Friday, May 13, 2011

PLANET X MEMES: HAUMEA - Wet Dwarf Planet & A Super Earth?!

It seems that mankind and planet Earth will be in for a convergence with some form of large planetary body pretty soon. Over the last couple of weeks and months, it seems that we have been hit by a deluge of information about planetary objects, either about to be exploded, lying nearby or approaching our solar system. We are told of the cosmic phenomenon of the imminent explosion of  the star Betelgeuse, becoming our second Sun, as it enters its late stage of stellar evolution. We were made aware of a giant hidden planet, Tyche, about four times the size of the planet Jupiter, that exists in the outer edges of the solar system. If that was not enough, a new companion for the Earth, Asteroid 2010 SO16, was discovered co-orbiting around the Sun, pursuing the Earth for anywhere between 120,000 to a million years. We have also been told of comets like C/2010 X1 or Comet Elenin and myriad of other "dirty snowballs" making their way here as well.

Just this week, NASA detected the transit of a new 'super-Earth.'
The movement of an exoplanet twice the size of Earth and eight times the mass has been detected only 41 light years away from us using data from NASA's Spitzer satellite. Located in the Cancer constellation, this planet has been classified a 'super-Earth' because it has a mass greater than the Earth's but less than that of the Solar System's gas giants. Due to discrepancies between results from the Spitzer team's study and a separate, simultaneous study of the planet, researchers have suggested that this could indicate the presence of an atmosphere. "We can say that now for the first time we have a solid exoplanet that we can study in detail," said co-author Michaël Gillon from the University of Liège in Belgium of the paper published in Astronomy & Astrophysics. "We already know that it is very different from the planets of our own Solar System." Look up into the sky on a dark, clear night and you may be able to spot this planet's host star, 55 Cancri (55 Cnc). This binary star consists of a yellow dwarf star, like our Sun, and a smaller red dwarf star. Five planets orbit around 55 Cnc, making it one of the largest known planetary systems outside the Solar System. The super-Earth described in this study, named '55 Cnc e', is the innermost of these planets, and first discovered in 2004. "We could call this planet a 'naked Neptune', as it is very similar to Neptune except that it has no gaseous envelope of hydrogen above its ice shell", said co-author Brice-Olivier Demory from the Massachusets Institute of Technology (MIT). Although super-Earths are not uncommon - the Kepler space observatory mission recently released a list of around 300 new super-Earth candidates - 55 Cnc e is of special interest to astronomers because it is unusually small and dense, and the strong brightness of its host star makes sensitive measurements possible. - Cosmos Magazine.
Speaking of Neptune, today, scientists at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile, are telling us that they have found the fifth dwarf planet of the solar system, Haumea, near Neptune, and that its two satellites, Hi'iaka and Namaka, are covered in crystalline water-ice, making them shine in the darkness of space.
Haumea was discovered in 2004 but new findings from European scientists have now offered new details of the tiny planet orbiting the Sun beyond Neptune. According to the European Southern Observatory, the mini-planet is the shape of a ‘flattened rugby ball’ and 75 per cent of its surface is covered with a reflective surface of water ice. The entire surface of Hi’iaka, one of Haumea’s two satellites along with Namaka, is also covered in this icy shell. The surface of the dwarf planet and its moon is unusual as it is crystalline and possesses an ordered structure, rather than being shapeless, amorphous ice. The ESCP team believe this means Haumea has a frozen outer surface and a largely rock inner structure. ‘Since solar radiation constantly destroys the crystalline structure of ice on the surface, energy sources are required to keep it organised,’ said Benoit Carry, co-author of the study and a researcher at the ESAC Centre of the European Space Agency in Madrid. ‘The two that we have taken into consideration are that able to generate radiogenic elements (potassium-40, thorium-232 and uranium-238) from the inside, and the tidal forces between Haumea and its satellites (as seen between the Earth and the Moon)’ he told Spanish outlet SINC. - Daily Mail.
So, what do we have here - super Earths, giant hidden planet, second Sun, dwarf planet or star, approaching the solar system,... Why do all of these discoveries share most of or a part of the characteristics associated with Planet X? Consider that Planet X is believed to be about 4 times the size of Jupiter. It is said to affect the observed positions of Uranus and Neptune, based on perturbations in their motions. It's perihelion is believed to be inside the orbit of Neptune. The orbital parameters of comets are believed to be influenced by Planet X. Are these stories of planets and stars pointers or memes of Planet X, the Brown Dwarf, the Death Star or Nemesis?

PLANETARY TREMORS: 6.2 Magnitude Quake Jolts Honshu, Japan!

Following a review by a seismology expert, the U.S. Geological Survey has just posted the earthquake details for a magnitude 6.2 earthquake that struck near the east coast of Honshu in Japan at 23:35:53 UTC. The earthquake was located at 37.383°N, 141.405°E and had a depth of 37.6 kilometres (km) or 23.4 miles. The epicentre was located at 59 km or 36 miles northeast of Iwaki, 91 km or 56 miles east of Koriyama, 93 km or 57 miles southeast of Fukushima and 239 km or 148 miles northeast of the capital, Tokyo.

MASS ANIMAL DIE-OFF: Sharks Dying Mysteriously by the Dozens?!

"I have to wonder... If whatever is in the water is doing this to a sturdy shark, what in the world is it doing, or could it do, to us [humans]?"

In a recent news analysis by Jennifer Viegas of Discovery News, she disclosed that sharks have been dying by the dozens, mysteriously due to internal bleeding.
Dozens of leopard sharks have been washing up dead in California since April, and now a necropsy shows at least one of the sharks died of massive internal bleeding, such that blood was even coming out of the shark's skin, according to a Daily News report. The necropsy, conducted by the California Department of Fish and Game, uncovered "inflammation, bleeding and lesions in the brain, and hemorrhaging from the skin near vents." According to the Daily News story, bleeding was additionally detected around the tested female's other internal organs. The results suggest the 50 sharks that have washed up dead at Redwood Shores in Redwood City, California, since April must have died a slow and agonizing death. Catherine Greer, a resident of the city, said she and her son tried to save some of the sharks by returning them to the water, but "they'd swim right back, thrashing their heads against the shore ... as if they were trying to commit suicide." I've been to this spot before and have seen presumably healthy leopard sharks right along the shore. You can see one in this video:

WATCH: Leopard Shark Swimming the Shallows in the San Francisco Bay.

A key question then clearly remains: What is causing the internal bleeding? As of now, that's still a mystery. A statement released by the Silicon Valley city mentioned, "The...pathologist is not drawing any conclusions until more examinations and all tests are performed." A bacterial study and microspoic tissue analysis are underway. Investigators have not ruled out a human-caused spill of toxic chemicals, although no big spill has been reported in the region over the past couple of months. Sean Van Sommeran, executive director of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation in nearby Santa Cruz, suspects "we're only seeing a tiny fraction of what's going on," meaning more sharks and other animals are likely being affected by the problem. Van Sommeran added that leopard sharks are typically a "pretty resistant" species. I have to wonder...If whatever is in the water is doing this to a sturdy shark, what in the world is it doing, or could it do, to us? Perhaps the cause is shark-specific, such as a pathogen affecting only leopard sharks, but I'd like to see the proof.
One can't be certain of what is causing this, but it seems that there is a cocktail of pharmaceuticals found in the fish caught near major American cities, buried from 2009, yet still reported even today, 2 years on.

Pharmaceutical pollution is out of control, polluting the waterways of our world to such a disturbing degree that now even the fish are carrying detectable levels of pharmaceuticals in their own bodies! A study conducted by Baylor University researcher Bryan Brooks, and published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, examined fish caught near Phoenix, Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia and Orlando, testing them for residues of pharmaceuticals. And what did the results show? That fish are contaminated with a chemical cocktail of prescription medications! The research was funded by a $150,000 grant from the EPA, and it found the fish to be contaminated with: • Seven different pharmaceuticals, including cholesterol drugs, blood pressure drugs, allergy drugs and psychiatric medications used to treat bipolar disorder and depression. • Two different chemicals used as artificial fragrance in soaps. These trace chemicals were found in fish near all of the sites tested... except for one: In order to establish a baseline reference of healthy, non-contaminated fish, researchers also caught fish in the Gila River Wilderness Area of New Mexico, which is far from any cities or developments. Care to guess what they found there? No pharmaceuticals contamination whatsoever. It is quite clear from this research that pharmaceuticals have become a widespread source of chemical pollution that has permeated delicate aquatic ecosystems and now poses a serious threat to our environment. - Natural News.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Magnitude 6.0 Earthquake Rocks Costa Rica! UPDATE: Parts Of Costa Rica Disappeared Following Japan Quake?!

Authorities at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) say a 6.0 magnitude earthquake has shaken Costa Rica's capital, San Jose at 22:47:55 UTC. Based on several news reports, there are no immediate reports of casualties. The quake was located at 10.105°N, 84.261°W with an epicenter of 16 miles or 25 kilometres northwest of San Jose. Its depth was 44 miles or 70 kilometres.

It should be remembered that on January 8th, 2009, a magnitude 6.1 quake in central Costa Rica killed at least 20 people.

UPDATE: Parts Of Costa Rica Disappeared Following Japan Quake?!

Following the news of this magnitude 6.0 earthquake that hit San Jose, I was looking across the Internet for any updates on the story, such as successive seismic tremors on the Panama or Caribbean tectonic plates or aftershocks in San Jose. In the process of doing that, I came across this fascinating article from the Tico Times, that was published on March 18, one week following the massive and devastating magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck Japan.
One of Costa Rica’s most important tourist attractions in the the Zona Sur (Southern Zone), the Tómbolo de Punta Uvita, has disappeared following last Friday’s 9 magnitude earthquake. Experts of the Obvservatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica (OVSICORI) – Costa Rica’s volcanology and seismic institute – believe that the tsunami caused by the earthquake increased tides and possibly a drop in the sea floor.The Tómbolo or the “cola de ballena”  (whale’s tail), is a stretch of sandy beach located in the Parque Marino Ballena in Punta Uvita that visitors, during low tide, of the area can walk from the mainland out to sea almost one kilometre.However, since Friday morning residents of the area and confirmed by experts, the level of water covers most of the Tómbolo even at low time and the only way to reach the tail is by swimming out to it.  And the tail itself is about half submerged in the water and almost completely during high tide.
Is it possible that the effects from the Japan earthquake will be felt on the coastlines around the world? Given the recent report of a growing gap between the Eurasian and North American plates, isn't this providing further evidence that we are truly witnessing a geological upheaval of planet Earth?

PLANETARY TREMORS: Expert - Violent Eruption of Mt. Etna Volcano in Italy is linked to the Devastating Earthquakes that rocked Spain?!

According to a seismology expert, the Mount Etna volcano eruption in southern Italy early Thursday is connected to the earthquakes that rocked the Spanish region of Murcia on Wednesday, killing 12 people and injuring more than 170 others.

"We are currently witnessing an intense seismic activity in the entire Mediterranean area from Spain all the way to Malta which has a certain impact on regional volcanoes," said Domenico Patane, director of the Sicily office of Italy s National Geophysics Institute. Patane said volcanoes are like windows from where underground magma surfaces and it's normal that they respond to earthquakes occurring in a geographic proximity. "The Spanish eastern coast hit by the quake, after all, lies close to Italy, in the Mediterranean. Both Spain and Sicily are on the same earth plate," he said. The earthquakes in Spain on Wednesday, which could be felt in Madrid, reportedly had their epicenter near the towns of Lorca and Totana in the Murcia region. The initial tremor of 4.4 magnitude was followed by a quake of about 5.2 magnitude. Around 2 a.m. Thursday people in Sicily felt the earth slightly tremble and heard the sound of an explosion coming from Etna's pit crater.  The eruption sent flying massive quantities of lava and volcanic ash, which spilled on the main town of Catania and other nearby villages but luckily caused no serious damage. The central airport was forced to close after it was submerged by the ash. Patane said there were no severe risks for local inhabitants but just for buildings and infrastructures that could be damaged by the ash and condensed lava. "It's normal to have frequent small-scale quakes and minor volcano eruptions in the Mediterranean," he said, "We're used to seismic activity here in Sicily and recently several minor shocks have been felt also across the whole of Italy." Mount Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe, with a 45-kilometer-diameter crater. - Xinhuanet.  

WEATHER ANOMALIES: Rare Tornado hits Xindian, Taiwan?!

Many people in downtown Xindian in New Taipei City in Taiwan, could not believe their eyes when they witnessed a tornado, an extremely rare phenomenon on the island.

The 20-floor high tornado lasted about two minutes and hurled objects in its path into the air in downtown Xindian, including some trees. A van was lifted from the ground and smashed a motorcycle when it fell. No casualties were reported. "It's the first time in my life that I saw a tornado," said a local witness, who was woken up by the swirling storm. The whole process of the tornado's formation and disappearance was recorded by a local resident, who posted the video on YouTube. According the Central Weather Bureau (CWB), the storm will not be included in the official record of natural disasters as it was not recorded by the bureau's weather station. As the local insurance industry usually relies on CWB records for damage claims, the ill-fated owner of the brand-new van may not be able to receive compensation for the damaged vehicle. According to the CWB, the violent storm may have been caused by strong thermal convection, a process when cold dry polar air meets warm moist tropical air. While typhoons are common tropical storms in Taiwan, the occurrence of tornado in Taiwan is extremely unusual. A tornado is a violent, dangerous, rotating column of air that is in contact with the surface of the earth. Tornadoes come in many shapes and sizes, but are typically in the form of a visible condensation funnel, whose narrow end touches the earth and is often encircled by a cloud of debris and dust. Most tornadoes have wind speeds less than 110 miles per hour, are approximately 250 feet across, and travel a few miles before dissipating. - Asia One News.
WATCH: Eyewitness captures the path of the tornado.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Mount Etna in Italy Erupts Violently!

Sicily's Mount Etna burst to life once again early on Thursday with a brief eruption that spewed lava and ash into the air and sent a long stream of lava down its slopes. This explosion comes just a day following the successive swarm of over 20 earthquakes in Italy on Wednesday.

Mount Etna erupted for the second time this year early Thursday morning, spewing molten hot lava and clouds of ash into the sky. The eruption, which can be seen in the raw video below, was most intense between midnight and 4 a.m. GMT, according to the BBC. The lava flow luckily only reached uninhabited areas, though the nearby town of Catania was forced to close its airport after it became covered in ash. This is not the first time the Sicilian volcano has erupted this year however. Before its January 13, 2011 eruption, Etna hadn't experienced major volcanic movement since 1992. The previous eruption also resulted in the airport's closure and caused little to no damage. - Huffington Post
WATCH: Raw video of the eruption, courtesy of the Associated Press.