Category Archives: Astrology

Strange Planet Orbit

Astronomers have discovered the most unusual planetary orbit ever, given away by a flash of reflected light beamed back by the planet’s atmosphere.

While most planets (including those in our Solar System) have roughly circular orbits, researchers have spotted some exceptions that form an elliptical path around their star. The newly discovered planet HD 20782 has the weirdest one yet: a long, flat ellipse that takes the planet way out into space before it ‘slingshots’ around its star at a very close distance.

Consider the distance between Earth and the Sun, around 149 million km (93 million miles). At the most distant point, HD 20782 and its star are 2.5 times further apart than this – at their closest point, they’re just six-hundredths of the same distance from each other (that’s much closer than Mercury is to the Sun).

Weigh those distances up, and you can begin to see just how unusual this planet’s orbit is.

A team from researchers from San Francisco State University used a satellite-based telescope to catch a flash of reflected light from HD 20782’s atmosphere as it flew around its star, thus helping to confirm the path the planet is taking.

Unlike other planets, HD 20782 doesn’t have time to react to the brightness of its star. Icy materials in the atmosphere are what make a planet reflective, but you would expect these materials to burn up as they get close to a star. In the strange case of HD 20782, there isn’t time for that to happen.

“[The planet is] around the mass of Jupiter, but it’s swinging around its star like it’s a comet,” said lead researcher Stephen Kane.

Now the question is: what caused HD 20782’s unique orbit? It might have collided with another planet, Kane’s team suggests, or the gravitational pull of another star might have something to do with it.

“When we see a planet like this that is in an eccentric orbit, it can be really hard to try and explain how it got that way,” Kane says. “It’s kind of like looking at a murder scene, like those people who examine blood spatter patterns on the walls. You know something bad has happened, but you need to figure out what it was that caused it.”

HD 20782, which is some 117 light-years away from Earth, offers a “particularly lucrative observing opportunity”, according to the astronomers. Now they want to gather more data to understand how the planet handles such a brief and blistering close encounter with its sun, and to look more closely at the planet’s atmosphere.

See the graphic below, which shows the orbit of the planet HD 20782 relative to the inner planets of our Solar System. HD 20782’s orbit more closely resembles that of a comet than a planet.

Kane orbit

Oxygen on Rosettas Comet?

Ah, Rosetta, everyone’s favourite comet orbiter. The European Space Agency spacecraft that made a splash when it launched a lander onto the surface of Comet 67P is continuing to gather scientific data about its target, and today researchers announced an unexpected exciting discovery: molecular oxygen.

Rosetta’s ROSINA instrument—a mass spectrometer—detected O2 in the icy body’s coma, the cloud of gas and dust and other space stuff around Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. More exciting still, the researchers behind the find, which was published Wednesday in Nature, reckon the O2 is “primordial” oxygen, i.e. that it came from the cloud of molecules from which our Solar System was formed.

In a phone call, lead author André Bieler explained the team found a strong signal of oxygen early on in the Rosetta mission. “But we were so surprised that we initially didn’t know exactly what to do, or why it would be there, and what to do with it, so we decided to just keep monitoring for a while and see what happens.”

So why is it such an exciting find? Oxygen is the third most abundant element in the Universe, but while it’s been detected on some icy bodies in the Solar System, such as planets’ moons, it’d only ever been found in two interstellar clouds, and never in a comet. “No one was expecting it to be there,” said Bieler of the team’s finding.

Image: ESA/Rosetta/Navcam

The researchers observed 67P’s coma from September 2014 to March 2015 and saw a mean value of 3.8 percent molecular oxygen. What’s most important, however, is that this didn’t change as the comet continued onward and approached the Sun. Bieler explained that if the oxygen was only on the surface of the comet, they would have seen a decrease in the ratio of oxygen as the comet burned up and lost gas.

They write that “the preferred explanation of our observations is the incorporation of primordial O2 into the cometary nucleus.”

The presence of this oxygen in the comet’s nucleus suggests it was there when the comet was formed—and was therefore present in the molecular cloud that birthed the planets (as comets are basically leftover material).

“I think we have to kind of rethink our models.”

This adds to our knowledge of the early days of the Solar System—or at least questions it. “Current Solar System formation models do not predict conditions that would allow this to occur,” the authors note.

“One implication is that the accretion [the coming-together of cosmic dust to form the comet] had to be pretty gentle in order for the O2 in the ice to survive,” Bieler explained. “Otherwise I think we have to kind of rethink our models.”

Next, Bieler said they’d like to look at the southern hemisphere of 67P; these new measurements come from the northern hemisphere, as that side facing the Sun (Rosetta is powered by solar arrays). In the future, he said we should also look at other comets for comparison. The Rosetta mission is of course unique in its close targeting of a comet, and previous cometary missions haven’t had the technology capable of detecting oxygen.

The new paper is an example of one of the major scientific aims of the Rosetta mission: using the comet as something of an interstellar time capsule to explore the early days of our own Solar System.

Source: Motherboard

Book Select : The Only Astrology Book You Will Ever Need

This edition of The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need still includes detailed information about how to cast your own chart the old-fashioned way and how to interpret it once you’re finished. The new downloadable software allows you to cast your chart in just

minutes by inputting the date, time, and place of birth resulting in a personalized astrological chart. Upon completion of the chart, use the book to read more about your moon signs, sun signs, and much more.  Woolfolk, the horoscope columnist for Marie Claire and Redbook magazines, has updated her classic guide for the first time in 19 years. Thoroughly covered here are sun signs, moon signs, planets, and the significance of the 12 zodiacal houses, as well as the most recent discoveries in astronomy and 21st-century projections. The author gives an easy, logical way to integrate the interpretations of the sun signs, moon signs, planets, and houses in any given chart, something not easily done or often seen in general astrology books. The book’s only shortcoming is its lack of instruction on making a detailed technical chart, which is necessary if one is to cast a complete and accurate horoscope. However, Woolfolk compensates for this by teaching a simplified method that is about 90 percent accurate enough to get a beginner started and includes a bibliography for further instruction. Astronomical tables are included to help cast the simplified chart. A great bargain for the price, this is highly recommended for all astrology collections. Marija Sanderling, Nesmith Lib., Windham, NH
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

The Largest Astronomy Photo

(© Lehrstuhl für Astrophysik, RUB)

While we can’t show you the entire image, this is a piece of it revealing one of the most active stars in our galaxy called Eta Carinae (identified by the red arrow) and is gaseous environment called the Carina nebula (shown in green).

The largest astronomical image ever made is so big we can’t even show it here.

To see this brilliant masterpiece in all its beauty, you’ll have to use this online tool, which not only shows the image but also has a search feature you can use to identify specific objects.

Generated from five years of observations in one of the driest places on Earth, the image is of our home galaxy the Milky Way.

And it reveals something amazing: 50,000 never-before-seen variable objects that will undoubtedly help astronomers in their search for planets outside of our solar system.

Space just got a little more crowded.

Variable objects get their name from the fact that the light we receive from them varies over time. This can happen when a second object, like a planet or star, passes in front of the variable object and temporarily blocks some of its light.

For this reason, variable objects are a vital tool in many fields of astronomy, including the search for planets around other stars that could harbor extraterrestrial intelligence.

Astronomers at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany spent night after night snapping pictures of the southern sky at their university observatory in the Atacama Desert, in ChileSnow_Comes_to_the_Atacama_Desert

(Uploaded by Stas1995 on Wikipedia)
Paranal Observatory in the Atacama Desert in Chile.

Next to the frozen deserts at the North and South Poles, the Atacama Desert is the driest placeon Earth. Some parts are so arid that no plants or animals can survive.

These extreme conditions are an observational astronomer’s paradise. The dry air means few cloudy nights, clear skies, and most importantly, limited moisture to absorb or deflect precious light from faint cosmic objects, including variable objects.

(Bruno Gilli/ESO)

Under these pristine conditions, the astronomers focused on the iconic bright band across the sky that shines from the densely packed stars near the center of our galaxy..
A fish-eye mosaic of the Milky Way arching across the night sky. Our home galaxy is about 100,000 light-years long.

To spot the variable objects, they take pictures of the same spot in the sky over several days and then compare them.

The team’s work spanned such a large region of the sky that they first divided the photos up into 268 sections and then combined them forming what is the largest, single astronomical image to date. It contains 47 billion pixels and took several weeks to process.

By identifying over 50,000 new variable objects, these astronomers have contributed an invaluable data set for future investigations of other solar systems and their planets.

Liquid Water on Mars ?

(CNN)Potentially life-giving water still flows across the ancient surface of Mars from time to time, NASA scientists said Monday in revealing a potential breakthrough in both the search for life beyond Earth and human hopes to one day travel there.

While the discovery doesn’t by itself offer evidence of life on Mars, either past or present, it does boost hopes that the harsh landscape still offers some refuge for microbes to cling to existence.

“The existence of liquid water, even if it is super salty briny water, gives the possibility that if there’s life on Mars, that we have a way to describe how it might survive,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA.

NASA says it found proof of water in dark streaks like these, called recurring slope lineae, on the walls of the Garni Crater on Mars.

NASA researchers using an imager aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter confirmed the watery flows by looking at light waves returned from seasonal dark streaks on the surface, long suspected to be associated with liquid water.

The investigation showed the streaks absorb light at specific wavelengths associated with chemicals known to pull water from the Martian atmosphere in a process known as deliquescence, said Georgia Tech doctoral student Lujendra Ojha, who first discovered the streaks while still an undergraduate student at the University of Arizona in 2011.

The chemicals allow the water to remain liquid at lower temperatures but also help keep it from boiling off in the thin atmosphere of Mars, the researchers said.

Source – CNN 

Book Select: Ringmakers of Saturn

Former NACA and NASA member explains images of ‘Black’ (Melanated) Beings inhabiting Space Ship in the Rings of Saturn.

Norman Begrun’s revolutionary book, The Ringmakers of Saturn is on Sale and in high demand. A copy will cost you at least $1,000.00. Norman is no ‘Tin-Foil Hat Conspiracy Theorist’.…

Listen Closely as he Reluctantly admits that the Advanced Extra-Terrestrials were Heavily Melanated or ‘Black’ in Color.

9 Planet Close Ups

After nine years and three billion miles, NASA’s spacecraft New Horizons is about to give Pluto its first ever flyby.

The flyby will happen on July 14th. New Horizons will get as close as 7,750 miles to the planet. As part of the anticipation for this event, the National Space Society has launched a website called, which will allow people to tune in and view the flyby onJuly 14th.

This moment is a long time coming. NASA has been passing planets since the early ’60s, and the progression looks something like this:

Venus, 1962

Mars, 1965

Jupiter, 1973

Mercury, 1974

Saturn, 1979

Uranus, 1986

Neptune, 1989

And now, Pluto:

Nasa Europa Mission

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. — A potential NASA mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa may end up hunting for signs of life on the icy, ocean-harboring world.

NASA officials have asked scientists to consider ways that a Europa mission could search for evidence of alien life in the plumes of water vaporthat apparently blast into space from Europa’s south polar region.

These plumes, which NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope spotted in December 2012, provide a possible way to sample Europa’s ocean of liquid water, which is buried beneath the moon’s icy shell, researchers say. [Photos: Europa, Mysterious Icy Moon of Jupiter]

“This is our chance” to investigate whether or not life exists on Europa, NASA science chief John Grunsfeld said here Wednesday (Feb. 18) during a Europa plume workshop at the agency’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. “I just hope we don’t miss this opportunity for lack of ideas.”

Europa flyby mission

Artist's concept of the Europa Clipper mission concept, which would send a probe to do multiple flybys of the ocean-harboring Jupiter moon.
Artist’s concept of the Europa Clipper mission concept, which would send a probe to do multiple flybys of the ocean-harboring Jupiter moon.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA has been working on Europa mission concepts for years. Indeed, last July, agency officials asked scientists around the world to propose instruments that could fly aboard a Europa-studying spacecraft.

The quest to explore the 1,900-mile-wide (3,100 kilometers) moon got on firmer ground earlier this month when the White House allocated $30 million in its fiscal year 2016 budget request to formulate a Europa mission. (NASA was allocated a total of $18.5 billion in the request, which must still be approved by Congress.)

NASA is zeroing in on a flyby mission design, something along the lines of a long-studied concept called the Europa Clipper. As currently envisioned, Clipper would travel to Jupiter orbit, then make 45 flybys of Europa over 3.5 years, at altitudes ranging from 16 miles to 1,700 miles (25 km to 2,700 km).

The $2.1 billion mission would study Europa’s subsurface ocean, giving researchers a better understanding of the water’s depth, salinity and other characteristics. The probe would also measure and map the moon’s ice shell, returning data that would be useful for a future mission to the Europan surface. [Europa and Its Ocean (Video)]


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