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Tabby's star, famous for its inexplicable dips in brightness, is going through one of those dips right now.

As far as weird stars go, few are as strange as KIC 8462852, nicknamed Tabby's star. Tabby's star randomly dims and brightens for apparently no reason, which led some astronomers in 2015 to hypothesize that some sort of 'alien megastructure' was orbiting the star, occasionally blocking the light. Other scientists proposed a large asteroid field or a swarm of comets instead, but we still don't really know what's going on.

All of that might be about to change. Early this morning, astronomers detected one of those characteristic dips that are unique to Tabby's star. All of the other dips that we know of are from historical observations, but this one is happening right now, which gives astronomers a chance to really figure out what's happening.

Tabby's Star has been dimming dramatically over the past few days.
 

But in order for that to happen, we need to point a telescope—or ideally several—in the direction of Tabby's star as soon as possible. This can be a challenge due to the way that telescope time is proportioned. Telescope time is usually scheduled months or years in advance, and it's not always easy to reschedule something at the last minute.

ALERT:@tsboyajian's star is dipping
This is not a drill.
Astro tweeps on telescopes in the next 48 hours: spectra please!
Jason Wright (@Astro_Wright) May 19, 2017 

 

If this were any other star, getting even one telescope at such short notice would be nearly impossible. But Tabby's star is not a normal star, and its behavior is such a puzzle that multiple telescopes will be able to fit in at least a few observations. The Swift space telescope has already scheduled multiple observations of the star at various times tomorrow, and a number of other telescopes around the world are planning to squeeze in an observation or two.

The most important thing for these telescopes to capture is the spectrum of Tabby's star. The spectrum of a star is all the light that star produces broken down by the color of that light. Looking at the spectrum of a star can tell you what it's made of. For instance, a star containing only hydrogen will be a different color and have a different spectrum than a star burning both hydrogen and helium.

And the spectrum of Tabby's star might be able to tell us what's causing the strange dimming effect. Different materials block different wavelengths of light, so looking at the spectrum of the star before and after the dimming could tell us what's blocking the light. If scientists see more blue light blocked than red light, for instance, that could mean the dimming is caused by lots of dust.

There's also the possibility that the dimming could be caused by comets, or by gas outside the star system entirely. In that case, common components of these materials like water and hydrogen will block specific parts of the spectrum, which we should be able to see. If the dimming is caused by something solid like a planet—or an alien megastructure—then the spectrum will be dimmed evenly across the board.

The Kepler telescope, which scientists used to initially spot Tabby's star's weird dimming, only measures brightness, not spectra. And by the time we realized how weird Tabby's star is, it was too late for us to get the spectrum from another telescope. This is our first chance to really find out what's going on with Tabby's star.

And there's a good chance that with these new observations we'll finally be able to solve this puzzle at last.

Source: This article was published popularmechanics By Avery Thompson

Categorized in Internet Technology

 

  • Findings will be presented at 2017 Astrobiology Science Conference April 24- 28
  • Will discuss life on earth and search for habitable worlds in our solar system
  • It comes on the heels of last week's reveal about Saturn's moon Enceladus
  • It was found to have hydrogen gas - a potential source of chemical energy for life
  • Discussions will also involve potential science value of a lander on the Europa
  • Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, thought to be a key candidate for potential life

NASA researchers will soon present new findings on topics ranging from the origins and evolution of life on earth to the search for habitable environments and life in our solar system, the space agency has revealed. 

The findings will be presented during the 2017 Astrobiology  Science Conference between April 24 and April 28 in Mesa, Arizona.

The announcement comes on the heels of last week's reveal that Enceladus, one of Saturn's icy moons, was found to have hydrogen - a potential source of chemical energy that could support microbes on its seafloor. 

NASA researchers will soon present new findings on topics ranging from the origins and evolution of life on earth to the search for habitable environments and life in our solar system. The illustration  shows Cassini spacecraft diving through a plume on Enceladus
NASA researchers will soon present new findings on topics ranging from the origins and evolution of life on earth to the search for habitable environments and life in our solar system. The illustration shows Cassini spacecraft diving through a plume on Enceladus

WHO WILL SPEAK AT THE ANNOUNCEMENT?

Dr Giada Arney of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, will discuss organic haze on Earthlike planets as possible biosignatures.

Dr Morgan Cable at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, will speak about mechanisms for enrichment of organics in Enceladus plumes.

Dr John Grunsfeld, former NASA astronaut associate administrator for science, will deliver a presentation on next-generation space telescopes for terrestrial exoplanet characterization and the search for biosignatures.

NASA will hold a town hall meeting to obtain feedback from the astrobiology community on the Europa Lander Science Definition Team Report on Sunday, April 23 at the Phoenix Marriott Mesa Hotel from 12:30 to 6pm Pacific Daylight Time. 

The report looks at the potential science value of a lander on the surface of Jupiter's sixth-closest, icy moon Europa, which is a key candidate for potential extraterrestrial life.

It lists three science goals for the mission, with the primary goal being the search for evidence of life on Europa.

The report also aims to assess the habitability of Europa by directly analyzing material from the surface, and to characterize the surface and subsurface to support future robotic exploration of Europa and its ocean.

Europa has long been a high priority for exploration because it has a salty liquid water ocean beneath its icy crust. 
 
An artist's concept of a plume of water vapour thought to be ejected off the frigid, icy surface of Jupiter's moon Europa, about 500 million miles (800 million km) from the sun
An artist's concept of a plume of water vapour thought to be ejected off the frigid, icy surface of Jupiter's moon Europa, about 500 million miles (800 million km) from the sun

Last year, the Hubble telescope spotted possible water plumes, similar to those of Enceladus, erupting from Europa.

Evidence of a plume was seen at the same location in 2014, and researchers say the new observations are further evidence that these plumes could be real, and experience intermittent flare-ups.

These vapor flumes coming off Europa make it a key candidate for potential extraterrestrial life.

NASA’s Europa Clipper mission, named after the clipper ships which sailed across the oceans of our planet in the 19th century, will set off in the 2020s to search for the chemical ingredients of life on Jupiter's moon Europa. 

JUPITER'S ICY MOON EUROPA

Jupiter's icy moon Europa is slightly smaller than Earth's moon. 

Europa orbits Jupiter every 3.5 days and is tidally locked - just like Earth's Moon - so that the same side of Europa faces Jupiter at all times.Jupiter's sixth-closest moon Europa is one of the most interesting bodies in our solar system when it comes to the hunt for extra terrestrial life
Jupiter's sixth-closest moon Europa is one of the most interesting bodies in our solar system when it comes to the hunt for extra terrestrial life

It is thought to have an iron core, a rocky mantle and a surface ocean of salty water, like Earth. 

Unlike on Earth, however, this ocean is deep enough to cover the whole surface of Europa, and being far from the sun, the ocean surface is globally frozen over.

Many experts believe the hidden ocean surrounding Europa, warmed by powerful tidal forces caused by Jupiter's gravity, may have conditions favourable for life. 

The ultimate aim of Europa Clipper is to determine if Europa is habitable, possessing all three of the ingredients necessary for life: liquid water, chemical ingredients, and energy sources sufficient to enable biology. 

NASA's Roadmaps to Ocean Worlds (ROW) team, chartered to identify science objectives and exploration roadmaps for ocean worlds, will hold a town hall from 12:15 to 1:15pm on Monday, April 24 to share its progress and obtain feedback.

Among some of the researchers who will speak at the conference are Dr Giada Arney of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who will discuss organic haze on Earthlike planets as possible biosignatures, and Dr Morgan Cable at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who will speak about mechanisms for enrichment of organics in Enceladus plumes. 

The findings discussed may also involve Enceladus, Saturn's sixth largest moon.

After 13 years exploring Saturn, NASA's Cassini aircraft dove into high-powered jets of water spewing from the moon’s surface, where it found hydrogen gas.

The gas is the final piece of the puzzle following the discovery of water in an ocean under Enceladus’s surface.

It means Saturn’s sixth moon may have the same single-celled organisms with which life began on Earth, or more complex creatures still.

These organisms, still found on our planet within the darkest depths of our oceans, use hydrogen and carbon dioxide as fuel in a process known as 'methanogenesis.'

‘What is intriguing about the data at Enceladus, with the hydrogen detection, is that we are now able to determine how much energy would be available from the methanogenesis reaction at Enceladus,' said Dr Chris Glein, Cassini INMS team associate at the Southwest Research Insitiute during a press conference about Enceladus. 

'We have made the first calorie count in an alien ocean.'

Organisms, found on our planet in hot vents within the darkest depths of our oceans, use hydrogen and carbon dioxide as fuel in a process called 'methanogenesis.' Researchers have now discovered the building blocks for life exist on Enceladus as well
Organisms, found on our planet in hot vents within the darkest depths of our oceans, use hydrogn and carbon dioxide as fuel in a process called 'methanogenesis.' Researchers have now discovered the building blocks for life exist on Enceladus as well
 

WHAT IS ENCELADUS? 

Enceladus is Saturn's sixth largest moon, at 313 miles wide (504 kilometers).

Cassini observations have revealed hydrothermal activity, with vents spewing water vapour and ice particles out from a global ocean buried beneath the icy crust.

Cassini observations have revealed hydrothermal activity on Enceladus, with vents spewing water vapor and ice particles out from a global ocean buried beneath the icy crust
Cassini observations have revealed hydrothermal activity on Enceladus, with vents spewing water vapor and ice particles out from a global ocean buried beneath the icy crust
 

According to NASA, the plume includes organic compounds, volatile gases, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, salts, and silica.

While it may look 'inhospitable' like Saturn's other moons, the observations suggest it may have the ingredients to support microbial life

This, the researcher explained, is a major step in assessing the moon's habitability. 

The host of the upcoming conference, Arizona State University (ASU), will also hold two free public events at the Phoenix Marriott Mesa Hotel.

ASU's Beyond Center will hold an event called 'Where a Second Example of Life Might be Discovered in the Next Century' on Tuesday, April 25 from 7 to 8:30pm,

ASU's Origins Project will host an event titled 'How Astrobiology and Planetary Science Inform a Perspective of Planetary Stewardship' on Thursday April 26 from 6:30 to 8:30pm. 

Source: This article was published dailymail.co.uk By CECILE BORKHATARIA

Categorized in Internet Technology

UFO hunters claim they've found an "alien ship" poking out a cave in Antarctica.

Conspiracy theorists that spotted the sight in Google Earth satellite images said it was “final proof of secret technology” on the freezing continent.

The latest 'find' comes weeks after bizarre satellite images appeared to show a huge staircase leading up the side of a snowy mountain in the South Pole.

The unusual sight sparked a fierce debate, with some suggesting it could be part of a

pyramid structure or UFO and others claiming it showed air vents for a huge underground colony.

UFO hunters claim they've found an "alien ship" poking out a cave in Antarctica

Conspiracy theorists that spotted the sight in Google Earth satellite images

Videos on both of the mystery sights were shared by alien hunter Tyler Glockner from SecureTeam 10

Videos on both of the mystery sights were shared by alien hunter Tyler Glockner from SecureTeam 10.

On the latest video, he said: "This is a bombshell discovery and one of the most obvious unnatural and anomalous structures we have found at the South Pole."

    Secure Team suggested the Nazis built secret bases in Antarctica during World War II, which were designed to be used by flying saucers.

    The giant staircase found on Antarctica

    The giant staircase found on Antarctica (Photo: Secureteam 10)

    div data-application-id="MIRROR Embed Offsite" data-suggested="{"videos":[{"id":9718955,"title":"A huge motorway crash throws a woman out of an am","articleTypeName":"brightcoveVideo","url":"Video thumbnail, Strangeness surrounding the South Pole continues as giant “staircase” found on Antarctica
    STRANGENESS SURROUNDING THE SOUTH POLE CONTINUES

    The UFO hunters added: “There is some evidence of this coming to light in recent years, which images purporting to show various entrances built into the side of mountains, with a saucer shape and at a very high altitude.

    “This begs the question: how would you enter these entrances without something that could fly and was the same shape as hole itself?”

    Many people even believe the strange sights show the City of Atlantis - which they believe is located in Antarctica.

    Author : RACHEL BISHOP

    Source : http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/mystery-over-bizarre-google-earth-9716363

    Categorized in Search Engine

    LIFE probably does not exist on Mars as there is no water on the surface of the planet, a new study found.

    A new study of meteorites that have crashed into the surface of the Red Planet over millions of years has found none showed signs of rust, suggesting there is no liquid present on Earth’s neighbour.

    Our Neightbouring planet still harbours plenty of secrets, but alien life may not be one of them
    Who would live in a place like this? A photo of the barren Martian surface

    Who would live in a place like this? A photo of the barren Martian surface

    There is less moisture on Mars than in the driest place on Earth – the Atacama Desert in Chile and Peru.

    Some weather stations in this region have received no rain for years, while another station reports an average of one millimetre per year.

    An international team of planetary scientists led by the University of Stirling suggested rust free meteorites showed Mars was incredibly dry and has been for millions of years.

    The findings showed how difficult it would be for life to exist on Mars today as Earth’s nearest neighbour is the primary target in the search for life elsewhere.

    Dr Christian Schröder said: “Evidence shows that more than three billion years ago Mars was wet and habitable.

    “However, this latest research reaffirms just how dry the environment is today.

    “For life to exist in the areas we investigated, it would need to find pockets far beneath the surface, located away from the dryness and radiation present on the ground.”

    National Geographic series Mars

    An artist’s impression of astronauts exploring Mars

    A study last year using data from the Curiosity Rover investigating Gale crater suggested very salty liquid water might be able to condense in the top layers of Martian soil overnight.

    But the lecturer in environmental science and planetary exploration and science team collaborator for the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity mission added: "But, as our data show, this moisture is much less than the moisture present even in the driest places on Earth."

    The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity provided data on a cluster of meteorites at Meridiani Planum - a plain just south of the planet's equator and at a similar latitude to Gale crater.

    The study comes as the European Space Agency's Schiaparelli lander prepares to land on Mars to search for life

    The European Space Agency's Schiaparelli craft, which failed in its mission to land a exploration robot on the Red Planet

    Author:  Tony Whitfield

    Source:  https://www.thesun.co.uk

    Categorized in News & Politics

    The search for life on Mars might just center around a strange funnel-shaped surface feature inside a crater, scientists say in a new study. Located in what is known as the Hellas depression, the feature could hold the “ingredients of life.”

    The Daily Mail reported last week that a new study suggests that volcanic activity on Mars might have been a key contributor to the odd funnel depression that could be Mars’ best chance to host living organisms. Scientists have believed that a volcano located beneath a glacier on Mars’ surface created the Hellas depression, but new data taken from stereoscopic images and digital elevation models indicates that the formation is not only volcanic in origin, it might be similar to “ice cauldrons” on Earth. Such a formation could create an environment warm enough to host liquid water and chemical nutrients that might support life.

    Ice cauldrons are found on Earth in places like Iceland and Greenland, created when volcanoes erupt under an ice sheet. On Mars, these same conditions potentially could host life.

    Joseph Levy, a research associate and lead author of the study from the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, explained the reasoning behind the study’s site choice.

    “We were drawn to this site because it looked like it could host some of the key ingredients for habitability – water, heat, and nutrients.”

    The Hellas depression, as noted, is located in a crater at the edge of the Hellas basin. Ancient glacial deposits surround the feature.

    Photo of Mars' Hellas basin

    The Hellas basin on Mars. [Image by ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum)/Getty Images]

    Nor is the feature, which was first discovered in 2009 in images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, unique. It is similar to a depression in the Galaxias Fossae region.

    “These landforms caught our eye because they’re weird looking. They’re concentrically fractured so they look like a bull’s-eye. That can be a very diagnostic pattern you see in Earth materials,” Levy admitted.

    The study concluded that the two funnel structures were formed in different ways. The Galaxias Fossae depression seems to be a product of an impact, while the Hellas depression showed several indications of volcanism.

    Levy and his fellow researchers suggest that such depressions on Mars should be considered as prime locations for the search for life on the Red Planet. The Hellas formation is of particular interest due to its possible volcanic origins and the potential for life-fostering properties.

    The search for life on Mars might have received a boost or perhaps even a confirmation (or denial) of its existence last month had the Rocosmos and European Space Agency’s lander been able to continue its mission on the planet’s surface. Called Schiaparelli, the lander was an astrobiology project specifically designed to search for life on Mars. As the Inquisitr reported, Schiaparelli exploded on impact with the surface on October 19, a victim of its parachute deploying too early (although conspiracy theorists oddly accused NASA of shooting down the craft to maintain its scientific dominance).

    Mars landscape at sunset

    Mars life might be found first in a crater in the Hellas basin that exhibits a strange funnel-shaped depression. [Image by Jurik Peter/Shutterstock]

    Beyond Mars, the search for life outside the bounds of the Solar System received help from the Parkes Observatory in Australia this week. According to Space.com, the telescope joined the $100 million Breakthrough Listen project, the astronomical initiative launched by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, becoming the third telescope in the line-up that includes the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and the Automated Planet Finder at Lick Observatory in Northern California.

    “The addition of Parkes is an important milestone,” Milner said in a statement. “These major instruments are the ears of planet Earth, and now they are listening for signs of other civilizations.”

    The Parkes dish’s first Breakthrough Listen observations were received from the nearest star system, Proxima Centauri, where a planet has been detected that exists in the star’s habitable zone.

    Author:  Norman Byrd

    Source:  http://www.inquisitr.com/

    Categorized in News & Politics

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