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Season 12: Science Stories in the News

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From NY Magazine

Aliens Might Have Sent Cigar-Shaped Probe to Monitor Earth, Study Finds

In October of last year, a mysterious, cigar-shaped interstellar object fell through our solar system at an extraordinary speed. When the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii first discovered “Oumuamua” — the object’s official nickname, meaning “a messenger who reaches out from the distant past” in Hawaiian — researchers assumed that it was an ordinary comet or asteroid. But the longer they observed Oumuamua, the more improbable that hypothesis appeared: After all, what kind of asteroid is ten times longer than it is wide, and suddenly accelerates in speed, for no discernible astrophysical reason?

A new paper from scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics offers an answer: the kind of asteroid that is actually a solar-powered component of an alien spacecraft that broke off its mothership while investigating Earth’s solar system.

Specifically, the paper postulates that Oumuamua is a “solar sail” — an object that propels itself through space by channeling solar energy, which is a technology that intelligent life-forms (such as they are) on Earth have already developed. This hypothesis would explain why Oumuamua suddenly accelerated while traveling through our solar system.

“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,” the study notes. “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.”

<full article in the link>

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On 11/6/2018 at 5:55 PM, vonmar said:

<full article in the link>

It also says:

Quote

...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.

Still It would make for a little background discussion between raj and someone.

Edited by djsurrey

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It's been proposed that the other face on  the new English £50 note should be a scientist.  My favourite suggestion is Rosalind Franklyn, the DNA scientist who couldn't get a Nobel Prize because it's not awarded posthumously.

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Today the Nobel prizes are handed out in Stockholm, Sweden and also the Nobel peace prize in Oslo, Norway.

One cool thing about this year's award cermony, is that a woman will get the Nobel prize in physics and that's the first time in 55 years.

The whole thing costs about 100 million SEK (10 million USD) to arrange.

Edited by Swedish Chef

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8 hours ago, Swedish Chef said:

Today the Nobel prizes are handed out in Stockholm, Sweden and also the Nobel peace prize in Oslo, Norway.

One cool thing about this year's award cermony, is that a woman will get the Nobel prize in physics and that's the first time in 55 years.

The whole thing costs about 100 million SEK (10 million USD) to arrange.

Thank You!

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This should be of interest to Raj...

Quote

New Horizons successfully explores Ultima Thule

NASA spacecraft reaches most distant target in history

Date:
January 1, 2019
Source:
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Summary:
NASA's New Horizons spacecraft flew past Ultima Thule in the early hours of New Year's Day, ushering in the era of exploration from the enigmatic Kuiper Belt, a region of primordial objects that holds keys to understanding the origins of the solar system.

from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190101130547.htm 

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Posted (edited)

Looking like a story too big not to mention even if it is not physics....

 

Quote

66-million-year-old deathbed linked to dinosaur-killing meteor

Fossil site preserves animals killed within minutes of meteor impact

Date:
March 29, 2019
Source:
University of California - Berkeley
Summary:
Paleontologists have found a fossil site in North Dakota that contains animals and plants killed and buried within an hour of the meteor impact that killed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. This is the richest K-T boundary site ever found, incorporating insects, fish, mammals, dinosaurs and plants living at the end of the Cretaceous, mixed with tektites and rock created and scattered by the impact. The find shows that dinosaurs survived until the impact.

Also see 

Quote

“When we proposed the impact hypothesis to explain the great extinction, it was based just on finding an anomalous concentration of iridium — the fingerprint of an asteroid or comet,” said Alvarez. “Since then, the evidence has gradually built up. But it never crossed my mind that we would find a deathbed like this.”

Key confirmation of the meteor hypothesis was the discovery of a buried impact crater, Chicxulub, in the Caribbean and off the coast of the Yucatan in Mexico, that was dated to exactly the age of the extinction. Shocked quartz and glass spherules were also found in K-Pg layers worldwide. The new discovery at Tanis is the first time the debris produced in the impact was found along with animals killed in the immediate aftermath of the impact.
from https://news.berkeley.edu/2019/03/29/66-million-year-old-deathbed-linked-to-dinosaur-killing-meteor/ 

 

Edited by djsurrey

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Probably to late as final episode already written but this should have been of interest as it relates to the early universe.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/big-bang-molecule-1.5101734 

Quote

Astrophysicists find elusive molecule that 'kick-started' the universe

Birth of helium hydride ion allowed other molecules to form

From NASA...

Quote

Scientists on the airborne observatory SOFIA detected the first type of molecule that ever formed in the universe. They found the combination of helium and hydrogen, called helium hydride, in a planetary nebula near the constellation Cygnus. This discovery confirms a key part of our basic understanding of the early universe and how it evolved over billions of years into the complex chemistry of today.

 

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Could be more physics to figure out on the horizon...

Quote

New Hubble measurements confirm universe is expanding faster than expected

Date:
April 25, 2019
Source:
Johns Hopkins University
Summary:
New measurements from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope confirm that the Universe is expanding about 9% faster than expected based on its trajectory seen shortly after the big bang, astronomers say.
 

New measurements from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope confirm that the Universe is expanding about 9% faster than expected based on its trajectory seen shortly after the big bang, astronomers say.

The new measurements, published April 25 in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, reduce the chances that the disparity is an accident from 1 in 3,000 to only 1 in 100,000 and suggest that new physics may be needed to better understand the cosmos.

[snip]
from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190425104128.htm 
 

 

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