Blog Post 8: Virgin Galactic SpaceshipTwo Crasha

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/11/04/virgin-galactic-spaceshiptwo-wreckage-found-35-miles-from-crash-site-human-error-not-ruled-out/

There was a spaceship crash on Halloween of this year that landed on the California desert. Its name was Virgin Galactic SpaceshipTwo. The video had been played back and it revealed that in the first 10 seconds of the flight, the pilot made a fatal decision by unlocking a mechanism that makes the wings drag too early. They still are reading more into what caused the tragedy but, even wreckage was found from 35 miles off the site that the spaceship crashed. I think that this is so crazy that one mechanism or one little error doing something you train years to do can be fatal. The pilot did survived but, investigators are going to interview him soon and ask how he managed to parachute safely from an altitude of about 50,000 feet. There is very little oxygen at that height and I think he he got very lucky. The media is calling his survival miraculous which is very true. I think that it’s so crazy and I hope they find the cause so something like this is less likely to happen again.

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Blog Post 7: Interesting Facts About Our Solar System

http://earthsky.org/space/ten-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-solar-system#sun

This is not necessarily new, but it is news to me! I was browsing upon some interesting facts about our Solar System because I felt like learning some stuff about our home in space and facts about activity or objects that happen close to us!

One of the most interesting facts, to me, was number 10. It stated “We live inside the sun.” How can this be when the sun is 93 million miles away from us? Well the Sun has an atmosphere and supposedly, we are in it. The evidence of the solar wind generating the Northern and Southern Lights are what is thought to be evidence of this. How cool is that. We are not only Earthlings but, Sunlings? idk

Another interesting fact on the list is #2: Pluto is smaller than the USA! Northern California to Maine is almost 2,900 miles across. Pluto is 1,400 miles across. United States is not necessarily the smallest country in the world by any means, but it isnt the biggest by any means either. Yet, it is still significantly larger than a planet! That is amazing to think.

One more interesting fact on this list of 10 that jumped out at me was, number 8. It says “Jupiter has the Biggest Ocean Of Any
Planet”. It really should say “Jupiter has the Biggest Ocean of the entire Solar System.” Jupiter is made mostly of Hydrogen and Helium, and below it’s atmosphere, Hydrogen must turn into liquid, according to the chemical composition. It has an ocean that is 40,000 kilometers deep and that is roughly the same distance as Earth is all the way around! That is crazy to me. Also Jupiter is so massive to us, yet it is so tiny compared to a lot of the other planets and stars that we have discovered outside of our solar system. The size of objects in space are so unfathomable!

Blog Post 6: “The People Have Voted!: Pluto is a Planet!”

http://time.com/3429938/pluto-planet-vote/

An article from Time.com, similar to many, many other articles recently, claims the reinstatement of Pluto’s former status as a planet in the Solar System. We have discussed in class that the new discoveries of other planets in our solar system that classify just as planet just as much as Pluto does. They ruled Pluto out after narrowing down the qualifications which are: 1. it must be a body that orbits the sun (a star), 2. it must be massive enough to be round, and 3. it must have cleared its neighborhood of all things around it. Pluto was then classified as a dwarf planet for not meeting the third qualification. not only has it not cleared it’s neighborhood, but it also has an out of wack orbit compared to the other planets and it crosses paths with Neptune. Now, maybe if the world was aware of the reasons Pluto had to be ruled out, the people would not try to rule it back in. One concern I have heard from people that are Pro-Pluto is something along the lines of, “Our children have already learned about the nine planets, now the text books are going to be wrong.” However, as the associate director of the International Astronomical Union said at this debate that if we ruled Pluto back in, we would have to let the number of planets to rise to at least 25. Keeping the numbers low makes it easier for not only the children, but for everyone. The people at this debate almost all voted for the reinstatement of Pluto as a planet but, I feel like it’s not actually going to happen. The facts are the facts and Pluto doesn’t meet the requirements. I wish it did, just like everyone else but, it does not!

Blog Post 5: Seasons of Venus

http://www.universetoday.com/36887/does-venus-have-seasons/

Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars……etc. Venus is just next door and is very similar to Earth when it comes to size. The Universe Today article says that in many ways Earth and Venus are twin planets. The climate is an awful lot different, though. The extremely hot temperatures and sulfuric acid rain storms on Venus, I’d say Earth is a little more safe. The seasons are also very different on Venus. Why? Because there are none! It is weird to think that the distance from the sun or the rotation/revolution of a planet isn’t at all what effects the seasons. It is the axis. I remember learning in class that Earth has seasons due to it’s axis being tilted, so every 1/4 of a year around the sun, the axis has earth tilted in a completely different position with respect to the sun. Although, I did not keep in mind that not all planets are tilted on their axis. Venus remains an average of 460 degrees Celsius at all times. Venus rotates very slowly with more than 50 days of night and there is no dramatic change in the temperature, whatsoever. The equator and the poles don’t matter either along with day or night. Wherever you are standing on Venus, you will not get much of a temperature change. I think that is so cool. The axis of Venus isn’t tilted at 23.4 degrees, like Earth’s. Venus’s axis is tilted at 2.7 degrees. So, barely even tilted at all, pretty much rotating on a perfectly vertical axis as of right now. Another reason, besides the near lack of tilt in the axis, for no seasons on Venus is the atmosphere made up of carbon dioxide. It is very thick with 93 times more surface atmospheric pressure than here on Earth. And to think we had a fairly tough and protective atmosphere! This atmosphere traps the heat and it flows all throughout the entire planet. I thinks its pretty cool that Venus is pretty much our next door neighbor, yet it is so different from us. I couldn’t imagine living on a planet with no seasons. Like, if humans were born on Earth with 70 degree weather everywhere, there would be no appreciation for nice weather or no need for family vacation! I am thankful our axis is tilted! 🙂

Blog Post 4: Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2007/11/a-diamond-bigge.html

Normally, I post the interesting new discoveries about the universe that are very current. I found out about a discovery made in 2007 and it’s just as amazing!

Just 50 light years away, in the constellation Centaurus, is a star that used to go by the name of “BPM 37093”, a pretty generic name for matter in the Universe. The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics had discovered this to be a mass of crystallized carbon and now it is know as the biggest diamond in the galaxy! The star is now named “Lucy”, after the Beatles song “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.” Lucy isn’t so generic anymore!

This diamond is estimated to be a about 2,500 miles across. Lucy also is made up of 10 billion-trillion-trillion-carats. For a visual, this number written out is; 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. I know plenty of girls who are satisfied with just a couple carats in their diamond jewelry, let alone 10 billion-trillion-trillion! The article says that Bill Gates and Donald Trump combined couldn’t even be able to afford Lucy!

Five billion years from now, our sun will die out just like Lucy did and it will become a white dwarf with a hot crystallized center, just like Lucy is right now. So, we will have a large diamond in the center of our solar system when we are all long gone! How cool.

I think this is amazing. Diamonds are so beautiful and so scarce but, to know that 50 light years away there is so much of it just floating in space….such a remarkable thing to think about.

Blog Post 3: First Evidence for Water Ice Clouds Found Outside the Solar System

http://www.astronomy.com/news/2014/09/first-evidence-for-water-ice-clouds-found-outside-solar-system

It has been very certain that there are water ice clouds on the giant gas planets of our solar system. These clouds are on Jupiter,  Saturn, Uranus and Neptune which we are already aware of. Any clouds of this sort have never been even know to be outside of an orbit other than the one around our sun, according to an article I found on http://astronomy.com. The article talks about how they used an infrared camera that took 151 pictures of this brown dwarf in 3 nights. This brown dwarf was actually the coldest brown dwarf ever detected. Also, the article said that getting the detection was actually a battle, but the fact that they got it from an on ground telescope on earth was an amazing result. Not to mention, I learned the a brown dwarf is not necessarily the smallest of stars but, also it isn’t necessarily the biggest of planets. Additionally, the brown dwarfs can have temperatures that vary; hot like stars, or cool like planets. This brown dwarf was located in “W0855” which is evidently the fourth-closest system to us; “Practically next-door neighbors in astronomical distances”, says the article.

I think that its amazing that we can find things like this outside of our solar system because as we have learned, earth is so small compared to the rest of the universe. Big to us is so incomparable to the rest the world in space. So, to have man-made telescopes that can see from maybe 20+ light years away aka a lot of miles. It honestly unfathomable to understand the matter that is really out there and we can get pictures of and explore. I also think that it is cool how there is water ice clouds in other places too. Seeing similarities within solar systems is cool because, for all we know there could be life somewhere in a solar system that is very similar to ours. That is a little bit of a drastic curiosity, but it is such an amazing thing that we now have the technology to discover certain things that are trillions upon trillions of miles away. I cannot wait to see what technology has in store 50 years from now!

Blog Post 2: Asteriod Mashup, Possible Formation of Planets

http://www.astronomy.com/news/2014/08/nasas-spitzer-telescope-witnesses-asteroid-smashup

Astronomy.com has provided an article from Astronomy Magazine that is explaining a possible asteroid smashup witnessed by the NASA Spitzer telescope. There was an eruption of dust around a young star and it says that this type of collision can maybe lead to the formation of new planets. They go on to explain that this is not the first time that this telescope has caught smashups, but it is the first time that they have collected data both before and after the events. I personally think this is interesting because how could this collision and “dusty aftermath” possibly be the birth of new planets? Is this what had happened 4.5 billion+ years ago when Earth became? This article states that the rocky planets begin their lives are dusty material circling young stars. The asteroids form from clumps of the dusty material and then these asteroids ram into each other. Some asteroids grow over time and then they eventually become protoplanets. The article then explains that after 100 million years, the objects become full grown terrestrial planets. This, to me, is awesome because we went from thinking our earth was completely flat, to now knowing how earth had formed and being able to detect of formations of planets in outer space. 

Spitzer the telescope has made another discovery on a 35 million old star which is located 1200 light years away in constellation Vela. As Spitzer watched the star, many made the observation of a a possible asteroid collision in the near future. Spitzer had to turn away for 5 months because the sun was in the way, then when it began watching again and came to find wreckage from a huge smashup, but also clouds grinding its gears to escape from the star as the signal fades. Now, dusty debris orbits the star and now rocky planets are forming right before NASA’s eyes! Amazing.

I think it is so cool to see what can happen in complete emptiness. It seems like there is nothing but open space and darkness and then after a few billion years, matter that grows and explodes and changes into amazing things like planets and stars just suddenly appear. It is amazing how far science has come and the kind of movement and events we can detect from even 1200 light years away!