Author Archives: Stephen Smith

The Whichness of the Why

  Nov 21, 2014 Another asteroid has been detected sporting a long tail. Comets are often called “dirty snowballs” by astronomers. However, various investigative missions, such as Giotto and Deep Impact, revealed them to be blackened, cratered, and fractured. No … Continue reading

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Circular Afterglow

m4s0n501   Nov 20, 2014 Some gamma ray bursts exhibit unusual characteristics. When charged particles are accelerated in an electric field, they emit synchrotron radiation that creates X-rays and gamma rays—something that has been demonstrated in laboratory experiments. Gamma rays … Continue reading

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Anything Goes

  Nov 18, 2014 Science advances through irrational methods. “I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led, and bearding every authority which stood in their way.” — Thomas Jefferson … Continue reading

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Precessional Magnetar

  Nov 17, 2014 A toroidal magnet field is said to be embedded in a magnetar. “Magnetars” are usually classified as “X-ray pulsars (AXP)” or “soft gamma repeaters (SGR)”. As conventional theories argue, they are created when neutron stars reach … Continue reading

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Black Lightning

  Nov 14, 2014 Rapid gamma ray bursts from a black hole thunderstorm. An “extremely powerful outburst of gamma rays” was recently detected by the MAGIC telescopes in the Canary Islands. The most remarkable aspect to the observation was that … Continue reading

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The Polarized Milky Way

  Nov 13, 2014 Electromagnetic fields guide light in specific ways. The image above is from the Planck satellite, now defunct, that was launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) in May 2005, along with the Herschel Space Observatory, which also … Continue reading

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Landing on a Comet

Nov 12, 2014 Picture of the Day articles are meant to highlight scientific achievements and to offer alternative viewpoints. A major scientific achievement is happening now. The Thunderbolts Project urges readers to follow the Rosetta Mission’s climactic landing on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko … Continue reading

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Contradictory Clusters

  Nov 11, 2014 Some star clusters appear to be inside out. Ideas that enter the mind under fire remain there securely and for ever. — Leon Trotsky The Flame Nebula is located in the constellation of Orion, just below … Continue reading

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Plasma Forms

  Nov 10, 2014 Measurements indicate that this nebula is one degree above absolute zero. Temperature has little to do with electricity, though. “Bipolar outflow” is a term used to describe the nebular structure seen above, although the cause of … Continue reading

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Close Cousins

  Nov 7, 2014 Could Mercury and the Moon be more closely related than previously thought? On March 18, 2011 the MESSENGER spacecraft (Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging) entered orbit around the planet Mercury. The last time a … Continue reading

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