пятница, 22 ноября 2019 г.

Hubble Eyes an Emitting Galaxy













NASA - Hubble Space Telescope patch.

Nov. 22, 2019


For this image, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope turned its powerful eye toward an emission-line galaxy called NGC 3749.

When astronomers explore the contents and constituent parts of a galaxy somewhere in the universe, they use various techniques and tools. One of these is to spread out the incoming light from that galaxy into a spectrum and explore its properties. This is done in much the same way as a glass prism spreads white light into its constituent wavelengths to create a rainbow. By hunting for specific signs of emission from various elements within a galaxy’s spectrum of light —so-called emission lines — or, conversely, the signs of absorption from other elements — so-called absorption lines — astronomers can start to deduce what might be happening within.

If a galaxy’s spectrum shows many absorption lines and few emission lines, this suggests that its star-forming material has been depleted and that its stars are mainly old, while the opposite suggests it might be bursting with star formation and energetic stellar newborns. This technique, known as spectroscopy, can tell us about a galaxy’s type and composition, the density and temperature of any emitting gas, the star formation rate, or how massive the galaxy’s central black hole might be.

While not all galaxies display strong emission lines, NGC 3749 does. It lies over 135 million light-years away and is moderately luminous. The galaxy has been used as a “control” in studies of especially active and luminous galaxies — those with centers known as active galactic nuclei, which emit copious amounts of intense radiation. In comparison to these active cousins, NGC 3749 is classified as inactive, and has no known signs of nuclear activity.

Hubble Space Telescope (HST)

For more information about Hubble, visit:

http://hubblesite.org/

http://www.nasa.gov/hubble

http://www.spacetelescope.org/

Text Credits: ESA (European Space Agency)/NASA/Isabelle Yan/Image, Animation, Credits: ESA/Hubble & NASA, D. Rosario et al.

Best regards, Orbiter.ch

* This article was originally published here

Messapian tomb with man and child unearthed at archaeological site of Roca


The researchers of the Laboratory of Physical Anthropology of the Department of Cultural Heritage of the University of Salento will study the skeletons recently brought to light in the archaeological site of Roca, near the Grotta della Poesia, located on the Adriatic coast in the Apulian province of Lecce, Southern Italy.

Messapian tomb with man and child unearthed at archaeological site of Roca
Credit: Universita del Salento
The skeletons are those of an adult male and a child buried together around the middle of the fifth century BC. The date of the burial was determined by the grave goods that were found and, in particular, by a columned krater placed on the right side of the adult's skeleton.

The discovery of this burial, of a rather common type in the archaeological site of Roca, was made in 2008 as part of the excavation campaign then under way under the direction of Professor Cosimo Pagliara (who passed away in 2015), when about 20 Messapian tombs were discovered.


The site is still being investigated with the permission of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and for Tourism, under the direction of Professor Riccardo Guglielmino, professor of Aegean Civilization at UniSalento.

In 2008, after the usual scientific documentation of the discovery, the grave goods were taken but the skeletons, for technical and climatic reasons, were covered with green fabric sunshades, the tomb filled with earth and the three roof slabs repositioned.

Messapian tomb with man and child unearthed at archaeological site of Roca
Credit: Universita del Salento


At the reopening, a few days ago, the conditions of conservation were perfect, and the recovery of the bones was therefore undertaken. From a preliminary anthropological analysis, the adult individual is male, age at death 35-40 years, the other skeleton is a child of about 6 years.

"We had for some months resumed the study of burials found in 2008, so we decided to complete the excavation in this year", explains Professor Pier Francesco Fabbri, Professor of Physical Anthropology at UniSalento, who now directs the excavations.

"Studying this case will be interesting, since it is rather rare to find two individuals buried at the same time. It will be a matter of subjecting the skeletons to in-depth anthropological and radiological analysis to determine the exact age of death. Through DNA analysis we could also establish if the smaller skeleton belonged to a child, which is not possible to ascertain from the osteological analysis. Several of our students are involved both in the excavation of the medieval necropolis of Roca and in particular in that of this Messapian tomb, and various aspects of the finding will become the subject of graduation theses."

Source: Universita del Salento [trsl. TANN, November 10, 2019]



* This article was originally published here

Pareidolia infrared UFO Hunting

1013 views   38 likes   1 dislikes  

Channel: déjà vu  

An attempt to demonstrate pareidolia in UFO hunting with Infrared. Flying objects filmed with an infrared camera in the day time sky and simultaneously filmed through a Meade ETX 90 in visible light shows what these objects really are.

Equipment used for filming-

Canon 1300D full spectrum conversion, 75-300 mm lens & 760nm infrared filter.

Canon 60D + Meade ETX 90

© Music, ambient sounds and atmospherics created by déjà vu

Video length: 7:46
Category: Science & Technology
39 comments

Fractured ice sheets on Mars













ESA - Mars Express Mission patch.

Nov. 21, 2019

Plan view of Deuteronilus Mensae

Where the two hemispheres of Mars meet, the planet is covered in broken-up terrain: a sign that slow-but-steady flows of icy material once forged their way through the landscape, carving out a fractured web of valleys, cliffs and isolated mounds of rock.

Mars is a planet of two halves. Its hemispheres are drastically different; the smooth northern lowlands sit up to three kilometres below the rugged southern highlands, and the surface in Mars’ northern regions appears to be far younger than the ancient swaths of the south.

Deuteronilus Mensae in context

Where these regions meet, they sometimes form a transition area filled with a wide range of intriguing geological features, patterns and processes: a type of landscape unique to Mars known as fretted terrain. Fretted terrain is found in a couple of key areas on Mars, and an especially good example, named Deuteronilus Mensae, can be seen in these images from Mars Express’ High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC).

This landscape shows clear and widespread signs of significant, lasting erosion. As is common with fretted terrain, it contains a mix of cliffs, canyons, scarps, steep-sided and flat-topped mounds (mesa), furrows, fractured ridges and more, a selection of which can be seen dotted across the frame.

Topographic view of Deuteronilus Mensae

These features were created as flowing material dissected the area, cutting through the existing landscape and carving out a web of winding channels. In the case of Deuteronilus Mensae, flowing ice is the most likely culprit. Scientists believe that this terrain has experienced extensive past glacial activity across numerous martian epochs.

It is thought that glaciers slowly but surely ate away at the plains and plateaus that once covered this region, leaving only a scattering of steep, flat, isolated mounds of rock in their wake.

Perspective view of Deuteronilus Mensae

Smooth deposits cover the floor itself, some marked with flow patterns from material slowly moving downhill – a mix of ice and accumulated debris that came together to form and feed viscous, moving flows of mass somewhat akin to a landslide or mudflow here on Earth.

Studies of this region by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have shown that most of the features seen here do indeed contain high levels of water ice. Estimates place the ice content of some glacial features in the region at up to 90%. This suggests that, rather than hosting individual or occasional icy pockets and glaciers, Deuteronilus Mensae may actually represent the remnants of an old regional ice sheet. This ice sheet may once have covered the entire area, lying atop the plateaus and plains. As the martian climate changed this ice began to shift around and disappear, slowly revealing the rock beneath.

Perspective view of Deuteronilus Mensae

Overall, the features seen in these Mars Express images are reminiscent of the rock- and debris-covered glaciers found in cold regions of Earth. Glaciers may actually be relatively common on both past and present-day Mars; recent studies suggest that the planet may have belts of glacial activity above and below its equator, containing huge amounts of ice covered in thick protective layers of dust, and many other areas show signs of having hosted glaciers in the past – just like Deuteronilus Mensae.

Mars Express

Mars Express has been orbiting the Red Planet since 2003. Using the HRSC, which obtained these new images, the mission has continually mapped the martian surface and characterised various key properties of and phenomena on the planet – from the presence of a planet-wide groundwater system to intricate old river systems, various intriguing surface deposits, giant regional dust storms, spikes of tell-tale gases in the planet’s atmosphere, and much more.

Deuteronilus Mensae in 3D

The mission will continue to explore the Red Planet in collaboration with the ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, which arrived at Mars in 2016, and the ExoMars Rosalind Franklin rover and its accompanying surface science platform, which will arrive in 2021.

Mars Express: http://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Space_Science/Mars_Express

Images, Text, Credits: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO/NASA MGS MOLA Science Team.

Best regards, Orbiter.ch

* This article was originally published here

Roman Harpy Statue, The Yorkshire Museum, York, November 2019.

Roman Harpy Statue, The Yorkshire Museum, York, November 2019.



* This article was originally published here

Breakthrough method of identifying sex and species of million-year-old fossils


Reid Ferring, a professor in the University of North Texas Department of Geography and the Environment, is part of an international team of scientists who have developed a breakthrough method of identifying the sex and species of animal in fossils more than a million years old.

Breakthrough method of identifying sex and species of million-year-old fossils
UNT Professor Reid Ferring holds that cast of a skull found at the Dmanisi site
[Credit: University of North Texas]
"This is very exciting because our current method for determining sex and species, examination of extracted DNA, was limited to approximately 200,000 years. Through palaeoproteomics, the study of ancient proteins, we can now look back over a million years," said Ferring.

Ferring believes that palaeoproteomics will prove to be the key for establishing the evolutionary line between the earliest hominids and modern man. The reason, according to Ferring, is that proteins like collagen, which is found in tendons, ligaments, skin, bone and teeth, last much longer than DNA in fossilized material.


"We have thousands of hominid fossils in collections and museums around the world from all time periods," he said. "We have five complete skulls from the Dmanisi site in the country of Georgia that I know are almost two million years old. There are so many samples that can now be labeled and differentiated between species of the same line. We are on the edge of learning much more about our ancestors and ourselves than at any point in history."

Ferring added that the breakthrough came when the team was able to sample collagen from 1.7 million-year-old fossilized animal teeth found at the Dmanisi site. Using that protein, the team determined that the animal was a Stephanorhinus, an extinct form of rhinoceros. The team could then fit the Stephanorhinus into the modern rhinoceros' evolutionary line and differentiate it from ones that came before and after.


Palaeoproteomics is a very new field and, as such, scientists are very careful to document and confirm each part of the process. Ferring was one of more than 40 prominent researchers of different specialties, nationalities and backgrounds who participated in the groundbreaking project.

"I was brought in not because I am an expert on ancient proteins, but because I am a geologist and archaeologist who has been working at the Dmanisi site every summer for the last 27 years," Ferring said. "The whole surface of the site is covered with ruins of Bronze Age and medieval structures including a fortress and a seventh century Orthodox Church. All of the materials we excavated were found under 20 feet of volcanic ash containing thousands of animal bones and artifacts."


As the project geologist, Ferring documented and profiled the sediments in the area of the original find to provide context for all the materials that were dated and the fossils recovered. Based on the depth of the find and the type of minerals surrounding it, he was able to place the age of the Stephanorhinus teeth at more than 1.7 million years old.

In September, the journal Nature printed a paper titled "Early Pleistocene Enamel Proteome from Dmanisi Resolves Stephanorhinus Phylogeny" that describes the methods used and data collected by the international Stephanorhinus team. The paper was co-authored by Ferring.

Source: University of North Texas [November 19, 2019]



* This article was originally published here

Tic-Tac & the Triangular shaped UFO's

320 views   39 likes   1 dislikes  

Channel: Terry's Theories  

Where do the Tic-Tac and the Triangular shaped UFOs come from. Many people believe that these crafts are from some distant planet. Well not me. I believe these sightings that have been seen all over the country and the world are made by man. I believe someone or some black budget project corporation has been working on these craft and maybe others in the shadows, and now we are starting to see more of them and getting get warmed up to the idea that theses crafts are real and that they are ours maybe even part of this Space Force that we hear whispers of. I Feel one day soon the hole truth will be revealed to us.
Source Video: Professor Simon Holland https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lml2D4eHbQ&t=6s

Video length: 17:46
Category: Science & Technology
22 comments

Roman Altars and Stone Fragments, The Yorkshire Museum, York, November 2019.

Roman Altars and Stone Fragments, The Yorkshire Museum, York, November 2019.



* This article was originally published here

Emission Versus Absorption

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, D. Rosario et al.

For this Picture of the Week, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope turned its powerful eye towards an emission line galaxy called NGC 3749. 

When astronomers explore the contents and constituent parts of a galaxy somewhere in the Universe, they use various techniques and tools. One of these is to spread out the incoming light from that galaxy into a spectrum and explore its properties. This is done in much the same way as a glass prism spreads white light into its constituent wavelengths to create a rainbow. By hunting for specific signs of emission from various elements within a galaxy’s spectrum of light — so-called emission lines — or, conversely, the signs of  absorption from other elements — so-called absorption lines — astronomers can start to deduce what might be happening within.

If a galaxy’s spectrum shows many absorption lines and few emission lines, this suggests that its star-forming material has been depleted and that its stars are mainly old, while the opposite suggests it might be bursting with star formation and energetic stellar newborns. This technique known as spectroscopy, can tell us about a galaxy’s type and composition, the density and temperature of any emitting gas, the star formation rate, or how massive the galaxy’s central black hole might be. 

While not all galaxies display strong emission lines, NGC 3749 does! It lies over 135 million light-years away, and is moderately luminous. The galaxy has been used a “control” in studies of especially active and luminous galaxies — those with centres known as active galactic nuclei, which emit copious amounts of intense radiation. In comparison to these active cousins, NGC 3749 is classified as inactive, and has no known signs of nuclear activity.





* This article was originally published here

Scientists use modern technology to understand how ochre paint was created in rock art


Ochre, one of Earth's oldest naturally occurring materials, was often used as a vivid red paint in ancient rock art known as pictographs across the world. Despite its broad use throughout human history and a modern focus on how the artistic symbolism is interpreted, little research exists on the paint itself and how it was produced.

Scientists use modern technology to understand how ochre paint was created in rock art
One of the pieces of rock art found at Babine Lake. It is representative of the rock art
that was analyzed in the study [Credit: University of Missouri]
Now, scientists led by Brandi MacDonald at the University of Missouri are using archaeological science to understand how ochre paint was created by hunter-gatherers in North America to produce rock art located at Babine Lake in British Columbia.


"Ochre is one of the only types of material that people have continually used for over 200,000 years, if not longer," said MacDonald, who specializes in ancient pigments. "Therefore, we have a deep history in the archeological record of humans selecting and engaging with this material, but few people study how it's actually made."

This is the first study of the rock art at Babine Lake. It shows that individuals who prepared the ochre paints harvested an aquatic, iron-rich bacteria out of the lake -- in the form of an orange-brown sediment.

Scientists use modern technology to understand how ochre paint was created in rock art
In the study, the scientists heated a single grain of ochre and watched the effects of temperature change under
an electron microscope at MU's Electron Microscopy Core facility [Credit: University of Missouri]


In the study, the scientists used modern technology, including the ability to heat a single grain of ochre and watch the effects of temperature change under an electron microscope at MU's Electron Microscopy Core facility. They determined that individuals at Babine Lake deliberately heated this bacteria to a temperature range of approximately 750°C to 850°C to initiate the color transformation.

"It's common to think about the production of red paint as people collecting red rocks and crushing them up," MacDonald said. "Here, with the help of multiple scientific methods, we were able to reconstruct the approximate temperature at which the people at Babine Lake were deliberately heating this biogenic paint over open-hearth fires. So, this wasn't a transformation done by chance with nature. Today, engineers are spending a lot of money trying to determine how to produce highly thermo-stable paints for ceramic manufacturing or aerospace engineering without much known success, yet we've found that hunter-gatherers had already discovered a successful way to do this long ago."

The study was published in Scientific Reports.

Author: Eric Stann | Source: University of Missouri-Columbia [November 19, 2019]



* This article was originally published here

Meteors in April

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Channel: OGVT - Observatoire géophysique, Val Terbi  

The brightest meteors recorded in April in Montsevelier (Val Terbi) JU. All data and pictures at: http://www.ogvt.org/en/astronomy/media.php and http://www.ogvt.org/en/astronomy/db.php

Video length: 1:02
Category: Science & Technology
0 comments

2019 November 22 Orion Rising Image Credit & Copyright:...



2019 November 22

Orion Rising
Image Credit & Copyright: Vitalij Kopa

Explanation: Looking toward the east in the early hours of a September morning this single exposure made with tripod and camera captured a simple visual experience. Rising above the tree-lined slope are familiar stars in planet Earth’s northern night and the constellation Orion the Hunter. Brighter stars marking the celestial Hunter’s shoulder (Betelgeuse), foot (Rigel), belt, and sword are clearly reflected in the calm waters from northern Latvia’s Vitrupe river. Of course, winter is coming to planet Earth’s northern hemisphere. By then Orion and this beautiful starry vista will be seen rising in early evening skies.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap191122.html



* This article was originally published here

Corinthian Capital from Catterick, The Yorkshire Museum, York, November 2019.

Corinthian Capital from Catterick, The Yorkshire Museum, York, November 2019.



* This article was originally published here

Mysterious Viking boat graves unearthed in central Norway


In the second half of the 9th century, an important woman dies at the farm now known as Skeiet at Vinjeora, in central Norway. Her dress is fastened at the front with two large shell-shaped brooches of gilded bronze along with a crucifix-shaped brooch, made from an Irish harness fitting. She is then placed in a boat, about seven or eight metres long. Grave goods are also buried along with body, including a pearl necklace, two scissors, a spindle whorl– and a cow head.

Mysterious Viking boat graves unearthed in central Norway
The oldest grave is from the 8th century. But why were they buried together?
[Credit: Arkikon]
So far, there is nothing extraordinary about this burial ritual. It is only when the boat is buried that the Vinjeora Vikings do something that will intrigue archaeologists more than 1000 years into the future.

Instead of digging a new grave for the woman, a boat grave from the 8th century is carefully excavated. This is a larger boat, probably between nine and ten metres long. It contains the body of a man buried with weapons. The boat with the woman is gently placed inside the man’s boat, and then they are both buried. Who were the two and why were they buried together, even though they died 100 years apart?


Archaeologists at the NTNU University Museum have been puzzling over this exact question ever since they unearthed the graves in October. The unusual find was discovered during the excavation of a burial ground of one of the Viking Age farms in this area. The excavations are being undertaken in connection with improvements to the E39 highway.

Hoping for DNA analysis

Nearly all the wood in the boats had rotted away, there was only a little left in the keel of the smallest boat. Still, the boat rivets were still in their original positions, so that by looking at the them, the archaeologists were able to determine that they had found two boats in one.

Mysterious Viking boat graves unearthed in central Norway
The soil in the area that was excavated was not good for  preserving human remains.
Archaeologists were consequently overjoyed when they found parts of the skull
of the woman in the upper boat tomb [Credit: Astrid Lorentzen,
NTNU University Museum]
“I had heard about several boat graves being buried in one burial mound, but never about a boat that had been buried in another boat,” said Raymond Sauvage, an archaeologist at the NTNU University Museum and project manager for the excavation.

“I have since learned that a few double boat graves were found in the 1950s, at Tjolling, in the south of the Norwegian county of Vestfold. Still, this is essentially an unknown phenomenon,” he said

The soil properties at the dig site aren’t good for preserving bones. Archaeologists were consequently extremely happy when they found parts of the skull of the woman in the upper boat grave.


“Hopefully, we we will be able to get some DNA from the skull to provides us with more information, such as what she looked like,” says Raymond Sauvage.

Isotope analysis can be another source of knowledge about the woman. Isotopes are variants of a particular chemical element that vary between different food sources and geographical locations. Isotope analyses from teeth and skeletons can therefore give us information about where a person was born and lived during their life, and about what he or she ate.

Irish harness fitting a sign of status

The crucifix-shaped brooch in the woman’s grave says a lot about both her and the community she was part of.

Mysterious Viking boat graves unearthed in central Norway
This crucifix-shaped brooch was found in the woman’s grave [Credit: Raymond Sauvage,
NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet]
“The decoration and the design itself tell us that it came from Ireland, and that it was once part of a harness fitting,” says researcher Aina Heen Pettersen at NTNU’s Department of Historical Studies.

Pettersen is writing a PhD about the significance and use of Irish and British artefacts that were brought to Norway during the Viking Age.

“It was common among the Vikings to split up decorative harness fittings and reuse them as jewellery. Several fastenings on the back of this brooch were preserved, and were used to attach leather straps to the harness. The new Norse owners attached a pin to one of the fastenings so it could be used as a brooch.”


Pettersen explains that brooches like these probably were quite exclusive, and that they are often found in well-equipped – though not particularly rich – graves.

This suggests that the harness fittings were distributed among people who took part in the Viking voyages or helped organize them.

“The Viking voyages – whether for raids, trading or other expeditions – were central in Norse society. That meant it was important to participate in this activity, not only for the material goods, but also to raise both your own and your family’s status,” Pettersen said.

“Using artefacts from Viking raids as jewellery signalled a clear difference between you and the rest of the community, because you were part of the group that took part in the voyages.”

Viking hipster?

The man in the larger boat grave was buried with a spear, a shield and a single-edged sword. These weapons enabled archaeologists to confidently date the grave to the 8th century.

Mysterious Viking boat graves unearthed in central Norway
The cruciform brooch was found in the woman’s grave [Credit: Raymond Sauvage,
NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet]
“Sword styles change through the centuries, which means we can unambiguously date this grave to the 8th century, the period that is known as the Merovingian era in Northern Europe. That’s assuming that we are not dealing with a Viking hipster,” Sauvage said with a smile.

But what was the connection between the man and the woman? Sauvage says it’s reasonable to assume that the two were related. The Vikings on Vinjeora probably had a clear idea about who was in each burial mound, since this information most likely was passed down for many generations.


“Family was very important in Viking Age society, both to mark status and power and to consolidate property rights. The first legislation on allodial rights in the Middle Ages said you had to prove that your family had owned the land for five generations. If there was any doubt about the property right, you had to be able to trace your genus to haug og hedni – i.e. to burial mounds and paganism,” says Sauvage.

“Against this backdrop, it’s reasonable to think that the two were buried together to mark the family’s ownership to the farm, in a society that for the most part didn’t write things down,” Sauvage said.

A monument in the landscape

Two-boats-in-one and interesting grave goods are not the only thing that makes the archaeologist enthusiastic about this find. The placement of the two boat graves – at the edge of the largest mound on the burial ground – also tells a story.


“The connection between the boat graves and between the boat graves and the mound is very exciting. The two boat graves are also located right at the edge of a cliff, overlooking the fjord. This must have been a monument in the landscape,” Sauvage says.

The age of the large burial mound also makes Raymond Sauvage’s archaeologist heart skip a beat.

“The burial mound must naturally be older than the oldest boat grave, meaning early Merovingian age. This is a fascinating era in Scandinavian history, from which there are few archaeological finds.”

Unfortunately, hundreds of years of farming on the site means the large burial mound has been completely ploughed away. However, the archaeologists still hope they might find artefacts when this area is further excavated next summer.

“So far, we’ve found part of a brooch from the Merovingian era, indicating that the large burial mound once held a richly appointed woman’s grave,” Sauvage said.

Author: Frid Kvalpskarmo Hansen | Source: The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) [November 19, 2019]



* This article was originally published here

ISS Zarya Night vision satellite & UFO Hunting

178 views   15 likes   0 dislikes  

Channel: déjà vu  

Night vision filming of the ISS Zarya as it passes through constellation Hercules.
Includes Gaofen 11 and some other satellites for brightness comparison.

Equipment used for filming-

Canon 60D through a Twiggy L4A1 + P8079HP image intensified F350mm telescope.

Canon Rebel T3i + P8079HP intensifier through a 50mm lens.


© Music, ambient sounds and atmospherics created by déjà vu

Video length: 2:49
Category: Science & Technology
17 comments

Roman Millefiori Belt Plate, The Yorkshire Museum, York, November 2019.

Roman Millefiori Belt Plate, The Yorkshire Museum, York, November 2019.



* This article was originally published here

50 Years Ago: Apollo 12 – The Journey Home













NASA - Apollo 12 Mission patch.

Nov. 21, 2019

Apollo 12 astronauts Charles “Pete” Conrad and Alan L. Bean were in high spirits when they re-entered their Lunar Module (LM) Intrepid on the Moon’s Ocean of Storms. They had completed two Extravehicular Activities (EVAs) or spacewalks on the lunar surface, spending a total of 7 hours and 45 minutes outside. One the second EVA, they paid a visit to Surveyor 3, a robotic spacecraft that had landed nearby in April 1967, and snipped off several parts of the spacecraft to return them to Earth for scientists and engineers to assess the effects of 31 months in the harsh lunar environment. Conrad and Bean collected 76 pounds of lunar rocks, soil, and core samples, safely stowed in two Sample Return Containers (SRC). Inside the LM they prepared to liftoff from the surface and rejoin the third Apollo 12 crewmember, Richard F. Gordon, who continued to orbit the Moon in the Command Module (CM) Yankee Clipper, taking photographs and making other observations. 

Left: View from Conrad’s window after EVA2 showing some of Intrepid’s thrusters
and a few footprints. Right: View from Bean’s window after EVA2, showing a profusion
of footprints in the lunar dust, the American flag, and the S-band antenna’s shadow.

When they returned inside Intrepid, Conrad and Bean used up their remaining film by taking photographs out the windows, showing the signs of their visit – numerous footprints, the American flag, the S-band antenna, and in the distance, the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package (ALSEP) station. They jettisoned their Portable Life Support System (PLSS) backpacks, gloves, and cameras, and ate a meal, after which Conrad said they were ready to “have a little chitty chat about the EVA” with Capcom Edward G. Gibson. In that conversation, Conrad said, “Al and I look just like a couple of bituminous coal miners right at the moment. But we’re happy.” To which Gibson replied, “So are a lot of people down here.” Gordon, coming around the Moon’s front side on his 28th revolution, congratulated Conrad and Bean on a job well done. To prepare for liftoff, Conrad and Bean tested Intrepid’s Reaction Control System (RCS) thrusters. The firings kicked up a fair bit of dust and also knocked over the S-band antenna, but the vehicle automatically switched to its own antenna with no loss of communications.

Two views in Mission Control during the lunar orbit rendezvous.

As Gordon in Yankee Clipper flew overhead on his 30th lunar revolution, Intrepid’s Ascent Stage engine ignited and Conrad and Bean lifted off from the Moon after 31 hours and 31 minutes on the surface, leaving the Descent Stage behind.  Conrad exclaimed, “Liftoff! And away we go!” with Bean adding, “Boy, did it fire!”  Even though the astronauts had deployed the ALSEP instruments more than 400 feet from Intrepid, several of the sensitive ones recorded the liftoff – the seismometer detected the vibrations, ion and dust detectors noted spikes in their readings, and the magnetometer recorded field fluctuations for 12 minutes. Ten seconds after liftoff at an altitude of 275 feet, Intrepid pitched over by 45 degrees to begin its climb to orbit. The 7-minute burn placed Intrepid into an intermediate 53-by-10-mile orbit, trailing Yankee Clipper by about 290 miles. The lunar dust that had settled on the floor of the LM floated throughout the cabin now that they were weightless again, so Conrad and Bean elected to keep their suits including helmets on to avoid breathing in the abrasive dust. In a repeat of the Apollo 11 rendezvous sequence Intrepid and Yankee Clipper executed a series of maneuvers that led to their docking about three and a half hours after liftoff from the Moon. Gordon relayed color TV views of the docking to Mission Control. Their independent flights had lasted 37 hours and 42 minutes.

Three stills from 16 mm film recorded aboard Yankee Clipper of Intrepid’s approach just prior to docking.

The three astronauts opened the hatches between the two spacecraft and quickly began transferring all the required items from Intrepid into Yankee Clipper, including all the lunar samples, cameras, and film. Conrad and Bean decided to remove their spacesuits in Intrepid and then transfer them across in an attempt to minimize contaminating Yankee Clipper with lunar dust.  Gordon transferred some unneeded items to be jettisoned in Intrepid. The transfers completed, they closed the hatches between the spacecraft and jettisoned the LM. To calibrate the seismometer left on the Moon, controllers sent a command to Intrepid to fire its thrusters for 83 seconds to drop it out of orbit and send it crashing on the surface about 40 miles from the instrument. The seismometer recorded signals for nearly one hour after the impact. Meanwhile, the astronauts prepared for their sleep period after a strenuous nearly 24-hour day.

Recording from the Apollo 12 seismometer of the intentional crash of the LM ascent stage.
 
Apollo 12 photographs taken on their last day in lunar orbit. Left: Fra Mauro highlands.
Middle: Descartes region. Right: Smyth Sea.

The astronauts began their final day in lunar orbit as they appeared on the Moon’s front side on their 38th revolution. The primary activity for their remaining time around the Moon consisted of photographing potential landing sites for future Apollo missions, such as the Fra Mauro highlands and the Descartes region, as well as targets of opportunity such as the Smyth Sea. To achieve the best orbital track for this task the crew performed a 19-second out-of-plane maneuver using the Service Propulsion System (SPS) engine. On their 45th revolution, they went around to the Moon’s backside for the last time as they fired the SPS for the 2-minute and 10-second Trans Earth Injection (TEI) burn. Apollo 12 left lunar orbit after 3 days 17 hours and 2 minutes. As they rounded from the back side of the Moon, Conrad radioed to Mission Control, “Hello, Houston.  Apollo 12’s en route home.” They had already set up the color TV camera and began transmitting views of the rapidly receding Moon. Capcom Don L. Lind commented, “We really get the impression that you’re on a fast elevator,” eliciting this response from Gordon, “Yes, we're really moving out, Don. It doesn't take very long to get some altitude out of that place.”  They concluded the 38-minute TV broadcast by filming themselves in the cabin, having already traveled nearly 2,900 miles from the Moon. Shortly thereafter, all three crewmembers began a well-earned sleep period.

Four views of the rapidly receding Moon after TEI.

While the astronauts slept for about 12 hours, Apollo 12 passed from the Moon’s gravitational sphere of influence to the Earth’s and the spacecraft began to accelerate toward its final destination. The first order of business on this crew day involved a minor course correction, at a distance of about 200,000 miles from Earth, a burn of the RCS thrusters of less than five seconds to refine the spacecraft’s trajectory. While Capcom Gibson read up the day’s news to the astronauts, he also reported that their wives Jane Conrad, Barbara Gordon, and Sue Bean greeted reporters that morning outside the Conrads’ house wearing white pantsuits and holding up signs that read, “Proud,” Thrilled,” and “Happy.” Gibson also reported to the crew that the ALSEP experiments were all working as expected. The astronauts answered questions from geologists and other scientists, relayed by Capcoms Gibson and Lind, about their lunar traverses and their impressions of Surveyor 3. The astronauts finished the day with some housekeeping chores, which included frequent cleaning of air filters due to the lunar dust they brought in from the LM, and went to sleep, some 187,000 miles from Earth.

Left: Apollo 12 astronauts’ wives (left to right) Sue Bean, Barbara Gordon, and Jane Conrad hold up signs for reporters. Right: Apollo 12 astronauts (left to right) Gordon, Conrad, and Bean aboard Yankee Clipper during the inflight press conference on the way home from the Moon.

The next morning, the astronauts awoke before Mission Control could call them, and Conrad asked Capcom Paul J. Weitz to send the following tongue-in-cheek message full of Navy slang to Rear Admiral Donald C. Davis, head of the US Navy Recovery Forces aboard the prime recovery ship USS Hornet (CVS-12), “Dear Red Dog, Apollo 12 with three tail-hookers expect recovery ship to make its PIM (Point of Intended Movement) as we have energy for only one pass. Signed Pete, Dick, and Al.” A few minutes later, after the astronauts had a glimpse of Earth now 160,000 miles away, Conrad told Capcom Weitz, “Houston, we just got our first glimpse of you this morning, and there’s not very much of you out there.”  With the Sun and the Earth nearly aligned, the astronauts could only see a very thin crescent of their home planet. They passed the halfway mark of their journey home, being an equidistant 126,787 miles from the Moon and Earth. Later in the day, the trio held a televised news conference, with Capcom Gerald P. “Jerry” Carr reading up 13 questions submitted by reporters at the Manned Spacecraft Center, now the Johnson Space Center in Houston. At the end of the 37-minute broadcast the crew held up a homemade sign to the camera that read, “Yankee Clipper sailed with Intrepid to the Sea of Storms, Moon, November 14, 1969,” signed by all three crewmembers. Soon after, the three astronauts turned in for their last night’s sleep in space, only 108,000 miles from their home planet.

Left: The Moon continued to shrink in size as Apollo 12 headed home.
Right: The Earth appeared as a very thin crescent with the Sun almost directly behind it.

To be continued...

Related article:

50 Years Ago: Return to the Moon
https://orbiterchspacenews.blogspot.com/2019/11/50-years-ago-return-to-moon.html

New NASA Study Reveals Origin of Organic Matter in Apollo Lunar Samples
https://orbiterchspacenews.blogspot.com/2019/11/new-nasa-study-reveals-origin-of.html

Related links:

Apollo: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/index.html

Apollo 12: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/apollo-12

Images, Text, Credits: NASA/Kelli Mars/JSC/John Uri.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

* This article was originally published here

European police bust gang looting artifacts in Italy


European police have busted an international crime gang involved in trafficking tens of thousands of Greek archaeological artefacts looted from illegal excavations in Italy, law enforcement agencies said Monday.

European police bust gang looting artifacts in Italy
Credit: Carabinieri TPC
Police from Italy, Britain, France, Germany and Serbia arrested 23 suspects and carried out 103 searches in the investigation that started in 2017, the EU police agency Europol and Eurojust said.


The gang used bulldozers and metal detectors to loot objects as old as 400 BC from the Calabria region -- the "toe" of Italy -- before selling them across Europe.

"Illegal excavations were managed by a well-structured organised crime group... led by two Calabrians" living in the southern province of Crotone, the agencies said in a combined statement.

European police bust gang looting artifacts in Italy
Credit: Europol
In Calabria "the cultural heritage includes important traces from the Greek and Roman period", Europol said.


Italian media said two Calabrian men aged 59 and 30 were arrested.

The gang also included "fences, intermediaries and mules operating out of different Italian regions" with the looted artefacts then going through contacts in Dijon, Munich, London and Vrsac in northeastern Serbia.

European police bust gang looting artifacts in Italy
Credit: Carabinieri TPC
Some of the stolen objects is said to date as far back as the fourth and third centuries B.C. and include five terracotta vases and oil lamps, plates depicting animal scenes, brooches and various jewels, Italian media reports said.


The looters used bulldozers to dig craters, before sifting through the earth and passing it through metal detectors, the reports added, quoting police sources.

"The looting carried out over the course of several years caused considerable damage to Italian cultural heritage," Europol and Eurojust added.

European police bust gang looting artifacts in Italy
Credit: Europol
Coordination between the two agencies enabled "arrests, searches and seizures immediately and simultaneously in the five countries," they added.

Italian and Swiss police in 2016 recovered a haul of archaeological artefacts stolen from Italy and stored by a notorious British antiquities dealer.

The haul, worth nine million euros ($10 million), was discovered in 2014 in a storage unit at the Geneva Freeport rented by Britain's disgraced Robin Symes, a giant in the illegal antiquities trade with ties to Italian tomb raiders.

At the time it was regarded as one of the most important recoveries of the last few decades.

Source: AFP [November 19, 2019]



* This article was originally published here

Three bright meteor events on Dec. 4-5 // Tres meteoros brillantes en la noche del 4-5 de diciembre

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Channel: Meteors  

Three bright meteor events were spotted over Spain on the night of 4-5 December 2018, at 23:51, 2:33 and 4:41 local time, respectively. These were generated by three rocks from three different comets that hit the atmosphere at velocities ranging between 150,000 km/h and 200,000 km/h. The meteors overflew the provinces of Valladolid, Granada, Jaén and Albacete. They were recorded in the framework of the SMART project from the meteor-observing stations located at La Hita (Toledo), Calar Alto (Almeria), La Sagra (Granada), Sierra Nevada (Granada) and Sevilla.
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En la madrugada del 4 al 5 de diciembre, tres brillantes bolas de fuego sobrevolaron las provincias de Valladolid, Granada, Jaén y Albacete. Se produjeron el entrar en la atmósfera terrestre tres rocas procedentes de tres cometas distintos a velocidades comprendidas entre los 150 mil y los 200 mil km/h. El primer evento tuvo lugar a las 23:51 hora local sobre la provincia de Valladolid. Esta bola de fuego se inició a una altitud de unos 106 km sobre el sur de dicha provincia y se extinguió a una altitud de unos 76 km. La segunda se registró a las 2:33 hora local, iniciándose a unos 111 kilómetros sobre el noreste de la provincia de Granada para terminar a unos 62 km de altura sobre el sur de la provincia de Jaén. Y la tercera apareció a las 4:41 hora local, iniciándose a unos 113 km sobre el noreste de la provincia de Jaén y terminando a una altitud de unos 77 km sobre la provincia de Albacete.

Los eventos han sido registrados por los dectectores del proyecto SMART que operan en los observatorios astronómicos de La Hita (Toledo), Calar Alto (Almería), Sierra Nevada (Granada), La Sagra (Granada) y Sevilla.

Video length: 2:36
Category: Science & Technology
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Final Spacewalk Preps as Life Science Work Ramps Up













ISS - Expedition 61 Mission patch.

November 21, 2019

The Expedition 61 astronauts are in final preparations before Friday’s spacewalk to continue repairing the International Space Station’s cosmic particle detector. The orbital residents also had time today to set up research hardware for upcoming space biology activities.

Spacewalkers Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano will exit the Quest airlock on Friday after setting their U.S. spacesuits to battery power at 6:50 a.m. EST. The duo will translate to the far side of the station’s starboard truss structure to continue the intricate work to upgrade the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer’s (AMS) thermal control system. NASA TV begins its live coverage beginning at 5:30 a.m.


Image above: NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan waves as he is photographed during the first spacewalk to repair the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on Nov. 15, 2019. Image Credit: NASA.

Flight Engineers Jessica Meir and Christina Koch will assist the spacewalkers during the excursion from inside the station on Friday. Meir will be on robotics duty maneuvering the Canadarm2 robotic arm while Koch manages their spacesuits.

Even with spacewalk activities dominating the schedule aboard the orbiting lab, the station crew still had time to conduct advanced space research. Meir set up a 3-D bioprinter for a test run today before the device begins manufacturing complex organ-like tissues in space. Koch is readying a variety of life science gear for next week’s operations to study how microgravity affects systems at the cellular level for insights into Earth-bound ailments.

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

The cosmonauts in the Russian segment of the space station focused primarily on lab maintenance. Flight Engineers Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka replaced batteries and dust filters. The duo then packed the Progress 72 (72P) resupply ship with trash and repressurized the station with oxygen from the 72P.

Related links:

Expedition 61: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition61/index.html

Quest airlock: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/joint-quest-airlock

NASA TV: https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html#public

Canadarm2: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/mobile-servicing-system.html

3-D bioprinter: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=7599

Earth-bound ailments: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7906

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.

Best regards, Orbiter.ch

* This article was originally published here

Roman Genius Statuette, The Yorkshire Museum, York, November 2019.

Roman Genius Statuette, The Yorkshire Museum, York, November 2019.



* This article was originally published here

How to observe a 'black hole symphony' using gravitational wave astronomy


Shrouded in mystery since their discovery, the phenomenon of black holes continues to be one of the most mind-boggling enigmas in our universe.

How to observe a 'black hole symphony' using gravitational wave astronomy
A snapshot of the 3D gravitational waveform from a general relativistic simulation of binary black holes.
Gravitational waves from such binary mergers are routinely observed by LIGO. With space missions
such as LISA, the evolution of these binaries can be monitored years in advance, allowing multi-frequency
constraints on astrophysical formations and tests of general relativity [Credit: Jani, K., Kinsey,
M., Clark, M. Center for Relativistic Astrophysics, Georgia Institute of Technology]
In recent years, many researchers have made strides in understanding black holes using observational astronomy and an emerging field known as gravitational wave astronomy, first hypothesized by Albert Einstein, which directly measures the gravitational waves emitted by black holes.

Through these findings on black hole gravitational waves, which were first observed in 2015 by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatories (LIGO) in Louisiana and Washington, researchers have learned exciting details about these invisible objects and developed theories and projections on everything from their sizes to their physical properties.


Still, limitations in LIGO and other observation technologies have kept scientists from grasping a more complete picture of black holes, and one of the largest gaps in knowledge concerns a certain type of black hole: those of intermediate-mass, or black holes that fall somewhere between supermassive (at least a million times greater than our sun) and stellar (think: smaller, though still 5 to 50 times greater than the mass of our sun).

That could soon change thanks to new research out of Vanderbilt on what's next for gravitational wave astronomy. The study, led by Vanderbilt astrophysicist Karan Jani and featured today as a letter in Nature Astronomy, presents a compelling roadmap for capturing 4- to 10-year snapshots of intermediate-mass black hole activity.

"Like a symphony orchestra emits sound across an array of frequencies, the gravitational waves emitted by black holes occur at different frequencies and times," said Jani. "Some of these frequencies are extremely high-bandwidth, while some are low-bandwidth, and our goal in the next era of gravitational wave astronomy is to capture multiband observations of both of these frequencies in order to 'hear the entire song,' as it were, when it comes to black holes."


Jani, a self-proclaimed "black hole hunter" who Forbes named to its 2017 30 Under 30 list in Science, was part of the team that detected the very first gravitational waves. He joined Vanderbilt as a GRAVITY postdoctoral fellow in 2019.

Along with collaborators at Georgia Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA, the new paper, "Detectability of Intermediate-Mass Black Holes in Multiband Gravitational Wave Astronomy," looks at the future of LIGO detectors alongside the proposed Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) space-mission, which would help humans get a step closer to understanding what happens in and around black holes.


"The possibility that intermediate mass black holes exist but are currently hidden from our view is both tantalizing and frustrating," said Deidre Shoemaker, co-author of the paper and professor in Georgia Tech's School of Physics. "Fortunately, there is hope as these black holes are ideal sources for future multiband gravitational wave astronomy."

LISA, a mission jointly led by the European Space Agency and NASA and planned for launch in the year 2034, would improve detection sensitivity for low-frequency gravitational waves. As the first dedicated space-based gravitational wave detector, LISA would provide a critical measurement of a previously unattainable frequency and enable the more complete observation of intermediate-mass black holes. In 2018, Vanderbilt physics and astronomy professor Kelly Holley-Bockelmann was appointed by NASA as the inaugural chair of the LISA Study Team.

"Inside black holes, all known understanding of our universe breaks down," added Jani. "With the high frequency already being captured by LIGO detectors and the low frequency from future detectors and the LISA mission, we can bring these data points together to help fill in many gaps in our understanding of black holes."

Author: Spencer Turney | Source: Vanderbilt University [November 18, 2019]



* This article was originally published here

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