Twinkle Twinkle Little Star: BGP's Astronomy Thread

Page 8 of I'm sure there are several astronomy enthusiasts here, besides TB&G and myself. I can't get enough of astronomy and I never get tired of learning n... 114 comments | 2054 Views | Go to page 1 →

  1. #106
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    I mentioned earlier this week about a discovery of a peculiar radio signal coming from a red dwarf star named Ross 128 located about 11 LY away in the constellation Virgo.

    Back in May at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico , astronomers were going through some data when they discovered some very peculiar signals coming from the direction of Ross 128, unlike anything they had ever heard before. Ross 128, like all red dwarfs , is smaller and much dimmer than our sun and is too dim to be seen with the naked eye.

    For about ten minutes back in May, a radio signal came from Ross 128 that was at a frequency astronomers hadn't ever detected before in red dwarf stars.

    Could it be artificial intelligence? Aliens? At the time, astronomers admitted that the signal was theoretically consistent with the transmission from an alien civilization but they put the alien hypothesis at the bottom of the list of explanations. Leading candidates were said to be flares coming from Ross, emissions coming from objects in the same field of view as Ross, and a burst from one or more high orbiting satellites.

    Fast forward from May to this week. New, follow-up observations point to the latter hypothesis as the likely source of the strange signal. Yesterday, the director of the Planetary Habitability Laboratory at the University of Puerto Rico said that the best explanation is that the signals are transmissions from one or more geostationary satellites. By the way, these satellites circle Earth at an altitude of about 22,300 miles.

    Since Ross 128 is close to the celestial equator, where many geosatellites are placed, it makes sense that the signals were within the satellite's frequencies and only appeared and persisted in Ross 128. While this still doesn't explain the strong dispersion-like characteristics in the signals, it is possible that multiple reflections could explain the distortions. So, it doesn't appear that these signals came from aliens (darn it!!!). However, it's just a matter of time, especially as astronomers discover more and more exoplanets. Who knows, the signal we're all hoping for may be on its way to Earth as I type this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Professor View Post
    Gamma ray burst would definitely do the job. I read an article about that in one of the science magazines, maybe ID magazine. Scary scenario.
    I'll follow-up on those possible end of life scenarios soon...

  3. #108
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    Here's a meteor calendar for those who are "shooting star" watchers like me.

    Notice the Moon won't be a hindrance to observation in the Orionids shower with only 4% illumination during peak time.

    The Geminids shower in December should be some really nice viewing as well w/ 120+ meteors possible during peak hours and only 16% illumination of the Moon.

    FYI, the radiant is the point in the sky(relative to the observer) from which meteors appear to originate. For example, the Perseid meteors appear to come from a point within the constellation Perseus. If the radiant is at or below the horizon, very few meteors will be visible since the atmosphere shields the Earth from most of the debris and only meteors that are travelling very nearly tangential to the Earth's surface will be visible.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Science Friction View Post
    Wow, you are some kinda picker.
    I bought one, I don't remember the name, for Papaw at Christmas about 2004. Now I'm anxious to put it on our patio, I can work with it thru my laptop to focus certain objects. He will have to unpack it, we haven't used it for some time. Now Science Friction has given me the sky bug. You're going to drag me out of my depression over the 10 & 1/2 hours of back surgeries and my slow recovery that I didn't count on. So, Papaw, my sons and all my family will thank you for forcing me to try harder to be up and out. I thank you too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Science Friction View Post
    I hope I'm not boring you guys with my cosmic musings. Just because I find this stuff fascinating, I know some may not. Feel free to add your own thoughts on our cosmos. I love hearing what you have to say about the mysteries of the universe.
    I don't know about anyone else but I'm enjoying this so much. And you are very informative. I'll have to look back at this when I get Papaw to bring out his telescope. He is very protective of it so only he unpacks and moves it. He loves this stuff too.

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    Appreciate the humor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Science Friction View Post
    Thanks for sharing that. What did you think of Hale-Bopp when it made it's appearance in the late nineties? I was mesmerized. H-B put on a much greater show than the most famous comet, Halley's, did back in 1986.

    Btw, stay tuned for some info on the 2017 Perseid meteor shower.
    I could not believe the brightness of Hale-Bopp, we could see it for several days. We had a small very basic telescope when Haley's came across and decided to buy a better one. But with two boys and school and all their extracurricular activities. We had not gotten a better one when Hale-Bopp made it's spectacular night show. We have a good telescope now and just haven't been using it. Now you have me hooked for sure. August meteor showers hope the moon isn't bright? And then the Eclipse, the meteor showers in October, November and December. Back to Hale-Bop, but it was so special to see the unexpected. And twin tails! Surprised us! Sad thing I remember those people who all died in that Heaven's Gate Cult. Thanks for all your knowledge you share. S.F.

  8. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sportsaholic Mamaw View Post
    I bought one, I don't remember the name, for Papaw at Christmas about 2004. Now I'm anxious to put it on our patio, I can work with it thru my laptop to focus certain objects. He will have to unpack it, we haven't used it for some time. Now Science Friction has given me the sky bug. You're going to drag me out of my depression over the 10 & 1/2 hours of back surgeries and my slow recovery that I didn't count on. So, Papaw, my sons and all my family will thank you for forcing me to try harder to be up and out. I thank you too.
    Mamaw, I can't tell you how much I appreciate you reading my thoughts. It means a lot. I really love astronomy. I feel a real connection to the cosmos . It's a very spiritual thing for me.

  9. #114
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    Before we talk more about what it would take to completely sterilize ALL life on Earth, keep in mind that I am not just talking about human life. Heck, a crazy , cultist dictator armed with enough nuclear weapons or a big ball or rock that falls from the sky and triggers a sudden, drastic change in global climate could get rid of our fragile butts.

    When you consider what, if anything, could sterilize the Earth, think in terms of killing off every single living organism, including this resilient little microscopic, eight-legged, water inhabitant called a tardigrade. These little suckers can withstand temps of around -456 F and as high as +304 F for a few minutes. To date, they are the only animals that have been exposed to the naked vacuum of space and lived to tell about it. That's some kind of pesky creature if you are trying to exterminate them !!! If they are exterminated from the Earth, more than likely everything else will be gone too. What would do it???

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    Jupiter's Great Red Spot checks in at over 10,000 miles wide (10,159 mi as of April 3 ) and is 1.3 times as wide as the little blue dot we call home. With the help of a little NASA imagery, here's our Earth superimposed over the big red Jovian storm. The image of Jupiter was captured by astronomer Christopher Go, who clearly has a better telescope than I do.

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