TPOD Archive 2020

← 2019 TPODs

Believing is Seeing

Believing is Seeing

October 22, 2020 Theories provide context for observations. Recent data from the twin Voyager spacecraft reveals that the Interstellar Medium surrounding the Solar System is a diffuse region of charged particles, primarily ionized hydrogen, with a density of about one atom per cubic centimeter. However, between galaxies, astrophysicists estimate that ...
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Tilted Haloes

Tilted Haloes

Clouds of gas that "rain down" upon the Milky Way from a variety of sources. Some drift between galaxies in space. (Image: © A. Feild/STScI). Click to enlarge. October 21, 2020 Galaxies are electrical in nature. According to a recent press release, the Milky Way galaxy is "...surrounded by a ...
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Night Burst

Night Burst

Artist’s impression of a "rupturing magnetar", a possible source for FRBs. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/S. Wiessinger. Oct 20, 2020 FRBs are not gravity bombs. About ten years ago, astronomers discovered what they call a “Fast Radio Burst”, or FRB. It was estimated that the event released more energy ...
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How May I Assist You?

How May I Assist You?

BepiColumbo slips past Venus on its way to Mercury. Credit: ESA/BepiColombo/MTM. Click to animate. October 19, 2020 Mercury ahead. The BepiColombo satellites to Mercury were launched from French Guyana on October 20, 2018. The mission is named for Giuseppe Colombo (1920-1984) who was the first to realize that Mercury rotates ...
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Plasma Science

Plasma Science

Tampa Bay lightning. Credit: James Boone. Click to enlarge. October 16, 2020 Astronomers find many celestial phenomena to be unexpected. Many of those phenomena are familiar, even though they are not easily explained. The aurorae at each of Earth’s poles are familiar to most people, although the way they form ...
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Langmuir Bursts

Langmuir Bursts

Solar flares. Mercury is seen as the bright dot on the right. Credit: Tom and Elizabeth Kuiper (JPL/STAR Prep Academy). October 15, 2020 What powers coronal mass ejections? According to a recent press release, solar flares are driven by magnetized loops of plasma. The magnetic fields in the “magnetic flux ...
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Plumes on Bennu

Plumes on Bennu

Particles are ejected from asteroid Bennu. Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/Lockheed Martin. October 14, 2020 Bennu is among 7000 Near Earth Objects (NEO) that orbit the Sun. The Osiris-Rex mission was launched on September 8, 2016 and is now orbiting 101955 Bennu. Its goal is to collect a sample from the ...
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Space Is Not a Thing

Space Is Not a Thing

Conventional view of expansion. Credit: Joe Lertola. Click to enlarge. October 13, 2020 Stars are born where regions of space accumulate dense electric charge. Stars are concentrations of electricity that result from Birkeland currents and electric charge separation in space. Therefore, conventional models of stellar evolution reveal almost nothing about ...
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Calm Before the Storm

Calm Before the Storm

A field of sunspots from Cycle 24. Click to enlarge. October 12, 2020 Sunspots are mysterious. According to a recent press release, heliophysicists are studying sunspots fields in order to understand how similar phenomena might occur on other stars. Beginning with data from the Solar Dynamics Observatory and the Hinode ...
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The Mars 2020 Mission

The Mars 2020 Mission

The Perseverance rover launches from Cape Canaveral. Credit: NASA/JPL. Click to enlarge. October 9, 2020 One of the most important questions about other planets is whether water is present. NASA launched Mars 2020, otherwise known as "Perseverance", on July 30, 2020. Its mission is to search for evidence of water ...
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On and Off

On and Off

There are some unusual stars in the Milky Way. Credit: Getty images.  October 8, 2020 Stars respond to incoming electric charge flow. According to consensus theory, when a star uses up its hydrogen it contracts because radiation pressure no longer overcomes the gravity pulling its outer layers into its ...
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No Wind in the Dust

No Wind in the Dust

Dusty filaments surround NGC 1275. Credit: Hubble Legacy Archive, ESA, NASA; Al Kelly. Click to enlarge. October 7, 2020 Galactic filaments are not kinetic phenomena. Astronomers ponder the enigmatic structure of Galaxy NGC 1275. Multiple strands of material extend outward in light-years-long tendrils, enclosing it in a loose cocoon. The ...
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Star Giants

Star Giants

The electrical model of stellar evolution. Oct 6, 2020 Are red giant stars old or young? "Children will always be afraid of the dark, and men with minds sensitive to hereditary impulse will always tremble at the thought of the hidden and fathomless worlds of strange life which may pulsate ...
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Dim Companions

Dim Companions

Dwarf Galaxy Leo I (also designated PGC 29488 and UGC 5470) is a spheroidal galaxy about 820,000 light-years away in the constellation Leo. Credit: WikiSky (snapshot based on Sloan Digital Sky Survey). October 5, 2020 Solving a particular puzzle can be clouded by a layer of presumptions. The Milky Way ...
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Hit for Six

Hit for Six

Image of a hexagon on Ceres. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA. October 2, 2020 The Solar System was chaotic a few thousand years ago. The features on all the moons and rocky planets support that idea. How many thousands of years ago that chaos occurred isn’t important, since it is not millions of ...
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Martian Mysteries

Martian Mysteries

This image of Saturn was taken in a wavelength that is absorbed by methane. Dark areas are regions with thicker clouds, where light has to travel through more methane. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute.  October 1, 2020 What brought methane to the Red Planet? According to a recent press release, ...
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Eccentricity

Eccentricity

"Artist’s impression of the distribution of long-period comets. The converging lines represent the paths of the comets. The ecliptic plane is shown in yellow and the empty ecliptic is shown in blue. The background grid represents the plane of the Galactic disk." (Credit: NAOJ). September 30, 2020 Evidence for past ...
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Looking Slantwise

Looking Slantwise

Hubble Space Telescope images show aurorae on Uranus. © Laurent Lamy. September 29, 2020 Uranus is an anomaly in the Solar System. The gas giant planet, Uranus is 50,724 kilometers in diameter at the equator, making it the third largest object in the Solar System. A unique aspect of Uranus ...
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Plasma Vortex

Plasma Vortex

Multiple whorls at Jupiter's South pole. Credit: NASA/JPL. September 28, 2020 Various plasma instabilities are found on Jupiter. NASA launched the Juno spacecraft on August 5, 2011. Its primary mission includes analyses of Jupiter’s massive plasmasphere: how do its electromagnetic influences affect the Jovian system. Since Jupiter radiates more energy ...
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Cometary Aurora

Cometary Aurora

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Credit: NASA/JPL. September 25, 2020 It has been awhile since the latest report about comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The Rosetta spacecraft crashed into it on September 30, 2016. Aurorae on Earth are cause by charged particles from the Sun. As previously written, the U.S. Navy satellite, TRIAD, recorded electromagnetic disturbances ...
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Ring Puzzles

Ring Puzzles

The ripples to the left in this image are thought to be a density wave. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute. Click to enlarge. September 24, 2020 New insights from four Cassini instruments reveal mysteries in Saturn's rings. Saturn’s rings are approximately 416,000 kilometers wide, but are estimated to be a mere ...
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The Lunar Desert

The Lunar Desert

The surface of the Moon looks melted and burned. Credit: NASA. Click to enlarge. September 22, 2020 Previous Pictures of the Day discuss the possibility that there is frozen water on the Moon, although the idea was not given much credence. The Moon is thought to result from a collision ...
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Gravity and Plasma

Gravity and Plasma

"Shockwave". Fractal by Stephen Smith. September 21, 2020 Kuhn's 1962 essay (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions) exploring the nature of changes in scientific theories, and a plethora of commentaries since, have made it out to be a Big Deal and to be also somewhat mysterious: "revolution", "incommensurability of paradigms", "new ...
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Moon Mountains

Moon Mountains

"Mount Doom" (bottom center) on Titan, with collapse feature Sotra Patera and flow feature Mohini Fluctus, the latter partially covered by dunes, from February 22, 2007. Credit: NASA/JPL. Click to enlarge. September 18, 2020 How do mountains form on frozen moons? Titan is the fifth largest rocky body in the ...
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Frost and Fire

Frost and Fire

A panoramic view of the Carina Nebula near Wolf–Rayet star WR 22 (right) combined with a view of Eta Carinae in the heart of the nebula (left). Credit: ESO. Click to enlarge. September 17, 2020 X-rays from cold nebulae? “Nothing burns like the cold."― George R.R. Martin Conventional theories rely ...
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