On some level we all know astrology has to be ridiculous. There is absolutely no way that stars many hundreds of thousands of light years away that just happened to look like a crab (even then the resemblance is questionable) somehow determine my personality. But then there have been reports, many linked in this paper, which do describe violence, revolutions, crime and just general social unrest to have slight changes based on the solar cycle of 11 years and the associated geomagnetic changes in the Earth. By the inverse the solar cycle and changes in emitted ultraviolet light have also been associated with scientific and artistic innovation, creativity and social change. If the reader of this post is sceptical, I would like to make it known that I’m probably more so even while reading this paper.
On the 17th of August, 2017, an event was detected on two pieces of equipment. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) – Virgo partnership detected a high frequency gravitational wave and at roughly the same time the Gamma-Ray Monitor upon NASA’s Fermi Space Telescope picked a short gamma ray burst (sGRB). These two effects are believed to both be the result of double neutron star merger, which as the name suggests, is when two neutron stars end up smashing into each other forming either a bigger neutron star or a black hole.
Satellites certainty live an interesting life whizzing around the Earth; getting half frozen and half baked every orbit; trying to dodge all the other useless junk flying around as well; occasionally getting an order to rotate an arcsecond clockwise or something like that. They also get to be our first level of sensing when it comes to intense radio waves heading for Earth. Continue reading Studying Solar Radio Burst By Magnetic Reconnection
It’s time for a bit of a hop back in time, not very far, but by about two weeks. There was a very interesting paper published on the 11th that it appears I missed and I’d like to just cover it now:
Most people know that comets are balls of “ice” although what exactly ice means can be quite complicated. Often formed of frozen gases and stony materials more fitting of meteorites these comets begin to evaporate as they reach the Sun’s proximity. The material boiling off the comet forms the eponymous coma which completely envelops the comet’s nucleus as it gets within a few astronomical units of the Sun. Comets normally have two types of tails that accompany them: the dust tail and the plasma tail. The dust tail, as shown in the image, curves off from the comet made of mostly particulates. The plasma tail, called the gas tail in the diagram, is ionised atoms propelled by the solar wind and so fly along the line joining the Sun and the comet.
I consider it a slight shame that the layers of the Sun are not as widely known as the layers of the Earth. Most people could list the inner core, outer core, mantle and crust; but very few know that the layers of the Sun go: core, radiative zone, convection zone, photosphere, chromosphere and corona. The solar surface is defined as the boundary between the convection zone and photosphere so perhaps it is best to imagine the layers above his as the thin “atmosphere” of the Sun being only a few thousand miles thick (as opposed to radius to the solar surface which is about 400,000 miles).
Flux tubes are an interesting aspect of astrophysics. Flux or more accurately magnetic flux is the amount of magnetic field line flowing through a given 2D surface. A flux tube is therefore infinitely many circular 2D surfaces stuck together to create a long tube which magnetic field lines are imagined to flow through without ever exiting the sides of the tube. As magnetic field lines near the surface of the tube are always perpendicular to the surface they keep moving through and the total magnetic flux within the tube must stay constant even if the tube bends or grows and shrinks in diameter. Flux tubes and a slightly more advanced example that we’ll get onto in a second are found most prominently in the Sun. When large flux tubes are projecting out of the surface of the Sun then large amounts of magnetic field also flow out at this point, stymieing convection and producing a sunspot.
And we’re back. Two days ago I posted Manufacturing Magnetically Frustrated 2D System which contains a good basis for what frustration is. Although that one quickly diverted into the topic of magnetic frustration this post can stay more on the chemical side. If anyone isn’t familiar with the structure of ice it is demonstrated in the diagram on the right.
But is it? Ice can actually take on many different crystalline structures and the one displayed here is not the common one. This is called cubic ice and is the only other kind of ice found naturally on Earth and even then only in small quantities in the upper atmosphere. The common structure of ice is more hexagonal while this structure, relevant for today’s post, is quite similar to diamond with the oxygen being the carbon or for those who’ve seen it silicon dioxide with one of the atoms existing between the main structure points (in the case of SiO2 the atom is oxygen here it’s hydrogen).
Continue reading Perceiving Phase Changes In Water And Ammonia Mixtures