Monday, May 31, 2010

Ufo The Greatest Story Ever Denied

This is the best of the whole story of UFO investigation that we have today. It’s an All in One, UFO’s Prophecy and technology.
Source Related Posts with Thumbnails
Bookmark and Share

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Illuminati Vol II: The AntiChrist Conspiracy

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Source Related Posts with Thumbnails
Bookmark and Share

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Future Weapons

SourceRelated Posts with Thumbnails
Bookmark and Share

Project Camelot Interviews Richard Hoagland

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Source Related Posts with Thumbnails
Bookmark and Share

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ancient Aliens: The Series - Closer Encounters (2010)

Source Related Posts with Thumbnails
Bookmark and Share

Ancient Aliens: The Series - The Mission (2010)

Source Related Posts with Thumbnails
Bookmark and Share

Friday, May 21, 2010

Scientists Create Synthetic Organism

Heralding a potential new era in biology, scientists for the first time have created a synthetic cell, completely controlled by man-made genetic instructions, researchers at the private J. Craig Venter Institute announced Thursday.
Tom Deerinck and Mark Ellisman, National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research, 
University of California, San Diego
Scanning electron micrographs of M. mycoide

"We call it the first synthetic cell," said genomics pioneer Craig Venter, who oversaw the project. "These are very much real cells."
Created at a cost of $40 million, this experimental one-cell organism, which can reproduce, opens the way to the manipulation of life on a previously unattainable scale, several researchers and ethics experts said. Scientists have been altering DNA piecemeal for a generation, producing a menagerie of genetically engineered plants and animals. But the ability to craft an entire organism offers a new power over life, they said.

The development, documented in the peer-reviewed journal Science, may stir anew nagging questions of ethics, law and public safety about artificial life that biomedical experts have been debating for more than a decade.
"This is literally a turning point in the relationship between man and nature," said molecular biologist Richard Ebright at Rutgers University, who wasn't involved in the project. "For the first time, someone has generated an entire artificial cell with predetermined properties."

David Magnus, director of the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics, said, "It has the potential to transform genetic engineering. The research is going to explode."
Leery of previous moral and ethical debates about whether it is right to manipulate life forms—which arose with the advent of cloning, stem-cell technology and genetic engineering—some researchers chose neutral terms to describe the experimental cell. Some played down the development.
"I don't think it represents the creation of an artificial life form," said biomedical engineer James Collins at Boston University. "I view this as an organism with a synthetic genome, not as a synthetic organism. It is tough to draw where the line is."

For the first time, scientists have created a synthetic cell, heralding a new era in biology. Shelly Banjo talks to Robert Lee Hotz about the huge implications of this development.
The new cell, a bacterium, was conceived solely as a demonstration project. But several biologists said they believed that the laboratory technique used to birth it would soon be applied to other strains of bacteria with commercial potential.

"I think this quickly will be applied to all the most important industrial bacteria," said biologist Christopher Voigt at the University of California, San Francisco, who is developing microbes that help make gasoline.
Several companies are already seeking to take advantage of the new field, called synthetic biology, which combines chemistry, computer science, molecular biology, genetics and cell biology to breed industrial life forms that can secrete fuels, vaccines or other commercial products.
Synthetic Genomics Inc., a company founded by Dr. Venter, provided $30 million to fund the experiments and owns the intellectual-property rights to the cell-creation techniques. The company has a $600 million contract with Exxon Mobil Corp. to design algae that can capture carbon dioxide and make fuel.

At least three other companies—Amyris Biotechnologies in Emeryville, Calif.; LS9 Inc. in San Francisco; and Joule Unlimited in Cambridge, Mass.—are working on synthetic cells to produce renewable fuels.
Although patents on single genes now face legal challenges, Dr. Venter said he intends to patent his experimental cells. "They are pretty clearly human inventions," he said.


Before making their work public, the researchers said, they briefed White House officials, members of Congress and officials from several government agencies. Within minutes of Thursday's announcement, the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced it would hold a public hearing on the new technology next week.
Environmental groups also reacted quickly. Friends of the Earth issued a statement asking the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration "to fully regulate all synthetic biology experiments and products," while ETC Group, a group based in Canada, called for a global moratorium on synthetic biology.

There was no immediate reaction from Roman Catholic and Protestant groups that have questioned such developments in the past. There was some support. "It is very much within divine mandate that we do these things," said theologian Nancey Murphy, who studies Christianity and science at the Fuller Theological Seminary, a multidenominational Christian seminary in Pasadena, Calif.
The announcement Thursday was the culmination of a project Dr. Venter and his colleagues have pursued since 1995. In a series of peer-reviewed papers, the group has published the interim technical steps. So far, that research has withstood scrutiny.

J. Craig Venter Institute
Daniel G. Gibson at the J. Craig Venter Institute,
who was the lead researcher on the Science paper
announcing creation of the first synthetic cell

The latest research was reviewed by a panel of independent scientists, but no one has duplicated the team's experiment. Other researchers working on different approaches in the field found the report credible and said it combined a series of prior advances.
"They are pulling all the pieces together," said Drew Endy, a biologist at Stanford University who is president of the BioBricks Foundation, a nonprofit consortium organized by researchers from Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California to make the DNA tools of synthetic biology freely available.
To make the synthetic cell, a team of 25 researchers at labs in Rockville, Md., and San Diego, led by bioengineer Daniel Gibson and Mr. Venter, essentially turned computer code into a new life form. They started with a species of bacteria called Mycoplasma capricolum and, by replacing its genome with one they wrote themselves, turned it into a customized variant of a second existing species, called Mycoplasma mycoides, they reported.

Bloomberg News
J. Craig Venter, chief executive officer of Synthetic Genomics Inc.

To begin, they wrote out the creature's entire genetic code as a digital computer file, documenting more than one million base pairs of DNA in a biochemical alphabet of adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine. They edited that file, adding new code, and then sent that electronic data to a DNA sequencing company called Blue Heron Bio in Bothell, Wash., where it was transformed into hundreds of small pieces of chemical DNA, they reported.
To assemble the strips of DNA, the researchers said they took advantage of the natural capacities of yeast and other bacteria to meld genes and chromosomes in order to stitch those short sequences into ever-longer fragments until they had assembled the complete genome, as the entire set of an organism's genetic instructions is called.
They transplanted that master set of genes into an emptied cell, where it converted the cell into a different species.
"We make a genome from four bottles of chemicals; we put that synthetic genome into a cell; that synthetic genome takes over the cell," said Dr. Gibson. "The cell is entirely controlled by that new genome."
The scientists didn't give the new organism its own species name, but they did give its synthetic genome an official version number, Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI-syn1.0.
To set this novel bacterium—and all its descendants—apart from any natural creation, Dr. Venter and his colleagues wrote their names into its chemical DNA code, along with three apt quotations from James Joyce and others. These genetic watermarks will, eventually, allow the researchers to assert ownership of the cells. "You have to have a way of tracking it," said Stanford ethicist Mildred Cho, who has studied the issues posed by the creation of such organisms.
Source Related Posts with Thumbnails
Bookmark and Share

Monday, May 17, 2010

David Wilcock - Coast to Coast AM - October 6, 2009

Source Related Posts with Thumbnails
Bookmark and Share

A planet poisoned by plastic:
From Hawaiian beaches to the coast of Britain,
we're paying a lethal price for our throwaway society, says TV adventurer

Hawaii is generally considered to be the one place in the world where you should be able to guarantee finding paradise. The beautiful tropical islands have been used as the setting for countless TV series, ranging from Lost to Jurassic Park.
Isolated in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, distance alone should protect Hawaii's spectacular landscapes and turquoise sea from the environmental problems facing the rest of the planet.
So when I arrived in Hawaii, at the end of a long journey around the Tropic of Cancer for my recent BBC2 series, I was staggered to discover beaches covered in plastic rubbish washed up from around the world.

Threat: Plastic is destroying the environment - here a young lion 
is pictured with a plastic bottle trapped in its mouth
Threat: Plastic is destroying the environment -
here a young lion is pictured with a plastic bottle trapped in its mouth

Television Programme: Tropic Of Cancer, with Simon Reeve.
Simon Reeve said the environmental dangers posed by plastic are
being ignored by politicians

Pristine sand was covered by old plastic toothbrushes, combs, shoes, belts and mouldings. Sam Gon, a Hawaiian conservationist, took me to one beach where 70 local volunteers had just removed tons of garbage.
Yet as soon as it was cleaned, the waves dumped another mountain of rubbish.
The larger pieces of waste can be collected by hand. But when Sam and I dropped to our knees, I could see the surface of the beach was covered with millions of small plastic pellets, known as nurdles, the raw material that factories warm, shape and mould to form the almost infinite number of plastic products that surround our lives.
Dumped, lost or washed out of factories into our seas in their trillions, the nurdles would be difficult to remove from the beach even with a giant sieve.
Yet the big shock came when Sam told me to dig into the sand. Plastic doesn't biodegrade. Instead it breaks down into ever smaller pieces.
Among the grains of sand, and to a depth of several feet, were billions of tiny plastic flecks, which the pounding of the sea was reducing in size.
As I dug through the plastic, I realised the sandy beach was being transformed into a plastic beach. A chill went down my spine.
During the past five years I have travelled around Earth's tropical region for three television series, Equator, Tropic Of Capricorn and, most recently, Tropic Of Cancer.
On my trips I've explored and investigated some of the most pressing issues affecting us and our planet, including poverty, disease and religious fundamentalism.
My journeys have left me in no doubt that the most critical challenge we face is our relationship with the environment.

Rubbish: Plastic poses a real threat to the wildlife of the 
Rubbish: Plastic poses a real threat to the wildlife of the planet

Wherever you stand on the issue of climate change, no one should be in denial about the damage we are doing to our world with deforestation, over-population and by poisoning our rivers and oceans with rubbish.
From the beaches of Hawaii to the seas around Britain, we are soiling our own nest. Since finishing my travels and returning home from Hawaii, I've taken a closer look at British beaches.
It was a shock to realise how they have changed since I was a child playing on beautiful coastlines in Dorset and south Wales, where my little brother James would happily eat the sand.
Britain's beaches, just like those in Hawaii, are now covered in more litter than ever before.
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS), the charity dedicated to protecting our seas, shores and wildlife, has revealed that while total litter has increased by 77 per cent since its Beachwatch survey and clean-up in 1994, plastic litter has increased by an extraordinary 121 per cent.
In September, the MCS will be organising another national Beachwatch clean-up and it needs all the help it can get.
Decades ago, beach rubbish was biodegradable. Now it is mainly plastic and even beaches that seem clean can have an astonishing 5,000 plastic fibres per litre of sand. But worryingly, the plastic we see on our beaches is just a fraction of the plastic waste that is clogging our oceans.
Apart from a tiny quantity that has been incinerated, all the plastic ever created - totalling hundreds of millions of tons - is still out there in the environment in some form.
Huge amounts have been stuffed into landfills as rubbish, from where plastic can leach poisonous toxins into groundwater supplies.

Damage: A wild black bear whose head got stuck inside a 2-gallon 
clear plastic jug, presumably while foraging for food in Minnesota
Damage: A wild black bear whose head got stuck inside a 2-gallon clear plastic jug,
presumably while foraging for food in Minnesota

But vast quantities have also been dropped as litter on beaches or city streets around the world. Rivers often wash it out to sea.
Added to that are the estimated 600,000 plastic containers dumped overboard by ships and navies every single day. In total, at least 100 million tons of plastic rubbish is thought to be sloshing around in our seas.
The scale of the problem is extraordinary. The beaches I visited in Hawaii are being swamped by rubbish from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a vast accumulation of the world's plastic debris floating in the Pacific Ocean.
Twice the size of France, the Garbage Patch is like a plastic soup in the sea and is doubling in size each decade.
Unbelievably, it is not alone. Scientists are convinced that sea currents have created five vast swirling garbage patches in our oceans, including a huge one in the North Atlantic identified in the past few months, which has up to 520,000 bits of rubbish per square mile.
Even more rubbish lurks below the surface, as around 70 per cent sinks down to pollute the seabed.
This is an international scandal and a global problem, for which we are all responsible.
From bicycle helmets to food packaging, from water bottles to toothbrushes, plastic makes our lives easier.
But its production and use is completely out of control. Factories produced more plastic in the first decade of this century than in the entire 20th century.

Dumped: Plastic biodegrades into smaller plastic pieces never 
completely disappearing
Dumped: Plastic biodegrades into smaller plastic pieces never completely disappearing

They are churning out a staggering 300 million tons of plastic each year, much of which will be turned into products that are used once and then thrown away.
As rubbish on land, plastic is a scourge of our modern world. In our seas, the damage all this plastic does is terrifying.
Plastic garbage traps, chokes and kills at least a million seabirds every year and 100,000 marine mammals.
As if that wasn't bad enough, it could also be killing us.
Plastic fragments release potentially harmful styrene compounds, contaminating the sea, and they attract other nasty chemicals in the water, such as DDT and PCBs, which then 'stick' to the plastic.
Fragments of plastic collected from the sea around Japan have been found with concentrations of carcinogenic chemicals at levels one million times higher than in the surrounding seawater.
In some areas of the Pacific there are six times more plastic bits than plankton.
Because the polluted fragments are so small and look like food, they are being gobbled up by small fish, which in turn are eaten by larger fish - which in turn are eaten by us.
So plastic is ruining our beaches, choking the oceans and poisoning our food chain. The consequences are still not fully understood, but they are likely to be devastating.

Human wastage: In Bangladesh, they have abandoned plastic bags and
 replaced them with natural jute bags
Human wastage: In Bangladesh, they have abandoned plastic bags and
replaced them with natural jute bags

This environmental catastrophe is being completely ignored by our politicians.
Yet there is so much that could and must be done to help the problem.
Alternatives to plastic and biodegradable plastics made from corn and soy are under development.
We need to spurn and reject the main culprits: plastic bags, packaging and single-use water bottles, a wasteful obscenity. These make up the bulk of plastic garbage.
In Bangladesh, they have abandoned plastic bags and replaced them with natural jute bags. If they can do it, so can we.
At stake is the future of British beaches, our seas and the food chain. It is nothing short of an environmental emergency.
Source Related Posts with Thumbnails
Bookmark and Share

Sex will not be used to have babies
in just 10 years, as couples turn to IVF

Couples will stop having sex to conceive babies within a decade and use IVF instead, scientists said yesterday.
They say 30-somethings will increasingly rely on artificial methods of fertilisation because natural human reproduction is 'fairly inefficient'.
It means that in future, sex will be nothing more than a leisure activity  -  the latest blow to the Christian idea that the role of sex is to produce children.

Dying art: IVF could become better than sex for making babies
Dying art: IVF could become better than sex for making babies -
leaving the physical act purely as a means of giving pleasure

If the experts are right, it means the sci-fi world of books such as Brave New World, in which all children are born in 'hatcheries', could soon be closer to reality.
And it raises ethical questions over whether greater use of IVF will lead to eugenics, with couples screening out characteristics they regard as undesirable.
The startling vision of the future comes from John Yovich, a veterinary doctor from Murdoch University in Perth, Australia.
He believes IVF can ease the pressure on couples who have delayed having children to pursue a career, because going for the test-tube option will be more effective than trying for a baby naturally.
Even young adults have no more than a one-in-four chance every month of reproducing through sex. Among the over-35s, this falls to one in ten.
This compares to the near 100 per cent success rate that Dr Yovich believes will be possible with IVF within ten years.

Life begins: A scientist is pictured screening sperm for use in in
 vitro fertilisation (IVF), but will take over as the main way for 
couples to conceive?
Life begins: A scientist is pictured screening sperm for use in in vitro fertilisation (IVF),
but will take over as the main way for couples to conceive?

Dr Yovich, co-author of a new report in the journal Reproductive BioMedicine, said: 'Natural human reproduction is at best a fairly inefficient process.
'Within the next five to ten years, couples approaching 40 will assess the IVF industry first when they want to have a baby.' He based his hunch on the fact that in cattle, IVF works almost every time. He said there was no reason that success rate could not be replicated in humans.
His co-author, fellow Australian vet Gabor Vajta, said test-tube embryo production in cattle was 100 times more efficient than natural means. He said there was no reason why IVF in humans should not become 100 times more efficient than sex.
At present, IVF has only a 50 per cent success rate  -  among the most healthy couples.
Gedis Grudzinskas, a Harley Street infertility specialist, said: 'It wouldn't surprise me if IVF does become significantly more efficient than natural reproduction, but I doubt whether you could ever completely guarantee that it would work.'
In Aldous Huxley's 1932 novel Brave New World, human reproduction has been done away with and is replaced by a hatching process, in which groups of identical children are produced from surgically-removed ovaries and incubated in bottles.
Source Related Posts with Thumbnails
Bookmark and Share

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Care for a Milky Way?

I tried to capture the Milky Way coursing through the treetops last night but was thrwarted by clouds. Just a hint of it is at center. The star Vega is at top while Deneb in the Northern Cross is to the left above the pointy spruce. Details: 24mm lens at f/2.8, ISO 1600 and 40-second time exposure. Photo: Bob King

After watching an episode on disk of HBO's "Rome" series yesterday night I had to stretch my legs and like Caesar search beyond the living room for plunder. It was nearly 11:30. Stepping outside, the stars looked fiery bright between swiftly-moving banks of clouds. Vega was well up in the east and below it the Northern Cross and Milky Way.
When the summertime Milky Way nudges its way into the sky on late nights in May one's first impression might be that clouds are pushing in from the east. You'd not be far from the truth except you're seeing clouds of stars not vapor, most of them at distances so vast their light blends into a continuous milky band stretching northeast to southwest. The name Milky Way is a direct translation of the Latin "Via Lactea" or Way of Milk, a reference to milk spilt by Hera, wife of Zeus, as she breast-fed her infant son Heracles.

The Milky Way that will become prominent in the summer months is on the rise in the east before midnight in May. This map shows the sky around 11:30 p.m. local time. Created with Stellarium

With our naked eye we see stars sprinkled along the Milky Way's length but only through binoculars and telescopes do we really begin to understand its nature just as Galileo did back in the early 1600's upon seeing it for the first time through one of his homemade telescopes: "For the Galaxy is nothing else than a congeries of innumerable stars distributed in clusters."

An "edge-on" view of our galaxy reveals it's a disk with a large starry bulge. The sun and the approximate tilt of the planets revolving around it are shown. I've exaggerated the sun's size and planet orbits for clarity. In reality the sun would be lost among the many stars in the disk. Credit: NASA image with my annotations

Well, yes, clusters but also some 400 billion stars, no doubt millions of planets, countless gas clouds called nebulas, black holes and all the rest arranged in a flattened disk some 100,000 light years end to end. It would look much like a thin-crust pizza if it wasn't the bulge of stars concentrated in the galaxy's center called the nucleus. This makes the Milky Way galaxy resemble some pointillistic version of Saturn writ large. The sun is a little more than halfway from the bulge to the edge, and the planets revolve around the sun at a steep angle to the galaxy's disk.

In this artist's depiction, based on the latest information about our galaxy, we see the Milky Way from above. Since the stars are concentrated in the disk, when we look through it -- instead of above or below the disk -- the stars quickly pile up to form the concentrated band of light we call the Milky Way in the night sky. Above and below the disk, the stars thin out.  Credit: NASA

Every star you see belongs to our Milky Way galaxy. Only telescopes equipped with cameras begin to resolve other galaxies into stars. Visually galaxies look like round or oval cocoons of glowing light often brighter at the center where more stars are concentrated. You have to remember as you look at one through a telescope that that bit of haze is the combined glow of billions of stars. Drill down to the next level and picture planets around many of those stars, and then imagine another pair of eyes on one of those planets with a level of curiosity that matches your own.

A wonderful video of the Milky Way rising in Australia with clouds and lightning.
One last reminder -- the Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks tomorrow morning shortly before dawn. John Chumack captured not one but two Eta Aquarids two mornings ago in this image. Very nice!
Source Related Posts with Thumbnails
Bookmark and Share

NASA Images is a project of the Internet Archive

NASA Images is a project of the Internet Archive and was created through a Space Act Agreement between the Internet Archive and NASA to bring public access to NASA's image, video, and audio collections in a single, searchable resource. The NASA Images team works closely with all of the NASA centers to keep adding to the continually updated collection at The site launched in July 2008 and now has more than 100,000 items online, all of which are available for free download.
Source Related Posts with Thumbnails
Bookmark and Share

Rockwall-based Armadillo Aerospace signs deal with
Space Adventures to sell suborbital rocket flights for $102,000

rocket armadillo b.JPG
credit: Armadillo Aerospace / Rocket Racing Inc

With a target price of $100,000 per ticket or less, launch vehicle developer Armadillo Aerospace and Rocket Racing League company Rocket Racing Inc are aiming to offer suborbital flights from New Mexico's Spaceport America from 2010

The image above is the rocket concept the two companies have released to the media

Rocket Racing Inc chief executive Granger Whitelaw says: "The price of space is coming down to Earth. And thanks to Armadillo's ships and New Mexico's spaceport, human beings will be treated to the most stellar views in the galaxy."
See more images of the joint venture's concept vehicle, some comment by me and Virgin Galactic's reaction in the extended portion of this blog post

click on all the images in this blog post to see larger versions in the same browser window

rocket armadillo c.JPG

rocket armadillo a.JPG
credit: Armadillo Aerospace / Rocket Racing Inc

This design had been on Armadillo's website for some time although just checking the site now it has disappeared

I was expecting something new for the concept. It is interesting that this has come out after the non-arrival of a reportedly "imminent" deal between Spaceport America and Virgin Galactic

While Armadillo has "proven" technology with its Rocket Racer engine I am not entirely convinced that that powerplant, or a cluster of seven of them, could really push even a two-person transparent capsule to above 100km

For a start the design above is not very aerodynamic and will waste a lot of fuel just trying to overcome that hurdle in the first 30,000ft (9,150m) of atmosphere but they also want a vertical powered descent with all the structural inefficiencies and fuel requirements that will bring

I don't understand why they didn't opt for this design (see below) and build in a transparent section, assuming any existing transparent material is going to be able to cope with the aerothermodynamic loading on ascent

missile concept armadillo.jpg
credit: Armadillo Aerospace 

Virgin Galactic president Will Whitehorn's reaction is, "...for Armadillo/Rocket Racing league, good luck to them"

Coming back to the whole Spaceport America involvement, there has been very slow progress towards Virgin signing an anchor tenant contract for some time with a memorandum of agreement inked a while back

The New Mexico government even made getting an anchor tenant part of its legislation for the creation of the spaceport and with the MOA Virgin seemed destined to fill that role, but are they?

Contacting Whitehorn this evening (UK time) he emailed me to say, of the new 'imminent' agreement, "this is the new agreement for the actual lease and facilities to the Fosters/URS design now finalised, which will supersede the original MOA."

One has to wonder though if the New Mexico government is concerned that they will have an utterely empty $225 million spaceport, cum white elephant, on their hands if Virgin Galactic, which rolled out an empty WhiteKnightTwo mothership in July, doesn't start flying in 14-months time. They could still be test flying SpaceShipTwo in 2010 at Mojave air and space port

I also wonder about the likelihood of Armadillo test flying so soon. It seems rather challenging, to say the least, for any company to go from a concept that has a habitable section that has untested technologies, sub-systems, let alone a proof of concept test article, and no successful flights of anything that could be called a prototype propulsion module, to flight tests inside of 12-months, assuming they make their first flght in December 2009

So the Armadillo, Rocket Racing, New Mexico government link up probably is a step to shore up political support for the spaceport, to give that impression of a growing list of tenants that includes Up Aerospace and maybe even the UK's Starchaser Industries

Being here in the UK and not having anyone in New Mexico to attend the press conference on our behalf, I have submitted a bunch of questions by email. Let's see what they say!

Source Related Posts with Thumbnails
Bookmark and Share

Jupiter loses one of its belts

Jupiter and its system of belts and zones. The Red Spot is a hurricane-strength storm that's been present on the planet for at least the past few hundred years. Credit: NASA
Sunday morning when Jupiter and the moon came up together in the east I was tempted to remain outside with the birds and growing light and observe the planet, but it had been a long night and I desperately needed sleep. As the sun continues to move away from Jupiter, the planet will rise higher and in time become more conveniently placed for viewing. Still, intrepid sky watchers with small telescopes may want to consider making an early morning pilgrimage to the king of the planets to see for themselves how Jupiter's gotten something of a makeover.
Last winter changes were already underway as the South Equatorial Belt, one of the two most prominent dark "stripes" on the planet, began to fade. Most years you look at Jupiter and besides the four little moons lined up on one side or another of the planet, you'll see two prominent dark grey bands, the north and south equatorial belts. These and Jupiter's other belts are separated by lighter-colored zones giving it a striped appearance. Both belts and zones are composed of ammonia ice crystals which freeze out at 108 degrees below zero, a temperature easily attainable at Jupiter's half-billion mile distance from the sun. Materials like sulfur and phosphorus mixed in with the ammonia are believed responsible for creating the clouds' curious red, brown and yellow tints.

Watch Jupiter rotate and its cloud belts move with the winds. The time-lapse video was made using images shot during Voyager 1's flyby of the planet in 1979.
The origin of all these belts and zones comes from deep below the planet. Bubbles of warmer air rise to the upper atmosphere and condense into clouds where they're are blown into alternating bands by 350+ mile per hour winds. Jupiter's rapid rotation is at the source of its ferocious winds -- a day on the planet whisks by in just 9.9 hours. This speedy spin coupled with Jupiter's gaseous nature is also the reason the planet is flattened like a squashed meatball instead of being more nearly spherical.

Look at the dramatic change in the planet from less than a year ago. The South Equatorial Belt (SEB) has faded away leaving just the north belt (NEB) viewable in small telescopes. Credit: Anthony Wesley
So here's the surprise. That bad boy south equatorial belt (SEB) has completely faded away. Point your scope at the planet any morning soon and you'll see only one obvious dark stripe, the North Equatorial Belt. Jupiter with only one belt is almost like seeing Saturn when its rings are edge-on and invisible for a time -- it just doesn't look right.
The SEB is one of the most active areas on the planet for weather changes. Every 3-15 years, the belt, which is normally dark reddish-brown in color and typically divided in two by the south equatorial belt zone, fades from view. After some weeks or months a brilliant white spot forms within that zone and begins spouting dark blobs of material which get stretched into filaments and ovals by Jupiter's fierce winds into a new SEB. Within a few weeks (or longer) the belt is back and Jupiter presents its familiar dual "tire track" appearance through a telescope.

When the South Equatorial Belt fades, the Great Red Spot, here seen at the planet's left edge, usually becomes darker and more prominent. Credit: Anthony Wesley

The phenomenon goes by the name of the South Equatorial Belt Disturbance, and the changes are dramatic enough to see their evolution night by night. That's why I'd like to urge you to set the alarm and take a look at Jupiter in the next few weeks. Later this season, when the planet grows a new face, you'll be able to appreciate how quickly a celestial object like a planet can change. It's part of the reason amateur astronomers observe them as often as they can much to their spouses' amusement.
To find Jupiter, go out about an hour before sunrise and look a fist or two above the horizon in the east-southeastern sky. It's the only bright "star" you'll see there.
SourceRelated Posts with Thumbnails
Bookmark and Share
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


View My Stats