BREAKING NEWS: Serious Plausibility of Undetected 9th Planet in Our Solar System

The reason for why this new proposed discovery has not made headlines (my personal conjecture), must be related to minimize a hysteria reaction from the “Planet-X” community – and I would side for such reason having witnessed this wild unfounded speculation in the past. However, for such a proposed finding to go “undetected” until now is a bit unsettling.

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It is still unclear to this writer, if this finding is separate from Caltec’s assertion earlier this year. I would suggest it is the same – but provides further evidence towards confirmation. The assertion is the 9th Planet was orbiting another star and then was captured by our Sun during the time of its stellar cluster breakout – which basically suggests the 9th Planet has been in orbit from the time of our solar systems creation.

Before I go into this just published claim, let me layout the strict criteria a researcher must meet to assert that of a 9th planet in our solar system. a) The encounter must be more distant than ∼150 AU to avoid perturbing the Kuiper belt. b) The other star must have a wide-orbit planet – a ≳ 100 au  c) the planet must be captured onto an appropriate orbit to sculpt the orbital distribution of wide-orbit Solar System bodies.

9th planet

Astronomers at the University of Lund show a computer simulation study of the so-called 9th Planet meets a high probability of sustaining an orbit in our solar system. Alexander Mustill, astronomer at the University of Lund, says “It is most ironic that while astronomers often find extrasolar planets hundreds of light years away in other solar systems, this one had been hiding in our own backyard”.

An extrasolar plane (exoplanet) has by definition been a planet located outside our own solar system. Now it seems the definition is not viable anymore. According to astronomers in Lund, indications show a 9th Planet was captured by our young Sun, has gone undetected until now, and is part of our solar system.

stellar_cluster_m

Stars are born in clusters often pass in very close proximity. It is in these meetings that a star can capture one or more planets in orbit around another star. This is probably what happened when our own Sun caught the 9th Planet.

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Science of Cycles w/ Mitch Battros News Service Update

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As with all coming summer time seasons, donations have almost come to a complete halt – however, the news of scientific breakthroughs with amazing findings are coming as rapidly as ever.

I have almost completely diminished out-of-pocket cost to keep this unique news service running and available to all. Your support is the lifeline of our services and we need you now more than just about any other time in our 21-year history. I know times are tough for almost everyone in the community, with no exception here. For those that can please consider a sponsorship with a monthly or annual commitment. And for those with ever tightening budgets, your donation of $5,10,20,50 will certainly help.

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The Task of Measuring the Milky Way

Measuring the mass of our home galaxy, or any galaxy, is particularly difficult. A galaxy includes not only stars, planets, moons, gases, dust and other objects and material, but also a big helping of dark matter, a mysterious and invisible form of matter that is not yet fully understood and has not been directly detected in the lab. Astronomers and cosmologists, however, can infer the presence of dark matter through its gravitational influence on visible objects.

Milky-Way-Formed-From-the-Inside-Out

The short answer, so far, is 7 x 1011 solar masses. In terms that are easier to comprehend, that’s about the mass of our Sun, multiplied by 700 billion. The Sun, for the record, has a mass of two nonillion (that’s 2 followed by 30 zeroes) kilograms, or 330,000 times the mass of Earth.

“And our galaxy isn’t even the biggest galaxy,” says Gwendolyn Eadie, a PhD candidate in physics and astronomy at McMaster University.

The orbits of globular clusters are determined by the galaxy’s gravity, which is dictated by its massive dark matter component. What’s new about Eadie’s research is the technique she devised for using globular cluster (GCs) velocities.

The total velocity of a GC must be measured in two directions: one along our line-of-sight, and one across the plane of the sky (the proper motion). Unfortunately, researchers have not yet measured the proper motions of all the GCs around the Milky Way.

Eadie and her academic supervisor William Harris, a professor of Physics and Astronomy at McMaster, have co-authored a paper on their most recent findings, which allow dark matter and visible matter to have different distributions in space. They have submitted this work to the Astrophysical Journal, and Eadie will present their results May 31 at the Canadian Astronomical Society’s conference in Winnipeg.

Astronomy Student Discovers Four New Planets

Michelle Kunimoto’s bachelor degree in physics and astronomy sent her on a journey out of this world—and led to the discovery of four new worlds beyond our solar system.

four new planets

The planets, designated “planet candidates” until independently confirmed, are exciting discoveries. Two are the size of Earth, one is Mercury-sized, and one is slightly larger than Neptune. But it’s this last one, the largest of the four, that is of special interest.

Officially catalogued as KOI (Kepler Object of Interest) 408.05 and located 3,200 light years away from Earth, the planet occupies the habitable zone of its star where the temperature would allow liquid water and maybe life.

“Like our own Neptune, it’s unlikely to have a rocky surface or oceans,” said Kunimoto, who graduates today from UBC. “The exciting part is that like the large planets in our solar system, it could have large moons and these moons could have liquid water oceans.”

“Pandora in the movie Avatar was not a planet, but a moon of a giant planet,” said Jaymie Matthews, a UBC professor of astronomy.

While the possibility of life is enticing, Kunimoto was excited about the discovery for other reasons. As part of a course designed to give astronomy students research and career experience, she spent months sifting through data from NASA’s Kepler satellite, trying to find anything that other scientists overlooked.

The Kepler space telescope spent four years staring at about 150,000 stars in our own galaxy, looking for periodic changes in the brightness of stars over time and collecting data known as light curves.

“A star is just a pinpoint of light so I’m looking for subtle dips in a star’s brightness every time a planet passes in front of it,” said Kunimoto. “These dips are known as transits, and they’re the only way we can know the diameter of a planet outside the solar system.”

The larger the orbit, the fewer transits you see. Which is why the discovery of this warm Neptune is so rare. It takes 637 days for the planet to orbit its sun. Of the nearly 5,000 planets and planet candidates found by the Kepler satellite, only 20 have longer orbital periods than KOI 408.05.

Kunimoto and Matthews have submitted their findings to the Astronomical Journal. In September, she’ll be returning to UBC to begin a master’s degree in physics and astronomy, hunting for more planets and investigating whether they could support life.

In the meantime, the new graduate and Star Trek fan got the chance to meet a real-life star and space explorer. On Saturday, she met William Shatner backstage at the UBC100 What’s Next? event and told him about these possible new destinations for a future Starship Enterprise.

Science of Cycles w/ Mitch Battros News Service Update

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As with all coming summer time seasons, donations have almost come to a complete halt – however, the news of scientific breakthroughs with amazing findings are coming as rapidly as ever.

I have almost completely diminished out-of-pocket cost to keep this unique news service running and available to all. Your support is the lifeline of our services and we need you now more than just about any other time in our 21-year history. I know times are tough for almost everyone in the community, with no exception here. For those that can please consider a sponsorship with a monthly or annual commitment. And for those with ever tightening budgets, your donation of $5,10,20,50 will certainly help.

Go to the following link and submit your secure donations today. Unfortunately, time is not on our side, so please consider making your supportive effort at the speed of an X-15 solar flare.

For PayPal Sponsorship/Donation – Click Here

Cheers, Mitch

Cave Art Trove Found in Spain 1,000 Feet Underground

Spanish archaeologists say they have discovered an exceptional set of Paleolithic-era cave drawings that could rank among the best in a country that already boasts some of the world’s most important cave art.

Paleolithic-era cave drawings

Chief site archaeologist Diego Garate said Friday that an estimated 70 drawings were found on ledges 300 meters (1,000 feet) underground in the Atxurra cave in the northern Basque region. He described the site as being in “the Champions’ League” of cave art, among the top 10 sites in Europe. The engravings and paintings feature horses, buffalo, goats and deer, dating back 12,500-14,500 years ago.

But Garate said access to the area is so difficult and dangerous it’s not likely to be open to the public.

The cave was discovered in 1929 and first explored in 1934-35, but it was not until 2014 that Garate and his team resumed their investigations that the drawings were discovered. Experts say while it is too early to say if the discovery ranks alongside Spain’s most prize prehistoric cave art site, the Altamira Caves – known as the Sistine Chapel of Paleolithic Art – Atxurra looks promising.

“No one expected a discovery of this magnitude,” said Jose Yravedra, a prehistory professor at Madrid’s Complutense Univesrsity. “There a lot of caves with drawings but very few have this much art and this much variety and quality.”

Altamira and other major sites in Spain and France have several hundred cave-art images.

Garate highlighted one buffalo drawing, which he said must have the most hunting lances stuck in it of any such drawing in Europe. He said most hunting drawings have four or five lances but this had almost 20 and it is not clear why.

Yravedra said given the cave’s hidden location and the number, variety and quality of its drawings, the site was being classified as a “sanctuary,” or special Paleolithic meeting ritual place, like those at Altamira or Lascaux in France.

Regional officials hope to set up a 3-D display of the art so that the public can appreciate it.

Archaeologists and Geographers Team Predict Locations of Ancient Buddhist Sites

For archaeologists and historians interested in the ancient politics, religion and language of the Indian subcontinent, two UCLA professors and their student researchers have creatively pinpointed sites that are likely to yield valuable transcriptions of the proclamations of Ashoka, the Buddhist king of northern India’s Mauryan Dynasty who ruled from 304 B.C. to 232 B.C.

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In a study published this week in Current Science, archaeologist Monica Smith and geographer Thomas Gillespie identified 121 possible locations of what are known as Ashoka’s “edicts.”

Ashokan edicts

First they isolated shared features of 29 known locations of Ashokan edicts, which were found carved into natural rock formations in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. They then harnessed species-distribution modeling tactics – which includes examining sophisticated geographic information systems datasets along with Google Earth images – to overlay those unique characteristics against a geological and population map of ancient India. They believe they have identified locations that hold the same characteristics as proven sites and are significantly accurate markers for future discovery.

Predictive modeling can be a powerful new tool for scholars and researchers, Smith said. The known edicts and other archaeological discoveries have previously come about through random discovery or comprehensive surveys of whole regions.

“With the realities of looking for artifacts on a continental scale, we need more effective tools, and a search mechanism like predictive modeling is a high-priority development,” said Smith, emphasizing that many nations are facing the challenge of balancing preservation with much-needed development.

The Ashoka monuments in particular are of huge importance, especially in India, Smith said. They constitute the earliest known writings in the region. The national symbol of the modern nation of India is a sculpture that dates to the time of King Ashoka.

Ashoka’s edicts are also considered to be internationally significant as evidence of the power of an ancient political regime and as tangible expressions of religious practices related to Buddhism.

An excerpt of Ashoka’s edicts from Romila Thapar’s “Ashoka and the Decline of the Mauryas.”

Dhamma

“I consider that I must promote the welfare of the whole world, and hard work and the dispatch of business are the means of doing so. Indeed there is no better work than promoting the welfare of the whole world…For this purpose has this inscription of Dhamma (dharma, righteousness) been engraved. May it endure long.”

Smith’s fieldwork has long taken place on the Indian subcontinent. For this study, and with the support of a transdisciplinary seed grant from the UCLA Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, she partnered with Gillespie, whose expertise lies in determining the presence or absence of ecological and biological species in a given geography, with a special focus on the plants and trees native to Hawaii.

Gillespie, who has also visited India, said the project captured his imagination.

Gillespie and his team of UCLA doctoral candidates combed through data and images to check off a list of environmental consistencies in the known edict sites. Three factors in particular helped provide a reliable prediction of where more might be found – the specific kind of rock the text is carved in, the estimated population density of the area in A.D. 200-300 and the slope of the rock bearing the text

“The models really give a high probability of occurrence in the sites we identified,” Gillespie said. “Looking at the data of the existing sites, their placement certainly appears to be non-random. The scribes tasked with carving these edicts really seemed to think about the geology of the chosen space, the towns that were nearby, even the low level of the rock face they carved upon.”

Gillespie and Smith hope that their predictive model will allow local students or teachers in India and Pakistan and Afghanistan to make the next discovery of Ashokan edicts.

UPDATE: Earth’s Magnetic Field Shifts Much Faster Than Expected

It was back in January 2014, when NASA’s Balloon Array for Radiation-belt Relativistic Electron Losses (BARREL)’s payload of thallium-activated sodium iodide, NaI(Tl) a crystalline material widely used for the detection of gamma-rays in scintillation detectors, saw something never seen before. During a moderate solar storm in which magnetic solar material collides with Earth’s magnetic field, BARREL mapped for the first time how the storm caused Earth’s magnetic field to shift and move.

earth's magnetic field lines

The fields’ configuration shifted much faster than expected – ‘on the order of minutes’ rather than hours or days. The results took researchers by such surprise causing them to check and re-check instruments and hypothesized outcomes. As a result, their findings were not published until last week on May 12 2016.

barrel

During the solar storm, three BARREL balloons were flying through parts of Earth’s magnetic field that directly connect a region of Antarctica to Earth’s north magnetic pole. One BARREL balloon was on a magnetic field line with one end on Earth and one end connected to the Sun’s magnetic field. And two balloons switched back and forth between closed and open field lines throughout the solar storm, providing a map of how the boundary between open and closed field lines moved.

“It is very difficult to model the open-closed boundary,” said Alexa Halford, a space scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “This will help with our simulations of how magnetic fields change around Earth, because we’re able to state exactly where we saw this boundary.”

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We live in the path of the Sun’s outflow of charged particles, called the solar wind. Solar wind particles are accelerated to high speeds by explosions on the Sun or pushed along by plasma – clouds of solar material. Much of this magnetic field loops up and out into space, but then connects back to Earth at the north magnetic pole, near the Arctic Circle.

A portion of Earth’s magnetic field is open as it connects to the Sun’s magnetic field. This open magnetic field gives charged particles from the Sun a path into Earth’s atmosphere. Once particles are stuck to an open field line, they exceedingly accelerate down into the upper atmosphere. The boundary between these open and closed regions of Earth’s magnetic field is anything but constant. Due to various causes – such as incoming clouds of charged particles, the closed magnetic field lines can realign into open field lines and vice versa, changing the location of the boundary between open and closed magnetic field lines.

magnetic-shift

Scientists have known the open-closed boundary moves, but it is hard to pinpoint exactly how, when, and how quickly it changes – and that is where BARREL comes in. The six BARREL balloons flying during the January 2014 solar storm were able to map these changes, and they found something surprising – the open-closed boundary moves rapidly changing location within minutes.

It is possible, but unlikely, that complex dynamics in the magnetosphere gave the appearance that the BARREL balloons were dancing along this open-closed boundary. If a very fast magnetic wave was sending radiation belt electrons down into the atmosphere in short stuttering bursts, it could appear that the balloons were switching between open and closed magnetic field lines.

However, the particle counts measured by the two balloons on the open-closed boundary matched up to those observed by the other BARREL balloons hovering on closed or open field lines only. This observation strengths the case that BARREL’s balloons were actually crossing the boundary between solar and terrestrial magnetic field.