Part II – New Findings Show a Closer Connection Between Galactic Cosmic Rays, Our Solar System, and Milky Way

Just as the Earth and other planets rotate around our Sun, our solar system has a rotation trajectory around our galaxy Milky Way. And I must say…before I leave this plane of existence, I feel confident future research will show our galaxy, along with neighboring galaxies, will also have a periodicity rotation with cyclical parameters…rotating around what is yet to be discovered.

The Earth is regularly exposed to cosmic rays as it oscillates upward through the galactic disc. Every 60 million years or so, astronomers believe that our Sun and planets cycle northward in the galactic plane. Just as the Earth has her magnetic field, Milky Way has its own. Without the galactic plane’s magnetic field shielding our solar system, we would be at even higher risk of radiation exposure. It is hypnotized that the closer our solar system travels to the galactic center, we note a correlation between this cyclical motion and partial to mass extinctions happening with a fair amount of regularity on Earth over the past 500 million years.

Some scientists have surmised we are in the midst of a sixth mass extinction of plants and animals. An assemblage of researchers have noted the cycle we are currently experiencing may be a high ratio of species die-offs since. Although extinction is a natural phenomenon, it occurs at a natural “background” rate of about one to five species per year. Scientists estimate we’re now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate. However, to keep things in perspective – researchers currently know of about 1.2 million species to be recorded by science. What’s left to be discovered however is very interesting. The number of species that scientists think are left to be discovered is around 8.7 million. Still, new discoveries can change a scenario, and so can the numbers.

I have re-written this article and ones coming 3 or 4 times because of its importance. Some of you might remember an importance decision I made concerning the direction of my research. I had such a strong pull to go beyond the study of our Sun-Earth connection and peeking around the corner to see what’s next. What I hope to show you is that I am finding a very similar pattern of cause and effect, symbiotic relationship between each level of co-existence. I hope you agree and perhaps catch a flavor of my enthusiastic venturous demeanor. If so, pledge your donation to match renewed devotion to this work. If you happen to know Bill Gates, or his neighbor, give him a call.

Coming Next: Part III – First Will Come Reversal Excursions Then the Flip

Off The Coast of Portugal, The Earth’s Crust Might Be Peeling In Two

In 1969, a giant earthquake off the coast of Portugal kicked up a tsunami that killed over a dozen people. Some 200 years prior, an even larger earthquake hit the same area, killing around 100,000 people and destroying the city of Lisbon.

Two earthquakes in the same spot over a couple hundred years is not cause for alarm. But what puzzled seismologists about these tremors was that they began in relatively flat beds of the ocean — away from any faults or cracks in the Earth’s crust where tectonic plates slip past each other, releasing energy and causing earthquakes.

So what’s causing the rumbles under a seemingly quiet area? [In Photos: Ocean Hidden Beneath Earth’s Crust]

One idea is that a tectonic plate is peeling into two layers — the top peeling off the bottom layer — a phenomenon that has never been observed before, a group of scientists reported in April at the European Geosciences Union General Assembly held in Vienna. This peeling may be creating a new subduction zone, or an area in which one tectonic plate is rammed beneath another, according to their abstract.

The peeling is likely driven by a water-absorbing layer in the middle of the tectonic plate, according to National Geographic. This layer might have undergone a geological process called serpentinization, in which water that seeps in through cracks causes a layer to transform into soft green minerals. Now, this transformed layer might be causing enough weakness in the plate for the bottom layer to peel away from the top layer. That peeling could lead to deep fractures that trigger a tiny subduction zone, National Geographic reported.

This group isn’t the first to propose this idea, but it’s the first to provide some data on it. They tested their hypothesis with two-dimensional models, and their preliminary results showed that this type of activity is indeed possible — but is still yet to be proven.

This research has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

All Types of Large Earthquakes Produce Prompt Gravity Signals

When major earthquakes occur, they displace enormous amounts of mass. This motion creates tiny perturbations in Earth’s gravitational field that travel at the speed of light—more than 4 orders of magnitude faster than the elastic seismic waves emanating from the same tremor. Because these prompt elastogravity signals (PEGS) precede seismic waves, the perturbations have the potential to improve early-warning systems by reducing the time it takes to estimate the size of large-magnitude earthquakes.

The weakness of these elastogravity waves, however, has made them extremely difficult to detect; the first PEGS observations weren’t published until 2016. Now Vallée and Juhel report multiple new observations of these signals from five earthquakes ranging in magnitude from 7.9 to 8.8, significantly smaller events than the magnitude 9.1 Tohoku earthquake from which their existence was first discovered.

The researchers identified these faint signals using a multistep approach. First, to better understand the conditions under which elastogravity waves are easiest to detect, the team developed a series of numerical simulations to evaluate how the depth and type of earthquake affect the signals’ expected amplitude. The results, which indicate that shallow strike-slip and deep events have a greater chance of being recorded than megathrust subduction zone earthquakes, helped inform the authors’ ensuing analysis of the records from large earthquakes that have occurred within the past 25 years.

This analysis revealed the presence of PEGS preceding seismic waves during several major earthquakes. These include the 2012 magnitude 8.6 Wharton Basin event, the largest strike-slip earthquake ever recorded, and two large and very deep tremors: the 2018 magnitude 8.2 Fiji earthquake and the 1994 magnitude 8.2 Bolivia event. By combining observations from several instruments, the team was also able to improve the signal-to-noise ratios enough to detect elastogravity waves from two additional tremors, including the 2018 magnitude 7.9 strike-slip event off Alaska.

The results show that the successful detection of PEGS is not restricted to exceptional (greater than magnitude 9) megathrust earthquakes. These findings indicate that PEGS observations have the potential to significantly improve the speed and reliability of early-warning systems in a lot of settings where the faster detection of major earthquakes could enhance rapid emergency response and/or improve tsunami hazard assessments.

Mercury Has A Solid Inner Core: New Evidence

Scientists have long known that Earth and Mercury have metallic cores. Like Earth, Mercury’s outer core is composed of liquid metal, but there have only been hints that Mercury’s innermost core is solid. Now, in a new study, scientists report evidence that Mercury’s inner core is indeed solid and that it is very nearly the same size as Earth’s solid inner core.

Some scientists compare Mercury to a cannonball because its metal core fills nearly 85 percent of the volume of the planet. This large core — huge compared to the other rocky planets in our solar system — has long been one of the most intriguing mysteries about Mercury. Scientists had also wondered whether Mercury might have a solid inner core.

The findings of Mercury’s solid inner core, published in AGU’s journal Geophysical Research Letters, help scientists better understand Mercury but also offer clues about how the solar system formed and how rocky planets change over time.

“Mercury’s interior is still active, due to the molten core that powers the planet’s weak magnetic field, relative to Earth’s,” said Antonio Genova, an assistant professor at Sapienza University of Rome who led the research while at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Mercury’s interior has cooled more rapidly than our planet’s. Mercury may help us predict how Earth’s magnetic field will change as the core cools.”

To figure out what Mercury’s core is made of, Genova and his colleagues had to get, figuratively, closer. The team used several observations from NASA’s MESSENGER mission to probe Mercury’s interior. The researchers looked, most importantly, at the planet’s spin and gravity.

The MESSENGER spacecraft entered orbit around Mercury in March 2011 and spent four years observing this nearest planet to our Sun until it was deliberately brought down to the planet’s surface in April 2015.

Scientists used radio observations from MESSENGER to determine Mercury’s gravitational anomalies (areas of local increases or decreases in mass) and the location of its rotational pole, which allowed them to understand the orientation of the planet.

Each planet spins on an axis, also known as the pole. Mercury spins much more slowly than Earth, with its day lasting about 58 Earth days. Scientists often use tiny variations in the way an object spins to reveal clues about its internal structure. In 2007, radar observations made from Earth revealed small shifts in Mercury’s spin, called librations, that proved some of the planet’s core must be liquid-molten metal. But observations of the spin rate alone were not sufficient to give a clear measurement of what the inner core was like. Could there be a solid core lurking underneath, scientists wondered?

Gravity can help answer that question. “Gravity is a powerful tool to look at the deep interior of a planet because it depends on the planet’s density structure,” said Sander Goossens, a researcher at NASA Goddard and co-author of the new study.

As MESSENGER orbited Mercury over the course of its mission and got closer and closer to the surface, scientists recorded how the spacecraft accelerated under the influence of the planet’s gravity. The density structure of a planet can create subtle changes in a spacecraft’s orbit. In the later parts of the mission, MESSENGER flew about 120 miles above the surface, and less than 65 miles during its last year. The final low-altitude orbits provided the best data yet and allowed for Genova and his team to make the most accurate measurements about the internal structure of Mercury yet taken.

Genova and his team put data from MESSENGER into a sophisticated computer program that allowed them to adjust parameters and figure out what the interior composition of Mercury must be like to match the way it spins and the way the spacecraft accelerated around it. The results showed that for the best match, Mercury must have a large, solid inner core. They estimated that the solid, iron core is about 1,260 miles (2,000 kilometers) wide and makes up about half of Mercury’s entire core (about 2,440 miles, or nearly 4,000 kilometers, wide). In contrast, Earth’s solid core is about 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) across, taking up a little more than a third of this planet’s entire core.

“We had to pull together information from many fields: geodesy, geochemistry, orbital mechanics and gravity to find out what Mercury’s internal structure must be,” said Erwan Mazarico, a planetary scientist at NASA Goddard and co-author of the new study.

The fact that scientists needed to get close to Mercury to find out more about its interior highlights the power of sending spacecraft to other worlds, according to the researchers. Such accurate measurements of Mercury’s spin and gravity were simply not possible to make from Earth. New discoveries about Mercury are practically guaranteed to be waiting in MESSENGER’s archives, with each discovery about our local planetary neighborhood giving us a better understanding of what lies beyond.

“Every new bit of information about our solar system helps us understand the larger universe,” Genova said.

Special Issue: Principle Of Ascension And Easter

(Original Published Date March 2009) During this time of year I turn my attention to themes of spirit. As many of you know my religious faith originates with Catholicism which remains at the core of my beliefs. However, I actively sought and embrace several spiritual beliefs, or perhaps better put ‘spiritual understandings’. One can ‘believe’ – but not ‘understand’. This is often referred to as “faith”. On the other hand — one can understand but not believe. This is called “choice”. So it is with choice and understanding that I formulate principles of faith in my life; and nothing grabs my attention more than the principle of Easter.

I say “principle” of Easter to broaden the message and meaning as it relates to spiritual evolution. I would suggest this ‘principle’ of ascension is not tied only to Christians or Catholics. In fact, history suggests Christianity is really the ‘new kid on the block’. Our ancestors have known of the principle of spiritual evolution for centuries. Some might say it is the foundation of our being. This is where you might hear the popular saying: “we are not human beings seeking a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings seeking a human experience.” If this is true, then our journey is more about “remembering” rather than “finding”.

One of my most favorite biblical writings is a time when after the most loyal of Jesus’ followers, or students – better known as his “disciples” – would repeatedly ask Jesus for his guidance and wanting him to make every single decision for them as if they were in a never ending loop of indecision and helplessness. Then on this one day Jesus turned to his disciples and said: (paraphrase) “Stop following (mimic) me. It is not for me to be your idol of worship. I am not the one who has the only power. The power dwells within each of you. I am the way, the giver of life (renewal), in my name I make all things holy. God is my father, I am the Son, and you are my brothers and sisters.”

I believe Jesus was wanting to instill the knowledge and principle of resurrection; the principle of “ascension”. The understanding of what we Catholics know as the “Holy Trinity”.The ‘Trinity’ is made up of the uniting of three.

1) the Father (God, Creator, Great Spirit)
2) the Son (Jesus and all his brothers and sisters. In other words…all of us)
3) the Holy Spirit (some might call this the soul, or life force energy)

Some describe the ‘ascension’ process as raising our vibration to a higher frequency. This is certainly one area I step beyond the structure of the Catholic Church and venture into several more metaphysical realms. Some believe in the principle of “Christ Consciousness”. This idea would suggest the higher levels of spiritual knowingness is described as the “Christ”. Hence the term Jesus the Christ, which of course is different than Jesus Christ…or is it?

The idea of rising into a higher state of being is an exciting premise I so well remember during Easter. Not the punishment, not the sacrifice, but the renewal and ascension back to a place of which we began.

May we find the Mayan, Aztec, Anasazi, Hopi, Sumerian, Canaanite, Essene, Egyptians, Dogon, Aborigine, Tibetans, and so many others are right in their singleness of purpose which suggests a time of transition is upon us. Our next level of awareness or state-of-being is unfolding in this very moment. May the principle of Easter and Ascension bring us to a place we shall recognize immediately upon its presence…..

Blessings to all, Mitch

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Science Of Cycles keeps you tuned-in and knowledgeable of what we are discovering, and how some of these changes will affect our communities and ways of living.

UPDATE : The Sun Is Spitting Out ‘Lava Lamp Blobs’ 500 Times the Size of Earth

The Sun’s corona constantly breathes wispy strings of hot, charged particles into space — a phenomenon we call the solar wind. Every now and then, however, those breaths become full-blown burps.

Perhaps as often as once every hour or two, according to a study in the February issue of the journal JGR: Space Physics, the plasma underlying the solar wind grows significantly hotter, becomes noticeably denser, and it pops out of the Sun in rapid-fire orbs of goo capable of engulfing entire planets for minutes or hours at a time. Officially, these solar burps are called periodic density structures, but astronomers have nicknamed them “the blobs.” Take a look at images of them streaming off of the Sun’s atmosphere, and you’ll see why. [The 12 Strangest Objects in the Universe]

“They look like the blobs in a lava lamp,” Nicholeen Viall, a research astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and co-author of the recent study, told Live Science. “Only they are hundreds of times larger than the Earth.”

While astronomers have known about the blobs for nearly two decades, the origin and impact of these regular solar weather events remain largely mysterious. Until recently, the only observations of the blobs have come from Earth-bound satellites, which can detect when a train of blobs bears down on Earth’s magnetic field; however, these satellites can’t account for the myriad ways the blobs have changed during their 4-day, 93-million-mile (150 million kilometers) journey from the Sun.

Now, for the first time, Viall and her colleagues have observed the blobs as they appear in their own neighborhood. In their new study, the astronomers found evidence of the blobs in 40-year-old data. Those observations confirmed that the blobs are incredibly hot when they leave the Sun — sometimes twice as hot as the average solar wind around them — and might bubble out of the corona every 90 minutes or less.
“Even when it’s a quiet space weather day, in terms of explosive solar storms, there’s this base level of weather always happening on the Sun,” Viall said. “And those little dynamics are driving dynamics on Earth, too.”

The blobs that swallow the world
Since the solar blobs were first studied in the early 2000s, scientists have known that they are big — initially measuring between 50 and 500 times the size of Earth, and growing ever larger as they propagate into space, Viall said — and they are dense, potentially packed with twice as many charged particles as ordinary solar wind.

Magnetic field readings show that when these gargantuan blobs of plasma ooze over Earth, they can actually compress the planet’s magnetic field and interfere with communication signals for minutes or hours at a time. Still, those readings leave a lot of open questions, Viall said, because the blobs almost certainly evolve and cool as they wobble through space for the 4 days it takes solar wind to reach Earth. So, Viall and her colleagues decided to study the blobs much closer to their source.

In the new study, the researchers took a fresh look at historical data from Helios 1 and Helios 2, a pair of solar probes launched by NASA and the German Aerospace Center in 1974 and 1976, respectively. The twin probes orbited the Sun for nearly a decade, making a closest approach of 27 million miles, or 43 million km (closer than the orbit of Mercury) while studying the temperature and magnetism of the solar wind that gushed past.

If either of the probes had been engulfed by a train of gargantuan lava-lamp blobs, the encounter should be reflected in these readings, Viall said. The researchers looked for one data pattern in particular — sudden bursts of hot, dense plasma punctuated by periods of cooler, flimsier wind — and found five instances that fit the bill.

The data from these events showed that the blobs bubbled out of the Sun every 90 minutes or so, supporting visible light observations of the blobs made decades later. The results also provided the first real, space-based evidence that the blobs are indeed much hotter and denser than normal solar wind, Viall said.

Burning questions
As to why the blobs form in the first place, the jury is still out. But, based on magnetic field readings taken near Earth, it’s likely that the blobs form in the same sort of explosions that create solar storms — massive blasts of plasma that launch forth when the Sun’s magnetic field lines tangle, break and recombine.

“We think a similar process is creating the blobs on a much smaller scale — ambient little bursts as opposed to giant explosions,” Viall said.

Results from NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, which launched in August 2018 and is now about 15 million miles from the Sun (24 million km), could soon confirm these suspicions. In addition to the 40-odd years of technological advancement that Parker has over the Helios probes, the Parker mission also ranges far closer to the Sun — coming within just 4 million miles (6.4 million km) of our local star at its closest approach. From this sizzling vantage point, the probe should be able to observe the blobs “right after they’re born,” Viall said.

The Thermosphere Responds To A Weaker Than Normal Solar Cycle

The Sun undergoes a magnetic metamorphosis every 11 years, when the celestial body flips its magnetic poles: North becomes south, and south becomes north. The Sun is currently in solar cycle (SC) 24, which began in June 2009. No cycle is the same: The length can vary from 9 to nearly 14 years, and the degree of solar activity fluctuates as well. Within each solar cycle, the frequency of sunspots and flares ebbs and flows in response to the changing magnetic field around the star.

The thermosphere, one of the outer layers of Earth’s atmosphere, is particularly sensitive to variation in solar activity. The thermosphere forms about 100 kilometers (62 miles) above our heads and extends for several hundred kilometers above that. It absorbs much of the X-ray and ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. During periods of high solar activity, the X-ray and ultraviolet radiation from the Sun increase, and the thermosphere swells as it sops up this increase in energy from the Sun. As the Sun approaches solar minimum, the thermosphere cools and shrinks as the intensity of the X-ray and ultraviolet radiation decreases. Since the International Space Station and many satellites orbit through this layer, changes in thermospheric boundaries and densities can affect their operation and the maintenance of their orbits.

The cooling near solar minimum is natural and specific to the thermosphere. The cooling thermosphere does not affect the troposphere, the layer of the atmosphere closest to Earth’s surface where people live. The temperatures we experience on the ground do not get colder because of this solar cycle. NASA and other climate researchers continue to see a warming trend in the troposphere. These two effects are ongoing but unrelated.

Nitric oxide and carbon dioxide play important roles in cooling the thermosphere. These molecules are able to radiate energy at infrared wavelengths and thus moderate the effects of energy inputs to the thermosphere. In particular, nitric oxide acts as a thermostat and, in concert with carbon dioxide, can significantly influence the temperature of the atmosphere, especially during periods when the thermosphere is disturbed during geomagnetic storms. The Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry (SABER) instrument on NASA’s Thermosphere, Ionosphere, Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) satellite launched in 2002 and has been observing the infrared radiation from these molecules ever since.

Here Mlynczak et al. looked at the past 16 years of SABER data to quantify how much energy nitric oxide and carbon dioxide discharged from the thermosphere over the past two solar cycles. The period covers most of SC 23 and all of SC 24 to date.

The authors found that the infrared power emitted by the two molecules during SC 24 is substantially lower than the emissions during SC 23. In fact, the radiated energy from nitric oxide and carbon dioxide are only 50% and 73%, respectively, of the average emission of the five prior cycles dating back to 1954. The low rates of radiation are likely tied to the relative weakness of SC 24. To equal the average infrared radiation released from within the thermosphere over the past five cycles, the current solar cycle would need to span an additional 1,690 days. At that projected length, it would make the current cycle a full year longer than its predecessor and one of the longest in the historical record.

The study offers insightful information on the thermal state of Earth’s high atmosphere above 100 kilometers. The Sun’s influence on the thermosphere is a growing topic of research, and this study provides crucial quantitative context for future work.