Archive for the ‘Astronomy’ Category

Canis Major–Thor’s Helmet Nebula   9 comments

    Wolfways_MoonDoorsNewEditExtra (7)ThorHelmScSht

Thors Helmet-Eso1238aDiscovered in 1975, Thor’s Helmet Nebula/NGC 2359, an emission nebula lies in the constellation of Canis Major (The Great Dog). Composed of cosmic dust and gas it is fashioned by the Wolf-Rayet star, an extremely hot/large, bright star near the core of Thor’s helmet, which arcs through the intergalactic cloud encompassing it.

At a distance in the region of 11.96 thousand light years Thor’s Helmet is believed to be 280,000 times more brilliant than Earth’s Sun and 16 times the mass of the Sun.

NGC_2359,_Thor's_Helmet_(core) Attribution: Jschulman555, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

As its name suggests this nebula has the appearance of the helmet worn by the mythological Norse God of thunder and lightning – Thor, who also boasts a day named in his honour – Thursday. Even by Norse god standards Thor’s Helmet is impressively large in magnitude, spanning a distance of about 30 light-years and resembling an interstellar bubble. The wings wing-styled projections jutting from Thor’s Helmet, are multifaceted strand-like formations. 

(Attribution: European Southern Observatory/B. Bailleul, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons Page URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eso1238a.jpg )

The interstellar bubble is formed by a stellar wind. And it’s interaction with the interstellar clouds of gas and dust in the region (Molecular clouds), trigger ionising radiation. This is responsible for the Thor’s Helmet nebula’s radiance. It is comparable in disposition to the Bubble Nebula, in the constellation of Cassiopeia.

It is anticipated that in the next few millennia the Wolf-Rayet star, star in the Thor’s Helmet Nebula’s heart will go “supernova” – (spectacular stellar explosion).

(Attribution: Jschulman555, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons                                       Page URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NGC_2359,_Thor%27s_Helmet_(core).jpg )

References:

https://astrobackyard.com/thors-helmet/

https://www.skyatnightmagazine.com/astrophotography/nebulae/thors-helmet-nebula/

https://noirlab.edu/public/images/noaoann10014a/

https://science.nasa.gov/thors-helmetThorsHelmCMa-Poster

Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy (CMa)   7 comments

Canis Major_Sirius

CANIS MAJOR AND SIRIUS

Constellation Canis Major is the homeland of Sirius. This star goes by the name Alpha Canis Majoris and less formally, the Dog Star. Sirius holds the title of brightest star in the sky, and it is the fifth closest known star system. Canis Major also contains the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy, M41 – an open star cluster, and Thor’s Helmet – an emission nebula. Also included are the colliding spiral galaxies, NGC 2207, and IC 2163. They are approximately eighty million light years distant and were discovered by the English astronomer John Herschel in 1835.

Sirius –Alpha Canis Majoris

Sirius is a binary system star with an apparent magnitude of -1.42. The Sirius system is only 8.6 light years distant Sirius is a large, bluish-white star, known as a white main sequence star, and the brightest of the 2-star system. It has a mass twice that of the Sun and a luminosity twenty-five times greater. Its tiny, and thereby faint, but extremely hot, blue-white companion star, known as Sirius B, is one of the most massive white dwarfs known. With a mass of 0.98 solar masses, it is almost on a par to the Sun in this respect, and slightly smaller in size than Earth. These binary stars take approximately 50 years to orbit one another. The Sirius system is so close to Earth that if many of the well-known constellations seen in the skies of Earth were viewed from Sirius, they would appear almost identical to those in Earth’s skies.

Mythologically speaking, Canis Major is allied with the world’s fastest canine, known as Laelaps This dog could never fail to capture any prey it was in pursuit of. The god Zeus bestowed this dog upon Europa as a gift, together with a spear that was incapable of missing its target. Laelaps was given a position in the nocturnal sky and became the Canis Major constellation.

Sopdet – Egyptian goddess of the Sky and Stars, personifies Sirius the Dog Star. Her symbols are stars and dogs. The arrival of Sirius in the sky heralds the approach of New Year and this event is celebrated with a festival – ‘The Coming of Sopdet.’ In Greece she is known as the Greek goddess Sothis, and Sirius, as Seirios. – the celestial dog in the constellation of Canis Major – the Great Dog and the Guard dog of Orion.

Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy (CMa Dwarf)

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The Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy (CMa Dwarf), also known as “Overdensity,” is a small, irregular galaxy, roughly elliptical in shape, and thought to be the closest galaxy to our location in the Milky Way. It is roughly 25,000 light years distant from our solar system and 42,000 light years from the Galactic Centre of the Milky Way. The next closest galaxy (70,000 light years) is the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy (SagDEG) discovered in 1994.

The Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy was first discovered in 2003 by an international team of astronomers using data derived via the “Two-Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS)” (infrared survey). Observation of CMa is difficult due to its masking by the stars, dense dust, and vapour in the of our galaxy.

Its “irregular galaxy” status is due to it being gradually torn asunder by the gravitational force of our own galaxy. Gravitational interactions between the two galaxies, have resulted in extensive, astral streams – formed by tidal forces, which were plundered from the Canis Major dwarf galaxy. They went on to wind themselves three times around the Milky Way, forming a 200,000-light year-long strand-like edifice consisting of a nebulous circle of stars, vapours, and dust which encircles the Milky Way, and is known as the “Monoceros Ring”.

Monoceros - the Unicorn

It was during the investigation of this ring – discovered in 2002, by astronomers conducting the “Sloan Digital Sky Survey,” that the Canis Major Dwarf galaxy was discovered, one year later in 2003. As a result, it swiped the title of “closest galaxy to our location in the Milky Way” from the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy (SagDEG)

References:

https://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/features/cosmic/nearest_galaxy_info.html

https://www.wise-geek.com/what-is-the-canis-majoris-dwarf-galaxy.htm

https://www.constellation-guide.com/constellation-list/canis-major-constellation/

https://astronomy.swin.edu.au/cosmos/c/Canis+Major+Dwarf

Tomansion Dimensions (2)   14 comments

Tom's Greek Mansion2

Tomansion Dimensions Part 2,  inspired by and dedicated to my wonderfully imaginative friend, Tom – You can visit Tom’s blog at The Mansionic Perspective and share in the wonders of his blog world, where you can also enjoy his perspective of the trip through The Galactic Vortex – following on from Shifty Mansionic Dimensions on this blog. You can learn all about gargoyles in his post The Winged Lion and the Gargoyle, and enjoy a further fantastic post about Winged Wolves so do check this one out as well – it’s awesome! The Wild Winged Wolves of the Wilderness

“TomAstreaus! This is the Temple of Sopdet – Egyptian goddess of the sky and stars, she personifies Sirius the Dog Star – the Star of the Celestial Wolf. Can you see it? Over there above the Great Pyramid! This is wonderful news – the arrival of Sirius in the sky heralds the approach of New Year and we celebrate with a festival – ‘The Coming of Sopdet.’ See? Those are her symbols, stars and dogs. And there is her statue– isn’t she wonderful?” Adopting a suitably god-like expression of awe and respect Tom studied the portrayal of the goddess Sopdet whilst wondering what a statue of himself might look like. Sopdet in the lofty pointy white coronet of Upper Egypt crowned by a star was very much the Egyptian goddess. The presence of the statue of a Greek god such as himself, possibly minus the hairy legs if Lady TometteNut’s beseeching worked, could surely only serve to enhance her reverent position in the temple!

Adobe_20220511_223739“You know of her TomAstreaus! In Greece she is known as the Greek goddess Sothis and Sirius as Seirios. – the celestial dog in the constellation of Canis Major – the Great Dog and the Guard dog of Orion!”

Prompted by such imagery Tom’s inner poet piped up with a section of Tennyson’s poem, The Princess – “…the fiery Sirius alters hue. And bickers into red and emerald.”

“Sopdet is a Source of great knowledge and power guiding both the heavens and human destiny. TomAstreaus, she is the perfect goddess to beseech to change your destiny! She will surely take pity on you! If not, we will return and give her a little whack!!”

“What?!!”

“Yes, the statues residing within our temple walls are known as temple gods – they are tasked with listening diligently to our beseechings. We bring our requests to the appropriate temple god and they relay our beseechings to the god most suited to dealing with the beseeching. Of course they may decide not to grant the request so on the next visitation to the temple of the gods it maybe that we decide to whack the temple statue with a reed!”

ThomasinAsteria snorted loudly and struggled unsuccessfully to stifle an explosive, irreverent giggling fit. Fingers handed her a convenient to tissue to dry the tears streaming unashamedly down her godly features but that only served to accentuate her irreverent giggles still further. Fingers took matters into his own hand and clamped it firmly over ThomasinAsteria’s mouth succeeding at least partially in stifling her helpless giggles.

“It’s just a little whack – every now and again it is good to demonstrate to the gods how much they have disappointed us! – ThomasinAsteria please control yourself! Surely yourself and TomAstraeus have given your Greek temple gods a small whacking from time to time!“

Tumbling out of the chariot and into the marketplace, they found it to be teeming with Egyptians purchasing everything from medicinal products to amulets, fine perfumes, and jewellery, fruit and vegetables, exotic clothing…. Fingers and Tombie ran off, inexplicably, to investigate the grave goods stand whilst Tommy, the inner werewolf headed eagerly for the dead animals stand. Fingers the easily distracted Inner typist sped off to the papyrus and ink stand accidently taking Tombie’s arm along…ThomasinAsteria and Lady TometteNut were quickly engaged in the rugs and furniture stands, shrieking in wild abandon, over their shoulders – “Such beautiful and refined Egyptian items will look wonderfully becoming, adorning the Mansion-Villa, TomAstraeus!” Temporarily abandoned by his goddesses TomAstreaus was left to investigate the tools stand, the metal and leather goods stands and the salt stand…which was conveniently close to the live animals stand…

“Oh look! The evil wolf gargoyle door knocker – over there – shopping at the spell stand! Maybe it can persuade the Tommy knockers to go back to work…”

“No! Quickly ThomasinAsteria…. Hide before it sees us! Head for the Great pyramid by the river Nile!”

“But the spell to change your destiny TomAstraeus!They are written on very fine papyrus and once they have added your name to the spell, we can chant over it!” 

“Nevermind the spell Lady TometteNut, your beseeching of the goddess Sopdet was more than enough – Now to the chariot! Fingers is waiting and Tombie can get the spell later!”

Holding tight to Tommy, the werewolf, with one hand and Tombie who was hanging off the chariot in a cloud of sand and flying limbs with the other, Tom let off a string of godly expletives and sent out a beseeching of his own to the goddess Sopdet along the lines of could he perhaps survive this wild chariot ride hotly pursued by glowing volcanic pyramid rocks? Fingers was taking his job very seriously and the chariot steeds were careering towards the Great Pyramid with all the finesse of those being hunted by dark creatures from the pits of hell. Glancing at the Seba-symbolled pyramid artifacts scrambling to catch up with them Tom couldn’t help feeling there might be some justification for that.

Oh gods! TomAstreaus – Quickly – you must put on some make-up!”

“Make-up Lady TometteNut? What are you talking about?! I am a god!!”

“Eye make-up TomAstreaus – it is completely normal in Egypt for men and gods to wear make-up -eyes with-out make up are defenceless against the ‘Evil Eye!’ ”

“The Evil – What?!! The Evil Eye? What Evil Eye Lady Tomette?!!”

“There is no time to explain now – Here, put on the eye make-up! Your inner creator and inner make-up artist will guide you in the noble steps involved!”

“It is said” the Tomipedia boomed through the clouds of sand and hieroglyphics “that the Great Pyramid of Giza was built specifically to align with the stars in particular with Sirius, Seirios to you TomAstreaus – the Wolf or the Dog Star.”

“This is the Great Pyramid of Giza?! Oh gods!”

“Yes. And the ancestral home of those fiery volcanic pyramid rocks ThomasinAsteria – the ones about to join you in the Chariot of Fire –“

“Oh gods! Lady TometteNut, help me to catch them! That’s right – hurl them back out as fast as you can!”

Returning its attentions to TomAstreaus who was standing god-like and all-powerful, or so he hoped, to the rear of the bucking Chariot, the Tomipedia turned up its volume and yelled determinedly over the screams of the women and thunder of hooves,

“When you have finished worshipping the Dog Star TomAstreaus…. “ It’s boom was laced with sarcasm but Tom chose to ignore that in a masterful display of godly disdain, “The constellation of Canis major (The Great Dog) not only accommodates the brightest star in the sky – Sirius (The Dog/Wolf Star) but also the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy. We know TomAstreaus of no other galaxy bearing such a close proximity to the Milky Way. Hence the wolf star is also known as the ‘Watchman of the Heavens at the bridge of the Milky Way’

“And the Seba symbol? What else do you know about that?”

“The Seba? Oh that!” Feigning nonchalance the Tomipedia waited casually for Tom to dislodge the Seba-marked volcanic pyramid styled hitch-hiker clinging onto his leg, and toss it back off the chariot.

“Yes Tomipedia. That!”

“Oh TomAstreaus! You are so masterful today!” ThomasinAsteria gushed delightedly over the rising wind and the thundering chariot.

“The Seba,” the Tomipedia paused for dramatic effect, as the chariot swept through the entranceway and into the heart of the Great Pyramid,” is the symbol of the stars – associated with gateways and doors and time….”

“I think we already know that… anything else – that we don’t know?

“It is also connected with the concepts of leadership, self-control, travel, studying, and fresh starts,” the Tomipedia snapped huffily, before adding pointedly, “and it is associated with the Sopdet – Egyptian goddess of the Sky and Stars!”

And the Great Pyramid?”

“- Is a vortex-portal into the Canis major Dwarf Galaxy!”

PSX_20220513_143212“Look TomAstreaus! Over there – amongst the hieroglyphics on the pyramid wall – You have invoked the god of the dog star – Seirios! We must direct our beseechings towards him!”

Tom gave his hairy legs a brief glance simultaneously admiring his physique adorned in his godly Tomga. This didn’t seem an entirely appropriate subject for beseechings at this point. Fingers was driving the chariot of fire like a hand possessed and Tom’s inner werewolf was on the loose again. Tombie lurched after it, but his leg fell off, and the Inner Leader of the Opposition was shouting about the rights of the volcanic pyramid artifacts – currently being hurled out of the chariot and into its complementary flames.

“Your destiny lies ahead of you TomAstraeus, god of the Dusk, the Stars, and the Planets, and of the art of Astronomy and Astrology!” Seirios howled above the noise and chaos.

Yes, I can see that!” Tom yelled as they hurtled ever closer to the swirling eye of the vortex spiralling towards them, accompanied, inexplicably, by the tentacles from the “giant multi-faceted nebula vortex in the (mansion’s) bathroom” that had last been spied stretching down the stairs, which were on the last viewing an Egyptian ramp.

“It is written in ‘The Calendar of lucky and unlucky days’

“This does not strike me as a lucky day Lady TometteNut! “

“We really need that spell!

“We do ThomasinAsteria? Don’t you think it’s a bit late for that now?”

“Look on the bright side TomAstreaus!”

“Seirios -what does ‘The calendar of lucky and unlucky days’ say?”

“That is for you to deduce TomAstreaus – You are the Titan, who fought against Zeus and the Olympian gods!”

An almighty roar shook the Great Pyramid, and for a moment it seemed like the whole of the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy and the Milky Way, combined into the heart of the vortex. Space and time melted into impossible dimensions, hurling the Chariot of Fire, its gods and goddesses, and all accompanying participants, on a mind-bending trip of carnival lights and shapes, and dancing hieroglyphics. Somewhere up ahead of them, a tiny wolf gargoyle doorknocker held up a sheet of papyrus covered in hieroglyphics –

“It’s all in Egyptian!” ThomasinAsteria screamed, spinning past TomAstraeus, caught in a cosmic whirlwind.

“It says…. ‘To Tom’s!’ “Lady TometteNut yelled as she floated, waving to them.

“That’s it?”

“No TomAstreaus …It also says, ‘Straight ahead to Greece!’ And just below that… ‘To the Canis major Dwarf Galaxy!’”

Adobe_20220513_150416But they’re all pointing in the same direction!!!”

“Oh gods!!! What now?!!”

References:

https://symbolsarchive.com/seba-symbol-history-meaning/

https://www.landofpyramids.org/sothis.htm

https://traveluto.com/famous-landmarks-in-egypt/

www.makeup.lovetoknow.com

www.casorojewelrysafes.com

Other Worldly Voices 4   13 comments

ig272_kees_saturn_titan_02B

 

Last in the “Other Worldly Voices” series! Saturn’s moon Titan introduces you to the dubious joys of liquid methane rain, alien thunderstorms, lightning, lakes of liquid ethane and methane, and regional methane seas. It’s also the only moon in the solar system with a dense atmosphere and thick cloud cover, and with lower gravity than Earth (about 14%) and a pretty, hazy orange sky, it is also safe from cosmic radiation. So, not a bad environment if you’re into that sort of thing. You could actually survive here without a space suit /pressurised suit – just be sure you have an oxygen mask and some pretty warm clothes! -179deg’s C approx.

It also offers a slight improvement on the vocalisation front. Cue deep and raspy voice! But at least you have a voice here despite Titan’s freezing cold 50% denser than that of Earth atmosphere, and consisting of a heady 95% nitrogen and 5% methane. However, this dense and a touch on the chilly side Titan air, leads to less quivering on the part of your vocal cords and more appropriate behaviour from them given the circumstances.

Not satisfied with leisurely vocal cords Titan’s atmosphere also slows sound waves down too. On the upside, due to high levels of nitrogen in the atmospheric composition of Titan you’ll sound sexy and your deep and raspy vocals will travel for miles, unlike on Mars! Better still you’ll sound great because this handy atmosphere does not dull down the sexy vocals you utter!

 

References:

Noise, Winter 2019 issue of Popular Science

Space.com

Posted September 19, 2021 by europasicewolf in Astronomy, Environment and Climate

Tagged with , , , ,

Other Worldly Voices: 3–Your Venutian Voice!   14 comments

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Next up, our neighbouring planet Venus: that roasting hot hell-hole of a world not even vaguely conducive to human existence, with a surface temperature hot enough to melt lead, a crushingly high pressure (think 900m under the sea!) and thoroughly poisonous, largely carbon dioxide atmosphere (aprox. 70 x the density of Earth’s – all thick and soupy) On this basis your lungs would be crushed and you wouldn’t be able to shout, scream, yell or even sing no matter how much you might like to, and you certainly wouldn’t be having a chat since you wouldn’t be able to speak. All these delights coupled up nicely with a choking cover of sulphuric acid clouds. If you survived long enough, due to Venus’s retrograde orbit you could enjoy the curious pleasure of watching the sun rise – in the west and set in the east! As you probably wouldn’t survive you might still have just enough time to see the Venutian night sky. You wouldn’t see any stars but it would be suitably dark and black. If on the other hand your untimely demise happened to occur during the day you would be able to enjoy an orangy-red sky for a few seconds – the result of the sunlight being scattered around by those deadly carbon dioxide molecules. Returning to your vocalisations, should you be lucky enough to try having any, the high atmospheric density would lead to much slower vibrations of your long-suffering vocal cords so your vocalisations would sound very deep bass-toned. However, since the sound waves you produce, if you’re really, really lucky, move through Venus’s atmosphere much quicker than they would in Earth’s so you would also be speaking in a decidedly squawky, squeaky fashion! Not great for your final yell of protest at your pending demise on Venus!

Otherworldly Voices:2 – Your Martian Voice!   24 comments

 

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Standing outside on Mars with a view to taking a refreshing breath of fresh freezing cold Martian air whilst chatting about the stupendous view of neighbouring planet Jupiter might leave you wishing your body contained something else other than blood – seeing as it would repay you for the ill-thought up idea of going outside without a space suit by boiling you to death. You wouldn’t have too much time to converse about the dumb-founding beauty of the view of Jupiter as having been dumb enough to go outside in the first place and boil your blood you won’t last a matter of seconds anyway. This slightly pressing problem might possibly give you the completely understandable desire to have a good old scream before you die but even that isn’t going to go to plan. Nobody will hear you. Not least because most people wouldn’t be dumb enough to go outside on the Red Planet in the first place. But also, because the Martian atmosphere consists almost completely of carbon ­dioxide – 95% to be precise, and it does an awesome job of absorbing vibrations – such as those produced by your vocal cords. So, not only is screaming a waste of the precious time you have left, but if you thought you could accompany your ill-fated visit for fresh air on Mars with the ear-shattering sounds of your favourite music blasting out of that old ghetto blaster you brought with you from Earth – luck’s out. Krank up that volume all you like (but be quick – remember you have only seconds to live!) but it will still be little more than a distant tinkle of sound when you’re 10 metres away. Should you wish to sing along to it, the Martian air slows sound waves down to such an extent that you will produce nothing more than a hoarse, deep-toned croak.

Posted October 21, 2020 by europasicewolf in Astrobiology, Astronomy, Environment and Climate

Tagged with , , , , ,

Otherworldly Voices   17 comments

What Would Your Voice Sound Like On Other Moons and Planets?

 

Scream, shout and yell into the vast and infinite realms of space in the ever-optimistic hope that someone or something might just hear you and do you think anyone or anything will cheerily respond to you? Maybe. But it always depends on whether anyone or anything can hear you!

originalCShouting your head off on another world doesn’t guarantee the noisy and well-loved sound of your terran-based vocal cords will resound in quite the same way in the atmospheres of other worlds comfortably nestled amongst the stars.

 

On the cosy home world of Earth sound whizzes happily and easily through the atmosphere thanks to a distinct lack of vibrations being absorbed by our gassy air. This is one of the particularly pleasing results of lots of nitrogen and just a tiny scrap of molecules of the carbon dioxide variety. The other handy bonus is of course that we can breathe…. Minor detail but worth a mention Be right back

Things start to get a little bit weird however, should you be posturing and screaming on worlds that are clearly not Earth. Different worlds, different atmospheric densities and all that scientific, technical stuff. Disappointed smile

Most of us are probably at least vaguely aware, (don’t worry if you’re not, maybe for the best!), that “in space no-one can hear you scream!) This detail tends to apply too, on the majority of worlds in space. By and large they don’t have any atmospheres at all, and the ones that do have ridiculously thin and weedy atmospheres that contain so few gases that it would be impossible for them to carry even a single stingy little sound wave. Not that this would worry you overly much as you wouldn’t be able to breathe anyway and therefore wouldn’t be alive to be annoyed by it. If you happened to be a planetary native of that particular world specially adapted to create vocalisations on a super-sonic sound scale, of the nature that would shatter lesser worlds into a zillion pieces then you might just about manage to make yourself heard in some shape or form. Although it would most probably end up sounding something more like a whispering little sound in the vast void of outer space. Winking smile

What if Earth Had a Growth Spurt!   Leave a comment

“Super-Earth’s” are faraway planets are about the size of Earth (between 2 and 10 times larger), belong to other solar systems and reside close to their own stars. These super earths are rocky worlds, smaller than gas giants like Neptune and Uranus, and sporting relatively thin atmospheres. NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, over a 4 year period discovered numerous examples of these super Earth’s.

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So, what on earth would happen if Earth had a sudden growth spurt and became a super-Earth? how would our suddenly giant super-size Earth affect its inhabitants? Everything including humans would be little short, squat versions of their/our current selves! If planetary size increases but everything on the planet remains the same gravity increases proportionally. So, if Earth suddenly doubled in size humans would immediately double their weight due to the pull of gravity on us also doubling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There would be far too much gravitational pressure for our previously tall and upstanding bodies to deal with and to do so would involve a lot more energy to resist it.

A super-sized big fat Earth would be the proud possessor of a super-strong field of gravity. Nice! But unfortunately, this would mean we would have the not-so-nice job of having to deal with a decidedly unwanted increase in the number of head-on collisions with thoroughly undesirable asteroids. Lots of them!

“As a superplanet, Earth’s greater gravitational pull would effectively attract more and larger asteroids, so “Armageddon-type” collisions would become more of a concern than they are now” – Rory Barnes, theorist studying planet habitability at the University of Washington

If our super-Earth was around 10 times bigger than its normal, perfectly reasonable size this could set-off a whole bunch of spectacular changes inside our cosy, if not rather overly large planet. The Earth has a core made of iron and boasts a liquid mantle on its outside. Due to its largely unexplained and somewhat curious upgrade to a super earth both the core and the mantle would also swell proportionally, to be 10 times their normal size – eek! Not to be out done gravity would increase 10-fold leading to a pressure increase beneath Earth’s surface. This could lead to solidifying of the iron core.

Magnetic Fields

Normal size, squidgy, little Earth has a semi-liquid core complete with convection currents and it is from here Earth’s magnetic field is generated. Magnetic fields are quite handy things to have hanging around therefore, should Earth’s friendly little core decide solidifying was a pretty cool idea we would be faced with a highly unfavourable problem. The convection currents, along with the trusty magnetic field (planetary shield) could become much weaker than they are on normal sized Earth, or worst-case scenario, could disappear altogether, which is seriously bad news for every life form that calls Earth its home. Ooh err!

sky-earth-galaxy-universe

Image Credit: Free stock photos – pexels.com (Image contains 2 photos)

 

 

 

Volcanic Activity

Another question with our shiny super-sized earth with its newly enlarged interior is the potential for a dangerous upsurge in volcanic activity. The expanded core contains higher levels of energy than little normal sized Earth but now it would have fewer outflows for all this extra energy it has gained, leading to more volcanic eruptions. (Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io comes to mind at this point!)

Our plate tectonics, would be different too. A larger and therefore much hotter mantle might increase convection current activity, also increasing plate movement. Alternatively, the high pressure might meld the crust together meaning there would be no plate tectonics at all.

Steam Planet

In fact, there are no guarantees that any form of life would be able to exist on our great big super-Earth. Most super-Earths detected by the Kepler space telescope were situated at nearly the same distance to their star as Mercury lies to our sun. (Think furnaces!) In this scenario our newly super-sized Earth would turn into a giant steamy planet!

References: https://www.livescience.com/what-if-super-earth.html

New Year 2019 Flyby – Ultima Thule!   25 comments

New Horizons – Ultima Thule Flyby! Making history in New Year 2019!

Ultima Thule Credit- John Hopkins APL

New Horizons (NASA’s spacecraft) historic $700 million mission to Pluto launched in January 2006 and arriving on July 14, 2015. It was the first ever flyby of a probe past Pluto and it did so from approximately 7,800 miles (12,550 km) away.

Pluto from Charon_thetimes3

 

 

 

The Ultima Thule flyby is a continuation of this mission and will take New Horizons into new territory far beyond Pluto at the solar system’s edge, to an area of icy worlds in space, further out than the orbit of Neptune, (1 billion miles (1.6 billion kilometres on) in a region known as the Kuiper Belt.

On New Year’s Day at 12:33 a.m. EST (0533 GMT) hopefully, New Horizons will flyby Ultima Thule (2014 MU69) at under 2,200 miles (3,500 km) away. At this point it will be 4 billion miles+ (6.4 billion km+) away from Earth.

New Horizons_Desert Fantasy_New Horizonns7A

Ultima Thule is, in point of fact, an enigmatic solar system body that scientists know almost nothing about. It is about 23-mile-wide (37 km) and currently it may or may not be just a single body. Alternatively, it is possible that it is made up of two objects that are in fact in orbit around one another.

NASA has given us the opportunity to send a message to Ultima Thule. Six choices were offered and Icewolf has chosen “Go New Horizons, Go NASA!” And we even get a certificate! Cosmic way to start the New Year 2019!!

EIW New Horiz Cert

“Travelling at light speed, the signals carrying these messages will reach the spacecraft about six hours after being beamed from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (in Laurel, Maryland, which manages the New Horizons mission for NASA), largest dish antenna, on the very same day that New Horizons flies by Ultima Thule! How cool is that?” – New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Happy New Year 2019!!

Phaethon – The Mythology   5 comments

(Image Credit: CoolCLIPS_vc051539)

Phaethon in Greek mythology was the son of Helios, the sun god, and a woman/nymph who was known among different sources as Clymene, Prote, or Rhode.

Friends of Phaethon challenged him to prove he was not illegitimate and that his father really was Helios the sun god. His mother assured him this was true and suggested he also gain confirmation from his father Helios. Phaethon decided to request from his father proof of his affiliation with the sun. Helios was happy to consent to give his son anything he wanted, but when Phaethon demanded that he should be allowed to have a whole day to drive his father’s sun chariot Helios strongly advised him not to, pointing out that even Zeus did not have the strength to handle the steeds. However, a promise was a promise and despite his misgivings Helios

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allowed him to take charge of the chariot. As he predicted Phaethon lost control of the horses. Initially the horses climbed too high causing the Earth to freeze over. The out of control steeds then careered so close to the Earth that the chariot burned and charred the Earth. Seeing the imminent disaster and in a bid to prevent that occurrence Zeus elected to bring the chariot down with a bolt of thunder. The unfortunate consequence for Phaethon being that he plummeted down to earth and was killed at the mouth of the river Eridanus, which was later recognized as the Po.

Phaethon’s close friend or even lover, Cycnus (king of Liguria) deeply grieved his demise and so the gods transformed him into a swan. Phaethon also had seven sisters, who were known as the Heliades. They too grieved deeply for him and kept watch in the place that their brother Phaethon careered to Earth and died. This wake continued until the time when the gods transformed the sisters into Poplar trees. Their tears of grief the gods transformed into amber.

The name “Phaethon” – Greek for “Shining/Radiant One”, was given also to:

  • Phaethon (Son of Eos)
  • One of the horses of Eos (the Dawn)
  • The Sun

 

 

 

 

  • The constellation Auriga
  • The planet Jupiter (Some versions refer to the planet Saturn rather than Jupiter)
  • Used as a descriptive word to describe the sun and the moon

 

Today it is the name given to rare blue asteroid “3200 Phaethon” which orbits very close to the sun and is named after the Phaethon of Greek mythology.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phaethon

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Phaethon-Greek-mythology