Quelling Questions About Quasars!

March 27, 2013 at 12:19 AM (astronomy topics, curious research, current news, extraterrestrial studies, late night studies, science and technology, web gossip) (, , , )

I am in the midst of one of my nerd sessions, currently studying information about quasars.  Actually, I am watching an episode of The Universe on H2.  This show is providing information about distant stars, how they are being discovered, details about their behavior, et cetera.  One part of the show elaborated upon details of quasars, including their behavior, how they are identified, and even the nearest one to Earth.  I was curious, so I had to look up additional details regarding the closest quasar.

Information on The Internet revealed that the first quasar that was recognized is 3C 273.  It is situated within Virgo Constellation, roughly 2.4 billion light years away from Earth!  3C 273 is supposed to be one of the brightest known quasars at this time, with an absolute magnitude of -26.7!  If this quasar was at a distance of thirty light years from Earth, it would be as bright as The Sun!

3C 273 ejects an energy beam of light from it’s core.  This beam, referred to as a visible jet, is roughly 200,000 light years long!  The beam is released from 3C 273, as this quasar is one of the objects currently recognized by astronomy studies as one of the most distant objects within the observable universe.

Quasar is the shortened version for the actual name of these celestial phenomena; quasi-stellar radio source.  These are radio-detected signals from regions of recent supernovae, or from distant areas where stars are being formed.  It is believed that quasars actually are the central regions of the most distant galaxies that can be detected.

Apparently, not all quasars emit radio waves.  That detail likely is confusing, due to the actual name of the quasar.  However, those that do produce radio emissions called synchotron radiation.  The actual quasars are situated closely within magnetic from which these radio waves are released.

As quasars are recognized to be within the most distantly observable galaxies, their observation is a trip backward through spacetime.  The nearest observable quasar to Earth is PKS 2349-014.  It is estimated to be located  at a distance of 1,500 million light years from our world.  This quasar has two thin streams of stellar material, wisps, that surround it.  PSK 2349-014 is situated within the core of a distant, elliptical galaxy.

Some studies reveal that PKS 2349-014 interacts with a companion galaxy, likely set to merge with this galaxy at a future point.  The nearby galaxy currently is estimated to be at a distance of three kiloparsecs from the core of PKS 2349-014.  These wisps are covered by a nebulous region, which appears to cover the entire quasar.

Interesting!  I find the studies of the cosmos, and all that is being learned about the universe beyond our Earth, to be completely fascinating!  Quasars are another intriguing aspect to the ever-intriguing universe of which we are slowly learning more and more about.  Indeed, it was August 5, 1962 when the first quasar was identified by British astronomer Cyril Hazard while working with The University of Sydney.















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YOU Can Get to Name A Planet (for a cost….)!

March 22, 2013 at 1:17 AM (astronomy topics, curious research, current news, extraterrestrial studies, historic review, late night studies, science and technology, social opinion, web gossip)

I will admit that I have been a bit disappointed, upset, with the so-called names that these astronomers and related scientists have been slinging upon the planets that are being found and observed beyond our solar system.  Something so interesting would seem to deserve a title worth remembering, and attracting the interest of others into the subject.  Yet, it seems as if these exoplanets are being located, then labeled as if they are science project items to sit on shelves that may or may not be reviewed at any later date!

Reknowned planetary scientist Dr. Alan Stern recently has commented about how the discoveries of planets beyond our solar system are being handled.  He, along with several others interested in this topic, are “bored” with the labels that are being slapped upon these recently located spectacles of outer space.  Stern stated that the titles that are being used to designate new exoplanets that are being observed are “boring”, and I would have to agree with him!

The extrasolar planet is a planet that orbits a star that is not The Sun.  Located beyond our solar system, roughly 861 planets have been discovered, so far.  The majority of them are gas giant worlds, akin to Jupiter and Saturn.  Yet, there have been some that could be classified as terrestrial; similar to Earth and Mars.  Several have been discovered which are of masses slightly more than that of Earth, and they have been designated as Super Earths.  Yet, this name is somewhat deceptive, as these planets are nothing akin to our home world.  They too are gaseous planets, yet are given the label of Super Earth because they are slightly more massive than Earth, yet not anywhere near the mass of true gas giant worlds similar to Jupiter and Saturn.  Recent reviews are revealing that Super Earth planets outnumber the gas giant worlds beyond our solar system!

Some of the extrasolar worlds are more resembling of Earth.  These planets have been located more recently, and they have been given the classification of Hot Terran.  This, meaning that these particular extrasolar planets orbit their stars at searingly close ranges to their stars, and they do have some similarities to terrestrial planets (worlds akin to Earth).  However, they are situated at such searingly close ranges to their stars that no level of life that we currently understand could exist upon them.

Dr. Stern currently is leading a project that is funded by his company, Uwingu.  Stern is trying to get actual names to be labeled upon several of the exoplanets that are being. have been discovered.  As many agree with him, there is an excitement about the fact that many planets are being found that are not a part of our solar system.  The allure to such a subject draws interest to several people, on several levels.  I would agree with Dr. Stern in that these planets being located recently have been given titles that are boring!  They should be given names which appeal to the public, which likely will create additional levels of interest that will encourage further scientific studies and advances.Through Uwingu, Stern has this contest started, and it is seeking selections to name the nearest exoplanet to Earth, which is within the Alpha Centauri system.  This planet currently is designated as Alpha Centauri Bb, as it orbits Alpha Centauri B (a star of the trinary star system which is the closest solar system to our own).  The name is quite ordinary, quite boring, and Dr. Stern agrees with that sentiment!  So, a contest has begun, seeking contestants to submit potential name nominations for the planet at a cost of (yes, damn it, a cost….) of $4.99 per nomination.  Having these name choices voted upon will cost $.99 per vote.  Very little, nothing, is free……

Additionally, the selected names will NOT be approved by The International Astronomical Union (the group that actually places name designations upon the newly-discovered planets).  Stern is of the opinion that once the voted-upon selections are  made, the names will be placed into common rotation and use.  They eventually will become the known designations for the exoplanets, and likely will take the place of the hum-drum scientific labels of no actual interest, and of no creative flair.

Uwingu made a prior attempt to create a booklet of names for newly-discovered exoplanets.  It had/has this contest in progress to get a collection of names that can be placed upon newly-discovered planets beyond our solar system.  Each planet’s new name will be chosen from the highest amount of same-names submitted for the particular planet.  This current contest is open to the public at-large, as prizes will be given to the winners of the names chosen, as well as to runners-up to those whose name choices each receive 10,000, 1,000, and 100 votes!

Information about Alpha Centauri Bb. Information about Alpha Centauri Bb. Credit: Planetary Habitability Laboratory/University of Puerto Rico/Arecibo  












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Star Child Found at Peru is One of Many?

March 17, 2013 at 10:17 PM (astronomy topics, curious research, current news, extraterrestrial studies, late night studies, public debate, science and technology, social opinion, web gossip) (, )

The supposition that Earth has been visited by extraterrestrial beings is not about to cease at any soon moment.  Details regarding the topic can be sought throughout The Internet at any time, along with several stories, programs, and articles which perpetuate the ongoing belief that our planet is a frequent point of interest to life forms from other worlds.  Information, along with other related postings, can be located readily.  Yet, the actual questions, the suppositions, and the arguments will continue.

All sorts of stories can be located that tell of extraterrestrials having walked upon Earth during our planet’s past.  One of the recent and more intriguing presentations of alien visitation surrounds the Cuzco incident.  Last year, an archaelogical explorer had visited the ancient Inca ruins at Cuzco, Peru.  An anthropologist named Renato Riquelme Davila claimed to have found mummified remains of something that was deemed to be extraterrestrial.  The skeletal remains were taken (confiscated???) by officials who took them for study.  Apparently, researchers from Russia and Spain also observed the bones, leading them to conclude that they were not human.

The mummified bones were that of a bipedal being.  It was approximately 4’2″, with an unusually large skull.  The skull itself was between 7 and 11 inches long.  The optical sockets were far larger than those of human beings.  It was recognized to be an adult being, as research of it’s teeth showed that it had permanently-set molars.

The skeleton has been dubbed as “Star Child”!  Apparently, medical officials from Russia and from Spain were able to review the bones.  Their observations lead them to conclude that the skeleton was of something that was not native to Earth!  Davila, being The Director of The Museum District Andean Rituals Andahuaylillas, researched the skeleton, as well.  His conclusions lead him to coordinate research with two doctors from Spain, along with an affiliate from Russia.  Through the combined observations of these officials, an agreed conclusion was reached to state that the skeleton was not that of a human being.

Other details were presented that might dismiss the claims of the bones being extraterrestrial.  One suggestion was presented that the bones coulds be the remains of a child that died due to the results of congenital hydrocephalus.  This illness leads to an excess of cerebrospinal fluid, which places extreme amounts of pressure upon the brain and the skull.  This condition does create a situation of skull deforming because of this excess pressure from the fluid.  Regarding the allegedly alien bones, they truthfully could be those of a human being who had this illness, and did live long enough to grow permanent molar teeth.

It is so apparent that many of us as mere mortals want to be able to verify that Earth is not alone in this vast universe of planets that could harbor life.  As to whether or not this particular display is that of an actual extraterrestrial being, the evidence mounts against the suggestion.  Indeed, it is unusual in appearance, regarding the remains of a human / humanoid lifeform.  Yet, it would seem that the explanation of a buried human being who died as a result of deforming medical issues does stand as plausible, if not more reasonable, than having the actual bones of an extraterrestrial being now hidden somewhere for scientific research.

Why would this really be an alien?  Did he/she/it have no other travelling companions?  Did not of it’s species want to return to claim the body?  Would it really be the case that extraterrrestrial life would be so visually similar to life on Earth that the actual differences of detail are minor at most?

Just questions.  I have to admit that I, like so many others, would like to know whether or not Earth is alone in all that is recognized as the universe.  There is so much space within space that it seems rediculous for our planet to be the only planet to have anything alive and crawling about it!  Yet, until actual contact is made, visual confirmations, audible confirmations are made with beings from worlds beyond our Earth, all that we can do is to speculate, creating continued conjecture about life elsewhere in the universe, and the possibilities of that life having been upon our world at some prior time.












Thinking of a Starchild…..

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Hailing the Triumph of Success Against the Odds!

March 17, 2013 at 12:38 AM (childcare and child protection, curious research, current news, historic review, human life issues, late night studies, legal issues, public debate, social opinion, web gossip)

I caught the headline to this one story, and I wanted to find out what the story was about.  As I read further, I saw that it was leading into something about a young girl being tortured by her elders.  I was about to stop because I did not think that I was in the mood to read about, to learn about yet another tale of some children somewhere being abused.  Yet, curiousity got the better of me, so I did read into the article.

….and the HORROR!  The clip took readers into an explanation of what has happened with one particuar fourteen year-old girl living in Enoosaen, Kenya.  The young girl, Kakenya Ntaiya, was a part of a common Masai village located within Kenya.  She recently reached the age of fourteen, when she became eligible (if that is a decent choice of terms….) to take part within her village’s tribal rituals.  At this age, Kakenya, along with other young girls who recently turned fourteen years old, instantly were set to be subjected to a rite of passage.  Here, the girls are taken before a ceremonial setting, and they are publicly circumcised!

No; doctors, surgeons, nor any medical professionals are present.  Kakenya, along with other young Masai females, are presented before their tribe members and their husbands-to-be, where they are prepared to endure the painful procedure of circumcision, as performed by the tribal elders.  It was in Kakenya’s case where she was set within a cow pen that was behind where she lived.  Her village members were present, as an old woman with a knife entered the pen.  Kakenya had to be seated, lifting her skirt, then her legs.  At that point, the female tribal elder entered Kakenya’s vaginal area with the rusty knife, and she began to perform their tribal ritual of circumcision upon Kakenya.

She recalled that it was painful.  Certainly that is an understatement, as no surgical instruments, anesthetics, or medical necessities were present at any location near to Kakenya.  However, she was made to take part in this act of brutality, as it is a ritualistic part of her Masai tribe.  Kakenya recently had turned fourteen years old, already within the point at she was prime to be selected by a village male for marriage.  All females to be married within this Masai village must endure the ritual of female circumcision.  At that point, during 1993, Kakenya was made to suffer these tribal actions also, as her male suitor soon would be preparing her to be his bride.

Kakenya, however, had a different mindset working.  She already had made a deal with her father, setting it so that she would suffer through the circumcision ritual if he would see that she was able to finish with high school afterward, instead of being immediately married away.  Her father agreed to this deal, as Kakenya told him that she would run away if the deal was not kept.  So, it was amazing that Kakenya remained strong enough to complete her base education within Kenya.  Then, with money raised by her fellow Masai villagers, Kakenya made it to The United States, where she had earned a collegiate scholarship!

Kakenya spent ten years within The United States completing collegiate education.  She received her undergraduate degree during 2004, earning a Bachelor’s of Arts in International Studies.   Then, Kakenya proceeded to earn a Doctorate in Education.  With these skills and preparations, Kakenya was able to return to her Masai village, where she opened a school for young females.  Now, she runs The Kakenya Center for Excellence (also known as Kakenya’s Dream), where she assists over 150 Kenyan female youths with attaining education, along with preparations to proceed into lives that will take them beyond their Masai village.

I found that to be a very inspiring and uplifting report.  Such stories reaffirm the fact that people can get beyond the torments of their current lives to reach for something better, something higher.  As with what Kakenya endured, several people would have given up, falling victim to the torments of society, as presented on whichever level is set for the landscape at hand.  Yet, it does require the focus, the determination, and the motivation to be able to attempt finding a higher level of living, setting the scene toward success despite such examples of horrific background.











Dancing Pencil    Dancing Pencil

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Pluto’s Got It’s Own Stuff Goin’ On!

March 13, 2013 at 8:24 PM (astronomy topics, curious research, current news, extraterrestrial studies, historic review, public debate, science and technology, web gossip)

Alright.  I have been out of this game for a minute, but I am back now (whoop-tee-dooh….)!  I left with the topic of Planet Pluto, and that is where I find myself picking up the blog rants.  I was doing some Internet browsing a little earlier, and I got to a current page of articles with space.com.  As I am an astronomy studies advocate, I continue with my efforts to learn what I can learn about all that we are attempting to understand about outer space.  The continuing conversations and contentions about Pluto still gain much interest, as I find myself still somewhat shaken by the (…ahem) demotion of the distant world!

It was during 2006 that the citizens of Earth, as lead by The International Astronomical Union, opted to remove the designation of planet from Pluto.  During February of 1930, astronomer Clyde Tombaugh was working at The Percival Lowell Observatory at Flagstaff, Arizona.  Lowell was in the process of attempting to locate celestial objects orbiting beyond Neptune, the eighth planet of our solar system.  It was February 18, 1930, when Pluto was discovered by Tombaugh, to be designated as our solar system’s ninth world.  Yet, during 2006, astronomical observers of Earth, lead by Mike Brown and researchers at California Institute of Technology, were the determining factors in the removal of Pluto from it’s status as an official planet of our solar system.

Well, despite whatever Earth decides, Pluto remains at it’s distant orbital position from The Sun.  It is seeming to have all of what it needs to maintain the designation of a planet, including an atmosphere of carbon monoxide, methane, and nitrogen (albeit frozen during the majority of it’s 248-year orbit of The Sun).  Planet Pluto even has it’s own collection of moons!

The long-recognized Charon has been officially identified as the major moon of Pluto since 1978.  It was later realized that Pluto and Charon are in a synchronous orbit, indicating that both bodies revolve around each other as they orbit The Sun.  Additionally, Pluto hosts the moons Hydra and Nix, both discovered during 2005, along with S/2011 (134340) 1 and S2012 (134340) 1, recognized during 2011 and 2012, respectively.

This newly observed moon of Pluto currently is being called one of ten, or possibly more moonlets, that may be in orbit of Pluto!  The New Horizons space probe is scheduled to fly by Pluto during 2015.  It is being suggested that the current path of New Horizons is to be shifted, so that it will not collide with any previously unrecognized moons around Pluto.  The topic of collisions and Pluto arises, as it is being suggested that Charon may have collided with Pluto at some past point, allowing for the formations of Hydra and Nix!

The general audience will have to wait a couple of years to get the latest updates on the actual status of Pluto.  By 2o15, the New Horizons observations may allow for more intense revelations about the actual status of Pluto.  The views of the distant world, having it’s own atmosphere, and it’s collection of many moons, just might allow it to regain it’s rightful designation as planet!  What else are we looking for out there, people?

The path of New Horizons through Pluto's growing family. (Image Credit: NASA/ESA/A. Field STScl).













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