Tuesday, September 17, 2013

FIRE IN THE SKY: Scientists Discover Cosmic Factory For Making Building Blocks Of Life - Cometary Impacts, Create Shock Waves That Generates Molecules That Make Up Amino Acids, The Building Blocks Of Life!

September 17, 2013 - SPACE - Scientists have discovered a 'cosmic factory' for producing the building blocks of life, amino acids, in research published today in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The team from Imperial College London, the University of Kent and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory discovered that when icy comets collide into a planet, amino acids can be produced. These essential building blocks are also produced if a rocky meteorite crashes into a planet with an icy surface.

The researchers suggest that this process provides another piece to the puzzle of how life was kick-started on Earth, after a period of time between 4.5 and 3.8 billion years ago when the planet had been bombarded by comets and meteorites.

Dr Zita Martins, co-author of the paper from the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London, says: "Our work shows that the basic building blocks of life can be assembled anywhere in the Solar System and perhaps beyond. However, the catch is that these building blocks need the right conditions in order for life to flourish. Excitingly, our study widens the scope for where these important ingredients may be formed in the Solar System and adds another piece to the puzzle of how life on our planet took root."

Dr Mark Price, co-author from the University of Kent, adds: "This process demonstrates a very simple mechanism whereby we can go from a mix of simple molecules, such as water and carbon-dioxide ice, to a more complicated molecule, such as an amino acid. This is the first step towards life. The next step is to work out how to go from an amino acid to even more complex molecules such as proteins."

The abundance of ice on the surfaces of Enceladus and Europa, which are moons orbiting Saturn and Jupiter respectively, could provide a perfect environment for the production of amino acids, when meteorites crash into their surface, say the researchers. Their work further underlines the importance of future space missions to these moons to search for signs of life.

The researchers discovered that when a comet impacts on a world it creates a shock wave that generates molecules that make up amino acids. The impact of the shock wave also generates heat, which then transforms these molecules into amino acids.

The team made their discovery by recreating the impact of a comet by firing projectiles through a large high speed gun. This gun, located at the University of Kent, uses compressed gas to propel projectiles at speeds of 7.15 kilometres per second into targets of ice mixtures, which have a similar composition to comets. The resulting impact created amino acids such as glycine and D-and L-alanine. - Science Daily.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Global Volcano Report For September 17, 2013 - Powerful Explosions At Indonesia's Sinabung Volcano And Weak Ash Emissions At Italy's Mount Etna!

September 17, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Eruption of Sinabung this morning (VSI webcam).

Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): A powerful explosion occurred this morning. An ash plume rose to about 6 km height. The volcano continued with near-constant ash venting following the eruption.

WATCH: The following video shows this morning's activity:

There are no reports of victims, but ash fall in the area is damaging crops, and prices for vegetables have jumped up.

Etna (Sicily, Italy): After a phase of complete quiet since 13th of September, weak ash emissions occurred again at the New SE crater during the night 16-17 of September, accompanied by a slight rise of tremor.

Ash emission from New SE crater yesterday evening (LAVE webcam via etnawalk.it)

This activity ceased again during the early hours of today.

WATCH: Two of them are visible at the start and end of the following video from INGV's thermal webcam:

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for September 17, 2013.

- Volcano Discovery.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Meteor Explodes Above Welsh Town And Wakes Families With "Sonic Boom" - Fireball Shot Across The Night Sky Before Imploding In Cwmbran, New Newport, South Wales!

September 17, 2013 - WALES - A golf ball-sized meteor caused panic in a Welsh town when it exploded, creating a massive sonic boom.'

Fireball: A meteor streaks across the night sky (file picture)

Hundreds of people saw the fireball shoot across the night sky before it exploded near their homes in Cwmbran, near Newport, South Wales.

Police and coastguards in South Wales had dozens of reports of a bright flash in the sky followed by a loud bang.

Homeowner Steve Edwards, 56, said: 'There was an enormous boom - It sounded like a bomb going off.

'The force of it shook the windows in my house, woke up my children and caused car alarms to start going off in the streets.

'I'm just glad none of it landed on my roof.'

Witness Nathan Jones, 34, who lives in nearby St Athan, said: 'I've never seen something so amazing in my life.

'It had a heat trail behind, it was orange and white and very bright, and also seemed very close.

'It looked like it was skimming through the atmosphere due to the curved path it was taking.'

The meteor was first spotted in the North West as it sped towards the border of Wales and the South West.
It exploded in Cwmbran, near Newport, South Wales, pictured.

The meteor was first spotted in the North West and amateur astronomers watched as it sped towards the border of Wales and the South West.

Hannah Sabido, 33, who spotted the meteor from her home in Bristol, said: 'I first noticed it as a very bright glowing light behind cloud, travelling very fast.

'It looked like a bright white ball with a long bright tail and possibly a green hue. It was brighter than the moon.

'It became more orange towards the North East, giving off orange sparks before bursting out.'

Astrophysician Dr David Whitehouse said: 'It was a piece of space rock coming into the earth's atmosphere and burning up as it does.

'It's the size of a golf ball, it's coming in very, very quickly and leaving a bright tail as it vaporizes.

'It's incredibly bright, it burns at an altitude of 60 to a 100 miles above the earth.

'So if one flashes across the UK you can see it all the way along its track even if it it only lasts a couple of seconds.

'It's not unusual for it to be seen for a couple of hundred miles all across the country.

'Scientists will now be very keen to know if it's survived so they can try and collect it and examine it.

'As for the rest of us we don't have anything to fear from a meteor or this size, there's no records of anyone having been killed by such a thing.

'It's very, very unlikely to strike a person, much less likely than being struck by lightning.

'Very rarely something large will come into contact with the earth, like the one which helped the dinosaurs on it's way - that was the size of Britain.

'But this meteor is a wonder of nature, something in the night sky to be admired and enjoyed.'

Police in Wales confirmed they had dozens of reports of the meteor lighting up the night sky. - Daily Mail.

TERMINATOR NOW: The Rise Of The Machines - Arms Industry Shows Off Next-Generation Drones In London In Preparation For Future Robotic Wars!

September 17, 2013 - UNITED KINGDOM - Reconnaissance gadgets and robotic warfare devices are getting smaller by the year, with James Bond like technology being offered to a wide range of buyers, from police forces to special military units.

The Shepherd-MIL Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) during the Defence Security Equipment International
(DSEI) arms fair at ExCel in London September 10, 2013.

The market place for such technology has become Defence Security and Equipment International (DSEi) exhibition held at ExCel London.

The international exhibition has established itself as the leading platform to view and purchase state of the art equipment from the world's defense and security industry. Held from September 10-13, it showcased 1,391 exhibitors to almost 30,000 visitors from 121 countries.

This year, the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) conference was also held as part of the DSEi and has focused on future capabilities, including civilian applications of drones as well as technological innovations.

The UAS 2,000 m2 event became a one-stop store for anyone seeking to work with the Remotely Piloted Air Systems industry. The Unmanned Systems Showcase held number demonstrations of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Unmanned Ground Vehicles, as well as other gadgets that are to be deployed in various security environment and scenarios.

"Technological advances, operational imperatives and budgetary constraints are driving ever greater reliance on UAVs in military operations. UAVs are increasingly being depended upon to deliver capabilities that formerly relied on manned platforms.

As their strategic importance increases, the UAS industry must respond to deliver systems that are ever more cost effective, dependable and survivable," one of the sponsors of the event, Cranfield University, said at the conference.

As unmanned drones continue to make headlines on the battlefield in the US-led war on terror over the skies of Afghanistan, Yemen and Pakistan, the industry's main goal is to expand the market share of robots to law enforcement and other security industries.

American companies such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Atomics continue to dominate the military market, while other defense firms such as BAE Systems are in pursuit to develop the next-generation drones with stealth capabilities.

But it is the smaller players on the market that are expending the robotic frontiers with their drive to perfect underwater robots that can that can be used on the seabed to clear mines or gather reconnaissance. The inventions are getting so tiny that a newly exhibited "quadrocopter" with four or more rotors can be activated from backpacks via remote control.

One of the aim of the technological innovations is to make warfare more secure and safe.

For instance, the ReconRobotics firm says their latest product, the ThrowbotXT is designed to detect an explosive or hostiles in a building before soldiers or police are sent in to secure the premises. The company has sold more than 4,000 of these devises, mostly to the US military in Afghanistan.

The personal sensor system for tactical operators is "pound-for-pound, the most versatile, robust, stealthy and easy-to-deploy tactical robot system in the world," the company says.

Once deployed, the micro-robot transmits video and audio to the controller allowing the analyst to "spot armed subjects, confirm the presence of hostages or innocent civilians, listen in on conversations, and reveal the layout of rooms"

"It gives you eyes inside a room before you go there," Ernest Langdon director of US and international military programs for the company told Reuters. "Maybe that means you see there are children in a room so you don't throw a grenade. Maybe it means you find an IED (improvised explosive device)."

ReconRobotics' is in the process of developing a flying quadrocopter tiny enough to fit in a backpack but capable of providing surveillance inside a structure. Similar designs were also showcased by Estonia's Eli Airborne Solutions used by the country's border guard and aimed for exports to Latin America countries.

Other companies such as the British Colena, are trying to break into a non-military market and are targeting show business. Their five-rotored radio-controlled copter is designed to for the use of film production studios by offering views over battlefields and facial recognition software to scan crowds at public events.

"You see it at the end where you have small robots to be thrown through a window and you see it at the higher end where you have large, expensive drones with artificial intelligence designed to operate for hours or even days at a time,"Douglas Barrie, air power analyst at London's International Institute for Strategic Studies told Reuters

"This UK MOD initiative aims to facilitate pragmatic and expedient test and evaluation solutions to a wide range of emerging issues ranging from operational capability problems through to studies pertaining to future UAS test and evaluation," Defence Unmanned Air Systems Capability Development Centre said about the exhibition.

This year's event has been highly politicized as major powers lock horns over the US's attempt to strike Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons. But it was not the US, responsible for massive collateral damage from the drone warfare that was under pressure. Instead, it was Russia, which the organizers thought should have a limited space for presentation at the event, due to its military contracts with the Syrian government.

"We can confirm categorically that Rosonboronexport is not exhibiting at DSEI 2013," organizers said in a statement. As a result, only five Russian companies were registered to exhibit that are classified as humanitarian and rescue organizations.

They include EMERCOM - an Russian organisation engaged in humanitarian and rescue activity around the world; Concern SYSTEMPROM - manufacturers of communication and control systems; Kovrov Electronmechanical Plant - manufacturers of bomb disposal robots, electrohydraulic systems for stabilisation, and GPS systems; MDB COMPAS - manufacturers of navigation equipment for aircraft; and RPC ISTOK - manufacturers of microwave communications components.

Because many of the exhibitors were from the arms industry, the event attracted a throng of anti-war and anti-drone protesters. Arguing that robotic warfare eliminates ethical factor in combat by making it too easy to kill innocent people, hundreds protested next to Excel centre for the duration of the conference.

The rally, titled "Say No to the Games of Drones", was organized by War on Want, Campaign Against Arms Trade, Drone Wars UK, Stop the War Coalition and Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

"Drones are indiscriminate weapons of war that have been responsible for thousands of civilian deaths. Drones should be banned, just as landmines and cluster munitions were banned. Now is the time to stop the rise of drone warfare - before it is too late," War on Want said in a statement.

Armed drones were first used in late 2001 by Washington inside Afghanistan. Since then, drones have been deployed by the US and its allies in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. It is estimated that the United States has killed around 4,700 people in drone strikes. - Space Daily.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Earthquake Swarm Rattling Yellowstone Close To Old Faithful!

September 17, 2013 - UNITED STATES - More than 100 earthquakes have shaken Yellowstone National Park since last Tuesday, with the strongest, a tremblor of 3.6 magnitude, felt Sunday, according to the University of Utah Semisograph Stations.

USGS earthquake location for Yellowstone.

The quake occurred at 9:53:02 a.m. Sunday; the epicenter of the shock was located in Yellowstone's Lower Geyser Basin area, 8 miles north of Old Faithful, and 15 miles southeast of West Yellowstone.

According to the seismograph station, the swarm began September 10 and has included quakes near Lewis Lake, the Lower Geyser Basin, and in an area northwest of Norris Geyser Basin.

USGS earthquake list for the most recent Yellowstone earthquakes.

"A total of 130 earthquakes of magnitude 0.6 to 3.6 have occurred in these three areas, however, most have occurred near the Lower Geyser Basin," park officials reported.

"Notably, much of the seismicity in Yellowstone occurs as swarms. The University of Utah Seismograph Stations continues to monitor Yellowstone earthquakes and will provide additional information if the earthquake swarm activity increases." - NPT.

FIRE IN THE SKY: "Bright Flash In The Sky" - Meteor Seen Across Southern California

September 17, 2013 - UNITED STATES - People from San Diego to Riverside to Anaheim to Los Angeles reported seeing a bright flash in the sky late Monday evening, a short-lived thrill that was likely caused by a meteor.

Palomar Observatory. Scott Kardel

Holly Lindquist told U-T San Diego on Twitter, "From Hemet it looked like it was headed east. Bright white ball with molten red edges, flashing brighter as it neared the horizon." Lindquist said she saw the meteor at about 11:10 p.m., while she was driving.

Teresa Hall-Wells of San Diego told us online, " Saw a huge fireball cross the horizon while driving down the freeway. It was like being in a science fiction movie. I hope someone got it on video."

Such sightings are not common. People regularly see a flash produced by a meteor, a small piece of matter that turns bright when it strike's the atmosphere, typically in the region 50 to 75 miles above Earth. The American Meteor Society says, "Meteoroids are the smallest members of the solar system, ranging in size from large fragments of asteroids or comets, to extremely small micrometeoroids. Whenever a meteoroid plows into the Earth’s atmosphere, it will create a brief flash of moving light in the sky, called a meteor. Meteors were once thought to be a purely atmospheric phenomena, and the study of these and other atmospheric effects, especially weather, spawned the science of meteorology. It was not until the mid-1800′s that the extra-terrestrial nature of meteors was widely recognized. If remnants of the parent meteoroid survive the trip through the atmosphere to reach the ground, then these remnants are called meteorites."

Other sightings reported on Twitter:

Michael Thiebaud, "I saw it here in Beaumont. Super huge. Biggest I've ever seen."

usmarine323: "At exactly 11:10 pm I was driving on 78E near 15 Junction. LARGEST #shootingstar I've ever seen."

SandyCheeks_12: "What i just saw in the sky right now was amazing! It was like a shooting star but super bright and big

BlazingLily: "Just watched a huge meteor break into three smaller pieces before disappearing. That was awesome!!"

Jürg Lehni: "I thought it looked green, flashing white."

brentonstrine 54:" Saw a huge blue and green #meteor headed for Burbank or Glendale just after 11pm tonight while headed home on the 101. Looked REALLY close!"

Tony Chavez said on Twitter, "I saw the meteor too on freeway near South El Monte!"

guyspeakwhat: "Am I crazy or was that blue-green streak I just saw across the #LosAngeles sky a #METEOR???"

IamRayRod: "Holy huge #meteor"

karinasaysss: "I just saw a shooting star &then i looked at my phone it was 11:11 p.m." - UT San Diego.

TERMINATOR NOW: The Rise Of The Machines - DARPA's Plan To Flood The Sea With Drones Carrying More Drones!

September 17, 2013 - UNITED STATES - DARPA, the Pentagon’s research agency, has recently revealed its plans to boost the Navy’s response to threats in international waters by developing submerged unmanned platforms that can be deployed at a moment’s notice.

Image: DARPA

Hydra, named after the serpent-like creature with many heads in Greek mythology, would create an undersea network of unmanned payloads and platforms to increase the capability and speed the response to threats like piracy, the rising number of ungoverned states, and sophisticated defenses at a time when the Pentagon is forced to make budget cuts. According to DARPA, the Hydra system ”represents a cost effective way to add undersea capacity that can be tailored to support each mission” that would still allow the Navy to conduct special operations and contingency missions. In other words, the decreasing number of naval vessels can only be in one place at a time.

“The climate of budget austerity runs up against an uncertain security environment that includes natural disasters, piracy, ungoverned states, and the proliferation of sophisticated defense technologies,” said Scott Littlefield, DARPA program manager, in a statement. “An unmanned technology infrastructure staged below the oceans’ surface could relieve some of that resource strain and expand military capabilities in this increasingly challenging space.”

The Hydra system is intended to be delivered in international waters by ships, submarines or aircraft with the integrative capability of communicating with manned and unmanned platforms for air, surface, and water operations.

Unlike the Upward Falling Payloads (UFPs) program DARPA announced in January that would submerge massive waterproof containers intended to store weapons, drones and supplies for years at a time, Hydra is a highly mobile platform that can be deployed for a few weeks or months in relatively shallow international waters.

“By separating capabilities from the platforms that deliver them, Hydra would enable naval forces to deliver those capabilities much faster and more cost-effectively wherever needed,” said Littlefield. “It is envisioned to work across air, underwater, and surface operations, enabling all three to perform their missions better.”

Proposals are due October 22, but it may well 2018 before Hydra lands in the ocean. - WIRED.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Multiple Deafening Overhead Explosions From Incoming Meteor Shake Tunisian Desert!

September 17, 2013 - TUNISIA - Radio Tataouine has revealed information about the fall of a meteorite on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013 at around 20.15, in southern Tunisia at the town of Remada (Tataouine governorate). The locality was visited by Marzouki [editor: the interim President of Tunesia] a few days ago!

It happened shortly after 8 pm, when the deafening noise of three explosions rocked the entire region, which lies at the heart of a military buffer area created by the army.

Residents who feared the worst, given the magnitude of the explosions, were somewhat appeased by the intervention of the armed groups and the national guard who rushed to the scene of the impact and stated that it was actually a fall from a celestial body in this uninhabited area.

There is certainly a lot going on in this declared closed area! - Tunisie Numerique. [Translated]

Over the weekend, Tunisia received a jolt from a galaxy far, far away.

A space object, likely a meteorite, fell on Sunday in a rural desert area of the Tataouine governorate in southern Tunisia, not far from the filming location of the first Star Wars movie, according to local radio reports.

Witnesses, according to Radio Tataouine, say that a bright object was seen falling from the sky at around 8 p.m. and then exploded on the ground. The streaking space object was reportedly visible from the city of Tataouine, the governorate's capital.

No injuries or damages have been reported from the rural, arid area.

Tataouine inspired the name of Luke Skywalker's home planet in the Star Wars films, although series creator spelled it "Tatooine."

Tunisians used news of the space object as an opportunity for political humor, mostly targeting President Moncef Marzouki, jabbing the leader for his manner of gazing.

A veteran activist had his own version of events.

"A meteor was passing by quietly in the sky, it looked down for some reason, the meteor was bored and decided to look down only to see Marzouki in the presidential palace so it had a heart attack and fell on the spot," posted Azyz Amami, a blogger and political activist.

"Finally we know why the president always has his eyes in the sky, he was waiting for the meteor," Iyed Dahmani, a withdrawn National Constitution Assembly member from the opposition, wrote on Facebook.

"The meteor fell, which means that starting from today Marzouki will start looking down," posted Facebook user Nidal Becheikh.

A military patrol is now looking for the impact site, according to radio reports. - Tunisia Live.

FUK-U-SHIMA: Over 1,000 TONS Of Polluted Fukushima Rain Water Dumped Into Sea - Some Of The Tanks Were Leaking Contamined Water; Around 300 TONS Of Contaminated Groundwater Is Entered Into The Ocean EVERY DAY!

September 17, 2013 - JAPAN - The operator of the leaking Fukushima nuclear plant said Tuesday that it dumped more than 1,000 tons of polluted water into the sea after a typhoon raked the facility.

Muddy water of the Katsura river runs under a bridge in Kyoto as torrential rain hit western Japan.
The operator of the leaking Fukushima nuclear plant said Tuesday that it dumped more than 1,000
tons of polluted water into the sea after a typhoon raked the facility.  (AAP)
Typhoon Man-yi smashed into Japan on Monday, bringing with it heavy rain that caused flooding in some parts of the country, including the ancient city of Kyoto.
The rain also lashed near the broken plant run by Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), swamping enclosure walls around clusters of water tanks containing toxic water that was used to cool broken reactors.
Some of the tanks were earlier found to be leaking contaminated water.
"Workers measured the radioactive levels of the water collected in the enclosure walls, pumping it back into tanks when the levels were high," said a TEPCO official.
"Once finding it was mostly rain water they released it from the enclosure, because there is a limit on how much water we can store."
The utility said about 1,130 tons of water with low levels of radiation -- below the 30 becquerels of strontium per litre safety limit imposed by Japanese authorities -- were released into the ground.
But the company also said at one site where water was found contaminated beyond the safety limit workers could not start the water pump quick enough in the torrential rain, and toxic water had leaked from the enclosure for several minutes.
Strontium is a potentially cancer-causing substance that accumulates in bones if consumed.
Thousands of tonnes of water that was poured on the reactors to tame meltdowns is being stored in temporary tanks at the plant, and TEPCO has so far revealed no clear plan for it.
The problem has been worsened by leaks in some of those tanks that are believed to have seeped into groundwater and run out to sea.
Separately, around 300 tonnes of mildly contaminated groundwater is entering the ocean every day having passed under the reactors, TEPCO says. - SBS.

DELUGE: Precursors To A Global Coastal Event - Torrential Flooding Hits New Mexico - Eastern Plains South Of Interstate 40 Threatened!

September 17, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Scattered showers and some heavy rainfall are expected to continue through today and later into the week, keeping the flash flooding threat alive.

Creek flowing at a bridge by West Las Vegas High School.

Forecasters say flash flooding is less likely in much of northern and central New Mexico but some areas, particularly on the eastern plains south of Interstate 40, are still threatened.

Meanwhile, the American Red Cross says it has opened a new shelter in Crownpoint in northwestern New Mexico.

That shelter at Crownpoint High School is being used by Navajo Technical University students. They'd been in a temporary shelter because of storm damage to the university campus last week.

An airlift of water and sanitary supplies is planned for today for the tiny community of Mogollon in southwestern New Mexico, still isolated after weekend rains destroyed the paved road leading to it. About 16 residents live permanently in the former mining town nestled in the mountains.

"The water washed away the road and pretty much made it a creek bed," said Joe Tafoya, a state Department of Transportation supervisor in nearby Cliff.

Bridge Street in Las Vegas.

Flooding in Rio Rancho.

Authorities were trying to get a bulldozer "to get a road at least scraped off to see if people want to come out," he said.

Gov. Susana Martinez traveled to several communities Monday to inspect damage from the flooding since last week when heavy rains inundated what had been a drought-parched state.

In eastern New Mexico, Santa Rosa officials are seeking a disaster declaration because flooding washed out roads and buckled pavement last week. It's a community with a population of 2,800.

"It felt like the storm of the century for the second time this year," interim City Administrator Raymond Mondragon said in a telephone interview Monday.

Unser & Northern.

Heavy hail pounded the city earlier in the summer, damaging roofs that are now leaking, he said.

Officials warned of the potential of flooding because even moderate rainfall can push swollen rivers out of their banks and normally dry washes quickly fill with fast-moving water.

WATCH: Torrential Flooding in New Mexico.

So far, one person has died in the flooding. The body of a 53-year-old man was found over the weekend in southern New Mexico's Sierra County. Authorities say Steven Elsley of Phoenix died after his car was washed into a ravine and carried away. - TWC.

DELUGE: Precursors To A Global Coastal Event - Torrential Rainfall And Floods Kill 2 In Southern Ukraine; 4,000 Animals Drowned; 450 Houses Destroyed Or Severely Damaged; 21 MILLION DOLLARS IN LOSSES!

September 17, 2013 - UKRAINE - Two people were killed after heavy rains hit southern Ukraine's Odessa region over the weekend, a local official said Monday.

Large swathes of Ukraine, have been hit by heavy floods, plunging rural communities into vulnerability.

The ensuing floods drowned some 4,000 farm animals and poultry and destroyed or severely damaged more than 450 houses, causing an estimated loss of 21 million U.S. dollars, an official of the press service of Odessa regional administration told Xinhua.

Around 600 residents have been evacuated in central Odessa, the worst-hit region. - Xinhuanet.

ELECTRIC UNIVERSE: High-Energy Particles - Magnetic Jet Shows How Stars Begin Their Final Transformation; Crucial Step In Explaining How Some Of The Most Beautiful Objects In Space Are Formed!

September 17, 2013 - SPACE - An international team of astronomers have for the first time found a jet of high-energy particles emanating from a dying star. The discovery, by a collaboration of scientists from Sweden, Germany and Australia, is a crucial step in explaining how some of the most beautiful objects in space are formed -- and what happens when stars like the sun reach the end of their lives.

Two older objects, the Calabash nebula (a proto-planetary nebula) and M 2-9 (a young planetary nebula)
show how IRAS 15445-5449 (left panel) may evolve in the future. The white bar indicates 0.5 light year.
(Credit: E. Lagadec/ESO/A. Pérez Sánchez; NASA/ESA & Valentin Bujarrabal; B. Balick,
V. Icke, G. Mellema and NASA/ESA)

The researchers publish their results in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

At the end of their lives, stars like the sun transform into some of the most beautiful objects in space: amazing symmetric clouds of gas called planetary nebulae. But how planetary nebulae get their strange shapes has long been a mystery to astronomers.

Scientists at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have together with colleagues from Germany and Australia discovered what could be the key to the answer: a high-speed, magnetic jet from a dying star.

Using the CSIRO Australia Telescope Compact Array, an array of six 22-metre radio telescopes in New South Wales, Australia, they studied a star at the end of its life. The star, known as IRAS 15445−5449, is in the process of becoming a planetary nebula, and lies 23,000 light years away in the southern constellation Triangulum Australe (the Southern Triangle).

"In our data we found the clear signature of a narrow and extremely energetic jet of a type which has never been seen before in an old, sun-like star," says Andrés Pérez Sánchez, graduate student in astronomy at Bonn University, who led the study.

The strength of the radio waves of different frequencies from the star match the expected signature for a jet of high-energy particles which are, thanks to strong magnetic fields, accelerated up to speeds close to the speed of light. Similar jets have been seen in many other types of astronomical object, from newborn stars to supermassive black holes.

"What we're seeing is a powerful jet of particles spiralling through a strong magnetic field," says Wouter Vlemmings, astronomer at Onsala Space Observatory, Chalmers. "Its brightness indicates that it's in the process of creating a symmetric nebula around the star."

Right now the star is going through a short but dramatic phase in its development, the scientists believe.

"The radio signal from the jet varies in a way that means that it may only last a few decades. Over the course of just a few hundred years the jet can determine how the nebula will look when it finally gets lit up by the star," says team member Jessica Chapman, astronomer at CSIRO in Sydney, Australia.

The scientists don't yet know enough, though, to say whether our sun will create a jet when it dies. "The star may have an unseen companion -- another star or large planet -- that helps create the jet. With the help of other front-line radio telescopes, like ALMA, and future facilities like the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), we'll be able to find out just which stars create jets like this one, and how they do it," says Andrés Pérez Sánchez. - Space Daily.