понедельник, 5 ноября 2018 г.

ESA rocks space weather

ESA – European Space Agency patch.

5 November 2018

This week, to coincide with the fifteenth annual European Space Weather Week, ESA is celebrating the dynamic phenomenon of space weather.

Coronal mass ejection

We’re taking a closer look at space weather, the ever-present solar wind and the ever-changing cycles of the Sun — a star that sees 11 years pass in relative calm followed by another 11 years of immense activity, driving sunspots, solar flares, Coronal Mass Ejections and solar-particle events.

It’s difficult to comprehend the size and sheer power of our Sun — a churning ball of hot gas 4.6 billion years old and 1.3 million times larger than Earth — that for the most part remains a regular, yet distant part of our lives.

Unpredictable and temperamental

In space, however, this hotly glowing star plays a remarkable role – dominating our solar system. Unpredictable and temperamental, the Sun has made life on the inner planets of the Solar System, save one exception, impossible, due to the intense radiation combined with the colossal amounts of energetic material it blasts in every direction, creating the ever-changing conditions in space known as ‘space weather’.

Solar events

Considering all of this, how did life come to thrive on Earth? Our magnetic field protects us from the solar wind, a constant stream of electrons, protons and heavier particles – ‘ions’ – from the Sun, and from Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), the Sun’s occasional outbursts of multi-billion-tonne clouds of solar plasma into space. The most extreme events, arrivals of fast CMEs or high-speed solar wind streams, disturb our protective magnetic shield, creating geomagnetic storms.

Serious problems for modern life

These storms have the potential to cause serious problems for modern technological systems, disrupting or damaging satellites in space and the multitude of services – like navigation and telecoms – that rely on them, or blacking out power grids and radio communication and creating a radiation hazard for astronauts in space.

Watching for solar hazards

While these events can’t be stopped, advance warning of an oncoming solar storm would give spacecraft controllers and power-grid and network operators time to take protective measures.

ESA Lagrange mission animation

ESA’s planned Lagrange mission will support provision of just such advance warnings.

Watching the Sun from a unique position in space, the Lagrange satellite will allow monitoring of the potentially hazardous sunspots and high-speed solar wind streams before they come into view from Earth, and detect solar events and their propagation toward the Earth with higher accuracy than is possible today. Data from the Lagrange mission will be transmitted to the Earth and distributed into ESA’s Space Weather Service Network in near real-time to generate warnings and forecasts.

Protective measures against space weather are becoming increasingly important, as much of modern human society becomes increasingly reliant on space-based services, vulnerable to the Sun’s unpredictable outbursts.

As a result, at ESA’s next Ministerial Council in 2019, space weather and the needed early warning services will be a main topic presented as part of the Agency’s vision for the future in the emerging domain of space safety and security.

This week, ESA will highlight the unique phenomenon of space weather, from the science behind it and how we study it, to its effect on satellites in space and ESA’s plans for the future.

Related links:

Lagrange mission: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Space_Situational_Awareness/Monitoring_space_weather

Space Situational Awareness: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Space_Situational_Awareness

ESA Space Weather Service Network: http://swe.ssa.esa.int/

Space weather and its hazards: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Space_Situational_Awareness/Space_weather_and_its_hazards

Space Weather Segment: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Space_Situational_Awareness/Space_Weather_Segment

Monitoring space weather: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Space_Situational_Awareness/Monitoring_space_weather

Space weather missions:

Proba-2 Science Centre: http://proba2.sidc.be/

ESA’s SOHO home page: http://sohowww.estec.esa.nl/

Image, Videos, Text, Credits: ESA/A. Baker/NASA/Soho.

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2018 November 5 IC 4592: The Blue Horsehead Reflection Nebula…

2018 November 5

IC 4592: The Blue Horsehead Reflection Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: Mario Cogo

Explanation: Do you see the horse’s head? What you are seeing is not the famous Horsehead nebula toward Orion but rather a fainter nebula that only takes on a familiar form with deeper imaging. The main part of the here imaged molecular cloud complex is a reflection nebula cataloged as IC 4592. Reflection nebulas are actually made up of very fine dust that normally appears dark but can look quite blue when reflecting the light of energetic nearby stars. In this case, the source of much of the reflected light is a star at the eye of the horse. That star is part of Nu Scorpii, one of the brighter star systems toward the constellation of the Scorpion (Scorpius). A second reflection nebula dubbed IC 4601 is visible surrounding two stars to the right of the image center.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap181105.html

HiPOD (4 November 2018): Wrinkle Ridges in West Meridiani…

HiPOD (4 November 2018): Wrinkle Ridges in West Meridiani Planum 

   – With this image, we can compare the topography of these wrinkle ridges to other terrain to see if bedrock has a discernible effect on ridge growth. (274 km above the surface. Black and white is less than 1 km across; enhanced color is  less than 1 km.)

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Article of the Week standing in for the Image of the Week – November 5, 2018

With apologies for cross


Great article about The

Cell Image Library in The Washington Post.

Where else have you seen

mention of the Cell Image Library? Let us know in the comments.


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Glonass-M satellite has been placed into orbit

Russian Aerospace Forces – GLONASS patch.

Nov. 3, 2018

Soyuz-2.1b carrying GLONASS-M satellite launch

After the separation from the Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket the Fregat upper successfully launched the Glonass-M satellite into orbit, an official with the Defense Ministry told reporters on Sunday.

“The Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket that was launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on Saturday, November 3 at 23:17 Moscow time, has successfully launched the Russian navigation spacecraft Glonass-M into the calculated orbit at a set time,” the official said.

Soyuz-2.1b launches GLONASS-M satellite

This is the fourth launch of a Soyuz-2 carrier rocket from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in 2018. GLONASS-M (ГЛОНАСС-М), also known as Uragan-M (Ураган-М) is part of the Russian GLONASS satellite navigation system.

GLONASS-M navigation satellite

Flight tests of the Soyuz-2 space launch complex began at Plesetsk in the autumn of 2004. Over the past 14 years, 36 launches of the Soyuz-2 carrier rockets (modernization stages 1a, 1b and 1b) have been conducted from the northern cosmodrome, including the launch on Saturday.

The Soyuz-2 rocket replaced the Soyuz-U carriers, which was launched from Plesetsk from 1973 to 2012. In total, 435 Soyuz-U rockets were launched from the cosmodrome, about 430 vehicles were launched into orbit.

Roscosmos press release: https://www.roscosmos.ru/25676/

Images, Video, Text, Credits: TASS/Roscosmos/Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation/SciNews.

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Are we losing one of our biggest CO2 sinks?

In a new study spanning coastal areas of the Northern Hemisphere, a coordinated researcher network led by MSc Emilia Röhr, Assoc. Prof. Christoffer Boström from Åbo Akademi University and Prof. Marianne Holmer from University of Southern Denmark explored the magnitude of organic carbon stocks stored and sequestered by eelgrass (Zostera marina) meadows–the most abundant seagrass species in temperate waters.

Are we losing one of our biggest CO2 sinks?
This is Eelgrass, Zostera marina [Credit: © Christoffer Boström/Åbo Akademi University]

“We discovered that eelgrass organic carbon stocks were comparable to organic carbon stocks of tropical seagrass species, as well as mangroves, saltmarshes and terrestrial ecosystems”, Emilia Röhr says.
On average, eelgrass meadows stored 27.2 tons of organic carbon per hectare, although the variation between the regions was considerable (from three to 265 tons per hectare). Hotspots for carbon sequestration were identified especially in the Kattegat-Skagerrak region, and southern parts of the Baltic Sea where the organic carbon stocks were over eight times higher, than in the Archipelago Sea of Finland.

The high carbon storage capacity of eelgrass meadows urges for protection and restoration of this unique ecosystem. Especially in the areas with the highest carbon stock capacity, they deserve recognition as part of global carbon marketing programmes.

Are we losing one of our biggest CO2 sinks?
Eelgrass blue carbon stocks compared to other marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
Data sources: Kennedy and Björk, 2009, Fourqurean et al., 2012, Duarte et al.,
2013, Röhr et al., 2018 [Credit: © Emilia Röhr/Åbo Akademi University]

“Terrestrial forests are well known for their capacity to store carbon (green carbon), while the so-called blue carbon stored and sequestered by coastal vegetated ecosystems, such as mangroves, saltmarshes, macroalgae and seagrasses, have received much less attention”, says Röhr.

“Although these cover only 0.5 % of the seafloor, their carbon storage capacity accounts for more than 55 % of the carbon stored by photosynthetic activity on Earth.”

In the marine systems, the blue carbon species alone account for up to 33 % of the total oceanic CO2 uptake. In contrast to terrestrial soils, which usually store carbon up to decades, the carbon stored in blue carbon ecosystems may persist for timescales of millennia or longer and thus, contribute significantly to climate change mitigation and alleviation of the rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. Despite the importance of these ecosystems, to date, none of them are included in the global carbon trading programmes. Alarmingly, in the past 50 years, at least 1/3rd of the distribution area of coastal vegetated ecosystems has been lost.

The findings are published in Global Biogeochemical Cycles.

Read more in The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/we-desperately-need-to-store-more-carbon-seagrass-could-be-the-answer-105524

Source: Abo Akademi University [October 31, 2018]



UWF archaeologists make new discoveries during Emanuel Point I artifact restoration

New wrinkles are being discovered in a 450-year-old artifact at the University of West Florida’s Division of Anthropology & Archaeology.

UWF archaeologists make new discoveries during Emanuel Point I artifact restoration
Previously undiscovered decor on an ancient Spanish breast plate excavated from the wreck
of Emanuel Point I in 1996 was recently noted at UWF [Credit: UWF]

During a 1996 excavation, UWF archaeologists discovered an ancient armoured Spanish breast plate — worn by conquistador Tristan de Luna’s army in 1559 — at the site of the first Emanuel Point I ship wreck near Pensacola. The breast plate was found in the stern of the ship during one of several excavations conducted since initial discovery was made in 1992.

Centuries underwater left the breast plate completely covered in marine growth. All the original metal was gone as the iron had been converted into iron sulfide. But concretion preserved the shape of the breast plate and allowed archaeologists to identify it.

“(In 1996) we had the Keeper of Armour for the Tower of London visit Pensacola,” recalled John Bratten, chair and professor of anthropology at UWF. “Then we took it to Sacred Heart Hospital and got a CT scan.”

Based on CT scan images in 1996, the armour specialist during that time determined that the breast plate was large in size, was probably made around 1510 in Italy, and was likely worn by a solider rather than a member of the mounted cavalry.

Bratten worked on the original concretion of the breast plate over the years, attempting to clean it from the back side by pouring in epoxy to make a cast. After years of letting the epoxy set, one of Bratten’s graduate students at UWF took an interest in finishing the process of epoxy casting, done to restore the plate as much as possible.

That student, James Gazaway, has made some noteworthy discoveries since undertaking the project a little over a year ago.

“He wanted to know if he could continue to work on it,” Bratten said. “He’s much more adept at that than I am.”

Gazaway said the last 13 months of work have been laborious to say the least.

“The breast plate itself was found near the wreck of (Emanuel Point I) and came off the bottom of the bay, and when it came up it was just covered in crustaceans,” Gazaway said. “Sediments that had basically turned into concrete over the metal. It was about, in some places, as much as 3 inches in concretion that needed to be cleared off.”

Once Gazaway did navigate through a lot of that concretion, he was amazed at what he found.

“One of the things we found was the center ridge line on the breast plate. In the CT scan and the X-rays and everything, it didn’t really show itself very clearly before,” Gazaway said. “It was a surprise to us.”

Gazaway said in Europe in the 14th century, the ridge line over the medial of the armour was a matter of style and preference.

“There were two basic styles, one had the medial ridge line and one didn’t, and it was pretty much a matter of choice,” Gazaway said. “More of your Germanic and English went toward the ridge lines and the Italian and French were rather smooth. Spain was a mixture of both.”

There was also a small piece of decoration that Gazaway uncovered.

“Right around the neckline there’s four parallel rows of lines about one millimetre a part,” he said. “Very precise, definitely inscribed, and part of the original decoration work on the piece. And to have any of that survive is just amazing.”

Gazaway said the original breast plate was likely 3-to-6 millimetres thick all over. But centuries worth of corrosion has impacted the breast plate to the point that its depth and width today is about a half-millimetre thick.

Gazaway’s discoveries, centuries after the breast plate sank to the bottom of the ocean with Emanuel Point originally and more than 20 years after it was found as an artifact, speaks to the long term, ongoing nature of revisiting artifacts as an archaeologist.

“The field work may last a couple years but the analysis can go on for decades,” Bratten said. “There’s new research that you can open up doors to new conservation techniques that come into play. You can get more information on something that you thought you already had a firm grasp on.”

Author: Jacob Newby | Source: Pensacola News Journal [October 31, 2018]



Three stolen ancient Greek archaeological finds to be returned to Italy

A small vase for oils and ointments, a wine pitcher and a bowl for food are three archaeological finds from the Greek era that had been smuggled out of Italy and have been tracked down and will be brought back.

Three stolen ancient Greek archaeological finds to be returned to Italy
Credit: ANSA

The finds were recovered through collaboration between the cultural heritage section of the Carabinieri and the FBI and were handed over to Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli on Wednesday in Washington.

Three stolen ancient Greek archaeological finds to be returned to Italy
Credit: ANSA

“On this occasion I want to announce that, in the next few months, a draft law of government initiative will be presented at the cabinet in collaboration with the foreign affairs ministry, the justice ministry and the ministry that I represent for the ratification of the Convention of Nicosia on crimes against cultural heritage,” Minister Bonisopli said at the ceremony in the Italian embassy in Washington.

Three stolen ancient Greek archaeological finds to be returned to Italy
Credit: ANSA

Over 15 years of collaboration between Italy and the US in working against the smuggling of archaeological finds was celebrated during the event.

The minister said that there would be stiffer penalties in the draft law.

Source: ANSA [October 31, 2018]



What happened in the past when the climate changed?

Once again, humanity might be well served to take heed from a history lesson. When the climate changed, when crops failed and famine threatened, the peoples of ancient Asia responded. They moved. They started growing different crops. They created new trade networks and innovated their way to solutions in other ways too.

What happened in the past when the climate changed?
The effects of climate change are most pronounced in high latitude and high-altitude areas
[Credit: Jade d’Alpoim Guedes/UC San Diego]

So suggests new research by Jade d’Alpoim Guedes of the University of California San Diego and Kyle Bocinsky of the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in Colorado, Washington State University and the University of Montana.

Their paper, published in the journal Science Advances, describes a computer model they developed that shows for the first time when and where in Asia staple crops would have thrived or fared poorly between 5,000 and 1,000 years ago.

When the climate cooled, people moved away or turned to pastoralism – herds can thrive in grassland where food grains can’t. And they turned to trade. These strategies eventually coalesced into the development of the Silk Road, d’Alpoim Guedes and Bocinsky argue. In some areas they also diversified the types of crops they planted.

With their new computer model, the researchers were able to examine in detail how changing climate transformed people’s ability to produce food in particular places, and that enabled them to get at the causes of cultural shift.

“There’s been a large body of literature in archaeology on past climates, but earlier studies were mostly only able to draw correlations between changes in climate and civilization,” said lead author d’Alpoim Guedes, an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. “What we’re showing in this work is exactly how changes in temperature and precipitation, over space and time, would have actually impacted people – by affecting what they could and couldn’t grow.”

D’Alpoim Guedes is an archaeologist who specializes in paleoethnobotany – analyzing ancient plant remains – to understand how human subsistence strategies changed over time. Bocinsky is a computational archaeologist. The duo developed their model by combining contemporary weather station data from across Asia with a hemisphere-wide paleoclimate reconstruction to create a simulation across space and time of how temperature in Asia changed. They also added data on archaeological sites and the record of seeds found there.

One major transition in climate – global cooling at the time – happened around 3,700 to 3,000 years ago. And what is true now was true then: changing temperatures don’t affect all regions of the globe equally. The effects are most pronounced in high latitude and high-altitude areas, and d’Alpoim Guedes and Bocinsky show how dramatic the changes were, for example, in Mongolia and the Tibetan Plateau. There, around 3,500 years before the present, broomcorn and foxtail millet would have failed to come to harvest about half of the time. People had to abandon the crop in favor of more cold-tolerant ones like wheat and barley.

They also argue that cooling temperatures made it increasingly difficult to grow key grain crops across Northern China between AD 291 and 360, something that may have ended up playing a key role in the relocation of the Chinese capital to from Xi’an to what is now Nanjing, in the south of the country.

This was not a painless move – not like finding a better apartment across town. Historical records report on catastrophic harvests (read: famines). And there were major migrations of people, accompanied, the researchers say, by the myriad little conflicts these migrations often bring, as well as bloody struggles.

Climate change also stimulated the development of transportation infrastructure across Asia, the co-authors say, including the later Sui Dynasty’s decision to invest in a major capital public project and create China’s Grand Canal. The Grand Canal, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the world’s longest and oldest canal, linking the Yellow and Yangtze rivers. It was a major facilitator for the movement of people and their trade goods.

D’Alpoim Guedes and Bocinsky’s paper in Science Advances [DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aar4491] carries a positive title – “Climate change stimulated agricultural innovation and exchange across Asia” – but the co-authors also warn against a completely Pollyanna view.

“Crises are opportunities for culture change and innovation,” Bocinsky said. “But the speed and scale of our current climate change predicament are different.”

The impacts of warming going forward are going to be quicker and greater, and humanity has had 4000 years to adjust to a cooler world, d’Alpoim Guedes said. “With global warming these long-lasting patterns of adaptation will begin to change in ways that are unpredictable,” she said. “And there might not be the behavioral flexibility for this, given current politics around the world.”

Also mechanized, industrialized agriculture and global agricultural policy are pushing us toward mono-culture of crops, said d’Alpoim Guedes. We need to move in the opposite direction instead. “Studies like ours show that bet-hedging and investing in diversity have been our best bets for adapting to climate change,” she said. “That is what allowed us to adapt in past, and we need to be mindful of that for our future, too.”

For those wishing to reproduce the paper’s findings: The code is open source and any user of the free statistical software R can download the package the authors are making available and run the analysis themselves. Researchers can also extend d’Alpoim Guedes and Bocinsky’s findings by running analysis on other crops and other locations in different parts of the world. It is even possible, the co-authors say, to modify their code and then, potentially, to project for future crop failures.

Author: Inga Kiderra | Source: University of California – San Diego [October 31, 2018]



Earliest evidence of English settlers discovered in Connecticut

Archaeologists are digging out an early English settlement in Wethersfield, Conn., dating back to the 1630s, when Europeans were just starting to settle in the region.

Earliest evidence of English settlers discovered in Connecticut
Aerial view of the excavation area where material from the 1630s and 1640s was recovered. The dark stains at the base
of the excavated area are the remains of a palisade wall and numerous posts that may be part of an earthfast house
[Credit: Sarah Sportman]

Volunteer Charbra Jestin kneels in a two-foot-deep pit, clears away dirt with a spade and then scoops it out. Every so often she turns up a shard of a plate or a glass bottle.

“I believe it’s Russian mineral oil [laughs], which was evidently used quite a bit based on the number of bottles that have come out of this earth!”

This pit was once part of one of the first English houses ever built in the lower Connecticut River Valley.

“It’s very exciting. This is the earliest archaeological evidence of the English in Connecticut. And it’s about as early as it can be, because this is basically the founding of Connecticut colony,” said lead archaeologist Sarah Sportman.

Earliest evidence of English settlers discovered in Connecticut
Volunteer Charbra Jestin unearths artificats in Wethersfield, Conn.
[Credit: Davis Dunavin/WSHU]

English settlers founded Wethersfield in 1634, and it was one of those settlers that built the house that once stood on this site. The Dutch had a fur trading post nearby, but the English were the first Europeans to build houses here.
“The English came and settled. They had a very different strategy than the Dutch for this region. They want to come, they wanted to stay.”

Sportman says she’ll take the artifacts back to her team’s lab to analyze them further. And she says when she’s done with them, some could turn up right back here at the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum.

Author: Davis Dunavin | Source: WSHU [October 31, 2018]



Iberian inscription seized in southern Spain found to be fake

An ancient sheet thought to be the oldest artefact of its kind found in Spain has turned out to be a forgery, according to researchers.

Iberian inscription seized in southern Spain found to be fake
Credit: ABC de Seville

Academics at the University of Jaen have been examining the text, which features writing in the Graeco-Iberican script, since Guardia Civil officers seized it in the city.

Police found it while working on an operation which saw six suspects arrested in Jaen, Mancha Real, La Guardia and Andujar.

The sheet was initially thought to date from the 3rd Century BCE, which would have made it the oldest item ever found with writing in the Graeco-Iberian script.

Officials representing the Spanish government in Andalucia said its value would be “incalculable” if the find was authentic.

Researchers at the University of Jaen’s Iberian Archaeology department found some of the Greek letters on the sheet did not match those that would have been used at the time.

Police investigating the find now believe the item was forged for sale on the black market. Officers seized another almost 750 items during raids as part of Operation Alfaibero.

Police claim the items were collected by a ring who arranged for them to be sold to collectors on the black market.

Other items include Greek and Roman sculptors and artwork and a coin. The coin was also a forgery, of a Roman denarius piece almost 2,000 years old.

The Iberians were a culture that lived in modern day Spain and Portugal before the arrival of Greek and Phoenician settlers, the latter from what is now Lebanon and Tunisia.

The native Iberians traded and exchanged traditions and religion with the settlers leading to the formation of hybrid cultures such as the Graeco-Iberians. They and others in the Iberian Peninsula were later conquered by the Romans.

Author: Joe Gerrard | Source: Euro Weekly [October 31, 2018]



Sculptured Stone, Menai, Anglesey, North Wales, 28.10.18.

Sculptured Stone, Menai, Anglesey, North Wales, 28.10.18.

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https://t.co/hvL60wwELQ — XissUFOtoday Space (@xufospace) August 3, 2021 Жаждущий ежик наслаждается пресной водой после нескольких дней в о...