Wil je een videoclip bekijken en stoort het X-files-deuntje jou daarbij. Schakel het deuntje gewoon uit door in deze kolon, helemaal beneden op de 2 witte balkjes in het blauwe cirkeltje te klikken, tot een pijltje verschijnt. Veel kijk- en luisterplezier en bedankt voor jouw bezoek.
The purpose of this blog is the creation of an open, international, independent and free forum, where every UFO-researcher can publish the results of his/her research. The languagues, used for this blog, are Dutch, English and French.You can find the articles of a collegue by selecting his category. Each author stays resposable for the continue of his articles. As blogmaster I have the right to refuse an addition or an article, when it attacks other collegues or UFO-groupes.
Deze blog is opgedragen aan mijn overleden echtgenote Lucienne.
In 2012 verloor ze haar strijd tegen kanker!
In 2011 startte ik deze blog, omdat ik niet mocht stoppen met mijn UFO-onderzoek.
UFO'S - MET HET LAATSTE NIEUWS OVER UFO'S BOVEN BELGIË EN IN ANDERE LANDEN...
UFO's in België en de rest van de wereld In België heb je vooral BUFON of het Belgisch UFO-Netwerk, dat zich met UFO's bezighoudt. BEZOEK DUS ZEKER VOOR ALLE OBJECTIEVE INFORMATIE ww.ufo.be.
Verder heb je ook het Belgisch-Ufo-meldpunt en Caelestia, die prachtig, doch ZEER kritisch werk leveren, ja soms zelfs héél sceptisch...
Voor Nederland kan je de mooie site www.ufowijzer.nl bezoeken van Paul Harmans. Een mooie site met veel informatie en artikels.
MUFON of het Mutual UFO Network Inc is een Amerikaanse UFO-vereniging met afdelingen in alle USA-staten en diverse landen.
MUFON's mission is the analytical and scientific investigation of the UFO- Phenomenon for the benefit of humanity...
Je kan ook hun site bekijken onder www.mufon.com.
Ze geven een maandeliiks tijdschrift uit, namelijk The MUFON UFO-Journal. Since 02/01/2013 is Pieter not only president (=voorzitter) of BUFON, but also National Director MUFON / Flanders and the Netherlands. We work together with the French MUFON Reseau MUFON/EUROP.
Mystery 'UFO' filmed flying over UK
Mystery 'UFO' filmed flying over UK
English 'alien hunters' are on high alert after footage has surfaced of a series of strangely blinking lights, flashing in a misty nighttime sky.
The unusual sighting is currently under investigation by the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) in the US.
The unidentified male witness claimed he and a co-worker saw the lights in the sky.
Are these lights the work of extraterrestrials?
"I went outside with my workmate to get some materials out of the van and noticed one light slowly move around the back of a building," he said in a witness statement.
“Then another one appeared from behind the building at a set distance that did not change.
“Seconds after another three appeared as if they was already there but were not lit up.”
Reading several comments from #YouTube, #Twitter & #Facebook about the alleged five #UFOs taken over #Basingstoke (@mufon case 89494), there are many people who disagree with the possible explanation (lights from a crane), forgetting misty conditions can cause misrepresentations
Fifty years ago, on January 21, 1968, the Cold War grew significantly colder. It was on this day that an American B-52G Stratofortress bomber, carrying four nuclear bombs, crashed onto the sea ice of Wolstenholme Fjord in the northwest corner of Greenland, one of the coldest places on Earth. Greenland is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, and the Danes were not pleased.
The bomber – call sign HOBO 28 – had crashed due to human error. One of the crew members had stuffed some seat cushions in front of a heating vent, and they subsequently caught fire. The smoke quickly became so thick that the crew needed to eject. Six of the 7 crew members parachuted out safely before the plane crashed onto the frozen fjord 7 miles west of Thule Air Base – America’s most northern military base, 700 miles north of the Arctic Circle.
The island of Greenland, situated about halfway between Washington D.C. and Moscow, has strategic importance to the American military – so much so that the United States had, in 1946, made an unsuccessful bid to buy it from Denmark. Nevertheless, Denmark, a strong ally of the United States, did allow the American military to operate an air base at Thule.
The crash severely strained the United States’ relationship with Denmark, since Denmark’s 1957 nuclear-free zone policyhad prohibited the presence of any nuclear weapons in Denmark or its territories. The Thule crash revealed that the United States had actually been routinely flying planes carrying nuclear bombs over Greenland, and one of those illicit flights had now resulted in the radioactive contamination of a fjord.
The radioactivity was released because the nuclear warheads had been compromised. The impact from the crash and the subsequent fire had broken open the weapons and released their radioactive contents, but luckily, there was no nuclear detonation.
In contrast, HOBO 28’s bombs were fusion bombs – bombs that get their energy from the union (fusion) of the very small nuclei of hydrogen atoms. Each of the four Mark 28 F1 hydrogen bombs that HOBO 28 carried were nearly 100 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima (1,400 kilotons versus 15 kilotons).
Fusion bombs release so much more energy than fission bombs that it’s hard to comprehend. For example, if a fission bomb like Hiroshima’s were dropped on the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., it’s likely that the White House (about 1.5 miles away) would suffer little direct damage. In contrast, if just one of the Mark 28 F1 hydrogen bombs were dropped on the Capitol building, it would destroy the White House as well as everything else in Washington, D.C. (a destructive radius of about 7.5 miles). It is for this reason that North Korea’s recent claim of achieving hydrogen bomb capabilities is so very worrisome.
After the crash, the United States and Denmark had very different ideas about how to deal with HOBO 28’s wreckage and radioactivity. The U.S. wanted to just let the bomber wreckage sink into the fjord and remain there, but Denmark wouldn’t allow that. Denmark wanted all the wreckage gathered up immediately and moved, along with all of the radioactively contaminated ice, to the United States. Since the fate of the Thule Air Base hung in the balance, the U.S. agreed to Denmark’s demands.
U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command film report on the Crested Ice project.
The clock was ticking on the cleanup, code named operation “Crested Ice,” because, as winter turned into spring, the fjord would begin to melt and any remaining debris would sink 800 feet to the seafloor. Initial weather conditions were horrible, with temperatures as low as minus 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and wind speeds as high as 80 miles per hour. In addition, there was little sunlight, because the sun was not due to rise again over the Arctic horizon until mid-February.
Groups of American airmen, walking 50 abreast, swept the frozen fjord looking for all the pieces of wreckage – some as large as plane wings and some as small as flashlight batteries. Patches of ice with radioactive contamination were identified with Geiger counters and other types of radiation survey meters. All wreckage pieces were picked up, and ice showing any contamination was loaded into sealed tanks. Most every piece of the plane was accounted for except, most notably, a secondary stage cylinder of uranium and lithium deuteride – the nuclear fuel components of one of the bombs. It was not found on the ice and a sweep of the seafloor with a minisub also found nothing. Its current location remains a mystery.
Although the loss of the fuel cylinder was perplexing and disturbing, it is a relatively small item (about the size and shape of a beer keg) and it emits very little radioactivity detectable by radiation survey meters, making it very hard to find at the bottom of a fjord. Fortunately, it is not possible for this secondary “fusion” unit to detonate on its own without first being induced through detonation of the primary “fission” unit (plutonium). So there is no chance of a spontaneous nuclear explosion occurring in the fjord in the future, no matter how long it remains there.
The successful cleanup helped to heal United States-Denmark relations. But nearly 30 years later, the Thule incident spawned a new political controversy in Denmark. In 1995, a Danish review of internal government documents revealed that Danish Prime Minister H.C. Hansen had actually given the United States tacit approval to fly nuclear weapons into Thule. Thus, the Danish government had to share some complicity in the Thule incident.
As recently as 2003, environmental scientists from Denmark revisited the fjord to see if they could detect any residual radioactivity from the crash. Was bottom sediment, seawater or seaweed radioactive, after nearly 40 years? Yes, but the levels were extremely low.
Thule Air Base survived all of the controversies over the decades but became increasingly neglected as nuclear weaponry moved away from bomber-based weapon delivery and more toward land-based and submarine-based intercontinental ballistic missiles. Nevertheless, as Thule’s bomber role waned, its importance for radar detection of incoming ICBMs grew, since a trans-Artic trajectory is a direct route for Russian nuclear missiles targeted at the United States.
As a theoretical physicist based in Cambridge, I have lived my life in an extraordinarily privileged bubble. Cambridge is an unusual town, centred around one of the world’s great universities. Within that town, the scientific community that I became part of in my 20s is even more rarefied.
And within that scientific community, the small group of international theoretical physicists with whom I have spent my working life might sometimes be tempted to regard themselves as the pinnacle. In addition to this, with the celebrity that has come with my books, and the isolation imposed by my illness, I feel as though my ivory tower is getting taller.
So the recent apparent rejection of the elites in both America and Britain is surely aimed at me, as much as anyone. Whatever we might think about the decision by the British electorate to reject membership of the European Union and by the American public to embrace Donald Trump as their next president, there is no doubt in the minds of commentators that this was a cry of anger by people who felt they had been abandoned by their leaders.
It was, everyone seems to agree, the moment when the forgotten spoke, finding their voices to reject the advice and guidance of experts and the elite everywhere.
What matters now, far more than the victories by Brexit and Trump, is how the elites react I am no exception to this rule. I warned before the Brexit vote that it would damage scientific research in Britain, that a vote to leave would be a step backward, and the electorate – or at least a sufficiently significant proportion of it – took no more notice of me than any of the other political leaders, trade unionists, artists, scientists, businessmen and celebrities who all gave the same unheeded advice to the rest of the country.
What matters now, far more than the choices made by these two electorates, is how the elites react. Should we, in turn, reject these votes as outpourings of crude populism that fail to take account of the facts, and attempt to circumvent or circumscribe the choices that they represent? I would argue that this would be a terrible mistake.
The concerns underlying these votes about the economic consequences of globalisation and accelerating technological change are absolutely understandable. The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining.
This in turn will accelerate the already widening economic inequality around the world. The internet and the platforms that it makes possible allow very small groups of individuals to make enormous profits while employing very few people. This is inevitable, it is progress, but it is also socially destructive.
We need to put this alongside the financial crash, which brought home to people that a very few individuals working in the financial sector can accrue huge rewards and that the rest of us underwrite that success and pick up the bill when their greed leads us astray. So taken together we are living in a world of widening, not diminishing, financial inequality, in which many people can see not just their standard of living, but their ability to earn a living at all, disappearing. It is no wonder then that they are searching for a new deal, which Trump and Brexit might have appeared to represent.
‘In sub-Saharan Africa there are more people with a telephone than access to clean water.’
Photograph: Andy Hall for the Observer
It is also the case that another unintended consequence of the global spread of the internet and social media is that the stark nature of these inequalities is far more apparent than it has been in the past. For me, the ability to use technology to communicate has been a liberating and positive experience. Without it, I would not have been able to continue working these many years past.
But it also means that the lives of the richest people in the most prosperous parts of the world are agonisingly visible to anyone, however poor, who has access to a phone. And since there are now more people with a telephone than access to clean water in sub-Saharan Africa, this will shortly mean nearly everyone on our increasingly crowded planet will not be able to escape the inequality.
The consequences of this are plain to see: the rural poor flock to cities, to shanty towns, driven by hope. And then often, finding that the Instagram nirvana is not available there, they seek it overseas, joining the ever greater numbers of economic migrants in search of a better life. These migrants in turn place new demands on the infrastructures and economies of the countries in which they arrive, undermining tolerance and further fuelling political populism.
For me, the really concerning aspect of this is that now, more than at any time in our history, our species needs to work together. We face awesome environmental challenges: climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans.
Together, they are a reminder that we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity. We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it. Perhaps in a few hundred years, we will have established human colonies amid the stars, but right now we only have one planet, and we need to work together to protect it.
To do that, we need to break down, not build up, barriers within and between nations. If we are to stand a chance of doing that, the world’s leaders need to acknowledge that they have failed and are failing the many. With resources increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, we are going to have to learn to share far more than at present.
With not only jobs but entire industries disappearing, we must help people to retrain for a new world and support them financially while they do so. If communities and economies cannot cope with current levels of migration, we must do more to encourage global development, as that is the only way that the migratory millions will be persuaded to seek their future at home.
We can do this, I am an enormous optimist for my species; but it will require the elites, from London to Harvard, from Cambridge to Hollywood, to learn the lessons of the past year. To learn above all a measure of humility.
NASA Should Start Looking For Viruses On Other Planets, Scientists Suggest
NASA Should Start Looking For Viruses On Other Planets, Scientists Suggest
Forget about aliens, let’s start searching for viruses in our Solar System. Although scientists have been studying the infectious agents for decades, there’s still much to be learned about them and whether they exist in space or not. Now, a group of scientists are proposing we seek more answers.
“[Viruses] are believed to have played important roles in the origin and evolution of life,” biologists from Portland State University (PSU) wrote in a paper published in the journal Astrobiology. “However, there is yet very little focus on viruses in astrobiology.”
NASA scientists who study astrobiology explore three main questions, “How does life begin and evolve? Does life exist elsewhere in the Universe? What is the future of life on Earth and beyond?” according to the space agency’s 2015 Astrobiological Strategy. But, viruses are vaguely mentioned throughout the plan, therefore, PSU researchers have proposed we further explore “astrovirology.”
A crecent moon is seen near the planets Venus (C, bottom) and Jupiter (R) in this rare alignment December 1, 2008 from New York.
Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
Study author Kenneth Stedman, a biology professor at PSU, and his colleagues recommend NASA and other space agencies start their search for viruses by examining liquid samples from Saturn and Jupiter’s moons.
Additionally, the team suggests that they develop tools to discover viruses in ancient deposits on Earth and Mars, and examine whether the particles could survive in space.
“We need to further develop current tools, either put [an electron microscope] on a spacecraft or develop other microscopic technologies that can detect molecules, not just atoms at nanometer resolution,” Stedman told Gizmodo.
Although “astrovirology” isn’t a widely recognized field, Stedman isn’t the first person to suggest that viruses exist in abundance in space. Back in 2013, Dale Griffin, a scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey, recommended scientists take a look at whether viruses exist behind our planet. But, he suggests proceeding with caution.
“We should be looking for viruses in our quest for extraterrestrial life, and it may be that viruses pose no risk to human planetary exploration,” Griffin wrote in an article published in Astrobiology. “However, the possibility of risk exists, and our potential contact with them should be treated accordingly.”
On January 5, 2018, a witness has caught a picture of an orb like UFO over Montgomery, Indiana. He claims he saw weird objects frequently. What it is?
“I see UFOs frequently in the northeast/eastern sky above the treeline, any time from late afternoon to late evening, and I have for a few years, increasingly so. They vary in size, shape, color, and behavior. During this particular sighting, my family and I had just arrived home from a family celebration. The family went inside, and as my husband entered the house, I told him, "Look, it's one of my UFOs!" He acknowledged and looked up, as he is very used to seeing them when I point them out, but does not enjoy watching them or pondering about it. The object was glowing/pulsating a yellow/orange light. It appeared slightly larger than the largest star in the sky. It seemed to stretch around the edges, as stars sometimes appear to do with atmospheric interference, but more so. The flight path was wobbly (up and down a bit) in a south/southeast direction. When I began watching it, it's behavior changed. It hovered above the treeline while I got a photo, mostly stationary, but with a bit of a circular movement. The sky was very very clear, with many stars visible, yet the object was the only light visible on camera. I filmed it for a few minutes, but got cold and decided to come inside. When I came in, I checked on the object through the back French doors, and when I looked at it, it began moving again in the south/southeast direction. I quit watching it then. I have become fairly used to seeing UFOs from about that far away. They don't stir me a bunch anymore. Only when they get closer do I become very concerned. I would report previous experiences, but I don't have dates available, nor any photos from these encounters.”
WAS ANCIENT CHINA’S YELLOW EMPEROR AN EXTRATERRESTRIAL BEING FROM ALPHA LEONIS?
WAS ANCIENT CHINA’S YELLOW EMPEROR AN EXTRATERRESTRIAL BEING FROM ALPHA LEONIS?
Ancient China’s Yellow Emperor is a legendary hero credited with many feats, such as introducing writing and medicine. But despite his contribution to founding the Chinese civilization, there are ancient texts that suggest he wasn’t even human at all, but an extraterrestrial being from a star system far away.
Throughout mankind’s history, the ruling class has done its best to create and maintain the illusion that kingship is a divine construct, established by the gods themselves. Dynasties of monarchs and majesties claimed the first of their name had been direct descendants of the “gods” and thus justified their own reign as demigods. The king-coming-down-from-heaven-to-assist-mankind-through-his-governance phenomenon is a a staple presence within many cultures, leading some of us to believe that it was a common occurrence for extraterrestrial beings to lend a hand and establish divine bloodlines.
The Yellow Emperor (Huang-Di) lived in the third millennium BC and his rule is traditionally said to have lsted for over 100 years. Many inventions are attributed to his genius, including the introduction of wooden houses, the bow and arrow, carts and boats, Chinese medicine and writing. He is also credited as being the first to mint coins and establish governmental institutions.
An epitome of wisdom and understanding, Huang-Di was a patron of the esoteric arts and considered a cosmic emperor. His rule was a golden age during which he envisioned a perfect kingdom where peaceful inhabitants would live a life of harmony. For someone from 5,000 BC, that’s quite progressive.
It is said he had vast astronomical knowledge and even possessed advanced technology, such as a “cauldron” that he would use to enlist the help of a dragon. Sometimes, this dragon is described as having metallic scales and the Yellow Emperor could summon it whenever he pointed the cauldron at a star known as Xuanyuan. Astronomers have identified this star as Alpha Leonis, located 79 light-years from us, in the constellation Leo.
According to ancient Chinese myths, the same cauldron could store various types of energy for long periods of time and would show moving images of other dragons flying through unfamiliar skies.
Another intriguing object belonging to the Yellow Emperor was his magical chariot, called Changhuan. He would use it to travel quickly to all corners of his empire, bot woe unto him who dared climb aboard without Huang-Di’s permission. When one of his advisers decided to take it for a spin, he returned the same day but being many years older than he had left. This sounds too much like the time dilation effect of faster than light travel to ignore.
Multiple sources claim that after his hundred-years reign ended, the Yellow Emperor simply summoned the metal ‘dragon’ and ascended to the heavens. This could be a metaphor for death or it could literally mean the extraterrestrial emperor climbed aboard his flying machine, waved goodbye to the subjects he had so graciously helped evolve, and went back to his own star system.
It is worth mentioning that Alpha Leonis, also known as Regulus, was seen as an important celestial body in ancient times. The Babylonians called it Sharru (The King) while in India it was called Maghā, meaning The Mighty. Millennia ago, ancient Persian astronomers saw Regulus as one of the four ‘royal stars’ of the monarchy and referred to it as Miyan – The Center.
Being the initiator of the Chinese civilization must have been hard work, so it makes sense for history to sing songs of praise to the Yellow Emperor, but was he human or not? He successfully introduced alien concepts that had never been heard of before him and allegedly owned and operated technological marvels that only an advanced, space-faring civilization could produce.
His birth is said to have been an actual descent from the Xuanyuan star, accompanied by a “thunderclap on a clear day in the skies.” The metallic dragon could have been a flying craft similar to the ones we see today, and we’re left wondering whether UFOs are responsible for the representation of the strongest, wisest mythical creature in Chinese lore.
The star Huang-Di allegedly came from was held in high regards by many ancient peoples. Could it have been the place of origin of many of mankind’s civilizing heroes, from Gilgamesh to Quetzalcoatl, and from Viracocha to Osiris?
Since childhood, I’ve always been fascinated with the subject of cryptozoology. The term itself was coined by the late scientist Bernard Huevelmans, who offered it in reference to the search for biological organisms as-yet unrecognized by science, but which are nonetheless represented in various belief systems (often folk traditions among indigenous cultures, for instance).
While reports of things like “sea monsters” and mysterious “wild men” in the remote forests are often eye-grabbing, they also represent the most sensational kinds of stories offered in the broader discussion of cryptozoology. Because of this, over the years I’ve grown to be more careful in my approach to the subject, as with similarly “fringe” topics like unidentified flying objects, etc.
Of course, some stories about sea monsters or wild men might be capable of bearing fruit; however, most often this ends up being of the lowest-hanging variety. In other words, deep, explorative cultural and biological studies seldom form the basis for what is offered as evidence of these creatures. Instead, what makes its way into the pages of books is tantamount to modern folklore, borrowing from existing stories that are well known in the cryptozoological literature, or the incorporation of new ones that build onto an already well-worn mythos.
By contrast, if we really wanted to take time to examine the varieties of unknown species waiting to be discovered on this planet, we would need to look no further than limestone caves that flourish beneath states like Kentucky and Tennessee. By some estimates, there are as many as several hundreds of unexplored subterranean systems in this region of North America, each probably teeming with tiny–or even microscopic–new lifeforms. However, “microscopic” is much harder to sell, whether in books or on reality television shows.
The point I’m making here is that, as far as the search for undiscovered animals, there is plenty yet to be found, although the likelihood that many of those will be exceptionally large (let alone manlike) becomes increasingly rarer with every passing year, and the acquisition of new knowledge about our planet. We have scoured our world, and our oceans, in search of new organisms, and while many new discoveries do turn up on a frequent basis, we continue to see little vindication for the classic “monsters” that have haunted our imaginations since time immemorial.
At this point, I should offer a caveat since there are, from time to time, what I feel to be good cases that lend substance to the idea that one or two “mystery monsters” may be out there. One of my favorites takes us back to Halloween 1983, where a group of construction workers at Stinson Beach, California, observed what they described as being a “giant snake” swimming several meters off the coast for a period of several minutes. I had the opportunity to interview one of the primary witnesses, Marlene Martin, who adamantly maintained that the creature was large, dark colored, and by all observations resembled a massive aquatic snake (further details of this incident can be read about in my MU post from last year).
Of course, the Stinson Beach incident is a modern corollary for countless similar stories from earlier times; accounts of oceanic creatures of serpentine appearance have been a mainstay in America since its founding, with stories the likes of the Gloucester sea serpent of 1817, and an earlier series of sightings around Cape Ann, Massachusetts, that occurred as early as 1639.
North America is by no means the only region of the world with legends about large, mysterious creatures; nor are such reports confined to our oceans. Consider the fact that reports of primal creatures, which often are likened to being “wild men,” stem from a remarkably diverse collection of regions around the world. The following examples make reference to different varieties of cultural beliefs involving such creatures; the first comes to us from a 1978 Nature article titled, “Yeti or Wild Man in Siberia?” (Nature, 271:603, 1978):
Reports from Russia tell of a creature known locally as the “Chuchunaa” which is over 2 m tall, clad in deerskin, and unable to talk, although it does utter a piercing whistle. A man-eater, the Chuchunaa often steals food from settlements. Observers say that the creature has a protruding brow, long matted hair, a full beard, and walks with its hands hanging below its knees. Soviet scientists speculate that the Chuchunaa represents the last surviving remnant of the Siberian paleoasiatic aborigines that retreated to the upper reaches of the Yana and Indigirka rivers. The last reliable sightings were in the 1950s, and this animal may now be extinct.
The next, from China, denotes the creature known as Yeren in various parts of the country, as discussed in the New York Times article, ”It’s Tall, It Has Wavy Red Hair and Chinese Keep Hunting for It,” (NYT, p. 5, January 5, 1980). It reads:
“Spurred by reports of large (6 -feet tall) animals with wavy red hair walking on two legs, Chinese scientists have been combing the thick forests of Shennongjia, in Hubei Province. Many footprints 12-16 inches long as well as samples of hair and feces have been found. So far, though, no photos or specimens.”
The next instance is a most interesting excerpt, which appeared in 1982 in Myra Shackley’s “The Case for Neanderthal Survival: Fact, Fiction or Faction?” published in the journal Antiquity (56:31). It reads as follows:
All continents have their tales of wild men, abominable snowmen, sasquatch, etc. Most anthropologists give little credence to these stories. Shackley, however, has assembled considerable evidence for the reality of the so-called Almas (plural form: Almasti), primitive men who closely resemble Neanderthal Man, or at least what we think Neanderthal Man looked like. Abundant, internally consistent data come from an east-west band running from the Caucacus, across the Pamir Mountains, through the Altai Mountains, to Inner Mongolia. Even today, sightings of these creatures are rather common; and several scientists have seen them. One incident occurred in 1917, when the Reds were pursuing White Army forces through the Pamirs. The troops of Major General Mikail Stephanovitch Topilsky shot an Almas as he was emerging from a cave.
“The eyes were dark and the teeth were large and even and shaped like human teeth. The forehead was slanting and the eyebrows were very powerful. The protruding jawbones made the face resemble the Mongol type of face. The nose was very flat …the lower jaws were very massive”In some instances the Almasti have even associated with modern man; and cases of successful interbreeding have been reported. After reviewing the mountains of evidence, Shackley feels that the Almasti are very likely surviving Neanderthals, because the physical characteristics of the Almasti and reconstructed Neanderthals are basically identical. This long review article also discusses the many Chuchunaa sightings from northern Russia — perhaps another relict population of Neanderthals.
As can be seen from the preceding reports (and their publication dates), the notion that some small groups of “wild men” had remained undiscovered in remote areas of the world was once given at least some serious consideration. However, more recent genetic studies that have examined the scant physical evidence available leave us with far less to imagine: in every case, the genetic evidence points to bears, rather than mystery hominids, existing primally at the outermost skirts of the modern world.
How can we reconcile the richness of these cultural traditions from around the world, with the lacking physical evidence for the existence of such creatures? It is difficult to make sense of, on account of the demands of modern science, which require indisputable physical proof before any credible argument can proceed.
Yet eyewitness reports, anecdotal though they are, shouldn’t be ruled completely out of hand; especially those which contain what are, at times, a remarkable degree of detail. Arguably, my favorite from recent memory involves an observation made in the early 1990s by Russian scientist Arkady Tishkov, who watched a strange, upright-walking apelike creature in the Himalayan mountains for a period of two hours in September of 1991:
“About midday, on the top of a moraine ridge at a distance of about 400 feet (120 m), I noticed a human-like animal sitting by a boulder on the sunlit side. My position was lower on the slope, and at first I did not see the full silhouette. A little later, however, I observed the animal in full. It had the following characteristics: erect, bipedal posture; dark brown color; cone-shaped head; no visible neck; long forelimbs; and short and slightly flexed hind limbs. When first observed, the creature was squatting in what seemed an unnatural position for an animal, with its back touching the sun-warmed surface of the boulder.”
A lengthier presentation on the Tishkov encounter can be read here.
We could discuss reputable articles and reasonably constructed eyewitness reports all day, but ultimately there is no clear resolution here. Hence, many in the scientific community would feel most comfortable concluding that if so little evidence exists, then there are probably no such creatures. I have never felt that this is the most logical way to reconcile the two opposing elements to the ongoing cryptozoological mystery; still, at what point will the remarkable observations–many of which no doubt involve valid and real circumstances–be complemented by equally remarkable physical specimens, which will settle the debate once and for all?
Stories about cryptids truly are a cultural phenomenon, stemming from places all around the world. For my part, I do hold onto some hope that certain technological advancements of the coming years may help us settle the debate over the existence of some of these creatures. Whether small microbial lifeforms or larger beasts lurking beyond the regions known well to us in modern times, the field of cryptozoology does bear certain promise for the patient and persistent among us.
In a world that grows seemingly ever-smaller as science teaches us more, it is likely just a matter of time before the next big (or microscopic) discovery in the frontiers of biology.
In space, we're used to dealing with large distances and objects. In the cosmic scheme of things, Earth is small. Even in our solar system, we are easily dwarfed by the planet Jupiter (more than 1,000 Earths would fit in the planet, according to NASA) and our sun (more than a million Earths would fit in there, according to Cornell University).
Even our sun looks puny when it is compared to the biggest stars we know of. The sun is a G-type star, a yellow dwarf — pretty average sized on the cosmic scale. But some "hypergiant" stars are much, much larger. Perhaps the biggest star known is UY Scuti, which could fit more than 1,700 of our suns. (Note that the margin of error is roughly 192 sun-widths, so at the lower end of the margin UY Scuti would move several ranks down the list of the biggest stars.) UY Scuti is only about 30 times more massive than our sun, however, so that shows that mass and size don't necessarily correlate in space.
Progressing up the list of big cosmic objects, other things to consider are black holes and, in particular, supermassive black holes that typically reside in the center of a galaxy. (Our Milky Way hosts one that is about 4 million times the mass of the sun.) One of the biggest supermassive black holes ever found resides in NGC 4889, which has a black hole roughly 21 billion times the mass of the sun.
There are things out there bigger than even supermassive black holes. Galaxies are collections of star systems and everything that is inside those systems (such as planets, stars, asteroids, comets, dwarf planets, gas, dust and more). Our own Milky Way is about 100,000 light-years across, NASA says; a light-year is the distance light travels in a year. It's difficult to characterize what the largest galaxies are, because they don't really have precise boundaries, but the largest galaxies we know of are millions of light-years across. The biggest known galaxy is IC 1101, which is 50 times the Milky Way's size and about 2,000 times more massive. It is about 5.5 million light-years across. Nebulas, or vast clouds of gas, also have impressively large sizes. NGC 604 in the Triangulum Galaxy is commonly cited as one of the largest; it's roughly 1,520 light-years across.
Now at last we are starting to approach the biggest structures in the universe. Galaxies are often bound to each other gravitationally in groups that are called galaxy clusters. (The Milky Way, for example, is part of the small Local Group that comprises about two dozen galaxies, including the Andromeda Galaxy.) At first glance, astronomers thought that these structures were the biggest thing out there. In the 1980s, however, astronomers realized that groups of galaxy clusters are also connected by gravity and connected in a supercluster.
What is the biggest supercluster?
The biggest supercluster known in the universe is the Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall. It was first reported in 2013 and has been studied several times. It's so big that light takes about 10 billion years to move across the structure. For perspective, the universe is only 13.8 billion years old.
The structure first came to light as the research team (led by Istvan Horvath of the National University of Public Service in Hungary) was looking at brief cosmic phenomena known as gamma-ray bursts. It is thought that they come from supernovas, or massive stars that explode at the end of their lifetimes.
Gamma-ray bursts are thought to be a good indication of where huge masses of stuff lie in the universe, because big stars tend to congregate in dense areas. The first survey showed gamma-rays particularly concentrated about 10 billion light-years away in the direction of the Hercules and Corona Borealis constellations.
But it's a puzzle as to just how that big structure came to be. A 2013 article from Discovery News (a partner site to Space.com) pointed out that this structure appeared to go against a principle of cosmology, or how the universe formed and evolved. Specifically, this principle says that matter should be uniform when seen at a large enough scale. The cluster, however, is not uniform.
"I would have thought this structure was too big to exist. Even as a coauthor, I still have my doubts," Jon Hakkila, an astronomy researcher at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, said in a 2014 press release. He said there was a very small chance the researchers saw a random number of gamma-rays in that location, but it is far less than one in 100.
"Thus, we believe that the structure exists," he added. "There are other structures that appear to violate universal homogeneity: the Sloan Great Wall and the Huge Large Quasar Group ... are two. Thus, there may very well be others, and some could indeed be bigger. Only time will tell."
Large objects in our solar system
While the solar system is puny compared to the scale of the Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall, here is a list of some of the largest types of objects in our own solar system.
Largest planet: Jupiter, roughly 88,846 miles (142,984 km) at its largest diameter, which is about 11 times the diameter of the Earth.
Largest moon: Ganymede, which coincidentally orbits Jupiter, is roughly 3,273 miles (5,268 km) in diameter and is a little larger than the planet Mercury.
Tallest volcano: Olympus Mons on Mars, roughly 15 miles (25 km) high and three times the height of Mount Everest on Earth. (Olympus Mons is also considered the highest mountain.)
Largest canyon: Valles Marineris on Mars, more than 1,865 miles (3,000 km) long, as much as 370 miles (600 km) across, and 5 miles (8 km) deep.
Largest crater: Utopia Planitia on Mars, which has an estimated diameter of 2,050 miles (3,300 km). It was the general landing area of the Viking 2 spacecraft that landed there in 1976.
Largest asteroid: 4 Vesta, which is 330 miles (530 km) across. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Largest dwarf planet: Pluto is the largest dwarf planet, with a diameter of 1,473 miles (2,370 km). It was once thought to be smaller than dwarf planet Eris, but Pluto's measurements were confirmed up close by the New Horizons spacecraft in 2015.
Editor's note: This article was corrected on Jan. 19 to include the size of galaxy IC 1101.
Small Michigan Meteor Packed a Seismic Punch, Experts Say
Small Michigan Meteor Packed a Seismic Punch, Experts Say
By Elizabeth Howell, Space.com Contributor
The meteor that caused a huge fireball in the skies above southern Michigan Tuesday night (Jan. 16) was only a few feet in size, researchers have said, but its speed was enough to shake the ground as it exploded in the atmosphere.
Reports about the meteor's appearance poured in on social media and to the American Meteor Society overnight. The meteor occurred around 8:10 p.m. CST (9:10 p.m. EST) and registered as a 2.0 magnitude seismic event, according to an alert issued with the National Weather Service.
"This was an explosion in the atmosphere, not an earthquake, and it produced a seismogram that is very different from what you get from a small, regional earthquake," Larry Ruff, a seismologist at the University of Michigan, said in a statement from the university. "Seismologists who are experienced enough can tell that it's not an earthquake because the character is very different." [Photos: Hunting Meteorites from Florida Fireball in Osceola]
Ruff oversees a seismic station at Ann Arbor on the University of Michigan campus, and has been working there since 1982. He said in 35 years, he's never seen an atmospheric event produce this strong of a seismic signature.
David Gerdes, an astrophysicist at the University of Michigan, said Earth gets hit by about 1,000 visible meteors every second, but most of these objects are only the size of sand grains.
"Meteors that penetrate deep enough into our atmosphere to produce the large visible and audible burst like we experienced last night come from objects with diameters of about one meter or more, and are more rare," Gerdes said in the statement.
"Last night's event was recorded by dashboard cameras, security cameras, lightning sensors, and seismological sensors from many locations," he added. "These data will help us form a much better picture of this object's size and trajectory, and if and where any fragments reached the Earth."
No hazards from this meteor
While the meteor was wowing the public across Michigan, Michael Liemohn, also at Michigan — who studies space hazards such as solar wind — spotted the meteor from his car. He said the object in the atmosphere (also called a "bolide") was much smaller than the 56-foot (17-meter) object that shattered over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013, injuring hundreds of people and causing property damage.
"This was probably a rock of only a few feet in diameter," he said in the same university statement. "The primary way that a bolide can be dangerous is broken glass. Weird, but true. They are moving at thousands of miles per hour through the atmosphere, so, supersonic speeds, and they create a sonic boom that can reach the ground. If this bolide had been a slightly bigger rock, then it could have broken windows."
Researchers at the university said that an object of 1 meter (3.2 feet) in size hits Earth every few months, a 10-meter (33-foot) object strikes every few years or decades, and a 100-meter (330-foot) object roughly every few thousand years.
Liemohn added that NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) and its partner telescopes are designed to look at very large asteroids, especially those that are bigger than a house. However, smaller objects tend to escape everyone's notice because they are too small to see until they are close to Earth. While PDCO hasn't spotted an imminently threatening object so far, NASA is working on technology to deflect a potentially hazardous asteroid — such as using lasers, or shooting it with a missile.
Ted Bergin, who chairs the astronomy department at Michigan, researches the molecular origins of life and examines how stars and planets are formed. He pointed out that meteors, while small, have an important role in helping astronomers understand the history of the solar system and the universe.
"These rocks are the leftovers of planet formation — they never made it into a planet like our own," he said. "Because of that, they contain inside them the history of our own origins and can tell us how a planet like our own was born."
Editor's note: If you captured an amazing photo or video of the Michigan meteor and would like to share it with Space.com for a story or gallery, send images and comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE PROFESSIONAL UFO SKEPTIC WHO BELIEVED IN ALIENS
THE PROFESSIONAL UFO SKEPTIC WHO BELIEVED IN ALIENS
'The Close Encounters Man’ tells the unlikely story of how the government’s astrophysicist debunker became the phenomenon’s most expert defender.
If you’re jonesing for an extraterrestrial, you should check outThe Close Encounters Manby Mark O’Connell. O’Connell, a writer for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and founder of the UFO blog High Strangeness, set out to write “a UFO book people wouldn’t need to hide from other people.” He found his ideal subject in J. Allen Hynek, the astronomer hired by the United States Air Force in 1948 to debunk the reports of strange objects in the sky flooding in from across the country. Eventually Hynek broke with his handlers and became the first scientist to lend credence to the UFO phenomenon. The author of 1972’s The UFO Experience: A Scientific Study, he would go on to found the Center for UFO Studies in 1973, present a speech on flying saucers to the United Nations in 1978, and develop the “close encounter” scale that would inspire Steven Spielberg’s popular Close Encounters of the Third Kind (“a huge boon to his work,” O’Connell told me. “They shot a scene where the little aliens grab Hynek’s pipe from him and stick it up their noses, but it was cut down to a six-second cameo.”)
In telling the life story of Hynek, the “astro-beatnik,” O’Connell winds up with a stunning panorama of the UFO movement—from fringe conspiracy theorists to amateur astronomers to agnostic scientists—as well as its colossal impact on pop culture and modern science. I recently spoke with O’Connell over the phone about Hynek’s unique story of skeptic turned believer, the scientific study of the inexplicable, and what makes a good UFO witness.
VICE: What had to happen for a scientist as disciplined as Hynek to reach an epiphany and come around to a belief in flying saucers?
Mark O’Connell: It was a gradual process punctuated by traumatic moments. He had been involved in the Air Force’s first UFO study, Project Sign, where he simply looked over the collected UFO reports and classified as many as he could as misidentified astrological objects like comets or meteorological phenomena like strange clouds, or normal things like aircraft or weather balloons. At the end, there were about 20 percent of the cases left unsolved. He just put those aside, thinking with enough time and resources we could probably explain those away as well. So he filed the report, went back to teach at Ohio State and Wesleyan Universities.
What led to Hynek getting involved with UFOs again?
Three years later, the Air Force’s UFO studies were reinvigorated under a new commander who wanted to take a fresh look at things. When he discovered Hynek was still teaching about 90 miles up the road, he paid him a visit to hear more about the work he’d done. And Hynek was shocked to discover it hadn’t faded away. People were still seeing and reporting close encounters, and there remained a consistent 20 percent that couldn’t be explained. The numbers never changed, but his thinking changed.
How did Hynek’s thoughts on UFOs change?
Shortly after that he gave an address to the Optical Society of America in Boston in 1952. He said, “Look, this is something we need to study that could represent an entirely unknown realm of nature, and as scientists we ought to be curious enough to want to study it.” And that was earthshaking. But he often outraged the other side too, like in the infamous swamp gas case in Michigan of 1966. Over a hundred witnesses had seen floating lights in the nighttime, and it caused huge national furor, made headlines all over the country. So the Air Force sent Hynek in to investigate. After three days of intense investigations, Hynek—a guy who went where the facts lead him and nowhere else—concluded that these people had quite possibly seen swamp gas. Everyone in Michigan was deeply offended to be shown up nationally as crackpots. So Hynek said, “You know, I’m not going to carry water for the Air Force any more,” and went his own way and decided to begin conducting his own research. And, by the way, one of the things he said to the Optical Society was something that’s always stuck in my mind: “Ridicule is not part of the scientific method, and the American public should not be taught that it is.”
Where’s the line between a conspiracy theorist and a fact-based skeptic who becomes skeptical even of other skeptics?
I don’t think we’ve found that line and that was one of the frustrations of Hynek’s career. There was a brief period in the early 1980s when his Center for UFO Studies was really thriving. They had money coming in—they had a lot of support from the scientific establishment and were able to dedicate resources to investigating UFO cases. But over time they became less exciting to other UFO people. They were grabbing fewer headlines; financing fell apart; and the center wasn’t able to do nearly as much. So I think Hynek’s efforts to bring the phenomenon into the sunlight and devote scientific study to it never had the opportunity to fully blossom. His goal was to cross that line and bring those two sides together. He came close, but I think he never quite achieved it.
What were Hynek’s chief takeaways about the study of UFOs?
Hynek observed that a meteorologist can’t study a tornado in a lab, only the results. He thought the same thing about UFOs: You have to get a little creative when you’re researching something as off the wall as UFOs, which do seem to deliberately make it hard for us to understand them. I compare it to the “Confuse-a-Cat” sketch from Monty Python. We’re the confused cat, and we need to be shocked out of our stupor by something that seems to have little to do with our version of reality. And so many of us who write and think about UFOs have to reach for new frameworks to define the issue and then study it.
How has our relationship with UFOs changed in the present time as compared to Hynek’s heyday?
It’s changed quite a bit. One of the sad things about my book—and maybe this makes a case for writing a sequel—is that Hynek passed away in 1986, and it was exactly a year later that the entire UFO field went through a complete paradigm shift with the publication of Whitley Strieber’s Communion [which was later made into a movie starring Christopher Walken]. Strieber was already a successful horror writer at the time, right up there with Stephen King and Peter Straub. In Communion, he tells the true—according to him!—story of his alien abduction while he and his family were staying at their cottage in upstate New York. So all of a sudden, the alien encounter narrative was flipped on its head. Up to that point, close encounters, when they were reported, generally took place in isolated locales—a lonely country highway or a deserted farm out in the boonies where there would be very few people to see what was happening. Now, afterCommunion, the aliens are appearing in your bedroom at night, a scenario Budd Hopkins and several other researchers confirmed. Now whether that shift is conscious or whether it points to some change in how we see ourselves, who knows?
If on one side of the spectrum we have Carl Sagan and on the other, say, ErichVon Däniken, who theorized that ancient culture and religion was created by alien astronauts,where do we place Hynek?
I would put him maybe close to the center, but more on the Sagan side. They both had a lot of contempt for UFO charlatans. So yeah, he would definitely put himself far from the Von Däniken side, but he also would have thought Sagan was being closed-minded and intellectually dishonest to a degree.
What can ufology bring to modern science?
The ability to use imagination as part of the scientific process. We hear all the time from NASA how, just recently, we’ve discovered a planet that has five or six other planets in its orbit or how the Tabby Star dims in such a way as to suggest an alien megastructure. We have all these wild, seemingly impossible things that are now proving to be true. At the same time, we have people—and I’m not knocking them because I love and respect the work they do—like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye the Science Guy, who’re crusading for scientific education, but will draw the curtain on UFO stuff because it “makes us look silly.” I think we need to get past that, because it doesn’t make you look silly, it makes you look like someone who is interested in learning more about the world around us and finding the borderline of science and studying the things that science could not explain. And I think that’s a pretty good approach for any scientist.
What makes for a good UFO eyewitness?
A keen sense of observation is key. A strong linguistic capability is very helpful because people who see UFOs are trying to describe something unheard of in human experience and need to be able to develop a new language. Too often you see people unable to describe what they’ve seen and experienced simply because there are no words for it, at least not yet.
I’ve been haunted by the fear that there is no vast conspiracy guiding the government, only stupidity and bungling. To what extent are you able to believe in the military’s ability to orchestrate certain cover-ups, as opposed to just lose things or mishandle data?
Hynek made a good distinction: “You can cover up knowing something or you can cover not knowing something.” I think government obfuscation is a big part of the story, but for many people that translates into “Oh, they’re hiding something from us.” One of the first important UFO writers, Donald Keyhoe, was provoked by the fact that nobody in the Air Force would return his calls. His reaction was, “Ah ha, they’re covering something up!” Well, no, they just didn’t want to talk to you.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
Recent work by J.W. McCormack appears in Conjunctions, the Culture Trip, the New York Times, and the New Republic.
NASA werkt aan nieuwe energiebron voor toekomstige ruimtereizen
NASA werkt aan nieuwe energiebron voor toekomstige ruimtereizen
En deze Kilopower-reactor gooit hoge ogen.
Stroom is een essentieel onderdeel voor de mensen die afreizen naar de ruimte. Denk maar aan het simpel aandoen van een lamp, maar ook bij het uitvoeren van experimenten. Het genereren van elektriciteit is daarnaast ook noodzakelijk om astronauten weer veilig te laten terugkeren naar de Aarde. En een betrouwbaar en efficiënt energiesysteem is daarom broodnodig.
Kilopower Op dit moment is NASA aan het experimenteren met een Kilopower-reactor. Volgens NASA is deze nieuwe krachtbron veilig, efficiënt en kan het voldoende energie leveren voor toekomstige verkenningsmissies in de ruimte. Zo zou deze lichtgewicht generator tot tien kilowatt elektrisch vermogen kunnen leveren voor zeker tien onafgebroken jaren. Dat is genoeg om twee gemiddelde huishouders van stroom te voorzien. Voor de toekomstige Marskolonisten een fijne gedachte.
Rode planeet Het grote voordeel van Kilopower is dat het overal energie kan bieden, waar mensen – of robots – ook naartoe gaan. “We willen een energiebron ontwikkelen die extreme omgevingen aankan,” zegt NASA-onderzoeker Lee Mason. “En met Kilopower strekt ons bereik uit over heel Mars, zelfs op de noordelijke breedtegraden waar zich water bevindt.” Wat dat betreft is Kilopower een stuk betrouwbaarder dan bijvoorbeeld zonnepanelen. Op Mars varieert namelijk de kracht van de zon in de loop van de seizoenen sterk. Zo kunnen er bijvoorbeeld voor maanden zandstormen over Mars razen.
Het prototype van de Kilopower-reactor.
Maan De onderzoekers denken ook dat de Kilopower-reactor goed zal gedijen op de maan. “Daar kan Kilopower worden ingezet om te helpen zoeken naar hulpbronnen in permanent beschaduwde kraters,” legt Mason uit. Ook zou de reactor tegen de enorm koude maannacht kunnen, die wel veertien dagen duurt.
In deze uitdagende omgevingen is de Kilopower-reactor volgens de Amerikaanse ruimtevaartorganisatie perfect voor de klus. Om hier zeker van te zijn, voeren de onderzoekers verschillende testen uit. Eind maart volgt het laatste en grootste experiment, waarbij de reactor voor 28 uur op vol vermogen zal draaien.
Scientists used the Blue Waters supercomputer to show that a black hole’s relativistic jets and accretion disk both may be spinning – and precessing over time – around an axis separate from the black hole itself.
The video above shows a first-of-its-kind simulation – produced using the Blue Waters supercomputer – demonstrating that a black hole’s relativistic jets follow along with the precession of a black hole’s tilted accretion disk.
These scientists said:
At close to a billion computational cells, it is the highest resolution simulation of an accreting black hole ever achieved.
Relativistic jets – that is, jets containing particles that move near the speed of light – tend to be associated with the central, supermassive black holes of some active galaxies, radio galaxies and quasars. They tend to be located many billions of light-years away and may extend outward from supermassive black holes across millions of light-years of space.
Black hole accretion disks – while akin to earthly hurricanes and while theorized and discussed by scientists for decades – are also highly complex systems. Both the relativistic jets and the accretions disks of black holes are located so far away that it’s impossible to observe many details about them. That’s why scientists use computer simulations to study them.
Nearly all previous simulations assumed accretion disks and jets aligned with the spin of the black hole. But, in reality, most galaxies’ central supermassive black holes are thought to harbor tilted disks — meaning the disk rotates around a separate axis than the black hole itself.
The recent simulations by the Blue Waters supercomputer – located on the campus of the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana – are the first to show the jets aligned with the accretion disks and also to show the jets’ streams gradually changing direction in the sky, or precessing. The scientists who ran the simulations said this is:
… a result of space-time being dragged into the rotation of the black hole. This behavior aligns with Albert Einstein’s predictions about extreme gravity near rotating black holes, published in his famous theory of general relativity.
Understanding how rotating black holes drag the space-time around them and how this process affects what we see through the telescopes remains a crucial, difficult-to-crack puzzle. Fortunately, the breakthroughs in code development and leaps in supercomputer architecture are bringing us ever closer to finding the answers.
Bottom line: Scientists used the Blue Waters supercomputer to show that a black hole’s relativistic jets follow along with the precession of its tilted accretion disk. In other words, both may be spinning around an axis separate from the hole itself.
Astronomers looked back to a time only 800 million years after the Big Bang and found whirlpool shapes in small, very young galaxies.
A simulation of rotating disc, resulting in a whirlpool shape, much like that of our Milky Way and other spiral galaxies via R. Crain (LJMU) and J. Geach (U.Herts)/ ALMA.
At last week’s meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington D.C., astronomers from University of Cambridge in England reported looking back to a time soon after the Big Bang and discovering swirling gas in some of the earliest galaxies. That is, these small galaxies – observed as they appeared nearly 13 billion years ago – already spun like a whirlpool, similar to our own Milky Way and many other spiral galaxies. These astronomers said it’s the first time they’ve detected movement in such young galaxies, so early in the history of the universe.
The researchers – led by Renske Smit from the Kavli Institute of Cosmology at the University of Cambridge – used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to conduct this research. The team said it expected more chaos in the structure of these early galaxies.
They were surprised to find these newly born galaxies swirling and rotating in a whirlpool motion.
Hubble Telescope image of the night sky where the galaxies were found, plus 2 zoomed-in panels of the ALMA data.
Image via Hubble (NASA/ESA), ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), P. Oesch (University of Geneva) and R. Smit (University of Cambridge).
Light from distant objects takes time to reach Earth, so observing objects that are billions of light years away enables us to look back in time and directly observe the formation of the earliest galaxies. The Universe at that time, however, was filled with an obscuring ‘haze’ of neutral hydrogen gas, which makes it difficult to see the formation of the very first galaxies with optical telescopes.
Smit and colleagues including Stefano Carniani, also at Cambridge, used ALMA to observe two small newborn galaxies, as they existed just 800 million years after the Big Bang. By analysing the spectral ‘fingerprint’ of the far-infrared light collected by ALMA, they were able to establish the distance to the galaxies and, for the first time, see the internal motion of the gas that fuelled their growth.
The astronomers also found that – despite their relatively small size, about five times smaller than the Milky Way – these galaxies were forming stars at a higher rate than other young galaxies. Smit commented:
In the early universe, gravity caused gas to flow rapidly into the galaxies, stirring them up and forming lots of new stars. Violent supernova explosions from these stars also made the gas turbulent.
We expected that young galaxies would be dynamically ‘messy’, due to the havoc caused by exploding young stars, but these mini-galaxies show the ability to retain order and appear well regulated. Despite their small size, they are already rapidly growing to become one of the ‘adult’ galaxies like we live in today.
The astronomers said the data from their project on small galaxies paves the way for larger studies of galaxies during the first billion years of cosmic time.
Bottom line: Astronomers from University of Cambridge in England used the ALMA telescope in Chile to identify small, very young galaxies – only 800 million years after the Big Bang – already taking on a spiral shape.
The team of Larry Atkins, Robert Ward and Darryl Landry made the finds on an isolated Michigan lake — they declined disclosing the exact location so as not to draw unwanted attention to the lake and its residents. In an interview with Space.com, Atkins said he plans on continuing the hunt for at least the next week.
The first find happened around 9 a.m. EST (1300 GMT), and Atkins discovered a second one himself just 15 minutes later. "It looked like a perfect black charcoal briquette, with a little snowdrift on top," Atkins told Space.com Thursday. Based on his two decades of experience hunting meteorites — fragments of rocks that remain after some space-rock fireballs break up in the atmosphere — he said there was no question it was from space. The rock showed up clearly on the fresh ice, although from a distance Atkins did question whether it was a small pile of leaves. [Small Michigan Meteor Packed a Seismic Punch, Experts Say]
The finds had masses of between 20 and 100 grams, and were small enough to "fit in the palm of your hand," Atkins said. He added that from a quick look at the meteorites, they all appear related and they all looked like ordinary chondrites — the most common type of meteorite found on Earth. The team has already picked out one sample they plan to send to the Field Museum in Chicago, Atkins said. The rest they will keep for their personal collections, they said.
Fellow team member Robert Ward also flew in from Arizona, arriving at 1:30 a.m. EST (0530 GMT) Jan. 18. By 3 a.m., he was already scouting for possible locations, based on radar information his team received from the American Meteor Society and NASA. His first find came around 10 a.m. — another chondrite, he said. Ward gave a phone interview to Space.com yesterday (Jan. 19) while out on the ice, scouting for more meteorites.
"The data was spectacular — it was a very quick discovery and everything came together," said Ward, referring to the amount of information available to help him make the discovery. He has searched for meteorites since age 13, roughly 28 years ago, and has made 600 distinct finds on all continents except Antarctica. "I'll be here until Sunday, but I may come back out … later in a few weeks."
Public and professional participation
The excitement of the fireball sent people out into the Michigan cold in hopes of finding a piece of space. Among them was University of Michigan seismologist Larry Ruff, who thought it would be a fun idea to venture out in the fresh snow and go meteorite hunting. He didn't find anything, but enjoyed the experience, he said.
"It's been really cold here, but today was one of the warmer days," Ruff told Space.com in an interview Jan. 18, explaining that temperatures then were as high as 20 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 7 degrees Celsius). "That explains why everyone was happy to get out of the house and look for some meteorites."
Ruff searched in a park along with fellow Earth sciences professor James Gleason, who specializes in the composition of meteorites. The professors met lots of other wannabe meteorite-finders, too. Ruff joked that he was jealous that others had made the first finds, but added, "the debris field area is so huge, and somebody has to make a find."
Ruff, who oversees the Ann Arbor seismic station at the University of Michigan, said the fireball produced one of the strongest seismic waves he had ever seen. He added that "seismic wave" did not mean an earthquake, but signified a disturbance in the atmosphere.
"This was a very slow moving meteor — speed of about 28,000 miles per hour (45,000 km/h)," the AMS added in a news release issued Wednesday (Jan. 17). "This fact, combined with the brightness of the meteor (which suggests a fairly big space rock), shows that the object penetrated deep into the atmosphere before it broke apart (which produced the sounds heard by at least 77 observers)."
The composition and size of the meteor isn't well-understood yet, but early reports suggest that it was only a few feet in size, rather than the impressive Chelyabinsk bolide diameter of 17 meters (51 feet). When that bolide exploded over Russia in 2013, it injured hundreds of people and caused property damage, mainly because the sonic wave from the meteor shattered glass.
Meteorites range from the durable to the delicate. If the Michigan bolide was made of lesser stuff than iron or stone, exposure to the elements will erode any fragments quickly. That's why Ruff said it's important to get outside quickly, to make sure as much evidence is gathered as possible.
Record of the early solar system
Over 50,000 meteorites have been found on Earth alone, according to NASA. Of those, about 99.8 percent come from asteroids — small, rocky bodies in our solar system. This means that meteorites serve as a record of the early solar system, since asteroids are leftover fragments from the small bits of rock and gas that formed the planets roughly 4.5 billion to 4.6 billion years ago.
"The study of meteorites tells us much about the earliest conditions and processes during the formation and earliest history of the solar system, such as the age and composition of solids, the nature of the organic matter, the temperatures achieved at the surface and interiors of asteroids, and the degree to which materials were shocked by impacts," NASA officials said.
This fireball over Michigan was too small to cause damage, but past events on Earth have. A meteorite strike on Earth about 66 million years ago is one of the principally cited causes for the dinosaurs' extinction. The impact left behind a 180-mile (300 kilometer) crater called Chicxulub, which is in the Yucatan Peninsula. Another well-known impact site is Meteor Crater in Arizona, which is about 0.6 miles (1 km) across. Craters are also found all over the solar system — on the moon, Mars and many other locations.
NASA has a Planetary Defense Coordination Office charged with looking for potentially hazardous objects careening toward Earth. They haven't yet seen an object that poses an imminent threat to life on Earth, but NASA and its partners continue searching, just in case. Scientists are also working on several technologies to deflect or destroy threatening asteroids, such as lasers or missiles.
Though NASA’s Cassini spacecraft was vaporized in Saturn’s atmosphere back in September (RIP), it’s still revealing fascinating insights about the planet and its moons from beyond the grave. Two new papers using data from the zombie orbiter has found that Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, has “sea level” just like Earth.
At face value, our planet and the Saturnian moon couldn’t be more different. Titan has a green, eerie glow and electric sand. Earth has cats and things that are nice/not mostly terrifying. But oddly enough, Titan is the only other world in the solar system that has stable liquid on its surface.
In December, researchers from Cornell University published two studies in the Geophysical Research Letters — one about Titan’s topography and the other about its bodies of liquid. In the latter, the team describes how they used Cassini data to find that Titan’s bodies of water “follow a constant elevation relative to Titan’s gravitational pull,” according to NASA.
Cassini measurements reveal that Titan’s three seas are somehow connected beneath the surface, and that hydrocarbons flow similarly to the way water does on subterranean Earth. Smaller lakes seem to crop up hundreds of meters above sea level on the alien moon, similar to some lakes on Earth, and there’s “common liquid level” that the researchers were able to find.
“We’re measuring the elevation of a liquid surface on another body 10 astronomical units away from the sun to an accuracy of roughly 40 centimeters,” the study’s lead author Alex Hayes, an assistant professor of astronomy at Cornell, says in a statement. “Because we have such amazing accuracy we were able to see that between these two seas the elevation varied smoothly about 11 meters, relative to the center of mass of Titan, consistent with the expected change in the gravitational potential. We are measuring Titan’s geoid. This is the shape that the surface would take under the influence of gravity and rotation alone, which is the same shape that dominates Earth’s oceans,” said Hayes.
So while none of us are ever actually going to Titan, it’s comforting to know that our planet has a pal out there that it’s a little similar to, even if Titan is kind of like Earth’s Waluigi.
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This is what it looks like to land on Saturn’s moon Titan.
A small asteroid passed relatively close to Earth this month, having been discovered just six days earlier. This might sound scary, but it’s unusual that such an object would actually collide with the Earth.
Each year about 50,000 tonnes of extraterrestrial material (rocks and dust) hits our planet. This comes as tiny pieces – even if it all came at once, it would be only slightly larger than the “lorry-sized” asteroid that passed us in January.
But while scientists can readily spot fairly large asteroids greater than about a kilometre across, what risk do such smaller asteroids that may be more difficult to track pose? Should we worry?
It is widely believed the dinosaurs were wiped out 65m years ago by an asteroid impact. The environmental changes that it caused – a rapid rise in atmospheric temperature and global forest fires, followed by plummeting temperatures and acidified ocean waters – were a consequence of the size of the asteroid, probably about 10km across.
This is almost three orders of magnitude larger in diameter, and about 30m times heavier, than the year’s worth of asteroids that hit us today.
The Earth had a brush with an object estimated to be around 20 metres across almost five years ago over Chelyabinsk in Russia. Nobody saw it coming. Spectacular footage of the incoming fireball was recorded by commuters on their way to work, shocked to see the dark February morning lit by something originally thought to be a missile.
The rock exploded in the atmosphere, with many meteorite fragments scattered across the region. The largest piece, of about 600kg, was recovered several months later in an ice covered lake. Although many people were hurt when the object powered its way through the atmosphere, the injuries mostly came from window glass shattered by the atmospheric shock wave it caused.
The inhabitants of the Chelyabinsk region had a lucky escape – no crater was created by the asteroid because it burst into pieces about 30km up in the atmosphere. Luckily, this is the most likely situation for an object that size.
It is not until an asteroid is about 50 metres across that a crater is produced on impact. Even when it is two or three kilometres across – the size of Meteor Crater in Arizona – it is not near large enough to cause destruction on the global scale of the dinosaur extinction event. But it would certainly cause local problems if the impact was in an inhabited area. Imagine the asteroid that created the Meteor Crater – literally and figuratively – hitting central London, Washington or Mumbai.
There are several international observing programmes using automated telescopes specifically dedicated to mapping all “Near Earth Objects”. These are asteroids with a closest approach to the sun of less than 1.3 Astronomical Units – one such unit is the distance between the Earth and the sun. A special watch is kept for “potentially hazardous objects”, which are Near Earth Objects over 150 metres in diameter with orbits that cross that of the Earth.
Fortunately, practically all of these objects are in stable orbits, and are not designated hazardous. Asteroids with sizes down to about five metres across can now be observed. Although, as the Chelyabinsk event illustrated, there are still objects that evade the watchers. Part of the reason that the Chelyabinsk object went undetected, was because it came into the atmosphere at a very low angle from the direction of the sun. But the main reason was the sheer number of such objects, and the relatively short time (about a decade) that we have been actively tracking them.
It is salutary to look at the number of detections of Near Earth Objects. The Minor Planet Center maintains a database of observations, keeping a running total which, by the end of December 2017, stood at over 17,500. A further 28 have already been spotted this month. You can get an idea here where all these objects are relative to the Earth and the sun – I guarantee that you will be more than a little perturbed when you see how surrounded we are by these missiles.
One of the major problems that civilisation has is that while we are becoming incredibly efficient at spotting Near Earth Objects, we still cannot do anything about one that might be on a collision path with the Earth. NASA currently has a project, DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test), to redirect a threatening asteroid at the preliminary design phase. A spacecraft, about 1.5 metres across, will be aimed to crash into an asteroid (Didymos B) about 140 metres across. Didymos B orbits a primary body, Didymos A. The aim of the project is to change the orbit of Didymos B around its binary partner, while not altering the orbit of Didymos A around the sun.
DART is scheduled for launch in December 2020, intercepting Didymos in October 2022. So we have fewer than five years to wait before we find out whether we can protect our planet from its unruly neighbours.
For now, while small asteroids certainly can pose some danger, the threat is more regional than that posed by larger asteroids. So there is no need (yet) to start stockpiling baked beans and bottled water against our imminent demise by asteroid attack. The 50,000 tonnes of space material that hits Earth each year falls mainly as dust grains less than half a millimetre across. And given that we are all still here (at the time of writing…), it poses no threat to humanity.
Deze wetenschappers denken een piramide te hebben ontdekt op Mars. Lees hier over hun opmerkelijke vondst
Deze wetenschappers denken een piramide te hebben ontdekt op Mars. Lees hier over hun opmerkelijke vondst
Al lange tijd vragen wetenschappers zich af of er leven is of ooit is geweest op Mars. The Cydonia Institute heeft nu afbeeldingen gevonden van vermeende kunstmatige structuren op het Marsoppervlak.
In de kloof Candor Chasma op de rode planeet troffen de onderzoekers een driehoekige piramidevormige formatie aan, die sterk lijkt op de zogeheten Reuleaux-piramide.
De formatie is duidelijk te zien op vijf foto’s die zijn gemaakt door de Mars Global Surveyor en de Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Volgens de geologen en aardwetenschappers zijn er twee mogelijke verklaringen. De formatie kan zijn ontstaan als gevolg van natuurlijke mechanismen of zijn achtergelaten door een intelligentie.
(MRO/NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)
Het ontwerp van de driehoekige piramide is uitzonderlijk als je kijkt naar de geometrie en symmetrie, aldus de onderzoekers.
Ze merken op dat soortgelijke monumenten op aarde worden gebouwd door moderne ingenieurs en worden gevonden in landen als China.
Ondanks natuurlijke afzettingen en erosie zijn de zijden van de formatie erg symmetrisch. De onderzoekers achten de kans dan ook klein dat de piramide is ontstaan door natuurlijke processen.
De kans is groot, zo stellen ze, dat de formatie een kunstmatige oorsprong heeft. “We raden de NASA en de Universiteit van Arizona aan er meer foto’s van te maken met de Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter,” zeggen ze.
Als ook die foto’s wijzen in de richting van een kunstmatige oorsprong, zou de formatie een belangrijke kandidaat moeten zijn voor het onderzoek naar potentiële archeologische voorwerpen op Mars, besluit het team.
Did Ancient Mars Host an Alien Civilization? US Congressman Asks NASA Panel (Video)
Did Ancient Mars Host an Alien Civilization? US Congressman Asks NASA Panel (Video)
Is It Possible That Ancient Mars Was Host To An Alien Civilization?
This is exactly the question that Rep. Dana Rohrbacher, R-Calif., asked of a NASA panel of planetary scientists on July 18, 2017. To be clear, there is no official evidence that this is the case. Mars, as far as we know, did not host any alien civilization in the past.
Mars Was Very Different Billions of Years Ago
The Mars we know today is not the Mars of the past. Ancient Mars likely had rivers, lakes, and possibly oceans. It’s not an impossible scenario to believe that life, in some form, once existed there. That being said, the existence a full-blown intelligent civilization is another story. It took earth almost 3.8 billion years to develop intelligent life. Mars is only about 4.5 billion years old. Life would have had to begin very early in the planet’s history to have enough time to develop into something capable of meeting our definition of a ‘civilization’.
Ancient Martian Alien Civilization: Unlikely, But Not Impossible
As a rule of logic, it’s nearly impossible to disprove a negative. Though the panel of NASA scientists said it would be extremely unlikely, they didn’t quite say it was an impossibility. We understand a bit about Martian history, but our scope of research is obviously limited. If life on Mars had developed and then suffered some extinction event a few billion years ago, there would be very little evidence left today. There’s also the question as to whether humans would be able to recognize alien life at all.
What Convinced Congressman Rohrbacher to Ask This Question?
Judging from the reaction of the young man sitting behind the congressman when he finally asked the question, it’s likely that he was asking on his behalf. It’s no secret that Congressman Rohrbacher isn’t a scientist. He does, however, sit on the Committee on Science Space and Technology and has been consistently pro-NASA relative to his other Republican counterparts. He is also keen on having NASA send humans back to the moon.
You can see the congressman’s question in the video below as well as the response from NASA scientist Dr. Kenneth Farley. Farley is quick to correct Rohrbacher in that Mars was very different billions of years ago vs. thousands of years ago as the question was posed. A few billion years is a long time. If an alien civilization existed on Mars billions of years ago, the time has most likely wiped that slate clean.
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