Archive for the ‘Blue’ Tag

3200 Phaethon – Outlandish Blue Space Rock   14 comments

Rare Blue Asteroid 3200 Phaethon

AsteroidsTo observe a blue asteroid is an extraordinary occurrence, and to stumble on a blue comet is an unprecedented phenomenon. Asteroid (3200) Phaethon is an outlandish blue-coloured asteroid which in addition has been discerned to be acting on occasion in much the same way as a comet, and it is proving to be well beyond the mysterious and remarkable status that its international investigators originally credited it with.

Most asteroids range in colour from lacklustre grey to varying shades of red, depending on the nature of their physical surface matter. Phaethon is not only one of the very few rare blue asteroids in our galaxy but furthermore, looks to be one of the most outstanding shades of blue amongst celestial bodies of its kind, including comets.

Orbit of 3200 Phaethon
Orbit of 3200 Phaethon – Image Credit: By Tomruen – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64315495

Phaethon’s blue colouring is derived from reflecting extra blue-end spectrum light and is unvarying across the whole of its surface, suggesting it has relatively recently taken a roasting by the Sun. The implication is further enforced by the surface temperature of Phaeton which can be an aluminium-melting 800 degrees C, (1,500 degrees F) approximately, due to capacity of its decidedly eccentric orbit to bring Phaethon bringing it into such close vicinity of the Sun.

Phaethon has the typical appearance of an asteroid in the night sky (a dot) despite that the standard implications say that it is a dead comet (indistinct sphere and a tail). It also appears to be where the December Geminids meteor shower springs from. Phaeton was detected in 1983, up to which point meteor showers were connected with active comets rather than asteroids in scientific circles.

Phaethon has proved something of an enigma enjoying both asteroid qualities and the appearance and behaviour of a comet. The result being that it’s hard to say which one it bears the closest resemblance to. It is alone, other than one other celestial body in the galaxy in discharging a miniature tail of dust at its nearest point to the sun. Consequently, the distinguishing features customarily understood to single out comets from asteroids suddenly became very unclear.

It is possible that Phaethon could either be a relative of, or even an actual broken-off chunk of another blue asteroid known as Pallas. A large and much more distant asteroid, Pallas has been observed to be approximately twice as reflective as Phaethon which itself has proved many shades darker than it had first been considered to be.  However, this does nothing to help in explaining the potential relationship between asteroids Phaethon and Pallas.

Another possible Phaethon relative, is 2005 UD, small blue asteroid also under observation by astronomers, along with Phaethon, to decipher the mysteries inherent in these two blue asteroids and discover whether the same rare properties exist in them both. Such research and its future results will support astronomer’s efforts to figure-out the secrets of the enigmatic blue asteroid Phaethon.

Sources:  University of Arizona, https://www.sciencedaily.com (“Rare blue asteroid reveals itself during fly-by.”)

 

Advertisements

Posted November 12, 2018 by europasicewolf in Astronomy

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

Raining Glass on Exotic Blue Marble Planet   14 comments

 

Exotic Blue-Marble Planet Raining Glass…Sideways!

Exo-Planet HD 189733b

We all know exotic alien planets can be very strange and bizarre, and turbulent blue marble exo-planet HD 189733b in the constellation of Vulpecula (The Fox) is no exception. In fact this alien world is a shining example of wild and exotic alienness. Scoring a first for humanity (and Europan Ice Artist impression of HD 189733b_Image credits: NASA, ESA, M. KornmesserWolves if you happen to be lucky enough to be part of the Pack) those clever NASA and ESA astronomer types with a smidgling of help from the Hubble Space Telescope have figured out the real planetary colours of an alien world circumnavigating another sun; something it does this in 2.2 Earth days tucking in very close and cosy with its parent star (sun).

Although at first glance, and this would have to be a very close up glance, this deep azure blue world, a giant gas planet known as a “hot Jupiter” bears a remarkable similarity to the heart-warming blue colour of Earth as seen when floating just above it in a cosmic deck chair whilst sipping an intrepid tequila in intergalactic space and admiring the view. Smile

However, before you all go rushing off to dust off those aeon old telescopes lying forgotten in the attics and lofts of the home world, don’t! Not a good idea at all. Leave them right where they are…gathering very un-alien like Earth dust! HD 189733b is one of the closest exo-planet’s to Earth but it still lies 63 light years (630 trillion kilometres) from Earth and despite the fact that it shares pretty much the same size and mass stat’s as the Europa’s Ice wolves mother world, Jupiter, and still shines with that beautiful star-blue glow, and even has awesome sunsets, you won’t be able to see it!! No… not even a little blue dot so just take a nice deep breath of Earth air and calm down!

Colour is where the similarity between this exotic exo-planet and Earth end, swallowed hungrily by its dramatically unstable and exotic, atmosphere where it rains glass sideways (drops of molten magnesium silicate particles) in a furious frenzy of hurricane-force winds hitting a ferocious, hyperactive 7000 kilometres-per-hour (4,350 mile per hour). With a searing atmospheric temperature of 1000+ degrees Celsius (1,832 degrees Fahrenheit/1000 degrees C day side, 1,200 degrees F/650 degrees C night side – tidally locked so one side always faces its sun) atmospheric water exists in the form of steam, intermingled with vapour mists and fierce, blazing flares. 1,000 tons of its atmosphere is blown away with each passing second by its sun’s (star’s) intermittent solar surges.

Blue Planet_Credit:GoogleAnd why is HD 189733b a deep and shiny azure blue colour? I hear you ask…albeit very quietly in a “don’t tell Wolfie we asked or we’ll be here all night” kind of tone. The sideways-raining glass (magnesium silicates) in its hyperactive atmosphere, scatter blue light very effectively to create this effect. Earth shines bold and blue due to the blue colours in the sunlight scattering in the atmosphere. Yes, the sun is still there to achieve this very important end even if you can’t mostly see it through all that lovely grey cloud cover. Cold, distant Neptune is also a blue planet, but for the entirely different reason that its air has copious levels of methane gracing it. This decidedly non-breathable Neptunian methane does a pretty good job of absorbing red light blotting it out altogether to human eyesight so that Earth dwellers beady little eyes will only see the blue light reflecting back to them and therefore Neptune is blue. This is a very therapeutic and relaxing colour for the average Earth dweller to cast their beady little eyeballs on according to the therapists.

Exo-planet temperature map data revealed by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope In 2007 allowed scientists the opportunity to chart the bizarre weather environment of the exotic, alien world of exo-planet HD 189733b. It was concluded that there are roughly 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius), differences between the daytime side and night-time side temperatures, and these are also responsible creating the wild, gale force winds buffeting this beautiful marble blue world amongst the stars.

Sources:

softpedia

liveleak.com

space.com

NASA and ESA

Alien Sunsets   33 comments

Watching the sunset on another world 150 light years from Earth….

What would it look like?

Osiris

HD 209458 b (Osiris) is a large exoplanet or extrasolar planet that orbits the Sun-like star HD 209458 in the constellation Pegasus, some 150 light-years from Earth’s solar system. First discovered on November 5, 1999 during “Spectroscopic studies.”

Osiris_HD 209458bOsiris

Osiris is a 7th magnitude world, visible from Earth with good binoculars or a decent telescope. Osiris (HD209458b), 150 Ly from Earth orbits very closely to its sun. Measured by the Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope on March 23. 2005 it had an atmospheric temperature of around 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,800 degrees Fahrenheit) it’s year lasts just 3.5 Earth days long. Very bad for the aging process!

Osiris Firsts:

First PrizeHD 209458 b was the first transiting extrasolar planet discovered:

  • Known to have an atmosphere
  • Observed to have an evaporating hydrogen atmosphere
  • Found to have an atmosphere containing oxygen and carbon
  • One of the first two extrasolar planets to be directly spectroscopically observed
  • The first extrasolar planet found to have water vapour in its atmosphere. (April 2007)

(Sunset On HD 189733 – Osiris)

Sunset on HD209458b (reconstructed from the HST/STIS transmission spectrum): Image: Frederic Pont of the University of Exeter: based on data form a camera on-board the Hubble Space Telescope)

Osiris doesn’t actually have as surface on which to sit peacefully watching an alien sunset but for the purposes of this post we will pretend it does. What it does have however is an atmosphere, which when passed through by the light from its star (sun) – it does this every so often when Osiris passes between Earth and its own sun (transits)– allows the scientific types here on sunny Earth to figure out in a scientific way mostly beyond the understanding of the average Earthling, exactly which colours its sun would set in, should Osiris have a surface – as already stated it doesn’t but… and we were spending a happily romantic evening sitting on the (make-believe) surface.

I said it HASN’T got one!!! So don’t try it!! It won’t be any good for you!!

In the image to the right Osiris’s sunset can be seen as it would appear if having travelled at light speed to reach it, you were floating 6,200 miles/10,000 km above the planetary surface – preferably not in a deckchair unless you’re wearing a heavy duty space suit 😉 a space station would do nicely.

Floating 6,200 miles above the planetary surface...The Osirisian sun- HD 209458– it’s star, is, much like Earth’s Sun, white – yes I know…The Sun is yellow…but if there was no atmosphere it would look white – not that we would see it because without an atmosphere life on Earth would have survived for approx. 20 seconds before exploding into instant extinction.

An alien sunset on Osiris really does look alien – unlike Earth’s. Osiris’s atmosphere consists of sodium which when starlight (sunlight) zips through it, absorbs the red light. (think prisms and colours of rainbows when white light is split) This results in the remaining starlight appearing blue. It makes perfectly good sense if you were paying attention in your school science lessons. If you weren’t then it’s your own fault and you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself!!

As back home on Earth the blue light from the star is scattered (“Rayleigh scattering,” a mechanism also responsible for the Earth’s sky being blue) creating a progressive change through the blue end of the spectrum through to a pretty green and later a deep, dark shade of green as its star dips further beneath the horizon.

The more sensible approach to watching the Osirian sunset...In such colours you should be able to get a good view of Osiris’s sun without going instantly blind in which case you will notice it looks oddly flat around the southern half. The same effect occurs when we watch the sun setting from Earth. This is the consequence of diffraction (light bending) and nothing to worry about..

Osiris, Eygptian god of the Underworld_Credit Jeff DahlWhilst you are relaxing in the Osirisian sunset you can reflect on the little snippet of mythology attached to it’s title… Osiris was an Egyptian god, usually identified as the god of the afterlife, the underworld and the dead. He was classically depicted as a green-skinned man with a pharaoh’s beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive crown with two large ostrich feathers at either side, and holding a symbolic crook and flail. His green skin is symbolic of new birth. This image is based on New Kingdom tomb paintings.

    

      AND FOR COMPARISION PURPOSES, THE SUNSET ON HD 189733 b

    Sunset on HD 189733 bSunset on HD 189733 b looks like an especially awesome Earth sunset when the sky is very clear and there is only a small amount of dust in the atmosphere. HD 189733 b is much closer to its star (sun) than Earth is to our Sun so its star looks considerably bigger 25 times larger than Earth’s sun when viewed at sunset compared.

Soaking up the atmosphere on HD 189733b

HD 189733 b’s sun is orange and nowhere near as hot as Earth’s Sun and consequently is coloured orange as oppose to the white of our Sun. Instead of undergoing a gradual change of colour as it sets, this alien sun transforms straight from its original orange colour to deepest red in the thick layers of the lower atmosphere.

Jupiter and HD 189733 b size comparison

HD 189733b discovered in 2005 is an extrasolar planet of similar size to Jupiter. It orbits a star (it’s sun) in a binary system called HD 189733 in the constellation of Vulpecula in two Earth days. The aging process on this world would be terribly fast in our terms and those wrinkles would appear in a frighteningly super-smart short time!! The star system itself one of the closest planet-star systems known making it extremely hot. It is located near the Dumbell Nebula, approximately 62 light years from Earth and is known as a “Hot Jupiter.”

HD 189733 and M27, the Dumbbell Nebula. Credit: Daniel Jaroschik

HD 189733b shares many similar characteristics as HD 209458b (a.k.a. “Osiris) Although HD 189733b’s atmosphere isn’t thought to be evaporating like Osiris’, atmospheric gases extend far beyond it and out into space. This is significant in that starlight can also pass through meaning that scientists have been able to figure out that the atmosphere contains water and methane resulting in the probability that HD 189733b may have a blue hue, reminiscent of Uranus.

The atmosphere also contains iron, silicate and aluminium oxide particles. These would seem to collect in HD 189733b’s upper atmosphere, forming a thin, hazy, reflective cloud in the exosphere. This leads to the natural conclusion that the weather on HD 189733b is hot and cloudy.

Thanks to the Spitzer telescope it was discovered in February 2007 for the first time that the atmosphere of exoplanet HD 209458b (Osiris) is relatively dry, thick and dusty. Osiris even contains grains of sand (silicates).

Exoplanet

Although it is not suitable for the existence of alien life it is an exciting step on the road to discovery of such worlds.

Sources:

PhysOrg.com

Prof. Frédéric Pont

ExoClimes.com

Moon-Wolf Watching on a World of Ice   46 comments

    New_EuropaCaller_of_the_MoonSong

Welcome to the New Europa!

This is a very strange new world we find ourselves catapulted into, and through who’s icy moonscape we find ourselves roaming. It spins much faster on its axis that is for sure! It’s day is considerably shorter than the Old Europa’s!  But our icy hunting ranges are rich with good wholesome prey and though somewhat alien in appearance also reassuringly fat and juicy! Unfamiliar moon winds drift through our Ice Wolf fur and new stars glint in unknown patterns in an alien sky. And in the coolness of the night the Ice Wolves of Europa call the song of the moon wolves to a sky with different stars.

As we experience the changes that have swept us into this new world…slipping between different realities we are reminded that all too often in life we cling onto the very thing we cannot keep hold of and even when we know it is lost to us our lives are shaped by that longing for familiarity. The fierce refusal to give into the process of adaptation serves only to ensure that we are trapped in an unchanging form because we fear to change. In dreaming of cities in the sky~worlds beyond the stars we embrace these changes and reach out to the new future that is ours to claim.

 May wolf ever walk beside you, and grant you rest in his shadow ~ Europa’s Ice Wolf  2010

Ice_wolves_of_Europa 

Posted October 3, 2010 by europasicewolf in Wolves (Canis Lupus)

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

Cosmic Christmas   5 comments


 


The Tree At The Top Of The Stars!


Cosmic Christmas


 


 




 


Dramatic new images of a cluster of stars known as the “Christmas Tree” in the constellation of Monoceros the Unicorn, not far from the more familiar constellation “Orion-The Hunter” have been captured by astronomers. Dr Robert Massey from the Royal Astronomical Society says “This is a genuinely stunning object.” 


 




 

     


                                                                                     


These sparkling blue stars look like christmas tree baubles and are located 2,600 light years from Earth. (Somewhat further than your local pub!) To see the tree it is necessary to view the image lying on your side!?! (sorry about this!).  The cosmic christmas decorations are located in an area of Monoceros known by astronomers as NGC 2264.


 



     


                                                                                     


These sparkling blue stars look like christmas tree baubles and are located 2,600 light years from Earth. (Somewhat further than your local pub!) To see the tree it is necessary to view the image lying on your side!?! (sorry about this!).  The cosmic christmas decorations are located in an area of Monoceros known by astronomers as NGC 2264.


 




Posted December 19, 2008 by europasicewolf in Astronomy

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , ,