tpods of 2017 archive

← 2016 tpods

Sun Fire

May 25, 2017 The Sun is a mysterious force. NASA launched the Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO) spacecraft on October 25, 2006 from Cape Canaveral. Its mission is to study the solar weather, including coronal mass ejections (CME) and solar flares. The twin STEREO satellites are in orbit around the ...
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Brown Jets

May 24, 2017 Brown dwarf stars are another class of stellar object that emit jets of material. A recent press release reports detecting a jet of material erupting from a brown dwarf star. A brown dwarf star earns its name because it is too small to sustain hydrogen fusion reactions ...
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A Burst in the Night

May 23, 2017 Many phenomena could be due to something astronomers do not expect. Some things 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 is not completely understood. Similarly, lightning bolts are ...
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Above and Below

May 19, 2017 Phenomena on Earth, as well as in deep space, share similar characteristics. "I have always believed that astrophysics should be the extrapolation of laboratory physics, that we must begin from the present Universe and work our way backward to progressively more remote and uncertain epochs." --- Hannes ...
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Chains of Habit

May 18, 2017 Crater chains do not necessarily indicate impact features. It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere. --- Voltaire According to a recent press release, a new study finds that the grooves on Phobos "...are the result of debris ejected by impacts eventually falling back ...
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Circuit Breakers

May 17, 2017 Computer simulations cannot correctly model supernova explosions. Contemporary astrophysical models of stellar evolution rely on the mechanical action of cold gas collapsing from gravitational impetus. Stars are seen as whirling vortices of compressed matter heated to fusion temperatures by pressure, alone. Clouds of gas and dust a ...
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Wee Bairns

May 16, 2017 Many smaller celestial objects are associated with the Milky Way. The Milky Way galaxy does not travel space, alone, it is accompanied by dozens of smaller galaxies with more diffuse and irregular structures. Conventional theories suggest that there are too few dwarf companions in orbit, as well ...
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Field of Vision

May 15, 2017 New ways to see the cosmos. According to a recent press release, an electromagnetic field connects the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. As previously written, the Small Magellanic Cloud is no more than a smudge of light in the southern sky. Its companion, the Large Magellanic Cloud ...
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Sphere of Influence

May 12, 2017 The Solar System is encompassed by a globe of electromagnetism. There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres. --- Pythagoras It is estimated that there is one atom per cubic centimeter in interstellar space, while in the ...
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Orbicular Knots

May 11, 2017 In space, spheres and filaments predominate. Approximately 22,000 light-years away in the constellation of Musca, NGC 4833 orbits the Milky Way, along with at least 150 of its cousins. Globular clusters are thought to contain some of the oldest stars, so astronomers believe that they can provide ...
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Jovian Powerhouse

May 10, 2017 Jupiter's electromagnetic fields are larger than predicted. The Juno spacecraft entered orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016 after an August 5, 2011 launch and a five-year flight. Since there are radiation belts around Jupiter similar to the Van Allen radiation belts that surround Earth, but thousands ...
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Organized Plasma

May 9, 2017 Space structures exhibit electromagnetic behavior. "In order to understand the phenomena in a certain plasma region, it is necessary to map not only the magnetic but also the electric field and the electric currents. Space is filled with a network of currents which transfer energy and momentum ...
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Fuego Frio

May 8, 2017 Conventional theories state that stars are born in the cold. Stars are commonly thought to be bright, burning balls of hydrogen whose gravitational attraction holds planets in their orbits. Theories say that fusion fire in stellar cores sends energy on a million-year journey before the radiation is ...
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Ball of Confusion

May 5, 2017 What gives a globular cluster its structure? The Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) began operations a day after its December 11, 2009 dedication ceremony. One of its major contributions is the ability to "see through" dust clouds that obscure background objects. In the image ...
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Dark Quintessence

May 4, 2017 Regions of space more than 500 million light-years in diameter are said to reveal dark energy influences. "I have always believed that astrophysics should be the extrapolation of laboratory physics, that we must begin from the present Universe and work our way backward to progressively more remote ...
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Glimmers in the Night

May 3, 2017 Rapid fluctuations in nebular “protostars”. Young stars in the Orion Nebula are changing in brightness faster than previously thought possible. Instead of it requiring years for gaseous envelopes surrounding so-called "proto-planetary disks" to heat up and cool down, it is happening in weeks. The information was provided ...
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Finder’s Fallacy

May 2, 2017 Don't stop looking. The Finder's Fallacy is the downside of the "Eureka!" of discovery. Searching for a needle of explanation in the haystack of data is exhausting, frustrating, often disappointing. Finally to have found a needle, a theory that "works", is cause for celebration. But the enthusiasm ...
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Mars 2020

May 1, 2017 A new Mars rover. Sometime in late July or early August 2020 NASA will launch the next Mars lander, based on the design of the Mars Science Laboratory, otherwise known as Curiosity. The Mars 2020 rover includes a new drill design that can collect, sort, and set ...
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Bursting at the Seams

Apr 28, 2017 Enceladus exhibits electrical scarring. A previous Picture of the Day reported that the Cassini Saturn orbiter flew through one of the plumes of vapor that erupt from the southern plains of 494-kilometer-wide Enceladus, a small moon, so cold no chemical reactions can occur. It was assumed by ...
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Broken Plates

April 27, 2017 Do crustal blocks slide around? According to planetary scientists, plate tectonic activity on Mars is similar to what happens on Earth. Studies undertaken by the University of California Los Angeles suggest that: "Mars is at a primitive stage of plate tectonics. It gives us a glimpse of ...
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Tool Time

Apr 26, 2017 Have you ever seen a carpenter try to cut a 2x4 with a hammer? Probably not. Carpenters usually carry a saw as well as a hammer in their toolboxes, and they know to use the proper tool for the task at hand. If they didn't have a ...
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Krónos Elektron

April 25, 2017 Saturn generates electricity. Saturn is quite large compared to Earth; its mean equatorial diameter is about 121,000 kilometers. However, Saturn rotates so fast (10 hours, 34 minutes) that its polar diameter is 108,700 kilometers. The difference is caused by “flattening” as angular momentum pushes the low-density atmosphere ...
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A Brown Study

Apr 24, 2017 Brown dwarf stars could be harbors for life in the cosmos. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is scheduled for launch in October 2018 on a five-year mission. Its goals are to search for the earliest galaxies—meaning that it will look for those with the greatest redshift ...
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Bubble Layers

Apr 21, 2017 Spherical shells around stars are signs of electrical activity. More than 70 years ago Dr. Charles Bruce noted that planetary nebulae are similar to electric discharges. He reasoned that their shapes were hourglasses, with central stars obscured by dusty toroids. Since nebular shapes are similar to the ...
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A Box of Plasma Rain

April 20, 2017 "Walk into splintered sunlight..." NASA launched the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) on June 28, 2013. Its primary mission includes a study of the solar corona: why is it far hotter than the Sun's surface, or photosphere? Heliophysicists see formations that resemble "mini-tornadoes" in the Sun's chromosphere ...
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