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  1. #1121
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    That would definitely ruin the day!
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  2. #1122
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    NC Witness Reports ‘FOG’ Around UFO
    Roger Marsh, MUFON | May 6, 2019


    Witness illustration. Credit: MUFON

    A North Carolina witness at Webster reported a low-flying, square-shaped object that moved directly overhead, according to testimony in Case 91103 from the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) witness reporting database.

    The witness was driving to work at 11:14 p.m. on March 5, 2018, when bright lights were first noticed.

    “I first thought it was a house someone just moved into on a mountain,” the witness stated. “As I got closer, I then noticed there was separation between the lights and the mountain. I drove just a little further and noticed how slow it was moving. I stopped in the middle of the road and looked to see what time it was and it was 11:17 then. This is a very windy road. I turned my radio off and rolled the windows down and got my phone to take a picture. I didn't have any data on it so I couldn't take a picture. It was very low and didn't make a bit of noise. It was wide cause there were a light on each end and also about six-to-eight in the middle. I couldn't tell if it was long cause there were no lights. It wasn't foggy but this was really weird.”

    The witness then noticed something unusual around the object.

    “When it was almost above me there was fog in the immediate area mostly around the object. Not on the ground or close to me. I say fog because I couldn't smell any smoke. It wasn't thick and I could see the lights clearly. It floated in a straight line from when I first noticed it and where I stopped, it floated right over me. I say floated because it was moving so slow. I looked out of my passenger window and it went on its way. I couldn't believe it and wanted to call the sheriff’s office but thought they might think I was crazy. There is a very small airport that it was headed toward but would have had to ascend to get that high to land it. I never heard it accelerate. I called the airport the next day to see if anything landed there the night before and they said no. I was amazed that I saw it and that it was so low. I told some of my co-workers about it and asked if anyone else seen it. None did.”

    North Carolina MUFON State Director David Glidewell closed this case as an Unknown-Other.
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  3. #1123
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    Unfathomably deep oceans on alien water worlds?
    Paul Scott Anderson in SPACE | May 9, 2019

    Distant water exoplanets might have oceans thousands of miles deep. That’s in contrast to Earth’s ocean, which is about 6.8 miles (about 11 km) deep at its deepest point.


    Artist’s concept of a water world exoplanet as described in a new study. If they do exist, these distant water worlds might have global oceans much, much deeper than any in our solar system. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech.
    Water worlds – planets or moons with global oceans – used to be considered part of science fiction, but we are starting to learn now that, not only do they exist, they might actually be fairly common. In our own solar system, the moons Europa, Enceladus, Titan and Ganymede are known or suspected to have such oceans beneath their outer ice crust. Even Pluto is now thought to have one! Perhaps other worlds in our solar system have water we haven’t found yet. Scientists also think they’re getting closer to finding exoplanets – planets orbiting distant stars – that are water worlds as well, including planets with global or near-global oceans on their surfaces.

    Now, a new study suggests that some exoplanet water worlds could have oceans much deeper than any in our solar system. Unfathomably deep, even, as in hundreds or thousands of miles deep. The new research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on April 29, 2019, by Harvard University astronomer Li Zeng and his colleagues. Zeng explained that, according to the team’s computer simulations, some planets may have incredibly deep oceans:

    Hundreds or thousands of kilometers … Unfathomable. Bottomless. Very deep.

    Earth’s oceans are nowhere near as deep. The average ocean depth on Earth is about about 2.2 miles (3.5 km). The maximum depth is 6.8 miles (about 11 km) at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

    The data the team gathered from their computer simulations suggests that water worlds are probably common in our galaxy, particularly in sub-Neptune-sized planets – or mini-Neptunes – that have radii two to four times that of Earth but are smaller than Neptune. These planets are most likely to have deep global oceans, rather than thick atmospheres like gas dwarfs, ice giants or gas giants. Moons like Europa and Enceladus have deep subsurface oceans, for their size, but those are still not nearly as deep as the oceans that would exist on sub-Neptune worlds.
    _______________________________________

    Oceans that are hundreds or thousands of miles deep! That's unfathomable both literally and figuratively! - ilan
    Last edited by ilan; 05-09-2019 at 12:18 PM.
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  4. #1124
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    Astronomy Day is Coming Up! How You Can Participate
    Diana Hannikainen, Sky & Telescope | May 9, 2019


    National Park Service / Kristen M Caldon

    Twice a year the astronomical community congregates on what since 1973 has been known as Astronomy Day. That year, Doug Berger, then president of the Astronomical Association of Northern California, founded the event as a way of engaging local communities in the science and hobby of astronomy — he wanted to "bring astronomy to the people." What started as a one-day event in springtime has since flourished and is now not only celebrated all over the world but is also a biannual occurrence. (Promoted by the Astronomical League, Fall Astronomy Day was introduced in 2007).

    Spring Astronomy Day is traditionally scheduled for a Saturday between mid-April and mid-May that is closest to or before the first-quarter Moon. This year’s Spring Astronomy Day will be celebrated on Saturday, May 11, when the Moon will be at exactly first quarter.

    What can you expect?

    To begin with, many science museums and planetariums host special programs and exhibits. If you live within driving distance of an observatory, see if they offer open houses to the general public. Local astronomy clubs participate by organizing star parties in the evening. But did you know you can also observe during the day? Many clubs will set up solar scopes — if you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of sunspots or even prominences. (But remember, protect your eyes and don't ever look at the Sun directly.) Bear in mind that some clubs and associations may organize events on days other than Saturday to best suit their schedules. Remember to also check your local news outlets — your neighborhood park might have a fun program in store for you.

    If you’re not a member of an astronomy club, browse through our directory to find one near you. You can also search for observatories, planetariums, and science museums. We’ve also listed a selection of events, aimed at all ages, at the bottom of this post. You don’t have to be an expert to participate — just head on out there, and remember, have fun! You’ll be with a whole bunch of other people who are as eager to learn and experience astronomy firsthand as you are.

    What if you’re already busy this weekend and can’t participate? No problem, just mark your calendar for Fall Astronomy Day, which this year will be on October 5th.

    Need Help Planning?

    To help organizations and individuals plan programs, the Astronomical League and Sky & Telescope partnered to write the Astronomy Day Handbook. Written by David H. Levy and updated by Gary Tomlinson, the guide offers suggestions for conducting large and small programs. Also available for printing and handing out is the Astronomical League's The ABCs of Stargazing sheet, which can help you explain the basics of our hobby to newcomers. Consider distributing the Good Outdoor Neighbor Lighting flyer, an information sheet on light pollution and how we can work together to minimize it, at your event as well.
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  5. #1125
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    Local UFO videographers believe Northeast Ohio is a UFO sighting hot zone
    Joe Pagonakis, News 5 | Updated: 10:48 PM, May 10, 2019


    CLEVELAND — Whether you believe UFOs are a product of a wild imagination or a real phenomenon, some local UFO videographers believe Northeast Ohio is a hot zone for UFO sightings.

    Dale Harder with the Cleveland Ufology Project, one of the worlds oldest UFO organizations established in 1952, said the numbers back-up a large number of sightings in the greater Cleveland area.

    He said sighting statistics from the Mutual UFO Network , or MUFON, place Ohio in the top five for UFO reports.

    Harder, who said he's witnessed numerous UFO sightings, also admits with growing technology there are also a growing number of fake sightings or hoax videos out there.

    "I believe that this area, in Cleveland here, is a hot spot," Harder said. "Everybody's carrying a cell phone these days and everybody's picking things up, aside from those who like to perpetrate hoaxes, there is a lot of garbage out there so you have to be careful."

    Highly viewed northeast Ohio UFO sightings recorded by Sam Phillips and Michael Lee Hill have generated plenty of commentary from those calling the videos fake, skeptics and believers for more than ten years.

    Hill agrees this region of the county has a high amount of sightings compared to the rest of the U.S.

    "This actual activity has been going on over Lake Erie for a very long time," Hill said. "You could see this ball of light come down, and all of a sudden you could see it's reflection on the lake."

    Phillips recorded his video of an unexplained light over Key Tower during a 2008 peace protest. He said the unexplained object seemed to hover over the building for several minutes, as several other people looked on with him.

    "Some of the people thought it was a kite, or a weather balloon," Phillips said. "I seen this light come out of the lake. I was amazed, I was amazed, I didn't know what to think. But I never seen anything like that, and the tape does not pick up the brightness."

    In August 2018, Leon Ellis recorded three lights, flying in formation over his Cleveland home.

    Ellis recorded the event with his smartphone, and made it clear he'll never be sure what he captured on video.

    "What I saw that night, I can't explain, that's above my pay grade," Ellis said. "I was trying to think of anything logical, maybe it could be drones, maybe it could be flares or something like that, but the way they were moving, they were moving in a formation. These were orange, they were solid, nothing blinking, and no sound at all."

    A study by Ipsos Marketins indicates 56 percent of Americans believe in UFOs.

    Ellis said he's not sure one way or the other, but he said people should remain open-minded.

    "Definitely look up. You never know, you could catch something," Ellis said. "Who knows what you'll catch next time."
    __________________________

    This isn't the video from the article, but it has several Lake Erie UFO events and it does include some footage from the video referenced in the article. - ilan
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  6. #1126
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    Early galaxies shone brighter and hotter than expected
    Korey Haynes, Astronomy | Published: Friday, May 10, 2019

    These brilliant star factories turned on the first lights that streamed freely through the universe.


    The first galaxies shone bright and hot, lighting up the cosmos around them.
    James Josephides
    Our universe’s first galaxies shone hotter and brighter than scientists thought, according to a group of astronomers who tapped a whopping 400 hours of observing time on NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. The discovery could answer a long-standing question about how light first traveled freely through the infant universe.

    “We did not expect that Spitzer, with a mirror no larger than a Hula-Hoop, would be capable of seeing galaxies so close to the dawn of time,” study author Michael Werner said in a press release. Werner is Spitzer’s project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “But nature is full of surprises,” he added, “and the unexpected brightness of these early galaxies, together with Spitzer’s superb performance, puts them within range.”

    Cosmic First Light

    After the Big Bang, our universe was mostly gas. It took some 100 to 200 million years for the first stars to form. And it took another billion years or so for those suns to come together as the first galaxies. But for most of this period, the universe was packed with cold hydrogen gas. Some kinds of light can pass through such gas uninhibited. But higher-energy radiation, like ultraviolet light and gamma-rays, gets absorbed immediately. That stops this light from streaming freely across space where one day, billions of years in the future, it might strike an Earth observer’s telescope.

    And as these first stars and galaxies started filling our early universe with high-energy radiation, all that gas was saturated with light until it just couldn’t absorb any more, and light began racing freely across the cosmos. This transition is known as the epoch of reionization, and it marks the cloudy edge of cosmic history, past which astronomers will never see.

    Researchers understand this barrier and its cause in general terms. But exactly when this ionization happened, and how, has remained a puzzle. And astronomers still debate the specific sources of all that radiation.

    That’s why these new observations are important. Spitzer’s deep look let astronomers see specific wavelengths of light from the universe’s earliest galaxies. The results show that the first galaxies were extremely light in “metals,” which is what astronomers call any elements beyond hydrogen and helium. The discovery also implies that the stars within those galaxies then held few heavy elements, which helped them burn hot and churn out the kind of ionizing radiation that would clear the gas’ veil from our cosmos.

    These hot stars formed the early galaxies that Spitzer studied, making them brighter than today’s galaxies, and brighter than astronomers had expected. Researchers led by Stephane De Barros, from the University of Geneva in Switzerland, published their study April 4 in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

    While some examples of such surprisingly bright galaxies have been spied before in previous searches, the Spitzer survey (called GREATS, and based on a Hubble survey called GOODS) included 135 early galaxies. This tells astronomers that such brightness was common in these early galaxies, and not a trait belonging to a few spectacular outliers.

    It’s still not clear if these bright galaxies could ionize the universe all on their own, or if extra sources of light — like the radiation that roils off actively feeding black holes at the center of galaxies — might also be responsible. But telescopes like James Webb, due to launch in 2021, will be more than seven times larger than Spitzer, and able to study the universe’s early days in even greater detail. Perhaps one day, astronomers will have a true answer as to what objects were responsible for turning on the lights in the cosmos.
    ____________________________

    Amazing stuff! The farther away they look, the deeper into the universe's past they are revealing. I wish I knew the identity of the galaxy in the image. It sure is burning brightly! - ilan
    Last edited by ilan; 05-12-2019 at 01:21 PM.
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  7. #1127
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    Asteroid strike simulation blasts New York City
    Paul Scott Anderson in EARTH | SPACE | May 13, 2019

    It seems like play, but they’re serious. Every year, at the Planetary Defense Conference, asteroid experts from around the globe run days-long simulations of asteroids headed for major cities. In 2019, it was New York City’s turn.


    Artist’s concept of a large asteroid hitting Earth. Image via solarseven/Shutterstock.

    We’ve all seen movies about what might happen if an asteroid were to hit the Earth. While these thrilling, apocalyptic dramas are not real, asteroid experts do consider the question of what it might really be like if an asteroid used Earth for target practice. For example, what if a large asteroid were heading toward New York City specifically? If we knew far enough in advance that the asteroid were coming, could the Big Apple be saved?

    That was the question posed in a new simulation, called the Planetary Defense Conference Exercise 2019, presented during the International Academy of Astronautics Planetary Defense Conference (PDC) held April 29 to May 3, 2019 in Washington, D.C. The annual conference brings together asteroid experts from NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and other organizations to try to understand and plan how humanity would respond if an asteroid threat were to occur. How could Earth be saved?

    This article describes a simulation, an exercise, and there is no real asteroid posing a threat to Earth at this time.

    Astronomers hold a new simulation every year, in which they practice using their expertise and knowledge to spare various cities from ensuing calamity. In last year’s simulation, Tokyo was successfully saved after a nuclear bomb was used to destroy the asteroid. In previous simulations, however, other places such as the French Riviera and Dhaka (largest city of Bangladesh) were not so lucky. This year’s simulation got more publicity, in part because it was highlighted on social media. Day by day on Twitter, for example, the public was able to follow along, as experts participating in the simulation were giving new parameters to consider. Rüdiger Jehn, ESA’s head of Planetary Defence, explained in a statement why experts run simulations like these. He said:

    The first step in protecting our planet is knowing what’s out there. Only then, with enough warning, can we take the steps needed to prevent an asteroid strike altogether, or to minimize the damage it does on the ground.

    So what about New York? Was the catastrophe averted?

    Unfortunately, no.

    The simulation began on Day 1 of the conference. In this scenario, a large imaginary asteroid that the conference named after itself as 2019 PDC – said to be between 330 and 1,000 feet (100 and 300 meters) in diameter – was imagined to be on a near-Earth collision course. At first, according to the simulation, the asteroid had only about a 1 percent chance of hitting the Earth, so there was not too much reason to worry. Yet. A fake press release was issued, even though the chance of impact was still very small:

    College Park, Maryland, USA, April 29, 2019. The International Asteroid Warning Network has announced that a recently discovered near-Earth asteroid could pass very close to the Earth 8 years from now, on April 29, 2027, and there is a small chance – 1 in 100 – that it could impact our planet.

    Day 2 of the conference was in the simulation year 2021. NASA had launched a probe to look at the asteroid more closely. At that point in the simulation, the space rock was on a collision course with Earth, and the impact site had been narrowed down to Denver, Colorado.

    On Day 3 – the year 2024 in the simulation – the world’s space power nations had decided to build a fleet of six “kinetic impactors,” spacecraft designed to ram into the asteroid, slowing it down and hopefully deflecting it off course. The impactors were launched in 2024, still three years from impact, and three of them were imagined to hit the asteroid successfully. This was enough to fragment the asteroid, but there was still a problem. Although the biggest piece of the asteroid would no longer hit the Earth, a smaller fragment was imagined to be still on a collision trajectory, headed for the eastern United States.

    At this point in the simulation, there wasn’t too much else that could be done. It was too late to try to nuke the incoming asteroid fragment, due to politics (as usual).

    Now, analysis of the asteroid’s imaginary trajectory showed it would hit New York City. The only thing that could be done at this point was mass evacuation.

    Toward the end of the simulation, the asteroid was imagined as striking Earth’s atmosphere at 43,000 mph (69,000 kmh) and exploding right over New York in a blast that was 1,000 times more powerful than the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. New York City, the largest city in North America, was no more.

    All of this is, of course, just an exercise. But simulations like these help experts figure just what actions might be taken, if an asteroid were discovered to be on a collision course with Earth. At this point in Earth’s history, there are no large asteroids known to be headed our way. And the odds of a large asteroid hitting Earth at any given time are statistically exceedingly low. However, as astronomers have come to recognize more profoundly in recent decades, asteroid strikes do happen. They’ve happened before and could happen again.

    The dinosaurs unfortunately experienced this firsthand, 65 million years ago. And if it happened before, it can happen again, at some point. We don’t know exactly when, though, so it is prudent to be ready at all times, even if the chance of the unthinkable happening is small.

    About 20,000 near-Earth asteroids have been discovered so far, with another 150 or so new ones found every month, according to the Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).

    NASA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also released an 18-page document in June 2018 explaining what steps the agencies would take over the next 10 years to prevent actual potential asteroid strikes and to prepare the country for the worst if one did hit us. That plan is two-fold, increasing ground-based surveillance of near-Earth asteroids and having a protocol in place for mass evacuations. This would require other nations to work with the U.S., a worthy goal since we don’t know just when or where an asteroid will hit, the next time one does.

    In all probability, another asteroid will strike Earth, eventually, even if it’s tens of thousands of years from now. Let’s hope a future human civilization will fare better than the dinosaurs did 65 million years ago.

    Bottom line: In 2019’s Planetary Defense Conference simulation, New York City was obliterated by an asteroid fragment that hit Earth in 2027. Although not based on reality, simulations such as these are designed to help NASA, ESA, FEMA and other agencies prepare for a time if – or when – just such a catastrophe really does happen again.
    ______________________________________

    The very big ones are usually detected well ahead of their Earth approach. However, plenty of the smaller ones that could do a great deal of damage aren't discovered until days or even hours before their near-Earth approach. At that point, it would probably be too late to do anything of a substantial nature. - ilan
    Last edited by ilan; 05-14-2019 at 12:57 AM.
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  8. #1128
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    i could not imagine the devastation of a meteorite strike but history has a way of repeating itself. That being said i have been watching the documentaries on the devastation Chernobyl cause and that was just one reactor out of four. It was horrific and downright scary!! Nice post Ilan!
    Please post your questions on the specific Device/Subject Matter section!!!

  9. #1129
    Moderator at Work ilan's Avatar
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    Both are nasty ways to destroy this little planet we call home.
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    The building blocks for astronomically literate citizens
    Leiden University | 13 May 2019

    What does it mean for a citizen to be literate in astronomy? Astronomers who participate in outreach to the general public experience various degrees of astronomical knowledge among people. But so far, there had not been a systematic evaluation and definition of what astronomical literacy actually means. Astronomers including Pedro Russo from the Leiden Observatory therefore published the first global document that proposes a definition for astronomy literacy.

    Throughout history, astronomy has revolutionised the way humankind sees its place in the universe, from knowing only a handful of planets in the solar system, to the billions of galaxies currently known. But to what extent has this knowledge been integrated into society? The International Astronomical Union (IAU) wanted to find a way to determine how astronomically literate the public is. But before it is possible to assess this, you need to determine what literacy means: What should citizens, anywhere on the planet, know about astronomy? For that reason on 3 May, they published the first global astronomy literacy document, titled "Big Ideas in Astronomy: A Proposed Definition of Astronomy Literacy." Russo was one of the leaders of the project.

    The document presents eleven big ideas in astronomy, such as "We are all made of stardust" or "We may not be alone in the universe," each structured in seven to ten supporting concepts. The 65 pages cover a wide range of aspects of astronomy, from history to technology and from theory to observations. Also, the social and philosophical dimensions are covered, all anchored in topics that stretch from the Earth to the edge of the cosmos.

    "Big Ideas in Astronomy aims to be both informative and inspiring, showing the importance of astronomy to the society we live in," says João Retrê from the Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (IA). "It was designed to have a range of applications, such as aiding in the development of new resources for astronomy education, influencing school curricula, and providing a framework for governmental policy recommendations." The open-access document draws a roadmap to the astronomy literacy goals. It is intended for use by the astronomy education and outreach community, but also to evolve with their contributions. For this reason, the document is published under a Creative Commons license that allows anyone to share and adapt it, as long as appropriate credit is given.
    ________________________________

    The lead-in sentence to the second paragraph is profound. Beyond the historical perspective, though, just think of the knowledge we'll gain over the next 5, 10, 15 years. It will revolutionize the way we think about ourselves, our small, fragile planet and our universe! - ilan
    Last edited by ilan; 05-16-2019 at 03:00 PM.
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