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ATLANTIC SKIES: Young astronomers and the Perseid meteors – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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If you are intrigued by the concept of space travel and exploration, no doubt you watched or read about the launch of NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance spacecraft on July 30. NASA’s 29th mission to Mars (22 of which have been successful), Perseverance is slated to arrive at the Red Planet in February 2021, after a 7-month, 480-million-kilometre journey, to continue NASA’s ongoing exploration of Mars in preparation for its ultimate goal: landing humans on the planet’s surface in the next decade or two.

I remember, as a very young child (I was 5 at the time), my mother telling me that one day, when I was grown up, people would walk on the Moon. Sure enough, in 1969, when I was 21, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the Moon’s surface from the Apollo 11 spacecraft. Perhaps my mother was prophetic to foresee this event, or perhaps, as I suspect, she was just intuitive enough to understand that humankind’s destiny ultimately lies out there, beyond Earth, among the stars. 

Perhaps there is some component of the human genome that, like that which causes some animals to migrate, is responsible for humankind’s celestial wanderlust. Having explored and settled most every corner of our planet, perhaps this innate instinct to move onward is now driving us to consider migrating outwards from Earth to distant worlds. 


Perhaps there is some component of the human genome that, like that which causes some animals to migrate, is responsible for humankind’s celestial wanderlust.


Whatever the genesis of my mother’s statement, it ignited in me a burning desire and an insatiable curiosity to know more about what was “out there”. It is a desire and curiosity that has lasted my whole life, and will, no doubt, remain with me until I draw my final breath. Without waxing too poetic, I like to think that, even then, some part of me will continue, as Star Trek’s Captain James T. Kirk states, “to explore strange new worlds” across the eternity of outer space.

My granddaughter, Scarlet, has a fascination with outer space, constantly asking me what lies beyond the planets, our solar system, and the Milky Way Galaxy. Of course, it is a curiosity that I readily and happily feed, answering her questions (in greater detail and depth as she grows older), encouraging her to read my astronomy books (and columns), to pick out her own astronomy books (“space books” as she calls them) at the library, or to go on-line and look up the information herself. 

It is both amazing and gratifying to not only watch her search for the answers by herself, but also to watch where those searches take her in terms of the array of astronomy topics she delves into. As her knowledge base expands, so does the distance she travels outward from Earth; she is currently focused on the Oort Cloud, the massive sphere of frozen ice bodies out beyond Pluto. 

Her plan (at 8 years old) is to be the first woman astronaut to walk on Mars, or, should another woman beat her to that prize, to be the first woman to pilot a spaceship to another planet in a distant star system. “Attention, this is Captain Scarlet speaking.”

If you have children and/or grandchildren who show an interest in astronomy, I urge you to encourage that interest. Just as my mother’s insightful statement fostered my abiding love of and curiosity about outer space, your encouragement and support (and, perhaps, shared interest) may well result in your child, grandchild or great-grandchild one day walking on another planet or moon, or travelling out into space as a crew member on a fact-finding exploration. Perhaps, he or she may even be part of my granddaughter’s crew.

One of the ways to foster an interest in outer space in your children/grandchildren is to get them outside to watch a meteor shower. Children of any age love to watch for “shooting stars”, and the warm summer evenings of August are just the time to afford them that opportunity. The annual Perseid meteor shower (radiant in Perseus – the Prince) peaks during the pre-dawn hours of Aug. 11 – 13. 

Though light from the Last Quarter Moon will, after it has risen, somewhat reduce the overall number of meteors observable on those dates, the Perseids are known for their large number of extremely bright meteors, many of which, in the absence of cloud cover, will still be highly visible. 

Earlier in the evening, you may see some Perseid “earthgrazers” – colourful meteors that travel slowly and horizontally across the pre-midnight sky, when the meteor shower’s radiant (apparent point of origin in the sky) is just below or just above the eastern horizon. While the main peak of most meteor showers usually occurs after midnight, starting to watch for the Perseids during the mid-to-late evening period (perhaps more conducive to maintaining the interest of your young, sleepy-eyed observers), before the Moon rises, could significantly increase the total number of meteors seen. 

Go to this moonrise and moonset calculator to find your local moonrise/set times. Also, watching for Perseids on the nights/mornings after the noted peak dates might produce a large number of viewed meteors. As the week progresses, there will be less moonlight to contend with, as the Moon phase changes from Last Quarter towards a gibbous phase. Finally, the well-known variableness of meteor showers, even a famous one such as the Perseids, sometimes brings surprisingly large numbers of meteors in the days following designated peak dates; it is always worth a try, particularly if you are clouded out during the predicted peak period.

Heading towards superior conjunction with the Sun on Aug. 17, Mercury is now too close to the Sun to be observed. Venus (mag. -4.32) is that wonderfully brilliant “morning star” visible in the eastern, pre-dawn sky. Rising in the east around 2:30 a.m., Venus will be observable 31 degrees above the eastern horizon until dawn breaks around 5:45 a.m. 

Mars (mag. -1.3) is visible about 7 degrees above the eastern horizon around 11:45 p.m., reaching a height of 48 degrees above the southern horizon before fading in the dawn twilight. Jupiter and Saturn are both visible in the southeast evening sky by about 9 p.m. Jupiter (mag. -2.68) reaches its highest point (21 degrees) in the southern sky shortly after 11 p.m., remaining observable until about 2:30 a.m. when it sinks below 7 degrees above the southwest horizon. Saturn (mag. +0.2) hits its highest point in the southern sky shortly before midnight, disappearing from view around 3 a.m. when it dips below 10 degrees above the southwest horizon.

Until next week, clear skies.

Events:

  • Aug. 11 – Last Quarter Moon
  • Aug. 11-13 – Perseid meteor shower peak
  • Aug. 13 – Venus at greatest western elongation from Sun

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Science Saturday 0919 – CGTN

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In this week’s Science Saturday, we look at science news ranging from possible signs of life on Venus to wildlife protection.

Scientists detect gas in Venus clouds linked to life on Earth

First, evidence of potential for life on the planet next door! A smelly, flammable gas called “phosphine” has been found on Venus. Here on Earth, phosphine is produced predominantly by anaerobic biological sources. So with this discovery, there’s a chance that there are some living organisms in the clouds of Venus. But scientists say further observations and modeling are needed to explore the origin of the gas in the planet’s atmosphere. The findings are published in the peer-reviewed journal – Nature Astronomy.

Washington bans TikTok downloads from U.S. app stores

Washington has announced a decision to ban TikTok downloads from app stores in the United States. Donald Trump, the U.S. president, is questioning plans by Chinese tech firm, ByteDance, to keep a majority stake in TikTok’s U.S. operations as part of a partnership deal with Oracle. Trump says any agreement to continue operating in U.S. must be “100% as far as national security is concerned.” He has called the popular video-sharing app a security threat, and says he will ban it unless it’s sold by ByteDance.

WWF report: Wildlife populations down by an average of 68 percent over past four decades

The world’s wildlife population is under threat! A new report by the World Wildlife Fund says human activity has wiped out two-thirds of the world’s wildlife since 1970. Latin America and the Caribbean are the world’s worst-affected areas, which have seen an average drop of 94 percent. The report says humans’ over-exploitation of wildlife, grassland conversion and climate change are among the major drivers of this devastating decline. Researchers are calling for changes in production and consumption patterns of food and energy, increased conservation efforts and a global collective effort.

Winners of Breakthrough Prizes announced for 2021

The winners of the 2021 Oscars of Science, also known as Breakthrough Prizes, have been revealed. Eight scientists have been recognized for their achievements in Mathematics, Fundamental Physics and Life Sciences. One of the recipients is David Baker, whose team designed a molecule that potentially inhabits the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The team also successfully synthesized the proteins, which demonstrated a neutralizing antibody, shedding light on a potential new treatment to the disease. The prizes total 21 million U.S. dollars. Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, this year’s ceremony has been postponed until March 2021.

“Science Saturday” is part of CGTN’s science and technology series “Tech It Out.” The segment brings you the latest news about innovations and technological breakthroughs in the past two weeks from across the world.

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Physicists may have the first experimental evidence for a new type of Dark Boson

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Two experiments looking for the whisper of a particle that prevents the entire galaxy from flying away have recently published some contradictory results. One came out empty-handed, and the other gives you all the reasons to keep searching.

dark Bosons are Dark matter It is actually a candidate based on particles that transmit forces that do not exert much force.

Unlike bosons that we know better, like photons that bind molecules and gluons that bind atomic nuclei together, the exchange of dark bosons has little effect on the surrounding environment.

On the other hand, if they exist, their collective energy may be responsible for making up dark matter. The lost mass that provides the extra gravity needed to keep our stellar universe in a familiar form.

Unfortunately, the presence of such bosons will be as detectable as the murmurs in a storm. But for a physicist, given the right kind of experimentation, the noise can still be enough to stand out.

Two studies led by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and two studies led by Aarhus University in Denmark, examined the subtle differences in the position of electrons in isotopes that jump between energy levels. If it shook, this could be an obvious sign of the dark Boson’s nudge.

Theoretically, the boson comes from the interaction between the orbiting electron and the quarks that make up the neutron in the nucleus.

The team led by MIT used a small number of isotopes of ytterbium for the experiment, and calcium was a factor of choice by a group led by the University of Aarhus.

Both experiments sorted the data on specific plot types that measure this kind of motion in isotopes. Although the calcium-based experiment appeared as expected, the ytterbium plot was off and there was a statistically significant deviation in the linearity of the plot.

This is not the cause of any kind of celebration. First of all, boson can explain the number, but there may be a difference in the way you perform the calculations, this type of correction is called quadratic field shift.

You also need to explain exactly why you found something strange in one experiment and nothing in the other.

As always, we need more data. Much more. But figuring out exactly what makes up more than a quarter of the universe is one of the biggest questions in science, so every potential lead will be pursued with excitement.

Particles that transmit a new kind of force Standard model It’s not exactly ruled out in physics, but finding one is tremendous.

Last year, physicists were excited about particles moving at odd angles, alluding to a hitherto unknown force.

Similarly, the number of rebounding electrons in the XENON1T dark matter setup shook its tongue earlier this year, sparking speculation about a hypothetical dark matter candidate. Called axion.

While this result is interesting, we’ve broken our hearts before. In 2016, the dark matter candidate type was Madala Boson Was Rumors of discovery Among the data collected by the Large Hadron Collider to find Higgs particles.

This particle can be thought of as a kind of dark version of Higgs Boson, and dark matter lends its power without being clearly revealed in other ways.

CERN throws cold water Sad to say about that little gossip. This does not mean that such particles do not exist or that the signal is not tempting. It’s just that we really can’t confirm with some degree of confidence.

Larger colliderA clever new way of searching for subtle nudges and whispers of particles, more sensitive equipment, and almost non-existent, may one day get the answers we need.

Dark matter certainly won’t make it easier.

This study is Physical review letter, here and here.

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A new study finds that an iceberg may not have sunk the Titanic

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From famous mechanics

Just knowing when we think we know everything here TitanicUnsinkable ships, giant icebergs, “I am the king of the world,” etc. – come with interesting new discoveries that raise big questions about what really happened on the terrible night of April 14, 1912. The weather effect from space is really the reason Titanic Drowning?

🚢 You like ugly planes. so do we. Let’s get them together.

The main finding of the new study is that the northern hemisphere was subjected to a “moderate to severe” magnetic storm that night, which could have caused a change. TitanicNavigational readings affect its planned course And The crew shared their location during SOS signals.

The idea is very simple. The sun, which is powered by an atomic dynamo that burns millions of degrees, is bathed in sunlight. These, in turn, are punctuated by the size of the Earth by gigantic or larger explosives: solar flares.

“In a few minutes, they heat the material to millions of degrees and generate one billion megatons of TNT.” NASA explains that once the release is released. ”These flares are often caused by magnetic changes or collapses, and their explosions cause magnetic waves through the solar system.

It instinctively suggests that the hottest thing in the solar system experiences a lot of responses to rotating and changing magnetic fields. Earth is a successful habitat for living organisms, in part because humans have a protective magnetic field that represents an enormous amount of solar radiation and cosmic air that would throw us to the surface of a lifeless Mars-like planet. .

This magnetic field changes and changes over time, especially as the magnetic poles revolve around the Earth’s surface. Animals and humans have learned to rely on magnetic poles, in the form of man-made devices such as compasses. Animal knowledge for migration and navigation. Compasses, like hours, should be set to the correct units, for example Calculate magnetic answers It turns out in a natural way.

From here we reconnect Titanic. The newspaper is owned by author Mila Zinkova, which has published about four previous papers Titanic In the magazine RMetS Weather, Investigated the theory that mirrors or other visual disturbances played a role in the sinking. Now, Zinkova is using weather and space data to explore a different theory.

If a solar flare is so intense that it was marked by what is called Aurora borealis on that historic night, it could encircle the Earth’s magnetic field and wreak havoc with magnetic devices like the compass. Even today, solar flares disrupt the power grid and space traffic, and truly valuable backups. Safety can be maintained in a Faraday cage.

Image credit: Paramount – Twentieth Century Focus

 

Genkova writes that the impact on the compass affected the coordinates contained in the signs of the crisis. “The Titanic A fourth officer, Joseph Backshall, worked in the ship’s SOS condition. The Paxhall site was about 13 nautical kilometers (24 kilometers) from its original location, Zenkova wrote.

But the rescue plane Carpathia Perhaps this was wrong information. The Carpathian Compasses could be under the influence of a geomagnetic storm for 5.5 hours before and after. TitanicIt has SOS, and even hitting lifeboats, “Zinkova continues.” Therefore, a potential compound compass error may be one of the contributing factors to the successful rescue of survivors of the Titanic. “

It also indicates how the solar flare is localized. Ships caught in a certain area. Receive radio calls or miss them altogether. Returning to the ground or outside the affected area, everything seemed normal except upon contact or attempt Titanic And other ships nearby.

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