tpods of 2019 archive

← 2018 tpods

Electric Sprites

Electric Sprites

A collection of sprite images. Credit: Martin Popek. Jul 16, 2019 Thunderstorms act like particle accelerators, launching massive discharges downward to the ground and upward to space. Earth is an electrically charged object: it maintains an electric field at its surface between 50 and 200 volts per meter: for every ...
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Martian Metamorphosis

Martian Metamorphosis

Layering in Gale crater is probably due to electric discharges and not water. Credit: NASA/JPL/Cal-Tech. Jul 15, 2019 Mars is dry and barren. "It's not going to do any good to land on Mars if we're stupid."--- Ray Bradbury The surface of Mars is mostly iron and silicon, with quantities ...
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Electrical Consolidation

Electrical Consolidation

Comparison of "hot Jupiter" exoplanets (artist concept). From top left to lower right: WASP-12b, WASP-6b, WASP-31b, WASP-39b, HD 189733b, HAT-P-12b, WASP-17b, WASP-19b, HAT-P-1b and HD 209458b. Click to enlarge. Jul 12, 2019 In previous Pictures of the Day, evidence for plasma discharges on planets and moons was discussed. Electrical activity ...
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Extended Mission

Extended Mission

Artist’s impression of lightning in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/JunoCam. Jul 10, 2019 Juno will circle Jupiter for another four years. Jupiter is the largest planet. It is so large that all of the other planets could fit comfortably inside its 1.77 X 10^15 cubic kilometer volume. Jupiter rotates in ...
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What Science Says

What Science Says

"Thought Police". Fractal by Stephen Smith. Jul 9, 2019 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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On and Off

On and Off

There are some unusual stars in the Milky Way. Credit: Getty images. Jul 8, 2019 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 core ...
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Colliding Theories

Colliding Theories

3D anaglyph of Vesta. Click to enlarge. Jul 5, 2019 More data analysis from the Dawn spacecraft. Vesta experienced some powerful forces. There are craters more than 50 kilometers in diameter on its surface, even though it is a mere 564 kilometers by 531 kilometers. There is a particularly large ...
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Cold Winds

Cold Winds

600 kilometer per hour jet stream on Jupiter. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstad/Sean Doran. Jul 4, 2019 Gas giant planets exhibit extreme weather. The fastest winds ever recorded on Earth was a 372 kilometer per hour gust on Mount Washington, New Hampshire in 1934. Tornadoes and hurricanes can achieve higher average velocities ...
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Loop the Loop

Loop the Loop

Spiral galaxy NGC 5907. Looping stellar streams are conventionally thought to result from "collisions" with minor galaxies. Credit: R. J. Gabany in collaboration with Martínez-Delgado et al. (2010). Jul 3, 2019 Stellar streams are known to plasma physicists as Birkeland currents. Birkeland current filaments at every scale thread through the ...
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A New Dawn

A New Dawn

Closest to Ceres, so far. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA. Jul 2, 2019 Investigating the dwarf planet, Ceres. The Dawn spacecraft was launched on September 27, 2007. It began observing the asteroid Vesta on July 17, 2011 and then headed toward the dwarf planet, Ceres on September 5, 2012. Dawn entered orbit ...
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The Great Titan Desert

The Great Titan Desert

Synthetic-aperture radar image measuring 242 kilometers high by 257 kilometers wide. North is at the top, and the image is illuminated from the bottom. Note the thousands of "dunes". Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI Jul 1, 2019 Titan is not wet. On October 15, 1997 NASA launched the six ton Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, the ...
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Star Giants

Star Giants

The electrical model of stellar evolution. Jun 28, 2019 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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Spider Eggs

Spider Eggs

The Tarantula Nebula. Credit: ESO. Click to enlarge. Jun 27, 2019 Regions inside this nebula are described as "cocoons" for new stars. The Tarantula Nebula's designation is 30 Doradus. It is an "emission nebula" in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Readers may remember that a well-known supernova, 1987a, exploded near ...
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Happy (belated) Birthday Willard Bennett

Happy (belated) Birthday Willard Bennett

Wesley Doggett (left) and Willard Bennett (right) with Störmertron tube.Credit: NCSU Special Collections Archive. Jun 26, 2019 Willard Harrison Bennett, a notable scientist and inventor and for whom the Bennett pinch, or “z-pinch,” is named was born June 13, 1903 and died on September 28, 1987. As a jet of ...
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Comet 134340 Pluto?

Comet 134340 Pluto?

Colors indicate methane (CH4), nitrogen (N2), carbon monoxide (CO) and water (H2O) ices. Image Courtesy of NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute. Jun 25, 2019 Is Pluto a cometary body? According to a recent press release, Pluto might be composed of a "billion comets". As Dr. Christopher Glein ...
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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. Jun 24, 2019 What brought methane to the Red Planet? According to a recent press release, measurements ...
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Looking Slantwise

Looking Slantwise

Hubble Space Telescope images show aurorae on Uranus. © Laurent Lamy. Jun 21, 2019 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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Explosive Power

Explosive Power

"Burst". Fractal by Stephen Smith. Jun 20, 2019 Gamma-ray Bursters (GRB), and Fast Radio Bursters (FRB) are thought by astronomers to be the most powerful energy sources in the Universe. The problems associated with GRB observations are partially addressed in previous Pictures of the Day. GRBs are characterized by intense ...
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Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

"Ancient Light". Fractal by Stephen Smith. Jun 19, 2019 During my first close encounter with Wal Thornhill, he electrified me with a picture of Zeus holding a thunderbolt. The bolt was football shaped with stringy things spiraling out of it. Wal explained that it was the shape a plasmoid took ...
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The Paradigm Shoppe

The Paradigm Shoppe

"Paradigm Shift" Fractal by Stephen Smith. Jun 18, 2019 Electric Universe theory illustrates what has been called the "incommensurability" of paradigms, a scholarly term for what is actually a rather mundane occurrence: the difficulties-and benefits-of communication when words have more than one meaning. The difficulties arise from the listener's assumption ...
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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. Jun 17, 2019 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 50 meters thick, ...
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The Lunar Desert

The Lunar Desert

The surface of the Moon looks melted and burned. Credit: NASA. Click to enlarge. Jun 14, 2019 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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Cosmic Blink

Cosmic Blink

"Pulsar 2". Fractal by Stephen Smith. Jun 13, 2019 Objects spinning faster than a dentist's drill? According to a recent press release, another "millisecond pulsar" was discovered by a team from NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center. Pulsars are often referred to as “lighthouses in space”, with beams of radiation focused at ...
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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. Jun 12, 2019 X-rays from cold nebulae? “Nothing burns like the cold."― George R.R. Martin Conventional theories rely ...
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Plasma Flares

Plasma Flares

Schematic representation of a CME heading toward Earth. Public domain image. Jun 11, 2019 The Sun supplies enormous quantities of electric charge to the Solar System. As written many times over the years, sunspots, flares, coronal heating, and coronal mass ejections are due to changes in the Sun’s galactic electrical ...
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