Archive for the ‘Astrophysics’ Category

The satellites won’t land as the surface pressure – 92 times that of Earth – and heat of Venus would destroy them. Instead they will look for a ‘mysterious substance’ thought to be lurking in its atmosphere.

NASA has spent $3.6 million to build 12 small satellites to explore the planet Venus in search of a mysterious substance that absorbs half the planet’s light, reports The Daily Caller.

The CubeSat UV Experiment (CUVE) mission will launch the satellites to investigate atmospheric processes on Venus. The 12 satellites vary in size. One is less than four inches across and weighs a few ounces. Another weighs 400 pounds.

The research team thinks its results are ‘difficult to understand in terms of dark matter’, reports The study was earlier reported here.

The distribution of normal matter precisely determines gravitational acceleration in all common types of galaxies, a team led by Case Western Reserve University researchers reports.

The team has shown this radial acceleration relation exists in nearby high-mass elliptical and low-mass spheroidal galaxies, building on last year’s discovery of this relation in spiral and irregular galaxies.

This provides further support that the relation is tantamount to a new natural law, the researchers say.

Dwarf galaxy NGC 5264 [image credit: ESA/Hubble]

Dwarf galaxy NGC 5264 [image credit: ESA/Hubble]

Dark matter faces quantised inertia. One of these ideas must leave town, or the galaxies, it seems.

British physicist Dr Mike McCulloch, who previously used quantised inertia to explain how the controversial electromagnetic space propulsion technology EmDrive works, says that he has new evidence showing his theory can also explain galaxy rotation, which is one of physics’ biggest mysteries, as the IB Times reports.

McCulloch, a lecturer in geomatics at Plymouth University’s school of marine science and engineering, says he now has even more evidence that his “new physics theory” about quantised inertia works, and that it makes it possible to explain why galaxies are not ripped apart without using theory of dark matter.

One of the biggest problems in physics today is how galaxies rotate. Galaxies are collections of millions of stars swirling around, and galaxies spin so rapidly that their centrifugal force should cause them fly apart, as there isn’t enough visible matter in them to hold them together by the force of gravity.

Aliens might be the ‘Hollywood solution’ but those tend to be fictional. On the other hand, plausible explanations are elusive.

Astronomers may have to think a little harder to solve the mystery of Boyajian’s star reports

In September 2015, Yale University’s Tabetha Boyajian and her colleagues reported that the star KIC 8462852 has dimmed dramatically multiple times over the past seven years, once by an astounding 22 percent. 

NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope spotted these dimming events. But the brightness dips of “Boyajian’s star,” as it has come to be known, were far too significant to be caused by an orbiting planet, so astronomers began thinking of alternative explanations.

Researchers have come up with many possible causes for the dimming, including a swarm of broken-apart comet fragments, variability in the activity of the star itself, a cloud of some sort in the interstellar medium between Kepler and Boyajian’s star, and, most famously, an orbiting “megastructure” built by an alien civilization to collect stellar energy.



The spacing of the three rings described has a ratio of 3:5:8 according to the data given (60:100:160 AU) by This Fibonacci pattern may be telling us something about planetary formation.

Rice University astronomers and their colleagues have for the first time mapped gases in three dark rings around a distant star. The rings mark spaces where planets are thought to have formed from dust and gas around the star.

All the rings around HD 163296 are devoid of dust, and the international team of researchers led by Rice astronomer Andrea Isella is sure that planets, probably gas giants with masses comparable to Saturn, are responsible for clearing the outermost ones.

But the inner ring has far more carbon monoxide than the other two, leading them to believe no planet exists there. That remains unexplained, he said.


Ex U.S. Naval Observatory astronomer and long-time talkshopper Gerry Pease has sent me a link to an update of the paper he wrote with Gregory Glenn which we discussed recently. It represents some important and novel work in our field of solar-planetary theory. Of particular interest is the tight phase and magnitude coherence of solar-barycentric torque over the last two Jose cycles.


Gerry writes:

v2 of  Long Term Sunspot Cycle Phase Coherence is now available at

Figure 2 has a corrected scale, Figure 3 has been added, Figure 4 replaces the previous Figure 3 with an improved overlay Figure, and Figures 3-33 have been renumbered as Figures 4-34. Less than one page of important additional explanatory text has been added, but I am confident that Talkshop readers will find the added information and improved charts well worth a read.


I’m working away for the next fortnight, with no internet access. So I thought I’d put up something for the bright denizens of the talkshop to chew on while I’m gone. Bode’s Law is a heuristic equation which gives the approximate distance to the first seven major planets plus Ceres. reasonably well, but then goes completely off the rails as you can see in Figure 1 below.



Figure 1 Titius-Bode equation (red) vs planets (blue)

I’ve always thought the Titius-Bode equation to be a fudge. It doesn’t relate to any physical concepts that have anything to do with orbits or gravity. So I’ve come up with something better.


A 'normal' binary system

A ‘normal’ binary system

Have fun trying to imagine how this solar system works, as iTech Post describes its unusual structure.

Astronomers have discovered the first binary-binary solar system. The discovery is said to have implications on the way people perceive the solar system was formed.

The discovered solar system has two stars as well and a planet revolving. The new binary system has been named HD 87646. It is made up of one star, a brown dwarf star, and a massive planet, according to Science Daily. The large planet is 12 times the mass of Jupiter while the brown dwarf is 57 times the mass of Jupiter. The two are in close proximity as well to the primary star.

What makes the system interesting is that it defies what people know how a solar system is. Typically astronomers think that the solar system formed out of a disk dust cloud, with the large outer planets farther out from the primary star. Yet with HD 87646 the objects are far closer than how the outer planets are in our solar system.


The three star system, with two young stars closer together and one further out. [credit: B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF)]

The three star system, with two young stars closer together and one further out.
[credit: B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF)]

ScienceDaily reports an unusual (to date) set-up involving three stars with a clear relationship in their average distances from each other. Quote: ‘The most central of the young stars is separated from the other two by 61 and 183 times the Earth-Sun distance’. The ratio of 61:183 is 1:3

For the first time, astronomers have seen a dusty disk of material around a young star fragmenting into a multiple-star system.

Scientists had suspected such a process, caused by gravitational instability, was at work, but new observations with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) revealed the process in action.


Where to find Proxima Centauri [credit: Wikipedia]

Where to find Proxima Centauri [credit: Wikipedia]

Co-author Jeremy Drake said: “The existence of a cycle in Proxima Centauri shows that we don’t understand how stars’ magnetic fields are generated as well as we thought we did.” Let the head-scratching begin.

Observations confirm that the closest star to our solar system has a regular magnetic cycle similar to our Sun, reports Sky & Telescope.

With the recent discovery of a potentially habitable planet around Proxima Centauri, astronomers have been studying this star with renewed fervor. Part of their attention focuses on the star’s behavior. M dwarfs are notorious for their flares, and such stellar tantrums could be deadly for budding life on nearby planets.


An Interview Given by Dr. Ned Nikolov (a.k.a. Den Volokin) to Ben Guarino,
a Staff Writer at The Washington Post
Sep. 17, 2016

Research Paper Withdrawal by the Journal Advances in Space Research  

peer-reviewQ1: As succinctly as possible, could you tell me why you chose to publish this work under a pseudonym?

A1: We adopted pseudonyms as a measure of last resort as we could not get an unbiased and fair review from scientific journals under our real names. This is explained in more details in the attached letter we sent to the chief editor of the Journal Advances in Space Research (JASR) on Sep. 17, 2015. In brief, our real names became known to the climate-science blogosphere in 2012 when a poster, which we presented at an International Climate Conference in Denver in 2011, became available online and caused broad and intense discussions. When we later tried to publish elements of this poster as separate articles in scientific journals, we discovered that journal editors and reviewers would reject our manuscripts outright after Googling our names and reading the online discussion. The rejections were oftentimes justified by the journals using criticisms outside the scope of the manuscript at hand.  On two occasions, journal editors have even refused to send our manuscripts for review after reading the blogs and realizing the broader theoretical implications of our results, although the manuscript itself did not explicitly discuss any new theory. For example, our first paper was rejected 4 times by different journals while submitted under our real names before it was finally accepted by SpringerPlus after submitting it under pseudonyms.




Nicola Scafetta writes:

Dear all,

it was a pleasure to meet you at London. Some of you asked me about my paper in press about a link between astronomical, solar and climate oscillations. Here it is:

Scafetta, N., Milani, F., Antonio Bianchini, A., Ortolani, S.: On the astronomical origin of the Hallstatt oscillation found in radiocarbon and climate records throughout the Holocene. Earth-Science Reviews 162, 24–43, 2016. There is a free access to the article, and is valid for anybody until November 10, 2016 by using this link

(Permanent copy here)

The importance of the article is that it demonstrates quite clearly that the long Hallstatt oscillation (about 2318 year period), which is observed in climate and solar records is a major stable resonance of the solar system. The paper also evaluates the other major planetary stable resonances and we found all other typical oscillations found in climate and solar records such as a quasi 20-year oscillation, a quasi 60-year oscillation, the 82-97 year Gleissberg oscillation and the 159-185 year Jose oscillation (and others).


Spiral galaxy NGC 5457 aka the Pinwheel Galaxy [image credit: European Space Agency & NASA]

Spiral galaxy NGC 5457 aka the Pinwheel Galaxy [image credit: European Space Agency & NASA]

One in the eye for dark matter theorists it seems, as reports.

In the late 1970s, astronomers Vera Rubin and Albert Bosma independently found that spiral galaxies rotate at a nearly constant speed: the velocity of stars and gas inside a galaxy does not decrease with radius, as one would expect from Newton’s laws and the distribution of visible matter, but remains approximately constant.

Such ‘flat rotation curves’ are generally attributed to invisible, dark matter surrounding galaxies and providing additional gravitational attraction.


A long way from the Sun: theoretical Planet Nine

A long way from the Sun: theoretical Planet Nine

This story surfaced two months ago but – better late than never – we’d like to draw it to the attention of Talkshop readers, at least those who haven’t seen it already.

Two recent studies have shown that the existence of a mysterious, hypothetical Planet Nine could explain why the planets in our Solar System don’t fully line up with the Sun, reports ScienceAlert.

Researchers have been speculating about a ninth planet since January this year, and these latest studies add more weight to the hypothesis that, at some point in time at least, there was an extra planet orbiting our Sun.

In fact, if Planet Nine does exist (or did), it would help to explain something that scientists have puzzled over for decades – why the Solar System is tilted.



Our recent conference held at Conway Hall in central London was a huge success, with over a hundred attendees being treated to two days of rapid-fire 20 minute presentations and discussion sessions. The footage has now been published online by Mark Windows, and are available for you to view at your leisure.

Another video Mark has produced, introduces the circumstances around the last-minute move from UCL to Conway hall,  and also presents interviews with many of the participants.

I had a short interview with Energy Live News


This conference was made possible by the tireless efforts of Nils-Axel Morner in the face of great difficulties, and huge credit is due to him for his determination and organisational ability.


On researchgate, I found this interesting paper by I.A. Arbab which proposes an explanation of planetary spin rates by leveraging an analogy with the electron spin-orbit coupling in the Hydrogen atom.

Food for thought. Here’s a taster:



Synchronized orbits of the Kepler-80 system [Credit: Florida Institute of Technology]

Synchronized orbits of the Kepler-80 system [Credit: Florida Institute of Technology]

Another example of planetary resonance has been discovered thanks to NASA’s Kepler space telescope.

Located about 1,100 light years away, Kepler-80, named for the NASA telescope that discovered it, features five small planets orbiting in extreme proximity to their star.

As early as 2012, Kepler scientists found that all five planets orbit in an area about 150 times smaller than the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, with “years” of about one, three, four, seven and nine days.


It’s finally happening. Thanks to Herculean efforts by Niklas Morner, we are presenting a two-day conference in central London on the 8-9th September. Speakers are coming from all over the world to present their work, and it is not to be missed!


Take the 8-9th September off work and join us for this historic event. The first UK climate conference in decades which will counter the scaremongering of the IPCC with a cool, rational approach to the study of climate change, presenting alternative explanations, new data, theory and commentary. Topics include solar-planetary theory, causes of ENSO, sea ice extent, sea level, ozone depletion, volcanos, regional forecasting, journal gatekeeping and many more.

The list of contributors is long, we are packing a huge number of presentations into this two day event. Speakers include Niklas Morner, myself, Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller,  Nicola Scafetta, Per Strandberg, Jan-Erik Solheim, and thats before lunch on day one! Piers Corbyn will be there! So will  Christopher Monckton! See the full programme and the extended abstracts in this 35 Megabyte document for full details. There are also some travel and booking details on the website. An updated version is available on reseachgate


Sci News reports scientific findings that ‘winds, the water content, and the cloud composition – are somehow connected to the properties of Venus’ surface itself’.

Using data from ESA’s Venus Express spacecraft, European planetary researchers have shown how weather patterns seen in Venus’ cloud layers are directly linked to the topography of the surface below.

Venus is famously hot. The average temperature on the Venusian surface is 864 degrees Fahrenheit (462 degrees Celsius).


An artist's image of a hot-Jupiter exoplanet [credit: NASA]

An artist’s image of a hot-Jupiter exoplanet [credit: NASA]

What exactly goes on in terms of interactions between giant planets and their host star? The researchers admit the need ‘to disentangle some of the very poorly understood physics behind tidal dissipation’, as reports. More observations needed.

A giant “hot Jupiter” exoplanet has recently been detected by an international team of astronomers led by Kaloyan Penev of Princeton University. The newly found alien world, designated HATS-18b, is an interesting case of a planet tidally spinning up its parent star.