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Keyword: catastrophism

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  • A star disturbed the comets of the solar system 70,000 years ago

    03/20/2018 8:40:10 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 53 replies ^ | March 20, 2018 | FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
    Scholz's star -- named after the German astronomer who discovered it -- approached less than a light-year from the Sun. Nowadays it is almost 20 light-years away, but 70,000 years ago it entered the Oort cloud, a reservoir of trans-Neptunian objects located at the confines of the solar system. ... Now two astronomers from the Complutense University of Madrid, the brothers Carlos and Raúl de la Fuente Marcos, together with the researcher Sverre J. Aarseth of the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom), have analyzed for the first time the nearly 340 objects of the solar system with hyperbolic orbits (very...
  • Mars’ oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

    03/19/2018 4:16:16 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 15 replies
    UC Berkeley ^ | | March 19, 2018 | Robert Sanders,
    A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars’ putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million years earlier and were not as deep as once thought. The early ocean known as Arabia (left, blue) would have looked like this when it formed 4 billion years ago on Mars, while the Deuteronilus ocean, about 3.6 billion years old, had a smaller shoreline. Both coexisted with the massive volcanic province Tharsis, located on the unseen side of the planet, which may have helped support the existence of liquid water. The water...
  • The Moon WASN'T formed with one giant impact but had a bombardment birth after 20 moonlets hit...

    03/18/2018 6:36:56 PM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 65 replies
    Daily Mail ^ | January 9 2017 | AFP
    In such a scenario, scientists expect that about a fifth of the Moon's material would have come from Earth and the rest from the impacting body. The Moon, our planet's constant companion for some 4.5 billion years, may have been forged by a rash of smaller bodies smashing into an embryonic Earth, researchers have revealed. A bombardment birth would explain a major inconsistency in the prevailing hypothesis that the Moon splintered off in a single, giant impact between Earth and a Mars-sized celestial body. In such a scenario, scientists expect that about a fifth of the Moon's material would have...
  • A.I. spots thousands of unidentified craters on the moon

    03/17/2018 12:40:37 PM PDT · by Swordmaker · 37 replies
    Digital Trends ^ | March 16, 2018 - 2:18PM | By Dyllan Furness
    Image: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center The moon is under constant bombardment by meteorites and asteroids that can leave massive craters on its surface. The Aitken basin, the largest impact crater on the lunar surface, has a diameter equivalent to the distance from London to Athens, Greece. But not all craters are so noticeable — most are relatively insignificant. Thousands of previously unknown craters have been spotted on the moon thanks to an artificial intelligence program designed by researchers at the University of Toronto. “We created an A.I. powered method that autocratically identifies craters on the surface of the moon,...
  • ...Drilling Expedition Obtains ... Record Of Plate Tectonic Rifting And Changing Climate In Greece

    03/15/2018 8:17:42 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    Southampton University ^ | March 8, 2018 | possibly Professor Lisa McNeill MA, PhD
    A team of researchers from around the world, working as part of the Corinth Active Rift Development expedition, collected 1.6 kilometers (one mile) of sediment core and data from boreholes at three different locations in the Gulf of Corinth in Central Greece. The samples provide a continuous, high resolution record of complex changes in past environment and rift-faulting rates over at least the last one million years. The Corinth Rift is one of the most seismically active areas in Europe where one of the Earth's tectonic plates is being ripped apart causing geological hazards including earthquakes, tsunamis and landslides... The...
  • Asteroid Bennu: Target of Sample Return Mission

    03/13/2018 6:30:05 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 5 replies ^ | March 12, 2018 11:31pm ET | By Elizabeth Howell,
    Bennu has a shape that looks a bit like a spinning top. It is roughly 500 meters (1,640 feet) in diameter and orbits the sun once every 1.2 years, or 436.604 days. Every six years or so, it comes very close to Earth — about 0.002 AU, according to the University of Arizona. (... well within the orbit of Earth's moon.) Bennu is part of a small class of carbonaceous (dark) asteroids that likely have primitive materials in them. Called a B-type class, Bennu and other asteroids like it have materials such as volatiles (compounds with a low boiling point),...
  • Three Skeletons And A Fiery Destruction [Tel Gezer]

    03/13/2018 12:53:59 AM PDT · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    Popular Archaeology ^ | Thursday, March 08, 2018 | editors
    The faces of disaster through the ages are legion, and the dusty places of archaeological digs in Israel have been no exception, as archaeologists at the Tel Gezer excavation site in central Israel will tell you after they encountered 3,200-year-old skeletal remains of three individuals. As they were conducting excavations during the summer of 2017, traces of human bones emerged as they dug within a stratum that evidenced a fiery destruction. They were articulated skeletons. The archaeologists could see that one of them, an adult, whose remains were badly decomposed and burned, was lying with hands over the head. The...
  • Juno Finds that Jupiter’s Gravitational Field is “Askew”

    10/27/2017 7:55:03 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 29 replies
    Jupiter’s gravity field varies with depth, which indicated that material is flowing as far down as 3,000 km (1,864 mi). Combined with information obtained during previous perijoves, this latest data suggests that Jupiter’s core is small and poorly defined. This flies in the face of previous models of Jupiter, which held that the outer layers are gaseous while the interior ones are made up of metallic hydrogen and a rocky core. ... Another interesting find was that Jupiter’s gravity field varies with depth, which indicated that material is flowing as far down as 3,000 km (1,864 mi). Combined with information...
  • Does Jupiter Have a Solid Core?

    05/09/2017 7:39:24 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 13 replies ^ | 05/07/2017 | Matt William
    Our current theories regarding the formation of the Solar System claim that the planets formed about 4.5 billion years ago from a Solar Nebula (i.e. Nebular Hypothesis). Consistent with this theory, Jupiter is believed to have formed as a result of gravity pulling swirling clouds of gas and dust together. Jupiter acquired most of its mass from material left over from the formation of the Sun, and ended up with more than twice the combined mass of the other planets. In fact, it has been conjectured that it Jupiter had accumulated more mass, it would have become a second star....
  • Meteor size of minivan caused booming fireball over Washington [state]

    03/09/2018 9:12:29 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 20 replies ^ | Mar 9, 2018 | Brittany A. Roston -
    On Wednesday night, many Washington residents were greeted by a loud and unexpected sight: a big fireball that lit up the sky. Witnesses reported hearing a loud, booming sound; others reported shaking as the fireball whizzed through the sky. Officials were both surprised and confused by the sudden appearance, later reaching out to the FAA and other agencies in an effort to figure out what caused it. ... Witnesses say the fireball was spotted as far north as the Vancouver region and as far south as Portland. According to Johnson Space Center’s Dr. Marc Fries, this was one of the...
  • How Did Uranus Form?

    03/09/2018 9:43:05 AM PST · by Simon Green · 83 replies ^ | 03/08/18 | Nola Taylor Redd,
    Although planets surround stars in the galaxy, how they form remains a subject of debate. Despite the wealth of worlds in our own solar system, scientists still aren't certain how planets are built. Currently, two theories are duking it out for the role of champion. The first and most widely accepted, core accretion, works well with the formation of the terrestrial planets but has problems with giant planets such as Uranus. The second, the disk instability method, may account for the creation of giant planets. "What separates the ice giants from the gas giants is their formation history: during...
  • Martian Craters go splat!

    03/09/2018 2:24:14 PM PST · by Voption · 4 replies
    Behind the Black ^ | March 9, 2018 | Robert Zimmerman
    Cool image time! In continuing my exploration of this month’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) image release, I found two interesting images of small craters, one as part of that image release, the other found completely by accident...The map on the right, taken from the MRO HiRISE archive page, shows the locations of these two images...Both are located in the lava plains that surround the giant volcano Pavonis Mons, the central volcano of the three volcanoes to the east of Olympus Mons.
  • 2017 VR12: Asteroid That Could Be Bigger Than Empire State Building Is About to Pass by Earth

    03/02/2018 3:24:26 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 40 replies
    newspeak ^ | 3/2/18 at 7:14 | Katherine Hignett On
    An asteroid up to 1600ft in diameter is set to fly by Earth in the early hours of March 7. Named “2017 VR12”, NASA has called the object “potentially hazardous.” But don’t worry—the space rock shouldn’t get closer than 900,000 miles from Earth. That’s far enough to stay safe, and maybe even close enough to watch on a home telescope. Larger than the Empire State Building? It is difficult to work out an asteroid’s size at great distance, but we can estimate. “The asteroid is a mere point of light in our telescopes: we cannot resolve its size that way,” Paul...
  • Africa PHENOMENON threatens to FLIP Earth's magnetic field, taking the poles with it

    03/08/2018 10:41:30 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 101 replies ^ | Wednesday, March 7, 2018 | Sakura Evans
    New research shows the most significant weakening is happening under Africa which has been dubbed the 'South Atlantic Anomaly' (SAA). As well as giving us our north and south poles, the magnetic field blankets the Earth, protecting it from solar winds and cosmic radiation. The forcefield has weakened significantly over the past 160 years and scientists now suggest it could be in the process of flipping. Such a change would be a switch in magnetic polarity and would see compasses point south rather than north. Scientists believe such an occurrence has actually happened several times in the history of our...
  • More Weird Mars Geology; New Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter images

    03/02/2018 10:47:13 AM PST · by Voption · 56 replies
    Behind the Black ^ | March 2, 2018 | Robert Zimmerman
    Cool image time! Yesterday the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter team released 460 images taken by the spacecraft’s high resolution camera, HiRISE, as part of their normal and routine image release program. As I am want to do, I like to scan through these new images to see if there is anything interesting hidden there that will show up eventually in a press release...Sometimes however I find images that might never get a press release but probably deserve it....
  • The moon formed inside a hot cosmic doughnut, scientists say

    03/03/2018 8:09:56 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 65 replies
    nbc ^ | Denise Chow
    In recent decades the scientific consensus has been that the moon formed billions of years ago from debris cast off when a Mars-sized object dealt Earth a glancing blow. But a radical new theory holds that some long-ago giant collision actually disintegrated Earth, causing it to balloon out into a vast doughnut-shaped cloud of vaporized rock, which the scientists who developed the theory dubbed a “synestia." They say the moon subsequently formed within this cosmic maelstrom. In the long-accepted explanation of lunar formation, the collision between Earth and the Mars-sized object, known as Theia, ejected part of Earth's mantle —...
  • 314 Action Wants to Elect Scientists, But Only if They're Democrats

    02/28/2018 7:33:52 AM PST · by Heartlander · 18 replies
    ACSH ^ | February 22, 2018 | Alex Berezow
    314 Action Wants to Elect Scientists, But Only if They're Democrats The U.S. Congress is made up mostly of professional politicians and lawyers. This comes as a surprise to precisely no one, but the sheer numbers are rather striking.According to the Congressional Research Service (PDF, Table 2), the 115th Congress consists of 168 Representatives (out of 435) who are lawyers, and the Senate has 50 lawyers (out of 100). Combined, lawyers make up nearly 41% of Congress.How many lawyers are in the U.S.? One law firm (with a nifty interactive map!) estimates roughly 1.3 million. Given that the U.S. population...
  • The Ross Ice Shelf is Freezing, Not Melting. Which Is Weird.

    02/25/2018 11:37:47 AM PST · by Red Badger · 99 replies ^ | Feb 23, 2018 1.7k | By Sophie Weiner
    Scientists were surprised by the results of their study. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ In November, scientists from New Zealand used a hot water drill to go deep into Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf. The shelf, which can be up to 10,000 feet thick, is the largest of several that hold back West Antarctica's massive amounts of ice. If these were to collapse, global sea level would rise by ten feet. Drilling a hole and lowering a camera and thermometer inside is a way for researchers to understand the history of the shelf, and what is happening to it now. In measuring the temperature and...
  • Survey suggests group of Milky Way stars are homegrown, not alien invaders

    02/26/2018 4:07:30 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 6 replies
    upi ^ | Feb. 26, 2018 at 4:08 PM | Brooks Hays 
    Like our sun, the majority of the Milky Way's stars are located within the galaxy's central disk. A comparatively smaller portion of stars can be found distributed throughout the galaxy's outer halo. The star aren't scattered randomly, however. Many of them can be organized into large-scale structures -- structures astronomers believe hold clues to the Milky Way's violent past. Scientists believe at least some of these stellar structures are the remnants of smaller galaxies that have collided with and were absorbed by the Milky Way. As part of the latest study, astronomers analyzed the properties of 14 stars located within...
  • Proxima Centauri's No Good, Very Bad Day

    02/27/2018 2:25:58 AM PST · by zeestephen · 15 replies
    Science Daily ^ | 26 February 2018
    Astronomers have detected a massive stellar flare -- an energetic explosion of radiation -- from the closest star to our own Sun, Proxima Centauri, which occurred last March. This finding raises questions about the habitability of our Solar System's nearest exoplanetary neighbor, Proxima b [an Earth-like planet], which orbits Proxima Centauri.