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          Luzes polares em Úrano      Cache   Translate Page      

No primeiro dia da 15ª edição anual da Semana Europeia do Clima Espacial, esta imagem do Telescópio Espacial Hubble da NASA/ESA mostra uma notável ocorrência do clima celestial nos confins do Sistema Solar: uma aurora em Úrano. 

          Un pequeño telescopio solitario      Cache   Translate Page      

Este ojo, antaño vigilante del cielo, mira hacia arriba con nostalgia desde la cima de la montaña que es su hogar. Situado en la Observatorio La Silla de ESO, en el desierto chileno de Atacama, esta es la antena del ahora retirado telescopio SEST (Swedish-ESO Submillimetre Telescope, telescopio submilimétrico sueco-ESO).

SEST fue dado de baja en el año 2003 para dar paso a APEX (Atacama Pathfinder Experiment telescope) y a ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array), que se  encuentran en el llano de Chajnantor, en la región de Atacama de Chile (como su nombre indica). En su día, el SEST fue el telescopio submilímetro más grande del hemisferio sur; en concreto, abrió nuevos caminos en el estudio de algunas de las regiones más frías de la Vía Láctea, donde las estrellas están empezando a formarse a partir del polvo y el gas cósmicos.

En esta imagen, la franja brillante de la Vía Láctea se eleva sobre el SEST. Poéticamente, dentro de este río de luz, pueden verse algunas de las enormes regiones de formación estelar que el telescopio nos ayudó a entender. De hecho, en la imagen puede verse casi la totalidad de la Vía Láctea, visible desde esta ubicación (parte en el cielo y parte reflejada en la superficie brillante de la antena del telescopio).

Este sorprendente marco nocturno incluye tantos objetos hermosos del cielo que justifica toda una nueva versión de esta fotografía con anotaciones, simplemente haga clic aquí para ver todas las ubicaciones, desde las brillantes estrellas Sirio y Proción a la nebulosa de Orión, la nebulosa del Cono, la fenómenos atmosféricos y cósmicos de la luminiscencia nocturna y la luz zodiacal, el cometa Lovejoy y mucho más.

Esta imagen es obra de Petr Horálek, Fotógrafo Embajador de ESO.

          Hawaii court backs Thirty Meter Telescope construction on Mauna Kea      Cache   Translate Page      
Majority decision by the state’s supreme court rejects appeal, paves way for re-start of activity. - Source:
          High-powered lasers could send bat signal to alien astronomers - CNET      Cache   Translate Page      


High-powered lasers could send bat signal to alien astronomers
A high-powered laser and massive telescope could function as a planetary-scale searchlight. MIT. Astronomers and other researchers have been making a concerted effort to search the cosmos for alien intelligence for decades now. But what about putting ...
Infrared laser technology could attract aliens, but probably won'tAstronomy Magazine
Scientists Want to Use Lasers to Guide Aliens to Earth. What Could Go Wrong??Live Science
Researchers want to use lasers to contact aliens and help bring them to EarthFox News
SlashGear -The Inquisitr -ScienceAlert -BGR
all 33 news articles »

          NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captures creepy smiling face amidst stars      Cache   Translate Page      
          NASA's Hubble Telescope Spots Smiling Face in Space      Cache   Translate Page      
The Hubble Space Telescope captured some grinning galaxies while searching for newborn stars.
          Gas Seen Moving Near the Event Horizon      Cache   Translate Page      

Astronomers have detected three flares from near our galaxy’s central black hole that look like gas closely orbiting the unseen object.

The post Gas Seen Moving Near the Event Horizon appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

          Uranus recorded in near infrared light      Cache   Translate Page      

The post Uranus recorded in near infrared light appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

          ANDROMEDA      Cache   Translate Page      

The post ANDROMEDA appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

          M110 (NGC 205) and M31 in Andromeda.      Cache   Translate Page      

The post M110 (NGC 205) and M31 in Andromeda. appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

          Messier 32 and M32, Andromeda      Cache   Translate Page      

The post Messier 32 and M32, Andromeda appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

          M42 center part, a Art. Lum, Hubble palette picture      Cache   Translate Page      

The post M42 center part, a Art. Lum, Hubble palette picture appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

          M31 – Andromeda Galaxy and its satellite galaxies, M32 and M110      Cache   Translate Page      

The post M31 – Andromeda Galaxy and its satellite galaxies, M32 and M110 appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

          NGC 467, 470 and 474      Cache   Translate Page      

The post NGC 467, 470 and 474 appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

          [TobagoJack] ‘We’ cannot stop the progression of totally screw up the environment, I fear, fo...      Cache   Translate Page      
‘We’ cannot stop the progression of totally screw up the environment, I fear, for ‘we’ cannot even stop wars.

For as long as we have amongst us enough people who can utter ‘history does not matter’ and ‘say ‘no’ to hospitals’, we are more likely lost, in direct proportion to number of such enough people.

I am guessing that the world needs more education, starting at the highest levels, all embracing, in varied subjects, all encompassing, and somehow be inclusive of all, even those that live in remote African villages and concrete HK jungles, and and and, in order to save the day

In any case, am of two minds re below

Interstellar object may have been alien probe, Harvard paper argues, but experts are skeptical

(CNN) — A mysterious cigar-shaped object spotted tumbling through our solar system last year may have been an alien spacecraft sent to investigate Earth, astronomers from Harvard University have suggested.

The object, nicknamed 'Oumuamua, meaning "a messenger that reaches out from the distant past" in Hawaiian, was discovered in October 2017 by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii.

Since its discovery, scientists have been at odds to explain its unusual features and precise origins, with researchers first calling it a comet and then an asteroid before finally deeming it the first of its kind: a new class of "interstellar objects."

A new paper by researchers at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics raises the possibility that the elongated dark-red object, which is 10 times as long as it is wide and traveling at speeds of 196,000 mph, might have an "artificial origin."
"'Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization," they wrote in the paper, which has been submitted to the Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The theory is based on the object's "excess acceleration," or its unexpected boost in speed as it traveled through and ultimately out of our solar system in January.

"Considering an artificial origin, one possibility is that 'Oumuamua is a light sail, floating in interstellar space as a debris from an advanced technological equipment," wrote the paper's authors, suggesting that the object could be propelled by solar radiation.

The paper was written by Abraham Loeb, professor and chair of astronomy, and Shmuel Bialy, a postdoctoral scholar, at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Loeb has published four books and more than 700 papers on topics like black holes, the future of the universe, the search for extraterrestrial life and the first stars.

The paper points out that comparable light-sails exist on Earth.

"Light-sails with similar dimensions have been designed and constructed by our own civilization, including the IKAROS project and the Starshot Initiative. The light-sail technology might be abundantly used for transportation of cargos between planets or between stars."

In the paper, the pair theorize that the object's high speed and its unusual trajectory could be the result of it no longer being operational.

"This would account for the various anomalies of 'Oumuamua, such as the unusual geometry inferred from its light-curve, its low thermal emission, suggesting high reflectivity, and its deviation from a Keplerian orbit without any sign of a cometary tail or spin-up torques."

'Oumuamua is the first object ever seen in our solar system that is known to have originated elsewhere.

At first, astronomers thought the rapidly moving faint light was a regular comet or an asteroid that had originated in our solar system.

Comets, in particular, are known to speed up due to "outgassing," a process in which the sun heats the surface of the icy comet, releasing melted gas. But 'Oumuamua didn't have a "coma," the atmosphere and dust that surrounds comets as they melt.

Multiple telescopes focused on the object for three nights to determine what it was before it moved out of sight.

Going forward, the researchers believe we should search for other interstellar objects in our sky.

"It is exciting to live at a time when we have the scientific technology to search for evidence of alien civilizations," Loeb wrote in an email. "The evidence about `Oumuamua is not conclusive but interesting. I will be truly excited once we have conclusive evidence."

Is this just fantasy?

Other mysteries in space have previously been thought of as signs of extraterrestrial life: a mysterious radio signal, repeating fast radio bursts and even a strangely flickering star, known as Tabby's Star.

The mysterious radio signal was later determined to be coming from Earth, the repeating fast radio bursts are still being investigated, and new research suggests that Tabby's Star is flickering because of dust -- rather than being an alien megastructure.
So what does that mean for 'Oumuamua?

"I am distinctly unconvinced and honestly think the study is rather flawed," Alan Jackson, fellow at the Centre for Planetary Sciences at the University of Toronto Scarborough, wrote in an email. "Carl Sagan once said, 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence' and this paper is distinctly lacking in evidence nevermind extraordinary evidence."

Jackson published a paper in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society in March that suggests that 'Oumuamua came from a binary star system, or a system with two stars.
Jackson said the spectral data from 'Oumuamua looks like an asteroid or a comet, while that of a solar sail would look very different. The new paper proposes that the sail has been coated in interstellar dust, which obscures its true spectral signature.

"Any functional spacecraft would almost certainly retract its solar sail once in interstellar space to prevent damage," Jackson said. "The sail is useless once away from a star so there would be no reason to leave it deployed. If it was then deployed again on entering the solar system it would be pristine. Even if it was left deployed the dust accumulation would be primarily on the leading side like bugs on a windshield."

'Oumuamua also travels in a complex tumbling spin, but a functioning solar sail would have a much smoother path and obvious radiation-driven acceleration, Jackson said. Even the spinning motion of a damaged solar sail would be far more strongly influenced by the radiation forces than seen, he explained.

The solar sail would also be thinner than the authors of the new paper describe, he said.

"The sail on IKAROS is 7.5 micrometres thick with a mass of only 0.001g/cm^2, 100 times lower than their estimate," Jackson said. "While a combined spacecraft and sail could have a higher net mass the sail itself needs to be extremely light. That would also significantly change their estimate for how far it could travel before falling apart -- though as I said, I doubt any functional craft would leave its sail deployed in interstellar space."

Solar sails also can't change course after being launched, so if 'Oumuamua was truly a solar sail, it would be traceable back to its origin. So far, there is no obvious origin for 'Oumuamua.

"Beyond that, it becomes difficult to trace because of the motion of the stars and any hypothetical alien civilisation would face the same issue in charting a course that long in the first place (aside from arguments about whether they would want to launch a craft they knew would not reach its destination for many millions of years)," Jackson said.

Concerning 'Oumuamua, there is little evidence because astronomers weren't able to observe it for long, which opens it up to speculation in the name of science.

"The thing you have to understand is: scientists are perfectly happy to publish an outlandish idea if it has even the tiniest 'sliver' of a chance of not being wrong," astrophysicist and cosmologist Katherine Mack tweeted. "But until every other possibility has been exhausted dozen times over, even the authors probably don't believe it."

But it's important to distinguish that the researchers who wrote the new paper have expertise in solar sails, so they're suggesting that 'Oumuamua could be like a solar sail, said Coryn Bailer-Jones of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy. Bailer-Jones' paper on possible origin sites for 'Oumuamua was accepted by the Astrophysical Journal in September.
"Aliens would only come into all of this if you accept their assumption (and that's what it is; it doesn't come from the data) that 'Oumuamua is sail-like, and also assume nothing like that can be natural," Bailer-Jones wrote in an email. "In fact, they only mention the word 'alien' once, when they mention in passing that 'Oumuamua might have been targeted to intercept the solar system.

"I have no problem with this kind of speculative study," Bailer-Jones added. "It's fun and thought-provoking, and the issue of whether there is alien life out there is really important. But the paper doesn't give any evidence for aliens (and the authors don't claim that, I should note.)"

          Oumuamua and the Alien Hypothesis      Cache   Translate Page      
One year ago, in October 2017, astronomers detected the first confirmed interstellar visitor to our solar system – an asteroid dubbed Oumuamua. The name is Hawaiian for “scout”, as if the asteroid is a messenger from a distant system. A Hawaiian name was chose because the object was discovered by the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid […]
          Hubble Telescope finds smiling face in space during search for newborn stars      Cache   Translate Page      

The Hubble Telescope has stared into the abyss, and the abyss has stared back in the form of two yellow lights and a gravitationally lensed galaxy found during a search for new galaxies and stars.

          Proof Of The Black Hole In The Centre Of Our Galaxy      Cache   Translate Page      
Scientists have uncovered evidence of a black hole at the centre of our galaxy. They've also managed snap a pic of it using the Very Large Telescope.
          CURRENT AFFAIRS OCTOBER 21 TO 31 2018 USEFUL FOR BANK, SSC, LIC IAS EXAMS      Cache   Translate Page      



Important Current Affairs 21st October 2018
Important Miscellaneous News (15-20 Oct 2018)
The 6th edition of India International Silk Fair was inaugurated in New Delhi on October 16, 2018.Man-animal conflict will now be considered as ‘State Declared Disaster’ in Uttar Pradesh.Virtual currency exchange ‘Unocoin’ has installed India’s first cryptocurrency ATM in Bengaluru.The Government of India will organise the ‘First National Summit on Invest in AYUSH’ on 4 November 2018.
Important Science & Tech News (15-20 Oct 2018)
·       Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (CSIR-IITR) have developed ‘Oneer’ for disinfecting water
·       The European Space Agency launched a scientific mission named ‘BepiColombo’ to Mercury.
·       China successfully launched twin BeiDou-3 navigation satellites into space on 15 October 2018 to strengthen its satellite navigation network.
Imp Govt Policies & Schemes (15-20 Oct 2018)
·       The government of India has announced 100 crore rupee award scheme under Saubhagya scheme.
·       The government of India has launched the ‘Youth Road Safety Learners Licence’ programme on 15 October 2018.
·       Earth Sciences Minister Dr Harshvardhan unveiled an Air Quality early warning system for Delhi.
·       The government of India launched ‘Swasth Bharat Yatra’ campaign on 16 October 2018.
Important India & World News (15-20 Oct 2018)
·       India and China have launched their first joint programme for Afghanistan to train its diplomats.
·       The sixth meeting of the UAE – India High-Level Joint Task Force on Investments (‘the Joint Task Force’) was held in Mumbai on 15 October 2018.
·       Defence Minister NirmalaSitharaman attended 12th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) and the 5th ADMM-Plus in Singapore on 19 and 20 October 2018.
Important Books & Authors (15-20 Oct 2018)
·       “Brief Answers to the Big Questions” written by Stephen Hawking was launched on 15 October 2018.
·       A new book was released on Maharana Pratap titled “Maharana Pratap: The Invincible Warrior” written by Rima Hooja.
·       “Indian Sports: Conversations and Reflections” written by Vijayan Bala was released on 18 October 2018.
Important National Affairs (15-20 Oct 2018)
·       IRCTC launched a chatbot named ‘Ask Disha’ which will answer users’ queries.
·       The Shahi litchi of North Bihar has got the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
·       The North Central Railways (NCR) launched two apps – ‘NCR RASTA’ (Railway assets Summarised Tracking Application) and ‘Yatri RASTA’ (Railway Approach to Station Tracking Application) for its staff and passengers respectively.
Imp Business & Economy News (15-20 Oct 2018)
·       The RBI purchased government securities (g-secs) worth ₹120 billion under Open Market Operations.
·       Kreditech has got the license from RBI to operate as Non-Banking Financial Company for digital lending business and app-based financing.
·       RBI has released the guidelines for interoperability between Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs).RBI eased liquidity coverage ratio norms for banks.
Important Indexes & Reports (15-20 Oct 2018)
·       India has been ranked as the 58th most competitive economy on the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness index for 2018.
·       According to the Rural Development Ministry survey, Kuligod in Karnataka is the India’s best-developed village.
·       According to Credit Suisse’s 2018 Global Wealth Report, wealth in India grew a modest 2.6% and wealth per adult stayed flat at US$ 7,020.
Important Days & Events (15-20 Oct 2018)
·       International Day of Rural Women is observed on 15 October every year.
·       RashtriyaMahilaKisanDiwas is observed on 15 October in India.
·       World Food Day is held annually on the 16th of October.
·       International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is observed every year on 17 October.
·       World Osteoporosis Day 2018 is observed on October 20.
Important Defence News (15-20 Oct 2018)
·       The Indian Air Force (IAF) has announced India’s first competition in the defence sector, the Mehar Baba Prize.
·       India and China will resume the annual joint Army exercise ‘Hand-in-Hand’ in December 2018 in China’s Chengdu region.
·       India and Japan will hold the joint military exercise ‘DHARMA GUARDIAN-2018’ at Vairengte, Mizoram from 1 November to 14 November 2018.
Imp International News-2 (15-20 Oct 2018)
·       Lieutenant General Laura J. Richardson has become the first woman Commanding General of the United States Army Forces Command (FORSCOM).
·       The world’s longest sea bridge ‘Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge’ will be opened on 24 October 2018.
·       China’s indigenously designed and built amphibious aircraft ‘AG600’ successfully carried out its first take-off and landing tests on 20 October 2018.
Imp International News-1 (15-20 Oct 2018)
·       The 6th RCEP Inter-sessional Ministerial Meeting (IMM) was held in Singapore.
·       Canada has become the second country to legalise possession and use of recreational marijuana.
·       Palestine will lead the ‘Group of 77 plus China’ at the United Nations.
·       China has successfully tested the world’s largest unmanned transport drone which can carry a payload of 1.5 tonnes.
Important Sport News-2 (15-20 Oct 2018)
·       Akash Malik became the first Indian to win a silver medal in archery at the 2018 Youth Olympics.
·       The 2019 Military World Games will be held in China.
·       The organisers of Wimbledon have introduced a final set tie-breaker in all the events from 2019. A tiebreaker match will be played when the score reaches 12-12 in the final set.
Important Sport News-1 (15-20 Oct 2018)
·       Tennis player Leander Paes won the Santo Domingo Open trophy.
·       Tennis player Novak Djokovic won the Shanghai Masters title.
·       In Hockey, Great Britain won the 2018 Sultan of Johor Cup.
·       SurajPanwar won the silver medal in men’s 5000m race walk event in Youth Olympic Games 2018.
·       Praveen Chitravel won the bronze medal in triple jump at the Youth Olympics Games 2018.
Important Awards & Honours-2 (15-20 Oct 2018)
·       Suheil Tandon has won the International Olympic Committee’s Sport and Active Society Commission’s Grant Award.
·       Minal Patel Davis has been honoured with a Presidential award for her contribution towards combatting human trafficking in Houston, USA.
·       Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania awarded ‘Carnot Prize’ to Union Minister Piyush Goyal.
Important Awards & Honours-1 (15-20 Oct 2018)
·       Sikkim has won 2018 UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Future Policy for Gold Award.
·       Author MaryseConde won an alternative award formed in protest to the Nobel Literature Prize which got cancelled in 2018.
·       Author Anna Burns won the Man Booker Prize for her novel “Milkman”.
·       Mohammed Zahur Khayyam Hashmi has been named for 2018 Hridaynath Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Important Appointments (15-20 Oct 2018)
·       ShekharMande has been appointed as Director-General of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.
·       Nimesh Shah has been elected as Chairman of Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI).
·       RBI has approved Sandeep Bakshi’s appointment as MD and CEO of the ICICI bank for three years.
·       World Steel Association has elected JSW Steel CMD Sajjan Jindal as its treasurer.

Important Current Affairs 22nd October 2018
Indian Carpet Expo in Varanasi inaugurated
Prime Minister NarendraModi Inaugurated 36th Indian Carpet Expo in Varanasi on 21 Octber 2018.The expo is being organised under the aegis of the Deen Dayal Hastkala Sankul – a trade facilitation centre for handicrafts – at Varanasi..The expo has become a world-famous international fair amongst the buyers of Handmade carpets, rugs and other floor coverings.
200 ‘Nirmal’ Ganga projects to be completed
Union Minister NitinGadkari said that the government intends to complete 200 projects for ghats and crematoria.The government is taking various measures to ensure ecological flow or the minimum quantity of water at different stretches of the Ganga.The government had in May 2015 approved Rs 20,000 crore under its ambitious ‘Namami Gange’.
#MeToo: SC declined urgent hearing of PIL
The Supreme Court declined urgent hearing on a PIL seeking the registration of FIRs based on allegations of sexual misconduct and assault levelled by women across various sectors,It is a part of what is being referred to as India’s #MeToo movement.#MeToo spread virally in October 2017 on social media in an attempt to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment.
Nobel chemistry laureate Shimomura passed away
Japanese-born Marine biologist Osamu Shimomura, who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry, has died.Shimomura and two American scientists shared the 2008 Nobel prize for the discovery and development of a jellyfish protein that later contributed to cancer studies.In 1962, Shimomura isolated green fluorescent protein from jellyfish.
NASA names gamma-ray constellations
NASA scientists have devised a new set of 21 modern gamma-ray constellations and named them after fictional characters such as the Hulk and Godzilla.The constellations were devised to celebrate the completion of 10 years of operations of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.Fermi’s Large Area Telescope has been scanning the entire sky each day, mapping and measuring sources of gamma rays.
Paytm launched PayPay in Japan
Paytm has launched a payment service called ‘PayPay’ in Japan.PayPay is based on QR (quick-response) code technology.The payment service has been launched in association with SoftBank Corporation and Yahoo Japan Corporation.SoftBank Group is one of the largest investors in Paytm.PayPay Corporation was established in June 2018.
27th Fusion Energy Conference inaugurated
The 27th Fusion Energy Conference (FEC) was inaugurated in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on 22 October 2018.The six-day event is organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and hosted by the Department of Atomic Energy and Gandhinagar-based Institute of Plasma Research.FEC aims to provide a forum for the discussion of key physics and technology issues.
NITI Lecture Series on artificial intelligence
Prime Minister NarendraModi attended the fourth edition of the NITI Lecture Series focussed on ‘leveraging artificial intelligence for inclusive growth’ on 22 October 2018.The 2018 theme for the lecture series was ‘AI for All: Leveraging Artificial Intelligence for Inclusive Growth’.The lecture series is part of the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence.
Hurricane Willa approaching towards Mexico
Hurricane Willa has grown rapidly into an ‘extremely dangerous’ near-Category 5 storm in the eastern Pacific and is moving towards Mexico’s western coast.The hurricane was recognised as ‘life-threatening’ by the US National Hurricane Center (NHC).It has maximum sustained winds of about 130 miles per hour (209 km).
Sujatha Gidla won Shakti Bhatt Prize
SujathaGidla has won the 2018 Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize.She won the award for her book, ‘Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India’.The Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize is funded by the Shakti Bhatt Foundation.It was set up in 2008 in memory of writer Shakti.It carries a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh.
Global meet on maternal, child health

Este telescópio, que anteriormente se encontrava extremamente ocupado a observar o Universo, olha agora melancolicamente para os céus do cimo da sua montanha. Situado no Observatório de La Silla do ESO, no deserto chileno do Atacama, esta é a antena do já desativado Swedish-ESO Submillimetre Telescope (SEST).

O SEST foi desativado em 2003 para dar lugar aos telescópios APEX (Atacama Pathfinder Experiment) e ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array), ambos situados no planalto do Chajnantor na região chilena do Atacama (como sugerido pelos seus nomes). Quando ainda estava em operação, o SEST era o maior telescópio submilimétrico colocado no hemisfério sul, tendo desbravado terreno no estudo de algumas das regiões mais frias da Via Láctea, onde as estrelas se começam a formar a partir de gás e poeira.

O céu sobre a antena encontra-se repleto de objetos astronómicos, muitos dos quais estão anotados nesta imagem. Entre eles, vemos as estrelas brilhantes Sirius e Procyon, as Nebulosas de Orion e do Cone, os fenómenos atmosféricos e cósmicos de luminescência atmosférica e luz zodiacal e o Cometa Lovejoy. A imagem sem anotações encontra-se disponível neste link.


Important Current Affairs 01st October 2018
RBI to pump Rs 360 bn into bond markets
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) would pump Rs 360 billion into money markets in October to stem fears of a cascading credit crunch.The auctions would be conducted during the second, third and fourth week of October.The government will effectively cut its market borrowing by Rs 700 billion due to higher-than-expected earnings of Rs 750 billion through its small savings scheme.
Harmonium exponent Tulsidas Borkar passed away
Renowned harmonium player Pandit Tulsidas Borkar passed away in Mumbai.Borkar was conferred with the Padma Shri award in 2016 and also the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.He had accompanied legendary singers such as Ustad Amir Khan, Bhimsen Joshi and Kishori Amonkar.Borkar was known for both solo performances as well as his unique style of accompanying Indian classical singers.
5th World Internet Conference in China
China will hold the fifth World Internet Conference (WIC) in its river town of Wuzhen on November 7-9 2019.Theme:  “creating a digital world for mutual trust and collective governance – towards a community with a shared future in cyberspace”.The conference will advocate exchanges, mutual learning, cooperation and sharing in the digital fields.
7-member panel set up on ‘calamity tax’
The GST Council has set up a seven-member Group of Minister (GoM) panel.The panel will examine the legality of imposing a new tax on certain goods and services to raise resources for natural calamity-hit states.The seven-member Group of Ministers (GoM), would include representatives from North-Eastern, hilly and coastal states.
‘NABARAD Grameena Habba’ in Bengaluru
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development is organizing “Grameena Habba” at Bengaluru.Habba is an exhibition cum sale of rural artisan products September 28- Oct 7, 2018.It would expand the market for weavers, rural artisans and craftsmen etc.NABARD supports rural artisans via its special fund ‘Gramya Vikas Nidhi’ that promotes rural innovation, rural livelihood options etc.
Goa, Portugal signed MoU on water management
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Portuguese Environment Ministry and the Public Works Department of Goa.The MoU proposes technical partnership in the areas of water supply operation and energy efficiency,As part of the MoU, the assessment of two of the biggest water treatment and supply plants at Selaulim and Opa in Goa would be undertaken.
New LNG terminal at Anjar inaugurated
The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi inaugurated the Mundra LNG terminal, the Anjar-Mundra Pipeline Project and the Palanpur-Pali-Barmer pipeline project, at Anjar, Gujarat on 30 September 2018.The LNG terminal is promoted by Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Ltd.India has two more LNG terminals, Dabhol in Maharashtra and Kochi in Kerala.
1st corn festival of country in Chhindwara
The first corn festival of the country held in Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh from 29-30 Sept.The event will see scientists working on maize from across the country who will share their knowledge of the new developments and opportunities for corn based products.Madhya Pradesh is one of the largest corn producing states in India with Chhindwara being the highest corn producing district.
SATAT initiative launched by Petroleum Min
The government of India launched ‘SATAT’ initiative to promote Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) as an alternative fuel.The initiative is aimed at providing a Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) as a developmental effort that would benefit both vehicle-users as well as farmers and entrepreneurs.Use of CBG will also help bring down dependency on crude oil imports.
Wage Compensation Scheme for pregnant women
Assam government launched a wage compensation scheme for Pregnant Women in tea gardens of the state.The scheme will provide better health and nutrition supplements to the pregnant women.An amount of Rs.12,000 will be given to the pregnant woman to take care of herself and unborn baby.The wage compensation scheme will reduce maternal and neonatal mortality in the tea areas of Assam.
VP to give “Vayoshreshtha Samman-2018”
The Vice President of India M. Venkiah Naidu gave “Vayoshreshtha Samman-2018” to senior citizens on October 1, 2018.The award is given to eminent senior citizens and institutions in recognition of their services towards the cause of the elderly persons.Vayoshreshtha Samman is a Scheme of National Awards instituted by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
Sale of micro insurance via PoS allowed
Insurance regulator IRDAI has allowed the distribution of all micro-insurance products through point-of-sales (PoS).It aims to increase insurance penetration in the country.Micro-insurance policies are designed to promote insurance coverage among economically vulnerable sections.A micro-insurance policy is a general or life insurance policy with a sum assured of Rs. 50,000 or less.
Madhya Pradesh to have cow ministry
Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced the setting up of a ministry for cows.The cow ministry will replace the existing Madhya Pradesh Gaupalan Evam Pashudhan Samvardhan Board (MPGEPSB).If Madhya Pradesh implements the decision, it will become the second Indian state after Rajasthan to get a cow ministry.
livestock census commenced from Oct. 1
The 20th Livestock Census will be conducted in all States and Union Territories from October 1, 2018.The 20th Livestock Census would, for the first time, capture breed-wise headcount of livestock and poultryThe Census would help in identifying the threatened indigenous breeds.The exercise would also cover fisheries.
Peace Padyatra in in the Red heartland
Around 150 people, from various states affected by the Maoist insurgency, will begin a 186-km long ‘Peace Padyatra’ on 1 Oct.The Peace Padyatra will start from the Shabri Gandhi Ashram in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh to the Jagdalpur town of Bastar.The padyatris will walk along the National Highway 30, that passes through the  Sukma district of Chhattisgarh.
Good samaritan bill of Karnataka approved
Karnataka has become the first state in the country to give legal protection to good Samaritans.President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to Karnataka Good Samaritan and Medical Professional (Protection and Regulation during Emergency Situations) Bill, 2016.The bill aims to provide legal protection to the good samaritans in Karnataka, who help accident victims with emergency medical care.
NITI Aayog and Oracle sign SoI
NITI Aayog and Oracle signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) to pilot a real drug supply-chain using blockchain distributed ledger and Internet of Things (IoT) softwareThe SoI was signed in order to fight the growing problem of counterfeit drugs in India.Apollo Hospitals and Strides Pharma Sciences will partner in this effort.
Yuvraj Wadhwani won Asian Junior Squash title
India’s Yuvraj Wadhwani won Asian Junior Squash Championship title on 30 September, 2018.Yuvraj has become the second Indian to win the Under-13 title after Veer Chotrani, who had won the title in 2014 in Iran.Overall, Indian squash players won one gold, one silver and four bronze medals.
Int Day of Older Persons observed on 1st Oct
International Day of Older Persons is observed on 1st October every year.The theme for 2018 is ‘Celebrating Older Human Rights champions’.The objective of the International Day for Older Persons is to recognise the contributions of older persons and to examine issues that affect their lives.
Govt sets up Competition Law Review Committee
The Government has constituted a Competition Law Review Committee to review the Competition Act.The committee will be headed by corporate affairs secretary Injeti Srinivas.The committee will review the competition regulations in India.The Competition Act was passed in 2002 and the Competition Commission of India was set up in 2009.

Important Current Affairs 02nd October 2018
AM Raghunath Nambiar takes over as AOC-in-C
Air Marshal Raghunath Nambiar on October 1, 2018, took over as the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) of the Eastern Air Command.He is also a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and was the Project Test Pilot for the Light Combat Aircraft, ‘Tejas’.He had served as a Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) at the IAF’s Eastern Air Command in the past.
Birth anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri
The nation celebrates the 114th birth anniversary of India’s second Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri on October 2.He was the 2nd Prime Minister of India and a senior leader of the Indian National Congress political party.Prime Minister visited the Vijay Ghat to pay tributes to the former prime minister.Shastri coined the slogan ‘jai jawan jai kisan’.
PPC launched on 2nd October 2018
The Central government launched its People’s Plan Campaign (PPC) for panchayats from October 2, 2018, with the slogan “Sabki Yojana Sabka Vikas”.During the campaign, structured Gram Sabha meetings will be held for preparing Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) for the next financial year 2019-2020.GPDP aims to strengthen the role of elected Panchayat leaders and Women.
Govt releases agri census data for 2015-16
The government of India released agriculture census for 2015-16 on 1 October 2018.The average size of operational holding declined to 1.08 hectares (ha) in 2015-16 compared to 1.15 ha in 2010-11.The percentage share of female operational holders has increased from 12.79% in 2010-11 to 13.87% in 2015-16.Agriculture census is conducted by Ministry of Agriculture for every five years.
HRD min gave ‘Swachhata Ranking Awards 2018’
Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar announced the “Swachh Campus rankings” under 8 different categories on 1 October 2018.Haryana’s Maharashi Dayanand University has been ranked the cleanest government university by the HRD Ministry.Among the technical institutions, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Coimbatore bagged the top rank.
Government took control of IL&FS
The government of India took control of Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) on 1 October 2018.The government replaced its board and appointed new board members.Uday Kotak was named as non-executive chairman of the new board.The government moved the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) for replacing the IL&FS Board.
BSE launches commodity derivative contracts
Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) became the first stock exchange in India to launch the commodity derivative contracts in gold and silver.Till now, commodity contracts were available only on MCX and NCDEX, the two specialised commodity derivatives exchanges.BSE also waived off transaction charges for the first year in the commodities derivatives segment.
U.S., Canada agree on free trade pact
Canada and the U.S. have agreed on a new free trade pact that will include Mexico.The new trade deal will be known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).USMCA replaces the nearly 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).The trade pact will come up for review every six years.
ADB and India sign $150 Million Loan
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $150 Million Loan.The loan amount will be used to improve road connectivity and efficiency of the International Trade Corridor in West Bengal and North-Eastern Region of India.The project will give a boost to India’s efforts to promote regional connectivity in South Asia.
NALCO CMD conferred with NIPM Ratna award
NALCO CMD Dr Tapan Kumar Chand was conferred with the ‘NIPM Ratna Award’ at the 37th NIPM Annual National Conference (NATCON-2018).He was given the award for his contribution to People Management & Strategic Leadership.National Institute of Personnel Management (NIPM) is the highest body of HR professionals in India.NIPM organized the NATCON-2018 at Pune.
Int Day of Non-Violence observed on Oct 2
The International Day of Non-Violence is observed on 2 October in honor of the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.The International Day of Non-Violence is a global observance that promotes non-violence through education and public awareness.On 15 June 2007 the United Nations General Assembly establish 2 October as the International Day of Non-Violence.
Niwari is 52nd district of MP
The Madhya Pradesh government announced the creation of a new district ‘Niwari’.The new district would include three tehsils of the present Tikamgarh district – Niwari, Orchha, and Prithvipur.The government’s decision came into effect from October 1.The district has been carved out of the Tikamgarh district.
BCCI comes under RTI Act
Central Information Commission brings The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is covered under the RTI Act.CIC directed the BCCI to form, online and offline mechanisms to receive applications for information under the RTI Act within 15 days.The BCCI is the national governing body for cricket in India formed in December 1928.
India, Uzbekistan signed 17 agreements
India and Uzbekistan inked 17 agreements on 1 October 2018, including in the areas of defence, space, health and agriculture.They also signed an agreement on cooperation in combating illicit drug trafficking.Two agreements in the sectors of innovation, and health and medical science were also signed.The two countries also entered into a pact on cooperation in the pharma sector.
Nobel prize for medicine
Two immunologists, James Allison of the US and Tasuku Honjo of Japan won the 2018 Nobel prize in medicine.They won the prize for the discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.They will receive their prize at a formal ceremony in Stockholm on 10th December.Allison and Honjo also have won the Tang Prize in 2014 for their research.
12 Indian firms in Forbes best companies
12 Indian companies features in a list of the world’s best regarded firms compiled by Forbes.Entertainment giant Walt Disney, with a market cap of USD 165 billion topped the list.US companies dominate the list with 61 of the total 250 firms.The Indian companies are-  Infosys, TCS, Tata Motors, Tata Steel, L&T, Grasim Industries, GIC, Mahindra & Mahindra, Asian Paints, SAIL, ITC and HDFC.
1st Swachhata Mela at AIIMS Delhi
Health Minister J P Nadda inaugurated the First Swachhata Mela organised by All India Institute of Medical Sciences New Delhi.AIIMS Delhi has bagged first position in Kayakalp awards with prize money of Rs. 5 crore in the last two editions of the awards.Kayakalp awards were initiated to recognise the efforts of the hospitals for maintaining cleanliness in their premises.
India’s flag-bearer at Youth Olympic Games
16-year-old shooting star Manu Bhaker is named as the flag-bearer of the Indian contingent for the 3rd Youth Olympic Games at Buenos Aires.A contingent of 68 members, including 46 athletes, departed for Argentina to take part in games from October 6-18.Bhaker had won gold in 10m air pistol at Guadalajara World Cup as well as Commonwealth Games.
Mushtaque Ahmad- new Hockey India President
Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad was is named as the new President of Hockey India (HI).Ahmad is currently serving as the post of Secretary General.He takes over President Rajinder Singh after being elected unopposed.Hockey India is the governing body having an exclusive mandate to conduct all activities for both men and women hockey in India.
Gita Gopinath appointed IMF Chief Economist
India-born economist, Gita Gopinath has been appointed chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).She will succeed Maurice Obstfeld, who announced his retirement in July.Gita Gopinath is the second Indian economist to be appointed as IMF chief economist after Raghuram Rajan.She currently serves as professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University.

Important Current Affairs 03rd October 2018
National Khadi Festival 2018 inaugurated
A month-long National Khadi Festival 2018 has been inaugurated on 2 Oct 2018, by Union MSME minister, Shri Giriraj Singh.The fest is being organized by Khadi and Village Industries Commission at Mumbai.Various types of Khadi products of different states would be available at the festival.Around 100 institutions from all over of the country are participating in the exhibition.
Mount Soputan erupts in Indonesia
Indonesia’s Mount Soputan volcano erupts on the tsunami-hit island of Sulawes.The authorities raised the volcano’s status to Level III of the four-level national alert system.It is about 1,000 km from the town of Palu where a 7.5 magnitude earthquake triggered a tsunami.Indonesia is situated on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where frequent quakes and volcanic activity strikes.
Lilima to receive Ekalabya Puraskar, 2018
Hockey player Lilima Minz from Odisha has been selected for the prestigious Ekalabya Puraskar, 2018.The annual award is instituted by the charitable wing of Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys (IMFA) comprises of a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh along with a citation.Ekalabya Puraskar has been instituted to promote literature, sports, the arts, culture, and other socially meaningful activities.
N. Ravi elected as PTI chairman
N. Ravi, Publisher and former Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, was unanimously elected Chairman of the Press Trust of India (PTI).Mr. Ravi succeeds Viveck Goenka, chairman and managing director of the Express Group.Also, Vijay Kumar Chopra, Chief Editor of the Punjab Kesari Group of newspapers, was elected as Vice-Chairman.
PM Modi received UNEP Champions of the Earth
PM Narendra Modi received the United Nations highest environmental honour, the UNEP Champions of the Earth award at New Delhi.The award is presented by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.The award was announced on 26th Sept, on the sidelines of 73rd UN GA in New York.The annual prize is awarded to leaders from government whose actions had a positive impact on the environment.
SIDBI launched ‘Udyam Abhilasha’ campaign
Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), had launched a National Level Entrepreneurship Awareness Campaign, Udyam Abhilasha on 2 October 2018.The campaign was launched in 115 Aspirational Districts identified by NITI Aayog.The campaign would create and strengthen cadre of more than 800 trainers to provide entrepreneurship training to the aspiring entrepreneurs.
Japan space probe launched new robot
A Japanese probe launched a new observation robot towards an asteroid.The Hayabusa2 probe launched the French-German Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT), towards the Ryugu asteroid’s surface.MASCOT’s launch comes after the Hayabusa2 dropped a pair of MINERVA-II micro-rovers on the Ryugu asteroid.MASCOT can take images at multiple wavelengths and measure magnetic fields.
World Peace monument inaugurated
Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the World Peace Monument at the Maharashtra Institute of Technology’s World Peace University campus at Loni, Pune.The monument has one of the world’s largest dome of 160 ft. in diameter and 263 ft tall.It is larger in area than the dome at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.The dome is built atop the MIT World Peace Library and the World Peace Prayer Hall
PM inaugurated first assembly of the ISA
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 1st Assembly of the International Solar Alliance on 2 October 2018 in New Delhi.The same event also marked the inauguration of the 2nd IORA Renewable Energy Ministerial Meeting, and the 2nd Global RE-Invest (Renewable Energy Investors’ Meet and Expo).The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Antonio Guterres, was present on the occasion.
Stamps on International Day of Non-Violence
The UN postal agency issued a new collection of stamps in commemoration of the International Day of Non-violence, marked on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary.Stamps feature artistic interpretation of ‘The Knotted Gun’, an iconic global sculpture.The sculpture was created by the Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswrd as a tribute to  Beatles member John Lennon after his murder.
Barham Salih as new president of Iraq
Iraq’s Parliament has elected a veteran Kurdish Politician Barham Salih as the country’s new President.Salih is a former prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government.He has named Shiite Adel Abdul Mahdi as Prime Minister of the country.The move will pave the way to form a new government, nearly five months after national elections.
New dwarf planet spotted
An extremely distant dwarf planet, named The Goblin, has been discovered by the astronomers.The dwarf planet was officially designated as ‘2015 TG387’.Astronomers first observed the dwarf planet on October 13, 2015, from the Subaru telescope.This is the third dwarf planet found to be orbiting on the frigid fringes of our solar system.
Thangvellu- flag-bearer for Asian Para Games
Rio Paralympic gold medallist Thangvellu Mariyappan is named as flag-bearer of the Indian contingent for the 3rd Paralympic Asian games.India will field its biggest ever contingent of 302 members for the games.3rd Asian Para Games will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia from October 6-13.The official mascot of the Games is a Bondol eagle named Momo.
Manipur clinch National Football Championship
Manipur claimed victory in the final of the 24th Senior Women’s National Football Championships, defeating hosts Odisha by 2-1.It was the 19th occasion when a state from the northeast of India won the trophy.Manipur captain Bala Devi scored the first goal in the 45th minute.The final match was held at the Barabati Stadium, Cuttack, Odisha.
Justice Ranjan Gogoi sworn in as 46th CJI
Justice Ranjan Gogoi was sworn-in as the 46th Chief Justice of India on 3 October 2018.He was administered the oath by President Ram Nath Kovind.CJI Ranjan Gogoi is the first Chief Justice of India from the north-east and his tenure will end in November 2019.Justice Gogoi started his career as a Permanent Judge of the Gauhati High Court in February 2001.
Odisha launched own food security scheme
The Odisha government has launched its own food security scheme on 2 October 2018.The scheme will be benefiting 25 lakh people who were left out of the National Food Security Act.The beneficiaries will get 5 kg of rice per person per month at the rate of Rs. 1 per kg.Each poor man will get 5 kg of rice per month as per the provision of the National Food Security Act, 2013.
WHO launched global guidelines on sanitation
The World Health Organization (WHO) launched the first global guidelines on sanitation and health.The WHO said that by adopting its new guidelines, countries can significantly reduce diarrhoeal deaths due to unsafe water and poor sanitation and hygiene.The new guidelines were developed because current sanitation programmes are not achieving anticipated health gains.
Assam government launched pension scheme
Assam government launched pension scheme covering all senior citizens of the state.The name of the pension scheme is ‘Swahid Kushal Konwar Sarbajanin Briddha Pension Achoni’.All senior citizens above 60 years of age are entitled to get the benefit of the scheme through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) to their bank accounts.
IBSAMAR-VI kicks off in South Africa
The sixth edition of IBSAMAR is being held at Simons Town, South Africa from 01 – 13 October 2018.IBSAMAR is a joint Multi – National Maritime Exercise between the Indian, Brazilian and South African Navies.The aim of the exercise is to undertake collective training for participating navies and building interoperability.The last edition of IBSAMAR was conducted in Goa.
Ashkin, Mourou, Strickland won Nobel prize
Scientists Arthur Ashkin, Gerard Mourou and Donna Strickland won the 2018 Nobel Prize for Physics.They were awarded for their work in the field of lasers used for surgery as well as scientific study.Ashkin invented optical “tweezers” that could grab particles, atoms, viruses and other living cells.Mourou and Strickland separately created the shortest and most powerful laser pulses ever.

Important Current Affairs 04th October 2018
Trials of Astra BVR-AAM Completed Successfully
A series of flight trials of ‘Astra’ Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVR-AAM) was conducted by the Indian Air Force from September 26 to October 3 2018.The test was conducted at Integrated Test Range, Balasore.Defence Research and Development Organisation has developed the missile.The missile is expected to be inducted into Indian Air Force in 2019.
Youngest Indian to score century on Test debut
Prithvi Shaw scored a century in the first Test against West Indies at Rajkot to become the youngest Indian to score a century on debut.Shaw surpassed the record set by Abbas Ali Baig who had sco
          Um pequeno telescópio solitário      Cache   Translate Page      

Este telescópio, que anteriormente se encontrava extremamente ocupado a observar o Universo, olha agora melancolicamente para os céus do cimo da sua montanha. Situado no Observatório de La Silla do ESO, no deserto chileno do Atacama, esta é a antena do já desativado Swedish-ESO Submillimetre Telescope (SEST).

O SEST foi desativado em 2003 para dar lugar aos telescópios APEX (Atacama Pathfinder Experiment) e ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array), ambos situados no planalto do Chajnantor na região chilena do Atacama (como sugerido pelos seus nomes). Quando ainda estava em operação, o SEST era o maior telescópio submilimétrico colocado no hemisfério sul, tendo desbravado terreno no estudo de algumas das regiões mais frias da Via Láctea, onde as estrelas se começam a formar a partir de gás e poeira.

A risca brilhante da Via Láctea sobe por cima do SEST. Neste “rio de luz”, podemos ver algumas das enormes regiões de formação estelar que este telescópio nos ajudou a estudar. De facto, esta imagem mostra quase toda a Via Láctea que é visível a partir deste local — uma parte no céu e outra parte refletida na superfície brilhante da antena do telescópio.

Esta bela imagem inclui tantos objetos do céu noturno que merece uma versão anotada — neste link está assinalada a localização de muitos objetos, desde as estrelas brilhantes Sirius e Procyon, passando pelas Nebulosas de Orion e do Cone até aos fenómenos atmosféricos e cósmicos da luminescência atmosférica e luz zodiacal, Cometa Lovejoy, e muito mais.

Esta imagem foi capturada pelo Embaixador Fotográfico do ESO Petr Horálek.

          El primer telescopio de la ESA con «ojos de mosca» para cazar asteroides estará en Sicilia      Cache   Translate Page      

Si hoy mismo descubriéramos un asteroide en rumbo de colisión con la Tierra de esos que pueden hacernos mucha pupita lo cierto es que no podríamos hacer nada para evitar ese impacto. Pero casi peor que eso es que lo más probable es que aunque dispusiéramos de la tecnología para desviarlo es altamente probable que se nos hubiera pasado su existencia hasta que fuera demasiado tarde.

Y es que aparte de que muchos asteroides son difíciles de ver ya sea por su tamaño, porque su superficie es muy oscura, o por una combinación de ambos factores aunque hay varias iniciativas para intentar localizar objetos cercanos a la Tierra ninguna de ellas tiene los recursos para observar todo el cielo cada noche.

Pero desde hace unos años la Agencia Espacial Europea está trabajando en la creación de una red de cuatro telescopios –dos por hemisferio– capaces de detectar objetos con un tamaño mínimo de 40 metros al menos tres semanas antes de su impacto con la Tierra que serían capaces de explorar todo el cielo cada noche.

Son unos telescopios un tanto peculiares, pues montan 16 pequeños subtelescopios que son equivalentes a un telescopio con un espejo de un metro con un campo de visión de unos 45 grados cuadrados, equivalentes a unas 170 Lunas vistas desde la Tierra. Esos 16 telescopios le han valido el nombre de FlyEye, ojo de mosca, porque recuerdan precisamente a los ojos multifacetados de los insectos.

El primero de estos telescopios está siendo terminado de probar en Milán y la ESA acaba de anunciar que ya ha escogido lugar para montarlo: el monte Mufara, de 1.865 metros, en Sicilia.

FlyEye en Sicilia

El objetivo es que entre en funcionamiento en 2019 ó 2020 y, si funciona como está previsto, que se vayan añadiendo los otros tres sitios a la red lo antes posible.

Eso sí, al ser un telescopio (o cuatro) instalados en la Tierra no pueden ver objetos muy cercanos al Sol, así que nada quita para que pensemos en algún complemento para poder cazar asteroides potencialmente peligrosos desde el espacio.

# Enlace Permanente

           Could we – and should we – build a laser lighthouse to make first contact with aliens?       Cache   Translate Page      

An MIT study proposes building a laser lighthouse to signal to alien astronomers up to 20,000 ...#source%3Dgooglier%2Ecom#https%3A%2F%2Fgooglier%2Ecom%2Fpage%2F%2F10000

Whether there's life beyond Earth is one of the most profound questions we can ask, and finding out is a cornerstone of many a space mission. But if there is anybody out there, they might also be wondering the same thing, so maybe making ourselves easier to find could be an important part of our first contact strategy. A new MIT study outlines a way to use existing or near-future tech to build a kind of laser lighthouse to signal to our cosmic neighbors.

.. Continue Reading Could we – and should we – build a laser lighthouse to make first contact with aliens?

Category: Space

          Dal Cile alle Hawaii, è l’ora dei megatelescopi      Cache   Translate Page      
È attesa nei prossimi anni l’entrata in funzione di due mastodontici telescopi. La costruzione dell'Extremely Large Telescope europeo da 39 metri ha già avuto inizio, mentre il Thirty Meter Telescope americano ha appena vinto una difficile battaglia legale per l’uso del sito di Mauna Kea
          Opponents Plan to Stop Controversial Hawaiian Telescope's Construction 'At Whatever Cost'      Cache   Translate Page      
“The last thing we have is our sacred space, and it’s come down to the point where we must take a stand.”
          Weird Traveling Space Boulder Could Be Alien Ship, Say Harvard Scientists      Cache   Translate Page      

A massive flattened boulder-like object traveling through space with “peculiar acceleration” could be an alien craft, according to a new study.

It “may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization,” states a paper by two Harvard scientists to be published Nov. 12 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Scientists have been confounded by the interstellar object first spotted tumbling past the sun a year ago via telescopes on Maui. It was dubbed ’Oumuamua, which means “scout” in Hawaiian.

Because of its unusual cigar shape and speed, some quickly speculated that it originated from an alien civilization. It was scanned for radio waves, but none were detected. Other scientists deemed it a comet, despite the lack of a traditional tail.

Now professor Avi Loeb, chairman of Harvard’s astronomy department, and post-doctoral fellow Shmuel Bialy have again raised the possibility that it’s an alien ship — or possibly a piece of one.

A certain “discrepancy” in the object’s movement “is readily solved if ’Oumuamua does not follow a random trajectory but is rather a targeted probe,” they write. Such a probe may have been intentionally sent for a “reconnaissance mission into the inner region of the solar system,” Loeb said in an email to Universe Today.

It’s possible the object is propelled through space through some naturally occurring phenomenon. Or it could be an extraterrestrial spacecraft that relies on an “artificial” light sail that relies on solar radiation pressure to generate propulsion, according to Loeb. 

“There is data on the orbit of this object for which there is no other explanation. So we wrote this paper suggesting this explanation,” Loeb told the Boston Globe. “The approach I take to the subject is purely scientific and evidence-based.”

Andrew Siemion, director of the Berkeley SETI Research Center, called the paper “intriguing” in an email to the Globe.

“Observational anomalies like we see with Oumuamua, combined with careful reasoning, is exactly the method through which we make new discoveries in astrophysics — including, perhaps, truly incredible ones like intelligent life beyond the Earth,” he wrote.  

But SETI senior astronomer Seth Shostak said in an email to NBC that “one should not blindly accept this clever hypothesis when there is also a mundane explanation for ’Oumuamua — namely that it’s a comet or asteroid from afar.”

’Oumuamua is the first interstellar object ever observed in the solar system. Now it’s hurtling away and may never be seen again. 

          Cigar-shaped interstellar object may have been an alien probe, Harvard paper claims      Cache   Translate Page      
A mysterious cigar-shaped object spotted tumbling through our solar system last year may have been an alien spacecraft sent to investigate Earth, astronomers from Harvard University have suggested. The object, nicknamed ‘Oumuamua, meaning “a messenger that reaches out from the distant past” in Hawaiian, was first discovered in October 2017 by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope […]
          US Comes Up With Laser ‘Porch Light’ to Attract Space Aliens      Cache   Translate Page      
While a combination of high-powered laser and a large telescope might help attract the attention of extraterrestrial species searching for signs of life in the galaxy, it may also pose a health risk to observers and spacecraft alike.
          Peppa Pig. Stars.      Cache   Translate Page      
The Stars in the night sky are far away and seem so tiny until Daddy Pig helps Peppa and George spy them through a telescope. Then, bedtime at Cousin Chloé's turns into The noisy night when baby Alexander's crying keeps everyone awake! Peppa's family takes A trip to the moon when they visit the museum's out of this world exhibition. Watch all twelve Peppasodes for lots of giggles with Peppa, her little brother George, Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig, and friends!
          Here ’s the Truth About the Bizarre ‘Alien Spacecraft’ That Buzzed Our Solar System      Cache   Translate Page      
You surely know the joke: Guy asks a friend, “What do you think the odds are that Angelina Jolie would go out for a drink with me?” Friend answers: “Maybe a trillion to one.” Guy responds: “So you’re saying there’s a chance!” That’s the best way to think about the newly released draft paper by two astronomers from Harvard (Yes, I said Harvard) that Oumuamua, the mysterious, cigar-shaped object that whizzed through the solar system last year and was spotted by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii, might actually be an alien probe from interstellar space. The authors of the paper, Schmuel Bialy, a post-doctoral researcher, and Avi Loeb, chair of the astronomy department, are right. It might be. But that doesn’t mean the guy in the j...
          The Death of Kepler      Cache   Translate Page      
A moment of silence for the passing of a telescope that changed our view of the universe and humanity's place in it.
           Could we – and should we – build a laser lighthouse to make first contact with aliens?       Cache   Translate Page      

An MIT study proposes building a laser lighthouse to signal to alien astronomers up to 20,000 ...#source%3Dgooglier%2Ecom#https%3A%2F%2Fgooglier%2Ecom%2Fpage%2F%2F10000

Whether there's life beyond Earth is one of the most profound questions we can ask, and finding out is a cornerstone of many a space mission. But if there is anybody out there, they might also be wondering the same thing, so maybe making ourselves easier to find could be an important part of our first contact strategy. A new MIT study outlines a way to use existing or near-future tech to build a kind of laser lighthouse to signal to our cosmic neighbors.

.. Continue Reading Could we – and should we – build a laser lighthouse to make first contact with aliens?

Category: Space

          The happiest place in the universe? Hubble image reveals 'smiley face' galaxy cluster      Cache   Translate Page      
This image, taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) shows a galaxy cluster officially known as SDSS J0952+3434.
          MIT researchers reveal plan for a giant laser 'porch light' in space to attract aliens      Cache   Translate Page      
Using a laser focused through a huge telescope, the MIT researchers say this ‘porch light’ could be seen from as far as 20,000 light-years away. The system could also be used to send messages.
          NASA spots giant ‘smiling face’ in galaxy cluster      Cache   Translate Page      
This group of galaxies can’t help but grin. NASA recently shared a photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope that shows a formation of galaxies forming what looks like a smiley face. “Can you find the smiling face in this patch of space, captured by @NASAHubble?” the space agency asked in a Friday tweet, after...
          Why Don't We Put A Space Telescope On The Moon?      Cache   Translate Page      
If you want to take the most pristine, unpolluted images of the Universe, your best bet is to leave the Earth behind. Here on our planet, there are all sorts of effects which interfere with our imaging capabilities. Light pollution limits how deep we can see; the ... Discuss

           Could we – and should we – build a laser lighthouse to make first contact with aliens?       Cache   Translate Page      

An MIT study proposes building a laser lighthouse to signal to alien astronomers up to 20,000 ...#source%3Dgooglier%2Ecom#https%3A%2F%2Fgooglier%2Ecom%2Fpage%2F%2F10000

Whether there's life beyond Earth is one of the most profound questions we can ask, and finding out is a cornerstone of many a space mission. But if there is anybody out there, they might also be wondering the same thing, so maybe making ourselves easier to find could be an important part of our first contact strategy. A new MIT study outlines a way to use existing or near-future tech to build a kind of laser lighthouse to signal to our cosmic neighbors.

.. Continue Reading Could we – and should we – build a laser lighthouse to make first contact with aliens?

Category: Space

          ALMA en MUSE detecteren een galactische fontein      Cache   Translate Page      
Aan de hand van waarnemingen met ALMA en gegevens van de MUSE-spectrograaf van ESO’s Very Large Telescope is een kolossale fontein van moleculair gas ontdekt, die wordt aangedreven door een zwart gat in het helderste sterrenstelsel van de cluster Abell 2597. De volledige galactische cyclus van instroom en uitstroom die zo’n enorme kosmische fontein aandrijft […]
          Una stella vecchia quasi quanto l'Universo      Cache   Translate Page      

Una stella vecchia quasi quanto l'Universo

IL NOME non è semplicissimo da ricordare, il motivo per cui è salita agli onori delle cronache (astronomiche) decisamente sì. Si chiama 2MASS J18082002–5104378 B ed è una delle stelle più vecchie mai scoperte. Un astro, per intenderci, nato agli albori dell'Universo, con un'età di circa 13,5 miliardi di anni; di quelli che, a detta degli scienziati che l'hanno scovata e studiata, se ne trovano uno su dieci milioni. Prezioso per raccontare la storia delle prime stelle che popolarono l'universo. Il racconto del vecchissimo astro è disponibile in preprint sulle pagine di arXiv e verrà pubblicato su Astrophysical Journal
La materia di cui è fatta la stella è quella, raccontano gli autori, fuoriuscita direttamente o quasi dal Big Bang, che seminò l'universo primordiale di elementi leggeri: idrogeno, elio, e un po' di litio. I materiali pesanti sarebbero venuti dopo, prodotti proprio dalle prime stelle, nati nelle fornaci dei loro nuclei, sparsi nell'Universo dopo che queste esplosero come supernovae, un evento approssimabile a una sorta di morte stellare. Le stelle infatti sono dei grandi laboratori di chimica, in cui la produzione degli elementi avviene per reazione nucleare, un processo noto con il termine di nucleosintesi, dove nuclei più leggeri vengono fusi insieme a creare nuclei più pesanti, come quelli dei metalli. Tutto questo, ricordano dalla Nasa, avviene solamente in presenza di collisioni a velocità elevatissime, che a loro volta avvengono solo con temperature elevate. In questo processo il contenuto di metalli viene considerato una misura dell'età della stella: minore è il suo contenuto tanto più precocemente si è formata. Invece via via che i cicli di fusione e morte stellare si susseguono l'abbondanza di metalli delle stelle aumenta.

2MASS J18082002–5104378 B è una piccola stella, quasi invisibile riferiscono i ricercatori, parte del sistema binario 2MASS J18082002–5104378, a basso contenuto di metalli ed ha una massa pari a circa il 14% quella solare. Per dedurre la sua composizione i ricercatori, guidati da Kevin Schlaufman della Johns Hopkins University (Usa) hanno analizzato gli spettri della stella ottenuti dagli strumenti dei Magellan Telescopes e del Very Large Telescope in Cile. Gli scienziati sono così riusciti a stabilire che la stella – che si trova nel disco sottile della nostra Via Lattea, dove si trova anche il Sole - ha sia una piccola massa che un basso contenuto di metalli. Ha “meno grammi di elementi pesanti di qualsiasi altra stella conosciuta”, scrivono gli autori.
“Quanto osservato è importante perché per la prima volta siamo stati in grado di fornire prova diretta che stelle molto vecchie e con bassa massa esistono e possono sopravvivere fino ai giorni nostri senza distruggersi”, ha commentato Andrew Casey della Monash University (Australia). L'idea infatti fino a tempi recenti era che solo stelle massicce avrebbero potuto fermarsi agli albori dell'Universo, ma che bruciando tutto il loro carburante e quindi morendo non potessero essere osservate. Quanto osservato invece suggerisce che altre piccole stelle con bassi contenuti di metalli possano esistere nell'universo ed essere sopravvissute. Resta solo da scovarle.

          Laser technology could be used to attract attention from aliens      Cache   Translate Page      
Washington DC (UPI) Nov 06, 2018
Pointing a special laser from Earth could act as a beacon light to aliens in space, a recent study said. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology study, published in Astrophysical Journal, proposes the idea of focusing a high-powered 1- to 2-megawatt laser through a large 30- to 45-meter telescope in order to produce an infrared beam that could shine into space. That beam, said
          Cientistas de Harvard sugerem estranho objeto interestelar Oumuamua pode ser uma vela solar alienígena      Cache   Translate Page      
Em 19 de outubro de 2017, o Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System-1 (Pan-STARRS-1) no Havaí anunciaram a primeira detecção de um asteroide interestelar, denominado 1I/ 017 U1 (AKA 'Oumuamua).

Nos meses que se seguiram, foram realizadas várias observações de acompanhamento que permitiram aos astrónomos obterem uma melhor ideia do seu tamanho e forma, ao mesmo tempo que revelavam que possuíam as características de um cometa e de um asteróide.

Curiosamente, também houveram especulações de que, com base em sua forma, 'Oumuamua pode realmente ser uma espaçonave interestelar (Breakthrough Listen até a monitorou em busca de sinais de sinais de rádio!).

Um novo estudo de um par de astrônomos do Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) deu um passo adiante, sugerindo que 'Oumuamua pode realmente ser uma vela leve de origem extraterrestre.

O estudo - "A pressão da radiação solar poderia explicar a aceleração peculiar de Oumuamua?', Que apareceu recentemente online - foi conduzida por Shmuel Bialy e Abraham Loeb. Enquanto Bialy é pesquisador de pós-doutorado no Instituto de Teoria e Computação (ITC) do CfA, o Prof. Loeb é o diretor do ITC, o Professor de Ciência Frank B. Baird Jr. da Universidade de Harvard e o presidente do Comitê executivo do Breakthrough Starshot.

Para recapitular, 'Oumuamua foi visto pela primeira vez pela pesquisa Pan-STARRS-1 40 dias depois de ter feito a sua passagem mais próximo ao Sol (em 9 de setembro de 2017).

Neste ponto, era cerca de 0,25 UA do Sol (um quarto da distância entre a Terra e o Sol) e já estava saindo do Sistema Solar. Naquela época, os astrônomos notaram que ela parecia ter uma alta densidade (indicativa de uma composição rochosa e metálica) e que estava girando rapidamente.

Embora não mostrasse sinais de liberação de gás quando passou perto do nosso Sol (o que teria indicado que era um cometa), uma equipe de pesquisa conseguiu obter espectros que indicavam que 'Oumuamua era mais gelado do que se pensava anteriormente.

Então, quando começou a deixar o Sistema Solar, o Telescópio Espacial Hubble tirou algumas imagens finais de 'Oumuamua que revelaram algum comportamento inesperado.

Depois de examinar as imagens, outra equipe de pesquisa internacional descobriu que 'Oumuamua tinha aumentado em velocidade, ao invés de desacelerar como esperado. A explicação mais provável, eles alegaram, era que 'Oumuamua estava liberando material de sua superfície devido ao aquecimento solar.

A liberação deste material, que é consistente com o comportamento de um cometa, daria ao Oumuamua o impulso constante necessário para alcançar esse aumento na velocidade.

Para isso, Bialy e Loeb oferecem uma contra-explicação. Se 'Oumuamua era de fato um cometa, por que então não experimentava a liberação de gases quando estava mais perto do nosso Sol?

Além disso, eles citam outras pesquisas que mostraram que, se a liberação de gás fosse responsável pela aceleração, também teria causado uma rápida evolução na rotação de 'Oumuamua (o que não foi observado).

Basicamente, Bialy e Loeb consideram a possibilidade de que 'Oumuamua poderia de fato ser uma vela leve, uma forma de espaçonave que depende da pressão de radiação para gerar propulsão - similar ao que ao que a iniciativa Breakthrough Starshot está fazendo. Semelhante ao que está planejado para Starshot, esta vela leve pode ter sido enviada de outra civilização para estudar o nosso Sistema Solar e procurar por sinais de vida. Como o Prof. Loeb explicou ao Universe Today via e-mail:

"Nós explicamos o excesso de aceleração de Oumuamua para longe do Sol como resultado da força que a luz solar exerce sobre sua superfície. Para que esta força explique o excesso de aceleração medida, o objeto precisa ser extremamente fino, de ordem uma fração de milímetro de espessura, mas com dezenas de metros de tamanho, o que torna o objeto leve para sua área de superfície e permite que ele atue como uma vela de luz. Sua origem pode ser natural (no meio interestelar ou discos proto-planetários) ou artificial ( como uma sonda enviada para uma missão de reconhecimento na região interna do Sistema Solar)."

Com base nisso, Bialy e Loeb calcularam a provável forma, espessura e relação massa-área que um objeto artificial teria. Eles também tentaram determinar se este objeto seria capaz de sobreviver no espaço interestelar, e se ele suportaria ou não as tensões de tração causadas pelas forças de rotação e de maré.

O que eles descobriram foi que uma vela de apenas uma fração de milímetro de espessura (0,3-0,9 mm) seria suficiente para uma folha de material sólido sobreviver à jornada por toda a galáxia - embora isso dependa muito da densidade de massa de Oumuamuam.

Grossa ou fina, esta vela seria capaz de resistir a colisões com grãos de poeira e gás que permeiam o meio interestelar, bem como forças centrífugas e de maré.

(Wikimedia Commons / Andrzej Mirecki)

Quanto ao que uma vela de luz extraterrestre estaria fazendo em nosso Sistema Solar, Bialy e Loeb oferecem algumas explicações possíveis para isso. Primeiro, eles sugerem que a sonda pode realmente ser uma vela desativada flutuando sob a influência da gravidade e da radiação estelar, semelhante a detritos de naufrágios flutuando no oceano. Isso ajudaria a explicar porque o Breakthrough Listen não encontrou evidências de transmissões de rádio.

Loeb ainda ilustrou essa ideia em um artigo recente que escreveu para a Scientific American, onde ele sugeriu que 'Oumuamua poderia ser o primeiro caso conhecido de uma relíquia artificial que flutuava em nosso Sistema Solar a partir do espaço interestelar.

Além do mais, ele observa que as velas de dimensões semelhantes foram projetadas e construídas por humanos, incluindo o projeto IKAROS projetado em japonês e a Iniciativa Starshot com a qual ele está envolvido.

"Esta oportunidade estabelece uma base potencial para uma nova fronteira da arqueologia espacial, ou seja, o estudo de relíquias de civilizações passadas no espaço", escreveu Loeb.

"A descoberta de evidências de lixo espacial de origem artificial forneceria uma resposta afirmativa à antiga questão 'Estamos sozinhos?'. Isso teria um impacto dramático em nossa cultura e acrescentaria uma nova perspectiva cósmica ao significado da atividade humana".

Por outro lado, como Loeb disse ao Universe Today, 'Oumuamua pode ser uma peça ativa da tecnologia alienígena que veio explorar nosso Sistema Solar, da mesma forma que esperamos explorar Alpha Centauri usando Starshot e tecnologias similares:

"A alternativa é imaginar que 'Oumuamua estava em uma missão de reconhecimento. A razão pela qual eu contemplo a possibilidade de reconhecimento é que a suposição de que' Oumumua seguisse uma órbita aleatória requer a produção de ~ 10^{15} de tais objetos por estrela em nossa galáxia. Essa abundância é até cem milhões de vezes maior do que a esperada do Sistema Solar, com base em um cálculo que fizemos em 2009. Uma superabundância surpreendentemente alta, a menos que `Oumuamua seja uma sonda específica em uma missão de reconhecimento e não um membro de uma população aleatória de objetos ".

De acordo com Loeb, há também o fato de que a órbita de Oumuamua a trouxe para 0,25 UA do Sol, que é uma boa órbita para interceptar a Terra sem sofrer muita irradiação solar. Além disso, chegou a 0,15 UA da Terra, o que poderia ter sido o resultado de correções orbitais projetadas para facilitar um sobrevoo.

Alternadamente, ele afirma que é possível que centenas de tais sondas possam ser enviadas para que uma delas chegue perto o suficiente da Terra para estudá-la. O fato de que a pesquisa Pan STARRS-1 quase não detectou 'Oumuamua em sua aproximação mais próxima poderia ser visto como uma indicação de que há muitos outros objetos que não foram detectados, reforçando o argumento de que' Oumuamua é uma de muitas dessas sondas.

Considerando que os astrônomos concluíram recentemente que nosso Sistema Solar provavelmente capturou milhares de objetos interestelares como 'Oumuamua, isso abre a possibilidade de futuras detecções que poderiam ajudar a provar (ou refutar) o caso de uma vela interestelar.

Naturalmente, Bialy e Loeb reconhecem que ainda há muitas incógnitas para dizer com certeza o que 'Oumuamua realmente é. E mesmo que isso aconteça ser um pedaço de rocha natural, todos os outros asteroides e cometas que foram previamente detectados tiveram ordens de magnitude de massa para área maiores do que as estimativas atuais para 'Oumuamua.

Isso, e o fato de que a pressão de radiação parece ser capaz de acelerá-la, significaria que 'Oumuamua representa uma nova classe de material interestelar fino que nunca foi visto antes. Se for verdade, isso abre um novo conjunto de mistérios, tais como como esse material foi produzido e por que (ou por quem).

Embora esteja fora do alcance de nossos telescópios há quase um ano, 'Oumuamua certamente continuará sendo objeto de intenso estudo nos próximos anos. E você pode apostar que os astrônomos estarão à procura de mais deles! 

Este artigo foi originalmente publicado pela Universe Today. Leia o artigo original.

          Pew! Pew! Pew! Powerful Laser Beacon Could Show Aliens Earth Is Inhabited -      Cache   Translate Page

Pew! Pew! Pew! Powerful Laser Beacon Could Show Aliens Earth Is Inhabited
If any intelligent aliens share our cosmic neighborhood, we may be able to get their attention using a powerful laser beacon. A 1- or 2-megawatt laser beamed through a 100- to 150-foot-wide (30 to 45 meters) telescope here on Earth could create a ...
Scientists Want to Use Lasers to Guide Aliens to Earth. What Could Go Wrong??Live Science
Researchers want to use lasers to contact aliens and help bring them to EarthFox News
Infrared laser technology could attract aliens, but probably won'tAstronomy Magazine
BGR -SlashGear -Engadget -New Atlas
all 37 news articles »

          11/7/2018: TIMES SPORT: With poop in hand, Bill Gates bats for a more hygienic future      Cache   Translate Page      

Space is a dark place – sunlight gets weaker the deeper into space you go. At 100 billion miles from the sun, the ninth planet would be a million times dimmer than Neptune. Most telescopes would struggle to see it even if they were pointed in the right...
          Trovata dagli astronomi una stella vecchia quasi quanto l'Universo      Cache   Translate Page      
Sfido chiunque a ricordarne il nome della stella 2MASS J18082002–5104378 B. Eppure questa stella potrebbe dare importanti informazioni sulle prime fasi di creazione dell'universo. E' una stella che sta nella nostra Via Lattea, nella zona periferica. Ma è una delle più vecchie mai incontrate, visto che dovrebbe avere 13,5 miliardi di anni (l'inizio dell'universo è fissato a circa 15 miliardi di anni fa). Per calcolare l'età della stella si sono utilizzati gli strumenti dei Magellan Telescopes e del Very Large Telescope in Cile, che esaminano lo spettro luminoso per capire da quali materiali è formata una stella. Infatti, una stella creata nei primi momenti dell'universo è composta essenzialmente di materiali leggeri: idrogeno, elio, magari il litio. Poi progressivamente la stella, per emanare calore, brucia questi elementi fondendoli tra di loro e creando elementi sempre più pesanti. Quindi una stella che contenga ossigeno e carbonio è ua stella molto vecchia oppure una che è stata creata con materiali espulsi da una stella vecchia che è esplosa. Questa stella invece ha la percentuale di materiali pesanti minore mai riscontrata. In parte, la sua longevità è dovuta anche al fatto che è piuttosto piccola, quindi brucia i propri mateliari molto lentamente rispetto a quanto farebbe una stella più grande. 
          Mystery object that sped past Earth last year could be probe sent by aliens, Harvard researchers say      Cache   Translate Page      
A mysterious cigar-shaped object spotted tumbling through our solar system last year may have been an alien spacecraft sent to investigate Earth, astronomers from Harvard University have suggested. The object, nicknamed ‘Oumuamua, meaning “a messenger that reaches out from the distant past” in Hawaiian, was first discovered in October 2017 by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii. Since its discovery, scientists have been at odds to explain its unusual features and precise origins, with researchers first calling it a comet […]
          After 9 Years In Orbit, Kepler Telescope Leaves A Legacy Of Discovery      Cache   Translate Page      
NASA's Charlie Sobeck, former manager of the Kepler Space Telescope mission, discusses the monumental findings of the spacecraft and NASA's decision to retire it in orbit.
          Daily Weather Briefing for Wednesday, November 7, 2018 Also: Preliminary Election Results for Selected Contests      Cache   Translate Page      

Preliminary Election Results

Yesterday was Election Day and the TL;DR is that all local incumbents Maconians could have voted for won their races, including Congress and the state legislature. 

A record number of Maconians turned out for this mid-term election. During early voting, 8,745 (33.16%) voted and 6,718 (25.48%) voted on election day bringing the total number who voted to 15,463 (58.64%). These are preliminary results and will be finalized at the Canvass scheduled for 11:00 am on Friday, November 16th.

Here are the preliminary results for selected contests:

Congress (Meadows wins another term)

Mark Meadows 10,085 65.92% (District-wide: 177,143 59.24%)
Phillip G. Price 4,874 31.86% (District-wide: 115,794 38.73%)
Clifton B. Ingram, Jr. 340 2.22% (District-wide: 6,072 2.03%)

NC Senate District #50 (Davis wins another term)

Jim Davis 8,764 57.27% (District-wide: 48,107 60.32%)
Bobby Kuppers 6,538 42.73% (District-wide: 31,648 39.68%)

Board of Commissioners District II (Shields and Beale win another term)

Gary Shields 10,108 38.57%
Ronnie Beale 6,569 25.07%
Ron Haven 6,182 23.59%
Betty Cloer Wallace 3,348 12.78%

Register of Deeds (Raby wins another term)

Todd Raby 8,090 53.80%
Linda Light Herman 6,946 46.20%

Sheriff (Holland wins another term)

Robert L. (Robby) Holland 9,576 63.13%
Eric L. Giles 4,237 27.93%
Bryan Carpenter 1,356 8.94%

More information will be posted later. Macon Media would like to recognize the Board of Elections staff and members of the Board for their hard work and professionalism during this election cycle.


A cold front will move east of the forecast area later this evening with drier air spreading over the region in its wake. Another moist frontal system is expected to impact the area on Thursday and Friday, with cool and dry Canadian high pressure spreading back over the southeast for the weekend.

Franklin Town Council November Meeting

The Franklin Town Council met Monday night for their regular monthly meeting for November 2018. A gavel-to-gavel video, public agenda, and agenda packet have been posted online. [LINK]

Testing a new feature that shows a forecast of precipitation, air pressure and thickness level (cold-air damming) for three days in six-hour increments.


Adams Products, a Division of Oldcastle is underwriting the daily weather briefing & public safety updates for the month.

Open 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM, M-F, located at 895 Hickory Knoll Road, Franklin, NC. Visit our Facebook page at:

All your masonry needs are available. Our phone number is 828.524.8545, the public is welcome, we’ll help you with your with your next project.


Forecast maps for 7 am, 1 pm, and 7 pm. 

[click on any image in this article to enlarge]
(These images replace the three-day forecast maps)




A 30 percent chance of rain, mainly after 4pm. Increasing clouds, with a high near 67. Calm wind. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.


A 30 percent chance of rain, mainly before 10pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 47. Light north wind. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.


A 40 percent chance of rain, mainly after 9am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 61. Calm wind. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Thursday Night

Rain likely, mainly after 3am. Cloudy, with a low around 47. Light east wind. Chance of precipitation is 60%.


Rain. High near 58. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Friday Night

A 40 percent chance of rain before 2am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 34.




A 30 percent chance of rain, mainly after 3pm. Increasing clouds, with a high near 66. Calm wind. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.


A 30 percent chance of rain, mainly before midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 48. Light north northeast wind. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.


A 50 percent chance of rain, mainly after 8am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 60. Light east wind. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Thursday Night

Rain likely, mainly after 11pm. Cloudy, with a low around 47. East southeast wind 3 to 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%.


Rain. High near 56. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Friday Night

A 40 percent chance of rain before 2am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 36.




A 30 percent chance of rain, mainly after 3pm. Increasing clouds, with a high near 58. South wind around 5 mph becoming light and variable. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.


A 40 percent chance of rain, mainly before 1am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 46. East northeast wind around 7 mph. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.


A 50 percent chance of rain. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 52. East southeast wind 6 to 8 mph. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Thursday Night

Rain likely. Cloudy, with a low around 44. East southeast wind 8 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%.


Rain. High near 49. Chance of precipitation is 90%.

Friday Night

A 40 percent chance of rain before 3am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 35.




A 30 percent chance of rain, mainly after 3pm. Increasing clouds, with a high near 64. Light and variable wind. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.


A 40 percent chance of rain, mainly before midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 46. Northeast wind 3 to 5 mph. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.


A 50 percent chance of rain, mainly after 8am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 56. South southeast wind 3 to 5 mph. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Thursday Night

Rain likely, mainly after 2am. Cloudy, with a low around 47. South southeast wind around 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%.


Rain before 3pm, then showers likely after 3pm. High near 54. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Friday Night

A chance of rain, mixing with snow after 1am, then gradually ending. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 32. Chance of precipitation is 40%.


GOES-16 GeoColor - True Color daytime, multispectral IR
12:37 am to 3:27 am this morning

GeoColor is a multispectral product composed of True Color (using a simulated green component) during the daytime, and an Infrared product that uses bands 7 and 13 at night. During the day, the imagery looks approximately as it would appear when viewed with human eyes from space. At night, the blue colors represent liquid water clouds such as fog and stratus, while gray to white indicate higher ice clouds, and the city lights come from a static database that was derived from the VIIRS Day Night Band.

Geocolor was developed at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) and STAR's Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch (RAMMB).


Hazardous weather is not expected today.

Macon Media maintains a Severe Weather Preparedness Page at for those who are interested.

As always, you can check to see what advisories, watches, and warnings are in effect for Macon County by visiting

GOES 16 - Band 15 - 12.3 µm - Dirty Longwave Window - IR (Precipitation)
12:37 am to 3:32 am this morning

12.3 µm - "Dirty" Longwave IR Window Band - 2 km resolution - Band 15 at 12.3 µm offers nearly continuous monitoring for numerous applications, though usually through a split window difference with a cleaner window channel. These differences can better estimate low-level moisture, volcanic ash, airborne dust/sand, sea surface temperature, and cloud particle size.


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Published at 4:13 am on November 7, 2018

#WNCscan #MaconWx #MaconSafety

Data and information sources: Sources (except where otherwise credited):, Ian Webster's Github, National Centers for Environmental Prediction, The National Weather Service, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, National Hurricane Center, Penn State University Electronic Wall Map, Sky and Telescope Magazine, Astronomy Magazine, The State Climate Office of North Carolina, Storm Prediction Center, U.S. Naval Observatory, University of Utah Department of Atmospheric Sciences, and the Weather Prediction Center.

          NASA's Parker Solar Probe Just Made Its First Close Pass by the Sun! -      Cache   Translate Page

NASA's Parker Solar Probe Just Made Its First Close Pass by the Sun!
One of humanity's newest spacecraft faced a harrowing test late Monday night (Nov. 5), darting just 15 million miles (24 million kilometers) of the surface of our sun. That spacecraft is NASA's Parker Solar Probe, which launched in August with a daring ...
Sunspot telescope assisting NASA's Parker Solar ProbeAlbuquerque Journal
Parker Solar Probe sets records during first encounter with the sunSpaceflight Now
Parker Solar Probe Has First Close Encounter With The SunThe Inquisitr
Alphr -The Weather Channel
all 265 news articles »

          Cigar-shaped interstellar object may have been an alien probe, Harvard paper claims      Cache   Translate Page      
CNN (CNN)A mysterious cigar-shaped object spotted tumbling through our solar system last year may have been an alien spacecraft sent to investigate Earth, astronomers from Harvard University have suggested. The object, nicknamed ‘Oumuamua, meaning “a messenger that reaches out from the distant past” in Hawaiian, was discovered in October 2017 by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope […]
          NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captures creepy smiling face amidst stars      Cache   Translate Page      
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captures creepy smiling face amidst stars#source%3Dgooglier%2Ecom#https%3A%2F%2Fgooglier%2Ecom%2Fpage%2F%2F10000Washington [United States], November 5 (ANI): It seems Halloween is not over for the galaxy as NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured what looks like a smiling face, albeit creepy, in a cluster of new stars. The image was captured from the telescope’s wide field camera 3 and shows a patch of space filled with galaxies …
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Crab Nebula
          Cigar-shaped object could be alien spacecraft, Harvard researchers claim      Cache   Translate Page      
Scientists believe Oumuamua, which is roughly 400m long, may be a "lightsail of artificial origin" from outside our solar system.

A cigar-shaped interstellar object that flew past the sun could be an alien spacecraft, researchers from Harvard University have said.

Scientists have been trying to figure out what the 1,312ft (400m) object named Oumuamua might be after it was first spotted by a telescope in Hawaii in October 2017.

The object's flat, elongated shape and reddish colour is from outside our solar system, according to the researchers.

It was moving at 59,030mph when it was first tracked by scientists.

Oumuamua's unusual trajectory and high speed sets it aside from other space objects such as asteroids and comets.

Harvard researchers have now said it "may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilisation".

In a letter published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters on 12 November, the researchers add that Oumuamua could be a spacecraft pushed along by light falling on its surface.

They add in the paper that the object could be a "lightsail of artifical origin".

Lightsails are a proposed method of spacecraft propulsion which uses radiation pressure exerted from sunlight or large mirrors.

The researchers are not saying outright that Oumuamua is a sign of extraterrestrial life.

          Harvard Researchers: Mysterious cigar-shaped object is probably alien tech      Cache   Translate Page      
Harvard researchers have suggested a mysterious interstellar object that was spotted floating in space in 2017 could be an "alien" spacecraft sent on a reconnaissance mission to probe the Earth. The cigar-shaped asteroid or comet - dubbed Oumuamua - was discovered in October last year by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii. Given its high speed and unusual trajectory, the dark-red object was believed to have come from outside our solar system but its flattened and elongated shape as well as the way it accelerated on its way utterly distinguished it from other conventional asteroids. Watch Live: YouTube: Twitter: LiveLeak: Facebook: Google+: Instagram:
          Alan Lightman on Science, Spirituality, and Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine      Cache   Translate Page      

Author and Physicist Alan Lightman talks about his book Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine with EconTalk host Russ Roberts. This is a wide-ranging conversation on religion, science, transcendence, consciousness, impermanence, and whether matter is all that matters.

This week's guest:

This week's focus:

Additional ideas and people mentioned in this podcast episode:

A few more readings and background resources:

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TimePodcast Episode Highlights

Intro. [Recording date: October 11, 2018.]

Russ Roberts: My guest is author and physicist Alan Lightman. I first encountered his writing years ago with his extraordinary novel, Einstein's Dreams, which I recommend highly. His latest book is Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine, which is our topic for today.... This is a short book that bristles with ideas and some beautiful poetic writing. It's a book about being a thinking human being. It's about the relationship between religion and science. I enjoyed it very much. I want to start with our desire as human beings for absolutes that you write about, and how science has systematically dismantled many of those absolutes, if not all of them, and made them harder to believe in. What do you mean by that idea of an absolute and how science has affected it?

Alan Lightman: By 'absolute,' I mean belief in qualities that cannot be proven but seem to be anchors for our existence, like permanence, immortality, eternity, certainty, unity. These are some of the qualities that I mean. Indivisibility. And, although those qualities, those concepts, most of them, are abstract, they have sometimes been associated with physical objects. For example, the idea of unity and indivisibility, indestructibility--that idea--I should just go back and mention of course that the immortal soul and God are some of the absolutes. But the physical atom has been associated with the idea of unity and indestructibility and indivisibility. And stars have been associated with the idea of eternity, divinity, indestructibility, permanence, for example. And modern science has shown that most of the absolutes that are associated with physical ideas, physical objects, that is--at least the physical object has been shown not to embody the absolute. So, for example, stars have been shown to be finite, to eventually burn up their nuclear fuel and die. So, stars are not permanent; they are not indestructible. They are not divine, because we've shown that stars are made out of material stuff like we have on earth. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, atoms were split; and we continue to find smaller and smaller parts of the atom. The atom is not permanent, either; it is not indestructible; it is not indivisible. Probably the greatest absolute for unity is the universe as a whole. You can't get a bigger unity than the universe as a whole. Uni-verse, and in the last 20 years or so, there's been evidence--both theoretical and experimental--that there are, that there may be a large number of universes in addition to ours. So, even in our universe, we find that there's a multiplicity rather than a unity. And, these scientific discoveries don't disprove the absolutes; but they bring them into question, since their physical counterparts do not embody the qualities of the absolute.

Russ Roberts: One of the poignant and powerful parts of this book is that, as you write those things--in different ways and different examples--the book remains an incredible testament to awe, and the awesomeness, in the old sense of the word, of the physical world, and the world we live in that we have to confront as thinking human beings. So, as you describe, the loss of these absolutes from the scientific perspective, you concede at various places the natural yearnings that we have to hold onto them. So, talk about that. Because I think you describe in very powerful ways the tension that a thinking person has to have, I think religious or not, about this reality that--we understand more and more about the world; the more we understand, the less it seems to be permanent, reliable, and spiritual. It seems to be mainly physical. So, talk about that tension.

Alan Lightman: Well, I think that for thousands of years there has been a tension between the material and the immaterial. That is, on the one hand, the desire to understand the universe as made out of material--as a physical thing--and all of our science is based upon that: the reduction of phenomena to, by rationality, by method, by quantifying. And all of those deductions lead us to believe that nothing is permanent. That everything passes away. Nothing is unified. But, I think at the same time, for thousands of years, we have had a yearning for permanence. For something that outlasts our brief human life. And you can go all the way back to the Cro Magnon caves, where you can see burial sites near the caves where the Cro Magnon people prepared their dead for the next life. I think that our own impending death, our own mortality, is one of the greatest drivers of our longing for immortality. That longing for the soul, for God, for something, this permanence that outlives our fleeting lives. And so, that's where the tension comes about: Our observation and our experience with the physical world that seems to be material and impermanent, and yet, and our own impending deaths; and yet our desire to live forever--at least to have some part of us that lives forever. Or even if it's not part of us--if it's not our immortal souls--that there be something in the universe, or even maybe perhaps beyond the universe, that is eternal. And that thought brings us comfort in the face of our own impending death.


Russ Roberts: Why do you think we care? Obviously, our impending death is a fact. Our awareness of our impending death is somewhat--maybe totally, almost unique. Maybe there are some animals that are aware of death. They watch their fellow creatures die. I don't know whether they can look forward, if they can expect their own deaths. But, we have that awareness. We also are, of course, a brain inside a physical body, a physical body that's very appetite-driven--like all animals. And yet we find some conflict between an urge to satisfy those appetites, in all kinds of different ways, and at the same time desire that there's more to life than just the satisfying of those appetites. Why would that be?

Alan Lightman: Well, I think there are two factors there. It's a wonderful question. And I imagine that some animals with higher levels of consciousness must be aware of their own deaths. But one factor, I think, is our fear of nothingness. And you can read this all the way back in the writings of Lucretius, and the Nature of Things. One of the reasons why Lucretius invoked atoms and materiality is because he wanted to assuage the fears of people about nothingness. The void--nothingness--is a very fearsome prospect. And the other, I think, is our search for meaning. And, I think that the desire to find meaning in the world, meaning for both yourself and meaning for the cosmos, require a very high level of intelligence and brain development and consciousness. I know that dolphins and chimpanzees are very smart animals; but I don't know whether they have a quest for meaning the way that human beings do; and it would be hard to document that. But, I know that homo sapiens, at least, want to find meaning in their lives. Whether you are consciously searching for meaning or whether you are unconsciously searching for meaning. And many of us do that by making friends, by devoting ourselves to our family; by trying to write books. And so on. But, I think--and I'm speaking now personally of me, but I think it's true of other people as well, that I think that in our search for meaning, that permanence is a quality that we associate with meaning. If something lasts a very long time, that has a possibility of more meaning than something that's very fleeting. If you have a good meal at a Shoney's Restaurant, you feel happy and satisfied and content for a few hours. And then it passes away. It's a fleeting experience. But if you think that your children and your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren are going to remember you and fondly look at photographs of you and be proud of you if you'd done good deeds in the world, that seems to have more meaning. And so, we associate meaning with permanence. Whether that's valid or not, we do that. And I think that's one of the reasons why we have a yearning for something that's permanent.


Russ Roberts: So, I want to take a depressing but fascinating example from the book. You talk about an ant colony that somehow develops art and music under the ground, and somehow lasts for a hundred years--just an incredibly long time for an ant colony. It speculates--the ants speculate about their role in the cosmos. But then, a flood comes along and wipes them out. Even though it lasted a hundred years--does it have any?--there's nothing left. And you raise the specter--and I found this deeply haunting--and actually, I don't find it as depressing as I might, but, maybe that's because I have some religious faith--the specter that the universe's life is finite. As you said: All the stars with burn out. King Lear will be forgotten. Even Lady Gaga will be forgotten. Even if we go to a different--I know, it's hard to believe. But even if we go to a different galaxy, but if we develop the ability to get off this planet when our star burns out: They are all going to burn out. Slowly, inexorably. And then they'll be gone. And this thing, whatever it is--and I guess--in a way there's something deeply depressing about that, just like death is challenging to confront. But, at the same time, it forces you to realize that there's a deeper mystery at the heart of that, that can't be avoided or ignored. It can't be the whole thing. Something else is there. [?] what it is.

Alan Lightman: Well, yeah. Well, I mean, that's one view: that there must be something more than that. And there are other people who say, 'No. That's the whole ball of wax. That's all there is.' So, I think many of us would like to believe that there's something more than that. But, we don't know.

Russ Roberts: Well, I would say it differently, then, maybe. I would say--clearly; and I think you hint at this in the book, and maybe say it in a different way--our minds--well, I guess Einstein's. I'm going to read the quote from Einstein. Einstein clearly suggests that our brains can't wrap themselves around the idea, just like the ant--you don't say it this way, but the ant in that colony that's about to get swept away, you know, they are talking and someone hears thunder and thinks, 'Well, this could be the Big One'; or, 'Let's all huddle together and enjoy these last few seconds,'--there's something else going on, whether it's the storm or whatever it is. I'm not suggesting it's--you know, by definition, God, or a personal God. That's a huge leap, obviously. But, the idea that the universe comes into being and dies out, can't--I don't know. I'm having trouble thinking of that as "the whole thing." I know that you're right: I understand there are people much smarter than I am who feel that way. But I say that, not: 'Oh, it's therefore God.' I say that because it seems deeply, intellectually unsatisfying.

Alan Lightman: Oh, it's very unsatisfying. And it's unsatisfying for me, as well, that that would be the whole thing. I mean, even if you take the point of view that there are other universes out there--and many physicists now have this view--and that universes are constantly coming into being by fluctuations in the quantum foam which we--you know, we can't prove that, but that's what a lot of physicists believe. Even if you take that view, that there's been an infinite number of universes and ours is just one, that still doesn't answer the question: Why is there something rather than nothing?

Russ Roberts: That's a simpler way to ask my question.

Alan Lightman: And that's a--if you ponder that for a few minutes, it starts to get--it stretches your mind. You start going around in circles, and you start getting upset. At least, I do. And I think one of the deep reasons why people believe in God or a spiritual world is they want to answer the question: Why is there something rather than nothing?

Russ Roberts: Here's a quote from the book that I love. You write:

The most profound question seem to have this fascinating aspect: Either they have no answer at all, or all possible answers seem impossible.

And that kind of captures it beautifully.

Alan Lightman: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.


Russ Roberts: Well, let's--I mentioned I was going to read an Einstein quote. I'm going to read it; and then we'll shift gears after this. But I'll let you respond to the Einstein quote. But, it's a quote you bring into the book. It goes like this:

I'm not an atheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books, but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God, to see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws.

And, you know, to some extent this is the Watchmaker argument. It's a more poetic version of it, that there is order in the universe. But I think the more interesting--that's not a very compelling argument to somebody today. But I think that the poetry of that insight is captured, I think, in what you call the Central Theorem of Science, which is that we can fundamentally understand the laws of nature, and that they happen to be written in mathematics--that also boggles my mind. Mathematics seems to be something we made up. And yet, it is how we understand the reality that we find ourselves in.

Alan Lightman: Yeah. Well, first of all, if I may, I call it the Central Doctrine of Science--

Russ Roberts: Sorry--

Alan Lightman: not the--but that's very close to what you called it. I don't think that mathematics is made up. Because, we find a lot of surprises in mathematics. I don't think that we make it up, that the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter is the same number for all circles. That's a truth about the nature of geometry. And so I think there's--and I don't think that physicists make up the laws of nature, either. Because we sometimes discover things in physics that surprise us. In fact, that contradict previous beliefs--

Russ Roberts: Yeah. That's not what I mean by 'made up.' I meant they are--we perceive the world through our consciousness. And we see that as reality. And that's not obviously the case--

Alan Lightman: Yeah. Yeah. Right. Yeah. Of course, a lot of philosophers, like George Barkley have claimed that we have no evidence that there is an external reality outside of our minds. That everything that we believe is a human construction. But I think that all scientists have to believe in order to set pen to paper, or set the first ball swinging in motion for the experiment: that, all scientists have to believe that there is an external reality out there, that's independent of our minds, that exists whether or not we see it or hear it. It's certainly true that we are limited and stuck within the three pounds of gray matter in our skulls: that we see and think everything through our own consciousness and sensory apparatus. But I think that we have been able to probe a world that is external to our own consciousness.

Russ Roberts: Well, it certainly feels that way. We get empirical confirmation of that all the time. Of course, that may be deceptive. But, it feels that way. You write: "Is it not a testament to our minds that we little human beings with our limited sensory apparatus and brief life spans, stuck on our planet in space, have been able to uncover so much of the workings of nature?" Extraordinary.

Alan Lightman: Well, if I could just interject one thing: One of my favorite movies is The Matrix. I don't know whether you saw it.

Russ Roberts: Yep. Sure.

Alan Lightman: And what I found so profound about the movie, [?] the imagination that went into it, is the suggestion that everything that we see is an illusion. That we're sort of being manipulated by some giant computer somewhere. And it's very hard to disprove that hypothesis.

Russ Roberts: Yes, it is. And it's of course been the basis for mysticism as well, in religious life--that there is a reality that this is masking; that we are living in the dream of God. That we're--I find it fascinating, and this is not a very novel observation, but certainly the willingness of extremely smart people to suggest the possibility that we are actually living in a giant computer simulation, to me is an example of the--I would call it the dogmatic nature of human beings. We've replaced the belief in God--many of us have--with a view that's a lot like it. Just without the obligations or many of the things that are difficult to rationally accept. And yet, that vision--that techno-vision--is analogous to a divine vision.

Alan Lightman: Yeah. It is. And also, like a divine vision it's impossible to prove or disprove. It's just one of those sort of recreational musings that comes along with high intelligence.

Russ Roberts: Ah, it's a great line.


Russ Roberts: Well, let's shift gears. I want to talk about consciousness more explicitly. You write:

For me, the human body is the most amazing and baffling phenomenon of the material world. How could it be that the exquisite and indescribable experience of consciousness, of thought and emotion, of the overpowering sense of an "I," is simply the result of so many electrical and chemical flows between neurons which are themselves nothing but atoms and molecules? I am constantly struck dumb by this mystery. Surely, the first single-celled creatures moving about in the primeval seas did not have consciousness or thoughts. Evidently, those qualities emerged with increasing complexity and natural selection.

I want to start with this question of whether you think advancing artificial intelligence will simulate, replicate a brain. Will we be able to build a brain in a box that will have--

Alan Lightman: Self-awareness.

Russ Roberts: Yeah. And the key I like is from Harry Frankfurt. He applied it to animals, but I mentioned it in a previous episode with Rodney Brooks; and I should have attributed it to a teacher of mine, James Jacobsen-Maisels, who says that the desire about our desires might be the real test of consciousness. Will a robot built as a smart vacuum cleaner yearn to be a driverless car in 50 years? I have trouble imagining that, but that just could be my challenge. What are your thoughts on that?

Alan Lightman: Well, I don't think that we know whether we can build a brain--a brain made out of silicon. We don't know. The experience of consciousness is so unusual, it is so unique--I mean, you really can't even talk about the world except through your consciousness. It seems impossible that you could build an artificial consciousness. But, if the brain is nothing but material, and consciousness is just the sensation of all of the electrical and chemical flows between material neurons, then it seems in principle that it would be possible to build a machine that has consciousness. Now, I don't know how we would, could prove for certain that a particular computer was conscious in the same way that I can't prove for certain that there are other minds besides mine. There's no way that I can prove--I can design certain benchmarks that I will say something and you will respond to it. Or you will do something that surprises me. But, I can't prove that there is any other thinking mind in the universe besides my own. And, in the same way, we could design certain benchmarks for a computer, analogous to the Turing Test or the various tests to say whether a machine is intelligent or not. But any such set of benchmarks that we design would be finite, would be limited. We could have 10,000 or a million different steps in it, but we couldn't do an infinite number of steps. And so, we're never going to know for sure whether we have created a computer that fully matches human consciousness. But on any limited task, like the ability to drive a car, or the ability to give interesting answers as a psychologist would on the other side of a curtain--any limited task, I am sure--

Russ Roberts: Write a song--

Alan Lightman: Write a song. Right. Write a novel. I am sure that any finite task, we will eventually be able to build a computer that can do that. And whether that computer has self-awareness and consciousness is something else.

Russ Roberts: I just mention to listeners, if you haven't seen the movie Ex Machina, it's a somewhat--it's the beginning of a thoughtful look at some of these issues, and I enjoyed it.

Alan Lightman: I liked it also.

Russ Roberts: You know, you mentioned something I've never thought about--which disturbs me a lot--but it's a beautiful and incredibly provocative--[?] you said that you can never be sure that there are other minds besides your own. And you also can't be sure that the world didn't come into existence a second ago, with all the memories that we have of the past. And that's sort of irrelevant except for justice and punishment: it would be a weird, horrible thing to punish somebody for something that was actually only a memory. So, that's one place where it matters. But in general, it doesn't matter. But I guess you'd also have to ask how you could know. You said, 'other than my own.' You also really don't know--I'll speak for myself. I don't really know that I'm thinking. I have the illusion, perhaps, of consciousness. I certainly have the feeling of free will, which we know could be and illusion. So, the fact that I feel as if I'm a thinking being may simply be a deception I'm perpetrating on myself or that has been perpetrated on me. Right?

Alan Lightman: Right. Well, people have been worrying about this problem since Descartes, cogito, ergo sum; before Descartes as well. It's one of those questions where you go round and round in a circle, and maybe in the end you come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter.

Russ Roberts: Well, yeah. It's always--that's one of my views on--I mean, there are a lot of things you can think about on these questions; you can't really articulate or, as you say, you are in the circle and you struggle to have a coherent description of it. But it's certainly--we act as if we have free will and that the people around us do. I treat you as if you have free will, and you treat me that way. That's a fascinating thing, also, in and of itself.


Russ Roberts: But let me move on to--the philosophers David Chalmers and Thomas Nagel have been deeply troubled by, what they claim--and others take the other view--but they claim that our current scientific structure, particularly the biology and nature of evolution, natural selection, cannot explain what they call Qualia--the texture of daily life, the joy of a blue sky and the poignancy of the ending of a movie, the look in a loved one's eyes across a table. These don't seem to be related to fitness--would be one way to think about this. What are your thoughts on that?

Alan Lightman: Well, I think it's--I don't think that's a very good argument, or question, because I think that it's very plausible that some of our aesthetic sense, our moral sense, our creative imagination is a by-product of qualities that do have selective value. And, I mean, you can think of many other things that are by-products. I'll come up with an example in a minute. But, once you develop the brain to have a certain level of intelligence, which we do think has selective value--you might not be able to outrun a sabre tooth tiger, but you can outsmart it--once you have a brain of sufficient level of intelligence, then many of these other things, these Qualia, like the joy of looking at a sunset and so on, the pleasure in creating art--those are by-products of the high intelligence. So, I think that you don't need a direct selective mechanism in order to explain some of the pleasures of daily life. They are just by-products.

Russ Roberts: Gravy.

Alan Lightman: They are gravy. Yeah.

Russ Roberts: But Chalmers doesn't seem to think so. I don't know why--I've read a variety, a little of his work, some of his work; I've seen him lecture. He claims we are going to need a "different biology." He's not a religious person. He's an atheist. But he claims that we're going to need a biology that--here's the way I would say it that I think is the most provocative version of it. It's a little bizarre that the thing that we use to understand the cosmos is the only thing that we struggle to fully understand scientifically; and that's troubling--is the way I would say his challenge to the current level of understanding of consciousness. Do you think that's a good description, and if so, do you agree?

Alan Lightman: The thing that we use to understand the cosmos is he's speaking about the human brain?

Russ Roberts: Yeah. Well--yeah, that's the question. Consciousness, our minds.

Alan Lightman: Consciousness.

Russ Roberts: He says--I think his claim--I don't know if I'm being fair to him. I think his claim is that it seems to reside--it's hard for us to get outside ourselves. All this weird conversation we're having right now, or the last 5 minutes, is the fact that we're stuck with the 3 pounds of gray matter. And it's a little strange that that's the only thing we struggle to fully comprehend. That's the way I understand his criticism of the state of science about consciousness. And it raised the possibility that we won't ever--some people claim that, also. Which is--that's a disturbing aspect of the theory: We can understand everything about the evolution of the Big Bang except for the Planck--is that epoch? 'Ee-poch'--is extraordinary; but we can't understand why we have this urge to, all the things we've been talking about, the [?] of meaning, the connections we have across the dinner table, all the longings we have to survive. All this seemingly unnecessary stuff for survival, even if it's just a by-product, it's a little strange. It's kind of, for us it's the whole show. Or 90% of it, 80%.

Alan Lightman: Well, I understand it--I do understand it as the byproduct. That's the way that I understand it. And that does not seem to be mysterious to me. It seems perfectly logical that you design a tool to do one thing, and then you find out that it can do some other things as well. That--you might design a hammer to hammer a nail, but you find that you can also use it as a paperweight and other uses as well. And, of course, when we talk about design here, I'm speaking about natural selections--emergence--or you could say design by God, or you could--whatever your preference is. But, it doesn't seem unusual to me at all that an organ--in this case, the human brain--that evolved to solve immediate life-or-death problems by a certain strategy that in this case is very high intelligence, that that high intelligence would also lead that brain to ask questions about what is the meaning of the cosmos, and so on. That doesn't seem surprising to me, and I don't think that we need a new biology to explain that. So, I'm afraid that, although I'll respect Mr. Chalmers very much, I disagree with him on this. I don't think that we need a new biology. There's a lot that we don't understand about biology. We still don't understand exactly how memory is stored and the neurons; we don't understand completely how cells learn how to specialize in the embryo. But, there's no evidence, yet, that we need a new biology to understand those, or a non-material aspect of our biology. It's just that, you know, we have a--science is constantly progressing and revising its theories and learning more with new data. And that's the way science works. Even when physics was overthrown, the ideas of physics in the 20th century with quantum physics and relativity, those new conceptions still fit within a basic understanding of cause-and-effect relationships, forces, and so on.

Russ Roberts: I've invited both Chalmers and Nagel to be on EconTalk. I don't fully--I may not be representing Chalmers's view as eloquently or accurately--I know I'm not--as he would. So, maybe that's something that could change down the road. I don't know--I can't defend his argument against your challenge.

Alan Lightman: Well, it's interesting, and I think it's very important that people like Chalmers are constantly thinking and questioning what we know and how we know it. And I hope that we always have intellectuals and thinkers like that.


Russ Roberts: One of the beautiful ideas in the book that this is related to, as you just described the scientific method, essentially, is the belief that scientists have in what I think you call a final theory, a full, unified everything. And yet you say that when we have it, we won't know for sure. Talk about that.

Alan Lightman: Well, it's a wonderful irony: Science is--everything that we believe in science is provisional, that we consider all of the equations that we write down and the laws for electricity, magnetism, and so on to be approximations to deeper laws. So, science is a process, a provision and ever-better approximations. There are some physicists who believe that there is an ultimate set of laws which are not approximations, which need no further revision. And Steve Weinberg, who is a Nobel Prize winning physicist, calls that 'the final theory,' and in fact wrote a whole book called Dreams of a Final Theory. And there are a number of physicists, but not all physicists, who believe that such a set of laws exists. The delicious irony of that, is that even if there is a final set of laws that require no further approximation, that are exact, we would never know for sure if we had found them, because you can never be certain that tomorrow you might not find, might have found some physical phenomena that disagrees with your theory. You can never be sure of that. And so, even if we were in possession of Weinberg's final theory, we would never be certain that we had it. So, we'd never be able to sort of break out the champagne and pop the cork.

Russ Roberts: I think I've mentioned this example before--mentioned it on EconTalk--but, Charles Peirce, the philosopher, built a house; and I think it was described as the--he left the second floor empty for a ball. It was a ballroom. And the ball was going to be held when he, the celebration would be held when he discovered the secret of the universe, the meaning of the universe. And in the description of this in the essay I was reading, the next sentence was very nice. It starts off, "While the ball was never held, [comma]"--so we won't always know when we get there. And yet, my impression, and I'd love your reaction to this, is that we might feel we were close or at least have a candidate for a final theory if we found it aesthetically pleasing, and not a wild agglomeration of add-ons and additions and caveats and footnotes.

Alan Lightman: Right.

Russ Roberts: And I find that really, both beautiful and strange.

Alan Lightman: Yeah. Well, one of the beauties of modern science, and especially modern physics, is that, because we are constantly searching for theories to explain gravity and electricity and magnetism and so on, is that aesthetics, our own human sense of aesthetics, has been a very good guide to finding the best--the most correct--theory. When I say 'most correct' I mean the one that agrees with experiment the best. That theories or laws, equations that appear to be a jumble of add-ons and ad hoc propositions don't agree with nature as well as theories that are built on a single unifying and simple idea, like Einstein's theory of gravity. Now, aesthetics has not always 100% guided us the right way. Back in the 1920s and 1930s, we thought we believed in something called 'parity conservation,' which basically says that for everything that you see in nature, the mirror image of that also exists in nature. So, nature is symmetrical under reflection in a mirror. And that seems like a very beautiful, simple idea.

Russ Roberts: And there are examples of it. So, it seems--

Alan Lightman: Yeah. There are plenty of examples. But, I think in the 1960s that we found certain experiments that showed that that's not true--that the mirror image of nature is not precisely like the first image. Then another example of that is the belief for centuries and centuries that the orbits of planets were perfect circles--

Russ Roberts: Yeah. Just thinking about it. So much more satisfying than an ellipse.

Alan Lightman: It is.

Russ Roberts: It's illusory[?].

Alan Lightman: So, sometimes our sense of aesthetics leads us astray. But, most of the time it's been a very accurate guide to the more correct laws.

Russ Roberts: We recently had John Gray on the program, the British philosopher; and he's a big opponent of this idea of progress that many of us hold as, he claims, and I think often correctly, as dogmatic. You have a thought on that? Do we make any progress? We certainly make scientific and technological progress: we know more about many things. We also know less about many things, because we know more about what we don't know. But I'm curious if you think in terms of human existence, whether it's made--maybe it's not even a meaningful question, given the impermanence issue you raised earlier.

Alan Lightman: And the question is whether we're making progress--

Russ Roberts: Yeah, as a species--

Alan Lightman: as a civilization--

Russ Roberts: as a species, as a civilization. He claims that this is a leftover from our religious heritage that we should reject. It's a fascinating point. And I think many of do, without thinking, dogmatically assume that life is getting better. And, of course, in many dimensions, it is. Of course, in some dimensions it's not. So, it's a little--

Alan Lightman: Well, it makes me think of Steve Pinker's book--

Russ Roberts: Yes, it does.

Alan Lightman: and I think that he and his assistants have compiled a fair amount of evidence that show that in some ways life has gotten better on the planet: That there are fewer wars, fewer deaths due to starvation; people live longer. So, clearly there's some measures which things have gotten better. But I imagine that there are other measures in which they have not. I'm not sure that our moral life is better than it was a thousand years ago--

Russ Roberts: That's Gray's point, mostly.

Alan Lightman: And I'm not sure that we are happier than we were a thousand years ago.

Russ Roberts: That's Gray's point.

Alan Lightman: So, it depends on how you define progress.

Russ Roberts: Yeah. There's been a critique of Pinker's work on death and war by Nassim Taleb. We'll put a link up to it for those who want to read it. It's quite provocative, as listeners will not be surprised to hear.


Russ Roberts: Before we move on to some physics issues, I want us to [?] one more idea from the book, which is the idea of transcendence. And, I often think that people who--people's ability to experience transcendence is something akin to their musical ear. There may be people who are tone deaf, who can't find it; and there may be people who swim in it all day long. I think you give, in fact you mention it in an example of someone in the book who is just--his life is brimming with a feeling of transcendence. Talk about your own, if you can, your own personal encounters with that, and how it relates to the issues we've been talking about.

Alan Lightman: I've had many, what I call transcendent experiences, and I define that sort of loosely as feeling a connection to something much larger than yourself. It may or may not involve God. An experience that I mention in the book, although I've had many, is lying in a boat on the ocean at night, lying on my back looking up at the stars and feeling like I'm connected to the stars, and I'm falling into infinity, and I'm part of the stars and part of the cosmos. And I would imagine that many people have had experiences like that. That feeling of being connected to something larger than yourself is not a feeling that can be analyzed scientifically. Even though ultimately it might be reducible and rooted in the atoms and molecules in your neurons, you could hook a giant computer up to my brain and read out the electrical output of every one of my hundred billion neurons when I was lying in that boat looking up at the stars and it would not have conveyed the experience, or not have described[?] it. And, that kind of experience, which is very personal, it's very vital, it's immediate; it cannot be invalidated by anybody else--that, for me is part of my spiritual universe. And what I did in that book and what it sort of represents the tension I have in my entire life is reconciling my life as a scientist with my life as a human being who has these transcendent experiences and feels that there is a spiritual world in addition to the physical world.

Russ Roberts: Even though, of course, we have no evidence for it. Except--

Alan Lightman: We have no evidence for it--

Russ Roberts: Except for that personal--could just be the neurons firing, as you say. I've talked about it before on here, on the show. It's one of my favorite things in the world, which is when Andrew Wiles, having discovered that his proof of Fermat's Last Theorem had actually been flawed, spent a year trying to reconstruct it; and then one day it just came to him. The right answer, the correct proof. He didn't work on it intensely. He did; but that didn't work. It's just, one day, he saw it. It is--you know, I think the closest thing that a person--it doesn't make sense, but it's a transcendent experience, certainly. It is something akin to a spiritual/religious experience. It's certainly part--you know, I'm a mere economist, but my creative work as a writer and other areas, I experience that at times. And I think--nothing like that--but that extraordinary--it's a physical feeling. It's not just relief. It is an explosion of, an expansion of awareness of your place in the world, that your boat experience [?]. I have those, too, in the natural world. And the stars do a lot for me. But, certainly, intellectual activity has that character. And you mention that in the book, as well.

Alan Lightman: Yeah. I've had that, with intellectual activity. I've experienced similar to what Andrew Wiles described, although not as monumental as his discovery, of course. But it is a beautiful, beautiful experience. It's a majestic experience. And, the--I'm trying--Hinduism--I think that Hinduism has a concept called 'dakshan[?]'--an experience they call 'dak shan[?]'--which is sort of opening yourself up to the divine. Being open to the divine. And recognizing it and being open to it. And I think that these transcendent experiences that we're talking about, you've had, that Andrew Wiles had, that I've had, and many people have had, is really opening yourself up to the sublime. 'Sublime' might be a better word than 'divine.' But, being open to that.

Russ Roberts: In Judaism, the word, I think, would be duvakut[?], which is a cleaving. Strange and interesting word, because 'cleave' is to both separate from and attach to. Which is permanent for all the paradoxes, intentions that we're talking about.


Russ Roberts: I want to turn toward just some general issues in physics that I've love to hear your thoughts on. We had Chuck Klosterman on, a long, a while back. He wrote a book called, But What If We're Wrong? where he speculates--you know, it's very hard for us to imagine that we are wrong about all the things we know are true. But we know that in the past, things that people thought were true weren't true any more. After a while. And one of the ones, the examples he gives in there, if I remember correctly, is gravity. What do you think of our current understanding of gravity? And, do you think it has any possibility of having to be revised?

Alan Lightman: Well, I'd like to slightly revise that word 'Wrong.'

Russ Roberts: Yeah. Sorry. That--well, he's selling books. Gotta--

Alan Lightman: Yeah. Right. No, that's--that's a good word for 'selling books.' And maybe my books haven't sold as well because I haven't come up with words like that. But, it's--what I like to--the way I like to think about our endeavor in science is that we are finding better and better approximations to the way that nature behaves. And getting back to gravity--that, Newton's theory was very accurate for its time. And very successfully predicted the orbits of planets and many other phenomena. And then, in the 19th century, with better telescopes, we were able to show that the orbit of Mercury did not quite fit Newton's theory. And then--

Russ Roberts: Describe the magnitude of that inaccuracy, because it blew me away.

Alan Lightman: Yeah. Well, it was--the displacement of the orbit of Mercury from where it was supposed to be, the displacement in the sky was about 1/100th of one degree every century.

Russ Roberts: It's amazing.

Alan Lightman: Yeah. It is amazing. But, and it is amazing that we had telescopes--

Russ Roberts: Exactly. Of that precision--

Alan Lightman: that were precise enough, precise enough to be able to find that minute discrepancy. But anyway, in 1950, Einstein proposed a new theory of gravity that was a better approximation to nature than Newton's theory. And, so, rather than saying that Newton's theory was wrong, I would say that Einstein's theory was a better approximation to whatever the underlying truth is in nature. And we do believe that there is any underlying truth. But we know that Einstein's theory also will be replaced by an even more accurate theory. We know that Einstein's theory of gravity, called general relativity, does not include quantum. And, we think that all--we think that nature is quantum and must be described by quantum theories; and so Einstein's theory will ultimately be replaced. There are a number of candidates for replacing it, but we don't know now which one is the best candidate. And that's sort of the way that science proceeds, with better and better approximations.

Russ Roberts: But do you think there are things about gravity in the non-quantum area that we don't understand or that we'll improve our understanding of?

Alan Lightman: Well, of course, you can have--you can't be sure. But, we think that Einstein's theory is a very, very accurate theory for all gravitational physics phenomena that doesn't involve quantum. It's made many predictions: black holes, gravitational waves, the very precise orbit of the planet Mercury and other planets. So, of course, we can never be sure that there might not be some phenomena that don't fit into Einstein's theory. But, I can just say that physicists are very, very happy with Einstein's theory--except for quantum phenomena.


Russ Roberts: So, I'm going to get the details wrong, but when--but the point is pretty clear--when there was the test of whether the gravitational force of the sun was bending the light coming from--I forget which planet or star--

Alan Lightman: It was a star. Yeah--

Russ Roberts: there is some question as to whether those data were accurate. And that, Einstein, when asked, 'What would you have done if the results had contradicted your theory?' he said, 'Well, I wouldn't have believed them, because I know my theory is right.' Which is not a very scientific attitude.

Alan Lightman: No, it wasn't. And I think that that was tongue in cheek. I mean, Einstein was known to have been very witty and display some things tongue in cheek. And I think that that was one of them. Einstein was, you know, ultimately, a scientist: Which means that he was ultimately swayded[sic], persuaded by experimental data. And so, if the experiment come out to disagree with his theory and the experiment was repeated many times and always disagreed with his theory, he would have given up his theory. But we know that Einstein was able to revise his theories when faced with persuasive experimental evidence contradicting the theory. Einstein's theory of cosmology was that we had a static universe that was not changing. And, when Edwin Hubbel, in 1929 discovered evidence that the universe is not static, but expanding--all the galaxies are moving away from each other--Einstein was willing to revise his cosmological model. So, I think that ultimately--although Einstein was an artist, he was a philosopher, he was a person of certain moral standards--he was most important a scientist. And I think most scientists are, eventually bow down to experimental evidence, no matter how fond they are of their theories.

Russ Roberts: Well, my favorite--you've said--one of your beautiful things in this conversation--but, one of my favorites as long-time listeners will not be surprised to hear, is, I think you've said the phrase, 'You can't be sure' more than once. And certainly that is part of the scientific mindset. In response to your book, by the way, I was googling around about Planck. Because I was just shocked by how many things are named after him. And, I saw--I don't know if this is true, but it was alleged to be a quote from Freeman Dyson, who has been a guest on this program, saying that Einstein, who was at the time a "mere patent clerk," a patent office clerk, sent 5 papers to Planck, who was the editor of a journal, and Planck published them all without getting referee reports. Which, if true, I love that, because it means they weren't peer reviewed. I mean, how would we know they're true? Do you have a favorite physicist or two, not living, who inspired you, who continue to inspire you?

Alan Lightman: Who are not living?

Russ Roberts: Yeah. I'm not talking about your thesis advisers--not a--I'm sure influential person in your [?].

Alan Lightman: Yeah. I would have to say Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. I think those are the two greatest physicists who have ever lived. And both of them completely overthrew contemporary thinking--at a young age, I should add. Which, I think took tremendous courage but is also one of the reasons why we celebrate youth. And we celebrate youth not only in science and mathematics: we celebrate it in sports, we celebrate it in Hollywood. And youth is capable of wonderful things. So, Einstein and Newton were my two greatest heroes.

Russ Roberts: Well, youth is ignorant. That's one of the great disadvantages and advantages, right?

Alan Lightman: Right.

Russ Roberts: Which is amazing.

Alan Lightman: Yeah. It is. One of my favorite books on Buddhism is called the Beginner's Mind. It's that notion of having a mind that is willing to be a beginner, to question authority, and to start from scratch.

Russ Roberts: Yeah. Huge part of, I think, being a successful human being is to keep that naivete, that aliveness, that ecstasy at new experiences that after a while become less ecstatic, and we need to try to capture that.

Alan Lightman: Yeah.

Russ Roberts: Now, you've spent--you've dabbled in multiple worlds. You're a world-class physicist, on the faculty of Harvard and MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology]; but you are also a great writer. Do you have fiction writers--authors who have inspired you, who you think particularly fondly of?

Alan Lightman: Well, Virginia Woolf would be one. I think that she introduced, sort of, stream of consciousness writing in which we feel like we are literally in the mind of a character. Dostoyevsky is another hero of mine of France. Kafka, is a hero of mine. These are writers who are no longer living--I'm assuming that you are talking about that.

Russ Roberts: Well, in this case you can say whoever you like. Do you like some living writers, particularly?

Alan Lightman: Oh, I love many. Many living writers. I would mention Michael Ondaatje, Annie Proulx. Those are just a couple of my favorite writers.

Russ Roberts: Are you a Faulkner fan?

Alan Lightman: Faulkner?

Russ Roberts: Yeah.

Alan Lightman: Yes. He's one of my favorite writers, too. And, of course, he's from the South, as you and I are--

Russ Roberts: A near neighbor.

Alan Lightman: A near neighbor. That's right, in Oxford, Mississippi.

Russ Roberts: But he also, I was thinking when you mentioned Virginia Woolf--because if you pick up The Sound and the Fury, you will not understand it at first, until you understand the project. That's true of a number of his books. And he was also young and taking a leap there that was brave.


Russ Roberts: So, I want to close with a quote from a play that I asked you, before we started recording, that you are familiar with, which is Arcadia, by Tom Stoppard. It's my favorite play, I'd say. Period. I've seen it three times. I encourage listeners to check it out. You can read it. It's not the same. But, try to see it if you can. And, this quote has--it's from a character, Bernard, who is the humanities defender at various times. He's not a very likeable character through much of the show. But, Stoppard puts in his mouth a defense of the humanities in the face of science. And, I want to read it and then get your reaction. Bernard, he's talking about science versus the humanities; he says,

BERNARD: Oh, you're going to zap me with penicillin and pesticides. Spare me that and I'll spare you the bomb and aerosols. But don't confuse progress with perfectibility. A great poet is always timely. A great philosopher is an urgent need. There's no rush for Isaac Newton. We were quite happy with Aristotle's cosmos. Personally, I preferred it. Fifty five crystal spheres geared towards God's crankshaft is my idea of a satisfying universe. I can't think of anything more trivial than the speed of light. Quarks, quasars--big bangs--black holes--who gives a shit? How did you people con us out of all that status? And why are you so pleased with yourselves?... If knowledge isn't self knowledge it isn't doing much, mate. Is the universe expanding? Is it contracting? Is it standing on one leg singing 'When father painted the parlour'? Leave me out. I can expand my universe without you. 'She walks in beauty, like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies, and all that's best of dark and bright meet in her aspect and her eyes'.

And that's a quote from Shelley [should be Byron, 'She walks in beauty...'--corrected per commenter alert.--Econlib Ed.] who has a role in the show, in the play. But, it's an attack on, to some extent, your worldview. But--not really, in my take on it. But I'm curious how you'd react to it.

Alan Lightman: Well, I think it's extremely hypocritical. Because I think Bernard probably profits a lot from science and technology. I mean, he--when was the time period of this?

Russ Roberts: This is in the modern era of the play. The play takes place in two time periods. I'm pretty sure this is, would be in like the 1970s.

Alan Lightman: Yeah. Well, but, well yeah, okay. I know that there are two times--[?]--I'd like to see--[?]

Russ Roberts: [?]

Alan Lightman: what Bernard would say if he got pneumonia or something and resisted medical treatment, what he would say about. So, I think it's an incredibly hypocritical quote. I agree with the general sentiment that the humanities are a vital part of human life. But I think that his dismissiveness of science and technology is completely off base and hypocritical. And I think that Stoppard wrote that just to be provocative. I can't believe that Stoppard really has that view, himself. He was trying to provoke the audience and the--the comment by Bernard is so blunt and direct that you wouldn't really hear those words come out of a real human being's mouth, I don't think.

Russ Roberts: I think the issue he's trying to get at there--which I take, a different take, on it. I think the issue he's trying to get at is the transformation of what is prestigious in our lives. Which used to be more the humanities. And as science advanced from bloodletting to penicillin, we, as you point out, are desperately eager to have it, and have more of it. And we've somehow lost--I think, two things. I think we've lost some of the value of the humanities. And, at the same time, we've failed to appreciate the poetry of science, and the aesthetics that are there. So, if I may pay you a compliment, I think your work unites both of those things in very elegant and life-enhancing ways.

Alan Lightman: Well, thank you.

Hoag's Object, a ring galaxy

          Ring Galaxies      Cache   Translate Page      

Galaxies frequently collide with each other. And the results can be spectacular. The encounters can pull out great streamers of stars, making the galaxies look like tadpoles. They can trigger intense bouts of starbirth. And they can scramble a galaxy’s stars and gas clouds, creating beautiful rings that look like cosmic bulls-eyes.

One well-known example is the Cartwheel galaxy. It’s in the constellation Sculptor, which is low in the south on November evenings.

The Cartwheel spans about 150,000 light-years — a bit bigger than the Milky Way. It has a bright ring of older, redder stars in its middle, with a brighter ring of younger, bluer stars outside it. Wispy spiral arms connect the rings.

The Cartwheel probably was a normal spiral galaxy until a smaller galaxy plunged through it. The collision created a wave that rippled outward, like a rock thrown into a still pond. The wave disrupted the galaxy’s spiral structure. It also squeezed clouds of gas and dust, causing them to give birth to new stars.

Another well-known ring galaxy is Hoag’s galaxy. It has a yellow ball of stars in its middle, with a bright ring of blue stars around it. There’s not much between them, though — no spiral arms to link them. Astronomers aren’t sure if Hoag’s galaxy gained its structure from a collision or some other mechanism. All we know for sure is that it’s a beautiful cosmic bulls-eye, spinning through the universe.


Script by Damond Benningfield

Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Beautiful galactic rings

          What is Oumuamua, where did it come from, and could the cigar-shaped asteroid be an alien spaceship?      Cache   Translate Page      
A MYSTERIOUS object shooting through the solar system forced scientists to whip out one of the world’s largest telescopes to clarify whether life does exist in our solar system. The space rock was first spotted by astronomers in Hawaii in October 2017 and since then they’ve been trying to determine whether it’s an alien spaceship. […]
          Goodbye, Kepler Telescope      Cache   Translate Page      
NASA launched the Kepler telescope in 2009 to stare out into space. In October, 2018, the telescope "retired." What did we learn from it and how did it work?

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          We Resist: Day 655      Cache   Translate Page      
a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures (plus the occasional non-Republican who obliges us to resist their nonsense, too, like we don't have enough to worry about) is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Earlier today by me: Trump Is a F#@king Liar and My Nerves Are Rattling Like Ghosts in an Attic About the Midterms Tomorrow.

Here are some more things in the news today...

Richard L. Hasen at Slate: Brian Kemp Just Engaged in a Last-Minute Act of Banana-Republic Level Voter Manipulation in Georgia.
In perhaps the most outrageous example of election administration partisanship in the modern era, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is running for governor while simultaneously in charge of the state's elections, has accused the Democratic Party without evidence of hacking into the state's voter database. He plastered a headline about it on the Secretary of State's website, which thousands of voters use to get information about voting on election day.

It's just the latest in a series of partisan moves by Kemp, who has held up more than 50,000 voter registrations for inconsistencies as small as a missing hyphen, fought rules to give voters a chance to prove their identities when their absentee ballot applications are rejected for a lack of a signature match, and been aggressive in prosecuting those who have done nothing more than try to help those in need of assistance in casting ballots.

But the latest appalling move by Kemp to publicly accuse the Democrats of hacking without evidence is even worse than that: Kemp has been one of the few state election officials to refuse help from the federal Department of Homeland Security to deter foreign and domestic hacking of voter registration databases. After computer scientists demonstrated the insecurity of the state's voting system, he was sued for having perhaps the most vulnerable election system in the country. His office has been plausibly accused of destroying evidence, which would have helped to prove the vulnerabilities of the state election system.

...If anyone is to blame for vulnerabilities with the voting system it is Kemp. And now he's trying to turn those vulnerabilities into crass political advantage by blaming Democrats without evidence for the state's failings.
Adam Gabbatt at the Guardian: Stacey Abrams Condemns Brian Kemp After He Accuses Democrats of Voter 'Hack'. "The Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia, Stacey Abrams, said on Monday her opponent had 'abused his power,' a day after Brian Kemp, who is also Georgia's secretary of state, announced an unexplained investigation into alleged 'cybercrime' by the state Democratic party. ...'I think, unfortunately, Secretary Kemp has not only abused his power, he has failed to do his job,' Abrams said in an interview with ABC. 'And you don't deserve a promotion when you do not serve the people you've been hired to serve.'" Right on.

Jana Winter at the Boston Globe: Hackers Targeting Election Networks Across Country Prior to Midterms. "Hackers have ramped up their efforts to meddle with the country's election infrastructure in the weeks leading up to Tuesday's midterms, sparking a raft of investigations into election interference, internal intelligence documents show. The hackers have targeted voter registration databases, election officials, and networks across the country, from counties in the Southwest to a city government in the Midwest, according to Department of Homeland Security election threat reports reviewed by the Globe. The agency says publicly all the recent attempts have been prevented or mitigated, but internal documents show hackers have had 'limited success.' The recent incidents, ranging from injections of malicious computer code to a massive number of bogus requests for voter registration forms, have not been publicly disclosed until now."

Staff at the AP: What Russians Have Been up to Ahead of 2018 U.S. Midterm Vote. "As Americans prepare for another election, Russian troublemakers have again tried to divide U.S. voters and discredit democracy. ...Russia is not alone — it's just one source of online manipulation ahead of Tuesday's election. Russia denies interference, and may not be able to affect the outcome anyway, but has reason to be interested in the election result." The AP covers four major areas of attempted disruption by Russia: Funding trolls, creating "Faux-American" sites, tricky tweets, and probing candidates.


Dole, who was permanently injured fighting the Nazis in WWII. Wow.

Angela Charlton at the AP/Global News: Here's What Russia and Vladimir Putin Stand to Gain from Meddling in U.S. Elections. "The Kremlin likes Trump because he's one of the rare Western leaders to embrace Russian President Vladimir Putin... Some Russians, meanwhile, wear the U.S. accusations as a badge of honor, a sign that their country is a fearsome world power again. ...By discrediting Western democracy, that strengthens Putin's argument to his own voters that his authoritarian model of governance is best. 'The growing confrontation with the West and a focus on it on national television channels probably helped consolidate this effect of a fortress under siege,' one of Putin's metaphors for modern Russia, [analyst Masha Lipman] said. 'And pledging allegiance to the leader is a matter not only of loyalty but even of national security and national identity.'"

In other election news...

Nicole Lafond at TPM: Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh Set to Appear with Trump at Monday Rally. "According to Variety, the Trump campaign is promoting the rally as an event that will feature special appearances from Limbaugh and Hannity, as well as country music singer Lee Greenwood, but Fox News told TPM that Hannity will only be hosting his show at the rally and interviewing the president. ...Hannity, who maintains a close friendship with the president, has been pegged as Trump's 'shadow' chief of staff who has a significant amount of influence over the president's decisions."

[Content Note: White supremacy] Stephanie Kirchgaessner at the Guardian: Trump Ally Kris Kobach Accepted Donations from White Nationalists. "The Republican candidate for governor of Kansas, Kris Kobach, who has close ties to the Trump administration, has accepted financial donations from white nationalist sympathizers and has for more than a decade been affiliated with groups espousing white supremacist views. Recent financial disclosures show that Kobach, a driving force behind dozens of proposals across the U.S. designed to suppress minority voting and immigrant rights, has accepted thousands of dollars from white nationalists."

Brian Kahn at Earther: A Major Storm Will Hit the Eastern U.S. on Election Day (But Please Go Vote Anyway). "The weather doesn't stop for anyone, including voters. For many folks heading to the polls this week, a big mess of rain, snow, and possibly severe weather is on tap starting on Monday and stretching into Tuesday. But the impacts aren't expected to last all day, so you should be able to find a window to go vote. ...Bundle up if you think there will be a line at your polling place, and drive safe (or tell your free or discounted Uber or Lyft driver to do so). While there's going to be some butt weather out there, there will still likely be times of the day when things are less butt, so hit the polls then if you can."

* * *

Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, and Philip Rucker at the Washington Post: Trump Administration Prepares for Massive Shake-Up After Midterms. "Some embattled officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, are expected to be fired or actively pushed out by Trump after months of bitter recriminations. Others, notably Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, may leave amid a mutual recognition that their relationship with the president has become too strained. And more still plan to take top roles on Trump's 2020 reelection campaign or seek lucrative jobs in the private sector after nearly two years in government. The expected midterm exodus would bring fresh uncertainty and churn to a White House already plagued by high turnover and internal chaos."

What should terrify all of us about that is the character and quality of a person who would accept a job in the Trump administration at this point. They know, keenly, that malice is the agenda, and they'll be on board with that. Even more than Jeff Sessions and Kirstjen Nielsen are, which is scary AF.

Staff at the Daily Beast: Trump to Meet Putin and Erdogan at First World War Ceremonies. "Donald Trump will hold meetings with both Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan this week as leaders from around the world descend on Europe to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War. ...Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to use the events to warn about history repeating itself and that a nationalist resurgence led by authoritarian leaders is threatening liberal democracies."

[CN: Nativism] Amanda Macias at CNBC: Trump's Border Deployments Could Cost $220 Million as Pentagon Sees No Threat from Migrant Caravan. "Donald Trump's move to deploy troops to the U.S.-Mexico border is so far shaping up to have a cost of $220 million, according to two U.S. defense officials who were not authorized to speak publicly. The initial cost estimate, a figure that could change based on the ultimate size and scope of the mission, comes as nearly 4,000 troops moved to the border Saturday as Trump has repeatedly warned of a caravan of migrants from Central America." Imagine what we could do for refugees with $220 million.

[CN: Nativism; video may autoplay at link] Mary Papenfuss at the Huffington Post: Armed Militia Groups Head to the Border, Sparking Military Concerns. "Armed bands of civilian militia members are traveling to the southern U.S. border, where [Donald] Trump has ordered thousands of active-duty troops to rebuff the approaching migrant caravan. About '200 unregulated armed militia members [are] currently operating along the southwest border,' says a planning document for Army commanders leading the 5,200 troops Trump has deployed at the border, according to Newsweek. The groups 'operate under the guise of citizen patrols supporting' border officials, the document says, pointing out 'reported incidents of unregulated militias stealing National Guard equipment during deployments.' The U.S. Border Patrol late last month warned landowners in Texas to expect 'possible armed civilians' to come onto their property because of the caravan, The Associated Press reported."

* * *

[CN: White supremacy; misogyny] Janet Reitman at the New York Times: U.S. Law Enforcement Failed to See the Threat of White Nationalism; Now They Don't Know How to Stop It. "White supremacists and other far-right extremists have killed far more people since Sept. 11, 2001, than any other category of domestic extremist. ...These statistics belie the strident rhetoric around 'foreign-born' terrorists that the Trump administration has used to drive its anti-immigration agenda. They also raise questions about the United States' counterterrorism strategy, which for nearly two decades has been focused almost exclusively on American and foreign-born jihadists, overshadowing right-wing extremism as a legitimate national-security threat."

[CN: Misogynist abuse; racism; gun violence] David Mack, Amber Jamieson, and Julia Reinstein at BuzzFeed News: The Tallahassee Yoga Shooter Was a Far-Right Misogynist Who Railed Against Women and Minorities Online.
The man who shot and killed two women at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida, on Friday before killing himself was a far-right extremist and self-proclaimed misogynist who railed against women, black people, and immigrants in a series of online videos and songs.

Scott Beierle, 40, was named by Tallahassee police as the shooter who opened fire inside the Hot Yoga Tallahassee studio, killing two women, and injuring four other women and a man.

Those killed were identified as Dr. Nancy Van Vessem, 61, who worked at Florida State University's College of Medicine, and FSU student Maura Binkley, 21.

On a YouTube channel in 2014, Beierle filmed several videos of himself offering extremely racist and misogynistic opinions, in which he called women "sluts" and "whores," and lamented "the collective treachery" of girls he had gone to high school with.

"There are whores in — not only every city, not only every town, but every village," he said, referring to women in interracial relationships, whom he said had betrayed "their blood."
Beierle also had a history of arrests for grabbing women on the FSU campus and at a public pool.

Every. Damn. Time.

* * *

Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress: The Supreme Court Just Agreed to Hear a Case That Could Nuke the Separation of Church and State. "In what will almost certainly be a victory for the religious right, the Supreme Court announced on Friday that it will decide whether the Constitution permits a local government to display 'on public property a 40-foot tall Latin cross, established in memory of soldiers who died in World War I.' Although a federal appeals court held that this cross violates the Constitution's ban on laws 'respecting an establishment of religion,' the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh — which gave Republicans a solid five-person majority on the Supreme Court — all but guarantees that this lower court decision will be reversed."

And finally, some important acts of resistance...

[CN: Nativism; reference to self-harm] Renée Feltz at Rewire.News: Pennsylvania Mural Highlights Migrants Who Were Traumatized in 'Family Prison'.
Karen (a pseudonym) struggled to comfort her then-5-year-old son after he twice attempted suicide during the 651 days they were held in detention, while seeking asylum from extreme violence in El Salvador.

"What would you tell your son if he asked, 'Why can't I be free?'" she once demanded to know from a guard at the Berks County Residential Center.

The trauma they endured there was hard to ignore this week when their eyes — and her son's question — were painted in an 88-foot mural across the steps of Pennsylvania's capitol building in Harrisburg, about an hour's drive from Berks. The massive image is part of a citywide art project that includes several billboards and three bus shelter displays featuring the images and words of parents and children who were held at the controversial facility.
Yessenia Funes at Earther: Opponents Plan to Stop Controversial Hawaiian Telescope's Construction 'at Whatever Cost'. "Last Tuesday, the Hawaiian Supreme Court ruled to approve the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), an observatory that would have the ability to gaze farther into the universe than any current telescope can. Its creation could literally transform our understanding of the world. But that's only if community members allow it to be built, and opponents don't plan on backing down easily. 'We're at the last straw,' Hanalei Fergerstrom, a Native Hawaiian priest and opponent to the project who has testified against the project in court, told Earther. 'The last thing we have is our sacred space, and it's come down to the point where we must take a stand. Period. At whatever cost it's gonna cost — and we're prepared to exhaust those costs.'"

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?
          Where on Earth Can You Put a Giant Telescope?      Cache   Translate Page      

In 1963, the astronomer Gerard Kuiper hired a plane and flew above the clouds, to circle the summit of Mauna Kea, in Hawaii. He needed a mountain, and the first one he had seen here, Haleakala, disappointed—too much fog. But Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain in the Pacific, stretched even closer toward space. The air around its cinder cone is dry and chill, the weather calm and constant. Kuiper convinced the governor of the state to help plow a rough road to the summit and then spent months collecting data about the quality of the light that shines there. In the end, he was convinced that Mauna Kea was “probably the best site in the world” for an astronomer, the perfect place to see “the moon, the planets, and the stars." As he said at the dedication of the site—"It is a jewel!" By the end of the 1970s, four sophisticated telescopes would perch on the summit.

There are now 13 telescopes on Mauna Kea, and the international consortium building a new behemoth instrument, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), plans to add another. The TMT group was convinced, just as Kuiper had been, that this would be the best site in the world for their project. They knew that it has “great cultural and archaeological significance to the local people,” but they went for it anyway. There were legal battles with locals who wanted protect the site’s heritage, but last week, after years of legal challenges and protests, the Hawaii Supreme Court approved the permit for the telescope’s construction.

When the TMT group set out to find a location for this unprecedented combination of optics and technology, it began by considering “all potentially interesting sites on Earth,” and ended up at perhaps the best known and most tested astronomical site on the planet. The same thing happened with another ambitious telescope project: The group building the Giant Magellan Telescope broke ground this summer at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile's Atacama Desert, another of the world’s premiere astronomical sites. Of course, any billion-dollar project will want to choose the best location available. What is it about these select mountaintops that makes them so irresistible to astronomers?


It’s simple, in a way. Astronomers want to capture light, clean and clear, as it streams down to Earth from impossibly distant stars and planets and nebulae, and they want to do that as many nights as they can each year. There are some obvious factors that obstruct that goal. Light pollution from nearby human settlements makes it hard to see the faintest objects. Wind can rattle a telescope and affect its accuracy. Clouds get in the way, especially for telescopes that operate in the visible light spectrum in particular. Site selection begins with the places on Earth with the greatest number of cloudless nights in a year. But even that is not enough.

"Once you have a found a clear enough place, you have to find an area that has little turbulence," explains Marc Sarazin, an applied physicist for the European Southern Observatory, in charge of site monitoring. This thermal turbulence is formed when hot and cold air masses change altitudes. "This creates what you see on a very hot summer day on the asphalt, as you drive down the road," says Sarazin. "Everything is moving; you don't have a sharp view. It's the same for astronomers when they look upwards, if there are layers that have been disturbed. The stars will not be so sharp."

This quality—the sharpness of the stars—is what astronomers call "seeing," and it's one of the most important criteria in selecting a site. But there are other details to consider, as well. Air that’s full of water vapor can fog and frost up instruments and disrupt the view of light in the infrared spectrum. Radio waves and microwave radiation can mess with telescopes, and a place that heats up during the day and cools down at night can be a problem, too.

Some of these parameters change depending on what type of observations astronomers are looking to make. An infrared telescope project might trade more cloudy nights, which are less of a concern for that end of the light spectrum, for a site with less humidity. "It’s all a matter of compromises," says Sarazin.

On top of all that, it helps if the people running and using the telescopes can get there with relative ease, which means roads. Astronomers and support crews need to be able to work comfortably. Mauna Kea is so high that altitude sickness slowed down the construction crews that built the first observatory there in the 1960s.

When, during the same era, Horace Babcock was looking for an observatory site in the southern hemisphere, a place where the Carnegie Institution for Science could lay the foundations for its future ambitions, he worried about the availability of water at one promising location. Las Campanas, he told an interviewer later, “right from the start, had a lot of appeal”—clear nights, excellent seeing—“except it looked as if there might be little available water.”

As basic infrastructure was built at some of these remote sites, they became even more attractive, in part because it can bring down the cost of a project. In its report on potential sites, the TMT group noted that “as a developed site with several observatories, much of the infrastructure required for TMT exists on Mauna Kea.” Las Campanas turned out to have water. And it had room for plenty of telescopes.


These days, site testers like Sarazin have a wealth of data they can use to assess potential sites without trekking up endless mountaintops. As a general rule, a site tester might start with the highest mountains, with the fewest neighbors, and narrow down their choices based on further data collected at a short list of sites. And even in northern Chile, there are still hundreds of summits that could, in theory, provide good astronomical conditions.

Given all the factors and compromises, there are three main types of places in the world that are most suited for telescopes observing visible light. One is Antarctica—the high peaks of arid plateaus have little turbulence and are surrounded by darkness. Conditions are brutal, but, advocates argue, sending a telescope to Antarctica is cheaper than sending one to space. The second is mountainous coastal areas, where the wind comes from the sea, minimizing turbulence whipping over the peaks. Chile fits this description. The third is an isolated mountain on a island, where all other conditions are right. Hawaii has mountains just like that. So does the Canary Islands. And that’s about it.

Astronomers do entertain the possibility that prime sites exist elsewhere. The TMT researchers noted that Uzbekistan has an excellent, unnamed site, and that northern Mexico and northern Africa have potential as well. There's some interest in Mount Kenya, and China may have any number of good sites. But the most obvious and most desirable places to put giant optical telescopes haven’t changed since the 1960s and 1970s.

"No one has ever done a comprehensive survey of the planet," says Sarazin. "We cannot say that we have looked everywhere. We know more or less the areas which could provide sites, but individual mountains have not been all characterized, of course. So there is still work for site testers."

          Exoplanets Don’t like Heavy Metals!      Cache   Translate Page      

Studies of planetary systems have indicated that star systems with high metallicity (think iron − actually anything heavier than helium) may preferentially form planets, but a new survey suggests there are many compact, multiple-planet systems for which this trend does not hold. There could be many such compact systems that have been undetected until recently. The most common systems that have been discovered have larger Jupiter or Neptune sized planets. A team at Yale University has conducted a survey of 700 stars and been able to find smaller panels with newer technology such as their Extreme Precision Spectrometer. This instrumentation enables discovery of the smaller planetary systems. Such low metallicity systems have formed early on in the history of the universe and have been in existence for quite a long time. So what are those planetary systems like?

Join Tony Darnell and Carol Christian during Afternoon Astronomy Coffee on Thursday, 8 November at 3:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time (19:00 UTC) as they discuss with investigators John Michael Brewer and Songhu Wang (both from Yale University) about their survey and the intriguing relationship of metal content and the formation of planets.

Afternoon Astronomy Coffee Hangout 8 November

What Are "Afternoon Astronomy Coffee" and "Future in Space" Hangouts?

"Future In Space” and "Afternoon Astronomy Coffee" Hangouts are part of a weekly series, held every Thursday, that also includes a segment called "Footsteps to Mars." We bring the latest research in astronomy, highlights from the future of space astronomy and astronautics planning, as well as updates on the exploration of Mars to you every week via Hangouts on Air. With the sponsorship of both the American Astronomical Society and the American Astronautical Society, our hosts Tony Darnell, Carol Christian, Alberto Conti, and Harley Thronson examine today's breakthroughs in research and peer into the unfolding possibilities of what we may learn about the universe and Mars exploration. We join with members of the American Astronomical Society to chat, in an informal online setting modeled after "science coffee" events held in universities and research organizations across the country. We will examine what we hope to learn about exoplanets, black holes, the early universe, quasars, and life in the universe along with what technologies might help us — and reflect upon the scientific endeavors occurring today that uncover amazing astrophysics and lay the groundwork for studies to come.

We will also explore the technology and engineering used today as well as possibilities for future space travel and research with members of both societies, and probe what our future in space may look like and how we might get there. We will examine the underlying technologies of space telescopes, orbiters, landers, and human space vehicles now and in the years to come. We will delve into topics that help us understand the possibilities and limitations of human space flight and eventual human colonization of other worlds.

We hope you can join us each month as we bring experts from both societies — people who think about and plan for our future in space — to your computer, tablet, or smartphone. We invite you to bring your questions and comments and get ready to learn about the amazing possibilities for the future of space astronomy and exploration.

          SOFIA Tours at Seattle AAS Meeting      Cache   Translate Page      


NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) will be open for tours during the January 2019 AAS meeting in Seattle. SOFIA will be based at nearby Boeing Field.

Buses will depart the Washington State Convention Center at regular intervals on Monday morning, 7 January, and throughout the day on Tuesday, 8 January, and Wednesday, 9 January. Guests will tour the interior of the observatory while learning more about SOFIA's recent science observations. Science and mission staff will be on hand to discuss the observatory's infrared observations, the engineering challenges of flying and stabilizing a 2.7-meter telescope at altitudes as high as 45,000 feet and speeds of Mach 0.85, as well as its unique operational model: fly 10-hour missions, then return each morning to prepare for the next night's observations.

There is no cost for the tours, but guests must pick up a bus ticket at the SOFIA booth (number 718) in the Exhibit Hall. SOFIA tours are extremely popular, and space is limited. Tours are open to registered AAS meeting attendees and their guests only. The observatory is not open to the general public.

For more information, please visit the SOFIA Tours at the 233rd Meeting of the AAS webpage.

          Fraunhofer Refractor at the Deutsches Museum in Munich, Germany      Cache   Translate Page      

The first six planets (Mercury through Saturn) have been known and described since the time of the ancient Greeks, and probably long before. They were called "wanderers" because of their strange behavior compared to the stars. It wasn't until the early 1600s when Galileo pointed his telescope at the sky that planets were seen as other worlds outside of ours. Still, the solar system didn't expand beyond the ancient model until the early 19th century, when Uranus was discovered by accident, and Neptune not long afterward.

The discovery of Neptune came about as a result of astronomers trying to use complex calculations to predict the orbits of the known planets. Their calculations were incredibly precise, but something was always off for some reason. Many theories were proposed, but it wasn't until July of 1846 that the French mathematician Urbain Le Verrier suggested that an extra planet would solve for the errors.

Le Verrier predicted the location of this new planet to within one degree of accuracy, but (being a mathematician) he never bothered to actually check the sky in that spot. It was astronomers at the Berlin Observatory that started searching, based on Le Verrier's calculations. A few months later, on September 24, 1846, German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle spotted Neptune. (And to Le Verrier's detriment, got most of the credit for the discovery.) 

The telescope used for this search was a beautiful wooden 9-inch Fraunhofer refractor, in those days the Rolls-Royce of telescopes. The instrument received instant fame and remained the flagship of the Berlin Observatory for many years to come. Despite its fame, it did become obsolete with time, and eventually was donated to the Deutsches Museum in Munich, where it is on display to this day. 

          Volkssternwarte München in Munich, Germany      Cache   Translate Page      

Inside the observatory.

You won't simply stumble on this observatory while walking around Munich; you have to know where to look. Once you find it though, you're in for a treat. Although Munich is home to a large astronomy collection at the Deutsche Museum and the Supernova Planetarium at Garching, the Volkssternwarte is a unique place, and should not be passed up by space fans in the city.

The Volkssternwarte München (Bavarian Public Observatory Munich) includes a unique 1950s planetarium, four large telescopes, an exhibition with a sizable meteor collection, and an array of astronomical photos, including some incredibly details shots taken of the International Space Station. 

The planetarium is a special treat, and some might say the main attraction. This is because it's a ZKP1 Zeiss planetarium from the 1950s. That means no projectors, beamers, or movies—this thing is fully analog and controlled manually. The result is a much sharper projection of the sky, coupled with a lively show given by the operator. It shows both night and day, the planets, the Milky Way, meteorites, and more, and can change the location of the night sky. It's a must-see for anyone who enjoys the night sky.

On the roof, you'll find four permanently set-up telescopes and a series of smaller ones in tripods. The oldest one is a 7-inch refractor from 1971 and the largest is a 32-inch reflector from 2005. All the telescopes have different purposes and are set up for specific targets and observations, allowing visitors to see very different sights when moving between them.

          Teneriffa: Webcam des Bradford Robotic Telescope      Cache   Translate Page      
           Comment on Oumuamua by Caldwell Titcomb IV       Cache   Translate Page      
Paper of the Harvard guys: Page 4: "Since it is too late to image ‘Oumuamua with existing telescopes or chase it with chemical rockets (Seligman & Laughlin 2018), its likely origin and mechanical properties could only be deciphered by searching for other objects of its type in the future. "
          Someone Else's Story (Part 2)      Cache   Translate Page      
By: Patroclus

A/N: Hi Guys, it's me again. Eepal sa blog na 'to. Thank you very much for those who took time to read the story. Paki subaybayan niyo na lang kung may time kayo haha. Please leave a comment if you like the story or click recommend. If you have any suggestions on how the story should go, you can always tell me. I'm still open for suggestions. Thank you!

Tinanggap ko ang hamon. Alam kong magiging mahirap pero kakayanin ko. I have to make an impression.
Matapos ang dinner namin, kinuha ko ang number ng lahat ng myembro ng club. Including Kuya Roy and Kuya Rence.

As for Ivan, Sam and Patrick. I already talked to them, we will meet later for an overnight planning. Apat lang kami, kaya ako kinakabahan kase baka hindi namin kayanin. Pero everytime I remember Kuya Roy's face when he told me that he trust me, nawawala ang pag-aalinlangan ko. Ang overnight ay dito lang din sa apartment ko, hindi kase kasya doon sa boarding house ng tatlo. Room mates lang pala sila, kaya madali para sa akin ang ipunin sila. I still havent met Patrick, pero siya ang ka text ko and he's funny. I dont know pero turn on kase sa akin pag napapatawa at napapa reply ako kaagad sa text, hindi ko kase hilig yun.

It's already 5PM at ang usapan ay pupunta sila dito ng 6:30. I already prepared our food for dinner, snacks at pati ang kwarto.

Maliligo na sana ako nang marinig kong may kumakatok sa pintuan.

"Sandali!" Sigaw ko, masyado kaseng malakas ang pagkaka katok niya.

Nagulat ako ng pagbukas ko ng pinto ay nakita ko ang isang hindi pamilyar na mukha. Nabasa niya siguro ang takot sa akin kaya bigla siyang nagsalita.

"Huy! Si Patrick to, baka kung ano na iniisip mo jan! Hahaha" wika niya. Natauhan naman ako at nawalang bigla ang takot na siyang napalitan ng inis.
Sumimangot ako habang naka tingin sa kanya.

"Dapat kase nagpapakilala o nag tetext man lang." Sabi ko sa kanya. Tinawanan niya lang ako. Gago to!

"Di mo ba ako papapasukin?" Tanong niya habang naka ngiti. In fairness, cute siya. Matangkad at may kapayatan. Yung mga tipong twink? haha. Unang tingin ko pa lang sa kanya, alam ko nang pilyo siya.

"Pasok ka sir!" sarkastiko kong tugon sa kanya habang umiirap. Natawa lamang ang gago.

Naglakad kami papuntang sala at manghang mangha siya habang tumitingin sa paligid. Kesyo mayaman daw ako, ang laki daw ng apartment ko, bakit daw kulay blue ang lahat ng gamit ko, bakit ang bango ng apartment, bakit ang ganda ng sala at...

"Ang gwapo mo."

I blushed for a second, not knowing what to say. I didn't get much compliment when I grew up. Kung meron man, that's because of my brain, not because of my physical appearance.

"Nilalandi mo ba ako?" tanong ko sa kanya habang naka pamewang. Umupo siya sa sofa habang ako nama'y naka tayo lang at tinitingnan siya. Gwapo nga.

He looked at me intently. "Bakit, nagpapalandi ka ba?" sagot niyang tanong sa akin and then I realized, I just made the atmosphere awkward.

Gago 'tong lalaking 'to ah! This is our first meeting and he just created a very very naughty impression. At dahil hindi ko na alam kung ano ang isasagot ko sa kanya. Inirapan ko na siya at tumungo na sa CR para maligo.

"Make yourself comfortable, Mr. Naughty guy. Maliligo lang ako." Bigkas ko bago tuluyang pumasok sa banyo. Narinig ko naman siyang pumalag sa sinabi ko. Hindi daw siya naughty, nice lang daw. Nice sa mukha niya! Kaming dalawa pa naman ang tao dito sa apartment, baka kung ano magawa ko sa kanya. Hahaha

Trenta minutos ako nagbabad sa tubig at nang matapos ay lumabas ako at tinungo si Patrick sa sala, baka kase ano na ang ginagawa niya.

"You also love fishes?" Tanong niya sa akin habang naka tutok lang sa aquarium ko, yep, I love fishes. They keep my mind peaceful. Lumapit ako sa kanya at tumabi. Maliit lang aquarium ko at dalawang itim na Telescope eye goldfish lang ang laman.

"Meet, Achilles and Patroclus" at tinuro ko ang mga isda. Walang kamalay malay sa paligid, walang pakialam.

Tiningnan ako ni Patrick. Amazed. As if I said something that brought him down the memory lane.

"I love Achilles and Patroclus" wika niya habang naka tingin lang sa akin at manghang mangha.

"Yeah, I think they would've been a great couple" sabi ko sa kanya. Which is true, I've read the Iliad when I was a kid, I did not understand it all but I know, Achilles loves Patroclus, more than just a brother. Their relationship is other worldy and has transcended into something only them could fathom.

Tumayo ako para maibsan ang awkward na pagtatagpong iyon. Naka tapis lang kase ako ng twalya at wala nang iba, si Patrick naman, kung maka tingin, parang ginagahasa ako in a good way. Haha meron ba nun?

"But I think, Homer did not realize how relevant these characters could have been if he labelled them as a couple. We need Achilles and Patroclus now, more than ever." Naging seryoso siya habang sinasabi yun. Now, I'm amazed. I've never met someone as passionate as him when it comes to Achilles and his lover, minsan kase, most kids of my age, kung nadidiscover nila ang Iliad or any greek mythology stories, focus lang sila sa gods and goddesses. They have way bigger stories written about them, more songs sang for them, but the greatness of Achilles and Patroclus' love to each other deserves more than the Iliad.

Then upon thinking all of this, I remembered how painful it was when I read their story. It gets to me, all the time. On how it felt like I've always been Patroclus with out an Achilles. The thought suddenly saddens me. Then I felt something wet touches my face, reminding me that I am alone.

Alam kong nakita ni Patrick ang mukha ko, pero bago pa man siya maka pag react, mabilis akong tumakbo patungong kwarto.

Dito ako magaling, ang mag drama. Kaya siguro mas madali sa akin ang sumali sa drama club kase lahat nalang ng bagay, nahuhugutan ko.

Nagdamit ako at inayos ang sarili bago lumabas ng kwarto at agad na tinungo sa Patrick.

"Are you okay?"Tanong niya sa akin.

"Yup, I just read too much kaya ganun, may naalala lang" sabi ko sa kanya habang naka ngiti. Tinabihan ko siya sa sofa at tinanong kung papunta naba ang dalawa dito sa apartment. Sabi niya papunta na raw.

"Come, help me prepare the food para kain nalang muna tayo before we start our meeting" sabi ko sa kanya. Tumango lamang siya at ngumiti.

Tinungo namin ang kitchen at tinulungan niya akong ilagay ang mga niluto ko sa lamesa.

"I also read the Iliad when I was a kid. I did not understand much of it. hehe" wika niya habang nilalapag ang mga plato sa lamesa.

"Ako rin naman eh, pero sa part ni Achilles at Patroclus, dun ko lang naintindihan ang lahat." Tugon ko sa kanya. Pero bago pa siya maka sagot ay narinig naming may kumakatok sa pintuan.

"Dito ka nalang muna, ako na ang magbubukas ng pinto" sabi ko sa kanya at ngumiti.

Tinungo ko ang pintuan upang buksan ito, at nakita ko si Sam at Ivan na naka tayo sa harap.

"Hi, pasok kayo" bati ko sa kanila. Agad naman silang pumasok at nakipag beso sa akin. They know I'm gay, that's the reason for the courtesy.

"Wow, ganda naman ng apartment mo!" manghang mangha si Sam ng sinabi niya yun.

"Bigay sa akin ng magulang ko" tugon ko sa kanila.

I told them to put their things on the sofa at dumiretso na kami sa kusina kung saan nandun si Patrick naghihintay. Alam ko pagod o di kaya'y gutom sila kaya plano ko after eating, usap usap nalang muna.

"Ang aga natin ah! May plano na ba?" Biro ni Ivan kay Patrick ng madatnan naming naka upo na siya.

"Nakaka hiya ka naman, baka isipin ni Jay hindi ka namin pinapakain sa bahay! Hahaha." dugtong ni Sam.

"Pake niyo ba, ang bagal niyo kaseng gumalaw eh." tugon naman ni Patrick sa kanilang dalawa.

Pumwesto na kami at umupo.

"Mamaya na yang harutan, kain na tayo" sita ko sa kanilang tatlo. "I don't pray, so if you want to, you can and you may." dugtong ko. Baka kase religious sila at ma offend kung kumain ako ng hindi nagdadasal.

"Haha don't worry walang Diyos ang mga gagong to."sabat ni Ivan. Kahit kailan talaga, pilyo.

We started eating but none of them are talking, nahiya siguro sa  akin. So I broke the silence by asking them about things para mas makilala ko sila. Im gonna deal with these men so I need to know them more. Una kong tinanong si Ivan about his background. Mawili naman siyang sumagot, energetic na bata at halatang pala biro.

"By the way, Im gay" casual nitong sinabi sa akin, sa amin at based sa reaction nila, they already knew. Ako naman, shookt to the highest level.

"Oh! That's surprising" Sabi ko sa kanya na halatang nagulantang. Seriously? Sa kanilang tatlo kase, Ivan would be the last person na pag iisipin kong bakla.

"Haha, masyado mo namang ginulat si Jay, Ivan!" Biro ni Sam.

"By the way, I'm gay too. Hehe" dugtong pa nito na halos ikahulog ko na sa upuan.

"What the actual fuck?!" sabi ko sa kanila at tumawa lang ang tatlong mokong.

"So, mag nobyo kayo?!" Tanong ko sa kanilang dalawa. Nagtinginan lang sila. Napahinto ako, alam ko ibig sabihin nang ganung tingin. Kuya Roy at Kuya Rence. So sila nga.

"Yup, hehe. Hndi pala halata?" Sagot at tanong ni Sam. Lingo lang ang tanging naging reaction ko sa kanya.

Tiningnan ko naman si Patrick, as if to tell him na sabihin niya ring bakla siya.

"No, he's not, ayon sa kanya." Sabat naman ni Ivan. Nabasa niya ang mukha ko.

"According to him, hindi daw siya bakla. Pero ewan ko lang talaga! Hindi nalang ako mag co-comment." Sam said.

Natawa naman ako dun, pero at the same time, parang may kumirot. I don't know, prolly because I thought he's gay and I thought I could like him or he can like me, but because of what they told me. Gumuho yung katiting na pag-asang baka siya na. O baka ambisyoso lang talaga ako. Hindi niya naman kasalanan.

"Uy! tumahimik nga kayo!" sabi naman ni Patrick na parang wala lang sa kanya ang lahat. I knew it.

Nagpatuloy nalang akong kumain at nanahimik, I know they felt the change of my mood kaya siguro nagpatuloy nalang din silang kumain. 'cant blame myself. Nang matapos kaming kumain, I composed myself to be lively again. Nag presenta ang mag nobyong maghugas ng plato at kami ni Patrick naman ay tumungo na sa kwarto to fix things para naman ready na kami for the planning.

"'wag gumawa ng kalokohan Patrick ha!" sigaw ni Ivan bago kami naka pasok sa kwarto.

"Gago talaga tong si Ivan, pag pasensyahan mo na" sabi niya habang kinakamot ang ulo at nahihiya.

"It's okay, I'll get used to it." Sagot ko sa kanya habang naka ngiti.

"Sooo, is it true? Are you straight?" Tanong ko sa kanya ng matapos kaming maglinis sa kwarto ko. Nakaupo siya sa bed, ako naman naka higa. Hinarap niya ako.

"Does it really matter?" Tanong niya.

"Not really, I just don't like to go beyond things or have assumptions about you." Diretso kong sagot sa kanya.

"Plus, I'm going to deal with you from now on." I added which sounded wrong. Baka ano ang isipin niya.

"Hahaha. Don't worry, I'll let you know." Aniya at humiga.

I like him.

At pumasok na sina Ivan at Sam. Grinning. I know that look.

"So, nagkaka developan na ba?" Tanong ni Ivan habang naka ngisi na parang aso. Pumunta sila sa bed at umupo. My bed is big so it's okay. Plus I don't really have an issue if masyadong comfy ang mga tao sa bahay ko kahit na first time pa nilang pumasok dito. That's exactly the reason why we create homes, to make other people comfortable away from their own. Drama ba? Haha

"Sana, kaso straight daw siya eh" biro kong sagot. Natawa naman ang dalawa at si Patrick naman ay halatang nahiya.

"Yun oh! Haha. Lakas talaga ng alindog ng kaibigan namin, first meeting palang yan ha" sabat ni Sam habang hinahampas hampas ang braso ni Patrick.

Tawanan lang kami the whole time, it's too early pa din kase to work. Plus, I don't want to stress ourselves over this thing. Anjan naman si Kuya Roy at Kuya Rence to make things work, sabi nila tawagan ko lang sila if mahirapan ako.

Alas 9 na ng gabi ng magsimula kaming mag-usap about the orientation. The theme, the food that we are going to serve, who is going to prepare this, who will be assigned to that. This and this and this.
All of us are passionate in what we are doing at kung ano ang pinasok namin, kaya siguro naging madali for us to brain storm and to work.

"So what do you think about our Pres and Vice?" Panimulang tanong ni Sam matapos kaming matapos sa discusion at planning. Tiningnan ko siya at napa isip.

"I actually like them, I think they are nice" Sabi ko sa kanya, tumango naman si Patrick. He agrees with me.

"Kuya Roy is okay, but si Kuya Rence, I don't know, something is off about him" dugtong naman ni Ivan. Well, maybe.

"Judgmental ka kamo" Biro naman ni Patrick sabay hampas ng unan kay Ivan. Tumawa kami ni Sam.

"Hoy hindi ah, pero ewan. Baka nga, feel ko kase hindi niya ako gusto because of my audition." Sagot ni Ivan. Oo nga, I never asked them about their auditions.

"I forgot to ask you guys about that, how was your audition?" Tanong ko sa kanilang tatlo. By this time, magkatabi na kaming naka higa ni Patrick pero sapat lang ang layo. Not invading each other's personal space.

"They asked me to act as a male prostitute" Plain na sabi ni Patrick. Napatingin naman ako sa kanya, Ivan and Sam prolly know about this already.

"Hmm. Interesting. Tell me about it hahaha." Panunukso ko sa kanya.
Napakamot lang siya at halatang napipilitan but I'm interested to know how it went.

"They asked him for a blowjob! Hahahah" sabat ni Ivan. Patrick looked startled and embarrassed. Tinawanan lang siya ng dalawa because of his reaction. Ako naman, halatang nagulat rin.

"Hoy baka kung ano na ang iniisip mo ha! It was part of the act." Depensa niya.

"The scene was how am I going to offer myself as a prostitute to a gay couple, which is them, and make them say yes for a threesome in a very expensive night." Sabi niya. Eloquent speaker, I thought. I like the way he speak.

"Sinabi mo bang malaki titi mo? Hahahha" biro ni Sam na siya namang ikinatawa naming lahat.

I looked at him and realized that sa aming apat dito sa loob ng kwarto, siya ang may pinaka masayang ngiti. The one that you would envy because you know you don't have or can't have. Ganun.

"Gago ka Sam haha. Yup, I said that but of course, hindi naman ganyan ang una mong sasabihin in actual life diba?" Tanong niya sa aming tatlo, as if, all of us knew what it's like to be a prostitute. I mean, I have nothing against them, I admire the prostitutes because not all of us have the guts to one. If I get a chance to help them, I'd make a law that would protect and help them, para wala ni isa sa kanila ang magka STD, HIV at AIDS. My principles are twisted, I know. Don't blame me.

"Oy, wala kaming alam diyan ah! Hindi pa kami pokpok" birong sagot ni Ivan.

"So how did you start the scene?" Tanong ko sa kanya. As what I have said, I'm interested.

"Wag na hehe. Nakakahiya eh. Akala ko nga hindi ako makakapasok because of what I did" aniya. Nalungkot ako sa sinabi niya. But of course, if he don't want to talk about it. Okay lang, I will respect it.

Nag-usap lang kami the entire night. Ivan and Sam shared their auditions. Sabi ni Ivan, matinding iyakan ang ginawa nila, ang eksena ay tungkol sa dalawang magkapatid, si Kuya Roy ang Kuya, si Ivan naman ang bunso. May sakit si Kuya Roy at tanging siya lang ang pamilyang natitira kay Ivan. I imagined them doing the act, kung nandun ako, malamang umiyak na ako kahit hindi pa nagsisimula. Ivan did well according to Kuya Rence. Si Sam naman ay hindi malayo sa eksenang ginawa ko during the screening, ang sa kanya lang is siya ang nangloko. Paano niya raw ipapaliwanag kay Kuya Rence, who acted as his boyfriend, na wala na siyang nararamdaman dito. Napa-isip ako, mine I guess was easier, pero yung role ni Sam, I don't know. How do we tell our lovers that the love is gone?

"Ikaw Jay? How about yours?" tanong ni Sam sa akin.
Napatingin ako sa kanila bigla. Shit!

"Konektado lang yung akin sa'yo. Yung akin lang is, ako ang ipinagpalit. Ako ang iiwan." Sabi ko sa kanila. Napaupo naman si Patrick nang sinabi ko yun. Tang ina. I felt the obligation to share mine too!
Si Sam at Ivan ay naka upo na rin sa malaking bed. Naghihintay silang tatlo sa sasabihin ko.

"At first, natakot ako, kase wala naman akong karanasan sa ganun. Hindi pa nga ako nagkaka nobyo eh. So how would I know?" Panimula ko.

"Really?" Sabat ni Patrick na animo'y hindi makapaniwala. Binato siya ni Ivan ng unan sa mukha.

"Wag ka ngang epal Patrick. Mamaya na nayang landi mo!" Sita ni Ivan sa kanya, natawa kaming dalawa ni  Sam.
Tumango namn ako kay Patrick. As if to say, "yup!"

"I think I did fine. I didn't say a lot of words actually, sa isip ko nun, what can I say? When Kuya Rence said, "Let's talk", I knew that was the queue so I start crying habang naka upo sa sahig. At first I never thought I can pull it off, pero sa galing ni Kuya Rence, akala ko mamatay ako sa sakit ng dibdib ko." Litanya ko sa kanila. Nagtinginan saglit ang mag nobyo at si Patrick naman ay naka tingin lang sa akin. More?

"That scene was cruel. Two hearts are broken because of love. The first was too much, the other was because it's gone." Dugtong ko habang naka yuko. Then suddenly, I felt I dropped something on my bed sheet - luha.

They saw it, of course! I have more talent in embarrassing myself than acting. Now the atmosphere is awkward. None of them would like to say something. Inangat ko ang aking mukha at agad na ngumiti sa kanilang tatlo na taimtim na naka tingin lang sa akin.

"Sorry. Minsan talaga ganito ako hahaha." Pilit kong biro sa kanila. I know hindi yun effective pero pilit na tumawa si Ivan at Sam.

"'wag kang mag-alala, walang makaka alam na iyakin ka! Hahaha." Biro ni Ivan sa akin.

"We all have our weak spots. Tsaka maganda yang nailabas mo. Magpalabas  ka lang." dugtong niya. Napahinto ako at agad na tumingin sa kanya. Ngiting aso ang gago!

"Bastos ka talaga! Kala mo naman gano ka galing sa kama!" Sabi ni Sam na siyang ikinatawa ko na.

"But you said wala ka pang experience diba? Bakit parang naka relate ka sa eksenang yun?" Sabat ni Patrick na kanina pa naka tingin sa akin. Napahinto naman si Sam at Ivan sa harutan nilang dalawa.  Sasagot pa sa na si Ivan, pero inunahan ko siya.

"Remember that there are two reasons why we are hurt because of love? Yung too much at yung wala na. Mine was the latter. Dahil wala nga akong alam, at dahil wala akong ganun, kaya nasasaktan ako. The emptiness is too great to ignore." Explain ko sa kanila. But of course hindi na ako umiyak.

"Ganito ka ba talaga ka lalim always?" Tanong ni Patrick.

"Uy! Interesado! Hahaha.Bakit Pat, mahaba bayan?" Biro na naman ni Ivan. Muntikan nakong mahulog sa bed sa sinabi niya.

Lumapit si Patrick kay Ivan at hinila ang buhok nito. Naghaharutan na silang dalawa at panay tawa lang kame ni Sam.

"Hey, it's getting late. Di pa ba kayo inaantok?" Tanong ko sa kanila. Tiningnan ko kase ang relo ko at halos mag a-alas onse na ng gabi.

All of them stopped what they are doing when I said that. I looked at our bed and thought that even if it is big enough to accommodate four bodies, baka hindi pa rin mag kasya.

"I can leave the three of your here at doon nalang ako sa kabilang kwarto para siguradong kasya kayo." Sabi ko sa kanila.

Ivan stood up smiling, I don't like what he's thinking.

"Why not kaming dalawa nalang doon ni Sam at kayong dalawa dito ni Patrick? Para naman makilala niyo pa ang isa't isa hahaha"

I cringed a little on the thought na magtatabi kami ng Patrick, not because wala akong tiwala sa kanya, pero dahil wala akong tiwala sa sarili ko. Hahaha. Hindi man lang nag protesta ang mokong.

Hindi na ako nagreklamo at nagpaka choosy. Napag desisyonan naming tabi nalang kami ni Patrick matulog at sa kabilang kwarto naman ang mag syota.

At first, it was awkward. Aside from the fact na bago ko lang silang lahat nakilala, nailang ako kay Patrick when I turned of the main light at binuksan ang lamp. The room is dim. Romantic sana kung mag syota kami, pero ang nakaka inis kase, bigla siyang tumahimik at hindi pa naman ako ganun ka galing mag open ng topic. Magkatabi kami but enough lang na hindi namin ma invade ang personal space ng isa't isa. I waited for him to talk but he didn't, I know gising pa siya.

"Have you ever been in love?"

Then it all started with that one question.


I sincerely regret those times when I've chosen the dark side. I've wasted enough time not being happy. I wish life had a rewind button para maibalik ko ang mga pagkakamaling nagawa ko. But of course, all that I can do right now is to move on and think na ang lahat ng mga nangyari sa akin ay magandang ala-ala. Hahaha.

So when I saw Kuya Rence, my body cringed. Sino ba naman ang hindi, baka kase sampalin niya ako, ang mas malala pa eh baka suntukin niya ako. I have a very small tolerance towards pain.

"O Kuya!" Bati ko sa kanya habang naka ngiti. Nagulat siya sa inasal ko. You don't have any idea how much I changed.

"Kamusta ka?" Tanong ko sa kanya, sabay lapit at yakap. Muntikan na akong matawa sa mukha niya, akala niya siguro ay matatakot ako, o di kaya'y tatakbo, pero hindi. I know how to play this game, I know now. Thanks to them.

"It's so nice to see you again, Bunso. Okay lang ako, eto, nangangayayat na", aniya. Tiningnan ko siya, wala namang pinag bago. Mukha ka pa ring gago!

So the game is on.

"Thank you Kuya, nice to see you also" tugon ko sa kanya, "Parang hindi naman eh, ganun pa rin katawan mo. Sexy pa rin. Hehehe" dugtong ko.

"Uuwi ka na ba? Pasok ka muna, matagal din tayong hindi nagkita eh. How long has it been?"

"Ah! 7 years? Yes, pitong taon." Putang ina ka! Huminga muna ako ng malalim at pilit na kinakalma ang sarili. Alam kong mapakla ang tono niya at kahit na wala na akong pakialam, may kirot pa rin.

"Oo, uuwi na ako Kuya, may gagawin pa kase ako eh, tsaka nakuha ko narin naman ang gusto ko." Alam kong wala akong karapatang mag asim o mag taray sa kanya, pero wala din siyang karapatang husgahan ako sa kasalanang hindi ako ang nagsimula.

Tiningnan niya ako ng masama, hindi niya pa rin ako napapatawad.

Nagpatuloy ako sa paglalakad at nilagpasan siya, ayoko na ng ganitong drama. Patrick, kailangan kita!

"Sinira mo na kami noon, ang kapal kapal na ng pagmumukha mo kung gagawin mo pa 'yun ngayon!" Aniya habang naka talikod ako. Hindi ko alam ang isasagot ko. Sana naman may queue para alam ko kung kailan ako aatake, pero wala eh. Nandito na ako, hindi ko man lang inisip na baka magpunta siya dito at magkita kami.

Sa inis ko, hinarap ko siya.

"Alam mo? Bakla ka na nga, ang dami mo pang drama! Bakit ba? Akala mo ba, sa mga panahong akala mong inaahas kita eh walang kasalanan ang boyfriend mo? Tang ina naman Kuya, naturingan pa naman kitang mentor pero kahit konting konsiderasyon, hindi moko binigyan!" Bara ko sa kanya. Nanginginig man ang katawan ko sa kaba, pilit kong pinapakalma ang utak ko. Gago siya! Naka tunganga lang siyang naka tingin sa akin, halatang hindi inakalang sasagutin ko siya. Sa loob ng pitong taon, malaki na ang binago ko sa sarili ko, isa na 'to dun.

"Did it ever occur to you na baka hindi ako ang nauna? Na baka hindi ako ang nagpumilit?" Tanong ko sa kanya. Hindi ko na napigilan ang maiyak. Ang lakas kase maka gago ng mga paratang niya sa akin.

Cheating has never been an accident! I know that. Pero pinag sisihan ko na ang lahat ng mga nagawa ko.

"Pero bakit pinili mo pa ring bisitahin siya dito?" tanong ng utak ko.

I don't know, I really don't know. When you fall in love and when you fall hard, I think things like this will happen.

"I know I can't do anything for you to forgive me, I'm sorry for raising my voice. Don't worry, you won't see me again, just make sure you tell Kuya Roy not to contact me anymore." mahinahon kong sabi sa kanya.

Hindi ko na siya pinasagot, naglakad na ako papalayo kase feeling ko, kung magsasalita pa siya against me, baka hindi ko na makayanan ang sakit.

Nang makarating ako sa kabilang kanto, I took my phone, dialed his number at umupo sa may malapit na tindahan.

"Patrick, pwede mo ba akong sunduin?" Paki-usap ko sa kanya habang umiiyak.

          Mystery Object Could Be ‘Alien Craft Sent To Spy On Earth’, Researchers Claim      Cache   Translate Page      
space cigarResearchers think aliens could be spying on us through a mysterious cigar-shaped object which was spotted sailing through our solar system.  The long strange mass was first discovered by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii last year, when it was given the nickname ‘Oumuamua, which means ‘a messenger from afar arriving first’ in Hawaiian. And so ...
          Three Upcoming Sky Events We Can All Share      Cache   Translate Page      

Comets, meteors, and Moon: Share the night sights that are coming our way!

The post Three Upcoming Sky Events We Can All Share appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

          Evidence Mounts for a Magellanic Collision      Cache   Translate Page      

Astronomers have suspected for some time that the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds collided in the recent past. The Gaia space telescope provides striking new evidence for a head-on collision.

The post Evidence Mounts for a Magellanic Collision appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

          Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma on 2018 November 06      Cache   Translate Page      

The post Comet 38P/Stephan-Oterma on 2018 November 06 appeared first on Sky & Telescope.

          Jägers/USA 6"F/5 achromatisches Teleskop (Gewerbliche Anzeigen)      Cache   Translate Page      
Neu im Gewerbliche Anzeigen - Jägers/USA 6"F/5 achromatisches Teleskop (von apmtelescopes)

          Preiswert & gut: MPCC Field Flatt. ED APO+Canon EO (Gewerbliche Anzeigen)      Cache   Translate Page      
Neu im Gewerbliche Anzeigen - Preiswert & gut: MPCC Field Flatt. ED APO+Canon EO (von apmtelescopes)

          Ausstellgerät: APM 100 mm 90° ED-Apo Fernglas (Gewerbliche Anzeigen)      Cache   Translate Page      
Neu im Gewerbliche Anzeigen - Ausstellgerät: APM 100 mm 90° ED-Apo Fernglas (von apmtelescopes)

          Feasibility study suggests use of high-power lasers to contact alien civilizations      Cache   Translate Page      

We currently have, or could quickly develop, the technology to communicate with nearby alien worlds, according to a study recently published by the Astrophysical Journal. To accomplish such a feat, the study proposes using a 2-megawatt laser, pointed through a 30-meter telescope, to build a beacon with significant enough reach to be detected by civilizations up to thousands […]

The post Feasibility study suggests use of high-power lasers to contact alien civilizations appeared first on

          E.R.P. - Ancient Light (Hubble Telescope Series Vol. II) (EP) (2016)      Cache   Translate Page      
 Artist: E.R.P.
 Genre: Techno
 Tracks: 4
 Price: $0.48
          Smiley Galaxy      Cache   Translate Page      

See it?

NASA posted this image, taken by NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3, on social media recently. It shows a patch of space filled with galaxies of various sizes and shapes in the galaxy cluster SDSS J0952+3434.

From NASA:

Just below center is a formation of galaxies akin to a smiling face. Two yellow-hued blobs hang atop a sweeping arc of light. The lower, arc-shaped galaxy has the characteristic shape of a galaxy that has been gravitationally lensed — its light has passed near a massive object en route to us, causing it to become distorted and stretched out of shape.

          NASA Names New Constellations After Incredible Hulk, Godzilla      Cache   Translate Page      
In celebration of the 10th anniversary of NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, NASA has named 21 new gamma-ray constellations.
          Astronomers Unveil Growing Black Holes in Colliding Galaxies      Cache   Translate Page      

Some of the Hubble Space Telescope's most stunning images reveal galaxies in distress. Many of them are in the throes of a gravitational encounter with another galaxy. The photos show perfect pinwheel patterns stretched and pulled into irregular shapes. Streamers of gas and dust flow from galaxies into space. And in this chaos, batches of young, blue stars glow like tree lights, fueled by the dust and gas kicked up by the galactic encounter. For some galaxies, the powerful meeting with a passing galaxy will eventually end in mergers.

But hidden from view deep inside the dusty cores of these merging galaxies is the slow dance of their supermassive black holes toward an eventual union. Visible light cannot penetrate these shrouded central regions. X-ray data, however, have detected the black-hole courtship. And now astronomers analyzing near-infrared images from the sharp-eyed Hubble Space Telescope and the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii are offering the best view yet of close pairs of black holes as they move slowly toward each other.

The study is the largest survey of the cores of nearby galaxies in near-infrared light. The Hubble observations represent over 20 years' worth of snapshots from its vast archive. The survey targeted galaxies residing an average distance of 330 million light-years from Earth.

The census helps astronomers confirm computer simulations showing that black holes grow faster during the last 10 million to 20 million years of the galactic merger. The Hubble and Keck Observatory images captured close-up views of this final stage, when the bulked-up black holes are only about 3,000 light-years apart — a near-embrace in cosmic terms. The study shows that galaxy encounters are important for astronomers' understanding of how black holes became so monstrously big.

These monster black holes also unleash powerful energy in the form of gravitational waves, the kind of ripples in space-time that were just recently detected by ground-breaking experiments. The images also provide a close-up preview of a phenomenon that must have been more common in the early universe, when galaxy mergers were more frequent.

          'Large uncertainties': Scientists dismiss Harvard paper's 'alien spacecraft' theory      Cache   Translate Page      
Recent claims by Harvard University researchers that an interstellar rock, zooming through our solar system, might have been sent by aliens has been dubbed an "outlandish idea" by astrophysicists. The research letter, by two Harvard astronomers, admitted that while it was an "exotic scenario", the cigar-shaped rock named 'Oumuamua' "may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization." Oumuamua, the first known interstellar object to enter our solar system, is 1,300 feet long (400 meters) long and about 130 feet wide. First observed by space telescopes in October 2017, the pointy space rock picked up speed when passing the Sun - making the researchers think it may run on sunlight. They say this "unexplained phenomena" means it would have to have a "very large surface and be very thin", which they say is "not encountered in nature". Their paper is due to be published in 'Astrophysical Journal Letters' on November 12.
          A new “alien spacecraft” paper poses a challenge for astrophysicists      Cache   Translate Page      
About a year ago, scientists using the Pan-STARRS1 telescope in Hawaii noticed what seemed to be a peculiar asteroid passing through our solar system. It…
          Pioneering Kepler Telescope’s Nine-Year Run Comes To An End      Cache   Translate Page      
Initial survey shows planets beyond the Solar System are more plentiful than stars.

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