Posts Tagged ‘solar system’

Credit: NASA


Could there even be more than one black hole? The search for a significant extra planet has drawn a blank so far.
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A coming sky survey will help test a wild idea — that a grapefruit-sized black hole lurks undiscovered in the outer solar system, says Mike Wall @ Space.com.

Over the past few years, researchers have noticed an odd clustering in the orbits of multiple trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), which dwell in the dark depths of the far outer solar system.

Some scientists have hypothesized that the TNOs’ paths have been sculpted by the gravitational pull of a big object way out there, something 5 to 10 times more massive than Earth (though others think the TNOs may just be tugging on each other).

This big “perturber,” if it exists, may be a planet — the so-called “Planet Nine,” or “Planet X” or “Planet Next” for those who will always regard Pluto as the ninth planet.

But there’s another possibility as well: The shepherding object may be a black hole, one that crams all that mass into a sphere the size of a grapefruit.

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The orbit of Triton (red) is opposite in direction and tilted −23° compared to a typical moon’s orbit (green) in the plane of Neptune’s equator [image credit: Wikipedia]


Triton orbits the ‘wrong’ way round Neptune, is far larger than all the other Neptunian moons, and has a high tilt angle, among other peculiar traits. In short, it has some explaining to do.
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When NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft flew by Neptune’s strange moon Triton three decades ago, it wrote a planetary science cliffhanger, says Technology.org.

Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft ever to have flown past Neptune, and it left a lot of unanswered questions.

The views were as stunning as they were puzzling, revealing massive, dark plumes of icy material spraying out from Triton‘s surface. But how?

Images showed that the icy landscape was young and had been resurfaced over and over with fresh material. But what material, and from where?

How could an ancient moon six times farther from the Sun than Jupiter still be active? Is there something in its interior that is still warm enough to drive this activity?

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During a total solar eclipse, the Sun’s corona and prominences are visible to the naked eye [image credit: Luc Viatour / https://Lucnix.be ]


There’s an interesting time-series animation of the solar corona here. Clear differences in the corona at solar minimum compared to maximum were observed by the globetrotting researchers.
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While the world has been dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, researchers at the University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy (IfA) have been hard at work studying the solar corona, the outermost atmosphere of the sun which expands into interplanetary space, reports Phys.org.

This stream of charged particles radiating from the surface of the sun is called the solar wind and expands to fill the entire solar system.

The properties of the solar corona are a consequence of the sun’s complex magnetic field, which is produced in the solar interior and extends outward.

A new study by IfA graduate student Benjamin Boe, published Wednesday, June 3rd in the Astrophysical Journal, used total solar eclipse observations to measure the shape of the coronal magnetic field with higher spatial resolution and over a larger area than ever before.

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Credit: Wikipedia


Time for another Tunguska meteor theory.
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When a meteor zooms toward Earth at 45,000 mph with the strength 10-15 megatons of TNT—185 times more energy than the Hiroshima atomic bomb—it could possibly take out the entire planet, says Syfy.

If something like that doesn’t scream total annihilation, it’s hard to say what does, except this time it just missed.

Scorched earth and flattened trees were all that was left of the mysterious object after it passed dangerously close to the Tunguska region of Siberia in 1908.

Theories have ranged from a black hole colliding with Earth to a clash of matter and antimatter to an alien spaceship crash-landing. An eyewitness even swore the sky was being ripped in two. But why no crater? No debris?

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It now seems all planetary bodies can have magnetospheres, whether or not they have a significant magnetic field. This would also help to explain why Venus, with hardly any ‘protective’ magnetic field, has a much thicker atmosphere than Earth. Wikipedia might need an update.
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Five years after NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft entered into orbit around Mars, data from the mission has led to the creation of a map of electric current systems in the Martian atmosphere, reports Phys.org.

“These currents play a fundamental role in the atmospheric loss that transformed Mars from a world that could have supported life into an inhospitable desert,” said experimental physicist Robin Ramstad of the University of Colorado, Boulder.

“We are now currently working on using the currents to determine the precise amount of energy that is drawn from the solar wind and powers atmospheric escape.” Ramstad is lead author of a paper on this research published May 25 in Nature Astronomy.

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Credit: NASA


Looks like game over for the Planet Nine idea. Unavoidable observational biases may be at least partly to blame.
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Planet Nine is a theoretical, undiscovered giant planet in the mysterious far reaches of our solar system, says The Conversation (via Phys.org)

The presence of Planet Nine has been hypothesized to explain everything from the tilt of the sun’s spin axis to the apparent clustering in the orbits of small, icy asteroids beyond Neptune.

But does Planet Nine actually exist?

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Natural gas flare [credit: Wikipedia]


It’s now thought that methane, aka natural gas, existed even before planet formation, which looks like the final nail in the coffin for the idea that it should be regarded exclusively as a ‘fossil’ fuel.
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An international team of astronomers has shown in a laboratory at Leiden University (the Netherlands) that methane can form on icy dust particles in space, reports Phys.org.

The possibility had existed for quite some time, but because the conditions in space were difficult to simulate, it was not possible to prove this under relevant space conditions.

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Some say it could be a remnant of the Great Comet of 1843.
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Spaceweather.com

March 24, 2020: No one knows how big the icy core of Comet ATLAS (C/2019 Y4) might be–possibly no wider than a few kilometers. One thing’s for sure, though, the comet’s atmosphere is huge. New images from amateur astronomers around the world show that ATLAS’s gaseous envelope has ballooned in diameter to ~720,000 km–about half as wide as the sun.

cometatlas_inset

“Comet ATLAS’s coma (atmosphere) is approximately 15 arcminutes in diameter,” reports Michael Jäger of Weißenkirchen, Austria, who took the picture, above, on March 18th. “Its newly-formed tail is about the same size.”

Other astronomers are getting similar results. 15 arcminutes = a quarter of a degree. Given Comet ATLAS’s distance of 1.1 AU on March 18th, that angle corresponds to a physical size of 720,000 km.

On the scale of big things in the solar system, Comet ATLAS falls somewhere between the sun (1,392,000 km  diameter) and Jupiter…

View original post 189 more words

Image credit: beforeitsnews.com

The aim here is to show how the synodic periods and orbits of these three planets align with the so-called Grand Synod, a period of about 4628 years which has 27 Uranus-Neptune conjunctions and almost 233 Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions. Its half-period is sometimes referred to as the Hallstatt cycle (2314 years +/- a variable margin).

1. U-N ‘long period’
1420 Uranus-Neptune conjunctions = 1477 Neptune orbits
(for calculations, see Footnote)
1477 – 1420 = 57
Uranus-Neptune 360 degrees return is 1420/57 U-N = 24.91228 U-N long period = 4270.119 years

2. GS : U-N ratio
Grand Synod = 27 U-N = 4627.967 years (= ~233 Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions)
27 / 24.91228 = 1.0838028
1.0838028 * 12 = 13.005633
Therefore the ratio of 4627.967:4270.119 is almost exactly 13:12 (> 99.956% true)

3. Orbital data
Turning to the orbit periods nearest to the Grand Synod:
28 Neptune = 4614.157y
55 Uranus = 4620.927y
(Data: https://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/?planet_phys_par )

4. Factor of 12
These periods fall slightly short of the 27 U-N Grand Synod (~4628 years).
However, multiplying by 12 and adding one orbit to each, gives:
28*12,+1 (337) Neptune = 55534.67y
55*12,+1 (661) Uranus = 55535.14y
27*12 (661 – 337) U-N = 55535.61y

Now the numbers match to within a year +/- 55535 years.
Also, the period is 12 Grand Synods (12*4628 = 55536y), or 13 U-N ‘long’ periods.

5. Pluto data
Pluto’s orbit period is 247.92065 years.
55535 / 247.92065y = 224.003
So 224 Pluto orbits also equate to 12 Grand Synods.


Therefore, a U-N-P synodic chart can be created for that period of time.

6. Neptune:Pluto orbits
Neptune has one more orbit in the period than an exact 3:2 ratio with Pluto – a planetary resonance.
224 P = 112*2
337 N = 112*3, +1
113 N-P = 112, +1

7. Phi factor
Uranus and Neptune both have one more orbit than this ratio:
660:336 = (55*12):(21*16)
55/21 = Phi²
12/16 = 3/4
Therefore the U:N ratio is almost (3/4 of Phi²):1

The U-N-P chart should repeat every 12 Grand synods i.e. every 55,535 years or so.
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Footnote
360 / Neptune orbit (164.79132) = 2.184581
2.184581 * U-N conjunction (171.40619) = 374.4507
374.4507 – 360 = 14.4507

Obtain nearest multiple of 360 degrees:
1420 * 14.4507 = 20519.9994
20520 / 360 = 57
1420 + 57 = 1477
1420 U-N = 1477 Neptune orbits
1420 + 1477 = 2897 Uranus orbits









Solar system [credit: BBC]

This new paper from our good friend Nicola Scafetta takes another look at the Sun’s cyclic behaviour and possible planetary influences on it, referencing various researchers whose work has appeared at the talkshop, along the way.
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Abstract
Gravitational planetary lensing of slow-moving matter streaming towards the Sun was suggested to explain puzzling solar-flare occurrences and other unexplained solar-emission phenomena (Bertolucci et al. in Phys. Dark Universe 17, 13, 2017). If it is actually so, the effect of gravitational lensing of this stream by heavy planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) could be manifested in solar activity changes on longer time scales too where solar records present specific oscillations known in the literature as the cycles of Bray–Hallstatt (2100–2500 yr), Eddy (800–1200 yr), Suess–de Vries (200–250 yr), Jose (155–185 yr), Gleissberg (80–100 year), the 55–65 yr spectral cluster and others. It is herein hypothesized that these oscillations emerge from specific periodic planetary orbital configurations that generate particular waves in the force-fields of the heliosphere which could be able to synchronize solar activity.

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Here we learn that the solar wind ‘has a sort of internal heater’, which may be short on scientific explanation but sounds interesting as far as it goes.
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There’s a wind that emanates from the sun, and it blows not like a soft whistle but like a hurricane’s scream, says Phys.org.

Made of electrons, protons, and heavier ions, the solar wind courses through the solar system at roughly 1 million miles per hour, barreling over everything in its path.

Yet through the wind’s roar, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe can hear small chirps, squeaks, and rustles that hint at the origins of this mysterious and ever-present wind.

Now, the team at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, which designed, built, and manages the Parker Solar Probe for NASA, is getting their first chance to hear those sounds, too.

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Kepler-90 Planets Orbit Close to Their Star [credit: NASA/AMES]


In part 1 we looked at the inner four planets: b,c,i and d. Here in part 2 we’ll look at the outer four: e,f,g and h – with a dash of d included.

The largest planet in the system is h, the outermost of the eight so far found, and it’s about the same size as Jupiter. It’s ‘an exoplanet orbiting within the habitable zone of the early G-type main sequence star Kepler-90’, says Wikipedia. However, ‘it is a gas giant with no solid surface’, so probably no aliens lurking there.

It wasn’t that easy to find synodic patterns of interest, but here we have two examples, both involving planet h.

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A researcher said of one of the new finds: “It is hard to see how the planet got there!”
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Six ‘very hot’ rocky exoplanets orbiting stars in the local region of the Milky Way hold the key to understanding more about how the Earth was formed, astronomers claim.

Researchers from the Open University have been studying planets discovered by the European Space Observatory’s planet-hunting telescope in Chile.

They are orbiting stars between 160 and 440 light years from Earth and all have hot surfaces with temperatures of around 2,012F to 3,272F.

The new findings could shed light on the geology of Earth and other rocky planets in the Solar System including Mercury, Venus and Mars, researchers say.

Full Daily Mail report here.

The distance from the Oort cloud to the interior of the Solar System, and two of the nearest stars, is measured in astronomical units. The scale is logarithmic; each indicated distance is ten times farther out than the previous distance. The red arrow indicates the location of the space probe Voyager 1, which will reach the Oort cloud in about 300 years [credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech]


Note that the Oort Cloud referred to in the article, although often discussed as though it exists, has to date never been directly observed, perhaps due to its supposed great distance from Earth.
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Stars and comets make unlikely dance partners, says Live Science.

Their gravitational partnership is one that astronomers have long suspected but have never seen — until now. For the first time, a Polish group has identified two nearby stars that seem to have plucked up their icy partners, swinging them into orbits around our sun.

The astronomers found the stellar duo after studying the movements of over 600 stars that came within 13 light-years of the sun. The new findings validate a theory born more than a half-century ago, and in doing so have also shown just how rare these stellar dances can be.

Out on the far edge of the solar system, hanging like wallflowers around the planetary dance floor, is the Oort Cloud.

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Image credit: extremetech.com


A 2016 article in Astronomy Now reported:
“Scientists found radioactive iron-60 in sediment and crust samples taken from the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

The iron-60 was concentrated in a period between 3.2 and 1.7 million years ago, which is relatively recent in astronomical terms, said research leader Dr. Anton Wallner from The Australian National University (ANU).

“We were very surprised that there was debris clearly spread across 1.5 million years,” said Dr. Wallner, a nuclear physicist in the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering. “It suggests there were a series of supernovae, one after another.

“It’s an interesting coincidence that they correspond with when the Earth cooled and moved from the Pliocene into the Pleistocene period.” [bold added]

In August this year a new find was reported…
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The rare isotope iron-60 is created in massive stellar explosions, says ScienceDaily. Only a very small amount of this isotope reaches the earth from distant stars.

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Neptune Moon Dance: This animation illustrates how the odd orbits of Neptune’s inner moons Naiad and Thalassa enable them to avoid each other as they race around the planet. (courtesy: JPL)

Well, this is fun. Need we say more?

Even by the wild standards of the outer solar system, the strange orbits that carry Neptune’s two innermost moons are unprecedented, according to newly published research.

Orbital dynamics experts are calling it a “dance of avoidance” performed by the tiny moons Naiad and Thalassa, says Space Newsfeed.

The two are true partners, orbiting only about 1,150 miles (1,850 kilometers) apart.

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The two Voyager space probes, launched in 1977, are still delivering tales of the unexpected.

The boundary region between the sun’s sphere of influence and the broader Milky Way galaxy is complicated indeed.

Humanity’s second taste of interstellar space may have raised more questions than it answered, writes Mike Wall @ Space.com.

NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft popped free of the heliosphere — the huge bubble of charged particles that the sun blows around itself — on Nov. 5, 2018, more than six years after the probe’s pioneering twin, Voyager 1, did the same.

The mission team has now had some time to take stock of Voyager 2’s exit, which occurred in the heliosphere’s southern hemisphere (as opposed to Voyager 1, which departed in the northern hemisphere).

In a series of five papers published online today (Nov. 4) in the journal Nature Astronomy, the researchers reported the measurements made by the probe as it entered interstellar space.

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The predicted ninth planet has so far proved elusive, with searches of 50 per cent of the sky in the range where it ‘should’ be having turned up nothing. But planetary theorists Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin insist the evidence shows they are on the right track. Others talk of broken glass and fingerprints – shades of Sherlock Holmes.

Beyond Neptune, a handful of small worlds are moving in harmony.

Astronomers think they might be dancing to the tune of a third world lurking in the darkness, one that’s four times bigger than Earth and significant enough to be named our Solar System’s ninth planet.

Now they think they know exactly where to look for it, says Science Focus.

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Image credit: naturalnavigator.com


The contention here is that in the time taken for 14 lunar nodal cycles, the difference between the number of Saros eclipse cycles and lunar apsidal cycles (i.e the number of ‘beats’ of those two periods) is exactly 15.

Since 15-14 = 1, this period of 260.585 tropical years might itself be considered a cycle. It is just over 9 Inex eclipse cycles (260.5 years) of 358 synodic months each, by definition.

Although it’s hard to find references to ~260 years as a possible climate and/or planetary period, there are a few for the half period i.e. 130 years, for example here.

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Image credit: interactivestars.com


In 2015 this post discussed long-term lunar precession from an apsidal, or anomalistic, standpoint.

We saw that all the numbers related to an exact number (339) of Metonic cycles (19 tropical years each, as discussed below).

Here we show the equivalent from a nodal, or draconic, standpoint.

Again, all the numbers relate to an exact number (337 this time) of Metonic cycles.

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