Archive for the ‘Cosmos’ Tag

Lunar Eclipse Fire Wolves–Eclipse Mythology Of The World   34 comments

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“Eclipses are a chance to see the universe working. It’s the solar system doing its thing right before your eyes and it’s a deep and personal pleasure.”

– E.C Krupp director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California

clip_image006clip_image008Blood moon eclipses – the moon is bathed in a red orange hue of refracted (bent) light coming from around the Earth. This April 4, 2015 blood moon eclipse, is part of the series of 4 consecutive Lunar Eclipses known as a “tetrad.” These are set approximately 6 months apart. April 15, 2014 – October 8, 2014 – our most recent one on April 4, 2015 and the shortest Total Lunar Eclipse of the 21st Century and the final one on September 28, 2015. The longest Total Lunar Eclipse this century will last 1 hour 24 minutes and will take place on July 27, 2018. Both Lunar and Solar Eclipses habitually occur in 18 year-long cycles known as Saros Cycles. Eclipses separated by a Saros Cycle are incorporated into a Saros Series. The recent Lunar Eclipse is part of Saros Series 132 which includes 71 Lunar Eclipses – the last one being on June 26, 2754.

“It’s an amazing experience, even though you know it’s just the moon moving in front of the sun. That’s why there are so many eclipse chasers”

Eclipse Fire Wolves

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Lunar Eclipse Myths from around the World

The Chinese word for “eclipse” is shih or chi meaning “to eat.” In many cultures people were of the firm belief that demons or animals were swallowing the sun or the moon at the times of eclipse. As a result of this belief they went to great pains to drive them away, commonly banging pots and pans or playing drums to this end.

clip_image012The Vikings view was that two “sky wolves” were chasing the Sun or the Moon and lunar or solar eclipses occurred whenever the wolves caught one of them. Similarly in Korea’s eclipse myths eclipses occurred when “fire dogs,” acting on orders of the king try catch and steal the Sun or the Moon. Although they only ever manage to bite their prey of “fire or ice” their actions spark an eclipse.The_Hunt_resized

Vietnam have slightly different ideas in so far as they believe it is a frog/toad that consumes the Sun or the Moon and on the West Canadian coast the Kwakiuti tribe is convinced that during the occurrence of an eclipse the “mouth of heaven” eats the Sun or the Moon.

– E.C Krupp director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California

In the minds of The Inca lunar eclipses were a result of a Jaguar attacking and eating the Moon. This bloodshed explained the red-brown hue of the “Blood Moon” commonly seen during a total lunar eclipse such as seen recently (4th April 2015) The Inca would fiercely shake their spears at The Moon and make as much noise as possible, often “beating their dogs to make them bark and howl” in the hope of scaring the Jaguar away, afraid that it would fall to Earth and eat the Inca people too!

– David Dearborn, a researcher at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California

clip_image015Chinese mythology states the Dragon, a “masculine solar energy” causes lunar eclipses when he tries to eat the Moon. The Chinese too would make much noise to chase it away and as late as 19th century cannons were fired by the Chinese navy to this end.

The ancient Mesopotamians whose culture stated that their king also symbolised the land believed that the seven demons they considered to be attacking the Moon at the time of lunar eclipse were also attacking their king. Therefore at such times they would substitute a temporary king – who if he survived the demons attack would probably be killed off later when the real king was reinstated!

Healing Lunar Eclipse Myths

clip_image017In contrast to the more aggressive lunar eclipse myths, The Luisno tribe – Southern California, would sing and chant and say prayers to restore the Moon back to good health and well-being, believing that an eclipse indicated that the Moon was very sick and feeling thoroughly under the weather!

Lunar eclipses are seen as a time of reconciliation by the people of Togo and Benim in Africa – The Batammaliba. In their culture, during an eclipse the Sun and the Moon are in battle with one another. The people work hard to discourage the discord between the two heavenly bodies and it is seen as a time when families and friends get together, and old arguments and disputes are resolved.

– Jarita Holbrook, cultural astronomer at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa.

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Eclipses are considered to be simply another natural part of the balance of the universe’s cosmic order, by The Navago. It is considered a special time and a time to take a break and reflect on the cosmic order. In order to stay in balance with the universe avoid looking at, sleeping during or eating and drinking for its duration of the eclipse. Instead the time can be spent safely indoors singing special songs and enjoying time with family.

– Nancy Maryboy, President on San Juan Island, Washington working with NASA to bring indigenous astronomy into mainstream awareness

The Hupa were of the mind that 20 wives and an array of pets (Mountain Lions and snakes) were an important part of the Moon’s life. The Moon was required to supply food for them all and when he fell short on his duty he was attacked by the Mountain cats and the snakes. This of course led to blood-letting for the Moon – Blood Moon Eclipses – But luckily for the Moon his 20 wives would come to his aid, protecting him and dutifully collecting his blood so as to restore him to his former glory and good health. This was believed to bring an end to the lunar eclipse.

– E.C Krupp director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California.

clip_image004In astrology many believe wars and conflicts, political events and acts of nature such as earthquakes can occur as a result of eclipses. Tibetan Buddhists say that during a lunar eclipse regardless of whether they are good or bad our actions increase by a thousand fold! So if you were naughty during the eclipse look out!!!

Sources:

lifeasmyth.com

Wikipedia

NASA

National Geographic

The SKA Telescope   34 comments

The Square Kilometre Array

Out of the Darkness, Into the Light

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Astronomy allows us to see back in time because the light waves from distant stars and galaxies that reach our current telescopes take a long time to do so and what we see is from a very distant past. SKA (the Square Kilometre Array) will be the most powerful radio telescope we have built, and will see back to when the first galaxies and stars formed, and will make pictures from radio waves rather than seeing light waves. This will allow objects to be discovered that would otherwise remain invisible and impossible to know of.

Expected to collect more data in one week clip_image003than previous attempts have done in the whole of history it will have the means to survey the sky 100,000 times+ faster than ever before. By the time construction of the array is completed it will include 4,400 dish antennae and flat arrays, 2,200 of which will be situated in the central 5km-wide core area. Thousands of remaining arrays will be grouped together in “stations” spanning 3,000 km (size of a continent) from the core.

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The SKA Array will likely be based in South Africa or Australia; a decision will be made in 2012. If Australia was to be chosen SKA would spread right across the mainland, into Tasmania and New Zealand.

International project, also including several European countries, which will revolutionise our understanding in several areas of physics, including general relativity, (how gravity bends spacetime) planet formation, understanding magnetic fields, and cosmology. One of the most important projects will involve measuring the nature of dark energy which it is thought makes up 73% of the universe, because of the vast expanses SKA will be able to survey.clip_image009

May provide answers to fundamental questions about nature, origin and evolution of universe.

The SKA will be able to detect extremely weak extra-terrestrial signals and may even spot other planets capable of supporting life. Astrobiologists will use SKA to search for amino acids, the building blocks of life by identifying spectral lines at specific frequencies. The SKA array is sensitive enough to be able to detect similar types of radiation to that emitted from our TV broadcasts, radar, and mobile phones. If there proved to be an advanced alien race existing somewhere out in the universe contact could occur by such means. By 2024 the construction will be complete and the fun will begin!

Solar Sails   14 comments

Solar Sail Space Crafts

 

Space craft propelled directly by the power of sunlight (solar cells are indirect power).

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Two projects are set for launch this year:-

  •   IKAROS – launched by Japanese Space Agency JAXA
  •   SOLARSAIL-1 by US based Planetary Society

(These are demonstrations to show that it can work, but they are very tiny!)

Solar Sail Craft Basics

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Constructed from Gossamer – thin reflective sails capture photons

  •   Photons are packets of energy that make up sunlight

The sails gain momentum from the photons as they are reflected from their surface. Energy gained pushed the craft forwards gently. The force of sunlight is very little but this is fine as their CO2 acts against it in the vacuum of space.

Future sails could be made of nanotube mesh – 30 times lighter, and could increase acceleration dramatically.

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Travel and Speeds

With the Sun set to shine for a good billion years or so yet, it can be considered an endless fuel supply therefore a Solar Sail Craft could in theory, reach speeds of hundreds of kilometres per hour making travel to Pluto a mere three years and to the outer limits of the Solar System years rather than decades. NASA’s Voyager craft took thirty years to reach these limits. A Solar Sail Craft launched today would pass it in ten years.

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Other Solar Sails

They would need sails 100m across and a boost from a large and unrealistically expansive laser system as the Sun’s energy decreases with distance. However laser-boosted systems could see a Solar Sail Craft travelling at speeds of up to 20% speed of light (60,000km/hr or 45,000mph) every second. This would make visiting neighbouring stars in our lifetime our best possibility.

Brief History

  1. Concept first proposed by German astronomer Johannes Kelper in seventeenth century
  2. 1862 Scottish physicist James Clark Maxwell discovers that light exerts a pressure on a surface.
  3. 1867 Jules Vernes suggests light pressure could provide a mechanical means of propulsion.

solarsail4. 1924 Russian scientist Fridrickh Arturovich Tsander wrote “For flight in Interplanetary Space I am working on the idea of flying using tremendous mirrors of very thin sheets capable of achieving favourable results.“

Mariner Probe

5. 1971 When NASA’s probe Mariner ran low on steering thrusters fuel en route to Venus engineers angled its solar panels into the Sun and used solar radiation pressure to steer it back on course.

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6. 2005 Cosmos-1 a Solar Sail designed by US Planetary Society failed its test, due to rocket failure on launch vehicle, resulting in it being unable to reach its intended orbit.

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7. 2008 NASA’s Nanosail-D mission, to test the Solar Sail’s deployment techniques. Lost during launch failure.

Mining the Moon   34 comments

  
Free Energy! But At What Cost? 

  

 

Forty years after man first walked on the Moon the people of Earth are now considering their options for making a new and potentially devastating use for our nearest neighbour “The Moon” running the risk of destroying one world in the name of saving another.

Just three space shuttles full of lunar soil heated to create Helium-3, could power the whole planet for years…BUT AT WHAT COST?  The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 says no-one owns the Moon.  It is free for both exploration and for use.  As such this leaves plenty of opportunity for the world’s super-powers to exercise their plans for mining the Moon.

 

Mankind the Destroyer of Worlds

 

Helium-3 is a potent, safe fuel which could be used to power nuclear power fusion reactors to produce clean electric.  It is created by heating vast quantities of lunar soil (regolith).  One ton of Helium-3 currently valued at $5billion (£3.27billion) and could power New York for one year.  Three fully loaded space shuttles could meet the entire planet’s annual energy needs.

China leads the way followed by India and Russia, and US plans to build a Moon Base by 2021.  Private investors are also funding missions.  Gerald Kulcinski, director of Fusion Technological Institution at the University of Wisconsin, is convinced it’s the future.  “Very small environmental impact on the Moon is far outweighed by the impact of green-house gases and having proliferation-free power sources that could last 1000 years.”

Mining the Moon

BUT!

It takes one million tons of regolith to produce one ton of Helium-3.  Large scale mining will scar the lunar landscape.  Fundamentally changing the Moon’s atmosphere and destroying its surface.

  

The Moon also has other areas of important scientific value – it will be from here that future missions into deeper space, will launch, and there are also those who seek to use the ‘radio quiet’ zone on the Moon’s far side to build long-range radio telescopes…. it is not inconceivable they may find signs of Extra Terrestrial Intelligence.

BUT!

If we start mining one world where will it end? 

  

  We should use the Moon but not exploit it.  The Moon is only a three day trip away, likely one day we’ll call it home…..

 

 

Remember! The Moon and the Earth are  intricately bound together. The Moon has much influence over the tides and seas of Earth.

Damage the Moon….and who knows what damage we may do to the homeworld and the future of the human race?….

 

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

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