Published on Sep 1, 2014
Footage from Nasa has revealed that the sun has unleashed over half a dozen flares within the last week
Nasa’s Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) captured images of the flares, which erupted on the left side of the sun from a sunspot is known as AR2151.
Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation, which if intense enough can disrupt GPS and communications signals.
November 9, 2013
Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have identified what they can only describe as a never-before-seen “weird and freakish object” in the asteroid belt that looks like a rotating lawn sprinkler.
Normal asteroids should appear simply as tiny points of light. But this asteroid, designated P/2013 P5, has six comet-like tails of dust radiating from it like spokes on a wheel.
Because nothing like this has ever been seen before, astronomers are scratching their heads to find an adequate explanation for its out-of-this-world appearance.
“We were literally dumbfounded when we saw it,” said lead investigator David Jewitt of the University of California at Los Angeles. “Even more amazing, its tail structures change dramatically in just 13 days as it belches out dust. That also caught us by surprise. It’s hard to believe we’re looking at an asteroid.”
One interpretation is that the asteroid’s rotation rate increased to the point where its surface started flying apart, ejecting dust in episodic eruptions starting last spring. The team rules out a recent asteroid impact scenario because a lot of dust would be blasted into space all at once, whereas P5 has ejected dust for at least five months.
The asteroid was discovered as an unusually fuzzy-looking object with the Pan-STARRS survey telescope in Hawaii. The multiple tails were discovered in Hubble images taken on Sept. 10, 2013.
When Hubble returned to the asteroid on Sept. 23, its appearance had totally changed. It looked as if the entire structure had swung around. “We were completely knocked out,” Jewitt said.
Careful modeling by team member Jessica Agarwal of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Lindau, Germany, showed that the tails could have been formed by a series of impulsive dust-ejection events. She calculated that the first ejection event occurred on April 15 and the last one on Sept. 4. The rest sequentially erupted on July 18, July 24, Aug. 8, and Aug. 26. Radiation pressure from the Sun smears out the dust into streamers.
The asteroid could possibly have been spun up if the pressure of sunlight exerted a torque on the body. If the asteroid’s spin rate became fast enough, Jewitt said, the asteroid’s weak gravity would no longer be able to hold it together. Dust might avalanche downslope towards the equator, and maybe shatter and fall off, eventually drifting into space to make a tail. So far, only a small fraction of the main mass, perhaps 100 to 1,000 tons of dust, has been lost. The 700-foot-radius nucleus is thousands of times more massive.
Follow-on observations may show if the dust leaves the asteroid in the equatorial plane, and this would be pretty strong evidence for a rotational breakup. Astronomers will also try to measure the asteroid’s true spin rate.
Jewitt’s interpretation implies that rotational breakup must be a common phenomenon in the asteroid belt; it may even be the main way in which small asteroids die. “In astronomy, where you find one, you eventually find a whole bunch more,” Jewitt said. “This is just an amazing object to us, and almost certainly the first of many more to come.”
The paper from Jewitt’s team appears online in the November 7 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Jewitt said that the orbit of the asteroid could make it a member of the Flora asteroid family. This means that it is probably a piece from an asteroid collision that occurred roughly 200 million years ago. The resulting collision fragments are still following similar orbits. Meteorites from these bodies show evidence of having been heated to as much as 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. This means the asteroid is likely made of metamorphic rocks and so is not capable of holding ices as comets do.
Visiting comets don’t come around very often, particular ones on their first trek through the inner solar system. The chance to study pristine materials believed to date back from the formation of the solar system is one reason why scientists and armchair astronomers alike are eagerly awaiting Comet ISON. The celestial guest, which likely originated in the Oort cloud located about 50,000 times farther away from the sun than Earth, is due to make a close flyby of the sun on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28.
Commentary by: Gordon King
I have read many articles today all across the mainstream media saying that we are experiencing global warming. That the global warming is causing all of the rain and flooding that we have seen around the world. Then I came across an article with satellite images from NASA that actually show the polar ice caps growing in size. In fact they apparently have increased in size by 60% from 2012 to 2013. They can’t both be right. Which is it? Maybe government scare tactics, propaganda to promote their “New World Order” agenda? Scientists around the globe have been telling us for years that humans are creating “global warming”. I bet that these are the same scientists who believe in evolution and the “Big Bang” theory! Read the following article and decide for yourself.
I bet it’s all of those electric cars we’ve been buying. Quick, don’t buy a Prius, sell your cars, it’s now time to purchase a Hummer! LOL
And now it’s global COOLING! Record return of Arctic ice cap as it grows by 60% in a year
A chilly Arctic summer has left nearly a million more square miles of ocean covered with ice than at the same time last year – an increase of 60 per cent.
The rebound from 2012’s record low comes six years after the BBC reported that global warming would leave the Arctic ice-free in summer by 2013.
Instead, days before the annual autumn re-freeze is due to begin, an unbroken ice sheet more than half the size of Europe already stretches from the Canadian islands to Russia’s northern shores.
Posted: 8:07 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013
By Mike Morris
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution