Archive for the ‘solar system dynamics’ Category

Jupiter’s cloud bands [image credit: NASA]

The report says: ‘On Earth, this relationship between distant events in a planet’s climate system is known as teleconnection.’ The surprise was to find evidence of it on both of the solar system’s two biggest planets.

Immense northern storms on Saturn can disturb atmospheric patterns at the planet’s equator, finds the international Cassini mission in a study led by Dr Leigh Fletcher from the University of Leicester.

This effect is also seen in Earth’s atmosphere, suggesting the two planets are more alike than previously thought, reports

Despite their considerable differences, the atmospheres of Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn all display a remarkably similar phenomenon in their equatorial regions: vertical, cyclical, downwards-moving patterns of alternating temperatures and wind systems that repeat over a period of multiple years.

These patterns—known as the Quasi-Periodic Oscillation (QPO) on Saturn and the Quasi-Quadrennial Oscillation (QQO) on Jupiter, due to their similarities to Earth’s so-called Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO)—appear to be a defining characteristic of the middle layers of a planetary atmosphere.


Credit: BBC

The fact is we live in a *solar* system. As the author concludes: ‘It is time … to focus on understanding the sun-climate connection. We need to see the sun in climate change.’

There is a lot of debate about the sun’s role in global warming and climate change says David Wojick, Ph.D.. Some scientists argue that the sun plays the dominant role, making human activity insignificant.

Much of this argument is based on statistical analysis of very long proxy records. One can see a very good example of this thinking, as well as the debate surrounding it, in a recent article on Judith Curry’s Outstanding “Climate, Etc.” science blog.

The article is titled “Nature Unbound VI Centennial to millennial solar cycles.”


Mars from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope

The report says ‘a stronger solar wind mainly accelerates particles already escaping the planet’s gravity, but does not increase the ion escape rate’. That also raises the question of the thick Venusian atmosphere around another planet with no magnetism to speak of. Maybe some aspects of magnetosphere theory needs to be looked at again?

Despite the absence of a global Earth-like magnetic dipole, the Martian atmosphere is well protected from the effects of the solar wind on ion escape from the planet, reports

New research shows this using measurements from the Swedish particle instrument ASPERA-3 on the Mars Express spacecraft.

The results have recently been presented in a doctoral thesis by Robin Ramstad, Swedish Institute of Space Physics and Umeå University, Sweden.

Present-day Mars is a cold and dry planet with less than 1 percent of Earth’s atmospheric pressure at the surface.


History suggests extended quiet periods on the Sun do have consequences on Earth, so it will be interesting to see how things play out over the next few years and beyond. Watch out for the length of this solar cycle as well, following a run of shorter than average cycles in the last 100 years or so.

The Next Grand Minimum

by Meteorologist Paul Dorian, Vencore, Inc.


Solar cycle 24 has turned out to be historically weak with the lowest number of sunspots since cycle 14 peaked more than a century ago in 1906 and by some measures, it is the third weakest since regular observations began around 1755. This historically weak solar cycle continues a weakening trend in solar irradiance output since solar cycle 21 peaked around 1980 and the sun is fast-approaching the next solar minimum. The last solar minimum lasted from 2008 to 2009 and the sun was as quiet during that time as it has been since 1978. The sun is likely to enter the next solar minimum phase within three years or so. The sun has been spotless for 26% of the time in 2017 (90 days) and the blank look should increase in frequency over the next couple of years leading into the next…

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From left, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. [Credit: Lunar and Planetary Institute]

The planetary theory aspect appears a bit later, but first a brief review of some relevant details.

In this Talkshop post: Why Phi? – a triple conjunction comparison we said:
(1) What is the period of a Jupiter(J)-Saturn(S)-Earth(E) (JSE) triple conjunction?
JSE = 21 J-S or 382 J-E or 403 S-E conjunctions (21+382 = 403) in 417.166 years (as an average or mean value).

(2) What is the period of a Jupiter(J)-Saturn(S)-Venus(V) (JSV) triple conjunction?
JSV = 13 J-S or 398 J-V or 411 S-V conjunctions (13+398 = 411) in 258.245 years (as an average or mean value).

Since JSV = 13 J-S and JSE = 21 J-S, the ratio of JSV:JSE is 13:21 exactly (in theory).

As these are consecutive Fibonacci numbers, the ratio is almost 1:Phi or the golden ratio.

It’s not known exactly what factors govern this constant minimum, but this is an interesting finding as reports.

Using more than a half-century of observations, Japanese astronomers have discovered that the microwaves coming from the sun at the minimums of the past five solar cycles have been the same each time, despite large differences in the maximums of the cycles.

In Japan, continuous four-frequency solar microwave observations (1, 2, 3.75 and 9.4 GHz) began in 1957 at the Toyokawa Branch of the Research Institute of Atmospherics, Nagoya University. In 1994, the telescopes were relocated to NAOJ Nobeyama Campus, where they have continued observations up to the present.


Pluto probe

Uncertainty abounds here. Scientists expected –173° Celsius but ‘the probe found temperatures closer to –203° — with no obvious explanation.’ Perhaps there is a place where enlightenment could be found, if they cared to look.

Meanwhile the ‘gas only’ theory is under pressure [sic] again, as Pluto’s atmosphere apparently defies expectations.

Pluto may be the only place in the solar system whose atmosphere is kept cool by solid hazes, not warmed by gas, says Science News.

Blame Pluto’s haze for the dwarf planet’s unexpected chilliness. Clusters of hydrocarbons in the atmosphere radiate heat back into space, keeping the dwarf planet cool, a new study suggests.


Open Letter to
Honorable Prime Minister of Fiji and President of COP23
Frank Bainimarama
Mr. President,
The community assembled at the COP23 meeting in Bonn badly wants
temperature to rise according to models proposed (but never verified, rather
seriously contradicted) and sea level changes that may pose serious flooding
threats to low lying coasts provided sea level would suddenly start to rise at
rates never recorded before (which would violate physical laws as well as
accumulated scientific knowledge over centuries).


Figure 2. Sea level changes in the Yasawa Island of Fiji (from Mörner & Matlack-Klein, 2917c). Sea level was high in the 16th and 17th century (1), low in the 18th century (2) and at about the present level over the 19th, 20th and early 21st centuries (3) with a somewhat higher level in the early 19th century and with a perfectly stable sea level during the last 50-70 years as indicated by C14-dated microatolls at multiple sites. Consequently there is a total absence of a present sea level rise – i.e. the threat of a future flooding is lifted off.

We have been in your lovely country and undertaken a detailed sea level
analysis, which beyond doubts indicates that sea level is not at all in a rising
mode, but has remained perfectly stable over the last 50-70 years. Hence all
threats of an approaching general sea level flooding is totally unfounded.
Whatever economy, politics and project agendas may want to put in the centre,
the true scientific community must insist that only facts as revealed in nature
itself and in laboratory experiments can provide trustworthy results.
These are the facts:

Juno probe

There’s nothing like observation for contradicting, or supporting, theory and the Juno probe has already upset a few ideas that scientists had about Jupiter.

Since it established orbit around Jupiter in July of 2016, the Juno mission has been sending back vital information about the gas giant’s atmosphere, magnetic field and weather patterns, as Universe Today reports.

With every passing orbit – known as perijoves, which take place every 53 days – the probe has revealed more interesting things about Jupiter, which scientists will rely on to learn more about its formation and evolution.

During its latest pass, the probe managed to provide the most detailed look to date of the planet’s interior. In so doing, it learned that Jupiter’s powerful magnetic field is askew, with different patterns in its northern and southern hemispheres.


Pipeline corrosion

The technical term for the alleged problem seems to be
stray current corrosion. However in the reported incident the pipeline itself may or may not have been partly to blame, as it was ‘finally damaged by a digger’

Scientists say the sun may be corroding New Zealand’s pipelines, and might have played a role in Auckland’s recent fuel crisis – but not in the way we might think,
says the NZ Herald.

Geomagnetic storms are a temporary disturbance of the magnetosphere, which surrounds our planet and is formed by the interaction of the solar wind and Earth’s magnetic field.

When giant explosions on the sun – or solar flares – send energy, light and high-speed particles into space, the solar wind shock waves typically strike Earth’s magnetic field 24 to 36 hours later.

Coronal mass ejections – eruptions of gas and magnetised material from the sun – similarly have the potential to wreak havoc on satellites and Earth-bound technologies, disrupting radio transmissions and causing transformer blowouts and blackouts.

“We’re vulnerable to these as we’ve become more and more technologically dependent,” said Otago University’s Professor Craig Rodger.


This started as a search for a period when the Sun and the Moon would both complete a whole number of rotations.
The result was:
Solar: 25.38 days * 197 = 4999.860 d
Lunar: 27.321662 * 183 = 4999.864 d
(data sources: see reference notes at end)

Taking these as equivalent, we have 197-183 = 14 ‘beats’.
197 = 14*14, +1
183 = 13*14, +1
4999.864 / 14 = 357.13314 days
357.13314 days * 45/44 = 365.2498 days
45 * 14 (630) beats = 44 * 14 (616) calendar years, difference = 0.022 day

So the beat period of the two rotations is 44/45ths of a year, i.e. the difference in number of rotations is exactly 1 in that length of time.
630 beats = 616 years (630 – 616 = 14)
616/45 = 13.68888 calendar years = 4999.8663 days
184 lunar sidereal months (rotations) = 4999.864 days

Then something else popped up…

The Phi factor:
‘We recover a 22.14-year cycle of the solar dynamo.’ (2016 paper)
See: Why Phi? – modelling the solar cycle

Solar Hale cycle = ~22.14 years (est. mean)
13.68888 * Phi = 22.149~ years
22.14 / 13.68888 = 1.61737 (99.96% of Phi)
(55/34 = 1.617647)

From the same post:
Jupiter-Saturn axial period (J+S) is 8.456146 years.
That’s when the sum of J and S orbital movement in the conjunction period = 1

13.68888 / 8.456146 = 1.618808
Phi = 1.618034

This cycle of solar and lunar sidereal rotation (SRC) sits at the mid-point of the Phi²:1 ratio between the J+S axial period and the mean solar Hale cycle, i.e. with a Phi ratio to one and inverse Phi to the other.
SRC = (J+S) * Phi
SRC = Hale / Phi
SRC = Hale – (J+S)
(Mean Hale value is assumed)

In a period of 616 years there are 45 SRC.
The period is 44 * 14 years = 45 SRC = 45 * 14 beats.
SRC * (45/44) = 14 years.

Carrington rotations per 616 y = 8249
8249 CR / 45 = 4999.865 days

Synodic months per 616 y = 7619
7619 SM / 45 = 4999.856 days
8249 – 7619 = 630 = 45 * 14

45*183 sidereal months = 8235
8235 – 7619 = 616
8249 CR – 8235 Sid.M = 14
Beat period of CR and Sid.M = 616/14 = 44 years = 45 * (13.6888 / 14)
Every 44 years there will be exactly one less lunar rotation (sidereal month) than the number of Carrington rotations.

8249 CR – 7619 synodic months = 630 = 45 * 14
630 – 616 = 14
– – –
The anomalistic year

The beat period of the tropical month and solar sidereal rotation * 45/44 = the anomalistic year.
(27.321582 * 25.38) / (27.321582 – 25.38) = 357.14265 days
45 * 357.14265 = 16071.419 days
44 * 365.259636 = 16071.423 days

The anomalistic year is the time taken for the Earth to complete one revolution with respect to its apsides. The orbit of the Earth is elliptical; the extreme points, called apsides, are the perihelion, where the Earth is closest to the Sun (January 3 in 2011), and the aphelion, where the Earth is farthest from the Sun (July 4 in 2011). The anomalistic year is usually defined as the time between perihelion passages. Its average duration is 365.259636 days (365 d 6 h 13 min 52.6 s) (at the epoch J2011.0).
– – –
Data sources

— Carrington Solar Coordinates:
Richard C. Carrington determined the solar rotation rate by watching low-latitude sunspots in the 1850s. He defined a fixed solar coordinate system that rotates in a sidereal frame exactly once every 25.38 days (Carrington, Observations of the Spots on the Sun, 1863, p 221, 244). The synodic rotation rate varies a little during the year because of the eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit; the mean synodic value is about 27.2753 days.

— The standard meridian on the sun is defined to be the meridian that passed through the ascending node of the sun’s equator on 1 January 1854 at 1200 UTC and is calculated for the present day by assuming a uniform sidereal period of rotation of 25.38 days (synodic rotation period of 27.2753 days, Carrington rotation).

The sidereal month is the time between maximum elevations of a fixed star as seen from the Moon. In 1994-1998, it was 27.321662 days.

A/2017 U1 may be from beyond our solar system [image credit: Tony873004 / Wikipedia]

This is real, unlike the object in the 1980s spoof ‘It Came From Somewhere Else’, described by one critic as ‘filmed on a shoestring budget, without the shoe and without the string’ – but amusing anyway. “We have been waiting for this day for decades,” said one scientist.

A small, recently discovered asteroid – or perhaps a comet – appears to have originated from outside the solar system, coming from somewhere else in our galaxy, says If so, it would be the first “interstellar object” to be observed and confirmed by astronomers.

This unusual object – for now designated A/2017 U1 – is less than a quarter-mile (400 meters) in diameter and is moving remarkably fast.

Astronomers are urgently working to point telescopes around the world and in space at this notable object. Once these data are obtained and analyzed, astronomers may know more about the origin and possibly the composition of the object.


Nils-Axel Morner is a remarkable scientist, with 650 peer reviewed papers to his name. Long in experience but still young at heart, his energy and devotion to the scientific method has taken him all over the world studying sea level and geomorphology. A great communicator, he is a natural teacher and revels in the cut and thrust of debate. This ten minute interview covers his views on the 4th World Climate Change Conference in Rome, and touches on some of the issues and challenges in the climate debate (and the lack of it hitherto).


Mars [image credit: ESA]

Invisible goings-on at Mars. Having referred to ‘the magnetotail found at Venus, a planet with no magnetic field of its own’, it seems clear that such things must have a lot to do with the electro-magnetic forces being delivered in the solar wind, as this ScienceDaily report explains.

Mars has an invisible magnetic “tail” that is twisted by interaction with the solar wind, according to new research using data from NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft.

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) spacecraft is in orbit around Mars gathering data on how the Red Planet lost much of its atmosphere and water, transforming from a world that could have supported life billions of years ago into a cold and inhospitable place today.

The process that creates the twisted tail could also allow some of Mars’ already thin atmosphere to escape to space, according to the research team.


Saturn’s moon Janus

Cassini maintains its reputation for surprises right to the end. It’s the ‘moon resonances’ that maintain ring stability, but with a new twist.

For three decades, astronomers thought that only Saturn’s moon Janus confined the planet’s A ring – the largest and farthest of the visible rings.

But after poring over NASA’s Cassini mission data, Cornell astronomers now conclude that the teamwork of seven moons keeps this ring corralled, as explains.

Without forces to hold the A ring in check, the ring would keep spreading out and ultimately disappear.


How bright is the moon, really?

Posted: October 17, 2017 by oldbrew in moon, research, solar system dynamics

Researchers aim to find out. It’s an interesting question as ‘our Moon’s average visual albedo is 0.12’, similar to soil or asphalt, and yet songwriters can describe ‘the light of the silvery Moon’.

The “inconstant moon,” as Shakespeare called it in Romeo and Juliet, is more reliable than his pair of star-crossed lovers might have thought, says

Now researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) plan to make the moon even more reliable with a new project to measure its brightness.


Waves in Lake Ontario [image credit: SYSS Mouse / Wikipedia]

Researchers say ‘a consistent signal emerges’ over longer periods. In theory the Moon should be a suspect given its role in tides?

Beneath the peaceful rolling waves of a lake is a rumble, imperceptible to all but seismometers, that ripples into the earth like the waves ripple along the shore, reports

In a study published today in the Journal of Geophysical Research Solid Earth, scientists at the University of Utah report that these small seismic signals can aid science.

As a record of wave motion in a lake, they can reveal when a lake freezes over and when it thaws. And as a small, constant source of seismic energy in the surrounding earth, lake microseisms can shine a light on the geology surrounding a lake.


Lunar precession update

Posted: October 15, 2017 by oldbrew in Fibonacci, Maths, moon, Phi, solar system dynamics
Tags: ,

Credit: NASA

I found out there’s an easy way to simplify one of the lunar charts published on the Talkshop in 2015 on this post:
Why Phi? – some Moon-Earth interactions

In the chart, synodic months (SM) and apsidal cycles (LAC) are multiples of 104:
79664 / 104 = 766
728/104 = 7

The other numbers are not multiples of 104, but if 7 is added to each we get this:
86105 + 7 = 86112 = 828 * 104 (TM)
85377 + 7 = 85384 = 821 * 104 (AM)
5713 + 7 = 5720 = 55 * 104 (FMC)
6441 + 7 = 6448 = 62 * 104 (TY)

TM = tropical months
AM = anomalistic months
SM = synodic months
LAC = lunar apsidal cycles
FMC = full moon cycles
TY = tropical years

Here’s an imaginary alternative chart based on these multiples of
104. [Cross-check: 828 – 766 = 62]

In reality, 55 FMC = just over 62 TY and 7 LAC = just short of 62 TY.
For every 7 apsidal cycles (LAC), there are 766 synodic months (both chart versions).

In the real chart:
For every 104 apsidal cycles, all numbers except SM slip by -1 from being multiples of 104. So after 7*104 LAC all the other totals except SM are ‘reduced’ by 7 each.

In the case of tropical years, 6448 – 7 = 6441 = 19 * 339
19 tropical years = 1 Metonic cycle

If the period had been 6448 TY it would not have been a whole number of Metonic cycles.
Also 6441 * 4 TY (25764) is exactly one year more than 25763 synodic years i.e. the precession cycle, by definition.

Fibonacci: 104 is 13*8, and the modified FMC number is 55 (all Fibonacci numbers).

Phi: we’ve explained elsewhere that the number of full moon cycles in one lunar apsidal cycle is very close to 3*Phi².
We can see from the modified chart that the FMC:LAC ratio of 55:7 is 3 times greater than 55:21 (55/21 = ~Phi²)
– – –
Note – for more discussion of the ~62 year period, try this search: 62 year
[see Google site search box in grey zone on left of this web page]

Where is Planet 9? [credit: NASA]

Planetary theorists say super-Earths are commonly found in other planetary systems, but missing – so far – in our solar system. The evidence seems to be mounting, so is it just a case of tracking one down?

It might be lingering bashfully on the icy outer edges of our solar system, hiding in the dark, but subtly pulling strings behind the scenes: stretching out the orbits of distant bodies, perhaps even tilting the entire solar system to one side, says NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

If a planet is there, it’s extremely distant and will stay that way (with no chance — in case you’re wondering — of ever colliding with Earth, or bringing “days of darkness”). It is a possible “Planet Nine” — a world perhaps 10 times the mass of Earth and 20 times farther from the sun than Neptune.

The signs so far are indirect, mainly its gravitational footprints, but that adds up to a compelling case nonetheless.


Juno Jupiter Mystery

Posted: September 30, 2017 by oldbrew in solar system dynamics
Tags: ,

‘Scientists are puzzled’ as usual when actual evidence arrives, but that’s only to be expected. Not looking good for metallic hydrogen theory?


The Current State of JUNO

The lead scientist, Dr. Scott Bolton, admits essentially that Jupiter is not a gas giant, stating ” We’re seeing a lot of our ideas were incorrect and maybe naive.” (1)  Scientists are puzzled to see that the familiar striped cloud layers ‘may be’ only skin deep. These zones and belts either don’t exist or the Juno microwave instrument just isn’t sensitive to it. (2) The gravity experiment is not seeing a concentrated core at the center of the planet or a pure hydrogen interior, the two competing hypotheses, Dr. Bolton stated “and what we found was that neither are true.” Instead, the data suggests a ‘fuzzy’ core, with unexplained ‘anomalous masses’. (3) The enormously powerful ultraoviolet auroral ovals are imagined to be due to energetic particles descending around the poles, but what the Juno JEDI energetic particle detector has detected to date are streams of…

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