Space

A Star that seems Brighter when Eclipsed


This paradoxical phenomenon was brought to my attention by a recent article in Physics World.  Quite an informative article, but like some bard of old, with legendary tales of kings and heroes, I would like to tell it as a story, in three episodes.

    1: Variable Star

Actually physically getting humans and their life support to Mars is likely to be feasible. But there is much more to it than that.
 

LANDING SAFELY

SETI Live's data on Kepler-186's solar system could be revealing evidence of extraterrestrial life. SETI may have seen ET's satellite signals already. Here is the data and my analysis.   From my own expertise and experience in astronomy, specifically classifying signals for SETI Live... I say there is a better than 50/50 chance we have found that we are not alone.

Astronomers using NASA's Kepler Space Telescope report discovery of the first Earth-size planet orbiting a star in the "habitable zone" -- the range of distance from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet.

The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun. While planets have previously been found in the habitable zone, they are all at least 40 percent larger in size than Earth and understanding their makeup is challenging. Kepler-186f is more reminiscent of Earth.


The habitable zone planet announced by NASA today is most probably Mars Like...at best a frozen snowball or slushball.  I make this determination based on a sober reading of NASA'S press release.   Kepler-186f is a star approximately 500 light years away in the Kepler 186 system.  Kepler 186 is a red dwarf, and 186f is the fifth planet from it's star, and it is smaller than the other planets in it's system.  This planet receives much less solar heat than Earth.  If it is not Venus like or Mars like in it's atmosphere then it is habitable.  Even then it is likely much colder than Earth.
As icy as it is in NASA's Image seen all over the web...

Most of us don't give much thought to the idea of escaping our problems on Earth by going into space. But those who want to colonize Mars often see it as an urgent need for humanity, to have a potential "second home" as they see it. It's also a common theme of science fiction, for instance in "If I forget thee, Oh Earth" by Arthur C. Clarke. In this case his young protagonist is on the Moon, looking towards the Earth.

A small icy object within the rings of Saturn may be a new moon, according to interpretation of images taken with Cassini's narrow angle camera on April 15, 2013 which show disturbances at the very edge of Saturn's A ring -- the outermost of the planet's large, bright rings.

One of these disturbances is an arc about 20 percent brighter than its surroundings, 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) long and 6 miles (10 kilometers) wide. Scientists also found unusual protuberances in the usually smooth profile at the ring's edge. Scientists believe the arc and protuberances are caused by the gravitational effects of a nearby object. 
The universe is big, as you can imagine. Even our galaxy is almost beyond comprehension. But measure it we do, at least as best we can. The most reliable method for making astronomical distance measurements is to use geometry - the 186-million-mile diameter of Earth's orbit is used to construct a baseline of a triangle, much as a land surveyor would use.
When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth - Revelation 6:12-14

We've only had a few doomsday events come and go in 2014 but a new one arrives April 15th. No, it isn't the IRS, though that is doomsday for American wallets. 

Most stars with masses similar to that of our Sun will end their lives as white dwarfs; small, very dense, and hot bodies that slowly cool down over billions of years. On the way to this final phase of their lives the stars throw their atmospheres out into the space and create planetary nebulae, colorful glowing clouds of gas surrounding the small, bright stellar relics.

An captured by ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT), shows the remarkably round planetary nebula Abell 33, located about 1,500 light-years from Earth. A round appearance is uncommon. Usually something - for example, the way the star spins, or if the central star is one component of a double or multiple star system - disturbs the symmetry and causes the planetary nebula to display irregular shapes.