tagged w/ Voyager
Thank goodness for The Internet (and those who use it thoughtfully) which tries to answer the many questions we have from time to time about existence. If only technology had advanced a bit quicker, perhaps we, the Hoi Polloi, would be so much the wiser. Ya think?
Wake Up Call:
MORE HERE: http://news.yahoo.com/nasas-voyager-1-probe-left-solar-system-study-164614640.html
Today's Critical Thinking Question
How many solar systems are in our galaxy?
I have a question from our young friends at the Mountain Home Air Force Base Youth Activities Center in Mountain Home, Idaho. They wonder how many solar systems are in our galaxy. Well, I wish I knew the answer to this thought-provoking question, but not only do I not know, no one does. Even so, this question brings up some thrilling ideas.
For many years scientists have studied our own solar system. But until the last few years, we knew of no other solar systems.
This may seem surprising, as the Sun is one of about 200 billion stars (or perhaps more) just in the Milky Way galaxy alone. With all those other stars, why haven't scientists studied other solar systems, at least enough to know how many are in our galaxy?
Two artists renderings of star with planet peeking from behind.
Using regular visible light telescopes, planets are very hard to see in the glare of a star. Using infrared space telescopes, the planets shows up much more clearly.
Well, the reason is that planets around other stars are really hard to find. Planets shine only by the light they reflect from the star they orbit, and they don't reflect much light at that. And the stars, along with any planets under their control, are so far away that picking out a faint planet near a distant star is like spotting a mosquito next to a brilliant searchlight miles away.
Young Marc meets the astronomers.
Marc Rayman at age 14 meets astronomer Peter van de Kamp (center), who had "discovered" planets outside our solar system. On the right is radio astronomer Grote Reber. (Image from Sky and Telescope, Aug. 1971.)
So although scientists, philosophers, writers, and people like you who have been fascinated by the universe have thought about other solar systems for centuries, they haven't had any to study. When I was young, this was one of many topics that I spent a great deal of time wondering about. In fact, when I was in the ninth grade, I was lucky enough to meet an astronomer who thought he had detected two planets around Barnard's Star, one of the closest stars to our solar system. It was quite a thrill for me to meet someone involved in such exciting work. Alas, later evidence suggested his conclusions were incorrect, but I learned a great deal about the subject, as well as about the scientific method, by studying what this impressive astronomer had accomplished.
Finally in the middle 1990s, astronomers found strong evidence of planets around other stars. In all cases, they found the planets not by taking pictures of them, but rather by detecting their astonishingly gentle tugs on the stars they orbit. Although the star holds the planet tightly in its gravitational grip, the planet also exerts a gravitational pull back on the star, and that is what astronomers measure. It amounts to seeing the star wobble back and forth very slightly as the planet completes each orbit. Learn more about this gravitational dance as you try to solve the extraterrestrial riddle.
After that, astronomers started detecting planets through several other methods as well. For example, if the orbit of a planet happens to be aligned so that planet occasionally travels in front of the star from our perspective on Earth, it blocks some of the light. Even though the planet is tiny compared to the star, extremely sensitive instruments can measure the tiny change in brightness. NASA's Kepler mission used this technique to identify hundreds of stars that may have planets. Astronomers are observing these stars more carefully to confirm the presence of the candidate planets.
NASA is working on more space missions that will allow scientists not only to find other solar systems but also to study the planets there in greater detail. Some of the intriguing questions these missions might help answer are how common are other solar systems; is our solar system typical, with giant planets like Jupiter and smaller ones like Earth; how do solar systems form and evolve; are there other planets capable of supporting life; and is there life on other planets?
Artwork shows a steaming hot (with water!) planet discovered in another solar system.
So far, astronomers have found more than 500 solar systems and are discovering new ones every year. Given how many they have found in our own neighborhood of the Milky Way galaxy, scientists estimate that there may be tens of billions of solar systems in our galaxy, perhaps even as many as 100 billion.
Whether this estimate is correct and how similar other solar systems are to ours, remain to be seen. It has only been a few years since the first solar system apart from ours was detected, and they are still extremely difficult to study, so this whole subject is still in its infancy. By the time our friends who asked the questions are adults, we will know a great deal more.
Perhaps someday you will help find the answers. And even if you don't, you may grow up in a time when humankind has a much clearer idea of how we and our home planet fit into the cosmos.
http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/review/dr-marc-space/solar-systems-in-galaxy.htmlThank goodness for The Internet (and those who use it thoughtfully) which tries to... more
ALL NEW!!! Bob Greenberger has written all kinds of cool genre stuff in comic books and sci-fi, both fiction and nonfiction. I brought him on the show to talk about his great new book, Star Trek: The Complete Unauthorized History. Good conversation and he talked about his new project for Will Smith, After Earth, on which he worked with Peter David and Michael Jan Friedman. You'll enjoy this and want to share! Thanks for watching and listening! http://www.mrmedia.com/2012/12/too-much-star-trek-genre-historian-bob-greenberger-says-no-2012-video-interview/#.UNPDWLbhtiNALL NEW!!! Bob Greenberger has written all kinds of cool genre stuff in comic books... more
Voyager just discovered a region of the solar system that until now was unknown, called the "magnetic highway," ,an area that allows charged particles from inside the heliosphere (the area of the solar system where charged particles from our Sun are still moving outward) to flow outward, and particles from the galaxy outside to come in.
http://news.yahoo.com/voyager-1-spacecraft-enters-realm-solar-systems-edge-201819290.htmlVoyager just discovered a region of the solar system that until now was unknown,... more
One of the less insane days in history.
NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered a new region between our solar system and
interstellar space. Data obtained from Voyager over the last year reveal this new region
to be a kind of cosmic purgatory.
link:http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111205141802.htmNASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered a new region between our solar system and... more
NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered the solar system's final frontier, a vast, turbulent expanse where the Sun's influence ends and the solar wind crashes into the thin gas between stars. ...... In November 2003, the Voyager team announced it was seeing events unlike any encountered before in the mission's then 26-year history. The team believed the unusual events indicated Voyager 1 was approaching a strange region of space, likely the beginning of this new frontier called the termination shock region. There was controversy at that time over whether Voyager 1 had indeed encountered the termination shock or was just getting close. "The consensus of the team now is that Voyager 1, at 8.7 billion miles from the Sun, has at last entered the heliosheath, the region beyond the termination shock," said Dr. John Richardson from MIT, Principal Investigator of the Voyager plasma science investigation.... http://www.makeahistory.com/index.php/submit-an-article/42955-voyager-entersNASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered the solar system's final frontier, a... more
NASA's Voyager 1 probe is nearing the edge of our solar system after 33 years and nearly 11 billion miles of spaceflight.The spacecraft may make the final crossing into interstellar space in just four more years, NASA announced yesterday.The Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered a region of space in the outer solar system where the speed of solar wind – charged particles streaming from the sun – is effectively zero. NASA scientists think the steep drop in solar wind speed is a sign that it has been blown sideways by a more powerful interstellar wind that blows in the spaces between stars."The solar wind has turned the corner," said Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist based at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif, "Voyager 1 is getting close to interstellar space."Voyager 1 has traveled about 10.8 billion miles (17.4 billion kilometers) from the sun since it launched on Sept. 5, 1977 on a mission to swing by the gas giant planets of Jupiter and Saturn.But Voyager 1 did not stop there. It continued on its way and in 2004 crossed a solar system boundary known as the termination shock – the border at which the sun's supersonic solar wind crosses a shockwave, slows down and heats up.The region immediately beyond the termination shock, where Voyager 1 is now, is called the heliosheath. The edge of the solar system is a cosmic border known as the heliopause. The heliosheath forms a turbulent outer shell of the sun's cosmic reach, which scientists call its "sphere of influence." Once Voyager 1 travels beyond the heliosheath and crosses the heliopause, it will officially be in interstellar space. The spacecraft is hurtling toward the solar system's edge at a steady rate of about 38,000 mph (61,155 kph).NASA thinks Voyager 1 could cross into the interstellar frontier by 2014. When the probe makes the crossing, there should be a sudden drop in the amount of hot particles Voyager 1 encounters and a spike in the number of cold particles it detects, NASA officials said. The observations were presented yesterday at the fall 2010 meeting of the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.Voyager 1 was actually one of two spacecraft launched in 1977 to explore the outer solar system. On Aug. 20 of that year, just a few weeks before Voyager 1's launch, NASA launched Voyager 2 on a grand tour of the solar system that flew by Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Both spacecraft rely on nuclear power sources to generate electricity.
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/nasa-voyager-1-leaving-solar-system-101213.html NASA's Voyager 1 probe is nearing the edge of our solar system after 33 years... more
Our great ancestors still live, a coincidence or not? The spiritual connection they shared must have been felt. Our connection to each other as Hawaiians in modern times has been exploited and culturally decimated. We need to keep our bond to this planet close to us and many of us choose to block our cultural duty to our mother earth. The Kahanamoku Family lost their moku like so many other 'ohana please research and protect and perpetuate what is left of our dying blood.
http://mauinews.com/page/content.detail/id/532434.html?nav=10Our great ancestors still live, a coincidence or not? The spiritual connection they... more
NEPTUNE may have polished off a super-Earth that once roamed the outer solar system and stolen its moon to boot. The brutal deed could explain mysterious heat radiating from the icy planet and the odd orbit of its moon Triton. Neptune's own existence was a puzzle until recently. The dusty cloud that gave birth to the planets probably thinned out further from the sun. With building material so scarce, it is hard to understand how Uranus and Neptune, the two outermost planets, managed to get so big. http://www.makeahistory.com/index.php/submit-an-article/291-neptune-may-have-eaten-a-planet-and-stolen-its-moon-NEPTUNE may have polished off a super-Earth that once roamed the outer solar system... more
Saturday's edition of my three times a week talk show.Watch the show here on CURRENT TV on Tues, Thurs & Sats.
In today's show :
High definition television.
More computers than Dell.
Wrong to cut someone off.
A knife has been pushed in.
A fat pig.
The school disco at Belushi's.
A good turnout.
Is it worth the extra money ?
Would you like a couple of shows on DVD ?
A useless business person.
A strange thing happens when I print an email.
Is there something wrong with your eyes ?
Susan's allergy injections.
A little white speck.
How cute ?
No money required.
A fairly old television.
Coming soon - an update from Joy.
Twitter - a fashion thing.
It does kind of hurt little bit.
Voyager music a bit wishy washy.
They look down their noses.
What is it with bright light.
Operated by someone's hand.
Something a bit bigger.
I always find out.
WWW.UNITEDKINGDOMTALK.CO.UKSaturday's edition of my three times a week talk show.Watch the show here on... more