The Sun has sprung a leak

NASA/SDO

Aloha – Apparently the Sun has sprung a giant leak, approximately 50x the size of the Earth.  The good news is that we don’t have any astronauts on their way to or from Mars and in the path of the Solar Storm that has accompanying the lead.  Also, the accompanying geomagnetic storm that accompanies such events will enhance the Northern Lights affect on the Earth’s atmosphere.  Even so, the picture is disturbing, reminding us of how tenuous our relationship with the Solar System really is.  Enjoy the light show while it lasts.

Doc

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Early Risers – A good time to see Mercury in the sky

Mercury on Oct. 11, 2015

Giving away my age, I can’t help thinking of the old song The Age of Aquarius this week.  Lines such as Mercury aligning with Mars comes to mind.  I have been wondering about the bright lights (planets not stars) showing up in the pre-dawn horizon.  turns out we have four planets; Venus, Mars, Jupiter and…. drum roll…. Mercury lighting up the sky.  I’m enjoying the show as I do leave for work while it is still dark.  It almost makes getting up that early worthwhile.  Doc

Aliens with technology discovered?

Aloha – What fun!  Scientists have now discovered around KIC 8462852 what appear to be unnatural debris fields.  It now seems probable that we will discover existing or remnants of alien life even in our own solar system, but that is likely to be somewhere between microscopic and shrimp sized life forms.  But an unnatural debris field could be the type of mess we have just outside our planet (satellites and such).  Of course with a distance of 1500 light years from Earth, whatever has been spotted was up there 1500 years go.  Who knows how far such a civilization, and it would have to be a civilization has evolved or devolved in 15 centuries.  Still it has the astronomy world abuzz.  In January, time has been set aside for further investigation with the heavily booked long-range telescopes we have developed.  If the suggests something other than an asteroid traffic jam, then more dollars and study will go into it.

Doc

What’s 4x longer than the Grand Canyon and twice as deep?

NASA reveals best photos yet of Pluto’s jumbo moon Charon

Aloha – Charon, the moon of Pluto that is nearly half as large as the planet itself boasts the Grander Canyon.  Along it’s equator are several large canyons, the largest of which is in fact four times longer than the Grand Canyon and twice as deep.  The moon itself looks and feels a bit worn out.  It looks a bit like a soccer ball with a slow leak that has seen too many goals, or perhaps a better comparison is how much it looks like the last marshallow I roasted over an open flame.  With all the attention for “The Martian” release I thought getting back to Pluto today could lend us a reality check… although free flowing water on Mars still holds my attention.

Doc

Supersize it Sunday night – The SuperMoon is upon us

Aloha – For many in North America, this Sunday will be the opportunity of the generation.  We have a SuperMoon Lunar Eclipse coming to North America.  The next one is scheduled for 2033; the last one was in 1982.  For many in my generation, this will be a last chance to supersize it.  It will kick off about 6:30 pm Mountain Time and wrap up about 9:30 pm Mountain Time… check local listings for a SuplerMoon near you.

The Moon’s position to light and angles to the Sun will actually make the Moon appear 14% larger than normal.  We may get a blood moon situation from the eclipse that will certainly panic a certain percentage of the population who might miss this news.

The question for me is where to watch it.  I could enjoy it from by 300 sf treehouse, or to avoid the city lights I might take a trip up a local canyon.  For me the verdict is still out.  For you?  Remember, next opportunity is 2033.

Doc

Two Black Holes are closing in on each other and the explosion should be enough to…

Aloha – When I first ran across this story I thought it was going to be another end of the world tale, but it looks like we’re safe on this one.  Apparently we have two black holes pulling into one another and the expected collision will be comparable to several Earth sized planets of TNT exploding.  It could potentially destroy one or more galaxies.  The good news is that these two black holes aren’t in our galaxy…. whew.  In astronomical distance they are pretty darn close, only about a light-week away from each other and closing fast.  Still, the explosion isn’t expected to occur for about a hundred thousand years.  I guess Al Gore-ites will have to panic about something else.  Doc

Baby Galactic Butterfly

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption"><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 20px; background-color: #eeeeee;">The shimmering colors visible in this Hubble Space Telescope image show off the remarkable complexity of the Twin Jet Nebula, or PN M2-9.</span></span>

NASA provided this image of the Twin Jet Nebula, caused by the escaping gas of a collapsing star; or in the case two stars in close proximity.  Did one cause the destruction of the other?  Unknown.  Considering how everything I hear and read about the stars is described in billions of years, even more than the picture I was surprised to read that this nebula is only about 1200 years old.  We have trees on Earth that old.  My Great Uncle Waldo is almost that old.  And the entire Star Wars cast is older than that based on the preamble of the first movie.  Doc