Tag: Solar System

Have We Found Our Future Home?

Eyeball planets are strange worlds where one side faces their star at all times, but they might actually be a good candidate for life, and a place we may find refuge in the far future.

Also, there may be a lot more of them out there than we think. So let’s talk about these strange places in the universe.

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Is Shrinking (Also, Jupiter Is Insane)

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot has been the biggest storm in the solar system for centuries. But lately, it seems to be shrinking… and nobody’s sure why.

So this video was supposed to just be about the Great Red Spot but honestly the more I looked into Jupiter, the more I was struck by how insane the planet is. So it kinda became about that.

According To NASA, Voyager 2 May Be Leaving the Solar System Soon

This NASA diagram illustrates the hypothesized positions of Voyagers 1 and 2 in the solar system as of October 2018. Voyager 1 reached interstellar space in 2012. Voyager 2 may soon hit that milestone.

Want to get away? Want to get far, far away? Voyager 2 has you beat: The spacecraft, launched in 1977, is approaching the edge of the solar system, according to a NASA statement released today (Oct. 5).

That announcement is based on two different instruments on board, which in late August began noticing a small uptick in how many cosmic rays — superfast particles pummeling the solar system from outer space — were hitting the spacecraft.

That matches pretty well with what Voyager 1 began experiencing about three months before its own grand departure in 2012, but scientists can’t be sure of the milestone until after it has been passed.

We’re seeing a change in the environment around Voyager 2, there’s no doubt about that,” Voyager Project Scientist Ed Stone, a physicist at Caltech, said in the statement.




We’re going to learn a lot in the coming months, but we still don’t know when we’ll reach the heliopause. We’re not there yet — that’s one thing I can say with confidence.

The team behind Voyager 2 knows that the spacecraft is currently almost 11 billion miles (17.7 billion kilometers) away from Earth.

But it’s hard to predict when the spacecraft will actually leave the solar system by passing through what scientists call the heliopause.

The heliopause is the bubble around our solar system formed by the solar wind, the rush of charged particles that constantly streams off our sun.

The rate of energetic interstellar particles detected by Voyager 2 started to rise at the end of August 2018. Each point represents a 6-hour average.

But that solar wind ebbs and flows over the course of the sun’s 11-year cycle, which means that the bubble of our solar system itself expands and contracts.

And because Voyager 2 isn’t following precisely in its predecessor’s steps, scientists aren’t positive that its cosmic exit will result in identical changes to the data that the spacecraft reports.

So until Voyager 2 passes through the heliopause, there’s no way to be sure precisely where it is with regard to the heliopause.

Whenever it does successfully flee the solar system, Voyager 2 will become just the second human-made object to do so.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: Popular Science

Goblin, The Hidden Planet Nine, Lurking In Outskirts Of Our Solar System?

There is a growing evidence that our solar system has another Planet Nine or Planet X that is orbiting the Sun at a great distance.

Astronomer Scott S. Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington and his team explained the orbital details of the planet, which they have nicknamed Goblin, while officially it is designated in 2015 as TG387.

The team took three years to figure out the orbit of the Planet, which is interesting. Their findings have been published in the Astronomical Journal.

Distanced at about 7.4 billion miles from the sun, or about 2.5 times farther away than Pluto, the planet’s most distant end of its elliptical, 40,000-year orbit, is nearly 70 times farther from the sun than Pluto.

However, TG387 remains far beyond the pull of the gravitation of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, and astronomers have now discovered several bodies with such distant orbits.




In 2016, Michael Brown and Konstantin Batygin of the California Institute of Technology, originally predicted about an unseen planet, bigger than Earth yet smaller than Neptune. And it was named Planet Nine.

Ann-Marie Madigan, an astronomer at the University of Colorado, has suggested that gravity from a massive ring of small worlds early in the solar system’s history could explain the distant orbits.

“This new object does look like it’s quite good for the Planet Nine theory,” Madigan said.

Dr. Brown, who is behind Pluto’s demotion as a dwarf planet, is currently leading the search for Planet Nine. “Mostly it’s just another piece that fits in the puzzle very nicely,” said Brown.

Unseen by any earth-based telescope, TG387 is extremely lucky to have been located. We think there are thousands of these, and most of them are too distant to detect,” said Sheppard.

The discovery of the new planet may now trigger conspiracy theorists to claim that it could be the Nibiru, a rogue planet lurking outside our solar system to enter any time to cause destruction.

Please like, share and tweet this article.

Pass it on: Popular Science

A Brief History Of The Future

The history of the universe is mind-blowing. But the future of the universe – and how it ends – is even more so.

From the end of the human race to the fate of planet Earth, the solar system, the Milky Way, and beyond, in today’s video, we talk about the far, far future and what it holds for everything.

The Top 5 Places We Could Colonize In Our Solar System

The 5 best options for colonizing in our solar system are:

  • The moon
  • Mars
  • Europa
  • Titan
  • Venus

 

The moon

Gravity: 1/6 that of earth

Air pressure: none

Temperature: extreme (253 in sun, -253 in shade)

Why go – a place to launch to other places Orbiting at 2288 mph (3683 kph) – significant boost

Advantages: Instant communication with Earth Good place to learn how to colonize where Experts are available 24/7

Advantages: Lighter gravity means we could build bigger there
Advantages: could dome over craters to create housing
Advantages: water ice in some pole craters

One place we have talked a lot about is Mars

 

Mars

Gravity: Just over 1/3 (38%)

Air Pressure: .6% if Earth’s

Temperature: 70 in day (20C), -100 at night (-73C)

Why go: Most comfortable temperature-wise and gravity-wise, but pressure is still abysmal

Down-side: Thin atmosphere means not enough to support life but enough to make landings difficult.

Terraforming option – most potential for terraforming. Melting ice caps could pump CO2 into the air and thicken the atmosphere as well as warm the planet

 

Europa

Gravity: 13% of Earth’s

Air pressure: barely exists – mostly oxygen

Temperature: -260F -160C

This seems like a swing and a miss, but there’s something interesting under the surface of Europa

Tidal heating causes a sea of liquid water beneath the surface.
One of the best options for finding life in the solar system
Underwater habitats might be the answer.

Downside: radiation carried by Jupiter’s magnetic field would pose an issue

 

Titan

Gravity: 13% of Earth’s

Air pressure: 1.5x that of Earth

Temperature: -290F, -179C

Of all the places in the solar system, Titan’s air pressure is most like Earth’s You could just walk around on the surface without a suit, except for the fact that it’s so cold methane flows in rivers.

Could use the methane for fuel

But I promised something controversial, and here it is, my personal favorite option for colonizing another planet… Venus.

 

Venus

Gravity: 91% of Earth’s

Air Pressure: 100x that of Earth

Temperature: 872F, 467C

Now I know what you’re saying, you’re saying Joe, that only meets one of the three criteria, how can you possibly pick that as your number one?

Because those numbers are for the planet’s surface. Up in the clouds, it’s a different story.

Venus’ air pressure is insane. On the surface, it would crush you like a soda can. But about 50 kilometers up in the atmosphere, it’s about the same as here.

Which means that just like a ship can float on top of the water, we could build colonies that float on the upper atmosphere of Venus.

It would still be hot, but manageable.

And I know people will always say, but what if you fall? Or if you drop something, you’ll never get it back.

Well, I go back to the ship on the sea analogy. If you fall off the boat, you’re likely to drown. If you drop your phone over the side, you’ll never see it again. But we still have cruise ships carrying thousands of people and entire navies floating around out there.

Plus the communication time would be smaller than anywhere else.