JUST IN: Halo CME Heading Toward Earth

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Today’s CME (coronal mass ejection) is measured to be low to moderate solar winds speed. A geomagnetic storm is expected to occur within the next 72 hours. On Sept. 19th another CME occurred during a prominence eruption and is expected to arrive at Earth within the next 48 hours.

Some…

Today’s CME (coronal mass ejection) is measured to be low to moderate solar winds speed. A geomagnetic storm is expected to occur within the next 72 hours. On Sept. 19th another CME occurred during a prominence eruption and is expected to arrive at Earth within the next 48 hours.

full_halo3_m

Some CMEs are called “halo events” because of the way they look in coronagraph images. As the expanding cloud of an Earth-directed CME looms larger and larger it appears to envelop the Sun, forming a halo around our star. This animation shows a “full halo” coronal mass ejection recorded by SOHO coronagraphs.

solar_prominence_m

CLICK ON IMAGE FOR VIDEO

A prominence is a large, bright, gaseous feature extending outward from the Sun’s surface, often in a loop shape. Prominences are anchored to the Sun’s surface in the photosphere, and extend outwards into the Sun’s corona.

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Retrieving An Asteroid

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Asteroids (or comets) whose orbits bring them close to the earth’s orbit are called near Earth objects. Some of them are old, dating from the origins of the solar system about four and one-half billion years ago, and expected to be rich in primitive materials. They are of great interest to…

Asteroids (or comets) whose orbits bring them close to the earth’s orbit are called near Earth objects. Some of them are old, dating from the origins of the solar system about four and one-half billion years ago, and expected to be rich in primitive materials. They are of great interest to scientists studying the young solar system. Others, of lower scientific priority, are thought to contain minerals of potential economic value.

NASA has announced its interest in sending a manned mission to a near Earth object. The NASA Asteroid Robotic Retrieval Mission concept involves the capture of an asteroid, and dragging it onto a new trajectory that traps it in the Earth–Moon system where it will be further investigated by astronauts. The current mission design requires the target asteroid to have a diameter of seven to ten meters. The object NEO 2009BD is a prime candidate for this retrieval mission. It was discovered on January 16, 2009, at a distance from the Earth of only 0.008 AU (one AU is the average distance of the Earth from the Sun). Its orbit is very Earth–like, with a period of 400 days, and it will end up close to the Earth–Moon system again in late 2022 when the proposed capture would take place. It seems to be a perfect candidate, with a time frame that allows for proper mission planning.

The problem is that the size of the NEO 2009BD is uncertain, and thus its density and composition are also uncertain, but first estimates are that it likely falls in the diameter range specified by the mission. The uncertainty arises because it was detected at optical wavelengths; they measure reflected light, which is a combination of both an object’s size and reflectivity (albedo). For NASA mission planning to succeed, a more direct size measurement of 2009 BD is needed—and soon, before its increasing distance from the Earth makes such an observation a practical impossibility.

CfA astronomers Joe Hora, Howard Smith and Giovanni Fazio have been regularly using the IRAC camera on the Spitzer Space Telescope to measure the infrared emission of near Earth objects, and (with some modeling) deriving both the sizes and densities of these objects. They received special observatory time to study NEO 2009BD, and in an upcoming issue of the Astrophysical Journal they and their colleagues report on their conclusions. They did not detect the NEO 2009BD to a very low light level, implying that it is very small, probably only about 2.9 meters in diameter, and modeling suggests it has a rubble-pile composition. This is the smallest object ever reported on by Spitzer; whether it is still suitable for a NASA mission is now something that the NASA Retrieval Mission team must determine.

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Black Holes May Have ‘Hair’

http://earthchangesmedia.com/black-holes-may-have-hair

In a challenge to traditional models of the universe’s gravitational monsters, new research suggests black holes could be quite “hairy,” with more tangled features than previously believed.
The gravitational attraction of black holes is so strong that even light cannot escape…

In a challenge to traditional models of the universe’s gravitational monsters, new research suggests black holes could be quite “hairy,” with more tangled features than previously believed.

The gravitational attraction of black holes is so strong that even light cannot escape their pull, making these super-dense objects invisible to outside observers and almost indistinguishable from one another.

“The accepted picture is that black holes are very simple objects that can be fully characterized by only 3 quantities: their mass, their angular momentum (how fast they spin) and their electric charge,” Thomas Sotiriou, a physicist at the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste, told SPACE.com in an email.

The electric charge, however, is usually negligibly small, and researchers typically throw it out when describing a black hole.

Astronomer John Wheeler, who coined the term “black hole” nearly 50 years ago, famously said that “black holes have no hair” because of their simplicity. Now “hair” is used as a colloquial term among physicists as a stand-in for any other measure needed to describe a black hole that departs from the traditional three-quantity model.

For their study, Sotiriou and his colleagues looked at black holes in the context of the equations of scalar-tensor theories of gravity.

“These are theories different than Einstein’s theory, general relativity,” Sotiriou wrote in an email. “They also describe the gravitational field in term of curvature of spacetime and predict the existence of black holes. However, they include also a different kind of field — a scalar field — to participate to the mediation of the gravitational interaction.”

The researchers found that black holes develop scalar “hair” when ordinary matter surrounds them.

“This does not happen in the standard picture,” Sotiriou said.

It’s not clear from the study if these strands of scalar “hair” make black holes look much different from the standard picture, and it’s not clear how observable the effect is with current technology, Sotiriou explained.

Not only would the existence of “hair” help researchers understand the structure of black holes themselves, proof of “hairy” black holes could represent a paradigm shift, Sotiriou said, since Einstein’s theory does not include a scalar field.

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Mount Etna Erupts Again

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Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, erupted again with lava streaming down its sides and smoke rising from the crater. According to local media, the eruption began on Saturday afternoon, closing nearby Catania airport overnight until Sunday morning.
Long streams of red hot lava…

Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, erupted again with lava streaming down its sides and smoke rising from the crater. According to local media, the eruption began on Saturday afternoon, closing nearby Catania airport overnight until Sunday morning.

Long streams of red hot lava flowed down the side of the mountain, melting snow.

The eruption is the first of 2014 after a particularly active year in 2013, a result of a new crater forming on the southeastern side of the volcano. Aside from the airport closure, there was minimal disruption on Sunday.

Despite several inhabited villages dotting the mountain’s slopes, no evacuations were ordered as a result of the eruption.

There were no reports of damage, and the nearby Catania Airport, which had previously been closed, was unaffected.

The snow-capped volcano has been making its presence known over the past few months as a new southeastern crater has opened up.

 

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Anger Grows Over Aid Delays Among Cyclone Survivors

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India – Anger over the slow and patchy delivery of aid is growing amongst survivors of a fierce cyclone that battered India’s east coast almost a week ago and the delays have sparked protests and looting in some areas, aid workers said on Friday.
Cyclone Phailin battered the…

India – Anger over the slow and patchy delivery of aid is growing amongst survivors of a fierce cyclone that battered India’s east coast almost a week ago and the delays have sparked protests and looting in some areas, aid workers said on Friday.

Cyclone Phailin battered the coastline of Odisha state on Saturday, ripping apart tens of thousands of mud-and-thatch homes, inundating large tracts of farmland and disrupting power and telecoms services.

As it moved inland from the Bay of Bengal, incessant rains caused major rivers and tributaries to overflow, submerging more villages and leaving thousands stranded.

Phailin, recorded as the most powerful storm to hit the region in 14 years, disrupted the lives of almost 12 million people and killed at least 43.

“The government has been providing food and clean water and some shelter materials, but there are still places where people have not received anything at all,” said John Shumlansky, country director for aid group Catholic Relief Services.

Shumlansky praised the timely action of the authorities who evacuated almost one million people to shelters ahead of the storm, but said the scale of destruction presented challenges for both the government and humanitarian agencies.

Hundreds of cyclone survivors protested over the lack of aid in the worst-hit district of Ganjam on Wednesday, blocking a major highway and causing congestion. Similar demonstrations have been reported in at least two other districts.

Some cyclone survivors have also looted relief supplies from government vehicles and shelters. Police arrested 18 people in Khurda district after a mob looted polythene rolls that were to be used for shelter from a relief truck, officials said.

Many of those hit by the cyclone are from poor fishing and farming communities and need basic emergency items such as clean water, tarpaulin sheets, medicine, soap, utensils and blankets.

But they also need long-term support to help rebuild their lives after losing their homes and their livelihoods, including crops, cattle, fishing boats and nets.

Most are now living amidst the wreckage of their homes.

“There is a sense of frustration and anger which is always seen in days after a disaster. People are of course grateful to be alive, but are now returning to their homes to find nothing,” said Unni Krishnan, head of emergencies at Plan International.

“It is great that so many lives were saved, but we now need to make sure that they are sustained in the days ahead.”

RESOURCES STRETCHED

In the aftermath of the storm, rescue and relief teams have cleared roads of thousands of uprooted trees, air dropped dry food rations to flood-hit areas and taken to boats to rescue villagers marooned on the rooftops of their homes.

However, some areas remain inaccessible because water levels are still high or roads are damaged. In other areas, power and telecoms services have not been restored.

Both aid workers and government officials say human resources and relief supplies are stretched.

“Everyone was focusing on the coastal evacuations and relief and recovery along the coast and we weren’t prepared for the fresh flooding in other areas as well,” said Mangla Mohanty, head of the Indian Red Cross in Odisha.

“As a result, there are big gaps in response in the rural areas.”

Mohanty said there was a shortage of emergency relief items such as “churra” – a local staple made from rice – on the local market as people had been bulk buying ahead of the storm, forcing some aid groups to source supplies from outside the state.

Government officials said they hoped to provide everyone with relief by Oct 22, adding that people would also be receiving cash payments to help buy the items they need.

“We will complete the relief operation in another three to four days time. There will be some people who will receive (the relief) today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow,” said Odisha’s special relief commissioner Pradeep Kumar Mohapatra.

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BREAKING NEWS: New Understanding of Mantle Plume Plasticity

http://earthchangesmedia.com/earths-mantle-plasticity-explained-missing-mechanism-for-deforming-olivine-rich-rocks

Earth’s mantle is a solid layer that undergoes slow, continuous convective motion. But how do these rocks deform, thus making such motion possible? Given that the mineral olivine (the main constituent of the upper mantle) does not exhibit enough defects in their crystal lattice, what could…

Earth’s mantle is a solid layer that undergoes slow, continuous convective motion. But how do these rocks deform, thus making such motion possible? Given that the mineral olivine (the main constituent of the upper mantle) does not exhibit enough defects in their crystal lattice, what could be the cause?

mantle-disclination_m

The mineral olivine is a magnesium iron silicate with the formula (Mg+2, Fe+2)2SiO4. It is a common mineral in the Earth’s subsurface usually in the form of molten rock such as magma or lava.

The researchers suspected that the solution was to be found at the boundaries between the mineral grains that make up rocks. However, they lacked the conceptual tools needed to describe and model the role played by these boundaries in the plasticity of rocks.

The last sentence above defines the task of my personal research (as a whole, not specific to the study of the Earth’s core). That sentence alone helps define Earth Changes Media’s mission related to breaking news and new discoveries. I hope we are doing a good job in conveying to you in a way we can all understand.

mantle-disclinations2_m

The research team led by Lille University of National Advanced Chemistry, Dept. of Materials and Transformations, France, has provided an unexpected answer to this question. It involves little known crystal defects known as ‘disclinations’.

These crystals are located at the boundaries between the mineral grains that make up rocks. Their findings have just been published in the scientific journal Nature. It goes well beyond the scope of the geosciences: they provide a new, extremely powerful tool for the study of the dynamics of solids and for the material sciences in general.

ocean_bottom_magma_m

Earth continuously releases its heat via convective motion in Earth’s mantle, which underlies the crust. Understanding this convection is therefore fundamental to the study of plate tectonics. The mantle is made up of solid rocks. In order for convective motion to occur, it must be possible for the crystal lattice of these rocks to deform.

Until now, this was a paradox that science was unable to fully resolve. While defects in the crystal lattice (dislocations) provide a very good explanation of the plasticity of metals, they were not sufficient to explain the deformations undergone by certain mantle rocks.

New studies now show that the crystal lattice of the grain boundaries exhibits highly specific defects which had not been detected. The researchers succeeded in observing them for the first time in samples by using an electron microscope and specific image processing.

Flow in the mantle is thus no longer incompatible with its rigidity. This research goes beyond explaining the plasticity of rocks in Earth’s mantle: it is a major step forward in materials science. Consideration of disclinations should provide scientists with a new tool to explain many phenomena related to the mechanics of solids.

The scientists intend to continue their research into the structure of grain boundaries, not only in other minerals but also in other solids such as metals.

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Mount Etna Erupts Again

http://earthchangesmedia.com/mount-etna-erupts-again-2

Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, erupted again with lava streaming down its sides and smoke rising from the crater. According to local media, the eruption began on Saturday afternoon, closing nearby Catania airport overnight until Sunday morning.
Long streams of red hot lava…

Mount Etna, Europe’s most active volcano, erupted again with lava streaming down its sides and smoke rising from the crater. According to local media, the eruption began on Saturday afternoon, closing nearby Catania airport overnight until Sunday morning.

Long streams of red hot lava flowed down the side of the mountain, melting snow.

The eruption is the first of 2014 after a particularly active year in 2013, a result of a new crater forming on the southeastern side of the volcano. Aside from the airport closure, there was minimal disruption on Sunday.

Despite several inhabited villages dotting the mountain’s slopes, no evacuations were ordered as a result of the eruption.

There were no reports of damage, and the nearby Catania Airport, which had previously been closed, was unaffected.

The snow-capped volcano has been making its presence known over the past few months as a new southeastern crater has opened up.

 

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