Monday, 30 June 2014

News from Outer Space, June 2014

Some asteroids appear to be comets

Rare and massive storm on Saturn

Partial success reactivating 1978 International Sun/Earth satellite using amateurs.

Tidal forces on the moon give it a 20" bulge that jiggles about, presumably because the earth's ocean is sloshing against barriers as it strives for the moon.  It's not exactly news but there's been progress getting a measurement.

Solar wind strips electrons from objects without atmospheres.  A NASA computer model takes this to a new level, predicting what parts of an oddball shaped asteroid will have positive charges dangerous to human explorers.  There's a 20 second video.

The Higgs boson had been making news.   CERN has found quite a few more examples and is upgrading to check further.   Proof has been gathered that Higgs can decay into fermions as well as  bosons, further establishing the standard model of particle physics.  Why do we care?  From the same article in  
The Higgs boson is thought to be related to an invisible Higgs field that pervades all of space. As particles travel through that field, their interactions with it give them mass. The original finding that Higgs particles decay into other bosons confirmed the Higgs field can interact with bosons. Now the latest results show that the field can interact with fermions as well. The finding supports the idea that a single, Standard Model Higgs boson explains how all particles get their mass.
Key point: "Explains how all particles get their mass".
While we're on the topic, some scientists are puzzled that the universe didn't end as soon as it began, crushed upon itself because of the strength of that Higgs field mentioned above.
Connected to this is the apparent detection of gravity waves embedded in the cosmic microwave background,  left over from the first moments of our universe.

Gravity waves!  Or maybe dust.
(Mentioned in March issue) Gravity waves mapped:   "Gravitational waves .... propagate at the speed of light through 3-dimensional space. They are theorized to be generated by the collisions of black holes and are thought to have been generated in abundance by the inflationary period just after the Big Bang nearly 13.8 billion years ago.
Einstein’s equations of general relativity predict their existence.
CAVEAT:Dustiness of the galaxy is irregular and may dampen or even invalidate the signal of gravitational waves that is mentioned above.

Black holes were a fairyland concept to me in high school days but they are everywhere. says there are about 100 million in our galaxy alone.   The discovery of the third triple black hole was reported in June.  They orbit about each other.  Great photo attached of a super-massive black hole with evidence of gravity waves.

Jupiter's famous eye has been resizing quickly.

And lastly, news that turns out to NOT be from outer space.  On earth, a major glaciation and climate shift happened 2.6 million years ago.  The sun gets blamed for most of the big stuff but this one appears to be caused by the land bridge emerging between the Americas, changing salinities, winds and circulation profoundly.

The earth seems to have been formed from the collision of two similar sized objects about 150 million years after the solar system formed instead of just 30 million.  A second planetary body within the earth still has some distinct blob signature.

March issue of News From Outer Space.

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