site, La Palma [image credit: lapalma-island.com]


In nearly six years there are 247 b and 63 c orbits. Since 248:62 is 4:1, it can be seen why the observed ‘acceleration and deceleration’ of the planets might occur.
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Astronomers using the SuperWASP-North telescope on La Palma in the Canary Islands, Spain, and the SOPHIE spectrograph at the Observatoire de Haute-Provence, France, have discovered two giant exoplanets circling the G-type dwarf star WASP-148, reports Science News.

WASP-148 is a slowly rotating, inactive G-dwarf star 809 light-years away in the constellation of Hercules.

Also known as TYC 3083-295-1 and 2MASS J16563135+4418095, the star has the same mass and radius as the Sun.

WASP-148 hosts a planetary system composed of at least two giant planets, WASP-148b and c.

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From looking at the 30 day Wolf number and NOAA sunspot number it looks like Solar Minimum could have been in December, 2019 but possibly as late as mid-March this year. 

 Coincidentally, there are peaks in barycentric solar torque (dL/dt, where L denotes the Sun’s angular momentum, ref https://arxiv.org/abs/1610.03553v3) on March 19 and April 24, 2020: 

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Browsing twitter recently I ran across this short video of a solar flare shot a few days ago.

After asking for some clarification on frame rate I was really intrigued.

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With orbit periods ranging from only 2-12 days, this must be one of the most compact multi-planet systems found so far.

Almost visible to the naked eye in the Draco constellation, the star HD 158259 has been observed for the last seven years by astronomers using the SOPHIE spectrograph, reports Phys.org.

This instrument, installed at the Haute-Provence Observatory in the South of France, acquired 300 measurements of the star.

The analysis of the data which was done by an international team led by researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), has resulted in the discovery that HD 158259 has six planetary companions: a “super-Earth” and five “mini-Neptunes.”

These planets display an exceptionally regular spacing, which hints at how the system may have formed.

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Black hole conundrum

Posted: April 13, 2020 by oldbrew in Astrophysics


‘After an international coalition of scientists released the first-ever image of a black hole last year, we now have the ultimate follow-up: a video of a supermassive black hole spewing a brilliant jet of particles.’ – Futurism.

Talkshop comment:
How does visible material escaping from somewhere that nothing is supposed to escape from, work?

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From Wikipedia:
‘A black hole is a region of spacetime exhibiting gravitational attraction so strong that nothing—no particles or even electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from it. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass can deform spacetime to form a black hole. The boundary of the region from which no escape is possible is called the event horizon.’

Seems clear, except that ‘nothing–no particles'(Wiki) and ‘brilliant jet of particles'(report) don’t go together too well?

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ISSN 1063-7737, Astronomy Letters, 2019, Vol. 45, No. 11, pp. 778–790.c Pleiades Publishing, Inc., 2019. Nicola Scafetta1*,FrancoMilani2, and Antonio Bianchini3, 41Department of Earth Sciences, Environment and Georesources, University of Naples Federico II,Complesso Universitario di Monte S. Angelo, via Cinthia, 21, 80126 Naples, Italy 2 Astronomical Association Euganea, via N. Tommaseo, 70, 35137 Padova, Italy3INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Vicolo dell’Osservatorio 5, I-35122 Padova, Italy 4 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Universit `a degli Studi di Padova, via Marzolo 8, 35131 Padova, Italy Received May 18, 2019; revised October 2, 2019; accepted October 23, 2019

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There’s been a data update for the three planet system of star YZ Ceti, which featured in our 2018 post: Why Phi? – resonant exoplanets of star YZ Ceti. According to NASA the third planet YZ Ceti d is a ‘super Earth’, about 1.14 times the mass of our planet.

The paper:
‘The CARMENES search for exoplanets around M dwarfs.
Characterization of the nearby ultra-compact multiplanetary system YZ Ceti’
(Submitted on 5 Feb 2020)

With an additional 229 radial velocity measurements obtained since the discovery publication, we reanalyze the YZ Ceti system and resolve the alias issues.

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The Fainting of Betelgeuse — Update

Posted: January 12, 2020 by oldbrew in Astrophysics, Measurement, News

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This enormous star seems to be fading fast.

Spaceweather.com

Jan. 10, 2020: One day, perhaps in our lifetimes, perhaps a million years from now, the red giant Betelgeuse will dim a little–and then explode. The resulting supernova will rival the full Moon and cast shadows after dark, completely transforming the night skies of Earth. No wonder astronomers are closely tracking the current “fainting of Betelgeuse.”

“Fainting” is an actual astronomical term. It means dimming, the opposite of brightening. And right now, Betelgeuse is definitely fainting.

Brian-Ottum-Betelgeuse_Fainting_4x4_dated_1577930828  Betelgeuse photographed by Brian Ottum of Animas, New Mexico, almost 4 years apart using the same telescope and observing methods. 

Edward Guinan of Villanova University and colleagues caused a minor sensation last month when they reported “[Betelgeuse] has been declining in brightness since October 2019, now reaching a modern all-time low of V = +1.12 mag on 07 December 2019 UT. Currently this is the faintest the star has been during our…

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