Posts Tagged ‘planetary’

The largest ‘TNOs’

This is about the ‘no-name’ dwarf planet 2007 OR10, which has the unusual property of being 3 times further from the Sun at aphelion (furthest) than at perihelion (nearest).

Everybody gets a moon! With the discovery of a small moon orbiting the third-largest dwarf planet, all the large objects that orbit beyond Neptune now have satellites, reports New Scientist.

Trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs) spend most or all of their orbits beyond Neptune. Last April, the dwarf planet Makemake became the ninth of the ten TNOs with diameters near or above 1,000 kilometres known to have a moon.

So when dwarf planet 2007 OR10 was found to be rotating more slowly than expected, it was suspected that a moon might be the culprit.

Image credit: NASA

Image credit: NASA

From the research paper: ‘We suggest the possibility that the Earth’s atmosphere of billions of years ago may be preserved on the present-day lunar surface.’

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in Japan, examining data from that country’s moon-orbiting Kaguya spacecraft, has found evidence of oxygen from Earth’s atmosphere making its way to the surface of the moon for a few days every month, reports

In their paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy, the researchers describe what data from the spacecraft revealed.

Saturn and the lunar year

Posted: January 28, 2017 by oldbrew in Maths, solar system dynamics

Comparison of Saturn and Earth [image credit: NASA]

Comparison of Saturn and Earth [image credit: NASA]

In a recent post: Sidorenkov and the lunar or tidal year we were looking at the match between tropical years and periods of 13 lunar months (i.e. the lunar, or tidal, year):
353 tropical years = 363 tidal years (where 1 lunar year = 13 lunar tropical months)

Here we want to see if Saturn links to the lunar year.
From the JPL ephemeris [target body: Saturn] we have:
Saturn orbit period = 10755.698 days

Jupiter-Saturn-Earth orbits  chart

Jupiter-Saturn-Earth orbits chart

From another post we produced a chart [right] based on 85 Saturn orbit periods:
85 x 10755.698 days = 914234.33 days

One tidal year = 13 x 27.321582 days = 355.18056 days
914234.33 / 355.18056 = 2573.9987 tidal years (2574)
So 85 Saturn orbits = 2574 tidal years

Since 2574 is divisible by 6 (= 429) we can use the chart to say:
403 Saturn-Earth conjunctions (S-E) = 429 tidal years
or, dividing by 13:
31 S-E = 33 tidal years
therefore, multiplying by 11:
341 S-E = 353 tropical years = 363 tidal years (the original match, see above)

A wave from pole to pole in the cloud tops that doesn’t move – but then disappears? Another Venus conundrum emerges.

A massive, un-moving structure has been discovered in the upper atmosphere of Venus, reports the IB Times.

Scientists detected the feature with the Jaxa’s Akatsuki spacecraft and they believe it is some sort of gravity wave – although they do not understand how it ended up at the altitude of cloud tops.

The bow-shaped structure was first spotted in December 2015 and a team led by scientists from Rikkyo University in Japan were able to observe it over several days.

It measured 10,000km in length and was brighter and hotter than the surrounding atmosphere. When scientists attempted to observe it again a month later, it had disappeared. The team published their findings in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Jupiter-Saturn-Earth orbits  chart

Jupiter-Saturn-Earth orbits chart

Browsing through some of the PRP papers I came across this at the end of the introduction to R.J. Salvador’s paper – A mathematical model of the sunspot cycle for the past 1000 yr:

Another well-known oscillation found in solar records is
the de Vries cycle of 208 yr (see McCracken et al., 2013).
The frequency of 1253 yr, together with the Jose frequency of
178.8 yr, produces a beat of 208 yr and is used in the model.

Looking back at this Talkshop post from 2014 I wondered if these numbers could be linked to it.

From the chart [top line: ‘2503 E’] I’d suggest the ‘frequency of 1253 years’ could be the half-period of the 2503 year cycle i.e. 1251.5 years, a difference of only 0.0012%.

With the ‘Jose frequency of 178.8 years’ being the mean period of 9 Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions (by definition), we see from the chart that 1251.5 years would be 63 J-S, since it’s half the full period of 2503 years or 126 J-S [= 63 * 2].

Therefore the two periods would be in a simple ratio of 1:7.

Ancient Mars may have looked like this - artist's impression [credit: Ittiz / Wikipedia]

Ancient Mars may have looked like this – artist’s impression [credit: Ittiz / Wikipedia]

Finding the right conditions to melt Martian ice could be tricky. reporting.

A giant deposit of buried ice on Mars contains about as much water as Lake Superior does here on Earth, a new study reports. The ice layer, which spans a greater area than the state of New Mexico, lies in Mars’ mid-northern latitudes and is covered by just 3 feet to 33 feet (1 to 10 meters) of soil.

It therefore represents a vast possible resource for future astronauts exploring the Red Planet, study team members said.

“This deposit is probably more accessible than most water ice on Mars, because it is at a relatively low latitude and it lies in a flat, smooth area where landing a spacecraft would be easier than at some of the other areas with buried ice,” co-author Jack Holt, of the University of Texas, Austin, said in a statement.


2012 Venus transit [credit:  JAXA/NASA/Lockheed Martin

2012 Venus transit [credit: JAXA/NASA/Lockheed Martin]

Venus is certainly an oddball in various ways. Is that the ghost of Velikovsky lurking in the background to this story?

Venus and Mercury have been observed transiting the Sun many times over the past few centuries. When these planets are seen passing between the Sun and the Earth, opportunities exist for some great viewing, not to mention serious research.

And whereas Mercury makes transits with greater frequency (three times since 2000), a transit of Venus is something of a rare treat. In June of 2012, Venus made its most recent transit – an event which will not happen again until 2117.

Luckily, during this latest event, scientists made some very interesting observations which revealed X-ray and ultraviolet emissions coming from the dark side of Venus.


The Kuiper Belt region [credit:]

The Kuiper Belt region [credit:]

Details are sketchy but the object is said to be ‘beyond the pull of Neptune’s gravity’, so we can only speculate what and where its planetary master(s) might be.

A team of space scientists at the University of Michigan has discovered a dwarf planet that is approximately half the size of Pluto and twice as far from the sun, reports

The sighting was reported by NPR, which interviewed team lead physicist David Gerdes. He told them credit goes to a group of students who were challenged to find some new objects to add to the ongoing construction of a galaxy map.


Charon's 'red spot' [image credit:]

Charon’s ‘red spot’ [image credit:]

Scientists have discovered ‘atmospheric transfer’ taking place between Pluto and its binary partner Charon.

In June 2015, when the cameras on NASA’s approaching New Horizons spacecraft first spotted the large reddish polar region on Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, mission scientists knew two things: they’d never seen anything like it elsewhere in our solar system, and they couldn’t wait to get the story behind it, as reports.

Over the past year, after analyzing the images and other data that New Horizons has sent back from its historic July 2015 flight through the Pluto system, the scientists think they’ve solved the mystery.


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).


Aurora on Jupiter [image credit: NASA/ESA]

Aurora on Jupiter [image credit: NASA/ESA]

NASA’s Juno spacecraft is closing in on Jupiter. Here the Daily Mail Online reviews the project from a layman’s perspective. Plus we get some Hubble pics.

On Earth they produce mesmerising riots of colour that light up the night sky around the poles. But our planet is not the only world to enjoy stunning aurora – better known as the northern and southern lights.

Now scientists are hoping to unravel the secrets of the biggest such polar light show in our solar system by focusing their attention on Jupiter’s aurora.


 More details The orbit of 2007 OR10 compared to the orbit of Eris, Pluto, and the outer planets [credit: Gravity Simulator by Tony Dunn]

More details
The orbit of 2007 OR10 compared to the orbit of Eris, Pluto, and the outer planets
[credit: Gravity Simulator by Tony Dunn]

What the report doesn’t say is that the second largest dwarf planet Eris is a close neighbour of “Snow White”. Eris completes 52 orbits of the Sun to every 53 of “Snow White”. Both have highly inclined orbits.

A faraway object nicknamed “Snow White” is considerably larger than scientists had thought, and is in fact the third-largest dwarf planet in the solar system, a new study suggests.

Snow White is about 955 miles (1,535 kilometers) in diameter rather than 795 miles (1,280 km) wide as previously believed, according to the new study. That makes it the largest still-unnamed object in our solar system, NASA officials said. (The dwarf planet has not yet been formally named and currently goes by the placeholder designation 2007 OR10.)


Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Cornell/SSI

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Cornell/SSI

The text below is the caption to the graphics shown here, taken from a new report. It gives some interesting insights into the physics of moons and sets some new puzzles for theorists.

This set of images from NASA’s Cassini mission shows how the gravitational pull of Saturn affects the amount of spray coming from jets at the active moon Enceladus. Enceladus has the most spray when it is farthest away from Saturn in its orbit (inset image on the left) and the least spray when it is closest to Saturn (inset image on the right).


Image credit: NASA

Image credit: NASA

Note from the author: I am sending you my new paper. It has been just published.

Scafetta, N.: High resolution coherence analysis between planetary and climate oscillations.
Advances in Space Research 57, 2121-2135, 2016.
DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2016.02.029

To help access and share the article, there is the following article link, which will provide free access to the article until June 9, 2016.


Earth from the Moon [image credit: NASA]

Earth from the Moon [image credit: NASA]

ScienceDaily points to new research saying ‘We suggest the Moon as a necessary ingredient to sustain the Earth’s magnetic field’.

They believe ‘The Earth continuously receives 3,700 billion watts of power through the transfer of the gravitational and rotational energy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system’.

The Earth’s magnetic field permanently protects us from the charged particles and radiation that originate in the Sun.


The hunt for 'Planet 9' [image credit: Caltech]

The hunt for ‘Planet 9’ [image credit: Caltech]

Still no guarantee that such a planet exists, but the signs seem promising.
H/T Daily Mail Online

Since its discovery at the beginning of this year, the mysterious ‘Planet Nine’ has had scientists looking for the signs that could confirm its existence.

Now, astronomer Mike Brown of Caltech, one of the scientists behind the January announcement, claims he’s found further evidence to support it. The giant hidden planet is thought to sit on the edge of our solar system and is 10 times more massive than the Earth, gaseous, and similar to Uranus or Neptune.


A closer look at Kepler’s third law

Posted: March 25, 2016 by oldbrew in Celestial Mechanics

Kepler's laws [credit:]

Kepler’s laws [credit:]

The Physics Classroom website says:
‘Kepler’s third law provides an accurate description of the period and distance for a planet’s orbits about the sun. Additionally, the same law that describes the T²/R³ ratio for the planets’ orbits about the sun also accurately describes the T²/R³ ratio for any satellite (whether a moon or a man-made satellite) about any planet. There is something much deeper to be found in this T²/R³ ratio – something that must relate to basic fundamental principles of motion.’

But is it really quite simple?


Jupiter and the Moon - not to scale of course [image credit: IBNLive]

Jupiter and the Moon – not to scale of course
[image credit: IBNLive]

A very good Phi-related correlation can easily be found between the period of Jupiter’s orbit and the length of the full moon cycle, as we’ll describe in a moment.

First, what exactly is the full moon cycle?
One of several definitions given by Wikipedia says:
‘the full moon cycle is the period that it takes the Sun to return to the perigee of the Moon’s orbit (as seen from the Earth). So it is a kind of “perigee year”.’


Earth's orbit [credit: NASA]

Earth’s orbit [credit: NASA]

We’ll assume the diagram is self-explanatory but if not, this should help (see opening paragraphs).

We’re looking at Aphelion minus Perihelion (A – P) distances of the giant planets.
Figures are given in units of a million kms. (lowest value first), using Jupiter as a baseline.


Surprise asteroid to give Earth a Halloween flyby

Posted: October 19, 2015 by oldbrew in Astronomy, News

Just passing by [image credit :]

Just passing by [image credit :]

No need to duck, but an asteroid designated 2015 TB145 will pass by the Earth at around 1.3 lunar distances (approximately 310,000 miles or about 499,000 km) on October 31 this year, reports Gizmag.

Estimated to be anywhere between 280 to 620 m (918 to 2,034 ft) in diameter and traveling in excess of 126,000 km/h (78,293 mph), the asteroid was discovered less than two weeks ago using the Pan-STARRS array in Hawaii and is the largest object to so closely approach our planet in recent times.