My Schools Apex Fun Run is Back

Hi Everybody, It’s Alexa Battros and my little sister Sophia. Most of you know my dad Mitch Battros from his Science Of Cycles research. I’m his oldest daughter and I will be 11 yrs old next month. My sister turned 6 last month.

I’m participating in my school Hidden Forest Fun Run and I would love your support. My run event was canceled due to rain and is rescheduled for tomorrow Feb. 25th – so I’m hoping you can help right away.

I have a request… would you please pledge me a dollar amount per Lap? I will complete between 26 and 36 Laps, with 36 being the most. You can pledge $1, $3, $5 per Lap, or any other flat donation amount.

To make a pledge, just click here: Hidden Forest Fun Run . Donations will be used for my school’s Laptop Carts & Technology Improvements.

Thank you again for helping my cause!

Alexa and Sophia Battros

A Thousand New Objects And Phenomena In Night Sky

Casual stargazers may look at the black area among stars and think that there’s nothing there except empty space. But the night sky hides many secrets invisible to the naked eye.

Less than a year into its mission, a sky-survey camera in Southern California shows just how full the sky is. The Zwicky Transient Facility, based at the Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, has identified over a thousand new objects and phenomena in the night sky, including more than 1,100 new supernovae and 50 near-Earth asteroids, as well as binary star systems and black holes. Operated by Caltech, the ZTF is a public-private partnership between the National Science Foundation and a consortium of nine other institutions around the globe, including the University of Washington. The ZTF collaboration’s six latest papers, which describe these discoveries as well as the ZTF’s data mining, sorting and alert systems, have been accepted for publication in the journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

Eric Bellm, the ZTF survey scientist and a research assistant professor of astronomy at UW, is lead author on a paper describing the ZTF’s technical systems and major findings since the survey began on March 20, 2018. Maria Patterson, a data scientist formerly with the UW Department of Astronomy’s DIRAC Institute, is lead author on another paper describing the ZTF’s alert system for notifying science teams of possible new objects in the sky or significant changes to existing objects.

“The ZTF mission is to identify changes in the night sky and alert the astronomical field of these discoveries as quickly as possible,” said Bellm, who is also a fellow with the DIRAC Institute. “The results and specifications reported in these six papers demonstrate that the ZTF has in place a pipeline to identify new objects, as well as analyze and disseminate information about them quickly to the astronomy community.”

Science teams need quick alerts so that they could, if needed, arrange for follow-up observations of individual objects by other observatories, Bellm added.

The ZTF accomplishes its survey goals through a digital camera, consisting of 16 charge-coupled devices, mounted to the 48-inch-aperture Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar. A single image from the camera covers an area about 240 times the size of the moon; in just one night, the ZTF could image the entire night sky visible from the Northern Hemisphere. So far, the ZTF camera has imaged more than 1 billion stars in our galaxy alone. By comparing new images to old, the ZTF can identify objects that are new, such as a supernova lighting up for the first time, or changes to existing objects, such as a star brightening in luminosity.

The ZTF undertakes surveys for public agencies such as the National Science Foundation, as well as private entities. The sheer volume of data generated by the ZTF necessitated a new approach to data analysis and alerts, according to Bellm.

“Every image that the ZTF takes contributes to at least one survey,” said Bellm. “We needed to put an automated alert system in place that would inform the relevant survey teams — in near-real time — of every potential change or new object that the ZTF would uncover, which could be more than a million in a single night.” Patterson, Bellm and other UW scientists — including Mario Juric, associate professor of astronomy and senior data fellow with the eScience Institute — led the effort within the ZTF to craft the automated alert system. They utilized two open-source technologies: Kafka, a real-time data-streaming platform, and Avro, a framework to serialize data for transmission and storage. The completed alert system, which was first deployed in June 2018, has successfully generated and distributed up to 1.2 million ZTF alerts each night — with each alert going out to survey teams approximately 10 seconds after it was automatically generated.

“Through these alert systems, the ZTF is sharing every change it finds with our survey partners,” said Bellm. “They are receiving every bit of data.”

Survey partners, in turn, are experimenting with machine-learning classification systems and other analysis tools to sort through the alerts. The ZTF’s alert system is a proving ground for future “automated, time-domain astronomy” missions such as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, said Bellm. The LSST, which is expected to begin its sky surveys in 2022, should generate about 10 million alerts per night, which is about 10 times the maximum alert volume of the ZTF. But the ZTF alert system could form the basis of a scaled-up alert pipeline for the LSST, according to Bellm.

“We are very pleased with the opportunities that the ZTF mission has provided us,” said Bellm. “It is reassuring to know that we have the tools at hand today that are useful not only for ongoing surveys at the ZTF, but also future missions like the LSST.”

Scientists Find Increase In Asteroid Impacts On Ancient Earth By Studying The Moon

An international team of scientists is challenging our understanding of a part of Earth’s history by looking at the Moon, the most complete and accessible chronicle of the asteroid collisions that carved our solar system.

In a study published today in Science, the team shows the number of asteroid impacts on the Moon and Earth increased by two to three times starting around 290 million years ago.

“Our research provides evidence for a dramatic change in the rate of asteroid impacts on both Earth and the Moon that occurred around the end of the Paleozoic era,” said lead author Sara Mazrouei, who recently earned her PhD in the Department of Earth Sciences in the Faculty of Arts & Science at the University of Toronto (U of T). “The implication is that since that time we have been in a period of relatively high rate of asteroid impacts that is 2.6 times higher than it was prior to 290 million years ago.”

It had been previously assumed that most of Earth’s older craters produced by asteroid impacts have been erased by erosion and other geologic processes. But the new research shows otherwise.

“The relative rarity of large craters on Earth older than 290 million years and younger than 650 million years is not because we lost the craters, but because the impact rate during that time was lower than it is now,” said Rebecca Ghent, an associate professor in U of T’s Department of Earth Sciences and one of the paper’s co-authors. “We expect this to be of interest to anyone interested in the impact history of both Earth and the Moon, and the role that it might have played in the history of life on Earth.”

Scientists have for decades tried to understand the rate that asteroids hit Earth by using radiometric dating of the rocks around them to determine their ages. But because it was believed erosion caused some craters to disappear, it was difficult to find an accurate impact rate and determine whether it had changed over time.

A way to sidestep this problem is to examine the Moon, which is hit by asteroids in the same proportions over time as Earth. But there was no way to determine the ages of lunar craters until NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) started circling the Moon a decade ago and studying its surface.

“The LRO’s instruments have allowed scientists to peer back in time at the forces that shaped the Moon,” said Noah Petro, an LRO project scientist based at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Using LRO data, the team was able to assemble a list of ages of all lunar craters younger than about a billion years. They did this by using data from LRO’s Diviner instrument, a radiometer that measures the heat radiating from the Moon’s surface, to monitor the rate of degradation of young craters.

During the lunar night, rocks radiate much more heat than fine-grained soil called regolith. This allows scientists to distinguish rocks from fine particles in thermal images. Ghent had previously used this information to calculate the rate at which large rocks around the Moon’s young craters — ejected onto the surface during asteroid impact — break down into soil as a result of a constant rain of tiny meteorites over tens of millions of years. By applying this idea, the team was able to calculate ages for previously un-dated lunar craters.

When compared to a similar timeline of Earth’s craters, they found the two bodies had recorded the same history of asteroid bombardment.

“It became clear that the reason why Earth has fewer older craters on its most stable regions is because the impact rate was lower up until about 290 million years ago,” said William Bottke, an asteroid expert at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado and another of the paper’s coauthors. “The answer to Earth’s impact rate was staring everyone right in the face.”

The reason for the jump in the impact rate is unknown, though the researchers speculate it might be related to large collisions taking place more than 300 million years ago in the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Such events can create debris that can reach the inner solar system.

Ghent and her colleagues found strong supporting evidence for their findings through a collaboration with Thomas Gernon, an Earth scientist based at the University of Southampton in England who works on a terrestrial feature called kimberlite pipes. These underground pipes are long-extinct volcanoes that stretch, in a carrot shape, a couple of kilometers below the surface, and are found on some of the least eroded regions of Earth in the same places preserved impact craters are found.

“The Canadian shield hosts some of the best-preserved and best-studied of this terrain — and also some of the best-studied large impact craters,” said Mazrouei.

Gernon showed that kimberlite pipes formed since about 650 million years ago had not experienced much erosion, indicating that the large impact craters younger than this on stable terrains must also be intact.

“This is how we know those craters represent a near-complete record,” Ghent said.

While the researchers weren’t the first to propose that the rate of asteroid strikes to Earth has fluctuated over the past billion years, they are the first to show it statistically and to quantify the rate.

“The findings may also have implications for the history of life on Earth, which is punctuated by extinction events and rapid evolution of new species,” said Ghent. “Though the forces driving these events are complicated and may include other geologic causes, such as large volcanic eruptions, combined with biological factors, asteroid impacts have surely played a role in this ongoing saga.

“The question is whether the predicted change in asteroid impacts can be directly linked to events that occurred long ago on Earth.”

The findings are described in the study “Earth and Moon impact flux increased at the end of the Paleozoic,” published in Science. Support for the research was provided by the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute, and the Natural Environment Research Council of the United Kingdom.

The Lonely Giant: Milky Way-Sized Galaxy Lacking Galactic Neighbors

Long ago in a galaxy far, far away, fewer galaxies were born than expected — and that could create new questions for galaxy physics, according to a new University of Michigan study.

The study examined the satellite galaxies of Messier 94, or M94, a galaxy similar in size to our Milky Way. Researchers have long known the Milky Way has about 10 smaller, satellite galaxies surrounding it, each with at least a million stars, and up to more than a billion, such as the Magellanic Clouds.

Now, with the powerful Subaru telescope, astronomers can peer at galaxies five or 10 times the distance from the Milky Way, such as M94. They then can use the physics of how satellite galaxies form around the Milky Way to predict how many satellite galaxies a similar-sized galaxy such as M94 may have.

When U-M astronomers examined M94, they expected to find a similar number of satellite galaxies. However, they detected just two galaxies near M94, with very few stars each. Their results, led by Adam Smercina, a National Science Foundation fellow in the U-M Department of Astronomy, are published in the journal Astrophysical Letters.

“More than just an observational oddity, we show that the current crop of galaxy formation models cannot produce such a satellite system,” Smercina said. “Our results indicate that Milky Way-like galaxies most likely host a much wider diversity of satellite populations than is predicted by any current model.”

Smercina also says their results have implications for the current understanding of how galaxies form — which is in much larger halos of dark matter.

These halos of dark matter surrounding galaxies have immense gravitational force, and can pull in gas from their immediate vicinity. Large galaxies like the Milky Way generally form in halos of about the same mass. But these smaller satellite galaxies, which form in smaller ‘subhalos,’ are not nearly so dependable.

The production rate of high-mass stars in these satellite galaxies actually modulates their growth. If, for example, the nascent satellite galaxy forms too many high-mass stars at one time, their eventual supernova explosions might expel all its gas and halt all further growth. But astronomers are unsure at what size halo this ‘scatter’ in galaxy formation becomes important.

Smercina says M94 indicates that galaxy formation in intermediate-sized dark halos may be much more uncertain than previously thought.

“We think that that scatter — the range of galaxies we expect to see — may be a lot higher than what people currently think for dark matter halos of a certain mass,” he said. “Nobody’s under any illusions as to there being this huge scatter at the very lowest halo masses, but it’s at these intermediate dark matter halos that the discussion is happening.”

To observe the number of satellite dwarf galaxies around M94, the researchers took a composite image of the large galaxy. The image covered about 12 square degrees of the night sky — the full moon, for comparison, appears as about one square degree. This kind of image includes layers and layers of “noise,” including cosmic rays and scattered light, which make faint dwarf galaxies difficult to detect.

To make sure they weren’t missing satellite galaxies, Smercina and his team engineered artificial galaxies back into the image and recovered them using the same methods as for real satellites. With this technique, the researchers confirmed that were no more than two galaxies around M94.

“The real kicker is whether or not the community expected this could be possible,” Smercina said. “That is the real curiosity of this finding — the result is something the simulations don’t predict. When you can discover something we didn’t really think we could find, you can make a contribution to our understanding of how our universe works, that’s really rewarding.”

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Wake Up

Too many things going on to say good night… 🙂
Christmas is just a few days away and I have noticed there are a few of you who take joy in gifting my two kids…Alexa, now 10 and Sophia, now 6. If you have a specific gift you wish to give, there will be a place to leave a note in your check out. You can describe what gift you wish to obtain along with any note you wish to present to one or both. I plan on being out to the stores until they kick me out.

Also, I just wanted to say thank you for believing in me, and perhaps most importantly, supporting the direction I am heading….First, in the way of outlining and putting into formula what we now describe as “Space Weather”. Secondly, for turning my attention beyond the Sun – Earth connection and venturing into a similar connection between Earth, our solar system and our galaxy Milky Way. I will continue to research the driving forces which is the impetus of all natural rhythmic cycles….hence; Science Of Cycles.

Merry Christmas, Mitch


Friday at 12 midnight Wreaths Across America will end. Wreath’s will be laid the following morning at military cemeteries across the nation. This will be done with full ceremonies honoring those who game their lives. My two girls will be in full scout dress for this event. See below to sponsor your wreath today.

What does it mean to sponsor a veteran’s wreath? It means you will honor an American hero at one of more than 1,400 locations nationwide this year on Wreaths Across America Day. It is a day that is been set aside to lay wreaths at the places where we remember, honor, teach about our veterans.

We cannot do that without your support, though. Your sponsorship will ensure that a wreath is hand-crafted of all-American balsam and hand-tied with a red velvet bow here in Columbia Falls, Maine. It will then be sent to one of our participating locations, where a volunteer will place it on the marker of a fallen hero. That volunteer will then “say their name” to ensure that the legacy of duty, service, and sacrifice of that veteran is never forgotten.

So, what does it mean to sponsor a wreath? It means you have the opportunity to join a grateful nation in saying “thank you” to our veterans.

My two daughters are in scouts and will personally be placing wreaths at our local military cemetery. Your sponsored wreath will go to a central location and will be disseminated to more than 1400 military cemeteries nationwide. Each sponsored wreath is $15 and there is no limit to your order.

BREAKING NEWS: Earth’s Magnetic Poles Could Start to Flip

Today’s article will come as no surprise to Science Of Cycles readers. There have been several articles SOC published regarding this issue going back to 2012. One of the highly contested questions regarding the pole shift…is ‘where’ on the time line are we measured as of today. I address this in a few of my previous articles. A significant conveying influence to the makings of a magnetic pole reversal is the deluge of cosmic rays which has an effect on the Earth’s mantle and outer core.

The process of convection is amplified which can produce an imbalance that could cause a ‘bulge’, also can produce an acceleration of mantle plumes – which in-turn causes heating of the oceans. These processes can have an effect of Earth’s dipole which creates the North and South magnetic direction. 

Furthermore, my research presents a hypothesis suggesting the influx of cosmic rays during extended solar minimum cycles which could range from 40,000 years to 700,000 years – each being its own cycle within a cycle, could be a contributing factor in historic global extinctions.

As you might have guessed, a large part of my research is the study of cycles, hence, my company’s title; Science Of Cycles.  I will be presenting my article titled “Cosmic Rays Role in Historic Extinctions” tomorrow, which will comprise the latest research published on December 6th 2018.

As Earth’s magnetic shield fails, so do its satellites.First, our communications satellites in the highest orbits go down. Next,astronauts in low-Earth orbit can no longer phone home. And finally, cosmic rays start to bombard every human on Earth.

If Earth’s magnetic field were to decay significantly, it could collapse altogether and flip polarity – changing magnetic north to south and vice versa. The consequences of this process could be dire for our planet. Most worryingly, we may be headed right for this scenario.

‘The geomagnetic field has been decaying for the last 3,000 years,’ said Dr. Nicolas Thouveny from the European Center for Research and Teaching of Environmental Geosciences (CEREGE) in Aix-en-Provence, France. ‘I fit continues to fall down at this rate, in less than one millennium we will be in a critical (period).’

Dr. Thouveny is one of the principal investigators on the five-year EDIFICE project, which has been running since 2014. Together with his colleagues, he has been investigating the history of Earth’s magnetic field,including when it has reversed in the past, and when it might again.

Cosmic rays: Our planet’s magnetic field is predominantly created by the flow of liquid iron inside the core. It has always been a feature of our planet, but it has flipped in polarity repeatedly throughout Earth’s history. Each time it flips – up to 100 times in the past 20 million years, while the reversal can take about 1,000 years to complete – it leaves fossilized magnetization in rocks on Earth.

By taking cores – or columns – of sediments from the seafloor, like a long straw that can extend down up to 300 meters with the help of a drill, we can look back in time and see when these reversals occurred. Dr. Thouveny and his team looked at two particular forms of elements that allowed them to probe the history of our planet’s magnetic field in greater detail.

For a polarity reversal to occur, the magnetic field needs to weaken by about 90% to a threshold level. This process can take thousands of years, and during this time, the lack of a protective magnetic shield around our planet allows more cosmic rays – high-energy particles from elsewhere in the universe – to hit us.

When this happens, these cosmic rays collide with more and more atoms in our atmosphere, such as nitrogen and oxygen. This produces variants of elements called cosmogenic isotopes, such as carbon-14 and beryllium-10, which fall to the surface. And by studying the quantities of these in cores, we can see when polarity reversals took place.