Tag: EarthSky News

We are of the stars!

I so relate to this item from EarthSky News!

Long-term readers of this place will possibly recall that between April, 1989 and June, 1994 I lived on a Tradewind 33 sailing yacht Songbird of Kent. I have written before about those days.

Songbird of Kent. My home for five years.

When sailing at night when the sky is clear it is impossible not to feel deeply connected to the stars above one’s head.

My logbook for Songbird of Kent reports that at noon on Wednesday, 1st June, 1994, I departed the yacht harbour at Horta in The Azores bound for Plymouth, South-West England. Plymouth was 1,257 nautical miles (2,329km/1,447 statute miles) from Horta.

Horta on Faial Island of the Azores

The logbook has an entry for the 6th June.

0400 Lat. 43 deg 25 minutes North, Long 22 deg 3 minutes West. Engine Off. Still no wind but must sleep after 19 hours of helming. 840 miles to run. Wind 2 knots from SW. Baro 1027 mb, Viz Good.

The visibility was wonderful and seeing the stars up in the night sky all around me, as in all 360 degrees about me, practically down to the horizon on this moonless night is an image still etched in my mind.

That’s why I want to republish this article that appeared on the blog EarthSky News yesterday.

ooOOoo

We are galaxy stuff

A new study – based on supercomputer simulations – reveals that each one of us may be made in part from matter that passes from one galaxy to another.

This image shows M81 (bottom right) and M82 (upper left), a pair of nearby galaxies where intergalactic transfer – transfer of materials between galaxies – might be happening. Image via Fred Herrmann.

Sagan famously said that we are made of star stuff. He meant the carbon, nitrogen and oxygen atoms in our bodies, as well as atoms of all other heavy elements, were created inside stars. Yet Sagan’s expression of this idea, which quickly became a cornerstone of popular culture, might not take the concept far enough. According to astrophysicists at Northwestern University, our origins are much less local than previously thought. In fact, according to their analysis – which they say is the first of its kind – we’re not just star stuff. We’re galaxy stuff.

This study is being published on July 26, 2017 (July 27 in the U.K.) by the peer-reviewed journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The Northwestern researchers found that up to half of the matter in our Milky Way galaxy may come from distant galaxies. As a result, each one of us may be made in part from extragalactic matter. That is, atoms of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and so on in our bodies may be created not just by stars in our own Milky Way galaxy, but by stars in far-flung galaxies.

They arrived at this conclusion using supercomputer simulations. The study required the equivalent of several million hours of continuous computing.

The simulations show that supernova explosions eject great quantities of gas from galaxies, which causes the atoms made inside stars to be transported from one galaxy to another via powerful galactic winds. According to their statement, intergalactic transfer is a newly identified phenomenon, which, they say, requires supercomputer simulations in order to be understood. According to these astrophysicists, this understanding is critical for knowing how galaxies evolve … and hence for knowing our own place in the universe.

Animation of gas flows around a Milky Way-like galaxy, as seen by the team’s computer simulations.

Daniel Anglés-Alcázar is a postdoctoral fellow in Northwestern’s Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA). He led the study, and he said:

It is likely that much of the Milky Way’s matter was in other galaxies before it was kicked out by a powerful wind, traveled across intergalactic space and eventually found its new home in the Milky Way.

Given how much of the matter out of which we formed may have come from other galaxies, we could consider ourselves space travelers or extragalactic immigrants.

Space is vast. Galaxies are located at almost inconceivable distances from each other. So, Alcázar and his team said, even though galactic winds propagate at several hundred kilometers per CIERA second, the process of intergalactic transfer occurs over billions of years.

As always, this new research built on earlier studies. Northwestern’s Claude-André Faucher-Giguère and his research group, along with a unique collaboration called Feedback In Realistic Environments (FIRE), had developed numerical simulations that produced realistic 3-D models of galaxies. These simulations followed a galaxy’s formation from just after the Big Bang to the present day.

Anglés-Alcázar then developed state-of-the-art algorithms to mine this wealth of data. In this way, he and his team were able to quantify how galaxies acquire matter from the universe.

The scientists say the prediction of intergalactic transfer can now be tested. The Northwestern team plans to collaborate with observational astronomers who are working with the Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based observatories to test the simulation predictions.

Simulated examples of intergalactic winds, shown as green string, in action around galaxies, shown as clusters of yellow dots. The galaxy at the center is ejecting the winds, blowing them toward potential the other galaxies.

Bottom line: Supercomputer simulations suggest that each one of us may be made in part from extragalactic matter. Hence, we are galaxy stuff.

ooOOoo

16th June, 1994

1945 Lat. 50 deg 21 minutes North, Long. 4 deg 10 minutes West. ARRIVED MAYFLOWER MARINA. Wind Nil. Baro 1023 Mb. Viz Good.

LOG CLOSED!

Mayflower Marina is at Plymouth.

Out of this world!

Literally!

I noticed the other day a series of photographs of the moon and Venus that were included in an item on EarthSky News. All I am going to do is to republish a selection of the photographs so if you would like to read the full item, including all the photographs, then here is the link.

Mohamed Laaïfat Photographies in Normandy, France caught the little planet Mercury, too, along with the moon and Venus, on January 21.
Mohamed Laaïfat Photographies in Normandy, France caught the little planet Mercury, too, along with the moon and Venus, on January 21.

oooo

João Pedro Marques caught bright Venus and the waxing moon on the evening of January 22, 2015, from Portugal. The reddish “star” above and to the left of the moon is Mars.
João Pedro Marques caught bright Venus and the waxing moon on the evening of January 22, 2015, from Portugal. The reddish “star” above and to the left of the moon is Mars.

In the above image, Mars may only be seen by viewing a bigger image here.

One Horse Media in Lolo, Montana wrote: “What a cool moon and view of Venus this evening! I was happy to have just enough time to take a few photos as soon as I got home!”
One Horse Media in Lolo, Montana wrote: “What a cool moon and view of Venus this evening! I was happy to have just enough time to take a few photos as soon as I got home!”

oooo

Hecktor Barrios in Hermosillo, Mexico wrote: “Venus, Moon and Mercury, the latter barely visible."
Hecktor Barrios in Hermosillo, Mexico wrote: “Venus, Moon and Mercury, the latter barely visible.”

oooo

Planet Venus and young moon on January 21, 2015, as captured by Cathy Emmett Palmer in Panama City Beach, Florida.
Planet Venus and young moon on January 21, 2015, as captured by Cathy Emmett Palmer in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Won’t add any more thoughts from me because each and every one of you will have your own feelings and responses to these photographs. Don’t want my ideas to get in the way of your own thoughts.

Just all of you have a wonderful and peaceful weekend.

Nothing to do with dogs!

Unless you can imagine them howling to the storm!

Among my subscription feeds is one to EarthSky News. Thus it was courtesy of yesterday’s update that I saw the link to the following video. It was promoted as follows: “High plains storms. The opening is brilliant … the end is awesome. (You’ll like the rest too.) By Nicolaus Wegner.” Nicolaus Wegner’s own website was easily found here; on which the following photograph was seen. (This actual image was taken from a web search – the full size, breathtaking version, may be seen here.)

storm

So back to the video. (Just note that when I watched it, it seemed unable to spool past the 8-second mark. If this happens to you, just manually drag the progress bar along to 10 seconds, or just past that. It’s worth it!)

High plains storms are some of the most beautiful and wild in the world. I spent May – September 2014 photographing all types of severe weather in Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado. This time lapse project is a result of that effort. From rainbows to tornadoes, there is a little bit of everything in here.

Calm winds wherever you are in the world!