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Faster-Than-Light Speeds Could Be Why Gamma-Ray Bursts Seem to Go Backwards in Time

Source: sciencealert.com
Date: 7 March, 2020

Time, as far as we know, moves only in one direction. But in 2018, researchers found events in some gamma-ray burst pulses that seemed to repeat themselves as though they were going backwards in time.

Now, recent research suggests a potential answer for what might be causing this time reversibility effect. If waves within the relativistic jets that produce gamma-ray bursts travel faster than light - at 'superluminal' speeds - one of the effects could be time reversibility.

Such speeding waves could actually be possible. We know that when light is travelling through a medium (such as gas or plasma), its phase velocity is slightly slower than c - the speed of light in a vacuum, and, as far as we know, the ultimate speed limit of the Universe.

Therefore, a wave could travel through a gamma-ray burst jet at superluminal speeds without breaking relativity. But to understand this, we need to back up a little to look at the source of those jets.

https://www.sciencealert.com/faster...a-ray-bursts-seem-to-go-backwards-in-time/amp
 

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Scientists Claim to Have Found The First Known Extraterrestrial Protein in a Meteorite

Source: sciencealert.com
Date: 2 March, 2020

A new discovery could be a clue for us to see if life could emerge elsewhere in the Solar System. Using a new analysis technique, scientists think they have found an extraterrestrial protein, tucked inside a meteorite that fell to Earth 30 years ago.

If their results can be replicated, it will be the first protein ever identified that didn't originate here on Earth.

"This paper characterises the first protein to be discovered in a meteorite," the researchers wrote in a paper uploaded to preprint server arXiv. Their work is yet to be peer reviewed, but the implications of this finding are noteworthy.

https://www.sciencealert.com/scient...n-extraterrestrial-protein-in-a-meteorite/amp
 

EnolaGaia

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Schrodinger's Zebra

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In case you need a seemingly bigger issue to take your mind off the coronavirus pandemic, this might be the headline for you ...

Ancient Supermassive Black Hole Has Its Particle Beam Aimed Right at Earth

FULL STORY: https://www.sciencealert.com/scient...ar-aiming-its-particle-beam-directly-at-earth
So... the light from this 'blazar' (cool term I've not come across before) was emitted 13 billion years ago... (I am always in awe to think that we are seeing celestial objects as they were all that long ago)

... is there any way of knowing if the blazar is still there now? The article talks about it in the present tense, but... it might not be there now, am I right? Or it could have changed? But we wouldn't know it for some time (if we even lived long enough that is)?

(Like if something happens to the sun we only see it 8 minutes later or somesuch).... but obviously with this blazar its quite a bit longer than that....
 

EnolaGaia

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The factor that motivated me to post about this in the Fortean Headlines thread was the ominous-sounding bit about the blazar's "particle beam" being aimed directly at earth.

If it weren't aimed in our direction it wouldn't be recognized as a blazar. We can reliably observe "blazing" of directional bursts from such objects only if they're aimed at us.

The originating object may well have gone extinct before earth even formed, and the light indicating such an extinction may not arrive here in our Sol system until earth itself is long gone.

The more pressing issue would be whether or not such blazars can or do emit beams as potentially dangerous as gamma ray bursts. If such a lethal emission is possible, it means our ability to see such objects as blazars implies we are by definition "in their line of fire", so to epeak.
 

Schrodinger's Zebra

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The factor that motivated me to post about this in the Fortean Headlines thread was the ominous-sounding bit about the blazar's "particle beam" being aimed directly at earth.

If it weren't aimed in our direction it wouldn't be recognized as a blazar. We can reliably observe "blazing" of directional bursts from such objects only if they're aimed at us.

The originating object may well have gone extinct before earth even formed, and the light indicating such an extinction may not arrive here in our Sol system until earth itself is long gone.

The more pressing issue would be whether or not such blazars can or do emit beams as potentially dangerous as gamma ray bursts. If such a lethal emission is possible, it means our ability to see such objects as blazars implies we are by definition "in their line of fire", so to epeak.
The particle beam is interesting and I should have commented more about it, I do apologise. I also find it ominous that it is aimed directly at us... I can just imagine when they found out... "where's it pointing?" "erm... right at us" :)

Even if the blazar is long gone, the beam, being pointed at us, would still eventually 'reach' us, is that right?...

... Or should I say 'zap' us...


According to this article, gamma ray bursts can indeed be emitted from blazars... https://blogs.voanews.com/science-w...ys-from-halfway-across-the-universe-detected/

So in the line of fire, indeed, it would seem.
 

EnolaGaia

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... Even if the blazar is long gone, the beam, being pointed at us, would still eventually 'reach' us, is that right?...
In principle - yes.

The light we see from the ancient blazar cited here left the blazar circa 13 billion years ago. Any changes (including emission of a different / more dangerous burst) may be billions of years in the blazar's past but who-knows-how-many years in our own future at this relatively remote location.

I'm not sure how focused or how energetic a gamma ray burst would be if it had traveled from as far away as far as the most ancient blazar cited here.

Still, this same situation applies to all the other blazars we've identified.
 

Bigphoot2

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How to see bright Comet ATLAS
Posted by Eddie Irizarry in SPACE | March 22, 2020
Recently discovered comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) isn’t bright enough to see with the unaided eye … yet. But it’s getting brighter. Will it provide a good show or fizzle out? Click here to learn more.

A recently discovered comet is getting the attention of astronomers and sky enthusiasts as it’s become brighter than expected in the last few days. Astronomers using the ATLAS (Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System) in Hawaii discovered Comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) on December 28, 2019. As of mid-late March, it shines at about the brightness of an 8th-magnitude star – not visible to the eye yet – but within reach of medium-sized telescopes in dark skies. The comet is currently crossing Mars’ orbit and is approaching the inner solar system. As it gets closer to us, it’ll get brighter still. You’ll find charts for observers at the bottom of this post.
Comet ATLAS should become bright enough to be easily visible in binoculars, and perhaps bright enough to be seen with the unaided eye from dark sky locations.
etc
https://earthsky.org/space/how-to-see-bright-comet-c-2019-y4-atlas
 

Schrodinger's Zebra

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The comet mentioned upthread is getting brighter...

https://www.space.com/comet-atlas-may-be-brightenting.html

The possible celestial showpiece is known as Comet ATLAS, or C/2019 Y4. When it was discovered on Dec. 28, 2019, it was quite faint, but since then, it has been brightening so rapidly that astronomers have high hopes for the spectacle it could put on. But given the tricky nature of comets, skywatchers are also being cautious not to get their hopes up, knowing that the comet may fizzle out.
And...

Until a couple of weeks ago, it was brightening at an astounding rate. That brightening has slowed somewhat, but it is still an impossible rate of brightening to maintain. Were ATLAS to continue to brighten at this rate all the way to its closest approach to the sun at the end of May, it would end up rivaling the planet Venus in brightness!
So... will it get amazingly bright just in time for us all to see it?
 

EnolaGaia

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New sub-field or specialty within astronomical science: planetary post-mortems ...
Necroplanetology: The Strangest Field of Astronomy You've Never Heard Of

In 2015, astronomers found something weird. It was a white dwarf star, 570 light-years from Earth, with a peculiar dimming pattern. It dimmed several times to varying depths, each depth repeating on a 4.5 to 5-hour timeframe; and its atmosphere was polluted with elements usually found in rocky exoplanets.

It didn't take long before they figured it out. The gravity of the dead star was in the process of shredding and devouring bodies in orbit around it, a violent process known rather politely as tidal disruption.

The star is called WD 1145+017, and it's now being used as a proof of concept for a new field of planet study, forensic reconstruction of planetary bodies to understand what they were like, and how they died.

Astronomers from the US and the UK are calling this field necroplanetology. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.sciencealert.com/necroplanetology-the-study-of-planets-dismembered-remains
 

EnolaGaia

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This headline indicates the potential weirdness of this newly analyzed exoplanet.
Heavy-metal alien planet may be shaped like a football

An exoplanet may be shaped like an American football due to the mighty gravitational forces it experiences close to its star, a new study finds.

Scientists investigated KOI 1843.03, an exoplanet candidate that scientists need further observations to say for sure is real. This world putatively orbits a red dwarf star with slightly less than half the mass of our sun and is located about 395 light-years from Earth. Previous research found KOI 1843.03 was about 44% Earth's mass and 60% Earth's diameter.

Prior work suggested KOI 1843.03 orbited its star more closely than any other planet known yet. "Whizzing around its star in only 4.245 hours, a 'year' for this planet is just over one-sixth of a day on Earth," Leslie Rogers, an astrophysicist at the University of Chicago and the senior author of the new research, told Space.com. ...

In previous work focused on KOI 1843.03, Rogers and her colleagues analyzed potential consequences of the powerful gravitational forces the planet likely experiences from its close-in orbit. (Those forces are essentially an extraordinarily strong version of the tidal forces Earth experiences from the moon.) In that work, the scientists suggested that the exoplanet must be made primarily of iron to avoid getting ripped apart. Whereas Earth is about 32% iron, they estimated KOI 1843.03 was likely 66% iron. ...

Scientists had known of a handful of iron-rich "cannonball" planets, rather like Mercury in our own solar system, which is about 70% iron. To see what effects an extreme orbit like that of KOI 1843.03 might have on such a world, the researchers carried out the first 3D simulations of the interior structures of rocky planets whose ultra-tiny orbits would generate tidal distortions.

The scientists found KOI 1843.03 might be shaped like an American football. "KOI 1843.03 is the most aspherical exoplanet discovered to date," Rogers said. "Our models show that KOI 1843.03 is significantly elongated along the direction toward its star, having an aspect ratio of up to about 1.8." She compared that to the 1.3 aspect ratio of a chicken egg or the 1.7 aspect ratio of a wide-screen television. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/cannonball-exoplanet-may-be-stretched-football.html
 

eburacum

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This planet has inspired me to make this image. The planet has an aspect ratio of 1.79, and a sub-stellar temperature of 2500K. The surface is almost certainly liquid lava.
I should point out that footballs are not shaped like this in the UK; this is a rugby ball.

Football1.png
 

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NASA Stumped by Weird Green Blobs


While studying a supernova in the distant Fireworks galaxy (NGC 6946), a NASA space observatory has observed extremely bright sources of X-ray light that resulted in dazzling flashes of blue and green. The appearance surprised scientists, who called the lights a "mystery."



When the NuSTAR began monitoring the supernova, the green blob near the bottom of the galaxy wasn't visible. It only emerged on the 10th day of study. Another NASA telescope was able to confirm that the green blob had dissolved as soon as it appeared.

Scientists have seen this type of phenomena before, but they're extremely rare. They're called ultra-luminous X-ray sources, or ULXs. This one is named ULX-4, because it's only the fourth one ever observed in the Milky Way galaxy.

So what caused the colors? Nobody is sure, but scientists posit in their latest study that it could be light generated from the accretion disk of a black hole. Accretion disks are a traffic jams built into black holes. They pull in matter so quickly that there's not enough space for it all, so the waiting matter spins around the black hole at such speeds that it illuminates a bright whiteness.

Most ULXs are long-lived, but this one was quick. So it's possible that it was triggered by a quick event—something like a black hole destroying a nearby small star.

But that's just one idea. Another, according to the paper's authors, it that the source of ULX-4 could be a neutron star. As some of the densest objects in the universe, neutron stars are formed when a star's explosion doesn't generate enough energy for a black hole. But, like black holes, they can create accretion disks.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/article/nasa-stumped-by-weird-green-blobs/ar-AAGUsuh

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It's long been known that a radio telescope located on the far side of the moon would have unparalleled advantages. NASA has committed the funding for a feasibility study to examine the prospects for robotically constructing a radio telescope array spanning a lunar crater.
NASA funds proposal to build a telescope on the far side of the moon

NASA is funding an early-stage proposal to build a meshed telescope inside a crater on the far side of the moon ...

This "dark side" is the face of the moon that is permanently positioned away from Earth, and as such it offers a rare view of the dark cosmos, unhindered by radio interference from humans and our by our planet's thick atmosphere.

The ultra-long-wavelength radio telescope, would be called the "Lunar Crater Radio Telescope" and would have "tremendous" advantages compared to telescopes on our planet, the idea's founder Saptarshi Bandyopadhyay, a robotics technologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory wrote in a proposal. ...

NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts Program is awarding $125,000 for a Phase 1 study to understand the feasibility of such a telescope, Bandyopadhyay told Vice.
FULL STORY (With Graphics):
https://www.livescience.com/nasa-telescope-far-side-of-moon.html
 

eburacum

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Remotely operated robots are probably going to be used a lot in the foreseeable future on the Moon, to build infrastructure, explore, prospect and mine. It might be decades before humans go there in any numbers, but when they do, there will already be a load of stuff there ready for them.
 

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The recent visit by 'Oumuamua raised the question of how many other interstellar visitors were hanging out in our solar system, having been captured by our star's gravity. Astronomers have now assembled a list of 19 asteroids they suspect are "foreign."
Astronomers Just Identified 19 More Asteroids They Think Are Interstellar

The Solar System has been here for a long time. So, when 'Oumuamua was spotted in 2017, it was almost a dead cert it wasn't the only object from interstellar space to visit us over that 4.57 billion-year history. Then comet 2I/Borisov showed up last year. That basically clinched it.

But where are the rest of our interstellar visitors? We'll probably find a few more flying in from the wilds in the coming years. And, according to new research, a whole bunch of interstellar asteroids have been hanging out right here in the Solar System for a very long time.

Based on how they move around the Sun, a team of researchers has identified 19 asteroids they think were captured from another star, way back when the Solar System was just a few million years old. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.sciencealert.com/astron...19-more-asteroids-they-think-are-interstellar
 

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THE LAWS OF PHYSICS MAY BREAK DOWN AT THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE

A controversial new study suggests that it may be possible to bend the laws of the universe — but just a little bit.

Source: futurism.com
Date: 27 April, 2020

Scientists at the University of New South Wales found what seem to be discrepancies in what’s called the fine structure constant, a number that’s thought to remain perfectly unchanging and describes how subatomic particles interact with each other. It’s a bold claim, but if it holds up it would fundamentally alter our understanding of the universe.

The fine structure constant describes the force that influences subatomic particles with electrical charge, like how protons and electrons within an atom are drawn to one another. The study, published Friday in the journal Science Advances, found that the number seemed to change when they analyzed extremely distant quasars — but only when they looked in certain directions, meaning that the laws of physics may break down at the edges of the universe.

“And it seems to be supporting this idea that there could be a directionality in the universe,” University of New South Wales physicist John Webb said in a press release, “which is very weird indeed.”

https://futurism.com/the-byte/laws-physics-break-down-edge-universe
 

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The weight of the Universe

Bochum cosmologists headed by Professor Hendrik Hildebrandt have gained new insights into the density and structure of matter in the Universe.

Source: heritagedaily.com
Date: 28 April, 2020

Several years ago, Hildebrandt had already been involved in a research consortium that had pointed out discrepancies in the data between different groups. The values determined for matter density and structure differed depending on the measurement method. A new analysis, which included additional infrared data, made the differences stand out even more. They could indicate that this is the flaw in the Standard Model of Cosmology.

Rubin, the science magazine of Ruhr-Universität Bochum, has published a report on Hendrik Hildebrandt’s research. The latest analysis of the research consortium, called Kilo-Degree Survey, was published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics in January 2020.

https://www.heritagedaily.com/2020/04/the-weight-of-the-universe/128041
 

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‘Elegant’ solution reveals how the universe got its structure

Source: heritagedaily.com
Date: 27 April, 2020

The universe is full of billions of galaxies–but their distribution across space is far from uniform. Why do we see so much structure in the universe today and how did it all form and grow?

A 10-year survey of tens of thousands of galaxies made using the Magellan Baade Telescope at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile provided a new approach to answering this fundamental mystery. The results, led by Carnegie’s Daniel Kelson, are published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

“How do you describe the indescribable?” asks Kelson. “By taking an entirely new approach to the problem.”

“Our tactic provides new–and intuitive–insights into how gravity drove the growth of structure from the universe’s earliest times,” said co-author Andrew Benson. “This is a direct, observation-based test of one of the pillars of cosmology.”

https://www.heritagedaily.com/2020/...als-how-the-universe-got-its-structure/128013
 
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