TPOD Archive 2020

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North geomagnetic pole from 8000 BCE to 2000 CE.

Polar Wondering

Original post September 6, 2011 Leibniz’ beloved adage that natura non facit saltus or ‘nature does not make leaps’ has had to endure a fair amount of comeuppances since it gained currency. An arresting example today of our unpredictable world is the rapid wandering of the north geomagnetic pole in ...
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Cataclysmic Variables

Cataclysmic Variables

GK Persei exhibited a nova outburst in 1901. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/RIKEN/D.Takei et al; Optical: NASA/STScI; Radio: NRAO/VLA. December 29, 2020 Some stars fluctuate erratically. According to astrophysicists, a nova explosion occurs when a white dwarf star draws matter away from a companion star onto its surface. Gravity then compresses the ...
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ATLAS particle detector

IndisCERNible

Original post September 5, 2011 The so-called "god particle" is most likely an illusion. The idea of a Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was originally proposed early in the 1980s. Since the Large Electron Positron Collider (LEP) was at the end of its life, and a machine capable of generating more ...
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Power in Perspective

Power in Perspective

A portion of the 36-dish Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP). Credit: CSIRO. December 24, 2020 What astronomers call a “Fast Radio Burst” can release more energy in five milliseconds than the Sun does in 80 years! Assumed distances to such high energy sources is said to be a billion ...
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Seven Sisters

Seven Sisters

The Pleiades. Credit: NASA / ESA / AURA / Caltech December 23, 2020 The Pleiades cluster contains more than 1000 stars, although only 14 are visible to the naked eye. The Pleiades is embedded in a cloud of gas and dust, otherwise known as a nebula, that consensus astronomers say ...
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Galactic Evolution

Galactic Evolution

This image of NGC 5866 is from Spitzer's cold mission. Blue corresponds to 3.6 microns, produced mainly by stars; green corresponds to 4.5 microns, and red corresponds to 8 micron radiation from cold dust. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. December 22, 2020 Galaxies are born in lightning. NASA launched the Spitzer Space Telescope ...
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No Iron Dynamo

No Iron Dynamo

Cyclones and anti-cyclones in Jupiter's atmosphere are "mysterious". Image data credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS. Image processing credit: Gerald Eichstädt © CC BY. Click to animate. December 21, 2020 Many previous Pictures of the Day discuss the planet Jupiter—especially its electromagnetic interaction with its moons and the rest of the Solar System. Jupiter’s ...
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What Science Says

What Science Says

"Thought Police". Fractal by Stephen Smith. December 18, 2020 It's common to hear people refer to "what science says." The usual assumption is that "what science says" is said indefeasibly. But the term 'science' has two conflicting senses: science as currently-accepted theory (CAT) and science as method. To conclude that ...
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The True Disbeliever

The True Disbeliever

December 17, 2020 "I'll believe it when I see it" could be the motto of the empiricist. His not unreasonable belief is that reasonable belief in an idea should be governed by tests that give results which can be sensed. His concern is that beliefs not anchored to what is ...
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Jet Modes

Jet Modes

Centaurus A with its light-years-long plasma jet. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/U.Birmingham/M.Burke et al. December 16, 2020 Black hole physics remains questionable. "One thing that I'm sure of is the real pleasure of life - it's not being known, it's not having your own jet plane, it's not having a mansion. The ...
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The Dynamic Sun

The Dynamic Sun

The latest image of the Sun from the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Credit: NASA/SDO. Dec 15, 2020 The Sun is a plasma phenomenon. The Solar Dynamics Observatory records coronal holes as they move across the Sun’s photosphere, causing storms of charged particles to blast toward Earth. Heliophysicists believe that coronal holes ...
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Another Dark Matter Fail

Another Dark Matter Fail

"Charge Separation". Fractal by Stephen Smith. December 14, 2020 Cryogenic detectors do not find evidence for dark matter. That failure means "back to the drawing board" for theoretical physicists. Since deep cold does not contribute to dark matter discovery, scientists are now using quantum physics in an attempt at building ...
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More Details Emerge

More Details Emerge

The SRG/eROSITA all-sky map of the Milky Way as a false color image, with energies from 6 million Kelvin (red) to 15 million Kelvin (blue). Credit: Predehl, P., Sunyaev, R.A., Becker, W. et al. Detection of large-scale X-ray bubbles in the Milky Way halo. Nature 588, 227–231 (2020). Click to ...
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Double Layers in Laboratory and Cosmic Plasmas

Double Layers in Laboratory and Cosmic Plasmas

December 10, 2020 Electric double layers are like waterfalls that energize charged particles falling through them. “We have to learn again that science without contact with experiments is an enterprise which is likely to go completely astray into imaginary conjecture.” — Hannes Alfvén A double layer forms in plasma when ...
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See Spot Play

See Spot Play

First sunspot image by the NSF's Inouye Solar Telescope's Wave Front Correction context viewer at 530 nanometers -- in the greenish-yellow part of the visible spectrum. Credit: NSO/AURA/NSF. Click to enlarge. December 9, 2020 A recent press release from Rice University states: "Orbiting instrument hints at how stored magnetic energy ...
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Electron Gun

Electron Gun

Eta Carinae in X-ray wavelengths. Red indicates 300 to 1000 electron volts (eV), green from 1000 to 3000 eV, and blue covers 3000 to 10,000 eV. Electric fields accelerate charged particles to near the speed of light. Credits: NASA/CXC and NASA/JPL-Caltech. December 8, 2020 What energizes this nebula to such ...
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Spherical Stone Anomalies

Spherical Stone Anomalies

Some stone spheres exhibit holes drilled through them, such as this one in Rock City, Kansas. Note the criss-cross banding. December 7, 2020 Are these mysterious balls of rock slow-forming concretions? Stone spheres were worshipped by some past civilizations, especially if they dropped out of the sky. They were often ...
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Lightning Lights the Stars

Lightning Lights the Stars

Composite image of a large galaxy in the Perseus Cluster, NGC 1275. Credit: NASA, ESA, NRAO and L. Frattare (STScI). Science Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/IoA/A.Fabian et al.; Radio: NRAO/VLA/G. Taylor; Optical: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and A. Fabian (Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, UK). December 4, 2020 ...
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Galactic Attraction

Galactic Attraction

December 3, 2020 Is the Universe expanding? Modern astronomers believe that galaxies are receding from each other because they received "inflationary energy" imparted by the Big Bang. They estimate the recession to be about 71 kilometers per second for every 3.3 million light-years of spatial distance. This "dilation of space-time" ...
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Sunspot AR2790

Sunspot AR2790

December 2, 2020 Solar phenomena come from electricity flowing through space. The conventional view of the Sun is illustrated by a popular science website: “Our Sun is made up of elements left over from the Big Bang, elements formed from dying stars, and elements created in supernovae.” The basic premise ...
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Cruise to the Innermost Planet

Cruise to the Innermost Planet

The rays of Mena crater. Credit: NASA/JPL. December 1, 2020 BepiColombo continues its long journey. The BepiColombo mission was launched October 20, 2018 on a joint mission to Mercury. The mission will consist of two satellites: the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO). MPO is designed ...
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Farthest Away

Farthest Away

This image shows the massive galaxy cluster MACS J0647+7015. Insets at left show three magnified views of the young dwarf galaxy MACS0647-JD (NASA/ ESA/M. Postman/D. Coe/STScI/CLASH Team). November 30, 2020 During the big bang, an irruption of energy from some other realm replaced "nothingness" with the present Universe. The "Big ...
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Pulsar Wind Jets

Pulsar Wind Jets

A pulsar wind nebula surrounds the Vela pulsar. Credit: NASA/CXC/PSU/G.Pavlov et al. November 25, 2020 Jet-like structures from PSRJ1135–6055. The standard model of stellar evolution proposes that pulsars are neutron stars rotating at incredible speed. For example, PSRJ1135–6055, is reported to be spinning at almost 43,000 revolutions per minute (RPM) ...
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