20 Episode results for "Dr Pamela Gay"
Halley's Meteor Shower and Two spacecraft updates
"This is the daily space for today Monday October twenty first two thousand nineteen I am your host Dr Pamela Gay I am here to put science in your brain most Mondays through Fridays either Ir my co host Anne Wilson will be here com slash cosmic westpacs around the sun and observe the Sun's surface while Parker focuses on its atmosphere in addition to imagers this mission also carries instruments for measure craft and power grids as we become increasingly more dependent on both telecommunications satellites and well power I understand above author Mark Twain as Comet Haley orbits our solar system it leaves behind a train of ice dust and occasional the composition of the solar wind particles carried to Earth in the solar wind are responsible for amazing Aurora and the periodic death of Space Ocean Edmond Halley while he calculated possible orbit for what he believed to be a single recurring comet today we know Hubbell's and it just happens that debris trail exactly crosses the orbit of earth every year on about October twenty first cosmic events one of the most consistently bright comets to pass through our inner solar system is comet Haley archaeological records hinted at being space weather is becoming more and more important having this new spacecraft in an orbit that reveals the under observed polar regions of the Sun will hopefully so if you are out late tonight or up early early tomorrow morning look for a Ryan and look for bright streaks racing across the night without object by the name Comet One p Haley and recognize it for seventy five point three year period that managed mark both the birth and death improve our space weather forecasts if you want to see the effects of space weather for yourself this week might actually be a good time to try a moderate the cloud that means those meteors. She probably aren't going to see tonight those meteors are leftover bits of comet Haley final dog walk of the night tonight a Ryan also has an extra surprise it will be the point of origin for a myriad
Ep. 533: Indigenous South African Astronomy
"Today's episode of astronomy cast is sponsored by Magellan TV claim your two month free trial, only available at Magellan TV dot com slash astronomy. Cast Magellan TV is a brand new streaming service that features the very best collection of space and science, documentaries, available anywhere. The service includes over fifteen hundred documentary movies series and exclusive playlists designed with you in mind. Check out their space, genre, and explore the solar system like never before. If you've been listening to our last few episodes, you know that we've covered a mix of Ethno strana me discussing the sky stories of people around the world, as well as highlighting modern observatories that circle our globe, this mix of old and new, reflects the content, I've been consuming Magellan TV where I can catch the latest news in archaeology. She an anthropology and also the most recent documentaries about our universe. This is a platform founded by filmmakers that will help you gain insight on the things your passionate about, as you consume their productions one awesome episode or film at a time. Find the answers to some of the biggest questions about the universe and game a deeper understanding of our solar system astronomy, the cosmos, novas, and beyond. These are the stories of Magellan TV once again claim your two month free trial, only available at Magellan TV dot com slash astronomy. Cast. Episode five thirty three indigenous, South African strong. Welcome to trying to be castor weekly facts. B's journey through the cause help you understand not only what we know. But how we know what we know I've preserve caned publisher of universe today with me as always Dr Pamela gay, but senior scientists for the planetary Science Institute, and the director of caused request allied. How are you doing? I'm mostly doing well, there may be an Furton coughing. I'm yes. I'm still recovery. Before we get on this show. Can let's do another plea for everybody to get on board. Benue map IRS. Yes. So all of you right now, wherever you are open, a windy window to Benue dot cosmic quest dot ORG. And while you listen to this show or watch it. If you're here, live are on YouTube map Banu, the sirens, wreck spacecraft is currently orbiting this half, kilometer diameter, little asteroid that is rocks on rocks on boulders on boulders. And it's just a rebel pile. And we have to somehow find a fairly clear place. Big enough that the Assira s- wreck spacecraft can dive down and do rock theft with what I can only describe as very angry vacuum. Cleaner that they have on board. So please, please, we have Intel July tenth to make it through what will ultimately be about four thousand five hundred images and after that he doesn't have a lot of big boulders that has a nice sample and trust us, that is turning out to be very difficult to find. Yeah. We were mistaken by the asteroid Itokawa. We thought that Banou would be like eat Okawa. In fact, the tutorial that we built before we had images of venue. Total uses eat accommodate, and you'll see there are like tens of rocks per image of few boulders clear, crater here, and there, Ben is like, no, I'm going to have hundreds of objects per image. We actually had to enable compression in how we transfer the data from the front end to the back end 'cause we were hitting the memory limits inherent in many browsers. So if you have ever wanted to do a science, if you've ever wanted to be one of the people to help figure out where a spacecraft should bring a sample home from, you could be the lucky person who gets an Email from Pamela saying, -gratulations, you identified the image that picked the landing spot of the sample spot for Lucius wreck. So please could do dot cosmic quest dot org and and pitch in. Got like just over a month to find the landing spot before the scientists get really mad. And, and the do something rash and just land, wherever it's more likely that all of us will just collectively cry by. So if you don't want science can't watch as Rex just blindly attempts as sample return somewhere on on. Asteroid benue. All right. So let's move on to another continent this week and look at the astronomy that was going on in southern Africa in ancient times, Pamela, you, I don't think we had planned to do this episode last week. And then we got a delightful Email from a listener thanking us for digging into the things so many nice things about what was going on with South Africa roof. If it's if this had been your plan, but, but it's like an, an whole other continent that we definitely want to add to places that had a ton of astronomy in the past and is going to be an amazing place for astronomy going into the future. So so, so I'm going to have to admit this was totally was my plan was it from the very beginning. I, I notice I started in America, the high went south to South America, I then began traveling west. Went to a stray Leah. And in the next thing, west on the map is gonna be Africa, Africa. And we're just gonna southern so big. Yeah. It's so get rolling into do southern Africa. Okay. And, and it were twelve because there are lots of really cool telescopes across various wavelengths including one that doesn't exist anywhere else in the world. Some of the oh, man terrain cough, your favorite, the shrink of this trip is an amazing to rink off instrument there in, in southern Africa. So anyway, we're going to get into that next week. And then who knows what comes after southern Africa? So I'm your other keenum night do southeast Asia. So we already covered a lot of archea astronomy in Europe. So let's just linger in the places that people don't talk about very often. Yeah. It sounds great. I love it. So who, who was doing astronomy in south? Southern Africa and win. So we, we have two different groups of, of people's that we're gonna largely focus on that, that are basically, two different language groups that each have a variety of tribes associated with them, this even southern Africa is a huge region. The modern maps that we use when their projected flat really do a disservice to Africa and a service to Greenland Africa is huge that, that's all I can really say is that sentence over and over again, Greenland is huge. But not as huge as the maps, making fake, Greenland is pretty tiny when compared to Africa. Yeah, so on we're we're gonna focus on two different. People's the one group is the son people that are historically referred to as the bushmen, but nowadays, that phrase is often used as a pejorative. Tiv- and the, the sun people. There are a variety of different tribes and nations with men were. How do you spell that essay? An essay. And okay. Yeah. And, and they have many different tribes and nations that have similar historic tales. And so we're gonna be talking about their traditions in these are the oldest people that have a continuous culture, perhaps in the world there. There are areas where the art in the history can be traced back seventy thousand years, which makes their histories make what we have here in North America. I even when we look at the Z look like young. So, so here we're looking at some really old traditions, the, the other group of people that we're gonna look out are, are the groups of people that, that are Societa d- with the Bonte people, and I may be mispronouncing. It bunk to might be a better pronunciation so here. We're going to look at that Swannee and Venda people's and their traditions. Now, one of the amazing things to me is, is South Africa. Is really where humanity started it is as near as we can tell the very earliest modern humans walked the world, and the, the sun, people are as closely descended, as we're probably going to get to those original humans. And they have this rich an amazing culture. Now the, the bond to people are a ethnically dip. Different culture. There. Features are slightly different languages radically different, not the same language, not a related language. It's like comparing Swedish and Spanish you don't and these are people that came from more northern in Africa and later moved into the son people's territories. So, so these are the two groups of people that are going to be focusing on this evening, and I'm guessing that we've got some kind of structures artifacts things to see how they measured the sky or is it all again, with Australia? We have stories and and memories this, this is largely stories that have been passed down through the people's, and I have to admit one of the reasons that I really wanted to do this, and who've been slowly creeping up on doing this part of the world is I, I was given the opportunity back in two thousand and ten. To visit the South African observatory were the South African large telescope is located in well, it's a couple of hours north of Cape Town, South Africa. And in the visitor center, they have this amazing quilt were each square on the quilt is a different story and to see all of these different stories, put out in, in a tradition that growing up in New England quilts are kind of like the thing you see, everywhere it kind of stayed with me. Some of these stories are, are truly beautiful in the sun, people pretty much. Everything that happens can be blamed on a young girl doing magic. And I love this power that is instilled it, mid Lii in a somewhat. Demeaning all bad things. Yeah. Are we talking here? Chad, Chad bad, which is doing magic, and it is their fault. Well, why don't we take a look at the stories and, and see what we can say. So the first thing that I want to start with is with, with the sawn people. They are no holds barred. The, the stars the sky the heavens. That's that's all up there. It's a solid object. It does not affect us down here this whole horoscopes and astrology thing that is inherent in so many different cultures in the world, not there. And, and I love this that the first people's saw the sky admittedly is. Solid. But hey, so did Europe for a long time, but, but they saw the sky as is something that didn't influence the affairs of humans. So there was not some vengeful. God, not some, some chariot, there was carrying a ball across the sky. It was just a thing. Well, they had stories but those stories didn't affect humans. The stories were in some cases affected by humans. And in fact, the sun is, is one of my favorite stories in, in the, the I'm going to mispronounce this. I'm sorry. It's the som- son people. It's it's one of the, the larger tribes. They, they say that the sun was originally, a very lazy, man who had a really bright head his, his head just shone brightly, and he liked. To sleep late and keep the light to himself. And, and so one day, a bunch of his, his fellows, the very first son, people got frustrated with him cut his head off and tossed it in the sky, so that it could serve everyone. And, and so, so it's up there now. It's not coming back. It's not affecting us. And don't you be lazy because we're going to cut off your head and threatened to the sky it like make a second son. Sure. Why not right, right? So sort of like a very scary version of Santa Claus. To scare your children. You know some story about. Yeah. Someone who is going to give you a lump of coal for being lazy being a bad kid, your head hacked off and thrown into space. Please continue. So, so on, on the other side of things the swan a- and Verdy people. They also saw and this is a normal across most of Africa. This is a really common story. They also saw the skies, a solid vault. That covers the entirety of the earth, but, but for them the stars were holes in the rocky volts. So I guess that means they're holes in the rocky vault that let in sunlight. I'm not gonna follow that one too far down. But it's it's an interesting variation on, on the story and. Yeah. We're just we're just going to go with their now, when you go down to Australia, South America, South Africa, you have completely different stars. And so some of the stories they have for those of us that live in the northern hemispheres are our require a bit of stepping back and looking at the context, the Southern Cross I it has to bright pointer stars alpha and beta some Tory and in these are probably two of the brightest most recognizable stars on that are unique to the southern hemisphere, and it's wanna and then deter traditions solve these stars as the jury rafts, the two bright stars in, in cracks were male, sorry, the bright stars in crux were mailed your afs. Andy pointers are female. Drafts. They also look at the fainter stars in the Southern Cross as being little drafts. So for them this, this is a family of drafts. And this, this goes with a lot of the traditions sauce stars as animals existing in the sky on not God's not great heroes of old. We've already thrown a lazy man's head up to create the sun fudges the day to day animals, they saw. And that's classic right. Like every culture adapts the, the constellations of seem sky to the things that they are familiar with. And that it'd be terrifying. If you think that the Greeks refer millions with God's coming down and smiling them from Olympic, but we'll go when they're myth butcher. But scorpions and. Yeah and, and whatever they see right bears. But the, the Dipper is the plow. Right. If you're not farming society, maybe you don't see a plow and maybe you see a spoon, or maybe you see if it's upside down, then you see something different. So it's so it's interesting how I mean, we you see what your what is familiar and, you know, in, in Canada, we wouldn't you know, I'm sure the indigenous people here never thought that they couldn't see the Southern Cross, but they wouldn't see it as as drafts. And, and this is where you also begin to see the things that are important to people with, with the sun people, I answer, a fairly prominent part of their diet, their, an amazing source of protein that many people are seeing as. Perhaps the salvation as our environment, slowly collapses, but that's a different show. So with the ready supply of ants in the area where they were living aunts were super important. And the som- son people thought that canot purpose could influence availability of ants eggs, and so they called it the ant eg star. And I just find that kind of awesome and, and can notice, which which is another one of the fairly bright stars in the southern hemisphere. Also cropped up with the swan people who saw its appearance as marking the time to breed sheep. Right. So once again, you know, using using space as your calendar. And so here we have all these different. So when do we do what how do we navigate these, these are the kinds of things that we see cropping up in stories all over the world? And for them, it was a matter of you navigate by well, keeping your keeping the Southern Cross on the right, keeping the plea eighties on your left and walk on forward into the sunrise. Very cool. And you said there was a whole other civilization. So, so we've been going back and forth, as, as we talked between the swan and Vendee people and the sun people, so so just comparing their, they're different kinds of, of stories. So there's there's one. And this is like, again, I I'm not sure how directness is. But, but I did find one reference that there's a conical tower in Zimbabwe. That is believed to be aligned with a supernova remnant that is, is excellent and a half to admit that on I went down the ethnographic stories and don't come across that, those, it was actually in, in preparing for the show was actually really tough to find. Unfortunately, look to find good information about all of the stuff that had been done like if anyone like there's a lot of separate little bits and pieces and fragments I've seen two mentions of some, some petroglyphs, but still not the same kind of really comprehensive information all in one location that you find with, with other places, which is too bad. And. And part of this is you get buildings in places where the weather doesn't allow you to live outside, and you get buildings in places where you're building with things other than trees. So where I live here in the United States along the Mississippi River. The Mississippi in people built the largest structures that were built by humans anywhere on the earth and no one knows about them. It's the Kalki amounts, they are giant dirt piles because we don't have stone year. So they piled dirt, and mortar and a lot mortared, and they made piles of dirt, and they built wooden structures on top of the piles of dirt. The wooden structures went away, and as we look at so many of these different people's we, we have their history in caves. We have their kiss Trie in statues, we have their history in oral traditions. But we don't have. As many of those giant stone structures and, and more's, the pity, there's one location that I was able to find that was in Kenya called the nemo or a Tunga. So, so I left out Kenya because it's so much for further north. So you wanna just tick to southern Africa. Okay. Yeah. No problem. Yes, giant continent. Trying to steal you do. I know I did, like don't even get started on, on the pyramids potentially aligning with the belt stars of the of Ryan or not as a way of lead the UFO's in to land and helped construct the pure weight. No, this is trying to cast. Never mind. That's for that other podcast that I'd be so going back. To Canova's because why not so, so the, the sawn people, the com- tribe of the sun. People saw Canova's as the ant eggs star which I find awesome. The swan meant knew that it meant it was time to start breeding sheep. Now, the Venda tradition to them, they had a tradition that the first person to see Canoga which they called Napa, they needed to get themselves. Black sheep horn climb to the nearest hill and blow the horn, and whoever did this would receive a cow as a prize. Sweet. Now, now, the reason that so many people put so much importance on Canova's is, is this was the star that meant winter. Was coming the seasons are changing, and we need to prepare and. When you are essentially, a hunter gatherer as the sun, people have been and continue to be a. Knowing it's, it's time to hunker down and get ready for winter. That's a kind of important thing to know. Right. And so I'm just sort of imagining like. As the seasons change as the nose, but the tilt of the earth, you're gonna get this moment where right? Or you know, at a certain point this star is gonna I peak above the horizon. And that's when you know that this is this is starting to happen. Yes. Yes. And, and it wasn't just Canova's that that was was used to Mark the seasons because of course you have two different seasons. And in the plea dis is another one of this constitute constellations that plays in amazingly strong role throughout all of these different peoples. And the reason is that well for me that first sighting of please. And a Ryan on the horizon, when I'm coming home from work means it's winter. It's, it's finally cooling off will for them. Please meant. It's time to start to plant the summer has finally come. And so here you also have the these fabulous stories that are related to both the please and to the, the constellation Orion. The do they do they have an explanation for what the plead is our. Well, it depends on which tribe you go to, and generally, they saw it as, again, a group of, of animals group of witches. Yeah. Yeah. It's at least consistent, now, the with the witches regenerate, busy throwing people in into space this, this, let me just do a highlight reel of all the ways that this would happen. So first of all, you have in, in the sawn tradition, the pointer stars of the Southern Cross our lions, not giraffes like they were with the vendor people, and these male lions used to be human beings. But a magical girl turned them in two stars. So they're there we have one example. Our next example comes to us with the krona Australis constellation. This, this is a bright ring of stars. That is clearly a ring of stars. That is also some it's referred to as the southern crown and it's near the constellation Scorpius and for them. This is a group of meat of men, who had been sitting together eating and then got b witched when a young girl looked upon them. Turning them in to stars. I think I found the reference doc in the using did you see the, the story for the Milky Way. Yeah. That was exactly what is going to next. So, so this is my favorite of all the stories because I can imagine a certain amount of this is also I hate vegetables. So, so here in the zone sun, people tradition, the Milky Way was created buying girl of an ancient race who scooped up a handful of ashes and fire and fluid into the sky, and there had been edible roots cooking in the fire. Yes. I'm mad that her mom, wouldn't give her some of these tasty roots. And so she grabbed the fire and threw them up into the sky. And so I can just imagine this story being told when someone's like idol when he eat my vegetables, and they're like. There was this girl who didn't want eat who want to hurt to eat vegetables so much, she got so mad, and she made the Milky Way you are ungrateful. Eat your vegetables of. Yeah. I don't know if that's ever happened. But that's my head cannon. I'm gonna go with those those good. So so, and this also shows that they paid attention to the colors of the stars because they saw the edible root older. Glowing pieces, as red and the younger glowing pieces as white, creating the red and white stars that are seeing along the Milky Way, which is also filled with ash from the fire, which is the darkness. That's really cool. Do you have any did you have any others? Oh, of cour-? More of. More of angry of women so Suzy it the night sky. So, so it's much more of, of here. It starts to get tied to, to Venus. So, so when Venus is an evening, star. It's the dating star and boys and girls are not allowed to date each other in public. So according to two and here, I'm gonna read from the South African astronomical. Observatories Ethno, astronomy, page boys and girls were not allowed to date each other in public. So they would arrange a secret get together when the evening star Venus was visible. So I just love that, that Venus is so bright that teenagers would sneak out under the light of Venus for a secret date. Can do what she can do because it is pretty bright. And they would have no light pollution, so exactly exactly. And the morning, I version of Venus. And again, people didn't always connect that the morning and evening versions of Amos are the same planet here. It was the, the basically the light that back in young girls out to do their daily chores. And, and it's in fact, so bright that one of the tribes, the, the Hosa, they actually recognized that Venus could be seen into daylight. And this is a challenge to all of you, because, hey light push doesn't matter during the day. And so young boys that were out hurting which challenge each other to find Venus during the day. And you can do that today. You can do that today. So get out there and do the thing. Yeah. You can you can if you know exactly where to look you can see Venus during the day. There's no exciting stories about meteors like we had with Australians, the closest we can get was that a bright meteor is a good indication of a good season head on. But mostly we had they kept through traditions in the stars. And it's just a whole lot of beautiful story. So if like me, you grew up reading the European stories behind the constellations get out there. And in my opinion, some of the most beautiful stories are the South African ones that are meticulously kept in a whole myriad of books. Go buy yourself a book, they're beautiful stories, tastic, Pamela. Do you have any story is speaking of stories, you have any names to read this week I do? In fact, we are as always so grateful to all of you out there who support us through patriot dot com slash astronomy. Cast this week. I would like to thank Jordan young Burr. Uri win Rum's. She on the month. So Andrew pulsed read David Troy, Brian Cabell. The giant nothing. Robert pals MMA, Laura Kittle, sin, less Howard, Corey volley, just Cunningham Paul Jarman, and Emily Patterson. Thank you. You guys you guys let us keep doing this. So thank you. Thanks so much. And we'll see you next week for of course. The, the, the modern update, thanks pebbles. Great. But by. This episode of astronomy cast is brought to you by eighth light Inc. Eighth light is an agile software development company. They craft beautiful applications that are durable and reliable eighth light provides disciplined software leadership on demand and shares its expertise to make your project better. For more information, visit them online at WWW dot eight slight dot com. Just remember, that's WWW dot the digit eight t h L I, G H, T dot com. Drop them out. Eighth light software is their craft. Thank you for listening to astronomy cast, a nonprofit resource provided by the planetary Science Institute Frazier Kane. And Dr Pamela gay, you can find show notes and transcripts for every episode at astronomy cast. You can Email us at info at astronomy, cast dot com. Tweet us at astronomy cast light. Us on Facebook and watch us on YouTube. We record our showed live on YouTube, every Friday at three pm eastern twelve PM Pacific or nineteen hundred UT. See are intra music was provided by David Joseph Wesley the ultra music is by Travis Searle, and the show was edited by Susie, Murph.
Ep. 581: Other Kinds Of Novae
"CAST episode five eighty one other kinds novais welcome to China caster weekly faxes journey through the cosmos where we help you understand not only what we know how what we know. I'm Brisbane publisher of the Universe today with me as always as Dr Pamela Gay a senior scientist for the Planetary Science, Institute and the Director of course. How you doing I'm doing well, how are you doing good the word size just comes up your senior scientists working for a scientist a tude science science science. It, it's kind of the way I live my life. It's nice to have people focused on science it is. It is and Happy, I Canadian thanksgiving. Oh. Yeah. That's this weekend. Yeah. We're. We're not that big about Thanksgiving around here in fact my. My my sister calls no thanksgiving. All, right we we keep a pretty low key. chloe's to be coming back from university for for Thanksgiving and we'll be hanging out so so. Excellent. Yeah. But but. Trying to organize like a Thanksgiving dinner is very complicated around the house so. So ten we tend to make something Super Yummy. That's all you name. Yeah exactly. But it's also you know as I mentioned year after year it's entire. It's very civilized although I think this year. Like, nobody's be traveling in the US to attend Thanksgiving's so I think you have to worry. But maybe in future years once the pandemic has wrapped up, then consider adopting Canadian thanksgiving is your date because it's just. Air travel traveling in general is a lot easier in in. October than in November. This is true and we're starting to get fall leaves. So it's more. than. The the leaser. Great. Yeah. November they're they're they've all fallen. It's gross. Yeah. All right. So don't ever accuse us of not comprehensively covering every kind of exploding star this week we gather ball the leftover ways that stars partially or fully explode don't probably enjoy. Oh Pamela. So I'm not GonNa lie I did absolutely zero preparation for this week's episode. Because I have no idea. What's In fact, we were prepping like okay. So what what's left and then you then proceeded to rattle off a whole bunch of ways it starts getting split I had no idea. Had even had names but. Why. These these are in minimal exploding right moments in our life. You gotTa Start and start gets brighter. It could be an explosion, it might not be. And and this is where we have to go back to what does the word Nova mean it it's a new star and so Nova New Star. Yeah. So anytime, a star decides, Hey, I, may not have been visibly bright before but look at me now and hops into our sky. That's a Nova. And so far we've discussed where you have a compact object White Dwarf Neutron Star, whatever that is stealing matter from a companion and periodically flares in brightness due to usually some sort of an exploded. We talked many times in the past about supernova where an entire star decides I'm GonNa could boom either my outer atmosphere or all of myself and we've behind something or nothing depending on the stars mass and whim. Yes. Put. There's other really cool stuff out there. And the other cool stuff out there. has produced some of the most beautiful didn't actually explode remnants for Hubble and other massive telescopes to point that. So let's let's run through a couple of examples I guess of of of Stars that did something interesting but not in a traditional variable star sense because we've talked to them plenty of times but like weird variable stars, Right Right. So so here we have systems like I think the most famous may be Ada Karena. exploded. Ready. Right well or not. I, mean here we have this this star that wasn't particularly noticeable Intel in the eighteen thirties. It decided to suddenly do the opposite of bagel juice and it became brighter than Rachel. Brightest, stars in the sky. It became the second brightest star in the sky for a while. Just after serious. It's had multiple episodes of getting brighter getting, Fainter. and. It's thought that this humongous Nebula that is around it this it looks like an hourglass with an exploding waistline. I don't know how five it. Yeah. So the hour glass of material around it is is thought to be material that was given off during its great eruption in the eighteen hundreds. And its subsequent. inning occurred when all of this material cooled and coalesced into dust and that dust hit the the two stars. We now know that are lurking down in the center of this system to what is I mean we've talked about this in the past but what is eighty Corinna? It is to advanced stars one of which was probably well over a hundred solar masses. When it got its start, it's subsequently as the he monkey shows. Lost, a lot of that mass, its companion is another luminous blue variable star, another massive star tens of solar masses in size. These two stars are orbiting each other in just over five years and as they orbit one another we see changes in brightness. We see over time right now these two objects are getting brighter and brighter and brighter unclear if this is intrinsic to the stars or this is the Hugh monkey spreading out and getting thinner and the stars showing through better, we don't know and so do we know what caused that flare up the first time around back in the eighteen hundreds? So so that great eruption in the eighteen twenties lesser option in the eighteen nineties. Own. We're not entirely sure but it was probably some sort of an ignition in the atmosphere or an interaction of the winds of the two stars that ignited stuff and so does does the fact that there are two stars interacting with each other is that? Like is that part of the special sauce? Yes. Right. The binary nature of the system. It's not entirely we can't see through all the dust. We can't see into the center we're trying this thing has been observed in every wavelength that we have observatories to observe at. Best been able to figure is it has a five point, five, four period variability that the winds of these two stars are shocking. Each other something about this combination of the shocks to young stars creates colliding winds zone. and things periodically boom in the night. Right a now I mean of all of the stars that we know of I mean we've talked about this in the past beetlejuice is actually. Not as advanced as ADA KARENA. Ada. Korean of really is that started the could go any moment now. But we'll would both go. Would one go would? Be Thrown out into the universe what would happen We we don't know these things. This is one of those scenarios of you have to stars that are each large enough to go Supernova. We know. There are cases where the shock from one-star triggers the other starts to do things. In fact, thought that kill Novi are due to the shock wave from the one star going Supernova accelerating the rotation of a companion star that gives out material through its magnetic field. Binary. Stars are capable of really complex cool staff and are also computational, very difficult to model right So. Rather than. accept. That, we actually understand exactly what's going to happen I'm going to go with. Anything is possible. It is most probable that only one star will go Supernova the. objected. Ill take some damage. It's unclear if for this will trigger additional mass loss, this will cause it to spin up if this will impale mouse onto it, that increases its mass and causes something weird in all likelihood, it will get blasted it will move out of the way it will continue on its life in a new location. Yeah. Now traveling through the through the Milky. Way. Okay. So that's that's eight a Corinna. Again I think we should expect it to brighten up significantly again at some point and then dame again and then brighten up and released more material into cool Nebula. But another star that we've seen a similar kind of effect your mentioned before As v Eight thirty eight Mon- right. I love this object this this is an object that back in two thousand and two suddenly came into our visible existence. Prior to that. Like if you dug deep enough into the glass plates, you could sort of say. There's a star there initially totally screwed up how far away we thought the star was and it was initially thought to be an after war. Now it was actually probably an a or B star here we're talking about a hot bright star. And and the reason we initially screwed up the distance is because this sucker was so big that it was a sumed that in order to get something that big it had to be initially faint and nearby so that it would appear big in the sky because it was near by physically expanding. So it actually turns out it's just really big. So you start out with a star that is like Jupiter's orbit kind of size. I mean. So that's kind of beetlejuice sized. Yeah you then ask it to. So. So with the eight, thirty, eight on, you have this this star that. gave off a flash of light that had a width to that flash. And the way the thing about this is. If you turn a laser on and off rapidly, you are actually creating that Seifi beam that travels through space but it doesn't move slow enough. You can see it like In movies the reality is. You're creating something that has a a set beginning an and it's moving through space. And it's a luminated in parts of space as it goes, and what we do is we can watch clouds of gas material have different parts of the cloud illuminated. As this shell of light moves through the material With v Eight thirty eight mine we had a star that had undergone significant mass loss at had blown material all around it. It does have a companion these things tend to have companions. And as that Shell of light moves through space, you have this increasing in size. Illuminated set of gas clouds, they're two different flashes of two different colors, which in some ways makes us more interesting. And and the question is exactly what happened. We don't entirely know why why does something does occur I I? Don't know this. But when you were talking, I was showing to the people who are watching the show live the animation of the Thirty, eight Mon and just watching this just this incredible structure like you've got this bright red star in the middle. That's the star. And then you've got this. Just this surrounding material that really looks like a dusty exploding expanding sphere of of material. It's it really is one of the most stunning observations that that humanity has has ever made of something like this because not only are you seeing something with this level of resolution you're seeing over time when normally we're just like Oh yeah, that's the end there's andromeda there's the Orion Nebula, but here's something changing. So quickly just over the course of a few. Decades. and. The time at which this happened couldn't have been better in some ways because at the time that it occurred, the Palomar testbed interferometer was up and being used. So they were able to measure its eyes on the sky at one point eight, three Milli arc seconds and that angular size they measured on the sky. By. Figuring out where it actually is located in the galaxy, they were able to calculate the physical size of this object, which is how we know it was the orbit of Jupiter sized. And that's just kind of awesome. So what we think is going on so is I mean is it doesn't have a binary companion in the same way that Ada cringe us right. Now and this is where. It's the this crazy combination that we can't fully understand of used to that idea that we will. We don't understand anything about this. And so there there are guesses they. We, don't know what any of these are necessarily true. But it's it's a massive supergiant that. Flared and in all likelihood, it was some sort of a ignition, a helium flash or some other kind of, and now we're going to burn new things and these brief transitory, and now the star ignites and it does new things. Can Lead these transitory events. The thing that I love is this idea that it. It briefly became. Like one of the brightest stars in the Milky Way, but also briefly became one of the largest stars in the Milky Way which is weird idea to think about the fact that star could go to whatever size it normally has, and then suddenly it goes up to fifteen hundred times the size of the sun out pass the Jupiter as you mentioned, that is bigger than than villages. It's gigantic that nearing as big as stars can possibly be and didn't on our watch like people were watching it this Dr just bloated out. Yeah. Orders of magnitude in size released immense amounts energy. But didn't explode just thing it did. Well and here's the thing is if it was some kind of a thermal pulse if it was that and now we shall burn new things. Right? We we know theoretically these things are supposed to happen and not destroy the stars otherwise you don't get heavy elements. And so to catch one of these. So brief transitory events were the flashes of light are given off. And the, Star is still there tells us that. Okay. So so this is what it looks like. Maybe when these things that we've been saying hand wavy have to be happening actually happened now there is one less accepted but still worth mentioning because it's just a cool idea possibility of what occurred and this is a merge burst. This is the idea that what we now see his double system was once upon a time a triple system. And two of the stars decided, and now we shall be one right and the flash associated with that merger. This isn't the canonical idea this this is not. Put It's worth because we don't know. Sometimes, it's worth to say, Hey, there's also this other possibility, but it's probably something connected thermal pulse, but it is I mean it is kind of safe to say. If you have something really unusual and really energetic happened. Then binary stars multiple stars can be to blame like, yes that's worth stronger restart as they go. Okay. We got the mayhem going on. A regular star all in the tone doesn't get up to that kind of mischief but you throw multiple stores in the mix and mayhem ensues well, and that's actually a new thing to be doing. For the longest time, we were always trying to figure out how singleton could do all the crazy we see, and this is where the the whole idea with gamma ray bursts and the Associated Novi was was. Decades of people trying to figure out. Well, what if you spend it this way? What if you do this? What if you do this other thing and now we're pretty sure it's just two stars and the physics became both harder and easier easier to understand harder to do because more dynamics. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. All right. So we got to not Novas. Some of the most energetic events that that he astronomers have ever seen here in the in the in the Milky Way. And these all boil down to basically we have an object in the process of evolving. It's not blowing itself apart, but it's blowing itself into brightness in in. In a momentary stage and sack is object is another one of these hi, I'm not gonNA actually behave kind of objects, and in this case I've never even heard of this object. It's how do you spell it as? S A.. K. U. R. A. I. It's also known unpaid. As v four three, three, four such, Attari. Yeah. This is totally totally new to me. It's it's the cutest little tiny. Red Nebula. Its tenth magnitude so you can get images of it in a reasonable telescope. And in this case we have. It's it's Cute Little Red Planetary Nebula that doesn't have a white dwarf in at Center, which is what Planetary Nebulae are supposed to happen their center. And it's thought that this star was happily on its way cooling down the White Dwarf Cooling Branch and then had this moment if not wait. Actually done year folks right will last gasp one last gasp and it underwent a helium flash. So you have the remnants of a star. That has stopped undergoing thermonuclear action. It has collapsed down into a degenerate white dwarf. It's radiating away light. It was like one hundred, thousand degrees Kelvin. And as it got dense enough during this process, it was like Oh wait hold on a moment and it became a red giant again in nineteen nineteen because why not? WHY YACHT RIGHT So and have we seen other examples of objects doing this kind of thing. There's been a number of similar objects that we catch, but they haven't been close enough to create as Cutie Little Tread Planetary Nebula to look at, and that's the thing with all these. We'll we'll get yes. We will get one nearby really cool example happening while we have modern telescopes pointed at it. And then we'll see all these other people's that are either far enough away that we only catch the light curve but not the Nebula. And we look at these and like that that looks like the same kind of thing. So for instance, with soccer as object. There was a similar late thermal pulse from V six Oh five quickly we see these similar objects but. They often we don't get the same. There's a bunch of false Novi known false supernova now, and these are luminous blue variables that temporarily flare up and brightness. They sometimes get mistaken for type two end Supernova the but. They turn out to not actually be bright enough to be an actual Supernova, and then they're still a star left brain is still there like that's they're still there the thing you really expecting from type one, a Supernova. or any of these to be gone. Not Gone, right? No no a neutron star not a black hole just still a star store. Yeah, gone. Or a compact object being notes goes back to being star, which again is I mean we talk about this idea of the Novais where you've got this material that is falling onto a white dwarf piling up then it explodes with this thermonuclear explosion and goes to the process again. and. Yet these it sounds like some of these events can rival the amount of energy released during a Nova. And yet they. Know in. A nearing the amount of energy release during a Supernova and yet they they withstand it. And COME BACK FROM WAR and. And we ended up just calling them all sorts of different things. We call the SACRA object the V six, five equally object. We call it a slow Nova love that a little bit slow novais. And, and then we called the luminous blue variables that are doing. Ada Karena Lake things but we don't see the human culas Nebula around them. We call those. Either imposter Supernova false supernovae, and then there's there's another class of of misbehaving object called. Objects these are objects that have massive amounts of mass loss. They actually have a different shaped, their stellar profiles we need to do spectroscopy. The lines are different kind of profile because of these massive wins, these hyper giant luminous blue variables. And they. Periodically decide we're going to get much brighter. And this is thought that their eruptions may be mass transfer events. So here, instead of having the same kind of mass transfer flare up that you get with material being stolen from a companion star and pulled onto a white dwarf or pulled into in disc around a neutron star. Here you have the the P Signi is transferring a massive amount amass onto some sort of a smaller say three to six solar mass companion star. Stars are mean to each other and this leads to fascinating variability. and. We call a lot of this stuff Novi when they get super bright and appears new stars in the night. Before we started I mentioned one additional kind of object that you weren't familiar with the name, which is the UNGAVA. 'cause. They're not news start. They're the opposite. They're there were star should have produced some kind of bright flash beat Supernova or a Novi and it just didn't were star is just disappears. They're really tricky to find because you have to find a star and the notice that that star isn't there anymore and so there's just there's Charles were starting to find evidence of this, and we had a recent story about this, and the thought is that while up into this point, everyone thought that all giant stars. Like Ada Karena win they die all that material falls inward piles up you get the Supernova, get the bounce off of the core and you get the SUPERNOVA N- enormous release of energy. But in some cases, some some percentage of these stars the as the black hole starting to form in the middle of the star, it's able to gobble up the material quick. So quickly that you don't get that bounce it, all just goes in and the stardust implode in it's gone. and. And they're starting to be more more evidence. These things exist. So and this is why we need the S T to be finished at the own thing between us and it is cove it and a little bit of civil unrest, and hopefully both these things will end quickly we wish the best for the Chilean nation and the best for the entire global population because we WANNA do Sayaka. To to come online. Thank you. Pamela, do you have some names I this week? I do as always our show is supported. Through the generous contributions of all of our patrons and now more than ever. We're grateful for what you're able to give. We know that Kovic is making it hard especially for those of you that work and small businesses or aren't able to work from home. We see this reflected in changes to what you're giving each month and for those of you still out there thank you for allowing us to do everything we do. You allow us to pay our servers to play Richard to pay Ali to keep everything going have Beth doing social media. Thank you. And right now more than ever I would like to thank Jordan Yawn Berko Roland Berry Gowan Ramji on a month through Andrew Palestro Jeffrey David Merrit Zini David Trog Brian cargo the giant nothing Dan Littman Laura San William Robert Palaiseau joss Cunningham Paul Jarman less Howard Emily. Patterson Adam Anna's brown infinitesimal ripple in space time at left Science Gordon with Bill Hamilton Richard Riviera. Joshua Pearson Frank Tippin Jake Mudge, and Alexis. Thank you. Thank you for supporting us. Just want to follow him what you said like we have dedicated our lives, both of our working most of our working careers to educating people about space in Strana me to sharing the love. We don't get paid for this, but the money goes to the people that help. Get this this podcast out and to increase the reach and to make sure the service day up to make sure that the. that. We can let everybody know that we're working to do the editing and so on and. and. It feels so gratifying that we can provide salaries to people to be able to do this work while we are doing the thing that we love. To Kate and teach space Ronnie, and and so we really couldn't do this without you and so thank you everybody in for those of you on the fence. That if you want to contribute if you if what you love is more space knowledge and outreach out there in the world Pamela and I hope of demonstrated the runs for the long haul and do this for as long as we can and your support matters and one thing that I'm super proud to be able to say. And this audience didn't get to hear it over the summer is starting August one. We were able to offer healthcare to anyone on our team who wanted health. So here in the United States, during Cova, times to be able to say two part time staff we got you right. Oh Yeah. We got them. That's because you US wonderful. All right. Thank you. Everybody thinks Pamela, and we'll see you all next week but by. ASTRONOMY CAST is a joint product of Universe today and the Planetary Science Institute astronomy cast is released under a creative Commons attribution license. So Levitt shirt and remix it but please credit to our hosts, Fraser Cain Dr Pamela Gay. You can get more information on today's show topic on our website astronomy cast dot com. This episode was brought to you. Thanks to our generous patrons on patriotic. If you want to help keep the show going, please consider joining our community at patriotair dot com slash astronomy cast not only do you help us our producers a fair wage you will also get special access to content right in your inbox and invites online events. We are so grateful to all of you who joined our Patriot community already. anyways, keep looking up. This is Ben Astronomy cast.
Ep. 579: White and Black Dwarf Stars
"Trying to cast episode five, seventy, nine, white and black door stars welcome to astronomy Casper weekly facts based journey through the cosmos where we help you understand not only what we know. But how we know what we know I'm Fraser Cain publisher of University with me as always Dr Pamela Gay a senior scientists for the Planetary Science Institute and the cosmic if how you doing I'm doing well, how are you doing? Too. Good. Boy I've I've been talking a lot about life on Venus though that's that's my life that is the new. That is the new reality is just talking about life house life. I could be making the life, but the part that I love is the response now that there are some cool missions in the works that people are thinking of to send. I've seen a couple of really great ideas. Now, we've got people have something very specific to look at. So hopefully, we'll be able to follow up in a couple of years with some cool missions to. I hope. So it's the thing that really frustrates me is I know the timescale of going from thinking about a mission to building in sending the Michigan and it's like I want them to go figure this out while I'm alive. But the good thing is the Venus only takes a couple of months to reach. So it's Zaddar or or Mercury, right? Yeah. Mercury's a tough one to get to. But but hopefully, we'll get some answers. We'll get some answers for you everybody. Now. I've got some bad news for you though stars die they do at some point in the next few billion user. So our son is going to start heating up using a ball the fuel in its core, and then eventually die becoming a white dwarf. It'll then slowly cooled down to the background temperature of the universe becoming a black dwarf. Let's learn about this fascinating process. What's the timescale are versed? Why is the Son Dying? I mean we're all dying board and immoral. So the say it add ultimately it's just gonNA run out of energy. So the way that stars shine and support themselves in their core they're undergoing nuclear reactions now, exactly where in the core depends on the stage of evolution. Initially WANNA start turns on it's burning. Hydrogen it's it's going through the Proton Proton process and. All the light that has generated during this fusion because when the particles come together, they release energy as they fuse into something new and that energy pushes out against gravity supporting the outer layers of the star. And eventually, it runs out of fuel in the core. Yeah. So it's eventually going to run out of hydrogen in the core. The star is going to go through different changes in luminosity changes in color changes in size, it's GonNa end up burning hydrogen in a shell. It's GonNa. Underpinning. All sorts of different things are going to change over the life of a star and what all happens depends on the mass of the Star Star is big enough. It's actually going to eventually get to the point that it has a heart of iron. and. It turns out that when you China infused two iron atoms together, they sure you can do it but you have to give us the energy to do it right? No free lunch more no free lunch anymore and Since. These heavier elements doesn't release energy. The Star doesn't have anything to push back against fight with gravity. Collapses down in this moment that it's no longer producing enough energy, and this is where things get interesting. Now, that's for the that's for the stars that are. That are bigger than our than our sun. Right. But for for that are the mass of of our sun they don't have that. And they just have this quieter cooldown in. and. This is where physics can get interesting because it turns out that stars that are ten solar masses and less. Undergo varying amounts of massless. We're not always sure how much in fact, we're never sure how much mass a star is going to lose. And over its lifetime that ten solar mass star. May End up once it's done bloating off its outermost atmosphere as something only one solar mass and size. It can lose nine tenths of its material. She'll what's the mechanism that's actually causing the material to be lost. So you have two different things that happen. The first is regular everyday solar winds like what we're experiencing with our own sun where the sunlight as it pushes out interactions with the outer magnetic field of the Star you have both things gradually getting carried off all the time and things getting ojected through criminal mass ejections, solar flares. And all of this is carrying particles only atoms, electrons, small bits of matter but still actual matter is getting carried away from the star. And the rate at which the star is able to lose mass through mass loss like this through solar winds. Is Variable over its lifetime and elder stars, and the most massive young stars are the ones that give off the absolute largest amount of map. And so once a star is done blasting off all its mass once it's gone through this process of turning into a red giant and then. Multiple Times. Sometimes, they'll blow it out and then trick back down and blow blowed out and then it's done well and here by done. It's like. I'm just GonNa let my outer atmosphere drift away. Just GonNa Exhale it and this planetary nebula formation. And here it's. Just, a matter of the light that the stars generating at this point. And the size of the star make gravity drainage not quite as strong as it needs to be with his outer layers of the Star I don't know if you saw a piece of research just came out like just a couple of days ago. Now that strollers have been able to essentially tied down the shape of every single planetary nebula based on just the planets and any binary companions that are orbiting the star. So that the different shapes now are yeah. Friendly. Or caused by the variations are caused by the interactions with whatever's orbiting the star. and. They haven't actually gone through an identifier, every planetary Nebula in existence and matched it with their computer models. But what they figured out the variations from having stars in various binary system stars and very solar system configurations and Stars Pretty Much on their own. By tweaking all of these different interactions you're able to create the nearly infinite diversity of shapes including all of the nested shells and things that we see with planetary Nebula. Yeah. Yeah. It's. It's kind of cool though the planets can help make planetary Nebula. Oh Yeah, and this is your standard reminder that the name Planetary Nebula has nothing to do with planets except now it does well fair. The name self however is based on the fact that so many of these Nabulsi. Look like gas giants the ally Bula through a telescope looks like it's a gas. Yep. So then you're the planetary Nebula and you are left with. A star, but it's not like the kind of star that we were familiar with for the entire. Time that we've lived here on the planet. And this is where we have to go back to is it a star? Really? Is it. What is what is the remnant? It's a core it's a dead core it's an amber the basic definition that we have of a star, which is what allows us to say that Brown dwarfs are temporarily stars is you have to have that nuclear fusion going on that is generating energy. With a white dwarf, you have the core of a former star. That is no longer generating energy that is sitting there going to high. I would collapse except for electron degeneracy pressure the the ability of electrons to go to other electrons do not get too close with the polly exclusion principle like this is our Adam this. This is yeah. So essentially, a white dwarf star says, okay electrons align and they line up according to the Pauli exclusion principle and all the allowed states forming as dense and array as they can pushing back against gravity right and we have we've talked about if you have a more massive object, then then gravity can overcome that and fourth the whole thing into a neutron star. But but these were today we're talking about the stars that don't quite make it. Yes. And so with with these leftover cores, they start out with a temperature at the surface of like ten million degrees dating their light in the ultra-violet it's the core of. Stuff for a second because you know when you think about like a star like the sun like the surface temperature of the sun is fifty seven hundred. Calvin. And so that's hot. But that's not millions of degrees hot but. But when the sun the sun has been running this fusion core down in the middle of it, then it blasts off all those outer layers, and now like he's literally the core of the star is now just revealed to space. Yes and and it is millions of degrees hot. And and and the inside of the star is consistently at this ten million. But that surface is it's going to drop down to a hundred and fifty thousand. Kelvin. As. It radiates now here's the thing though is we have a A pretty much solid object. With a very small selfish. This is your standard reminder that a sphere has. A surface that is the minimum surface you can have for the amount of stuff inside of it, which means that it's not the most effective at radiating way heat. Right. So. So so sorry. So it's so it's like because it's got this nice spherical shape because it's holding in its Adams in the tightest possible configuration like a like a bubble, right? Holds in the amount of air that's inside of it. Yet has a really hard time getting that heat out into the. into the universe but if you. took a knife. And sliced open a little took out a little piece of Pie, ten degrees in ten million degree. What would it be but will you be holding if you could just like pull it out of the White Dwarf. Something denser than anything that you can generally. Imagine we we don't have material like this on earth this I you might be able to created in a lab if he spends enough money, but your average person is never going to create something this dance. So that little snippet you pull out from underneath the surface you're looking at like elephants and a teaspoon kind of. Tons for a teaspoon. Yeah. So elephants and a teaspoon scenario. And and you're looking at something unbelievably hot. And you're looking at something. Where the material is arranged so that as it cools, it crystallizes. And this is one of the to me most fascinating things about white dwarfs is they start out as like standard plasma that we're used thinking of our stars as being. As they cool. They solidify into a crystal structure and this affects how they cool. So it was originally thought that we could just very very easily used them. As if you look at a cluster of stars new see white dwarfs at this minimum temperature that is diagnostic of the most massive stars to become white dwarfs have already had a chance to cool to this point. Therefore, this system stars is this age, right? and. We're finding discontinuities we're finding. Weird things we were finding ages that didn't quite match. And as our chemistry quantum mechanics got better, it was realized that energy periodically was getting absorbed into the phase changes. And so it was the phase changes of this crystalline matrix that was. Changing how the star cools over time So. I'm just sort of imagining like if I you know back to that analogy of slice out a little piece of my white dwarf, I pull it out and it's this ten million degree material. Yeah. The the mass of the weight of an elephant in in my teaspoon or on my little cake knife I. chanted. Yeah. Of course of course. No I've I've got my. Neutron. Star. Cake knife, which is even heavier. I quench, it in water. And, it will crystallize. into. What Well, this is the awesome part is white dwarfs are generally either helium or carbon. And crystallized carbon is a diamond. So these are objects that when you're looking at a carbon white dwarf star from the more massive stars to become white dwarfs. You're ending up with a solar mass diamond. Right that to be fair if you tried to stand upon it to put your hand against pretend you were wearing, it would crush you to show surface and destroy you right right that we try to wear one and so at the at the beginning of the hot point, it is just this. Very hot. PLASMA, plasma. But formed into a very tight ball. The electrons are degenerate, which means they're aligned in specific ways, right? So that their spins or correctly. Yeah Yeah. They're marching in perfect order. But the. But then as it cools down. It threes almost crystallize into this shape that it had arranged itself trying to just trying to feed into the smallest possible size. And that is a diamond yes. Because it's made of carbon. Yes. Now. Now, the thing about this to remember is these are. The remainders of a lot of different kinds of starts not all white worse are identical. You can start off with that. We thank ten is order of the top that it could even be larger mass originally formed stars that have undergone massive amounts of mass loss, and so they lived as the hot bright, not the hottest and brightest but hot bright stars hanging out out there. They're gonNA. Form these carbon white dwarfs now at the same time this little tiny red dwarfs out there. Someday far in the future after all the rest of the universe's given up the ghost, they're gonNA finally stop. UNDERGOING NUCLEAR REACTIONS THEY'RE UNDERGOING CONVECTION Your stars eventually going to get used up it's going to become pretty much pure helium. and. When occurs when they can no longer burn anymore for the lowest mass hydrogen burning stars. They're just GONNA kind of slow down shrink down again. These. These stars are very different. They don't undergo all the red giant stuff. They just sort of sit there and go. And I'm done. And shrink down. So so then do you get like a crystal of Helium Yeah Yeah. And the helium just going I'm a noble gas. I don't behave this way right? So there's no crystallisation, the helium. Right right. It's GonNa lock into a structure in the way that say a diamond, the way carbon would, and this is where it gets. So interesting trying to understand the way these things coo over time and to figure out how to accurately use them as what we call cosmic pornographers. To measure the the age of various star clusters we have to go. Okay. So the white dwarfs are probably this mass distribution at this point. Clusters evolution therefore, when we're looking at this band aright, the the coolest ones here are from and you have to take all of this into account. If you see an isolated white dwarf. You can't get its mass because it's isolated it's not in a binary system, right? And so you can't figure out what it's cooling history would be. All you can do is look at it and say, well, that one's ten thousand degrees right and know that it's old right so you can't say okay I know that because it's ten thousand degrees than I know that it died. Fourteen billion years again whatever the for the universe okay. It it got two billion years there. I don't just looking at the temperature like I. Used to think that right that you. You could measure the temperature white dwarf and that would tell you when it died but I know that like we look in A. Globular Star clusters and we see the The you count the number of white dwarf there to tell them. How old the cluster itself is all and this is where it gets so cool with clusters of stars because in a cluster know those ten solar mass stars had to existed they're the ones that will have evolved first. So they're the ones that have been cooling the longest. So when you have a not isolated because it's an cluster versus being in a binary two different ways to be isolated. If you have a white dwarf in a cluster of stars. You can look at this ripe of all the different temperatures that white dwarfs comment. You know the ones that are still hot. Those are from smaller stars that took longer. To. Write exhale their atmosphere palm you look at the coldest and you go those those are from the most massive stars did it very quickly and so this is a trickster away to go mass. It's just what he see one hanging out itself that you can't do much with right. It's only when you have them in a that you can actually use them as a as a diagnostic tools like this. Yes. So then let's sort of rule, the clock forward I mean, what is the coolest like how cool have white dwarf gotten this far into the universe We're still seeing them in the tens of thousands degrees. For the most part they do occasionally get down to like four, thousand, Kelvin six Kelvin. But for the most part we're looking at objects that are roughly earth sized that are roughly. Point six, two point eight solar masses. And, they're hot. Hanging out in the centers planetary nebulous being a source of light to illuminate this planetary Nebula is that we're looking at. But that's GONNA change over time, and this is where white doors when I discovered really kind of broke the brains of the researchers that we're looking at them and it was pickering at Harvard College Observatory, that's got people to take spectra of these dwarf companions of a myriad of different binary systems and realize that something weird is going on because they saw red red dwarf, Red Dwarf, what is this because it was known that it had to be small? It was Super Faint Small Surface Area But then the color was that of an Ace star something that should be massive right so they realized there had to be something new and these discoveries predated chander sake are figuring out what a white dwarf should be just from doing the maths which he did while sailing from India to graduate. School. So you got the Nobel Prize for that what did you do on your vacation? He got a Nobel Prize. Yeah I. Yeah. I can tell you what I did. I did not get a Nobel prize for other people did but I did not okay all. The just looked it up. The coolest way towards that we know about is about three. Thousand. Kelvin. So. We're finding them down at the thousands. Average one is going to be tens of thousands of degrees, right? Yeah. This one's probably eleven billion years old. Yeah. So it's had a chance to cool. And to astronomers were able to I. Love Idea right that they find something. Super Weird. They find this star that is as bright has the color of a of the hottest most powerful stars out there but clearly is teeny teeny tiny. and. says. Hey. Here's a way a star could form that does that. And one of the things that Chandrasekhar did in beautifully clean math, and if you go through enough used bookstores, you can find a Chandra acres. Penguin House published book. and. What he'd been looking at is the dichotomy between gravitational pressure pushing in and light pressure pushing out and what happens at different phases in in. A star where you don't have enough light pressure pushing out and that's where you start to get at these white dwarfs and the famous Chandrasekhar limit where if you put too much mass on a white dwarf, the electrons go I can't man I. To boom. Yeah, and electrons and protons they're associated with come together. There's tremendous release of energy neutrinos, other stuff and what's left behind is a neutron degenerate gas neutron star. So. So we've got to sort of like two sides to this right from. The beginning the we've got the concept, the theoretical idea of the Black Dwarf. So what what is that? A black door is basically an object that is cold. It is tiny is the black ember of our universe. It is something you might only be able to see in the red initially, but given the fullness of time and luck avoiding black holes. Our universes can be littered with these extraordinarily dense objects that will eventually cool down to the background temperature of our universe. And this also is provided. The protons don't actually decay, which is a concern we have. But given no proton decay given the fullness of time and not getting eaten up by a black hole. Our Universe is going to be littered with. Crystallized, no longer radiating temperature on their own. blobs of helium and carbon, and that's kind of fantastical to imagine something like ninety five percent of stars are thought to eventually evolve into these white towards that can become black dwarfs right and so I'm I'm looking at some numbers here like like trillions of years, Quadrille `lions of years in some people are talking to tend to the power of twenty five. This is where I like to just say in the fullness of time the law escape from other problems. In the far far far future. And so I'm sort of imagined trying to wrap my head around that future you've got. Mo All the stars that have ever lived the didn't explode a SUPERNOVA and didn't gather material cooled. From from Red Dwarfs to stars even flirts than our sun turned into some flavor of a white dwarf and then cooled down to become. The background temperature there giant marbles thereafter state. Yeah. Their crystalline version of whatever. They would become diamonds. Solid block of of of helium. Other. Potentially elements. Some thin atmosphere maybe surrounding them. N N White Dwarfs they because they come in so many different masses they do have weird different behaviors. Some the lowest mouse white dwarfs will as they're working on claps and down under gravity their outer atmospheres like wait I'm still going to try and use more burning here. Wait trying to do fusion. And they also have this neat way of you can see the imprint of things chemically that goes splat on them on their surface later. So there there's been a white dwarf discovered that appears to have consumed a rocky world that lost its atmosphere during the stars red giant face. When you see one of these because it's supposed to be just the pure core of a star, you don't expect any heavy elements. Those would have sunk the very center, and so we're looking at the outer part of that core there should not be stuff in things by which I mean heavy metals on the outside of a core star. And so we can see well that white dwarf eight, it's solar system and that's just kind of cool. Yeah. That's amazing that that could be seen you can. You can see the imprint, the bug, the bug splatter of the planets as they fell one by one onto the surface of the white dwarf, and in fact, we don't have a lot of time but I know that a plan has recently been discovered orbiting white. Yes and this gives us some hope for own solar system. We understand that are particular future involves the sun bloating out eating mercury Venus. Probably matter we think it'll lose enough mass that we're fine apparently filled just posted bet astronomy today that apparently the son will eat the earth. So okay that's the science today as of of September Twenty Fifth Twenty Twenty Assembly th youth but as of yesterday we were still good it. that. It was deck. The other way we don't fully now anyways some number of inner worlds will be eaten. Jupiter. And Saturn should be fine and as the Sun puffs off its outer atmosphere, this is going to create all sorts of weird physics. It's going to potentially create a situation where the outer planets can migrate inwards. It's going to potentially blow off blast off the outer layers of these planets. And we don't fully understand what's going to happen. But what we do know as we've now found one exactly one white dwarf that has a gas giant snuggled up next to it in a thirty something our orbit and what's kind of amazing about this system is it's thought that the star is about four earth diameters and the planet is order of ten earth diameters. Bigger, than star, yeah. It's a cool system and theoretically i. mean you are these things are still putting out heat and it's a very stable. There's no there's no solar flares anymore there's no coronal mass ejections. There's no solar wind. There's just light coming from your star for trillions, Quadrille eons of years as you just snuggle up closer and closer to the star, and so you can imagine some far far future you can imagine. Imagine future where you just you take your planet and you just huddled up beside your white dwarf and you've got a nice dependable source of light and heat. For effectively ever. And without all that testy solar flares and stuff, and this is where I think. We're more likely to find habitable moons in these kinds of situations because. The the gas giant. Potentially have the ability to grab onto things as they flew by. It would potentially have the ability to have already had ganymede like moons that have all the stuff necessary for life. Yes. So many cool possibilities will end nick going to talk about how they explode. Two. Things need to explode. Do you have some names force I do so as always we are. Because of you we do this because we love talking to you finding out more finding out what you're curious about. But at the end of the day Fraser and I are lazy and it takes other humans to maintain our website and edit audio and post our video busy well that too that too. So. Your donations allow us to pay the people behind the scenes that keep us going to pay rich to pay Ali to pay our servers because they like electrons. So I was like this week to thank Paul Jarman just Cunningham Corey Volley Emily Patterson. Adam a niece brown infinitesimal ripple in Space Time Ed Love Science. Gordon Durie Bill Hamilton Sinai Joshua Pearson Frank in Richard Rivera Jack Mudge Alexis Thomas. Up. Sylvan Westby William Andrews Jeff Collins Merrick Varney Band floss Stephen She Water Arctic, Fox wiler, Dave Lackey Matt Rucker Aspirin and Phillip. Walker and I'm sorry I know it's alive I always say it wrong I am starry allied average figure of everybody and we'll see you all next week. Thanks. Bye. ASTRONOMY CAST is a joint product of Universe today and the Planetary Science Institute astronomy cast is released under creative Commons attribution license celebrity shirt and remix it but please credit to our hosts Fraser Cain Dr Pamela Gay. You can get more information on today's show topic on our website astronomy cast dot com. Does episode was brought to you. Thanks to our generous patrons on patriotic. If you want to help keep the show going, please consider joining our community at patriotair dot com slash astronomy cast not only do you help us pay our producers a fair wage you will also get special access to content right in your inbox in the invites online events. We are so grateful to all of you who have joined our Patriot community already. anyways, keep looking up. This is been astronomy cast.
Ep. 583: The 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics
"CAST EPISODE Five Eighty? Three the Twenty Twenty Nobel Prize in physics. Cast her weekly facts based journey through the cosmos where we help you understand not only what we know about how we know what we know I'm Fraser, Cain, publisher of Universe today with me as always Dr Pamela Gay a senior scientist for the Planetary Science Institute and the of cosmic West hip how you doing I'm doing well, how are you doing fraser? I am doing great. This. It's. You know I'm sure all of you were just like absolutely glued to the television just a couple of days ago watching the virus. Excellent. I, know you did livestream of it. Yes absolutely. Amazing to see the the sample collection. I eagerly awaiting the spin maneuver during which leads the spacecraft's moment of inertia. Out How much material they vacuumed up? and. Then we know if they go and try to do this a second time or if they just had on home yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Incredible to for people who you watched it you watch the the the simulation of what it was supposed to look like and then later on, you got this animation of it actually doing the capture and it looked Identical, and then suddenly there's this big cloud of debris as the as the spacecraft is gathering the sample and then and then popping back into into space it was. It was it was absolutely. Amazing to see it. Full circle that we were there to watch the rocket launch, and now we watch the sample gig collected, and hopefully we'll get a chance to watch it, and so they're going to spin up the spacecraft be able to. be, able to detect the. The amount of material that's collected into the space craft, and then from that point on, they'll know whether they have to try again or whether they're good to go and they're going to be able to return home. So it's Yeah it's pretty incredible. What, what is most amazing to me about this just add one more thing on this day of of going sideways. They planned the mission so that when they went down to the surface, they'd be using their laser altimeter figure out where they were relative to the surface. But this surface is such a boulder strewn rocky mass that they instead had to do image matching on the way down. So they completely changed how their navigation works and it's because they were making sure. Okay. Does what we're looking at match what it should look like it looked just like the simulations. Recreated the simulations one image at a time it just shows the level of care they went into to make sure that this went, right yeah absolutely. Stunning. All right. We'll get onto this episode, which is absolutely nothing to do with Cyrus Rex, but maybe we'll be talking about that next week. So, this year's Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to three brilliant researchers who worked out some of the secrets of black holes. Today we're GONNA talk about the chain of discoveries that led to this award. Our. Pamela do you. Where do you WANNA start with this year's Nobel Prize. I. With penrose is probably the best place to start. Okay. So, the the prize was split. In half and then in half again, the first half of it went to Roger Penrose who? I. kind of a door someone who thinks geometrically this is somebody who figured out. How to create what's called the Penrose Triangle, which is a way of drawing A. Asher, ask style triangle that can't physically exist but looks three dimensional when you glance at it quickly and his work was actually inspired by Asher, and then he went on to figure out how to make staircases that are going both up and down simultaneously and shared what he was doing with Asher and then incorporated it into his art and it's this amazing way of thinking multidimensional. That, I think aloud penrose. To look at four dimensional space time in all of its crazy warpage under the influence of relativity and see his way through to being the first person to mathematically. Describe. How black holes can exist Einstein had seen in his math that black holes could be The fallout of what he had created but declared them a physical not something that exist and penrose came along and was like, no, no no. Okay here. Let me change how we. discussed the mathematics of this by using a top policy argument. And his paper that. made it clear. Black Holes can exist. That's an awesome result. But what was much more powerful is he opened up a new way to discuss relativity through typology. I think it's really interesting when we report on various black hole discoveries and we talked about how Einstein was right again as it relates to black holes and with the event Horizon Telescope and things like that. The realities that Einstein didn't put a lot of thought into. The implications of his theories as they related to black holes as you say, he worked out in excruciating detail the way time and space are intertwined acceleration and and how light and time should work near gravitational wells and so on. But to practically think about the implications and come up with this idea of black holes. Researchers after Him who took that work and ran with it. And Penrose is considered to have been the first and most important fall the on worked relativity to of extended in directions that. Essentially opened up a lot of the modern understanding we have of the universe. Now, the problem is that you can mathematically describe a black hole all day long. But until we can detect it. All it is beautiful equations and unlike string theory, this is actually beautiful. and. Penrose along with hawking several others have fallen prey to the. We did some really cool research. But. It hasn't been observed yet and and unfortunately hawking passed away. But Penrose is still out there still working as a faculty member out in Pennsylvania. and. So he was still here to get a prize for work that he did before either of us were born I wonder what if hocking had lived? Would he would he in penrose have shared the Nobel Prize and then it would have been shared with with someone from the experimental team I. Think. So because Hawking's work was on the evaporation lack goals which this doesn't speak to. Hockey was actually I. Worked as a student with penrose at one point. So they were peers and collaborators where was the senior collaborator? So okay. So so penrose I mean one of the names one of the things penrose I think about the penrose process this idea that you could extract energy from a black hole. So I mean he has a lot of interesting ideas. A lot of way out there ideas. Some are some are theoretical. He has a big opinions about the cyclical nature of the universe. Yeah which we'll get him into vociferous arguments with a lot of other cosmologists who deeply miss agreed with those arguments. Will End. This is the thing that. Makes the theorists the Nobel prizes in some ways so much more interesting. You see the same thing with Nobel prize that went to the original observation of the cause of microwave background. The theorist Kinda got left out to the side but had done so much more interesting stuff and is the observers that got the prize for noticing this theory was right. With Penrose. I'm so grateful that they included him in this. And and with what? He did. He Changed Fundamentally fundamentally how we look at black holes initially, and then he took his topography modeling. He took kids what matters is the flow of space and time more than the details of. All the connections through Through that topography and by changing how we look at things just like. Einstein Changer understanding of space time by curving space. Penrose changed our ability to articulate that by saying, let's look at the surface of that space time and trace out the geodesic. So it was a revolution in thinking, and from that, we just kept seeing new and interesting things fall out. and. I love that. What we're seeing with both of these men Einstein and penrose is that by looking at the universe geometrically, it radically changes our understanding from simply working equations, which is what we teach kids to do in school. Imagine how much. Easier. It would be to understand our universe if we instead looked. At the flows of information instead of the equations of the information. Yeah. Yeah. Geometry is one of those mathematics that I. Have, a fondness four, I mean when we learn geometry even in like. Grade Eight and we started to see how how you can make these calculations and the whole thing as long as one part works than you can work out like a sue puzzle the rest of the angles and the. In your series of triangles and shapes and all that kind of stuff and all of these ideas and the extend into other dimensions and other other kinds of shapes and and and yet at the end of the day you're working with shapes and typography, and it's fascinating to think that. That even some of the most complicated objects in the universe, these black holes which are which are spinning and twisting up space time around them still allow the tools. Exploration with the tools geometry to figure out how they behave. And with the Paris. Process penders energy. What what's amazing is how this is fundamentally still getting used every day this very week we had a new article come out talking about how it's been determined that. Our Galaxy supermassive black hole can't be rotating that quickly because it isn't injecting energy into the orbiting stars around it. Yeah. Our ability to figure out, we have a slow rotating black hole. Through. Decades of literature derives from this whole penrose. Process. And and so this is physics is now so fundamental to everything we do that. The release we looked at didn't even related back to this it related just to relativity it's just part. Fortunately Einstein's the only one. You really gets credit for relativity. So let's talk about an idea of the penrose processes briefly before we move onto the other parts of the Nobel Prize So. The basic idea is that when you have a rotating black hole, it's able to spin the space time around it. And as that works, the spinning can get carried out outside of the event horizon of the the black hole, and because this dragging of space time extends beyond the event horizon it essentially can insert energy into the universe around it. Now, I have to admit the way my brain conceives of it. Is that you simply have a continuum of a rotating black hole in the center everything around it is twisting with space time and somewhere within this continuum of space that's twisting is where the event, horizon? Lands. Right. And It's that twisting, of space, time that. Make such a mess of things but also allows us when we're looking at accretion disks in other galaxies when we're looking at the orbits of Stars in our own galaxy to get at that rotation rate of the black hole that we otherwise could never get to. Yeah. It also makes the math a whole lot uglier. Even in graduate school. Most of the time when you're doing the maths, they tell you to assume a non rotating black hole because they show a small modicum of kindness right? Right. All right. Well, let's move on to the from from Penn roses work on the fear radical implications of black holes to the experimental and observers that actually found them. and. This is one of those things where I have to start by saying. I I spoke quite highly of Reinhard Denzil is be a nice human and most of the time he is, but right after I said that in our last podcast, he said something I just WanNa to call out as dude, not cool. surrendered Denzil. Along with Eckhart whose first author on the paper back in Nineteen ninety-six where the first to use special Tom Etry. This is where you do extremely high speed imaging and then you shift your images around on the bright spots in the image to line those up so that you take out the effects of the atmosphere he was the first person you speckled imaging to look at the center of our galaxy and identify the motions of the stars closest to the black hole. This paper came out in one thousand, nine, hundred, ninety, six, Andrew gets followed up as first author on the paper she put out in one, thousand, nine, hundred, Ninety, eight. Against team was using the new technology telescope from the European southern. Observatory gets was using the Keck telescope in Hawaii. Same Kinds of measurements from both teams, and since ninety six, ninety eight, they've been both working in competing teams with Gasol taking leadership of his team going back and forth increasing our understanding of the supermassive black hole in the center of our galaxy. So Ganz's paper was first he was not first author on it. Right. Okay. So was. So let's talk just briefly here of a wide these observations were so difficult and you talk about this idea of speckling but but I mean the place they were looking is a place that one is not. Has had not been able to look and that's the key. So they were dealing with two major difficulties. The first is between honest and Saturday. Star that. Source of Weird Energy in the center of our Galaxy in the Constellation Sagittarius. Between us and there is a whole lot of dust hole lot gas which makes it impossible to see all the way to the distance of the center of our galaxy using an optical telescope. It is the zone of avoidance. Yeah, and something that is completely opaque. An optical wavelengths can still be transparent in other wavelengths. In this case, they're using two point, two micron infrared radiation to do their measurements and by shifting to the infrared, they were able to use longer wavelengths that are able to go all the way through the gas and dust. So problem one was what color of light t need us to see into the center of the Galaxy. Now, problem too. Is Our atmosphere? Is a noisy moving thing? And light coming through our atmosphere. Is passing through pockets of variable temperature and other effects that. Caused that light to get refracted in variable ways as it travels that distance. To compensate for that, what we often do is we use adoptive optics which works to tilt tip different systems flex different systems within the telescope to compensate. For the motions of the atmosphere. That's fairly new technology. It's complicated technology and it's not always good enough technology. The other way that we deal with us and this is something even amateur astronomers do is we take high speed images where each image is capturing the light as it passes through the atmosphere for one way, the atmosphere is the next one, the atmosphere slightly different. So these two images we'll have moved relative to each other. But if you look at the brightest parts in both images, you can then line them up. So. In this case, you find one of the brighter stars multiple of the brighter objects within the image, and he used that to line up all of these high speed images and then you can stack them and you can see things you can't see in any one image, but the are able to be in the cumulative. Stockton Image I'll give us a quick analogy. When when you look on the Internet, you see these beautiful pictures of Mars and Jupiter and Saturn of taken by amateurs and way they do that is they point video camera at a very bright object. This is the key it has to bright. Yeah, and then they run the camera for an hour and then the feed every single video frame into a piece of software that then combines all the images together and Goes. Well, there's a little part over here. That looks good and a little part over there that looks good and it just stacks and stacks and stacks, and as long as it maintains the integrity of the data, you get an entire view of the planet as if there's almost. So atmosphere obscuring from our point of view because you've got a lot of data, you can just keep matching and the object was very bright. What makes this discovery? So incredible is that Viewing the stars at the center of the Milky Way in infrared you do not have a bright object that you can look at. You have bright enough objects to line things up. Right that's as good as it gets. Yeah. And they have literally spent decades now watching the motions of the stars tracing them out trying to get all the three dimensional motions fully understood combining spectra where possible. And? They've built up a clear cut case for the motions of these stars only being explainable with a black hole in the center of these stars motions. and. It's always awesome to see two competing teams replicating each other's work using different telescopes and getting the same answers, and then each focusing in on different nuances and that is nature that is nature's telling you. It's secrets that two people different. Similar technique different telescope. Different. Hemispheres, seeing the same thing arriving at the same conclusion, beautiful textbook to what you want. Nobel prizes for everyone. Exactly. Exactly. Now now, where this became a bit odd last week is is hard. Denzil made a comment along the lines of he thinks that one of the reasons that they got the Nobel Prize this year was because the committee wanted to make sure there is more diversity in the award ease and because Andrea gets had been working on this work to they both got the prize and he pointed out some times when he was the one who got a prize and she was not and that's just not cool dude you just got a Nobel prize. Just be gracious. Yes. So I think he just had a poor moment don't do that dude But These are people that in general. Are. Very nice kind gracious people and it's excellent to see them. Awarded for their excellent work. This is not the first award. Either of them have gotten they've kind of been working through getting all the prizes forever. Andrew gets actually she was one of the people who got early career awards back in the ninety s when she was just starting her career. They did excellent work. So you a bit about this idea that that they use this technique to peer through the gas dust of the Milky Way to observe the stars moving and and and what were they looking for? So They were essentially looking to see. Can. We say the only object that can physically fit within the size of the orbits of these stars is a singular black hole. While it had been. Hinted at. Thought hoped drawn on overheads that there was a monster called a black hole lurking in the centers of quasars and other active galaxies. We didn't have evidence of it through the ninety S. and. There were other arguments where people would say, well, maybe it's a swarm of stellar mass black holes maybe swarmed of white dwarfs maybe it's something else that we don't even know, and this is why people drew monsters in the center of black holes. Everyone had their own favourite monster to draw overhead sheets. With the work that GINS UIL and gets dead. They were able to identify motions of stars that we're getting Pluto sized orbits around that supermassive black. Hole. And at that extremely small distance from the massive act, it became possible to say we can't. Win this as anything other than this amount of mass with this size radius, which seems to be consistent with except for massive black hole even though we can't see within the event. Horizon Right. So. Just that and I mean, it's hard to sort of do this as an audio podcast home sort of stumbling because the wing you see the animations, the sixteen years of careful observations that they made. You see these stars buzzing around this this missing spot in space we've talked about this before, but it is. If, you had to watch like like one of the most stunning pieces of observational work. This is one of them that you can see these stars moving comments around nothing. And it can't be nothing has to be gravity. And one of the things that really helped them early on. Is. There's enough stars down near the center that they were able to catch one near its fastest point early on in this now couple decades long research program. And by catching stars at their closest point, the supermassive black hole, they're able to get limits on both. How big thing possible fit in there because clearly, the stars Zipping by not inside of it. and. Just how massive does it has to be and? This. Is just good. Old Standard. Kepler's motion with. This tick corrections of something goes fastest when it's closest to the masses orbiting, and so they caught that they caught that shoe pro fast zip on by before going out to linger at greater distances, and now they've done it multiple times and it's just cool. Yeah and I think to finally you know we're still waiting for the photographs taken by the event Horizon Telescope to bring the whole journey to to home right that we will actually end see. These interactions between the black hole event horizon and the surrounding space which were which has been predicted by Penrose, and and that will complete that phase of the journey to go from from Einstein's idea to penrose detailed predictions of what should be seen to actual observations to powerful telescopes being able to actually reveal this this region it's a it's it's just textbook eight really is like this is Nobel prizes I I'm so glad this was the Nobel. Prizes here. And black holes have a history of saying okay Nobel Prize for each stage of the work we had Taylor who in the past got. A Nobel prize for his discovery of Binary Systems that were radiating gravitational energy, which was assumed to be via gravitational waves. This is just black holes sometimes, just keep revolutionizing how we see things and offering up more and more noble prices up. Incredible. Aric Pamela, do you have some names this week? I do and as always we are here thanks to the generous contributions of people like you I. We have a bunch of really awesome humans that work with us and we'd like to provide them medical benefits if they need it and pay them a good wage for the work they do and you make that possible you're making the world better people you're making the world better. Thank you so. This week I have a large list because we're getting to the end of the month fast. I will I will so we have I went too fast. We have Venkatesh Shari Thomas Joe. Holstein. Sinatra's Sylvan Vaz Be William Andrews Collins Herald Bragging Haagen Ben Floss Stephen she water maric. Vidar Ni Arctic Fox. Nate detweiler Brian Gregory Rucker Phillip Walker Ron Thorson Kevin Meka. Tape Lackey Carthage Venta trauman Cooper Jr Force One eighty four and a sore. Kick ASSARAF. Daniel Paul de Disney Roland Vampire Hi. Chris Harford Jason Graham Father Praxair turnball Donald e Mondays. and. We're GONNA stop there. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. ASTRONOMY CAST is joint product of the Universe today the Planetary Science Institute astronomy cast is released under a creative Commons attribution license. So love shirt and remix it but please credit to our hosts. Fraser Cain Dr Pamela Gay. You can get more information on today's show topic on our website astronomy cast dot com. This episode was brought to you. Thanks to our generous patrons on Patriot. If you want to help keep the show going, please consider joining our community at patriotic dot com slash astronomy cast not only do you help us pay our producers a fair wage you will also get special access to content right in your inbox and invites to online events. We're so grateful to all of you who have joined our patron on community already. anyways, keep looking up. This has been a strong me cast.
Ep. 574: Trojan Asteroids
"CAST episode, five seventy four Trojan asteroids walk trying to be cast her weekly facts based journey through the cosmos where we help you understand not only what we know, but how we know what we know, I've risen cain publisher of university with me as always Dr. Pamela gay a senior scientist for the Planetary Science Institute and the Director of cosmic. How're you doing I'm doing well? It's it's. Summer is almost summer hiatus, but we've got nowhere episodes like three more episodes including this. Thanks so yeah, until for people who who aren't familiar of course across all of the cosmic quest empire. We take a much needed vacation over July and August to replenish our energy and mostly just to spend. A couple of months, not having to find our way too high speed Internet and all the. And I find it really. recuperative and so. Now I'm not sure exactly what's going to happen with the world, but but astronomy cast weekly speeds. Hang out virtual star parties and the open space. Do they're all gonna go on hiatus for the next two months? Some of the other stuff that I still do the the the non live stuff. Qa's guide to space videos all work universe today the newsletters. All that is still going to happen, but I just will be able to do that from from the. Having to live high speed Internet so we're. Days just a couple of episodes away from everything going on hiatus, and we're going to be taking weeks throughout the summer to do daily space, but one of the big things that we have planned is normally in the summer. You and I would be going to various events traveling all over the place. And and like a couple of weeks ago, I was sitting at my computer and I'm thinking I'm supposed to be Budapest I. clearly was not in Budapest I was in my pajamas, sitting next to my radiator, hoping to corona viruses and find you exactly exactly and. With this lack of all the things they give me the opportunity to see so many people that are amazing talents that we're lucky enough to call friends that all of these events is like we just do this on the Internet, we have ways, so we're looking at in July hosting a cosmo quest AAC, on good, and we're going to do it on discord and twitch. We are going to charge a ticket feed because. We, also kind of like want dental benefits and vision benefits, and my part-time staff doesn't currently have any health benefits with their job. If we can bring in a reasonable amount of money doing this, I can start offering people healthcare because well. We're in America. which isn't as good as Canada where you are. So. We're calling me event space for benefits or space with benefits I think giving space with benefits. Tickets are going on sale next week. You can find links to all of this next week. When this episode is live is a podcast. Over on cosmic. Rg, even do a masquerade, but spelled with a K., because it's going to be masks like coronavirus masks. Cost play and it's going to be fun. Come join us. Please please all right sounds good. We'll We'll have more details. On all the various places shortly. Okay, so we imagine the asteroid belt is a place where all the rocks hang out in this system, but there are two huge bands of asteroids orbit. The Sun with Jupiter called the Trojans, and soon we met actually get a chance to see them up close. All right now the Trojans are actually I mentioned Jupiter, but there are trojans around other other planets as well so before I get the angry emails I know that we'll get into that in a second. But, the trojans around Jupiter the are the are the the biggest. The ones who are most aware of what are the trojans. So Trojan Asteroids, which ever world they may be with. Our objects that orbit sixty degrees ahead, and behind the primary thing they share an orbit wet so that whole ICU definition of a planet is something that has cleared its orbit is lies I. Tell You it's lies. Even Earth has a little Trojan rock trailing behind us in orbit now these places sixty degrees ahead and sixty degrees behind in orbit, our special gravitationally balanced places called lagrange points right. This was going to sort of lead into my next question is why are the Trojans? So in these special gravitational balancing points you. You Have A. Nice hole in the gravitational field that objects can fall into an orbit around inside so when you're looking at a Trojan asteroid, it isn't actually so much orbiting the sun as it's going around this mathematical point in the gravitational field balanced with Jupiter and the sun, and as it's going around in this point, it's part of this giant well. Warm right we. We've done a whole episode on the grunge points, and just this idea that there are the three unstable. The garage points the ones that lineup between say say the Sun and Jupiter there's three that lineup between them one on the other side of the sun, wanting between Jupiter and the sun and one on the Jupiter they are unstable. You put a rock on one of. Of, these and they are going to fall down. They're going to roll down the Gravity Hill and move away from that location, but these other two lagrange points the Alpha male five proceed and go behind planet in its orbit they are, they are like the bottom of a gravity. Well that you can roll of something is only if something is in there. It's going to stay in there. So, so so, how did they get in there? Because I mean I'm imagining you have an you have an asteroid that's going to fault towards one of these grunge points, and it's still going to fall role in and out of this gravity well, so what gets them to stick around inside the gravity well? Well once they're. They're stable. How you get there I mean we don't entirely know. This is one of the frustrating parts there's there's a bunch of leading theories and it's always frustrating. When you're leading theory, there's more than one of them, so so theory one we'll start with is is based on the the niece model of evolution of our solar system, and it looks at a point in the past when we had Jupiter and Saturn flinging rocks in all directions, and during this chaotic period, it just worked out the through Interactions Jupiter was able to fill its Trojan asteroid points with asteroids. Another part of this a reverse niece model is how they put. It is a at some point either Jupiter or urine us or an additional icy world that we no longer have and just got rid of. Came careening through that area and set Jupiter and Saturn out of their resonance in the process, flinging rocks in all directions filling up a bunch in the asteroid belt. and. Then there's just ideas that there are things that have over time built up through general interactions, if things passing through our solar system, and they just had the right energy to get stuck there over time. Right, and I can imagine like like I said if you just have a single astro. That's GONNA. Pass through this point. It's going to go in. It's going to. It's going to speed up as it falls down the gravity well, it's going to reach the bottom of the gravity well, and then it's GonNa. It's GonNa roll back up and exit the Lebron point with roughly the same velocity that had before, although it might be slightly changed in its in its direction. But if you have some kind of three body interaction, where yeah to asteroids smashed into each other in in this area, or if two asteroids orbit around each other things can get trapped in overtime. A lot has gotten trapped. How how much stuff is in Jupiter's Legrand points? This is the thing that I have to say remains most shocking to me. There is about the same number of objects, one kilometer and larger in the two Trojan points for Jupiter as there are in the entire main street belt, so you take the whole man asteroid belt dumped into two different groups stick one sixty degrees ahead one sixty degrees behind. And that's the Trojan asteroids population surprise. The Solar System has a second asteroid belt. Has To asteroid clouds, I'd go with. It's not so much a belt as to asteroid clouds. But, but if you're imagining the asteroid belt in your mind in the total number of asteroids that are floating around surprise, there's another one of those total amounts of asteroids. If you add up the to clouds going around Jupiter in fact, they're probably more densely packed together because they're in these clouds. which is I, I learned the same piece of information about a year ago I, just kept going like wait. What no really Kennedy teaches this. I kept digging around to find more information because I could not believe. So I'm really glad that you knew this information because he didn't just going to rant about it, but. We know that there are these that there is this Trojan in around Jupiter. Else do these Trojan Asteroids Probably Exist? So we know that there's smaller clouds of them associated with Saturn. We have one probably not there for long, but always getting renewed with the new object associated with our Earth Neptune in urine should have them as well. Any object really can have them. It's going to be less likely to find them when the object you're looking at is mercury because getting all the velocities matched as much harder? But this is just. A natural thing that asteroids can end up with over interactions with time until the size of these trojans is just gonNA depend on the mass of the planet. Jupiter is GONNA have bigger ones. Earth will have little ones well. And and also, what's the total mass, so it's kind of unfair to say. Jupiter's going to have larger asteroids. Short it. Does, it turns out, but the total mass is able to grab hold of. That's what's going to be bigger and just like with the main belt. Asteroids of the asteroids in these Trojan clouds do knock each other around and make each other smaller over time we do see these compositional families of Trojan Asteroids. So that was the next question is what I mean. How does the composition? What did these things look like? They're made out of? Because maybe that can tell us a bit more about their about their source. Well so far they seem to be made of the same kinds of stuff as main belt asteroids at the beginning of the day everything formed, and then it got shuffled, and so the same kinds of objects. Objects that got shuffled into the asteroid belt got shuffled in to the Jupiter Trojan clouds now the composition distributions are going to be different. One of the things that's kind of cool is because it's so much colder were the Jupiter trojans are we occasionally will spot activity with these these asteroids, and recently there was one that actually stayed active for an entire year. So. What do you mean when you say active? What does that mean? A Little Trojan asteroid decided it wanted to dress up as a comment and grow a tail. That's amazing, so it was like it was throwing a tale out while it was sitting in the Trojan in the Trojan orbit. With Jupiter and yet it was throwing a little tail. That's incredible. What would cause that? Objects have ICES and in general. It's thought that this one probably had those ices coded. The, ruddy color that is associated with Trojan. Asteroids makes us think that they're coded in what are called Tho- leans which are complex organic molecules. and. This coating may have otherwise protected the Isis beneath but either an impact or a landslide or something. Caused an area on the surface to get. opened up and those volatile materials were able to. Well grow a tail for at least a year so far, and that's typically the distance from the sun that we will see a comet start to form that tails out around the orbit of Jupiter. That's when the the likes. The light pressure of the son gets strong enough that it's able to start knocking material off the surface, and so I guess you can imagine that all of the other objects have already had their surfaces blasted away. It's just that as you said. One had a little landslide or something, and that was enough to reveal some of its surface to form a tale. Now, this is all great in theory and thanks to the Hubble, space. Telescope and ground based telescopes. They've taken some really great images, but really want to see them up close, so let's talk about a mission. That's going to go up close Lucy. Lucy in the sky with asteroids, every headline is going to somehow integrate a Beatles song in the next few years I figure. But the spacecraft's named after the the ancestor to humanity, which was named after the Beatles saw exactly so it is Beatles all the way down in this particular case. So, so Lucie is a mission that. Just keep keeps adding new targets. It's led by the Southwest Research Institute. These are the same folks that brought us the new horizons mission. And they are planning ahead out to one of the Trojan swarms and just go from. To object to object getting a good old close look as they go and. In in the lead up to this mission, they've been using the Hubble space telescope to refine their targets of May even discovered that one of these Rosen has its own little moon and they're gonNA. Go get better images with Lucy right so they they thought they were going to be taking any image of of just one asteroid and it turns out. It's going to be, too. and. We. We can't do the coronavirus any longer. Say with certainty when anything is going to happen. This mission is currently scheduled for next year. And it's GonNa take as it so often does to get the middle parts of the solar system. It's it's going to take it a number of years to get out there since we don't. Know a specificity if things are going to launch on time. Changing of launch windows changes the orbits that are necessary to get to different places in the solar system, so I'm not gonNA. Make up a timeline for you. But this is one of these cool next great. Explorations that we can look forward to and I really like the trajectory that the spacecraft is going to take because it's totally different from anything that we've ever seen before. It's going to fly out from the Earth launching as you say in in late twenty twenty one. It's GonNa. Fly Out towards Jupiter's Trojan belt. One of its belts pass through the asteroid belt. Get a shot. Shot of a of an asteroid as it goes out, and then fly up into the bell into the Trojan belt sort of curved back around like imagine that we threw a ball from Earth and out, to Jupiter and then, and then at the very height of its orbit of the height of its of its trajectory it will then fall back down to the earth. DO A. slingshot around the earth, and then back out and this time out to the other. Trojan Belt and it can take twelve years, so it's going to be sick tears, getting out to and back to Earth, and then another six years out to and back to Earth and then hopefully it'd be able to keep doing it. And and this is just one of those things where it's just like. How do you pull that off with orbits? I space program. Yeah, yeah it's. It's a really remarkable orbit figured out by remarkable team. and. The Trojan Asteroids because they're. They're due to numerous interactions. There both. Always getting refilled and also always throw in new stuff analysts. And, this is one of the cool things is. We know that Trojan asteroids can be rich and water and calling them. Asteroids can actually be lies. There is as we've talked about another episodes this continuum between rocky dry object and mostly ices very little rock object. And we're used to thinking of comets as predominantly water, ice, dry ice, other ICES, a little bit of granular material, a little bit of organic material, basically gravel and corn. Syrup is is the way I think of it. and. Then we think of Asteroids Rock, but the reality is most asteroids have ICES, and most isis have rocks and their stuff. That's fifty fifty in the medal. and. Trojan Asteroids Win Flung into the Inner Solar System Become Jupiter family comets. So! As they that trick of one of them, forming a little tail, if they. Made the journey into the inner solar system they would. Almost always form that tail. and. This is because beneath thatt's thohlane crust. We suspect that many of them are rich in Isis, just waiting to become comments and they're just inactive most of the time because of that. Organic coating row we do see compositional differences. We do see these families of objects like we see with the asteroid belt. Things do vary, but how they vary. This is why we need Lucy and I mean is I, mean that. Dark coating of material that's actually kind of similar to the structure of some of the objects from the Cape right like. It's surprisingly similar to some of them are very much like name built Ashford, like you said, and then others are very similar to the Kuyper belt, so it feels like you've got to sources of objects that are flowing into the Trojan asteroid field exactly, and there's even some papers that predict that along with capturing Kuyper belt objects. Capturing. Main Belt Asteroids. There may be at any given moment, also a couple of extra. Objects that are back with us. So so these are essentially the storage rooms of the solar system were random. Debris gets kept until we're ready for it or not ready for it. This is why we have so many telescopes, keeping an eye out for engraving objects and I mean. It would be. There's an interesting mission that I that I've seen an interesting idea that is that if you want to study a lot of different kinds of asteroids, you can send a spacecraft into say the Earth's lagrange point the Earth's l four l five into the Trojan region. Now it's not quite a rich target rich environment, because I think we kind of imagine the Trojans is like this like a like a a globular cluster of. It's all just buzzing around like a bunch of BS Yeah, but but they're not. It's this huge enormous wide range of area, but you can imagine you send a space Catholic wouldn't it be cool if you could spend the Senate spacecraft out to say Jupiter's grunge point? But have it go into orbit into the lagrange point, and then just constantly making relatively close fly bys of object after object. It's just be like a really rich hunting ground for science. It's a huge hunting, ground, science and knots. That's the trick is. The main belt asteroids. They don't have as large. Arabia's as Jupiter's or bet, and when you scale things up, you're looking at volumes of space for the asteroid belt, and for the to swarms of Trojans that aren't all that different. Yeah, it's interesting to think when they as a calculated that orbit of Lucy like. Of course they have tried to have add a Kevin Fly by as many asteroids as they could, but they were only able to get I think. Four Vote a bunch of them. Have Moons Right? Five on the on that second part of the fly by and I'm sure they just like examined. Every possible orbit just looked at the interactions of everything. The best we can do is. Four. Five, that's it and that and you gotta decide how close you want to get. You want to get super close. Are you willing to be? Fifty thousand kilometers away. Do you need to be a hundred kilometers away? What's how? How good and you can imagine how difficult it must have been to do the orbital fitting of that. It's essentially the same thing. We went through with the new horizons mission. Just a little bit closer and a little less Sagittarius involved to to bother everyone for those who don't know while they were trying to find the Kuyper belt object the new horizons mission would visit. They were trying to find things that were on the sky lined up with the Constellation Sagittarius which is towards the center of our galaxy right so there is a lot of stars in the way. It's a mess, yeah! So. What would it? What would it take then I mean. To find stuff in the Earth's Trojan asteroid belt. I watching. A little bit harder to do from where we are because we are looking off. Toward Sunrise and sunset. It's well after twilight that that we're looking, but still looking off into the morning and evening sky. And then. Trying to see the motions is just a little bit trickier. Because of of the orbital mechanics, spotting things that are either passing inside of our orbit we're we're getting the maximum velocity relative to the stars or outside of her orbit again maximum velocity relative to the stars. Way Easier so the geometry works against us to try and find them in our own, but we can do it, but our own gravity. We're not going to be holding onto these Columbus, sized objects with the same readiness that Jupiter is a even. Google are. Smaller than a kilometer across right, so we're looking at objects which are in the tens of meters category. Be Interesting scientifically, but they're going to be. Ten objects were tens of meters across, and they are separated by in some cases. Tens of millions of kilometers away from each other, but they're all located in a part of the sky, super difficult for us to see because it's always like in sunrise or sunset. It's it's a tricky thing. Because often a lot of these things that makes the most sense just view them from Earth, because you can have the Hubble Space Telescope. It's better. Have the Hubble Space Telescope madder than to put a tiny telescope out? At Neptune. True Yeah sure. Yeah Well, I cannot wait for the Lucy mission and I think it's going to be a sleeper hit. I. Agree with you. Yeah, yeah, I think. People are gonNA. Most people don't even know this mission exists, but when it actually does launch an in the news to really ramp up on it. I think people are going to be pretty excited about what it's going to turn up. And, as always was space, it's a waiting game. There's going to be those years viewers. Yeah, yeah, ears yours sir. I know. I was just feel so on the one hand I always feel so sad about all the cool stuff. That's going to be coming down the pike. That probably won't even live to see. No. We're going to hit that point. You have to do. Is it worth beef and trying to figure out this mission? And then and then on the other hand. If I just look at what's happening, does this year next year year after that they're coming fast and furious so I'll be constantly entertained all the time until I die so. Pamela get some names for us this week. I do as always this show is made possible. Thanks to the generous contributions of people like you out there in our audience, and there's lots of ways you can support us in addition to giving money. Just go right a review somewhere and help share us out to others, but those of you who give through Patriots. Patriots dot com slash astronomy cast. You allow us to pay the folks that keep everything going behind the scenes. We have Richard Drum. Who Does our Engineering Alley Pelfrey? WHO's handling Oliver? Video Beth Johnson, who's handling all of our web content you let us pay them. Thank you for that and I specifically want to thank Nile Bruce car thick VENTA trauman. Stephen Cau- free allowed Avron Thomas panicker Brent Kerr Nop. Iran Segev Rachel Fried Justin Proctor Paul Hayden Claudia Mastroianni Thomas Tubman David Gates Frederick Jorg Eric Far injured dwayne Isaac Friday ten Abou- Gabriel Galvan Shannon, Humber Benjamin Davies Kristen, Brooks Ryan James. Glenn mcdavid Brian. Nelson Dean Kenneth. Ryan Russell Peto Smash Ski Matthias Hayden Martin Dawson Bart Pfleger de Jason Graham William Jones Dana. Anti Sore Dean mcdaniel Andrew Stevenson and E mandis. Thank you all thanks, everyone and thanks, Pamela and we'll see next week soundscape letter. ASTRONOMY CAST is a joint product of Universe today and the Planetary Science Institute astronomy cast is released under a creative Commons attribution, license, Saliva, Charlotte and Remix it, but please credit it to our hosts Fraser Canaan Dr Pamela Gay. You can get more information on today's show topic on our website. ASTRONOMY CAST DOT com. This episode was brought to you. Thanks to our generous patrons on patriotic. If you want to help, keep the show going. Please consider joining our community at patriotair dot com slash astronomy cast, not only. Do you help us pay our producers a fair wage? You will also get special access to content right in your inbox and invites online events. 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Ep. 582: Building Bigger Black Holes
"CAST episode five eighty two building bigger black holes what Jews Johnny Castro weekly facts based journey through the cosmos real help you understand not only what we know how we know what we know. I'm bridge McCain publisher of Universes with me as always Dr Pamela Gay a senior scientists for the Planetary Sciences and the Director of science at caused request. I'm just the director of cosmic quest the whole director. Way. Too much budgeting simplified the name to director of Science. You wish you got to do more science blessed ministration. Yeah I, know the feeling. Yeah. Of Budgeting for cosmic quest, redoing our hangout a thon next weekend. So October Twenty, fourth twenty, fifth this weekend for those of you listening on the podcast, we're going to do thirty six straight hours of fundraising in the name of keeping the science going fiscal year twenty one. Normally I would say, that's madness. What kinda maniac will attempt thirty six hours impossible and yet you've done this many years. So this just. Same time to do this again. Just like going to work for you. Well, we're adding something entirely new this year. We are going to do a scale model of the full solar system where including the thirty four largest objects in the solar system. There's an asteroid because it turns out asteroids tiny spent Kuyper belt. It's all the planets fun and and we're doing this and collaboration with the bit community here on twitch. And? This was the idea of paranoia of our dear colleagues who passed away a couple of weeks ago, and we're we're doing this in honor of him and we're hoping that any of you out there who love to minecraft love science will please be part of this and donate in the process. Well, we're doing it. Might drop in and minecraft if you guys are a little back. Right on. I'll get my kids to chop to. All right. So did you hear the news Nobel Prizes for black holes now we know there are stellar mass black holes and supermassive black holes. How do you get from one to the other how to black holes get more massive and before you send us the email, the title is building bigger black holes just for the alliteration. It's really about building more massive black holes more massive. Actually that's not bad to. Anyway Pamela. How big is a black hole? Well it depends on how big they feel like being. I sa-. Theoretically, a black hole can range from something that is microscopic and created through a natural version of the large Hadron collider and then rains all the way up to billions of solar masses. Now, reality is the only ones we've detected are from a few stellar masses to that billions of solar masses, and we're still struggling to find things in between those two. But. The situation getting better than it was a few months ago. And I think it's I think definitely as I mentioned at the beginning there, you know it's not entirely accurate to say how big a black hole is. Because we don't actually know how big a black hole is all you can measure about a black hole is it's mass it's been an it's charge well, and this is where. Big and small. Get to be confusing adjectives because. You can say that room has a low temperature. You can say it has a small heat energy. and. Those are the same thing. So. So, when we big, we just mean massive, right? Yeah we do and here it ties to the size of the event horizon but I think we're starting to get ahead of ourselves. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yeah. Okay Great. So I think we'll talk about the the idea of microscopic black holes sort of near the end of the show. Let's talk about traditional kinds of black holes that we that we know about right now. Well in general, you start out with a star that is initially more than ten solar masses anything below ten solar masses we think over the course of its lifetime is going to lose so much material to its environment through solar winds, mass loss events that it's GonNa Creep itself down to be small enough that it will die as a neutron star a white. Dwarf. But if you're buff that ten solar mass limit. When you die if you're star. You will experience a supernova where some of that material gets blasted off. But what's left in the core as it collapses down, it starts to say, Hey, can I be supported by electron degeneracy pressure and the electrons are like, no I do not have the ability to support this claps his down neutron degeneracy pressure tries to kick in. Icus no neutrons also cannot support this, and then we don't really know what happens. It just keeps collapsing such that the mass is confined within a volume smaller than what light can escape from. So so here on Earth, we've used this description many times we're on people black hole I jump is hard as I want and I'm not leaving this planet. Love, that description. Yeah no person no matter how strong they are can escape the Earth by. But light can go fast enough rockets can go fast enough. So. There's a way to get information off of our world. Now. As things get bigger. They stopped being escape by rockets. They stop being escape -able in fact by everything except for light. And at the point that even light isn't going fast enough. They become a black hole. So the definition of a black hole is something that as you approach the surface, you hit a point where the velocity you have to go to get away exceeds the velocity of light. And that always leads to people asking. Oh Great. So if you just go faster than the speed of light, could you escape a black hole and unfortunately the answer? That's also no but mostly because a black hole, it's completely tangled up space time in a way that all roads lead back to the singularity. So even if you then go faster than the speed of light, it's kind of cruel. It's kind of mean that you know even if you. Launch Your work drive. You're still any up in the middle of the black hole. Yeah So. So black hole is just an exceedingly dense object even the earth if you crammed Oliver Matter into a small enough volume would become a black hole. It's just that how fast you need to go to get off the surface issue. Now, the surface of a black hole in this context is that. Place where the escape velocity becomes the speed of light we don't know anything about what goes on beneath that surface right? Right. So we're just going to ignore it here. A black hole and? We've talked about this in the past as well. This idea that once the event horizon is just that is that speed limit. If you're just outside the event horizon, then like can escape. If you're just inside the event, light can't escape and that's that's what defines it, and that's what makes it look like a black hole is that that's the point where the light gives up. Very moment. And and what I love is you can actually get photons of light in orbit around black holes and there's also evidence of light that has its path bent so that it goes around a black hole and then hits the accretion disk and reflects off. So you can get all sorts of weird things with light going on, and this is why when we look at images like the event Horizon Telescope. Not Looking at. A structure the way we think of them what we're looking at is held the light is bent around a place in space right? And so. And we're going to talk about this more next week one of the incredible discoveries or I guess the evidence was starting to build that there were we knew about these these. Less massive black holes, stellar mass black holes the ones that had come from stars with ten times the mass of the Sun. Through. A few of them had been found in the in the Milky Way, but there was this growing discovery that there was actually another version of these black holes at the hearts of galaxies. Yes. And this goes back to the discovery of quasars. There are. In the cores of many galaxies, a concentration of light such that that concentration of the light in the center is significantly brighter than the entire rest of the galaxy. So when you're looking at a quasar that's at a great distance that disk surrounding the. Quasi stellar object in the center. Visible. All you see is the starlight thing but when astronomers I looked at the atomic line spectra. They didn't see anything that made sense until someone realised shoot all the lines are so red shifted that this isn't a star. This is a galaxy significantly far away. That has all of its light shifted, right? So in trying to understand. What's going on in the centers of these galaxies for decades, people were drawing overhead sheets with a monster in the center and saying there's a monster in the center of Galaxies and people would talk about maybe as a massive black hole or something but it wasn't until the late nineties that we started to have the technological ability to say the amount of mass confined within this small of a volume says there must be a massive black hole here. And and we now know that the mass is not just a massive black hole. It's a supermassive black hole. It's not just several times. The mass of black are normal stellar mass black hole ma thousands. It is millions of Thomas to billions possibly even up to hundreds of billions even trillions at this point. Millions and billions is what we've seen. So with that, I can double check while you're talking but but please continue. So yes, billions and so when you think about. Like, if you have these black holes, one black hole, overhear one black hole over there. How can you possibly get from something with ten times? The mass of the Sun to something that has tens of billions of times, the mass of the Sun. How Pamela explained to me? So. When we were first trying to figure this out, the idea was maybe of a source of black holes and they merged together and you get a massive black hole. and. Trying to figure out the time scales. That would take and how to build something fast enough to allow massive galaxies to exist in the earliest moments of the universe was deeply confusing and. Because human beings like to simplify things for the longest time, there is this question of do galaxies grow. In a taking massive amount of material collapse it down to the entire galaxy all at once or do they grow through a Little things coming together and merging, build bigger and bigger things over time and this was not a some grow through one. Some go through the other argument. This was a which of these two things. Is it for everything? Right human beings have problems. And it turns out the universe wasn't into this either or it was into an aunt and it was realized that if you have a massive amount of material gravitationally pulled in by A. Halo of dark matter that that in falling material can fall in with turbulence and the turbulence has a way of distributing the energy such that a massive amount of material is capable of funneling into the center of this forming structure and forming the supermassive black hole simultaneous to the formation of the rest of a giant. Elliptical Galaxy. Large spiral galaxy may be, but we can't see that clearly. Giant elliptical. And so this turbulent process that is capable in some instances restart with a large dark matter halo of generating a supermassive black hole in a single gal. So so I. Guess This was the question was could you did you need to have? A star born reaches. Runs hot and fast and dies a million years later lease behind a black hole. That's twenty times the mass of the sun, and then two of them crash together knife go to black hold forty times the mass of the Sun and two of those crashed into each other and now you've got one with. Eighty, times, the mass of the sun you couldn't you can buy doubling. With a lot of black holes, can there you could get there? And but but you're saying that they don't think that's what happened. They think that there was some kind of all cases and this is the catch is, is that doubling which we'll talk more about in a moment you can do it it will get you what you need, but the timescales weren't working out how do you have massive structures formed? Pretty much from the beginning of structures being formed. So the thought is that for the largest systems. The inflow of material to form that entire system. Turbulence in, it allowed enough material to collect in the core to cause that supermassive black hole to be formed some Ohtani us with the system. Now, we know of it that today there's a limit to the size that stars can form like at a certain point, the star, the the the solar winds blow, and it blows material off from trying to make its way into start. You know whatever it is a few hundred times. The mass of the sun is the. Theoretical limit of how big a a star can be, and so that that defines the minimum possible black hole that you're gonNA get. It's heavy. One hundred plus times the mass of the sun, but it's not. It's not a million abilities on a million times Madison Yeah, and you do have to start that start that process. So so was something different about the early universe that allowed maybe more massive black holes to form or even just one. Big, black. Hole the center of a galaxy it wasn't. The kind of difference that that. You might go hey, I wonder if that could still exist today it was more a matter of. As the universe went from this diffuse gas after the formation of the cosmic microwave background. There were places of higher density and lower density. And the higher density places were able to pull in material. and. The echoes of where those knots were in the early universe continued to be reflected in the modern universe over time. The things that started out high-density have only gotten higher and higher and higher density. The places that started out low density have only gotten emptier and emptier and emptier. It was the highest density places in that early universe that we're able to say, okay, matter come to me. And pull everything in. And other places that started out with still an over density but not as massive one. Formed smaller galaxies. And this is where that. Both ways the forming comes in we also small galaxies forming that. Like the smallest galaxies don't necessarily have. Unusual black holes in them. But they do have stars of all sizes and now some of these stars are going to foreign black holes. And as these systems in Iraq as systems over time go hey, I'm adaptation Lee attached you and they merge over time there's black holes can find each other's interactions caused the heaviest mas- objects to fall into the centers of these systems, and this is where slowly over time you can have these stars coming together you can have these. Data stars, black holes coming together and build over generations. To right. Socket mechanism bigger and bigger black holes right I. Guess that's. You know what I'm sort of imagining this three dimensional whirlpool at the beginning of the universe with the dark matter forming this, the agitator that's spinning up in and directing the materials it's in falling and you've got black holes that formed from various stars that are that are falling down this gravity well into the center being directed into the center of this of this Maelstrom. And they're finding each other in a way that is much easier than than if they were just drifting randomly across the universe is that is that sort of where we're going here that there's like a That there is a look at again I'm imagining water going down drainings of the water that's going down. The drain is containing rare earth magnets and the rare earth magnets are finding each other clipping into bigger and bigger magnets. I don't know if that analogy. That's an excellent analogy actually okay. Good and you have other reasons that drive things in the center of mass from frictional interactions with gas and dust. all sorts of different things can cause your mass to get redistributed and. Increase. The probability that massive objects will find one another do the black holes have to go through this this. Black Hole individual black hole face, stellar mass, black hole phase, or can you just have it all just turned into one black hole. Can One black hole just form well early universe. Yes. Modern Universe now, right? Okay. So early universe was do they think even limit in the early universe of what how big these black holes could get? Yes. Black Holes have a built in throttle where as material falls in. Angular momentum of bear. And the angular momentum of the material that's trying to fall into the black hole has to be radiated away it the material can't just like high falling straight into the black. Hole And this means that the material falling into a black hole in the process of feeding it, which is the other way black holes grow. That material that is feeding into the black hole it's going to get denser and denser and denser eventually kicking in having its own thermonuclear reactions giving off its own light through thermal an. Thermonuclear. Reactive processes and the pressure from not lite coming off that disc of in falling material will actually be sufficient to choke off additional material from rolling in. It will clear out the insides of Galaxy and. It's this throttling process of the light saying. I've got more force than gravity at this moment the light pressure overcoming the gravitational pull. It puts a limit on supermassive black hole growth because I know that the astronomers did the math are saying, okay. If you just fed a black hole as much as it wanted to eat. You couldn't get supermassive black hole at the age of the universe that we see them today. So. So you can't just feed a black hole to get the size you want. It's just that you can't again back to my bathtub analogy you can't have all of the water in your bathtub instantly. Drain out it takes time it's bins around right So you. So. You have to have some process where these the individual black holes are are being formed, and then they're merging together. Yes. Fortunately, we now see evidence of black holes merging together thanks to Lago. Yes, and so now we're looking at, you can have various sized supermassive black holes. In the beginning of the universe form through a massive turbulent process, those galaxies can then merge forming the most massive supermassive black holes. We see today, you can also have stellar mass black holes and early stars were much more massive and very different from what we see today and not GonNa pretend that we fully understand how these metal poor stars lived and died. But all of the models that we have indicate they would have been far larger on average than stars that we have today, which means potentially more stellar mass black holes forming than we have today. Through generations of stars and. You have this richness of massive objects dying this massive objects dying have the potential to then merged together. And at the same time to gobble up the material around them, you have a black hole forming and a high density star forming region. It's GonNa suck some stuff in as it goes. And so there's myriad ways to grow these things over time. Mergers. Sucking material accretion disks, even the universe around you are all viable options bright. The thing that's really interesting and we've we've talked about this in the past as well in shows like did do did galaxies form or did the supermassive black hole at the heart of the galaxies form I which one Ford I, and now it really looks like they formed together hand in hand. And this is something that's cropping up in all sorts of different formation. Things were now starting to think that planets formed at the same time that stars formed rather than coming later in the surrounding desks. Now, looking like the galaxies greater structure and the supermassive black holes in the most massive systems in the early universe formed at the same time. When you have a giant cloud of material collapsing. It does this fabulous job of forming all the structures together. And while the scales are very different. The idea of the cloud clapping spinning up forming a massive object in the center fragmenting informing smaller objects on the outskirt. This hind, a physics is scalable, right? Right. So there's one tiny modification to this that that is is by no means certain this idea of primordial black holes contributing to this as well. This idea that there were folds of space in the universe over densities in the early universe where the matter was so dense that you could have black holes form naturally, and that would theoretically allow you to have black holes which were smaller sizes than we see. Than than the stellar mass but also theoretically more massive ones you could theoretically get. A black hole with a thousand times, the mass of the sun just forming just instantaneously at the beginning of the universe and then unleashed, and so theoretically, some of these could also serve as as the starting points of some of these larger anchors as well and the. US of this. Comes from the combination of not knowing for certain whether or not hockey radiation Israel and black holes evaporate in which case, the smallest of the primordial black holes would have just gone away. and understanding what was the potential size distribution of these primordial black holes. Microscopic ones are super easy to argue for the existence of and they all have evaporated right in more massive ones anything below tend to the power of twelve kilograms we'll have evaporated already. So it's IT's other. It's a tiny asteroid we'll go on. And and the larger ones are harder to argue for the existence of. Looking at. The acoustic waves that you can see. In the cosmic microwave background as echoes of what was going on prior to the formation of the cosmic microwave background. So, we just don't know. Is. One. Of the intriguing theories for to explain dark matters apparently if you know if you have black holes of of certain masses, I, think they're like up to like asteroid sides but then also tends to thousands of times the mass of the Sun then that would explain The distribution of dark matter we haven't found them, but we haven't found them no. The Macho project looked really hard yet, and so that idea seems eliminated. Yeah. There have been attempts they've been able to rule out certain masses of primordial black holes as dark matter but as other ones where it still could be the case and there's some really interesting surveys that are still being done using gravitational lensing to try to find them and it's this idea that won't go away but also there's no evidence that they exist at all so far so. Every day that goes by. It's less and less likely that it is primordial black holes that is causing dark matter and possibly even listen case of the even do exist at all but still you can't rule it out yet. So I won't in my heart I'm very much team. It's a particle. I am also very much team. It's a particle but I you know I had a chance to ask. Ned. Right, who's one of the? One of the fathers of modern cosmological thinking and he and I was like, what's the? What's the idea of the kind of heretical thought that you sort of enjoy trolling other scientists because they can't say, no, his Alexandria that black holes are dark matter because you know we just can't. It fits the it fits the massive farm. We can't rule it out yet even though it's ridiculous, which I thought was was quite entertaining and nut right is someone who, yes, he's an amazing research amazing scientists. But he is someone who I think generations of researchers are now grateful to because he figured out all of the. It's so Harry to calculate all of the equations for Universe that has dark matter dark energy and. curvature parameters, all those things he figured out on Equations Co defied them and then created ned right cosmology calculator. Yes. The calculators use them all the time. Oh, I love that calculator. So for me he is always the person who created this web page that made me no longer have to cry doing calculations. That is awesome. Yeah. Yeah. I use a very sort of. Much simpler purposes than I think what you were trying to do but I think that's the I'm looking for like back in the oval of calculations but but I think it's great. Awesome all right. Well, I think next week, we'll actually go deep into the actual noble prize discovery now that you've got this this groundwork and we will talk about the the different papers and the researchers who brought brought. To their modern day. So thank you, Pamela. Thank you Fraser Jasmine's I this week and I do, and this is where I have to say thank you to the people out there who support us in doing everything we do this show is made possible. Thanks to our patrons on. Patriots. Dot Com slash. Astronomy cast. And Cova Times. I know a lot of you are struggling into those of you who are still finding it possible to keep supporting us month. After month, you're allowing us to to pay the folks who keep our stuff going Richard Drum? Who Does the Audio for the show? Allie Pelfrey, who does the video Beth Johnson who puts everything up on our website and offer them health benefits where they need it. So thank you for making it possible for us to offer part time people healthcare here in the United States. So I WANNA. Thank Thomas Taubman Claudia Master lani Justin proctor Joe Wilkinson. David Gates Jessica felts Paul L. Hayden Neuter Dude Matthew. Men Brent Crop Urine Give Mark Grundy Arthur lattes hall Andrew Harding. Tim Garris J. Alex Anderson. Bruno let's Jeremy Kirwin. Michelle Cullen. Mark Stephen Resnick Dustin, a Ralph and John. Thank you all so much for everything you do to allow us. To keep going. Thank you everybody and we'll see you all next week. The everyone. ASTRONOMY CAST is a joint product of Universe today and the Planetary Science Institute astronomy cast is released under a creative Commons attribution license. So lovett shirt and remix it, but please credit to our hosts, Fraser, Cain and Dr. Pamela Gay. 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Ep. 578: Venus Updates - or - Life on Venus?!?
"CAST episode five, Seventy, eight, Venus. UPDATES. Welcome to. We can't. We can't say Venus Visit Boring Kunduz again. Really. Started me cast episode five seventy eight life on Venus. Question Mark Exclamation Mark Question Mark. Welcome to astronomy cast or weekly facts based journey through the cosmos where we help you understand not only what we know. But how we know what we know I'm Fraser Cain publisher, of Universe, today with me as always Dr Pamela Gay a senior scientist for the planetary, Science Institute and The director of cosmic West. Pamela? How you doing I'm doing? Well, it has been the weirdest of weeks I don't know about you. But every time we get one of these NASA media advisory or Royal Astronomical, society, media advisory that is completely vague someone asks. So it's not aliens as. and. This time. When someone asked I found myself just sitting there going on. Yeah. Pin Weird Week of it's funny. So if people know about this so the policy for universe today, and if any writers listening just a reminder is that we don't look at embargoed stories, right? So if you send universe today embargoed story, we will delete it. We won't break your embargo, but we won't looking embargoed story. We are not interested until after the embargo has been lifted. And the news is publicly available to everybody and and. The reason why is I find that it allows? People to decide who's a journalist who is into journalist is sort of a way to control the that knows and the no knots, and for a long time a lot of really respectable the why thought science journalists were being held out of the embargo news information it's not so bad these days. And then the other thing is sort of artificially inflate. V newsworthiness of a piece of news and so you. At a couple of the writers on my team like got a really important embargoed news story this come that's come across my desk. Can we want to come this? Well, I wasn't filthy embargoed information either but. One journalism outlet that I'm not going to slander I accidentally. Pressed the publish instead of scheduled by wordpress. Yeah we saw that and so the article was out there and of course, this led to people going through and putting the pieces together. Yeah. You can even figure it out by looking at wikipedia and seeing which articles in the astronomy and signed section have been modified recently. Oh Gee Not, pretty close something to figure that out. But. Yeah. So so I was just as unawares everybody come Monday morning when the announcement was was made and it was totally worth it. Great announcement to hear it was. Maybe possibly aliens finally. which will get into during the show. Yes. Yes we will. All right. So have you heard the news of course, you have evidence of phosphene on Venus, which could be bio signature of life on our evil twin planet. There have been a lot of surprising stories about Venus. So let's get you all caught up. Our Pamela. What's the news this week? Okay. So this week's news and we're going to have so many articles that we need to explain give context to this news. This week's news is the bio signature molecule phosphate, which is one phosphorus out of three hydrogen. Atoms has been found in the atmosphere of Venus in amounts that can only be explained. In ways that we know the universe tends to be creative but using physics and chemistry and biology that we know the only way to get this much phosphene into an atmosphere. is to stick microbes in that atmosphere. There was a great article I. Think it was the BBC did this they said you can have. Pollution from industry. Or Penguin poops. Pick one. Yeah. Pick line. We know there are definitely not factories or penguins on the surface of Venus therefore super weird to see this chemical, the atmosphere of Venus. and. This particular atmospheric gas is produced by a variety of anaerobic bacteria. This is single celled life forms that. Don't need any oxygen and there's not exactly a lot of free oxygen at Venus either. So what we're seeing is. Consistent. With a kind of life that could exist there. And intriguingly just in the past couple of months, a number of popular level articles in one professional article detailing how you can have the cycle of life in the Venetian atmosphere. Yeah that's pretty it's pretty funny I. There was a bunch of these papers on phosphene on phosphene on how life in the newseum atmosphere could be generating phosphene like a month ago. Yeah. Yeah. So actually had one of these this paper by Sarah Seager and team about about how Bacterial, life could survive in the cloud tops of Venus and what the mechanism might be. We can get into this later on in the episode I was like Oh that's a cool idea. I'm totally going to do a video about that until I put him on my list of videos. Little did I realize Sara Seager? Playing, three dimensional chess here. Had this all cued up and ready to go for them when we got the announcement of phosphene on Venus everyone's like how where could it be coming froth? wrote the paper. And I asked her about that during an interview I did on the daily space and she said that they had initially planned to write that paper but they've been working with a journalism student who was doing such a good job. To move ahead with everything. So it is the fluke of having the right intern in the right place to motivate things forward that led to that earlier paper coming out. Okay. So so we've got the discovery of this this incredibly weird element phosphene or molecules in the atmosphere of Venus. We don't know of a natural process. So how this is to the? How do we know what we know part? How did they discover this molecule NEOM SPHERE VENUS I get pointed a cut bullet telescopes. So. Literally, what happened here is People have been suggesting sense well, looking for bio signatures was thing that along with methane phosphene was a particularly good bio signature and unlike methane, which is super easy to make Gio. Chemically. Phosphene doesn't seem to have the same geochemical. Wave being produced at least not at Venus. So. Jane Graves was was looking. In the Venetian atmosphere following up on a number of other research threads. So just in the past year, we've had a coming out of the European Planetary Sciences Conference last. September. The idea that up until as recently seven hundred and fifty million years ago Venus may have had water oceans and a habitable environment before something catastrophic took place. We've had papers showing that if you use modern numerical models to analyze the Magellan data looking at the surface features on Venus it looks like they're still active Vulcan there. And, and then when you couple all of this with the known problem that there are these. The absorbing splotches. In Venus's atmosphere that have no known explanation except there's bacteria on earth that have the same characteristics, right It's sort of starts to become A. You know we really need to be looking for life year kind of situation. and. What I have to admit I didn't know until I was prepping to talk about this this week was. The idea that Venus might have life and atmospheric goes all the way back to the late sixties. And hinges on those dark ub absorb irs to a certain degree, right? Right. So I mean I think One of the things that I really loved about this announcement was how careful and how skeptical the researchers themselves were, which was that they did really really meticulous observations to determine the presence of the phosphene in the atmosphere. Venus and then when spend an enormous amount of time. Looking at every possible natural source that could be generating from volcanoes to. To lightning to meteorite strikes in the atmosphere to an and even to the point where they said okay like, yeah. Volcanoes could produce phosphene but you would need two hundred times as much vulcan ISM on Venus. As we have here on earth and although there might be evidence of recent Volkan Ism on Venus not two hundred times as much as. Right right and so this is where they had a really cool interdisciplinary group working on this. So so you had clarisa sober who's the phosphene expert who was looking at? What are all the chemical attributes you had Sarah Seager, who is a very much a theoretician looking at how do you understand things in the context of the atmosphere they brought in people to look at geochemical processes to look at photochemical processes. And across all of these different things also to consider. Okay. So we had a low signal to noise observation with the James Maxwell Clark telescope down in Hawaii. So let's apply for telescope time to get a better. A better set of observations from the Komo large millimeter or right and they got those observations they went through the trouble of trying to figure out. Are there overlapping luckier lines that we need to worry about at this wavelength? They did their homework to make sure this wasn't a. Different molecules stepping all over their phosphene observation. They checked every box and yeah, and so they. They absolutely found phosphene. Yes, and they very rigorously ruled out every possible natural source of phosphate that we know of that. We know and and yeah, and that's the problem is is. As. New Paper Afternoon Paper keeps finding the universe likes to be far more creative than our theorists. So there always has to be that. Nagging. Concern of well what if? There's physics that I hadn't thought of going on here. Yeah and And right now, it's probably although certain that they will discover physics that they didn't understand before that there will be some. Geologic process, some weird combination of sunlight. phosphorous rich acids that combine in different ways like. Like, we do know that phosphene because it has those hydrogen atoms combines very rapidly with oxygen oxidises. As quickly can and so you can see phosphene in Saturn and Jupiter because they're oxygen poor environments, any oxygen hydrogen rich and Hydrogen available to do the bond right while while Earth and Venus are are oxygen rich. We've got plenty of carbon. In convenience. You've got all that. Carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide. And with Venus. Other thing is that it doesn't have that that three hydrogen that we see in the gas giants and so in this reducing environment is really hard to figure out where did this hydrogens come from? and. So. This is where. The person with the PhD really wants to say I'm sure we're going to find physics that we just don't know about right now. Yeah. I just said that too. But here's the thing and this is one of the things that I'm really struggling with on this discovery is. NASA has invested a great deal of funding since the mid nineties into understanding what molecules are biomarkers, what molecules when we see them in an extra solar planets mean this planet probably has life and we found one of those molecules in a world that. I have to wonder if it was an exit planet would we be sitting here going though or would we be saying no marker was fouled. And because it's Venus which let's face it. Most of us have been like that's the one place not to go looking for life. Does this. Forces to be over skeptical. Yeah it's it's really weird internal conflict of way but. We identified bio signatures for a reason and we found one but now we're saying it's probably not life. Yeah. The what's wonderful about this is that we do have an opportunity now to double check. So we if we didn't see phosphene in the atmosphere Venus than than than it, would I think it would sit on that would be the gold standard of bio singers that have been worked out so far as you talked about give up until this point people thought Oh it's oxygen. It's ozone its water vapor. Methane methane it's it's all these things. Now it turns out we've we've found natural processes that can that can supply each one of these, but this one molecule phosphene has held out. Defying any natural 'cause that isn't life or industry in a oxygen rich world, and suddenly it's been discovered on a world. That's very close that we can double check because now you can't send a spacecraft you can send a balloon you can go and examine it more closely and try to figure out what the source of this is. But if James Webb detected phosphene around glazer five, eighty, two or whatever. There's no double checking. You can't go and send a spacecraft to just give the atmosphere sniff and so this is a wonderful opportunity. So. So here's the story we have right now from various observations. We have from. The Magellan data of the surface, an understanding from crony. These are the. Geologic signatures in the shape of the ground saying this is where there's a hot plume of Magnum beneath the surface. We have evidence from Gelin radar data of the surface that there are order of thirty volcanoes that appear to have been. Geologically, recently, active we have. Brand new climate models thanks to advances in computing and the advances in the computing also got us the volcano results. Thanks to advances in we have new atmospheric models that consider well. Okay. So we're now understanding that during the great heavy bombardment, watery things crashed the inner worlds Mars had oceans are still has oceans. Venus should have had oceans. So let's run the climate models assuming the water is there and it appears that from these models as recently seven hundred and fifty million years ago you had earth. Earth hot. Capable of sustaining life having oceans seven hundred, fifty, nine years ago here on Earth we had the beginning of colonies of single celled organism. So things like sponges that are made of single celled organisms act as a group we had those. And so you can imagine on the same timescale life having the ability to come into existence on Venus or Panspermia to have done whatever it felt like doing between these three planets. Yeah. I. Think that's the other question is, is I mean if we do find life on Venus or Mars or Europa or sell it this? Are we related? Yeah, and And so so we have those questions and then we have today the active and change in pattern of UV dark absorbers in the atmosphere of Venus that have characteristics that are mere by actual bacteria that can temporarily rise up into the Earth's atmosphere for hours or days but no longer than that. But the conditions in Venus's atmosphere, it has essentially standing water in the atmosphere in the form of moisture droplets. Means that what is transitory on earth can be permanent. Yeah on Venus. So let's talk about that paper that Sara Seager team published about what possible mechanism how could life be surviving on Venus? So. The first thing to remember is don't go to the surface of Venus unless you're trying to melt a spacecraft because that's how you melt space chronic. The surface is hundreds and hundreds of degrees whatever unit you pick it's does. But If instead you go up in the cloud layer. Between roughly fifty kilometers up sixty kilometers up. You're looking at an atmosphere that has. Earth like temperature's and earth-like pressures and one atmosphere pressure. Now as soon as you get down as low as like. Thirty plotters thirty three thirty, five kilometers it's nothing. But you have that window and so the idea is that Venus, like every atmosphere has currents within the atmosphere and it has what are called Hadley cells which are circulation regions in the atmosphere where in the equatorial areas you have hot air rising, and then it comes down cooler towards the pulse. And so the idea is that there's this haze layer down in the thirties kilometers up. And Air, from this desiccated dried out death haze layer. is able to rise up. Now, what if the word spores desiccated life forms in that haze layer? They can then act as seeds to moisture droplets. We have the same thing happens here on earth it is around dust particles in the atmosphere raindrop let's form or this is how we know you can seed clouds and it works. So, you have these these spores that act as the seeds of moisture droplets that are rising up through the atmosphere and as they rise up, they can get bigger and bigger. Taking this desiccated life form re moisturizing it allowing it to thrive to multiply. And as the water droplet moisture droplet rather gets bigger and bigger and bigger it'll eventually get too big as it's circling through the atmosphere and as it falls back down that water droplet moisture droplets will fragment. And eventually, the life will be driven to defecate out again and we see life forms desiccated out here on earth. This is something tar degrades do it's while you can shoot them up into space and they come back and they come back to life. We can have tar grade like lifecycles yet. But a different extreme file or heck maybe even tar degrades. No You keep. You keep saying water and then you keep editing yourself to say liquid. Let's talk about that liquid. I mean there's somewhat and there's like fifteen percent water, but there's eighty five percent not water. So few raises. Right, and and so yes, Venus atmosphere is largely duff by acid largely death by acid, but largely is not the same thing is completely death by acid here on earth we have extreme files that are quite happy to deal in just about any environment you put them whether it be radiation deity heat. We can find the life to live through it and a lot of its at yellowstone. The one interesting thing is is. They actually looked at the level of acidity in this sulfuric acid and it's super bad like it's it's worse than it is more acidic than any environment than life has been able to survive in. But the key is that you've got these droplets of water that are dissolved into the acid until the thought is that in fact, you could have the the life living in the water that's in the. ACID, as long as it stays in the water droplet, parked inside the acid. Then than it, it's able to survive going through this this cycle, and so the the liquid builds and builds and builds as these droplets rise up in the in the atmosphere, and then rain back down and hopefully the the microbe has completed its entire life cycle before it turns into rain and falls back down for its. Its spores end up back down at that thirty three kilometer Hayes altitude and the whole cycle continues. But few radically, they did the math and this could go for hundreds of millions, billions of years just over and over and over again. And and this is where you can start to speculate wildly. I'm admitting this science based wild speculation my favorite could. That that when whatever catastrophic event occurred that caused the runaway greenhouse on Venus whenever that occurred. If it was a world like our own that had. A vast diversity of microbes capable of surviving in pretty much any nation, the environment you can imagine. There's the chance that some of them could have figured out how to rise up in the clouds or been carried up and just happen to survive and find a way to evolve over the generations to be what was needed life fines away. So. Suddenly everyone is asking what spacecraft or at Venus that can help confirm this discovery none done nine yeah. There's the Japanese AQUI spacecraft there and it can see you know wind. And now fear. Is all well and good, but not entirely useful. Betty Colombo from the European. Space. Agency is on its way to mercury and is going to do a fly by of Venus and be able to do some detections but we're gonNA need custom built for this. And ideally, what we want to do is take things on balloons or gliders and have a way to go down to these various altitudes within the atmosphere and ideally carry and instrumentation package that allows them to grab up samples of the atmosphere and then look at them. Microscope, they took with them right or sample return them home. Fee. That starts to become far too large of emission. At that point, we want answers faster than national. Sure. Do that in a generation or so but life is short built the discovery class mission. Now, there's a couple of missions that are that have been in the works. There's one from NASA. Yeah there's one from the which was just dropped into the atmosphere There's some suggestions of balloon base missions which will hover in the in the atmosphere of Venus and even go up and down in altitude fall some of these these thermals. The Indian Space Agency has a mission in the works. The Russians have one and rocket lab. Yeah. Yeah we saw rocket lab actually has a Venus mission that they had been planning. They dusted off again. Coincidence. The rocket lab one is that amuses me the most it will probably be the fastest complete. The entire spacecraft will be about fifteen kilograms. They'll have three kilograms instrumentation, not a lot of power. But. Let's see how creative we can get in figuring out how to do this. We built a little tiny itty bitty helicopter for Mars. All we need is a balloon for famous yeah yeah. But there are some other plans as well. Things like the havoc mission which would send blimps even human operated glimpse to the cloud tops of Venus, and then they would use a a. Blimp. Rocket to return back to Earth because it's still like you're still GonNa have a ninety percent the force of gravity. Once you're in the IT's easy to get to Venus easy to enter the atmosphere as long as you stay off the ground, but it is tricky to get home again I feel the need to point out that like Mars Venus doesn't really have that whole magnetic field thing going for it and so if you don't like your astronauts shore, send them there before we have figured out how to take care of radiation will just have that atmosphere. Though it helps it helps but you're not going to be too deep in the atmosphere. Yes. You're going to be a pretty high seven. There's a whole getting their part although it's faster to get there and the cool thing about Venus unlike Mars is because we're outside Venus's orbit there's multiple landing approaches per year. Yeah. We can go there pretty much anytime we want unlike Mars we have to go every two years site lauber opportunity to go there and lot opportunity to come back with that sweet sample return mission there should be in the works right now. All right. So now you're all cut up everybody on on discovery on Venus. Obviously we will keep you filled in. Every new discovery that gets made as as this goes, it's one of the most exciting discoveries in the field of planetary science cancer biology in. Years and could act as the cornerstone of our future searches for across the universe. So hopefully, this is. This is really exciting. It. It really is, and if you WANNA hear interviews with David Griffin, who's one of the researchers who's been studying the potential for life or Sir Seger. WHO's one of the authors of these research papers check them out over daily space dot org this is the. Short form daily Podcast we put out from cosmic West. Fantastic. Right. Thanks panel. Do you have some names for us this week I do as always our show is brought to you by you. You are the reason we're able to keep doing what we do year after year after year So right now, I would like to thank Jordan Young Burg Alwyn. BERKO Roland romsey motto Jeffrey David Schenker Seaney Andrew Palestra. David Truck Brian Cabell the giant nothing damn. Let men, Robert Plasma Laura. Huddleston. William less Howard. Paul Jarman just Cunningham Corey Vallejo and Emily Patterson. Thank you all so much for being here and being part of the numerous people that support our shout. Thank you everybody. We'll see all next week. Thank you. ASTRONOMY CAST is a joint product of Universe today and the Planetary Science Institute astronomy cast is released under a creative Commons attribution license. Lovett shirt and remix it but please credit to our hosts Razor Canaan Dr Pamela Gay. You can get more information on today's show topic on our website astronomy cast dot com. This episode was brought to you. Thanks to our generous patrons. If you want to help, keep the show going please consider joining our community at Patriot dot com slash astronomy cast not only do you help us pay our producers fair wage you will also get special access to content right in your inbox and invites online events. We're so grateful to all of you who have joined our Patriot community already. ANYWAYS, keep looking. This has been astronomy cast.
Ep. 531: Australian Indigenous Astronomy
"Welcome us trying to be cancer facts based jury to the causal to help you understand not only what we know. But how we know what we, I'm freezer. Cain publisher universe today with the as always Dr Pamela gave senior scientists for the planetary Science Institute, and the director of Cozma quest Obama. He doing I'm doing well enough where you do your little your little sick, which is why there's a bit of a delay with the show last week. So if this show ends suddenly, it's because Pamela, is, is tapping out and, and needs to go in and have some more lozenges and get back to sleep. But penalty, you've got big news. That's come out this week for request and Cyrus wreck. So can you tell us about it? Well, I, I want to preface all of this by saying, I work with the best group of humans ever, and this great news, wouldn't be here. If it wasn't for all of them covering my sorry ass while I was so sick for the past three weeks. Yeah. This Wednesday we launched Benue map IRS, which is a new project to map out all the rocks measure, all the boulders find all the craters basically determine where the hazardous zones on the asteroid Banu, and where the cool areas where we should go and try and grab a rock sample. We have until July ten to map out what when we're done. We'll be close to five thousand images of this asteroid. And, and this is like this is going to be a tree job because. Yeah, I mean, the surface of been new is a lot more hazardous than than Ness was ever expecting. And so they're, they're actually having a rough time finding nice safe landing spot that the that the mission go down and grab of sample, and bring it back, and so they need as much help as they can to. Essentially, map out all of the rocks and get a sense of what's where, and where is it safe for them to, to sneak in and grab a sample and bring it back home to earth? And, and this, this is the kind of thing where we took delivery on may fifteenth of the images. And these are like brand spanking, fresh images from the spacecraft, and expletives were spoken because we had written or software. We designed to to'real we had done everything, assuming that Benny would be kinda like eat Aqalla, which a image might have two or three craters might have a few dozen boulders hundred rocks or so. It's like a pile of gravel. Oh my God. It's so bad. And, and one of the things that we hit that we were working diagnosing is our poor innocent software periodically is just like after this. I'm just going to sit here and process, what you sent me not give you another image because. I don't want another image. There's, too many rocks, looks occasionally our software is just hanging not giving people the next image, we have confirmed your data is getting written. It just looks like the software is doing nothing. Just do a hard refresh on the screen, and you'll be fine. But we were not anticipating this and. Together, we can get through this. And I, I will be live streaming mapping things later, I broke down. I set up my whoa, my way com tablet, just because. It was too much to do with a track pad. Yeah. But we, we are super pleased with how well it's working last. I checked, we had marked roughly five hundred thousand rock, so far in, in end like days. Yeah. There's not many rocks. Yeah. So we're gonna get fifteen different people looking at every single image. We know that everyone is gonna miss a few rocks 'cause there's hundreds hundred image. But, but together, we're going to get a good enough sample of what's going on that, that we can figure out what's safe and what's not so please join us budge ally tenth, we have only until July tends to get through this data set after July tenth, we are going to be moving Benny map, IRS over into our main cosmic quest interface, and working on doing science, mapping, and people are pointing out in shot. I forgot to put my pup filter. I will stop popping now. Sorry about that folks. So yeah, please, please help us or Cyrus Rex needs. You are Aspira, rexes only hope. Yeah. If you have ever like been excited enthusiastic about space and wanted to be a part of it and want to help with the science that's getting done out there. This is your moment. Come to Benham apertures law, create an account if you don't already have one and just spend some time helping figure out the rocks on the surface of this asteroid. That is millions crawl away from earth and we're going to be bringing a sample back. This is your chance to get involved. The the best way, I have to describe that new is imagine an interstellar dump truck filled with Ravel rocks for construction site. And it hit a giant pothole flung its cargo into space and that cargo gravitate. Held itself together you're looking at essentially the rubble pile that normally would be in the back of a dump truck, except it's Nastro and trying to find a safe place to go in and grab a sample. It's going to take all of us just took citing. Such a cool project. And so, like at an huge thank you to the Cyrus Rex team for partnering with Cosmo quest in and, and, you know, giving us the opportunity to be able to, to share this. It's so fun. Dot pas, mcwethy dot ORG. And, and if it seems to not save your image, it saved her image. It just gave up and didn't give you a new one. Refresher screen. All right. Vis episode of strong cast was brought to you by Cosmo quest, which is us. All right. This week we focus on the ARCO astronomy of another part of the world, this time from the indigenous people of. Another group of people whose lives depended on knowing what was happening in the sky from season to season are Pamela got a big continent. Here of what is the evidence of archaic astronomy from the continent of Australia. Well, what's kind of cool with a stray Elliot's? It's not so much ARCHE of strana me as it's modern anthropology that allows us to look, Pat back on sixty five thousand years of history with, with the aboriginal tribes of gelia were looking at a couple hundred different language groups. We are looking at a continent that has been peopled for sixty five thousand years, that hasn't undergone the same kinds of destruction that civilizations here in north and South America. Underwent? And so as. As we talk with the people who are there today, we can hear into days oral tradition evidence of Frincis, a meteor impact that was thousands of years ago, a supernova that was thousands of years ago, and we still they still pay attention to these stories. This is still part of how they live their lives and why they do and don't go certain places, and it's, it's really amazing culture, and they look at space in such a different way instead of having four seasons. Many of the different nations of Australia, Mark out six different seasons of the year that are marked out with when different of the constellations rise on the horizon, some constellations Mark out, this is when you should go and gather the eggs, this is when. These animals can be expected to be breeding, the dingoes for instance, it's different. And we've both had the opportunity now to be in Australia. I was there almost a year ago, thanks to Dylan O'Donnell and, and his, his got to speak at his conference star stuff. And then we got Carlin, I went on a road trip north from there into the, the jungle part of stralia north of Brisbane, and it was like the skies. There are just there stunning like it's, it's not surprising that anyone who, who lived there. With out light pollution and saw that sky. And it is, it's a Canadian we have dark skies as well here, and I've seen plenty of Milky Way. But the core of the Milky Way is down by the horizon. We see a little bit of it over the summer when the when we get to see Sagittarius and Scorpio and some of those constellations than the rest of the year. It's, it's, it's fine. It's fine. But, but there it is just right. Overhead it blazes, the planets moved through it, right. Overhead. There's like Ayman, if you have seen dark skies, you have not seen Australian dark skies. They are next level. They absolutely have the best view. The people in the southern hemisphere have the best view. Yes. To the core of the Milky Way that we just can't experience from from the north and like the peoples of South, America, and southern Africa. They include in how. How they Mark out the sky's the dark paths through the Milky Way. There is a tradition of seeing an emus spread out across the Milky Way were the coal shack nebula that super dark patch. I saw. Yeah. Societas once pointed out to you see it. And that that's only one of the stories, another one of the stories that are particularly love related to the Milky Way is they see the Milky Way as a dark river, through the sky. And it's the, the souls of men and women who have passed on to the heavens, that have their fires along that, that river and in some of their traditions when they see a shooting star, that is the soul of someone who died far from home returning. The home. It's cool stories. Yeah, I love I love that idea. What was it? There was a animation that came to a couple of years ago, but anyways idea of putting floating lanterns on like on a river and then letting them go and letting them all float downriver. You get this. They do that in, in Japan and China place like that. But it's, it's a very cool effect. So what are now you mentioned a couple of real big hitters. Supernova. Meteorite impact give me some more information. So, so I think the two really awesome things to come out of aboriginal astronomy is how they look at their crater covered lands, and actually maintain a history of. Yeah, these holes of the ground are actually craters, as, as well as their tradition of supernova. So let's start with the craters Australia is, is one of the oldest landmasses it has thirty confirmed craters that are well-structured. You look at them from an airplane, and you're, like, yes, that is a crater and the thing that really gets me is. They knew that these things in the ground were formed from things falling from the sky. In one case, the hen, very crater about four thousand two hundred years ago, a large nickel iron space rock hit central ustralia. And when it came down about one hundred and forty five kilometers south of siding, springs, it carved out a bunch of individual different craters. And when westerners I started visiting that land, and they had an aboriginal guide with them. The guide was like, no, we don't go there. That is the land that was formed when fire fell from the sky and, and right. They have a modern day tradition of fire fell from the sky. And formed this land, and that's oral tradition. That goes back four thousand two hundred years. There are many other craters across a stray Elliot that that they look at. And the various people know this was a crater here. Wolf creek craters is another one of these that is recognizes having fallen in this case when a star fell from the sky. And there are traditions of people going down in Orrell stories and exploring the sink holes and traveling them to through them to water in a great distant area, and it was a Mark of heroism to travel underground under these craters. And so there, there are clearly stories of when people explored and survived. And now people don't do that. Because. Those heroes did stupid things. Right. And, and so there's this mix of preserving the science preserving the lore and turning it into a police children. Don't go do that. This is dangerous. And because Australia is more air at place, the amount of a Rozhin, the kind of rain Rozhin snow erosion, shifting seasons. Powerful winds but and just vegetation aren't tearing apart the landscape at the same pace of the are in other places. So exactly the there are places that you can see asteroid impacts. But you really only see them from space and you can only recognize that shape. I'm sure a lot of them weren't even detected until somebody had actually gone to space and look down and going, oh, there's one. Right. And one of the things that, that monitor people are working to do is to, to work with the tribes to record their stories to make sure there. Stories don't get lost and in the process of doing this, they're finding more and more tales of stars falling from the sky and hitting the land and shaping the land than we currently have records of craters. So there's probably a lot more craters out there that are just overgrown today, but their stories remain in the oral legend. And, and this is really one of the things about a stray Elliott that I have read about very often. And, and this is because they're folklore goes back for so far, it is questioned if they've been able to actually preserve stories from. Earlier times, for instance, there, please stories are seven sisters, and there's certain stories that crop up over and over throughout humanity where some anthropologists actually wonder if these are stories that have been carried as humans have branched out across the world. And it's not that this is an aboriginal story. It's not that this is a Greek story. It's not that this is a Middle Eastern story, but rather that these are a early human story. And as our languages have fragmented as our genetics have fragmented some of the stories exist from before any of these other things existed, and, and it seeing these things preserved in Australia that actually hints, at this is something that may or may not be true. It could be just people like to see the players at the seven sisters, and this is completely unrelated and. It's a what if these are the stories we need to follow up on, right? I mean, it's always fascinating when you get this opera tune ity to have some kind of archaeological or record like this for some event that we know, happened scientifically observation Lii, and that you, can, you can have some kind of correlation to the stories and the two can line up. I mean. And they're very rare. I mean, there's been some mentions of, of, of stuff in, in, like some I know some medieval history books. Talk about potentially like this time a comic came by or this time maybe a supernova went off in each. One of these is very rare opportunity. Someone was even trying to figure out the location of planet nine from, from sort of observations of when various comments were passing by and, and this is where we have two different things that we have to look at so, so thing. One is the standard issue of are we seeing different tribes around the world, different nations around the world, different people's all recording the same event. So, so, for instance, there is a indigenous story in, in Australia. Of two brothers and I'm gonna destroy the pronunciation of this. I am so sorry. It's nealer Kula myrie and not be of ru and the two brothers were fishing and canoe when a storm hit and capsized their boat. And the story goes on to describe this, this flash in the sky that formed between the two brothers and you can still see the two brothers in the sky. And, and this story is, is now tied to stars that are the western comp constellation Scorpius and, and are the stars Shula and leash. And it's thought that what they're describing is the three ninety three common era supernova that, that appeared near those two stars. So, so there are cases of stories that crop up around the world that are recorded in China that the. That are seen in, in painted relics that are caught in the aboriginal stories of stray Leah that are single event of by multiple people. But, but the other case that it's, it's from looking at these cutoff peoples that have been there. Uniquely, sixty five thousand years ago, in this case, the, the aboriginals of Estrella where when we see stories that are the same. So this is where we see stories of the great flood around the world where we see stories of in this case, the seven sisters, cropping up over and over and over for the platies, perhaps, these are stories that go back from before, sixty five thousand years ago. Yeah, that's the whoa. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That, that, that events happen that were so powerful. That was so cataclysmic that, that humans carried along oral traditions to every call. Corner of the globe. And this, this fits in with our understanding, for instance, that many, many societies, the words for mother all have that same sound associated with them where there's just certain things that have been carried on and on and on. But we can't know we don't know it's just intriguing and I love to bring up these intriguing things where we don't know. And I hope to have answers because that's why we keep doing science to figure out, what of these are real, what of these are just wishful thinking, and what is this science when it comes to science, the average is also had it over on the westerners when it came to eight a car? Yeah. I was going to mention that because I know we cover that on, on universe today of, of mail ten years ago. So I. Early anthropologists, otherwise known as which rich white dudes going out and talking to locals. William Edward Stanbridge was one of those early anthropologists who went out and talked to the boo wrong clang, this is part of the guy language group. And, and these people have prided themselves on having some of the best astronomy knowledge in, in Australia. They have noted the variability of variety of large red stars. They have tracked the rising and setting the planets, and one of the things that was recorded by William Edward Stanbridge was they referred to a star a calico Laurich war star that when they pointed to it in the sky, he just couldn't see. And he was doing this back in, in the mid eighteen hundreds after the out. Burst of ADA Karena, right? And after eight a car had faded away from being easily visible by so they were describing the him a star that had undergone this war in this outburst and they could say when it happened and where it happened and he's like, I don't see it. But, but what he was describing what they were telling him of was that outburst of ADA Karena that was recorded by other people, but he being more of an anthropologist than an astronomer looked up. Didn't see it. But he and many others actually have worked very hard to try and record maps of what are the local names for all of these stars, so that we can refer to the stars by all the names, they've had through history and, and don't right? Eighty eight a car is probably going to be the next supernova that we see in the sky that we know of it's relatively close. It is a supergiant star. And it is in its death throes right now. And it will explode any moment now between now and the next hundred thousand years. Yeah, it's, it's really kind of. Of. This is a star that is misbehaving on human time, scales, and over the course of just a few generations might go from being a kind of mass star in the constellation Carina to having an impostor supernova outburst to now being an x Ray binary too. Well, hopefully, just exploding, I for one im- hoping for an explosion yet, come on car explode already. We need you. We need you to explode yet. So we can like read it night and things like that. He did see another star during the day, you know, little things like that. Do you have any more stories anymore information from Australian astronomy? Well, it's more than just stories. It's, it's one of those things where we really do need to point out that these are people that have done amazing work, noting that there are very -able stars as well. And this is something that most societies didn't bother with until the seventeen hundreds, the aboriginal peoples watching bagel juice, for instance, and their story of bagel juice, and the constellation Orion is beautiful one. If, if you're in Australia, Orion isn't this upright dude, wearing a belt with a sword, but rather, it's more lying on its side. And they saw three belt stars as we perceive them in northern western culture, as being three brothers and they saw ride, and baled juice, as, as the points on a canoe, and they were able to see bagel juice varying over time with their unaided I in comparison to the stars around it another star that'll blow any time soon. Exactly. Exactly. And so here we have this really cool. Story of three brothers out in the canoe and they got themselves into trouble fishing, and there's a waterspout and they caught a forbidden fish and that forbidden fish. They caught is the Orion Bula that glows next the men in the canoe. And so here we have this case of a story of, of. Yet again, a canoe in space canoes play strong role that come up over and over, and, and they saw in looking at this over and over the very ability of a star. And they were able to conceive of the idea that stars aren't constant just being able to conceive of that. Yes. At their minds were open to see what was there, instead of what was conceived of and, and to have a long enough oral tradition to be able to note those changes and be able to, to keep track of it, which is very, very impressive. And one of my real takeaways from from reading about all these different nations of stralia who've maintained, their stories is one of the things that we have largely lost. Is that passing of stories between generations passing even family histories between generations and where you had these smaller societies? 's that kept their own histories and felt more of a connection to their ancestors into their lands. They know their land better. They know their history better, and we have actually lost out in, in, not having those connections and not having this histories. We, we see in the people's Victoria of Vancouver island histories of assu, NAMI from the seventeen hundreds, we see Souris of ADA Karena of impacts from four thousand years ago, in the oral tradition traditions of Australia. And I hope we can find a way moving forward to keep our stories. Yeah. Yeah, fantastic. All right. Well, thanks, Pamela. And I'm assuming next week, we'll talk about what's currently happening in strana me in Australia. Yes. We will and we make you break one of your golden rules. Which is that we're gonna talk about an upcoming project. I'm kid. All right. Yes. K okay. Cool. Guessing us do you have any names to read out this week? I do. So as always we, we are brought to you by you. We exist off of your patronage, and we are so grateful for everything that you give that let's pay for our servers. Let's pay Suzy lets us do OSs all the awesome things we do. And this week, I would like to thank Fredrik hog knock femme Jensen. Nice are men. Dan? Littman slow pen, flank. Oh, Ron Thurston. Glenn mcdavid Benjamin. Davies Shannon whom Bor Dwayne Isaac Jimmy Bergerson Ryan James Thomas, Tubman, Jack, Joshua Pearson Darcy Daniels, Rachel fry Claudia master on the William Andrews, Eric farang or neuter, dude Frederick, Sorge, David gates, Brandon Vavra, tan rent cannot Arthur, lattes hall. And Kristen Brooks. Thanks, everybody. Thank you see next week. But by. This of strana me cast is brought to you by eighth light Inc. Eighth light is an agile software development company. They craft beautiful applications that are durable and reliable eighth light provides disciplined software leadership on demand and shares its expertise to make your project better. For more information visit them online at WWW dot eighth. Light dot com. Just remember? That's WWW dot the digit eight t h L I, G H, T dot com. Drop them out. Eighth light software is their craft. Thank you for listening to astronomy cast, a nonprofit resource provided by the planetary Science Institute Frazier caned. And Dr Pamela gay, you can find show notes and transcripts for every episode at astronomy cast. You can Email us at info at astronomy, cast dot com. Tweet us at. Astronomy cast, like us on Facebook and watch us on YouTube. We record our showed live on YouTube, every Friday at three pm eastern twelve PM Pacific or nineteen hundred UT. See are intra music was provided by David Joseph Wesley, the outra music is by Travis Searle, and the show was edited by Susie, Murph.
Ep. 575: Observing The Moon
"CAST episode five, seventy, five, observing the moon, welcome to astronomy cast her weekly facts based in journey through the Cosmos we help you understand not only what we know, but how we know what we know I'm prisoner. Cain publisher of university with me as always as Dr Pamela Gay, a senior scientist for the planetary. Science Institute and the Director of Quest. How you doing. I'm doing well. How are you doing this fine night before summer? Solstice I know it's. I've got to say we've been doing the virtual star parties, even having to go later and later and later we have start at nine o'clock. It's going to be nice that that the that nighttime comes earlier now. We'll talk a bit about this next week a bit about about. The things we've able to see in the in the nice warm summer, nighttime sky in the Northern Hemisphere. But as you probably know, this is going to be our our penultimate episode for season. Would we bath beforehand? What did we say season fourteen? We think it seems to work we. We think we're on season fourteen of astronomy cast. So we start up again in September. Typically we used to start with whatever interview Pamela would do at Dragon Con, but I don't think that's going to be happening this year. Not so much so much, so we will, but yeah, we will be picking up again in two months so this episode next week's episode, and then we start back up. But one I just want to promote. If you haven't already is, you should sign up to my weekly email newsletter. That I write every week. In fact, I'm in the midst of writing it right now. I send it out on Friday, mornings. And it is. Got Twelve to twenty stories in it links to dozens of other interesting stories. Great Pictures Astro photography. It is a one stop shop for every piece of Space News. That's happened this week that I. Find Interesting, so you should go to universe today. Dot Com slash newsletter to sign up. It's totally free. There's no ads. It's just. Fraser's. musings on what's happening in space and astronomy. It's awesome you wanted. And when he calls into this letter, he's lying. It's more like a magazine. It's amazing a lot. It's a novella. Each one is about yeah. I'd probably say it's about fifteen thousand words that I. write once a week, yeah! That right. No, not that many words five thousand, probably five thousand words alright. As amateur astronomers, we curse the moon every month. seriously. Why doesn't someone get rid of that thing? This week something occurred to us. What if we actually pointed telescopes at the Boone? What would we see? Yeah, we I hate them. Does Because half of the month for goodly portions. You, look up at the moon and there's you look up at the sky and all you see. Is The sky glowing because of the stupid moon? But the pick your crimes better. Yeah, exactly picnic only yeah, only look at space for two weeks when the Moon is below the horizon the times when it's not raining here on the west coast which face it. That's all the time. Yeah Yeah. Pick your times better. So let's look at the blue so. The the moon. Has has this habit of orbiting the planet which is better than like colliding into the planet or something, and this means that. Yes, it is a half the month, but the time of day that it's up changes constantly. We are recording this on June. Teeth June nineteenth. Tomorrow midnight here in the Americas Sunday morning in central Africa the Middle East and Southeast Asia, there is going to be a solar class, and that means the moon is new and not visible at all right today's. Irony of this episode is that we're talking. We're talking about observing the moon at a time when the moon can be seen. But it also gives isn't a glorious chance to remind everyone of of how it is that folks like me remember when the moon is going to rise and set so when there's a solar eclipse, the moon is generally going to be rising the exact same time as the sun roughly six am setting the same time as the sun roughly six PM ignoring the fact, our planet is tilted and things like that. But. Is a good time for a fresh start, right? That's kind of start observing the moon as you as you move through the cycles of the Moon, and it's pretty amazing. How many interesting things to see how it looks different as it moves through its phases. Now as the moon. Starts Migrating towards full. It's going to be rising. Forty five minutes later every day. This means that. What is six am? Tomorrow will be six forty five the next day. We'll be seven thirty the next and As it rises a little bit later and a little bit later. It's it's expanding its angle away from the sun on the sky. Intel eventually you get to the point that the sun and the moon form a right angle and what we see in the sky is a first quarter moon. The first quarter moon is rising at noon. Quarter turn of the earth away from sunrise. And we only see half of the face of the moon illuminated, and it's called a first quarter, because the moon is a three dimensional object, so even though it looks like you're seeing all the half moon, you're actually only seeing a quarter of the moon aluminum exactly perspective. I have gotten wrong on an exam. When I was a student and I will never forget it right, but the. The quarter is is a very dramatic time to see the moon, but I but I mean I know there's a lot of amateur astronomers who will start chasing the moon moments after the mood has passed its closest time to the sun, it depends on how far it is above, and below in this case it's passing. Right in between the sun, and the and the earth, but but there are times when when within a day you can start to see the tiny thin little crescent of the moon, and even start making your observations of the men. And this is important in many different. Muslim cultures were they're still using the first sighting of a moon afternoon to mark the starts of their various months and their various ways, so if you're waiting for a holiday that involves fasting during daylight to end. You're very interested in that lunar phase, right? It is pretty amazing I. Think I mean depending on how good of a view you have to the. To the east. No yeah sets in the West. In the West. You get that first night when you see that really thin crescent moon after the sun has gone down and it was there all along. It's only when the sun's gone down at his actually. Visible and easy to see it just it's one of the most beautiful times to look at the Moon in a small telescope because you're getting these extreme shadows on the surface of the moon, showing you just a tiny little hint of what's to come. and. One of the awesome things that we encourage all of you to do is to take advantage of the fact that you're listening to this hopefully. When most of you are just barely starting to be able to see that crescent moon at sunset now what we encourage you to do is to go out at sunset every night. That's clear and not raining. And see if you can find the moon and spot the fact that it's a different place at the same time. Yeah, and its phases radically changing a lot of people will just. Somehow be oblivious to the fact that the moon is actually up during daylight. That first quarter rising at noon. It means it's like around all afternoon with you, yeah! I, I find. I get sort of refreshed reminded of the Moon. This once a month because you get that first night where you get that Finn Little Crescent Moon and the next night, the moon is of Thicker Crescent, and it's a little bit higher in the sky than it was the night before, and then each night it goes, you see that until his moves to that to that quarter moon that you were that you were mentioning and it's often that will take you have about. Five Ish nights I find was it moves up to that quarter moon that you're aware of it every night especially even like. Five nights in a row the where the night is. You don't have clouds and stuff. You can kind of just go at Saint. Time and they're too and especially when you've got something bright like vinnie. Or Jupiter in the sky in roughly the same location, as well because now you've gotta a vantage point to go. Oh, it's much farther from Venus than it was the night before. And one of the awesome things that you can do as as you're watching through the month behaviors of the moon. is you'll eventually be able to see that full moon rising on the horizon, and the summertime is the perfect time to learn how to photograph the moon on the horizon, because with the daylight skies still visible, you have a pale moon against a still blue sky, and that is so much easier to get right photographic -ly, then a full winter moon against a dark black sky. The contrast on that's almost impossible to capture now. You're jumping around the timeline here so so. As we. And we'll get to the full moon. Like but for now what kinds of things either just with your eyes or with a telescope? Are you going to be wanting to see in in the phases leading up to that first quarter? What what what are the advantages of observing at that point? One of the most amazing things to do when you still have that slender slender crescent. Is You can see the daylight. Side of the Moon as that brightness, but you can also see the nighttime part of the moon aluminum by Earth Show Right And The fact that you can see both part simultaneously. Is something. We don't usually think about, but the second you try to take a photo of it. It becomes unavoidable I. It's just they're throwing off your cameras ability to figure out how long it should keep the shutter open. Our Earth is enough. Light scattered off of it to. Change how we see them, yeah. and. I know that. Astronomers are actually thinking of using similar systems that if you could, if you could see the earth, shine reflected, or the the planet shine reflected on the moon. You would actually be able to learn a lot about the planet itself. You can actually see where there are oceans where there are weather patterns, continents, etc, just by the way the light is reflecting off the planet on to the Moon. So if you were able to observe moons around other planets around other stars, you could actually learn a tremendous amount about the planet itself because of that that shine the the thing that I think a lot of people don't realize. Is that the? The shadows on the moon are constantly changing, and so as we get to that core moon. That's when you see large portions the where the essentially the craters are in some of the best relief. As opposed to save looking during film. And there there's. Terminology that I'm going to bring up here. 'CAUSE we'll make the rest of this conversation easier. The brightly illuminated part of the man. That's the day time the dark part is the night time and that line separates. The day from the night is called the terminator. And as you get closer and closer to the Terminator Two, shadow is get longer and longer so. When we're looking at the crescent moon. We're seeing pretty much just shadows and light that set. As the Terminator comes closer towards the Center. We're starting to see the sun hitting directly on the edge of the moon, so the shadows get shorter as we get closer to the edge of the moon, and the longest shadows are on this long stripe that we're looking straight down on in the centre part of the Moon, and think about that like you're here on earth just before sunset, the sun is low in the sky, and the shadows are really long big long shadows, and of course when you're a photographer and you want to take pictures of beautiful mountains. It's called the Golden Hour that's when you take pictures because you get these really long shadows that will that will show all of the features, and it's really highlighted way, and it's the same thing when you're looking at the moon through a telescope through binoculars on the on the one side that is in full illumination. Everything is completely. Sort of hit face on, and you don't get that that. Structure but then right along the terminator you do get much longer shadows and what's amazing. Is that over the course of this month as the as the Terminator Moves Different parts of the Moon luminated at different points. And the the areas of the that were saying where the sun is primarily going straight down. That allows us to see the natural. Contrast between the bright white regular in the Darker Gray Marae of the moon, the two different mineral compositions that we see on the surface. But the places that have those long sprawling shadows that really allows us to see where the craters and where the hills, mountains and volcanoes. The Moon is geologically diverse in its shapes, and to see that that we really need to see the shadow. If you're wanting to do astro photography of the Moon, and you want to take the best possible picture of any crater. Any feature on the moon. You have to figure out when the Terminator is going to be as close as possible to that feature, and that changes day by day even hour by hour depending on how how sort of high resolution you know how close how how much magnification you're trying to bring into your interior, so is actually a lot. Like as an astronomer, you will want to to take pictures of different regions of the moon on different days, and you actually want to plan this out. Today I'm going to go after a today. I'm going to go after the Apollo landing site today, and you just know and there's a lot of interesting features that are revealed like. There's the lunar x and you really see it on a couple of days when shadows are just right. Indiana Jones kind of. And the short summer nights aren't best for this, but during the winter. You can actually go out and start your night with a Nice quarter moon rising, take a look along the terminator. Go observe a bunch of other objects. Come back. And see the the Moon's shadow slowly change over time as more and more things come out of shadow and come into the life so now we shift into that that next portion where we go from the quarter moon to the full moon. That's the Giblets Man Less interesting although the. Find visually. It certainly starts to look just like a full moon to me, but the but the terminator is continuing to move across the moon, eliminate. The moon that you can see. And and for whatever reason a lot of people just find the give moon less satisfying I can't really explain it. It's like crescent is awesome. First Quarter Ma. Gibbs. Who Cares who cares yeah. But that full moon. Yep, it leads to all sorts of of. I WANNA say myths. Optical, illusion and just awesome photography. Yeah, so so you're talking before about being able to take a really amazing picture of the moon as it's rising down by the horizon. And of course, we've all experienced that that moon horizon illusion that it looks like look how big the moon is just as it rises. What's going on there? It's it's just psychology our brain when the moon is high in the sky lacks anything to tell us how bigger how small it is, and so in the vastness of space. Our brain is like Muna small. Yeah, that little tiny moon, but when the moon is low on the horizon, our brain is able to say it's bigger than that tree over there. and. Our our brain is right on. The Sky does appear bigger than that tree, but that doesn't mean it's actually bigger than it is straight overhead and you can learn this by or prove this by going out when the full moon is rising and stick your thumbnail. Stick your pinky figure out what? The pinky yeah. Over the surface of the moon, and then wait for it to get higher in the sky and you'll find. It's still the same finger that covers. And if you want an even more accurate thing, take like a small look at aspirin size. Pill, right and then hold that out at arm's length, and you should same thing. The pilcher just perfectly cover the moon. And then try that. When the moon is down at the horizon and try it again with the moon is really high, and and you've seen some amazing pictures where where people take a picture of the moon every couple of minutes, and so you get these little circles that move up, and the moon stays precisely the same size, the hallway up. It is not changing in size is all in your mind, and yet it's entirely. I'm every time like I never can just rationally go. Yeah, the moon is small just like it always is. It looks huge. It really does and are photos out there that that. Make this illusion, even greater by using massive telephoto lenses, so if you can get a good distance from a building a park, a cliff something you know, the moon is going to rise behind. And Zoom in on it. You can catch a building because it's so far away appearing smaller than the moon on the horizon. and. Get these amazing shots of essentially the moon dwarfing historical places Barnes. There's some amazing videos out on the Internet one of my favorite. Shows People at a park does basically going about their business as silhouettes in front of the Moon, and there are some great apps you can use to calculate where the mood is going to be for this and then free to calculate where you should go to be able to capture the image, but you can also do this. Go out to a park time if you want to try and capture one of these images like the night before the Full Moon Jeff. Run through wait for the wait for the moon to rise, it's going to rise. A little earlier than than the next night. And then you can, you can set everything up and make sure you've got it and then the next night do that another great experiment you can, if you want to observe the moon, because of the full moon is kind of boring to take a picture of you get interesting coloration on the on the surface, but you don't get those craters, because there's no terminator, so there's no shadows. It's just straight on moon, but you can take pictures like take picture one month. With where you absolutely lockdown. How far you're zooming the! Cameras pointing exactly everything the same, and then a month later take another picture hopefully get clear skies of the moon, and then a month later do another one, and then when you compare these different images and stack them on top of each other. The moon will be different sizes. And the other thing you have to watch out for when doing math, though is the moon does wobble a bit in. It doesn't actually wobble its orbit changes enough month to month that exactly where on the rise in its rising and setting is going to vary. I have made the mistake of lining my camera up on the wrong silo in the distance, so don't be me for mistake right right? Right the the. And it goes back to that idea that we get these lunar eclipses and solar eclipses, because every city takes a few months, and sometimes the moon is above the. Plane of the ecliptic in between the earth and the Sun and then other times the Moon is below between the earth and sun, and then every now, and then the moon is directly between the earth and the sun, and so we're that moon is going to appear on your horizon depends on which way we are, and you can. Actually you could practice. It's hard to predict when you're going to see eclipses because you can see. See the moon, moving closer and closer each night each month all from the point that it's rising until it winds up. Of course you have to balance that with the tilt of the Earth, and as the seasons themselves change, etc, but you can get a sense of of when the moon and the earth and the sun are all going to line up, and we're going to get that lunar eclipse solar eclipse somewhere on earth. And lunar eclipses and solar eclipses generally come in groups. We have a solar eclipse tomorrow for some PA planet. Unfortunately, this is a really cruddy alignment, so it's not a total solar eclipse. It's what's called an annual eclipse where the moon is sufficiently far away from the earth that it appears smaller than the sun on the sky. And it's it's also about as bad in alignment is. You can get and still get an eclipse, because instead of getting that perfect. What's called an umbral lunar eclipse when the moon passes through the darkest part of the Earth Shadow? We had earlier this month and we'll have fourth of July weekend. What's called a pen number old eclipse, which is when the moon just gets slightly dimmer, because it goes through the outer part of the Earth's shadow, and it's not very exciting very boring. Yeah down, so as the the moon continues to shift through its phases. What's the next phase? Well third quarter when we're seeing. The illuminated part of the moon has shifted around again. And what do you call a moon that is starting to shift from full moon to new moon. I always get made fun of I. Learned how to say this before by reading it. Yeah, yeah, it's a waning moon here. Let me let me prompt you. It's a waning moon. So for those of you haven't heard I made the mistake awhile back of saying. 'cause, that's what I read. They file and now I was wrong so now now I just avoid the word avoided. Waxes and wanes. I love it. And and here is when you can get back to observing in the early evening, so with the full moon we had the moon rising at again, ignoring planetary tilt in seasons. The moon rising at roughly six PM setting at roughly six am being straight overhead at midnight. That's the glorious thing about the full moon is with you the entire night. It's also the annoying thing. Like. Boone could show up and then you just you just get lost. Let us look at the everything else in the night sky, but no, it's there for the whole night. So the the only thing that's nice about the about the waning moon is that is that it shows up forty five minutes later every day, and so you start observing, and the moon is an up, and then you observe the longer in the moon is an up, and then eventually finally the Moon shows up to ruin your party. And so when you get to that third quarter moon, it's rising at midnight so first quarter is noon third quarter as midnight, and that's the phase of the moon that you have happily at sunrise and joining you until noon the next day now this starts to get at how we can tell if we're looking at a waxing or waning crescent. Do you know this trick of the horns? The Horns? No, the horns point towards what? So when you have a crescent moon on the horizon. And there's no sun you'll see the fat illuminated part of the moon pointed roughly towards the ground, the two horns of the crescent, facing up, and the illuminated part always faces towards where the sonnet right so if the sun isn't visible, that means that that. The Sun has already set and that eliminated. Part that you're seeing that is pointing. Towards. The Sun Sun Blood the horizon and horns are up and. Yeah, it's. It's cool, yeah. Even with the quarter moons, but especially with that crescent moon. You See it absolutely right? The the sun goes down, and then the crescent moon is visible in the sky, and so you can really. You know it's perfectly pointed towards where the sign is, but I even think about that even more when. When you see a crescent moon, or even when you see a full moon, you see a full moon and you just know the sun is behind you. Right. That's where the sun is until you can, if you imagine the universe, is this three dimensional interaction between the Earth Sun and the moon, and you think of the Moon, not as this flat disk in the sky, but as this. Ball and the way it's being luminated points the way towards where the sun is it? You have just this moment where you realize just the geometry of everything involved, and and from that point on, you can always find the sun, even though you can't see this on just by looking at the moon, it's such a neat idea and you know the crescent will always be near the sun in the sky. And it's just cool. I, just like it, and then over the course of the month the night as you say quarter, Moon Third, quarter moon is midnight ish, and then it just keeps going. Through until the and that's. I mean that's often the time when you'll see the moon during the day I find is because you're seeing either being a like a third quarter moon, and so it is rising at say midnight more even like. Two in the morning three in the morning, and then you get up and it's ten in the morning eleven in the morning and there's the moon. Still pointing the way to the Sun. And and exactly I think when people see. It just depends on where they're skies clear so so for me. It's I. Because I spend a lot of time staring at my dogs in the yard, I'm much more likely to catch evening objects right so I see that late afternoon first quarter during daily, and and you absolutely concede the moon during the day no problem and you can even look at it with the telescope repair oculus. It's It's pretty great. I mean obviously be careful on, but you can see features on the surface of the moon during the day. No problem stat bright and learning how to photograph. The Moon I strongly recommend. Start by photographing it while it's up against that. Bright Blue, sky. And then get darker and darker twilight as the seasons progress. Learn it now. And then have it mastered next winter so that you can finally figure out how to get the contrast just right against the nighttime sky. So, it turns out. The Moon is okay, it's. There's some stuff you can do with the moon. It's it's. Both interesting to look at during the day and at night both in telescope. With your own eye and it is fascinating to learn to take pictures of it. Both with a regular wide field view, but also with clean brighter. Telephoto, lenses. All right still we won't give it to the moon just yet. We need it for other things well, course good to have immune around perfect all right well. Thanks Pamela. You have some names this week. I do as always we are brought to you by you. This show wouldn't exist without your support at patriotair dot com slash astronomy cast, and I would like to thank Jordan, Young Berry, Gawain Berko, Roland, Romsey, amazulu Andrew Less Dra David Trobe Brian Cabell the giant nothing. Dan Littman Stephen She shearwater Laura. Huddleston Robert Plasma Paul Jarman just Cunningham less Howard emily. Patterson Adam Anna's Brown William. Jones infant asmal ripple in space time add, Love Science Gordon Dewey Bill Hamilton Sinai Frank Trillion Richard Riviera Joshua Pearson and Jack Mudge. Thank you all so much for all that you do allows us to do all that we. Thanks Pamela and we'll see next week. ASTRONOMY CAST is a joint product of Universe today and the Planetary Science Institute astronomy cast is released under a creative Commons attribution license, so love it, Charlotte and Remix it, but please credit to our hosts Fraser Cain and Dr Pamela Gay. You can get more information on today's show topic on our website. ASTRONOMY CAST DOT com. 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571: Extreme Binaries
"Trying to cast episode five seventy one extreme binary welcome is trying to make Castro weekly fact space journey through the cosmos where we help you understand not only what we know but how we know what we know. I'm Freezer Cain Publisher University with me as always Dr Pamela Gay Senior Scientists for the Planetary Science Institute and the Director of caused request hip. How you doing? I'm doing well. It is finally spring as in. I can go play in the garden up there in Vancouver Island think Ryland. Yeah things are great. The weather is absolutely gorgeous and same thing. I have been out in the garden. The the only downside the robins get up at like four in the morning and they're you know they're breeding at this point to the Chirp Chirp Chirp and so I have one that found the the the really likes the acoustics right outside my room and so I've been getting up at four in the morning and then I have to go and get up and I have to call the window and then I try to get back to sleep and then I can't get back to sleep until you. Ivan haven't been getting a lot of sleep because robin has been singing his little heart out every morning really loud right outside my window. So hopefully he'll find a girlfriend and get lost until then yeah. It's pretty funny but spring. I mean you can't you can't go wrong. That is awesome so we're familiar with regular binary stars two stars orbiting each other simple. Of course the universe has come up with every combination of things orbiting other things and this week we look at some extreme examples are Pamela solicitous. Figure this out. What is a binary star so a binary star is a announced that that needs plural because a binary system is to? Who'S SEPARATE STARS? So a binary star is a system that exists in two stars and they can come in just about any kind of combination of regular star. Compact object Advanced Star Baby Star and they form a whole myriad of different ways. They can either a rise out of a single collapsing molecular cloud where they clapsed into their individual solar system by side-by-side or they can gravitationally get caught up together through some activity in their advanced lives. So when you're looking at a system statistically it's most common that it formed like that but they didn't have to right right and we can talk about that later on but I'm sort of imagining. That's her standard formation gigantic cloud of gas and dust that swirling around and you get like instead of all polling into the middle it pulls into two separate like what are the dynamics. Why doesn't it all just turn into one big star in the middle? Why how can you get multiple stars orbiting around each other so you actually have to fragments in the same molecular cloud? Okay gravitate pulling together and it happens to be that these fragments are close enough that the orbit one another different facts can bring them closer and closer over the years but they formed from two distinct fragments in the same like cloud and the fact that molecular clouds is fragmenting is how we end up with separate stars so the fragmentation is an unusual. These two are close enough that they got caught up in each other's gravity. And so then the vast majority of these situations you end up with some amount of stuff like a stars worth amount or mostly a red dwarfs amount of stuff but every now and then you end up with an extreme amount of stuff. These are very large blobs of gas and dust. And sometimes you just end up with two regular blobs that interact in ways. That are extreme. So we talk about extreme binary stay. We're GONNA talk about a whole lot of different combinations. So it's not just necessarily the amount of material that went into the star and the rain that it took but in fact these stars can interact with each other in really weird ways and 'cause really bizarre effects that we can see okay so so let's sort of break this down. Then when as you define extreme then we've defined binary to stars orbiting each other and start can be all kinds of things so let's define extreme. Give me sort of Sirte classifying. The kinds of extreme things that can happen so so when I'm talking extreme events I I am talking about things that radically 'cause upheaval. In the life of a star that could only happen because this is a binary system that any singular star with not undergo these kinds of well really bad millennia right so you could have a a an enormous gas industrial generate star with fifty times the mass of the Sun. It's an extreme star able then explode as a supernova in an extreme way but that it is not an extreme extreme body because he didn't have a partner to do something even weirder so so then. But let's talk about what some of the recipes you can get what. What are the ingredients? I think they need. They'll start with our ingredients and then we'll mix them into different recipes so I think the the earliest discovered extreme combination. That doesn't actually involve an explosion. Is is the blue straggler. These these are stars that were noticed in globular clusters as being unusually young looking in their lives and in trying to figure out the origins of these individual blue stars. Nothing made sense and at this point in the strong to me we'd been teaching people and saying to ourselves that the space between stars is so great that no two stars will ever collide and we were wrong. We are very wrong right so so for the longest time. Everyone said no no come on. Stars are small space is big. The chances to stars impacting. Each Other. Not Going to happen unless you've got a place were stars are buzzing around each other like angry bees and you've got millions billions of interaction opportunities all the time and some of these interaction opportunities lead to binary star systems for the stars get closer and closer through a variety of different feedback mechanisms Intel. One day those two stars they become one and one extreme merger as always that the the blue straggler or is a blue straggler. Just take you know. A is it a head on collision or is it. Most usually to stars have ended up into orbit around each other and then they eventually just sort of merged together into some well. This is the fascinating thing is. We don't know all the possible mechanisms by which you can get a blue straggler star for the very simple reason that we haven't caught any in the act of becoming blue stragglers. Now we see plenty of super close objects super close binary systems where it's hard to differentiate between the two stars so it's generally thought that these are stars that caught hold of each other or form together right and simply evolved into a single star. But that's still a pretty extreme way to reignite your nucleus synthesis. Okay so that's the one example and you've got to stars regular stars of varying masses. They merged together they get blue. They seem like a baby star where there should be no baby stars and then this star just continues on its life and eventually it fades does whatever it's going to do. Yeah and this is just the beginning of this kind of started. This is the low end normal version right now as you increase the overall mass of the system you get more and more extremes of this extreme in a binary stars life okay. So let swap out some teeth to some tastier ingredients then for this for this recipe. Well there was a rather awesome. Supernova that we talked about in a rather recent episode where it was realized that they had a compact object a standard good old fashioned white dwarf that embedded itself in the atmosphere of is giant star companion and from within that atmosphere. It acquired all the material necessary to go boom as a type one a SUPERNOVA and the shock wave of this ignited the star. It was now inside creating an exceedingly bright Supernova explosion. Right and I mean it's such a crazy idea we talk about extreme That you get this. This star White Dwarf has gone inside the the atmosphere of this other star and then suddenly. It's you know it's an all you can eat buffet when normally there sipping away from some partner all you can eat buffet and then boom and it didn't take long like a couple of hundred years and then it was Kabul and and these kinds of situations where you have these massive objects that are interacting together. A Super Novi may introduce a layer of noise to our understanding of distances within our universe that that could artificially be causing us to see dark energy. We don't know yet. I'm not saying there is no dark energy. I'm saying there is noise in the data. Right that they that when you see I guess at this point we've talked about how a type one eight Supernova is. This thought long thought to be very standard candle. It is when eight. White DWARF GOBBLES UP ENOUGH MATERIAL AND IT explodes. Well what you do when a white dwarf explodes within another star. Or what do you do when a white dwarf has gone through some other process that force feeds it before it actually explodes if you were using it as a standard candle the measure the size of your universe? Suddenly that's no longer necessarily super accurate. So so can we. Can we scale up then? Can we feed other things to stars? Oh Yes yes. And it's not necessarily that you're feeding them into stars but there was an amazing press. Release This Week. That came from a collaboration of collaborations in Europe where using a combination of x Ray and Gamma Ray data and massive computer models. They realized that they can start to explain. Long period gamma-ray bursts as what is one of the most extreme doesn't start out with a black hole binary system. You can imagine this particular situation you start out with your standard carbon oxygen burning massive star. You put it in a binary system with a neutron star so at once upon a time had a companion that was even bigger than it was so used to have two stars one explodes and now it's a neutron star and it's orbiting around this other enormous star and win that second enormous star runs out of the ability degenerate energies and carbon and oxygen. Its core collapses outer layer fires outwards and this mass that is getting shoveled directly towards that companion neutron star will at the least make that neutron star significantly more massive and in some instances will even trigger that neutron star to spontaneously become a black hole so now we have one stars explosion making a second star into a black hole because it can't but it gets worse or better come on this is better. It gets more extreme. Let's go with more extreme that companion that was minding his own business having a regular everyday Tuesday or whatever that has now just become a more massive object all the plasma and everything around it is going to generate a massive magnetic field with a temporary accretion disk that creates a jet and it is the jet around the companion star that it turns out could be that gamma-ray bursts were saying so when we see these long period gamma-ray bursts where optically they have a supernova remnant and in x rays and gamma rays. They have this very short flair of high energy particles. We're seeing the cameras and the xrays associated with the older original neutron star. That may have become a black hole and the visible light associated with the Supernova of that first carbon oxygen massive star and. I mean I just wrapping my head around that right that you've got these two stars. One goes boom now to neutron star going around the star the second star explodes as it explodes. It blows up this material. This material runs into the first neutron star it explodes again but also it's getting spun up and this magnetic field that as it explodes. It's firing out these jets and this I mean these long period gamma-ray bursts are no joke can have one hit us from across the Milky Way and sterilize life on earth. Like like for us. I mean maybe the media the cyanobacteria at the bottom of the ocean or the you know we'll be fine. The water bears but life is in for a rough time and that you could be tens of thousands of of light years away from this event. And that's how stream they are that's manned ending and so these extreme binary are causing a stream of facts that there temporarily brighter than the entire rest of the galaxy a thing aspire towards what happens with black holes. I mean sound like a four year old. Now come on what about? What did you have black holes to this mix so so if you had a black hole hanging out next to that initial star that went boom it would simply go gobble. Gobble Double Mine. It's not exactly GONNA become anything more extreme than a black hole but that can also be generating a jet with a camera and so this this feeds into a piece of research that know I think we talked about this idea that there have been supermassive black hole seen orbiting each other billions of light years away. And there's this regular flash that comes from this enormous supermassive black hole with eighteen billion times the mass of the sun and it has this accretion disk around it evolve material. That's falling in and this second black hole that it merely has about one hundred fifty million times. The mass of the sun is orbiting around it and as it passes through the accretion disk it is causing this flair that we can see. I think it's like two billion light years away. And and so so. In this case we have binary black hole star a former former bass a yeah is creating the accretion disk. So second star is passing through second former Blob of mass black holes at the sides or not former stars their former families galaxies. Who knows. Yeah Yeah how you get. Eighteen billion times. The mass of the sun into one compact area so so blob of mass that became a black hole a creates the accretion disk supermassive black hole be the smaller passes through the accretion disk to create the flashes. And this can only happen in this double system. Yeah and so I mean that's on on a vast scale but there's got to be versions of this on the on the more stellar scale and the trick is finding all of these examples. What what we have been able to find are are the more mundane objects the cataclysmic variable stars where you have a compact companion that is eating mass from. It's either giant or a sequence companion star. That material gets dense enough on. Its Way to be eaten that it explodes that ignites in its own thermonuclear reactions. And the flare up in light is that NOVA THE WORD. Novas just new star and so with these cataclysmic variables. This can happen extraordinarily dramatically and they they come in all different flavors from just a standard white dwarf that will have things crackling around it to neutron stars and Black Holes. Aren't exactly cataclysmic variables? But the energetics of these systems are constantly flaring out in X-rays and generating jets. That are just a smaller version of we see in supermassive black holes and the supermassive black hole. It's not exactly a binary system it's still in mass from the entire rest of the galaxy but in these extreme binary systems we have the black hole happily hungrily eating things from any neighbor that gets to near. Now that's the catch is black holes. Don't always eat. We actually had a triple system that showed up in the news. Recently that was only found because astronomers were looking at a double star what they thought was a pair of stars that were probably orbiting each other and when they went to resolve the orbit of that pair they discovered no they can only explain these motions if they add in a third invisible black hole. That was not eating so not eating black holes. That happen and so. I think that I mean okay. Fine I don't think we want to do another show on extreme multiple star objects. So I'm GonNa let to stars in a black hole into this show this one time so the just this analysis being able to see this is the way that one of the ways that black holes are seeing that we've been know that they exist right. How do you know that thing that that has gravity toe powerful than nothing? Not even light can escape it. How can you even because that sounds invisible? So and so this is thanks to the fact that they do form in binary systems and sometimes China system we can discover them in the first place and the irony is there could be a whole lot more out there that we don't know about because they are orbiting a single star and we haven't done the necessary detail as Strom etry to see that otherwise singular star move are they orbiting the star or The star orbiting. Them it's mutual. It's mutual the vector points. Both directions right well the different vectors each point in a specific direction physics physics and this is the kind of candidate. Object that something like guy would find right to find these objects spinning around each other. They have to be wide enough to get sufficient motion but yes there could be a whole lot of nine jet extreme. Razi eating black holes out there in binary systems that we don't see because we're just not looking. It's it's interesting to think about that. You know you look out into space and you see a star and in fact I think with that triple system you can see with your own eyes. I think you can see the combined. Light of the two regular CR with is in a dark site it. Yes like Jude Sir. Clive magnitude sex. And so just that idea that you look up into space and you can see what you think is a star is actually to stars whizzing around each other is actually actually whizzing around a black hole. The black hole is the system and these are the hangers on but from our eyes. We see just we just see a start. Well looks like a star but actually we're not seeing the true reality of what's in that system blows your mind just to sell many things out there like this where you go from eyeballs to tell us go to bigger telescope and they just keep splitting. Yeah anyone who says double stars are boring. Doesn't understand there's black holes out there folks so so we've sort of extreme object. Interacting with other regular objects got a black hole neutrons black hole orbiting till the stars but these extreme objects will get into shenanigans with each other as well. Oh yes and this is where they they were first detected by James Taylor and his graduate student whose name has escaped me and I feel like a horrible human being. I am sorry James Taylor's graduate student. Who WENT ON TO GET? Nobel prize so I think it's Ok they. They discovered this work. While they're at the University of Massachusetts I think and they were studying binary stars and they found a system where the period of the system was evolving in a way that could only be explained if gravitational waves were carrying energy from the system now since that discovery we have finally finally gotten gravitational wave detectors to actually work still better. You're bitter you're going to have to some point you just gonNa have to relent and just give in like I can understand that it's gobbling something put fire in my belly just is this is what it is is the fairly innocent thing so to the sees the source of your rage is the fact that gravitational waves are delivering the kind of science. You were hoping for as quickly as you would like the timelines timelines fine when you told that something is supposed to be done by two thousand and it doesn't happen till two thousand and turned out. It was hard. I know all right but we need to have some kind of party where you just embrace gravitational waves and we just move forward. Maybe a therapy. We have like a therapy session. A helping work through this. We'll talk happens next because anyway there's lots of good stuff coming anyways. It has been determined that compact acts of a myriad of different masses are all periodically just going from being to objects to one in a release of massive gravitational waves and in some cases bursts of light. And that's the things that were able to theoretically channel all of the detectors of the world from the particle detectors to the light detectors to the gravitational wave detectors to do what is now being called Multi Messenger. Astronomy admittedly gives us one of the worst acronyms in astronomy. Well we did a whole show on this and so go check out the entire show. Yeah because this is the new extreme extreme except for the case of a Supernova triggering another star to become a black hole that to me is still more extreme. Yeah personal choice. I mean I. It's funny to me that that hasn't been picked up by the news as big as important as it probably is so I mean maybe the findings about the the source of long period gamma-ray bursts. I mean twenty seventeen. We learned the source of short period gamma-ray bursts being colliding neutron stars but long period. But still a mystery now. It looks like we probably have the we. We might have serious answer for this and and yet I have been waiting for press releases to come out to talk about this and nobody has. It's weird to me because it's plague times maybe has been distracted trying to deal with everything else going on. Yeah I think it's if true is one of the biggest stories of the year and yet it. So I'm I'm mad. I mentioned this. I warned you that I'm GonNa Steal Your Thunder and absolutely make a video on this because it's so exciting. I do the quick news. You end up looks good. Yeah we'll know normally I feel like I'm the one who sees this stuff. But you just you just nailed a huge story that was completely off. Iradar so thank you but the fact that we can use these enormous black holes coming together in the final moments of of being separate entities and watch how the space time ripples outward but even more kind of magical is with those neutrons stars that we can confirm this collision in both visible and in the gravitational realm is is game changing. We have in the past twenty years pretty much thrown out. Everything except for the basic dynamics in the Astronomy Textbook. I started with yeah like the whole GM over our squared. That is still true. Put The story we tau of how objects interact with one. Another has been completely revolutionized. Is We've realized that spaces mostly empty but things away to interact and it's kind of awesome. Yeah really is cool superfund topic. I hope that gives everybody a lot of really interesting new rabbit holes to go down. Do you have some names for us this week? I do as always weird too so grateful to have an audience of patrons out there who support us in everything we do as always we would not be here without the generous contributions of people like you. It takes a lot of people behind the scenes by which I mean to people but two people we adore and we like to make sure they can eat actually more than two. Nowadays it takes a whole bunch of people behind the scenes to make sure we do everything we do. This episode is going to be produced by Richard Drum. We're going to have Oliver show. Content put together by Beth Johnson Alley. Pelfrey's in the background making sure. Oliver Youtube channels. Just stay on target and we're able to pay our humans a fair wage because US support the show. Thank you and this week in particular. I would like to thank Ryan James Brian Nelson. Kristen Brooks Eric Feren. Enger Martin Dawson Kency up pen flea. Akot dwayne Isaac Frodo Ten Abou- Shun and Humber Justin proctor. Thomas Tubman David Gates Rachael Fry ear and Segev Frederick Jorg Claudia Mass Three Auntie Neuter Dude and Paul L. Hayden all of you for everything you do. That allows us to do everything we do. We are indebted to gear support animals. Y'All week astronomy. Cast is a joint product of Universe today and the Planetary Science Institute. Astronomy cast is released under a creative Commons attribution license. So Levitt it shirt and remix it but please credit to our hosts Fraser. Cain DR Pamela. Gay You can get more information on today's show topic on our website. Astronomy CAST DOT com. This episode was brought to you. Thanks to our generous patrons on patriotic. 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Ep. 548: Stellar nucleosynthesis revisited: In stellar cores & atmospheres
"Okay guys as we know the holidays are right around the corner if you're looking for a gift for the space lover in your life than the space and beyond box is the perfect unique gift your looking for this quarterly. Subscription box is designed to educate and entertain space enthusiasts in backyard astronomers valued at over eighty dollars. Each box contains a unique collection of five to seven. High quality exclusive space related products hand selected by the makers of astronomy from Globes to three D models. Two books and more the space and beyond box will bring the universe to your door whether you're treating beating yourself or looking for the perfect gift for that space loving friend or family member visit space and beyond box dot com and enter the coupon code twenty cast at checkout plus for a limited time only the first one thousand subscribers to the box will get a free lunar. Ar Notebook from Astro reality and free shipping in the US. So what are you waiting for. Bring the universe to your door with a subscription to space and beyond box go go to space and beyond box dot com today and use the Coupon Code Twenty cast at checkout for twenty dollars off your first box episode five forty eight stellar nuclear synthesis. CONSIS revisited par. Welcome just trying to be cast from weekly facts based journey through the cosmos where he helped you understand not only what we know but how we know what we know. I'm Fraser. CAIN AIn't publisher of university with me as always Dr Pamela Gay Senior Scientists for the Planetary Science Institute and the Director of Cosmic West. Hey Pamela how you doing. I'm doing I'm well. How are you doing phrase good? I read that intro in excited way to wake you up wake up. It's it's the last Friday before a week long vacation and my body's like tomorrow you can sleep in. Can we start now. I so I think you need to check the calendar because as always Thanksgiving happened a month ago. We're just always behind the ball here here in the lower forty-eight yeah yeah we in Canada we already did it so Try to catch up now you we. We actually recording two episodes today but we will release them slowly and carefully over the next two weeks where you off to. Is it just for the holiday or you. The plans I am doing friends giving out in California. I'm GONNA see Our good friend Davis Wesley WHO's responsible for the music at the beginning of beach episode and we're going to go ride the Millennium Falcon at Galaxy's edge. Because that's how you celebrate the holidays that that is going to be so great I I would love to go back to Disneyland and see the new you star wars stuff. Even though I have a very low key relationship with star wars these days I have I have I think my childhood this dowager is now I finally just wiped out alltel to this dowager for star wars or maybe the star wars the over. Are you know monetization and release schedule. A Star Wars has finally destroyed my childhood Love Star Wars but would love of to to trial that stuff. That sounds pretty great. You GotTa let me know how it works. I totally will and you can follow along on instagram. Because I suspect there will be pictures. I now the expand season four Hertz December twelve th which is my birthday. I know I'm so excited. The universe started out with hydrogen and helium and a few other elements. But all around us there are other more proton rich elements we believe. These heavier elements formed stars but which stars and at what point in their lives today. We'll update our knowledge with the latest Science Pamela. The fact that there are certain amounts of hydrogen and helium with trace amounts of lithium. These are this is one of the best indications and that the Big Bang is a thing it and yet and yet. I'm sitting on a chair. Surrounded by house living on a planet in there's not as much hydrogen helium and trace amounts of lithium in all of these things and so these heavier heavier elements had to come from somewhere exactly exactly and this is actually a story. They usually get simplified far for more than it should and over the past few years. Different things. Keep coming up during our show that require us to realize that nuclear Synthesis isn't just something that happens in the cores of stars it isn't just something that occurs when stars explode. It's something that occurs in all sorts parts of weird and awesome places that lead to well high hydrogen three sorry that lead to helium three on the moon and while too weird and esoteric elements like techniques in the atmospheres of stars. And I thought well it was time to come back and fill in some of the gaps that we left when we tried and cramped all of nuclear synthesis in the one episode in the past. Do you remember how long ago it was that we covered nucleus view synthesis. It was a long time ago. I WanNa say it was somewhere around year one or two. Yeah it would have been one of the topics that we would have gone after early on and there there have been events and there has been new knowledge that is updated the whole process. And you think so much that it's a two parter so so let's see so so weird you want to which parts of joy to cover today. So I think that we start with The Big Bang and we end with the death of a non exploding star and get all the nucleus synthesis that occurs in those places. It's okay all right so we'll start with the big bang then so initially as we've talked about a bunch in these episodes our universe was just a big old ball of energy and as that energy expanded and cooled and expanded and cooled less than three minutes after it start. Our entire universe was similar. Conditions to the inside of a start now it wasn't identical. We didn't have the same kinds of reactions that happen in stars but the energy the density the temperature of everything that was present was such that hydrogen atom course so products were able to come into existence and these protons Clyde with one another. We were able to get helium. We're able to get some lithium we're able to get some beryllium electrons weren't really bothered at this point because it was just a soup of hot ionized everything everything now. I WanNa make just one quick sort of distinction here so I mean you said that it's a ball of of energy the and and that's a bit of a misnomer just because it could've gone on forever could have been infinite in all directions just highly dense right this. Yes that's true. I as said slip of the tongue convenient Gave Our universe shape. We don't know if our universe has a a finite to it If it does we're a four dimensional hyper Toroitich a donut. Not all but we were basically big old something right right. Something that could have been funny. Could've gone on forever. And when we think about a star right we imagine the gravity is pulling in on the star. The light pressure is pushing out on the star and and that balance created the shape of the store and and yet at the very core of the star. You've got the place where the magic happens. Where the fusion is going on and it is because these atoms of hydrogen in our mashed together so tightly in and at high temperature that you get this that you get this fusion and so how was you said? It wasn't exactly the same as as what's going on in a star and I kind of imagine it like it was rushing through this phase from whatever came before when it was just like this court glue on plasma to expanding galaxies. Moving away from each other. There was this transition point and that's all that magic happened. How was it different well? In in the early universe you had a peace process Proton process buildup that allowed you to get that lithium and beryllium in in the centers of stars you. You don't have have this instead. What you have is the per ton per tonne chain that allows you to get from one kind of hydrogen to other kinds of hydrogen and eventually up to helium but but then it skips up the carbon and so because we have different temperatures different densities in the cores of stars this constant S- play of protons which is what basically the entire early universe was well? We don't have that in the the core of stars so without the rapid flux of protons onto Adams. You don't end up building up lithium in Berlin in the same way right and so I mean there are. There are multiple ways that heavier elements get built up and the environment of what's going on defines whether protons are being mashed together Internet helium or or as you mentioned this this other the chain so okay so you've got this this time. How long do we know about how long this was going on? For all the exciting parts of our universe from the moment of expansion that was the inflationary epoch through two big bang nuclear synthesis emphasis all of that was over by the end of three minutes so yeah it was super brief to basically get us us to everything we have today and if it lasted longer than would we see more say lithium and beryllium in the the universe and helium like a different different quantities different ratios yes the the ratios that we see do help constrain. What the process was was and tell us that our understanding of the Big Bang is a realistic one so when we talk about the Big Bang it includes this big bang they clear synthesis? That's incredible. I mean it's incredible that you measure the ratios of these elements in the universe. And then that tells you how long the universe was behaving like a star and wasn't long and this is one of the amazing things about our universe. Is the physics works the same. No matter are how you put stuff together and so during the Big Bang we had high energies. We had a massive flux of protons. Were able to build up heavier elements now now as as we look around our universe we still see the periodic influx of protons with sufficiently high energies. The were able to to build these elements again. Except here. What we're looking at is cosmic rays and cosmic ray SPL -ation being responsible for processes Cisse's that in the past only occurred during the Big Bang? So we still have a negligible buildup of lithium beryllium that occurs from car that occurs from cosmic rays hitting other particles and building up. We're splitting things apart and breaking down to get us to these atoms. That's really cool. And so even though we don't have we can't look at the Big Bang directly we can watch as cosmic raise impact detectors impact the planet and and produce the same cascade particles. And you could see that exact same process happening and and the way we often figure out what's going on is we simply look around and we go that thing. That doesn't match expectations funds based on our bad prior understanding and so we have to upgrade our understanding to match what we see so in in the case of nuclear synthesis. Our understanding came from the fact that we looked at the sun and we looked at geology. And we couldn't explain fine. How this son had existed for so long? Given all of the energy generation mechanisms we understood people did crazy calculations. It's like figuring out how much total energy and how long could this sun burn for. If it was made of something that functioned like coal. Yeah right and it doesn't work so these valiant effort it was a valiant effort but the amount of energy released in such inefficient processes As burning organics which is what you're doing with coal that camp power star for the Geologic Times that we were beginning to realize had existed existed so in the early nineteen hundreds with the advent of quantum mechanics with advances in electromagnetism with the beginning. General relativity relativity. We also saw nuclear nuclear fusion. Coming out all at once all of these understandings just arising in a few short decades and it changed how we look at our son allowing us to see that in main sequence stars. Another thing was being figured out at the same period of time. Gravity crushes down the star and it gets supported outwards by light pressure these. These are the equations equations of Hydro Static Equilibrium Chandrasekhar has some of the best explanations of this and you can figure out for each combination of radius and mass what the internal density will be what the internal temperature will be and what nuclear actions that allows to happen right and so then you had mentioned earlier on that there are different kinds of nuclear reactions going on the cores of stars then the kinds that we see that we would have seen at the beginning of the universe So we start off with the Proton Proton chain and this is where we slam together to helium atoms. Were able to get off two hydrogens and a helium four her and and not helium that we started with going into that final result that gives us a helium four which is stable that started with we paired haired together two hydrogens they gave us a deterioration and a regular hydrogen and deteriorate is a hydrogen with neutron. We then climbed those together the other regard helium three. We combine those helium threes. We got a stable element and one of the defining characteristics of nuclear synthesis is. We're going from something that was stable and hanging around able to get heated up and compressed through quite often really unstable short lived thing and then we're eventually building to something stable and that helium four atom Adam that is stable. And once you have that you're able to start doing even more. It must have been damaged. have been real puzzle right that so you think about like if you sit down and try to figure out the math the particle physics math and you take your hydrogen atoms and you try a a fusing them together into more complicated things like a stable helium. You can't get there from here that that that the outcomes will be stable and so must have been an incredible leap of of imagination to say okay. So maybe they're a bunch of intermediate unstable forms that are being pushed together and those are then turning into the stable forms that that were familiar with to get from hydrogen to helium and an additional leaps. Were also needed where they had to figure out. Okay why is it that these things is that have proton which rich cores and should be repelling each other. How is it that they can finally get close enough? How is it that we can overcome these different forces forces? Where are those pockets of allowed reactions where we can overcome the repulsive forces is where we can get new things into the nuclei and we can allow these processes to happen that particular helium for that is a really really annoying Adam to try and get past because it is so stable and this is where you really need to have a significant burning burning process already in place before you can start well building it up into other things as well Helium four wants to stay helium for. It's annoying that way right right. And so ideally it would degrade and then you'd have a transition that you could then use to go go to a heavier element and we just don't have this and this is where instead what we have to start looking at is what are the cords of star seated with. This is where we start looking at. Is there any existing carbon around that can have nuclear actions with hydrogen Once you can get Harvard. Carbon and hydrogen going together now you're producing nitrogen which produces more carbon Dot Carbon can then produce more nitrogen and you just have this ongoing cycle of carbon nitrogen and oxygen. That's building and building release releasing more elements as it goes and does that happen inside a star like the sun or does it have to be a heavier star. I this this can happen in stars like the Sun. Okay and what's cool rule is it couldn't happen in that first generation of stars because there wasn't the hydrogen there wasn't the carbon to seed this particular cycle Michael so it's kind of like a catalyst in another kind of reaction where you can't have the reaction of the catalyst and so once you were able to get that carbon from some other the death of other stars then that could see these stars and they could help with that. That's really interesting. I like that and than our sun doesn't currently have this reaction wing on just to be clear. This is something that can happen later. If its core heats up which is possible apple later on But when you have bigger stars stars that are one point. Three one point four times. The mass of our Sun and their core is actually dominated by this process. When they're on the main sequence so when we talk about main sequence stars burning hydrogen in their core? We're talking about the majority by a number but not the majority by type because there's a whole lot of bigger stars out there right right and I think where this toll told conversation is going. It's just the fact as I mentioned earlier on right. which is that? I'm you know I'm made of meat. I'm sitting on a chair. I mean a house the House of me too carbon. The I'm breathing an atmosphere of nitrogen right all of these heavier elements. So how do they get out of the star. Because why doesn't the star just there's a Lotta grabbing dies in. Just hang on to all of it and then we never get well re dealing with a bunch of different processes here so I first of all stars like our own Sun I. They're eventually going to run out of fuel in their core and the core is going to quietly lightly collapsed down into a white dwarf while the outer atmosphere puffs off and through various dredging processes mixing processes. You can churn up material the trail from deepen the start the outer layers. That's one way that you can release some of these elements and what's cool is we've talked talked about the nuclear fusion going on in the core somewhat. We've we've talked about main sequence stars. We have the helium production. We have seen production on the story that we talk about all the time is bigger and bigger stars can build bigger and bigger atoms in their core burnings Silicon burning neon eventually. Getting us us all the way up to iron and The issue is where do other elements come from that aren't formed Supernova and this is where the outer atmosphere of stars are actually an often ignored production site. Oh that's really interesting. So what's going on there. So our our son in in the process of going through all these different activities is giving off neutrons. And when you give off a neutron you are bombarding the outer layer of your star with neutrons and these neutrons fronts. When they hit the atom when they hit the atomic cores of atoms in the atmosphere they can build up there and and so? This is a matter. Better of you. Clyde those two hydrogens together in that Proton Proton chain and one of the byproducts shooting off is that neutron so that neutron goes flying out it hits the core of an atom now aren't always stable and if you build up a whole lot of neutrons John's in the outer In the atoms and in the outer part of the Star those atoms over time too many neutrons and they're going to undergo Oh Beta decay processes where those neutrons get transferred into protons building. A heavier element so essentially slowly building things up the periodic table and the way we figured this out is the existence of techniques in the outer layers of stars. And any of you who are out there who've ever had to do high resolution spectroscopy of stars. You know what I'm talking about here because you tell me and that a real thing that just sounds like a made up word from stargate or something it does it does. It's it's totally a real thing. And and it's this really annoying metal atom that has all these electrons shell layers that it loves to have so many spectral lines lines. You're going through trying to measure your elements and every third line feels like coming from this one annoying metal that's unstable and it's it's shelf life. It's half life is is such that you wouldn't expect to ever find it in a star because the stuff that star was formed out of by the time you're seeing techniques in the outer atmosphere looking at red giants for instance. It should all be decayed away. H shoot sued. Not Be there. So when you see the outer atmosphere of a star a short-lived Adam that Adam had to form in that atmosphere and and this is how we figured out there over to called s process atoms slow process neutron capture elements like techniques. Sim that are getting built. Built up in the outer atmospheres of stars as these neutrons fly out and get captured. So some of the elements that were dealing with not not techniques him But many other things that we're dealing with lead for instance the only way to explain these peaks that we see in in the the ratios of Adams in the periodic table is to see these elements as forming through s process us in atmospheres of stars giving release during the Planetary Nebula phase getting released in solar winds getting blasted out across the universe to be recycled into worlds like ours. Right and so so the stuff. That's in the core of it doesn't go full Supernova the stuff in the core. It's Dan it. Stay in air. And so that's why a a like the Sun will eventually turn into a gigantic diamond right when it cools when it cools down and crystallizes. And you just this get the all these carbon atoms in lockstep with one another and good luck. Chipping a chunk of that thing off and and and selling it It's locked in and so it's not available to cede another star but this these heavier elements that are constantly being constructed in the outer atmospheres of stars and then being easily blown away because that's where the solar wind is emanating. That's absolutely fascinating to due to imagine this stream of stellar material. That's firing out into the surrounding Nebula to then act as a catalyst for future stars and this is the way that we just don't think about atoms forming and it's one of these things where there's so many different ways that we end up with neutrons and there's so so many atoms that can only be explained from various parts of of Bismuth to Tony 'em to to even more more elements of of lead where we're relying on the s process to get at the things that we see in the sky and see in our tables chairs ars and selves and and so really any place where you're getting neutrons mushed together. You're potentially getting those those neutrons decaying and in turning into protons of various and the catches. This happens in two ways. There's a slow process. which is the one that we've I just finished? Well we've just hit on won't say we've ever finished the discussion. But there's also rapid process which is where you have a blast asked of neutrons from an exploding star but that I think is a topic for the debt is going to be the next episode so people are going to have to stay tuned. was there anything else you wanted to cover for this episode. I think the last thing we should probably hit on is the other way that we end up with. Nuclear Synthesis is as a cosmic ray splash which we sort of touched on and this is really cool because of how it affects lithium brilliant. And it's the time kind of thing that when we're looking out at the interstellar medium we often talk about the search for super Ah unprocessed raw interstellar materials that represents what came out of the Big Bang but that unprocessed process material. When it gets hit by cosmic rays this cosmic ray S- play Asian is is enriching that material? And so we actually have in the cold night cosmic rays changing these clouds now to to be entirely fair. This is such my process it. It doesn't even like raise a belief on our radar. But I think it's cool and worth noting and when you think about overtime over billions of years with the enormous number of cosmic rays. They're firing through the universe all the time striking striking atoms. It's not zero. It's not zero and so when we look at at these clouds that may have been enriched by like a single Supernova not enrich material. It's getting broken down as we watch getting turned into these lightest lightest elements. And that's kind of awesome. That's really cool. All right well Supernova all the explosive event that is That is next time. Thanks Pamela do you have any names for this week. We're here thanks to you. Wonderful humans who have the patience to not just be listeners which I don't think really requires requires any patients but you actually like go to the Internet and go to Patriot Dot Com and support us. Which means we can pay Susie and Dan? And this is a good thing and and So I WANNA thank Jason Gram Brett Peterman a Newt Sar Donald Donald Mondays William Jones Father Practice Got Bieber Bart Flare Andrew. Stevenson Kenneth Ryan Jason's Jason Smart Ski Matthias Hayden Martin Dawson Russell. Pepito Dan Lightman Glenn mcdavid and Benjamin Jamin Davies each week. We thank a group of our patrons and you're the ones that came up this week and we are so grateful that you're part of our community eighty thank you everybody. Thank you Pamela. We'll see next week. I'll buy thank you for listening to astronomy cast a nonprofit resource provided by the Planetary Science Institute Frazier Kane and Dr Pamela Gay. You can find show notes and transcripts for every episode at astronomy enemy cast. You can email us at info at astronomy cast dot com tweet us at astronomy cast like us on facebook and watch us on YouTube YouTube. We record our show live on youtube every Friday at three PM Eastern Twelve PM Pacific or nineteen hundred ut. See Our intro. The music was provided by Dave as of Wesley the ultra music is by Travis. Searle and the show was edited by Susie Murph.
Ep. 577: Mars in Opposition
"Trying to cast episode five, Seventy, seven, Mars in opposition. Wadham to astronomy, cast our weekly facts based journey through the cosmos where we help you understand not only what we know. But how we know what we know I'm Fraser Cain publisher, of Universe today and with me as always Dr Pamela Gay a senior scientist for the Planetary Science Institute and the Director of Cosmic Quest Pamela. Welcome back from Summer Hiatus I missed you. Thank you. I've missed you too although I have to say it feels like we're like experiencing march. Two. Hundred instead of September at this point time has meaning it doesn't it really has no meaning. Yeah. Yeah. It's a it's a it's a snake in a circle eating its own tail. Made of everything nothing at the same time. I don't know whether I'm coming or going. The days just blur and yet time just takes forever. When do I get my vaccination? You are you are you on I was thinking about this really want to do what I want to go places and see people. That's what I do. To to have gone from having that amazing experience in January where we were together in Hawaii for the W. S meeting. And towards the end of that meeting, we were starting to talk about the news about this strange illness in China and remember the Thursday night on. Talking with a couple of my friends at the conference about. Just want to get home before the illness makes it to Hawaii. And I had no idea that. Nine mice be earlier. Still Yeah, no I guy I had my suspicions but. In. And now I you know we do feel like we're closing in now on the final stretch that more and more vaccines are coming into into the final stage of trials, and there's going to be some kind of roll out but I really hope that that herd immunity will start to get kicked in and we can start to see the end of this hopefully during this season. So we will we will and herd immunity from. Thanks. From getting sick. So we will. Exceed the end of it during the season and. Regular life will return. This season fourteen, our show is major and I feel that having a very cranky year is consistent with going through our teenage ness. Thank you bye-bye. Now this is. All right, every two years or so Mars lines up nicely with the earth it takes only two minutes to communicate with the Rovers. You could see the polar ice caps in a small telescope and it's the best time to send your spacecraft to the Red Planet and also I. Guess. It Mars opposition. Between Your horoscope your Mars horoscope is really good that other works. Maybe, that's Mars in retrograde. That none lucky time. They can happen at the same time whereas in retrograde and an opposition. Yeah. That's true. All right. So so so we're going to talk about how Mars and opposition is a really like the best time for Mars that's Mars really takes over the night sky and shows us what it's got but. Why is Marzano Position? So technically, it is that moment in time when you have the sun, the earth and Mars precisely lined up so that at midnight on earth. Mars is at its highest possible point in our terrestrial sky and if you were to look at it from space. Walk. Would they look from above you're looking down on the solar system and you're looking at? Earth Mars and the sun what would you see? Align they're just nicely in a line. And There's some years where because Mars orbit is a lot more elliptical than earth orbit that we are noticeably closer. There's some years that were noticeably farther apart of back in two thousand and three. There's a lot of Hoopla because we were than. We'd been in hundreds of years would be for another hundred some odd year. He was fifty thousand years was the closest yet had been. Two Thousand and three. And at these closest points, we are more than twenty million miles closer than we are during opposition when Mars is at its far points. So there is a substantial difference, but in the grand scheme of things. Mars is still smaller than allows to see it as a desk without. Really good binoculars or a telescope. So but just to give just to give people a sense of perspective, I mentioned this the beginning of the show it takes two light minutes to communicate with Mars just over two minutes right now we'll win Mars you not position until you can. You know you send your beep boop commands to your over and you're over goes beep boop and sends back it's commands and it's just like you're playing a video game with. Fairly reasonable times, but when Mars is. Old Dial up modem exactly. An Internet game what it gets worse right on average the a the time to transmit to Mars is about twelve and a half minutes and at the very worst when Mars is on the opposite side of the Sun It's twenty minutes. So if you want to send some piece of information to Mars, you've got to wait twenty minutes for the message to get there and then twenty minutes to come back. So. The distances are really significant. And what's interesting is because it takes Mars. Seven hundred some odd days. Mars year six, hundred, Eighty, seven days to be precise to go all the way around the sun. What we're looking at is every year. The Earth has to go all the way around the sun. And because Mars is chugging along, we go all the way around the sun and now Mars is over there and we're trying to catch up and we're trying to catch up and were only able to catch up every. Two plus years. And when we finally catch up. It's it's this grand observing time but right before we finally catch chop is the launch win right to Mars which is a very important thing. So we'll talk about the second with the observing and then we'll talk about the launch window so. If you've just with like the unaided eye without a telescope Mars is super obvious in the sky. And and it appears quite red and as we get closer and closer to it being an opposition and this year, the opposition is going to be on October thirteenth. And aggregate closer and closer to opposition. It's going to actually appear towards the end of this month September to be brighter Jupiter. And at that opposition, it is going to. Non. Only be brighter than Jupiter but it's going to appear to be twenty, two point, six arc seconds across, which is still really tiny. Small to see with your eyeballs but this is starting to be like the size of some of the craters we reasonably look at on the moon. It's one eighty second the size of the greatest point. and. The alignment in time is such that we have that Mars at opposition on. October six and on October third. On Mars is basically as bright as it's going to get basically as big as it's going to get a couple of days don't make a huge difference. It's going to be one point one degrees away from the full moon. So there's going to be this fabulous moment where in a completely reasonable camera shot. You're going to be able to get the full moon and Mars right together and trying to get the exposure times correct to get both well, isn't going to be as ours does it usually ends people and then we're GonNa get all those people saying how come I never noticed that Bright Red Star beside the moon before. When people stand at the Moon Moves Mars Moves Mars getting brighter and dimmer that that's not a star. It is the moon that you've got the moon part, right but. There's a shocking number of people who don't realize that the moon isn't in the CY. Idaho Idaho. Through phases at people system look up normally when interesting things are happening in the full moon is out the full moon rains on the parade. With its light. But in this case, Mars will be bright enough that no problem full moon user telescope look at the Moon Look at Mars. They'll both look great and Saturn and Jupiter bolted to be up in the sky at the same time. Yes and and. We saw those worlds go through their opposition during the summer. So this is really a great time to go out and observe planets and given the observing conditions. In most of the country, you can't see many stars. It's either cloudy all or smokey because the west coast of North America's on fire. But planets are going to be one of the few things capable of cutting through thin hayes and. Up the, planets are so bright even in a city. If. You've got any kind of telescope. Now is your chance to to see all of the best objects at their closest brightest like really like all the hits are are going to be out in one night. Saturn Jupiter Mars at opposition and the Moon. This is the time. So, let's talk about the launch windows then and why it's such a great time to send spacecraft to Mars. Now this really comes down to we like fuel efficiency in our rockets, fuel ways a lot, and so the easiest way to get to Mars is to use what's called a Hohmann. Transfer orbit. And this is an orbit where. It's highly elliptical and the shape of the orbit is such that the orbits closest to the sun is at the earth and when you're transferring to Mars the furthest point from the sun is at Mars and you need to launch when the alignment of Earth Mars is such that you get to Mars orbit. The same time Mars gets to that point its orbit. And, you can do this for ideally you want to be about six weeks before opposition when the earth is still lagging behind Mars waiting to catch up to Mars in the orbit. and. There's a window you change your velocity is needed. You change the shape of your orbit as needed and Matt will get you to the right place at the right time. So right before opposition, we always see this grand lineup of spacecraft trying to make the trying to get themselves complete and launched and on their way to the world that is most likely to eat them. Instead of let them do science right because if they don't, how long do they have to wait, they have to wait another. Two. Plus the release your deadline you're you've gotta like wait with your spacecraft. Keep your team going for another two years? Yeah. So we're looking at the correct alignments occur roughly every seven hundred and eighty days. It's a wait. Yeah. So, this batch, the twenty twenty Mars opposition batch who went to the Red Planet. So we saw hope launching from an Arab nation. This was the first time that had occurred. We had Tian Wen one, and of course, the Mars Twenty Twenty rover with its helicopter and I've got to say no mission has previously filled my inbox with the verve of the March twenty twenty. System have you. Gotten used to spelling it's it's. Pet name perseverance. I'm in the camp of calling. person. Per Percy so it's per. Sever. Aunts. That's how I do it. Her sever aunts Percy define fine called Percy. That's. Why not? And if you're not following the Mars Percy twitter account, it is delightful and worthy was that the official one now or or like one of those Hilarious Lake. Okay. Okay. Like the Sarcastic rover twitter feed. Yes. Yeah. It is truly delightful following the journey. and they're keeping up with the science. Nicely. So what do we know about these about these missions I mean it's great right? was at the you the. and. China. The ten one and the. Perseverance from NASA three different and the could have been fourth but somebody didn't make their deadline. That would be the Rosalind Franklin rover from the European Space Agency. They were working to land a heavy rover for the first time and getting the parachutes right is. Really hard and they did everything they could try and hit their deadline but they decided they would be better off and their spacecraft would have a better chance of survival. If they just held back one more cycle and well tried again and twenty three, we could see that one coming they. They were having a lot of trouble with that parachute system. It's it's. A very similar parachute system to the one that curiosity and perseverance we're using, and they were pretty sure that they had it all figured out and then they were just having more and more trouble just making the whole system work and they do these really great high atmospheric tests for they'll take the spacecraft on a sub orbital rocket they'll release at the right. At sort of. A model of this? Yes. Yes or yes model the parachute in a model, the spacecraft, and then they will it will try to enter the atmosphere at the same density that Mars's atmosphere is when it will be doing entry and then they have to make sure that the parachute will deploy all properly and and couldn't pull it together and NASA. At the last minute actually assisted, them sent some engineers to help them try to get together. Let them use the Muse a test facility to try and speed up some of the iterations and in the end they just couldn't get it to come together as quickly as they needed to for safety sake and better take to break and. It's it's one of these things where it's a really hard call to make I I know that I remain. Heart pounding about including that helicopter, which was very much a last minute decision. In terms of the time line to build a spacecraft but. The, the way that I'm trying to look at it is Percy is built on the same frame as curiosity, the same basic infrastructure with updated instrumentation. So they they weren't designing from the ground up, they were designing from frame up. And so that gave them a little bit of a buffer zone to add in a helicopter at the last moment. So let's talk about the purpose. Let's run through these missions and so what is the what is the purpose of and I'm going to call it perseverance? The purpose of this. It's a sample collector and It is out there literally starting to do essentially fossil hunting on Mars. They're collecting samples they're starting to look for Ganic. Materials. and. With with curiosity, they collect samples and then they poop them out because they only have so much space on board and once they've completely processed a sample, it's it's out the door. with with perseverance on the other hand, they're actually filling up canisters of samples in hopes that someday a second spacecraft will come and they're going to be able to take their canister and handed off so that that canister can be brought back to Earth. Now, this is a high risk possibility I spacecraft work with what are called landing ellipses where we know fairly well were spacecraft should end up on the surface of world, but the landing ellipses are fairly larch. And Rovers, don't move very fast. So it becomes an issue of will we eventually be able to safely land a return vehicle close enough to perseverance to clicked the sample And Then bring the samples safely back to Earth. So there's the landing close enough. There's the doing the handoff and the returning all the way back to Earth are all high risk but that is one of the ultimate goals, the copters actually just a test, a concept it doesn't have a lot of science planned for it. They basically want to see does this concept work? and not a quad copter people. It's an actual bonafide helicopter with two rotors. Yeah Central Rotor balancing. Pretty big. Like it's it's not the cutral-co. PIC-. It's like several feet across like it is a large vehicle. You have to have a really big propeller when the atmosphere is that thin. So the body the. Basically propeller to mass ratio. is very different from what we have here on earth where we're used to propellers that are roughly the same length is our helicopters here the propeller is substantially bigger than the body of the helicopter. When does it? Win Will Get there With these missions were generally looking at about a six month travel time. In this case we're looking at. Mars perseverance will get their mid-february February eighteenth. In fact, we're GONNA have this whole flock of them all landing roughly the same time. Yeah or Trishaw. So, and I mean the thing I really love about about perseverance the you talked about the samples that it's going to be retrieving i. mean the NASA has been building this case for the search for life. On Mars they've been following the water and. With your opportunity. was there ever water mars? The answer is yes. Curiosity. was there water on Mars for long periods of time? The answer is yes. Is were there conditions that were good for life the kinds of chemicals that you would want to have for life? Maybe even the by products of life this is the first. That possibly will detect ancient life the residue of ancient life on on Mars. And it will be the follow-up up mission. The sample return you talked about, that's going to be the one that actually brings these samples home and and and then designed to crack them open and take a look at them. All right. So we will perseverance is going to do. And the helicopter helicopter is as you say, it's just really it's an experiment like. This is they're not going to depend on a ton of science what what will the helicopter do? It will flip about there'll be a handful of attempts to flit. It's aiming to go tens to hundreds of meters of, but this isn't going to be a way that they greatly increase the distance that the rovers able to travel. This isn't a way that they're going to scout ahead although that would be cool and it wouldn't surprise me if they decided to use it to scout ahead. As always with these tech checks. They don't make a lot of promises ahead of time. But then they often figure out. Oh, this thing does actually works far better than we thought it would right right. So the so the expectation is that they're GONNA fly a couple of times they're gonNA crash it because that's what happens when you have a toy helicopter, right? You just crash it. It's. Just within I, don't know about you but I've gotten tons. Yeah. You kidding. That's like the first thing you do with the helicopter. Crash it a drone. Or hit in your hair at that's. Right. So there's no trees on Mars Zohair on Mars. So I like their chances of at least flying a couple of times, but it's got a little solar panel on it. It's got a little battery. So once it takes off and gets to work. It'll just as you say befitting around ideally staying close to perseverance but not necessarily. There there's calms limitations, but that's the out. It's really Kinda. Cute and cool. But the I, mean for had cute and cool as this is a pack of lightweight flying helicopters like this for future missions or fever human explorers to fly around and provide some kind of external scouting will be incredibly valuable because right now when you think about the rovers, they're just on the ground there looking around, they see what they. Can See from their perspective. They can't see that rock that's just over that hill all they can see what they can see right and what the satellite pictures will will show them. So that's great. All right. Let's talk about the mission hope. So hope is going to follow in the footsteps of the trace mission that NASA has and it's going to be working on studying the atmosphere of Mars looking at atmospheric loss. And helping US understand. What is the rate at which Mars loses atmosphere so that we can better model what may once have been and better explain why you can't tear a Mars people. You cannot tariff on Mars, stop asking whole I just heard a thousand hearts break. Yeah What I also love about this mission is they they launched on a Japanese rocket. And out of nowhere well, like Japan. And so I, mean in terms of like with Mars perseverance, the amount of grand ceremony associated with this launch was truly a thing to behold it was a spectator sport. With hope like we knew when the launch window was, we knew there'd been some weather issues and their windows open they launched no fanfare. Just got it. Done. I think we had a few hours notice that the countdown clock was go. So the simplicity of it was deeply pleasing. It's let's just wait and see Mars eats things don't do this Ramani and the. As as I've mentioned in the past of Mars, eat speeds for breakfast. The, and then the last one is the tin one, which is the Chinese. Orbiter and rover, and this is going to be very similar to the Chong of four. mission. That's currently that yeah. Yes. The it's following in the footsteps of. Of the Moon where we've seen them putting an orbit communications satellites that are also imagers, which is a tradition we've long had and then landing these rovers that use the orbiter's to relay their communications back to Earth so that they don't need to consume as much power with their transmitters. They've mastered that being the first nation to explore the far side of the moon, and now they're taking lessons learned and seeing how their luck fares at the Red Planet. Now, they've got a bunch of regular old. Roveri stuff that's going on it's you know does look similar to the one that's going to the moon but the piece of technology that's on board that's very exciting is the ground penetrating radar and with ground penetrating radar, we can start to answer. About. Is Their frozen house wars of water under neath the surface. What is the density? We can use ground penetrating radar here on earth to figure out what are the subsurface conditions of the Tundra hours soil whereas that ice it's one of the ways that we find old buildings buried in farmers fields. We're not gonNA find that on Mars, but it is going to help us answer questions that insight has. Really confused us with insight was supposed to have this mole that buried itself under the ground basically discovered that Mars ground just falls apart when the hammer on it. With with the ground penetrating radar, we're going to start to be able to see what is the the density structure of the soil as a function of depth and start to understand is this just layers of built up sand mixed with ice? Is there bedrock? Where is it is new ice? It's yeah it's super exciting. Yeah. Yeah. The the thing that we saw. People. Remember there was this study that came out from the Chinese agency. About six months ago maybe we're talking about the the the the the rover, or the lander on the moon was able to see down into the regular and see how deep the regular goes and and how it turns into just larger larger jumbles of rocks until it turns into the bedrock and it's quite deep to imagine being able to to to drive around and see the cow thickest. How deep is the sand are the positive water Are there even other interesting things? Salty briny solutions underneath to to change with the seasons so. You know with this vision, they're bringing a pretty exciting piece of technology to the surface of Mars. So it's a great. Way To to what's happening on Mars and and I just like I know this is probably never going to happen, but it would be amazing if they just happen to find gorgeous lava tubes that are beautifully empty you right next to. All sorts of underground cool deposits that we can eventually imagine going and exploring and the likelihood of something like that is legs zero. But that doesn't make actually zero but to see one that's pristine like not with the not with the whole, the roof cracked open. Yeah, yeah that right? Exactly. Good so I think everyone I. Hope you've got your preview for the Mars opposition. With your eyeballs, you're gonNA see Mars brighter and Brian Brighter, and then you're GonNa remind all your friends that that that Bright Star beside the moon isn't a star. It's the planet Mars in opposition, and then you will watch over the next six months after that the coverage and we get to go through the whole seven minutes of terror again as perseverance follows fiery. Trail the curiosity left entering the atmosphere Mars. So the dates to remember our October third, we're going to have the moon and Mars one point, one degrees apart and on October sixth. If you WANNA drag people out and have a reason to look up. Well, that's when Mars is at opposition and we'll be straight overhead at midnight ladd attendant February eighteenth will be the. Landing for perseverance I'm sure will bring it to you live. We did the last one I'm sure we'll do this one as well. Yeah. Right on excellent and we will bring it to you as we can well Pamela. I'm looking forward to watching Mars opposition twenty twenty. with you and the rest of our fans over the next six months. So everybody enjoy and we'll see you next week. Give some names for us I do thank you for the reminder and thank you all for staying with us through the summer. You are the reason we're able to do everything that we do. So to our patriots at Patriotair dot com slash astronomy cast. Thank you to Herald Brandon Haagen. Thank you Daniel closely thank you to Omar del Rivera. Thank you to Marco Iraq. Thank you to Brian Kelly. Thank you to William. Lower thank you to John Thank you to dust in a roth. Thank you to mark Stephen Razz Nak. Thank you to Michelle Cullen. Thank you, Jeremy Kirwin. Thank you to Bruno. Let's thank you to J. Alex Alex Sanderson. Thank you to Tim Garish. Thank you to Andrew. Hams. Worth. Thank you to our Izzo lattes hall. Thank you to mark Grundy and thank you to run Segev. Thank you all you keep the show going and we'll see you all next week. Environment. ASTRONOMY CAST is a joint product of Universe today and the Planetary Science Institute astronomy cast is released under a creative Commons attribution license. So love it shirt and remix it but please credit to our hosts, Fraser Cain. Dr. Pamela Gay. You can get more information on today's show topic on our website astronomy cast dot com. This episode was brought to you. Thanks to our generous patrons on Patriot if you want to help keep the show going please consider joining our community at patriotair dot com slash astronomy cast not only do you help us pay our producers a fair wage you will also get special access to content right in your inbox in invites to online events. We are so grateful to all of you who've joined our patriotic community already. anyways, keep looking up. 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Ep. 562: Dealing with COVID-19 and the Changes it will Bring
"Say hello to me the chat. I want to warn everybody. There is like a fifty fifty chance of this won't actually be an episode of astronomy castle instead just chatting about the situation and what we're doing and then we'll decide saying and and all that you know. I think that actually is a completely reasonable thing to do today. Yeah Yeah I mean you know I mean we've got the episode and it's you know obviously we will soon be at the point where we're all going to be so bored and we can't wait to hear just the just incredible actual extrovert aren't you. Yeah yeah he traveled at home. Yeah Oh God so so i. I saw someone. I've actually not seen multiple. Someones tweet out something. Along the lines of extroverts. Next time you could tell all the introverts that we just need to deal remember how you feel about I actually am am perfectly straddle the line between extrovert introvert at this point when I was when I was young like when I was maybe eighteen years old. Nineteen I in fact. It's funny so when I was a child when I was like maybe eight or nine. My Stepfather gave me a chore. Every day. Which was that. I had to spend thirty minutes inside my bedroom because I was just so just so difficult to to die just like I was in everybody's face all the time to vote which what's going on with happening where we doing and and so then. I had this tour that I had to go and spend thirty minutes every day once a day into in my bedroom and I and in the beginning it was like I was being outcasts. Socially from the tribe it was the worst thing I could imagine and and within three days. I'm like this is great. Actually and and I was suddenly able to sit in and I was reading books and that was I was working on models and obviously I would still playing Lego and I would stay in my room for a lot longer than that until I was absolutely Cured of that but it's still into my eighteen. One Thousand Nine Hundred Twenty S. I was social butterfly calling friends hanging out all the time nonstop and then as I've gotten older I've definitely become a lot more and it's a a you know. I think this all happens to all of us as we get older. You get a little more introspective and we're perfectly happy to tinker and potter. My Dad will go weeks not interact with another human being but at the same time until but I don't feel exhausted in social situations right so I need a social situation people around me and I am and I'm just I'm having a great time right. So yeah I think I think I do have that balance perfectly at this point you. You're on the introvert side right. Yeah so I am an introvert. Hugh knows how to extrovert. Because it's my job and I can do it better than a lot of introverts but at the end. I'm always still doing the did I say too much to ever share. Was that okay. Was I too awkward so I ended up going through this entire on my God. Was that okay thing and and it just leaves me like okay. I'm done If I have to do it in settings outside of my tribe I can extrovert all weekend long at dragging con. Where it's my people. I can extrovert all weekend long if I'm at a computer science conference 'cause it's my people put me somewhere i. This sounds strange but astrophysics conferences. Where there's so many giant Egos and people talk to you in jargon just to try and quit you in your place that is exhausting. Some always like defend someone was out okay and it's also an age difference because the bulk of the people are like parent age which adds its whole new dimension of not my tribe. I'm just oblivious to that yeah no extrovert. Yeah I you know if if if you know not only do I am. I not trying to figure out if I'm you know if other people are judging me you know I just. I don't even care. So yeah that is not a a sort of an emotional toll that and and and up absolutely you know frustrating people around me. 'cause I 'cause I am unable to read the room right well and the other thing? I we also have a gender difference going between where people will quite purposefully reduced me to tears for sport because that's the way astrophysics works and I need to turn off my space heater. I just turn up the heat in the house for the first time this season. No heat in the house right now. A little chilly but the weather is so beautiful here so yesterday was kind of okay. But the thermal lag. Because I'm in. The basement is such that today. It's nicer in the basement. Even though it's gresture outside and yesterday it was still gross in the basement even though it was nicer outside so so so. Let's talk about our emotional states. How are you doing emotionally right now? I US late so on one hand. I have a nice large house. We live in a rambling old farmhouse. It's just my husband and a graduate student and we all have our own corners that we can go to Our biggest concern is. Will we bring in contagion in the mail and will the graduate student? Who I'm just GONNA say dude. Here is a plate of money. Go buy everything you need for the next ten weeks. He so far because he's week-to-week goes out grocery shopping too much and I'm going to put a stop to that this weekend so on one hand. We're fine. I actually got over stimulated the past two days because there's a ton of amazing volunteers who are all there ready and able to help COZMA question so I've been jumping from this conversation. That conversation and all of that is just like I have survivor guilt because my income will probably go down a little because we do rely on donations. But it's okay. My husband has a job where he thinks he's okay so all those day to day things. I'm fine now. Then the problem is I'm immuno-compromised. I have damaged lungs. If I get this I will be on a respirator. Yeah but there aren't any right so I will probably died. Don't get it. Yeah so I'm oscillating between the Shit. I need to make sure that we have wills. I need to make sure my husband knows all of the passwords to my computers. I need to make sure I actually have him listed as the beneficiary on all the accounts that predate him. So it's this oscillation between survivor guilt. Because we're fine. I panic shopped February twenty eighth and so we probably have two months of food and we have enough land to garden and then the but if I get it I di bright well and I mean I mean a similar situation which is of course universe today is a completely virtual operation and has been since its inception so yeah so. My entire team has been working from home and to. I've been saying like I'm GonNa need you to work from home from here on out. They're all laughing because this is what they do right right. In some cases I've never met them in person but but there is this just this this drain on my brain and I am one of the least anxious people that you may ever meet in except where your children are concerned. We're definitely in this kind of anxiety cycle right where where I'm like. You know going to get a little bit of work done. I'm just going to see what's happening on twitter. Oh this is this is breaking news. That's the breaking news right and you want to stay in tune and the reality is that. I now know everything that I will need to know for. Probably the next six months right. Which is don't leave my house. Unless it's absolutely necessary wash my hands entertain myself and my family right. And that's that's all that's all I need to know because I'm I'm not I'm like you right. We've been on top of this from yeah from a science based point of view and so we are. Were well equipped to sort of for the knowledge. I do admit I was. I wish sometimes I was less mathematically literate. I've been describing the statistics of epidemiology population economics to people I. I've talked about this a lot before the audio just clipped. Now you're flipping back and forth. Okay I have a bad cable okay. Okay I've talked about this before. I started universities and international relations major and it was while studying economics that I realized bloody hell. I don't understand economics. I'm I originally planning to go into International Science Law and be one of the people writing the policies that decide how we share the national space station and things like that and then I was like no no. I don't want to understand how the sausage is made. I don't want to understand that. It is more beneficial for factory to kill someone than name lung because one is a flat payment. Pay Out and the other is a pale monthly for the rest of the person's life. I did not want to understand this and looking around at our world and understanding the economics of what's going on as well as the epidemiology of what's going on. She's like how I wish young. It's the I mean the the exponential math is is a thing that I you know. I have a computer science math background. And so I understand how exponential mathworks and seven days ago days ago. I was talking with someone I said. You know it's one hundred and thirty today. It will be six hundred one week from today and she was what six hundred and it turns out it was closer to eight hundred ran in Canada. Sorry cases cases and that is exponential math. And you see this ramping up across so so from a obviously checking. The news is is counterproductive and yet I think you can't not right. You can't not find out what's going on and so I've been really trying to limit myself to twice a day. Just check in national news check in on on local news and then and then just focus my energy on on my family on on my friends and just trying to help human beings and you know and and that's the key element is it was Mr Rogers mom who said look for the helpers. Yeah and the thing. That's coming out of this that I'm loving is hospitals have been putting out calls. They're out of masks and again. I hate understanding economics. One of the things that came out of the Clinton era was a switchover from having large warehouses to having just in time supply chain where things are produced at a variable rate that corresponds with the rate at which they are needed and things are y. Warehouses are largely eliminated which means that hospitals received the equipment. They need because we have Profit-driven medicine in the United States We are end stage capitalism in this country so because hospitals get supplies at the rate that they need them based on computer models of past behavior. If one year's flu strain is worse than another year's flu strain they're going to begin with less than they need have to put out a call for the factories to ramp up except when that happens to the entire planet. Do we can't keep up so one of the things that supply side. Oh sorry just in time. Economics has serious problems but three D. printers are an amazing answer and so we're seeing hospitals in Boston. Put the call out can people with three D. printers print these medical things. We need people sewing machines. Make masks for us. And we'll sterilize them hero. And so we're seeing the helpers the makers coming forward and I think two years from now a lot of things are going to be utterly changed people are going to realize. We don't need to commute to do our jobs. And all of these managers who kept claiming that we can't be trusted work from home. It's it's deeper than that right. I mean I think you're you're scratching the surface on how this is going to change our society that that I mean on the horrible side. We are going to see deaths at a rate that we have never experienced since humanity has never experienced since nineteen eighteen like. Us is on track to one and fifty. Yeah And and they're going to be like an even modern like modern societies with high economies. Connie's stand a chance at you. Know after the lockdown their societies and SORTA Tampa out the fires to get this to get those those those death rates lower but But for for a growing economies around the world who were already having health crises they are just absolutely unequipped to be able to deal with this so. I think that that what we're going to see as you said you said one of them. Which is that. This is going to change. The way work happens that that everybody is learning how to work from home You know spoiler alert. It's awesome and and I'm going to do it so so one of the things that that I'm just going to predict is forty weeks from now. There's going to be a massive babies a massive divorces. Yeah because all these people being forced to stay in the House with their spouse and they may never had to stay in the house with before. Oh my God. This is gonNA wreck havoc on relationships. Okay continue oh so that but I think that we will absolutely people will have learned and have gone through until there will be a revolution and even things like like right now. Going to the grocery store I can order groceries online. I can go and I can drive in. I can open up my trunk and they can put the groceries in and I can come home. I can leave my car in the garage for two days and the groceries and and it is a essentially safe experience we had been left on our front patio concern with swirls. The Amazon Guide dropped off some packages yesterday and I was like okay. Thanks to know from the other side of my door. And he was like he's like he was like reaching forward to like. Give me the packs. Just no yeah there which is fine and leave him outside for a little while so I think that's the thing is is that is that we're going to have to develop new ways of doing literally every single thing that we do to interact with other human beings and we will come up the other side of this keeping the stuff we love and going back to the stuff that we missed but a lot of stuff is going to be stuck here forever. I'll bet you grocery stores will be completely transformed. The wave is the way this works but then how it started though. I'm just I'm sorry I'm going to keep cutting you off so like I remember growing up reading the Little House on the prairie books when I was super young and the grocery stores back. Then you'd go in with your list and they deliver everything and so there is always that kid that worked at the store that would deliver everything to to your house. Well we're now's the point. Where Little House on prairie didn't have telephones or the Internet? Now we open up Insta- cart and things get delivered to our house and at this point we're seeing how far behind we are in the United States because in China they have robots doing it. Yes so so. We're going to move to a enhanced delivery system going back to where it started and we're also going to change how we consume. Thanks I Supported public goods. Which is a reduce waste online go buy basic necessities only kind of place where you buy a glass bottle of window cleaner and then ever after they send you a little tiny thing of concentrate in what looks like a travel sized toothpaste container you dump it in and fill it with water and I see us going to reduce contactors to reduce all these things. Yeah doing buy the concentrate have glass containers that you can clean. Yes your waste at some point now is GONNA come pick up trash anymore. And the they had again. I've seen some great videos. Coming from China at the at the the level of of the way life is lived there today which is that they're constantly checking each other's temperatures. They are your crossing through checkpoints. You are if you go into eat at a restaurant. They certify when every single surface was cleaned last. You have to sit six feet away from another person that every every aspect of modern life has been redesigned with with a healthier pandemics reducing the amount of the of the of the virus spreading in in mind. And obviously you know. China is is one place of but to see another version of that in an economy. That's more similar to how we live. You look at what's happening in places like Singapore and Taiwan and South Korea and same thing where there's rampant testing drive-thru testing everything is transparent and society. Itself is being redesigned bit by bit piece by piece at light speed to support a less trim transmissible situation and I think the other big thing then is is literally all the mind power of our entire planet all of the scientific effort is being redirected at this one enemy deaths that you have thousands tens of thousands of scientific papers that are being generated on every single part about the way this. This virus works both how long it's get sustained for how it gets transmitted. How we recover. Which treatments are effective? And they're not medical modeling going into it from computer. Scientists who previously used their skills and completely other ways to model human networks and what kinds of interactions will or won't lead to what kinds of spread that computer math power is coming from physicist. Yeah and and and that you could imagine this time and it won't be long like again look at the power of our smartphones. Right are smartphone has just incredible cameras on them. Incredible speed and communication ability. And this is an and this has driven revolution across all kinds of things across sensor technologies across you know even astronomy telescopes use cell phone camera technology to take better pictures right and and so and so. We're going to see this. Just it's going to be stunning. I think that we're GONNA see just this growth in like gene sequencing at an individual level. I I wouldn't be surprised if over the course of the next eighteen months we get to a point where we are able to test everybody. We are able to to track every time the virus attempts to poke its head up and and make it and then we can chase it down and put people in quarantine in and make that all get get resolved so I think that what seems like a really frustrating and even in Canada like I think we've got it we've got it slowed in Canada compared to other countries like yours. I know we are so this is not family. Friendly Episode Yeah. You Miss Yeah. We have things under some level of control but we need to. This is a holding action to save as many lives as we can. So that technology can get ramped up to provide the vaccine to provide the treatment options and to develop the technology to trace and sequester and quarantine what happens and one of the things that is becoming visible that had previously been. Invisible is how many people have just been thrown out in this country because instead of simply being viewed as a nuisance on the sidewalk the homeless are now being seen as human beings who are also disease actors. Yes and and so. I'm hearing reports where in California. They're looking to fill hotel rooms with homeless people so that they have some place to live and be okay where they're allowing people into the abandoned houses the empty apartments and they're looking at a basic income. Now we still see so many leaders. Yesterday there is a proposal. Put forward that poor people should only get six hundred a month and the wealthy should get twelve hundred and and there is a sudden massive backlash of no and now what they're saying as well let's give a thousand dollars to everyone who earns less than seventy five thousand dollars a year and has a job Or sorry give it to the people who don't have jobs and don't give it to people who have a job and earn more than seventy five thousand a year and and they also looked at household income so a household like mine where I make well under that but my husband does not. We wouldn't get the assistance and right now. I'm okay with that. If if it means that these people who are trying to make do in the GIG economy and aren't going to unless they happened to work cranston cart. I think that we're going to finally recognize. We need single payer healthcare in this country that people should never have to choose between going to the doctor and not because they're afraid of the bill. Yeah and I I mean it looks like I mean here in Canada I mean and and really every other developed nation we have we have universal healthcare and and I know that that the lack of that is is one gigantic unknown in the minds of of Americans right now. Which is if you will. You have to pay to get your tests done. I mean the government has said that you won't so let's hope that's true. Will you have to pay for treatment if you have to go on a ventilator for weeks at a time in a hospital my guess is they won't That that will be that will be settled. Because it's it would be outraged. The problem is the people right now are still having to pay because the congress is still arguing and there's this horrible thing that came out yesterday where the University of Washington. There's a research their researcher there who I hope never has to pay for a beer again in her life she. She was running a national flu. Study trying to understand how flu moves through communities and so there are doing swabs of everyone who came in with a respiratory problem to track the genetics of the strands as they passed from person to person in the Seattle area and they had everything necessary to check for covert and they ask the CDC Permission. And we're told. Hell now and they initially listened and then she was like okay. I'm going to risk all my funding. I'm going to risk my labs certification and we're going to do what's right and they began testing and they began finding cases. And this is the reason we know that Seattle had a hot spot and they turned up the capabilities of the University of Washington. And they are. They're offering free testing to any doctor in the United States and they have the capacity to do high-speed re put in their labs checking. Hundreds of this is a research lab but they can check hundreds of swabs a day which most state facilities are looking at forty a day. Yeah and look here in Canada. We're at I think fifty eight thousand tests like we're we're not and so are and so you can definitely feel. The candidate has been taking it seriously from the beginning and yet it is. It is starting to overwhelm the system. The the the community spread is getting away from the from the just a traveller spread and and so we're we haven't gone full lock up. Some people were asking the chat. Yeah they've closed down the schools on Vancouver Island in British Colombia across the entire country. They've closed all large events but they haven't gone to that level of stay in place the way they have in other countries and that is inevitable. Isn't that wherever you are? It depends on who your leader is. This is super frustrates. Me Is here in the United States in Kentucky and Missouri. We have government officials. Who were like? No that will hurt our economy too much. We will not lock down so weak like everything again exponential growth in this is. It'll how this is what I'm hoping. Oh yeah but it's really hard to have hope so the other side of the thing I was talking about with the University of Washington is so they're willing to provide tests for any doctor in the United States. Well the trump administration has been pushing the commercial suppliers. The reason that we've had a delaying tests is the commercial suppliers as so often happens. Couldn't actually wind up their factories as fast as they could. They couldn't begin pushing things out of their individual locations and they are now beginning to offer for thirty dollar shipping. And it was. I think it was under two hundred dollars per test tests to anyone in America. But they're charging the doctors so the consumer may get it for free but the doctor still has to pay to get the physical task from the Commercial Suppliers. And and so well if the doctor still has to pay for it. Somebody still paying for this. Whereas academic facilities that are receiving the money directly from the government. Yeah they could say just take it. Yeah I mean I think that each one of these delays that your experiencing and we're all all of these mess ups were experiencing in each one of our countries in each one of our in. Our various communities is unfortunate and is going to cost lives right. That people are going to die because people couldn't get their act straight and it's not just like oh it's GonNa be numbers I mean it is people's grandfathers and grandmothers and brothers and sisters and children and and they're gonNa die and but at the same time. I think that that you can look around and see the trends that have happened in every other countries saw what happened in China. You saw what happened in Singapore. You saw what happened in South Korea. They got it under control. You saw what happened in. Italy did not didn't brand and yet they but now they did right. Italy has has been in full lockdown now for several yes. Iran still ran has nautical right. And so we're going to see Italy. Start to start to flatten out again. Because they put in those measures every single community on earth will be putting in those measures at earlier or later on this growth trajectory when they get when they realize and when they finally accept the science and and so we here in Canada. I hope will will push that button early. I would much rather we save lives than in price pay as we will slow down our economy and it's important for us to be the voices for those who can't advocate for themselves. I I have a friend who was stupid and was is now in prison and I talked to him several times a week and they have now removed all visitation but the men in the facility that he's in are all still to to a room room decide room with free air back and forth and the guards are still going back and forth in the cruise ship. It's it's a cruise ship and it's worse than a cruise ship because the same people who work in the kitchen go back and live in the dorm and so far there. Prevention measures are they no longer have catch up and they've had days where they run out of food and everyone's essentially given a brown paper bag with a ham sandwich senate and and so we need to worry about the people that do live in these confined close-knit places we need to worry about the state housing. We need to worry about the prisoner and we need who worry about. Low cost senior citizen homes for well. Everyone essentially in a isn't a bad off the hallway. Yeah and I and I mean again. It's like what we know. What each one of us need to know right now is that is that that this is continuing to accelerate that it is going to be shut down in your area. It is just like weather if if you live in a place that accepts science then it's going to happen two days later and if you live in a place that denies science then it's going to happen two days later but scientists Wiltshire Latin curve. Yes and make it more potential for you to well. Maybe you're fine most people who get this completely fine. It will make it easier for people like me to live every time you wash your hands. You're helping me stay alive. I have I have conditions. Carla has asthma. Logan has had a has had bronchitis when he was young and weakened lung system. So so no. I mean our everyone in this house is at greater risk as well as just because of our age so so and so. That's all of them really. Imploring is is that you know my rule for this house right now. Is the only person who gets to come into our house is is someone who's coming to test for corona virus. Yeah that's it. And that's because they've for some reason I've been in contact at some point in the past two and they need to find out if we're infected bright or they simply decided to test the whole island the capitol. Yeah that'd be great Did that in a village in Italy they yeah. They sequentially tested everyone multiple times until they squashed hero that this is essentially the same as the fever clinics that they use in China. And this is so far the only way to get a hold of the Iris. You can absolutely anticipate in back to that sort of idea of of this. Accelerating growth of the response our response will be exponential and so we will see right now painfully behind the scenes testing speeds to accelerating accelerating accelerating at two levels that we could not even have imagined again where we get to a point where where we are constantly testing. All the time right like it will be it will feel like it's it's getting invasive. The amount of time that we're being tested so that this can be completely eradicated in in a race with vaccine but the into of just saying the person who's allowed inside the house is is someone from health department to test us. The only reason we're allowed to leave the house is to go get groceries and like I said we ordered them online. Go pick them up or if we go to the hospital go to the doctor to two or go to the pharmacy or to go outside into the sunshine and Gopher Walk Right. Yeah because we can still do that. And and and this is where this gives us a chance to say how can we be the helpers? Well the first way we can be. The helpers is just wash our hands and and core don't get sick is the way you help right. Yeah but beyond that there's a whole lot of people are gonNA start going slightly stir crazy. Look around your house figure out. Do you have that old computer? That's in a closet that you're not using this is when you give it away to somebody look around and see okay so my company has shut down and I have extra time I have. I am so grateful for the programmers DP to a nine. U2 Ko. Oh I'm forgetting username. Terrible human being allowed. Avron all of these people who are helping me out over on cosmic quest who are taking this opportunity to say. I'm GonNa make a little bit better. This is where let's distract people so over on cosmic quest twitch stream in our little butts off to try and give place give people a place and you're producing content left and right we have the ability right now. There's a whole lot of conferences getting cancelled which means that young scientists can't get their science out which is really going to harm the progression of agree we as helpers can say dear young scientists. Your stuff is amazing. Come give your talk on the Internet. The hilarious thing of the the one irony of this is that everybody is now trained on using zoom. I know everybody is working from home right. Everybody is getting green screen. They're all available and I have found it so easy to set guests and be able to actually interview them. They're all ready to go. And and that's been wonderful and so we've been producing. I HAVE NOT BEEN PRODUCING CONTENT. Left and right the last week. I went down the anxiety rabbit hole and have just been my week but also managing. Yeah managing my son. My son has come back from school. School's out forever and and so we. We've been working. I've been working on helping. Build him a scheduled to try and keep him sane and we've been doing a lot of projects and stuff together so so I apologize. I've been indicating everybody of an educating my kid And my daughter is working on the front lines. She's at the grocery store every day. Dealing with you know being this essential service supply people who need what they need. This is a this is such an amazing event for her. But but I would love to know and I'm sure you're having these conversations with the people that are watching you guys on on twitch which is just like how can we like once we get our minds under control and once the terror settles down which is where we're at right now. I would love to know how we can help. What can we do to to make your this time spent as productive as possible with what we with the skills that we have on board I'm probably GONNA put in some time back with Hero X. Which was of course the company that I was working with part of the x prize. We're trying to ramp up. A bunch of prizes that relate to some of the challenges that humanity is facing. But also. Because you can I do. More interviews should make more structured content. Should WE CREATE CURRICULA ON UNIVERSE? Today's that you can teach your children. I'm I'm really happy to look at everything I do with a blank slate right like what if I just throw everything on out on what I to do and spend the next year Just in service to in any way that I can and whatever that looks like and part of it is just for me to figure it out and if what it is just keep on keeping on if what you WanNa hear me Pamela. Talk about space every week. You got it. That's easy right. We can do that. But if there's more if there's something else that we can do that that makes your life better that that helps you educate yourself and the children that are all around you and could you know eventually. Be Driving you crazy What can we do so so I you and I panicked out of sync on this one. I I flagged in on this while I was still in Hawaii for double A. S. Yeah and on the way home. I was like Holy Shit. We're getting home just before it strikes and so I had my personal knelt down at the beginning of February where I kept telling Kyle. Okay so if you want to get sonic tonight. That's cool because next week we may not be able to so there was a whole lot of junk food and about ten pounds. Gaint Gary maybe more than ten And and February twenty eighth was when I had my personal coming to Jesus moment when I realized this country does not have its act together and I have to give Kudos to schmucks our local grocery chain because that day before trump gave his first. This is no big deal National Address. I went in with our graduate student and they had all their staples ten for ten dollars or five for ten dollars. Every think I went in to buy a big old thing and potatoes and the biggest rice they had and to get a thing of sider And I came away with what would have normally been four hundred dollars in Gresh raise for one hundred and fifty dollars and and Kudos to schmucks. So I haven't left the House since February twenty eighth and that was the day that I flipped. I flipped from the despair. The this is horrible to the F. It I'm fighting back and so so what we've been doing is is multifold so first of all. I'm going online every night and reading stories on my star search and all that we have something to laugh and enjoy that can either the beginning of the day for the people in South Pacific or the end of the day over people here in the Americas. We are starting this week is realizing so. Many people don't know how to work at home and I are streaming more more mornings than not just how we started a how we go through and retrieves the news and build our shows. Put together COZMA quest. We are working to I bird out yesterday. I'M NOT GONNA lie I have worked too many hours this week. Working to update cosmic quest. So that it's easier for people to find and get it content and we should have the citizen science going. I'm I was hoping to have it done by Wednesday. I think now I'm confident that we'll have citizen science projects up and running again without any funding By the end of Sunday because we have these people and what I'm seeing over and over as people want things to do that make them feel like they're contributing to the world? Yeah they want community which we know how to provide a C. You people of twitch. Icu people at the weekly space. Hang out I do not also have youtube chat open because that would destroy my computer and what I'm seeing on. Our discord channel people constantly in the voice chats the coders constantly sharing screens with each other. The gamers are constantly pulling up ticket to ride. Because that's what we do at cosmic West. We PLAY TICKET TO RIDE. And it's providing community where people can share. They can laugh. They can work and they can find meaning. Yeah and we can do this. Yeah I'M I. I think that we're going to experience of a month of we're we're about to experience. So optimistic neural. No No. We're GONNA experience the worst month that we've ever experienced and then we're going to experience a less bad but still terrible eighteen months. Yeah and the reason we're saying eighteen is us the development timeline for a vaccine. Even the ones that they've already developed they will wait eighteen months to make sure that the vaccine doesn't kill the people or turn them into zombies. Yes yeah and so. I have a light hearted question for you. I know you to like fantasy fiction although you read a lot more nonfiction than I do is part of you going okay. Are All the people who survived now going to turn into zombies and twenty days. No no no. This is plenty horror movie enough for me. I keep waiting for face to or the children going to be born Zombie. I know this is. This is already and you know what's interesting as well. I mean as horrible as this is. This is still a wakeup call for what is possible. Then when you look at each piece of the puzzle of what? This pandemic is the level of transmissibility. We're seeing an R. value of two point two. They said the R. Value is still not nailed down because so our value is How communicable is a disease and the complexity and figuring it out is the places that were basing our numbers on our places that have fever clinics so China Singapore South Korea. And if you are constantly being monitored to see if you're sick you will not have the opportunity to spread the disease through regular every day Interactions the way. We all spread the cold year after year. Whereas in the United States where we have a negligible amount of testing We're going to find out what the actual at our value is and it seems to be significantly higher so there is a New Jersey family. Recently that had of the I want to say it was ten family members. Ten received the virus through the matriarch of the family So it's in in these seeing what happens when you allow unchecked spread. That will be able to get the actual value to be closer to four but you could have something like measles Lincoln fifteen thirteen. Yeah where you could walk into a room hours after person with measles in there and you could get it and so areas in the air touching a surf yeah and or in droplets from sneezes and stuff and so there are much more transmissible diseases and there are far more lethal diseases. I mean we are seeing. You're seeing cases death rates everywhere as low as point five percent in where very advanced medical systems are able to provide care all the way up to. I think the oxygenating your blood with a separate glycine is like eight percent in places like like Italy but we need to know what the you know. What percentage of Italians are actually able to actually reported that they have the disease? And so on and so. We're probably going to be a couple years before we do know the final Motala mortality rate. But there is you said there's SARS there's murders there's Ebola there's there are diseases that are that are much higher and there are designed. It looks like it does go away like you. You get the disease you you run through the course of it and now it looks like your immune on the other side did. Maybe you may be able to catch him. But that doesn't seem a lot of evidence until the news. Yeah there's mixed evidence where what it appears to be happening is. There is a double peak in the illness where you run the course of having a fever and at the point where you no longer have a fever. We're used to that being when you start to get better but it looks like in some cases with this virus no longer having a fever is where your body's like Anna on. Yeah and then you get extraordinarily sex. So they've seen a number of people who've been released from hospitals and then died at home. Has they suddenly got extraordinarily second? We're on their own now. One of the big things that that is making it hard to understand. The death rate is co morbidity in combination with is there enough medical care One of the CO morbidity is that is starting to arise is A. Do you have high blood sugar rates and our blood sugar levels naturally increase as we get older. This is part of why you start. See increased rates of type two diabetes with H. Now sense it. Is everybody no matter who you are? Your blood sugar is going to go up with age. We will see in every culture of the world. The more old people than young people die or already starting to see here in the United States. More young people are dying than was seen in other countries. And this is because we are fat. We are fat and we have terrible blood sugar levels even at younger ages and so. We're going to see the societal differences of how the come morbidity plan whereas in places like China you see another colored biddies the condition of your lungs so people who've been exposed to high pollution people who've been exposed to a significant smoking because don't smoke but they did this increases the likelihood that you're going to die so in China. They saw far more men than women and so yeah and so each society is going to have it's built in cultural differences that lead to different intrinsic. Because there's a higher diabetes right because there's a higher smoking rates so there's intrinsic differences from place to place on death rates we also the extrinsic of in China they can switch over a factory and suddenly produce to ten thousand bed hospital in ten days whereas we have respirators what mass and I think we are seeing a lot of stuff come on line very quickly so so there will be no you are no no no you're too. I'm seeing videos of hospitals being built instantly in the United States. Yeah so I'm you know you're hearing about various organizations ramping up. Production of like. I think there is no greater capacity in the world then the United States of America's ability to respond to crisis. I don't think and I think as as frustrating as it is for the people who were living there when this tiger gets unleashed it will be stunning and you see the collective energy and the end that free market of the United States. Be just just go at this problem at a scale that that no other country can really do so it is. Don't worry the I have pies. Is I beginning in the nineteen? Nineties began to offshore factories. And so we have across the middle of the United States. What's called the rust belt? Because there's literally a belt of massive factories that are rusting away and the number of factories. We now have in. Our country is much diminished And so I'm not sure we have the Facilities to switch over any more. And that's that's going to become the do we have enough remaining capacity. And how quickly can we swap out our government because that that is really the major issue? That's a high. China offered US five hundred thousand tasks and the United States. Hell now. The Air Force just disobeyed the White House and purchased tests in vast numbers. That I don't remember from Italy because the air force need to be able to test and again I think you're but but but I think that this is the United States asset right. Which is that. It has the ability of individual people on ground to make decisions and to take action. And yes and you're going to see that that American individuality rise very strongly so I think it is. Someone of the Chad has knowning. Funny Fraser. The Canadian capital Argument Pamela. The American Socialist. Well yes. It's so I'm totally. It's funny capitalist. So here I am enjoying my my universal Medicare so one thing that before we were on a time here. I just want to really encourage people to what I'm seeing on twitter and places like that is a certain level of grasping for Miracle Cures which is really unhelpful I'm seeing people really enthusiastic about the potential of of anti-malarial drugs in in being able to to treat this and and this is a phase that we see again and again with certain situations and and this is wishful thinking. Maybe some of these drugs will have an effect and they will be able to decrease mortality rates by certain percentages. But he's really our job with all the listeners who are listening to his right now that that. If you have a sign you know we. I hope have spent enough time. Developing SCIENTIFIC AND SKEPTICAL MINDSET. And be really careful about the the information that you share to make sure that you can find references that you can back up what you're saying because because we really need you know. We're hearing people talking about drinking bleach. Oh God don't do it the best things you the miracle cures are no one gets near anyone even your spouse in different rooms for the next twenty to forty days it looks like the actual contagion period goes all the way up to thirty seven so go near. No-one tosh no one in the next twenty days or highly. Leave Your House unless you I'll give me half do. Yeah everything you can't online take extra precautions. Wash your hands. Don't touch your face. Obviously you're going to touch your face to face gets up tilting my face. Yeah I simply have cleaned everything and I'm the only one that comes in this room of the House so in this room of the House I can touch my face. We are going to take all of these precautions here and be as safe as humanly possible. I'm checking in with my team on university every day talking to everybody and making sure that they have everything that we that they need. I am. University is absolutely taking a hit financially from this Our traffic is down about half what it normally is so our revenues are down half but I I in -ticipant this will return once. People stop panics. Panicking entire twitter. Like I get it all we want to do is look at CNN and BBC and twitter and then CBC and just you know make that circuit again and again so you need to all through your own sanity ration yourself. So here's my personal rationing. I can be that person even without a global disaster. Yeah I I listened to the NPR news in the morning and New York Times the daily. I then listen to The five minute NPR. World News thing When I get lunch and occasionally I will listen to regret listening to press conferences. Coming out of the White House. I then listen to NPR. In the evening and Rachel Maddow. And that's it. That is my allowance. Yeah that sounds great. A good luck. I'm I am just going to keep grazing until I crawl up into a ball and rock back and forth. But do you. Do you know that that sounds that sounds wonderful? And aspirational and I'll definitely get there soon. Once the existential dread fades away But but until then because it is unfolding crisis it's totally natural for us to feel for us to just feel freaked out and I and I think that as long as you can you can eat healthy food. Try to get some exercise. Connect with the people that you love. Serve the people around you as best you can and and get out of the way of the people who are trying to save us. The there's things there's also things you can do to channel your restless energy if you're in the southern hemisphere can everything that you can keep that fresh food for later if you're in the northern hemisphere start seedlings you can have even just a window garden. Your window doesn't get a whole lot of sunlight hangs string for curtain rod and grow. Pete's just don't require a lot of sunlight and again however we can help whatever we can do in this time of crisis to help you get through it. We're here for you and we are. We just want you to be as safe and healthy and as many of you to be able to come back and be with US week after week three. We will be doing science week after week. That isn't biological in nature white holes merge not white holes. What the Hell am I liked worse? Were all now lower. Learning my native language is curse like a sailor it is so we will do merging white dwarfs and why the universe may not be expanding as we think next weekend all right and safe. Everybody Pamela you too. I guide demand that we have long careers working together week after week. Yeah so it's live to our families regular age and then possible robot bodies. That's great all right. We'll see you all next week. Everyone by thank you for listening to astronomy. Cast a nonprofit resource provided by the Planetary Science Institute Fraser. Cain and Dr Pamela Gay. You can find show notes and transcripts for every episode at astronomy cast. You can email us at info at astronomy cast dot com tweet us at astronomy cast like us on facebook and watch. Us on Youtube. We record our show live on youtube every Friday at three PM Eastern twelve. Pm Pacific or nineteen hundred are intra. Music was provided by David. Joseph Wesley the ultra music is by Travis. Searle and the show was edited by Susie Murph.
Pulsar powering up; Prototype Gamma-Ray telescope sees Crab Nebula; Hot stars have giant magnetic spots
"This is the daily space for today Tuesday June second, two, thousand and twenty. I'm your host Dr Pamela Gay and I'm here to try to put science in your brain. Today is a day of cognitive dissonance for many of us. Currently the American Astronomical Society's meeting virtually with myriad astronomers from around the world, coming together to celebrate our newest discoveries are incremental advances in understanding and to find Mars collaborators. This is the celebration of science. But at the same time people are going to sleep to the sounds of gunfire here in the United States. I don't know what is happening in the coming days, but I am proud of our peaceful protesters who are saying it is time for us to recognize that the police must stop murdering people and that we must recognize that black lives matter. Before I get the science results I need to say that science is worse off for the racism and biases limiting the options for so many people. We are an international program and we know people in our community have experienced hate for myriad reasons. In, this moment it is important for us to say black lives, matter. One in one thousand black boys and men will be killed by police in the United States. No life should be thrown away. When humans with the potential to be the next Albert, Einstein or Chris, Hadfield are being struck dead walking home with twizzlers and sometimes just die dancing or playing in the park. I have no words to express my sorrow. Our support does not say these lives matter more than others, but rather we recognize that culturally in different ways in different places. Some populations are treated as though they matter less. This is wrong. We're proud of the people within cosmic quest who are peacefully participating in the black lives matter, movement in pride, and those who are opening their homes and communities to people escaping potential death in their native lance. We see your compassion and we commend it. The science we bring you. Today comes from people all over the world, and we start with a story from Monash University in Australia. Graduate Student? Adel Goodwin has made the first ever start to finish observations of a cataclysmic variable star. This system consists of a neutron star a regular companion star, and a whole lot of gravity that is tearing matter off the companion star, and pulling it into a disc around the neutron star. As the disc grows, it will dump material on the surface of the neutron star. This isn't a continuous process, but occurs in spurts. For decades, folks have tried to catch these systems at the moment and outburst begins in campaigns, involving amateur astronomers monitoring these variables have been common. Despite all these efforts, no one had been able to acquire detailed. Across, multiple wavelengths. At, least not until now. In a new paper in the monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society this team describes the behavior of a system captured at the moment of the outburst over the course of twelve days they performed high-sensitivity optical and x ray visions as material swirled inward to collide with the neutrons star surface. This Day duration was the first of their discoveries. It had been previously thought that outbursts consistently lasted just two to three days. According to Goodwin. Using multiple telescopes that are sensitive to light in different energies. We were able to trace that the initial activity happened near the companion star in the outer edges of the accretion disk, and it took twelve days for the desk to be brought in to the hot state, and for material to spiral inward, the neutron star and rays to be produced. This science required five ground and to space based telescopes, this kind of continuous coverage over many different wavelengths of light. This is. Awesome, this system is eleven thousand light years away. The neutron star is a special kind of neutron star. A pulsar that rotates four hundred times a second. This theory defying slow burn burst pointed towards something being out of SPEC with this system. Thanks to the tremendous data set, they acquired it was possible to measure the composition of the material in the desk, and they discovered it had much higher helium content than had been observed and other systems. while. Most accretion disk are primarily hydrogen. This desk was measured to be fifty percent helium a gas that Burns hotter temperature. Just, as it can take longer to preheat your oven the higher temperatures it takes longer to preheat a disc to detonation here's. This twelve day duration reflects the higher temperature needed to trigger the helium. While, this paper largely focus only observations. We expect more to come. As Adele finishes her PhD and as we hope, more systems received this kind of intensive observation. From global observations of one system, we now turn to Arizona observations of one object. For those observing gamma rays, there is a new telescope array in town. The Prototype Short Shield cooter telescope is testing a new design for detecting the cascades of light created when high energy gamma rays strike our atmosphere. Called shrank off radiation. These cascades can be seen streaming away from their origin point on the sky. Until now, the systems used to detect these cascades consisted of a massive multi segment detector and Primary Focus Camera that hung awkwardly above the dish. This new system for the first time uses a secondary mirror to reflect the light through the segmented reflector into instruments below this does bigger detectors to be used and grants easier access to the system, allowing easier innovation of detectors. To prove, their system worked the shrank off. Telescope Array team pointed their scope at the crab Nebula one of the nearest sources of massively high energy particles. And they were not disappointed. This prototype system is working nicely and now the work on a larger system can start in earnest when complete they will be able to detect via shrank radiation sources of the highest energy light in our universe, and we can't wait to see what they find. Our final story of the day carries us to the European Union and looks towards the stars. Most of us are familiar with sunspots, dark cool blemishes on the surface of the sun that appear and disappear. Now astronomers using the European Southern Observatory telescopes announced that they have found stellar spots that are hotter and brighter than the surface of their stars. The stars in this case are extreme horizontal branch stars. They're half the mass of our sun, but four to five times hotter. Usually we observe these types of stars in our own galaxy with a companion star. They can also be found in globular clusters and don't seem to have companions there. They do however change in brightness, and that is what attracted the attention of astronomers who conducted long term observations of these stars. The changes in brightness loaded days to weeks and scientists like Simon's Aghia of I and AF astronomical. Observatory of Papua concluded these stars must be plagued by spots. The spots on these extreme horizontal branch stars are much bigger than sunspots. They can take a quarter of the surface of the star, which is why the Star's brightness changes as it rotates additionally, these stars showed signs of super flares stellar flares. Those we observe on the Sun, but with ten million times the energy. Flares such as these are compelling evidence for magnetic fields in these smaller hotter stars. The big picture here is that as former Eso fellow David. Jones says changes in brightness of all hot stars could be connected. And may help explain the existence of magnetic fields in other stars like white dwarfs. This is the start to understanding one of the complicated topics and astrophysics magnetic fields. And glad someone other than us is making sense of these twisting fields. Not runs out our news for today. We are currently waiting to get papers and press releases from news that came out earlier today at the American Astronomical Society Meeting and there will be additional press conference at the double a s today as well as two more tomorrow. What this means is Thursday. The news will be rich while today. At least compared yesterday may seem a bit lane. Tomorrow will be our regular rocket roundup an Oh, what around up? It will be? For now though this is all we've got. Thank you for listening today. Script was written by Beth Johnson and by myself. Dr Pamela Gay. Are Audio and video will be engineered by Allie pelfrey on our web content will be produced by Beth Johnson. All of us are supported by myriad list volunteers. The daily space is a product of the planetary science. Institute, a five a one C, three nonprofit dedicated to exploring our solar system and beyond. We are here. Thanks to the generous contributions of people like you. The best way you can support us is through Patriot dot com slash cosmic west acts like US lease sheriff's. You know who's life. You can change by adding a daily dose of science.
Ep. 537: Reusable Rocket Revolution
"Astronomy cast episode five thirty seven reusable revolution welcome to astronomy caster weekly fax piece journey through the Cosmos where we help you understand not only what we know but how we know what we know on Fraser Cain publisher of Universe today and with me as always Dr Pamela Gay is senior scientists for the Planetary Science Institute and the Director of Cosmo Osmo quest. Hey Pamela you're doing. I'm doing well. How are you doing fraser great a welcome back from hiatus. I know summer over time to get back to work. It was was to shorts. I wear summer well of course neither of US actually did anything that even Brazil's marginally resembles speak Asians. I double the amount of guide to space videos that we were putting out every week and then went in climbed a bunch of mountains and I they have been doing a daily news stream overrun twitch which became a daily podcast starting this week and we mapped ten million objects on an asteroid yeah that's crazy and in what an incredible accomplishment and I need you foolishly signed up <hes> you you and a few thousand of your friends to map out the features of asteroid Banu. How hard could it be. It's just a ball of rock turns. Out is not a ball of rockets. It's a loose amalgam malformation of gravel and has a lot of rocks and you guys mapped that hard word mapped it so hard and I get mapped us back. I don't know yeah so now is the final count of how many rocks are on the surface of that. We're we're still in the process. So here's the thing we were not expecting this much stuff and because because we had anticipated or databases only going to be this big we read Oliver Software without putting in all the needed extras you put in super large data that you have to page through a bit at a time to prevent getting timeout errors now our software sir triggering timeout ayers and we're we're still in the process of rewriting all the bits that need to be rewritten to deal with <hes> not medium sized data but medium large sized data. I'm not going to call this big data because nowadays there's like terabytes of databases that are being generated per day. We're we're not there but we are at the the <hes> hundreds of megabytes per day but are we safe to say that it was in the millions of yes individual features that were identified on Ben and Yes. I mean have there been objects like is even Mars or the moon that will that number of objects. I did not ought not at this scale size yeah so I don't know of any object is consistently marked at this high resolution. Even Earth is mapped at this kind of a resolution yeah so it's kind of terrifying it's it's just just a rubble pile a loosely held to go together rubble pile and we now know all the boulders on the rubble pile all personnel incompetence congratulations relations to everybody if you're listening to this and you were dragged into this amazing accomplishment over the summer <hes> what a wonderful thing for science joints and I can't wait to see what you guys take on next but it's just tremendous and I'm really looking forward to is confirming the names of everyone who marked those areas where we will be looking to do site sample selection incredible all right. Let's let's get onto our to our worked. We took a hiatus this summer but space x sure didn't with the test of the Star Hopper prototype today we're GonNa talk about the revolution in reusable rocketry and the quest to build all the fully reusable two stage rocket are Pamela. So were you watching some of the live streams over the summer of the star prototype yeah. I unfortunately am one of those people that kept turning it on the days. They did absolutely nothing so it turned out a watch star hopper never hops. Oh it's your your fault. It's my fault when I wasn't looking it did and it did it in the most glorious of ways because being spacex they like think about things like Oh. It's the Golden Hour. The lighting will be perfect. We shall put our drones that take the video over here and catch it from the most artistic angle ingo possible so these are like visually stunning <hes> albeit with a fuel mixture. That was a little bit off but <hes> yeah this was. It's just amazing all right so I was able to watch the the short hop test live and then I missed the full the full all one hundred plus meter one but it just you know you really feel like you're watching history. Get made watching. I mean who knew water towers could fly exactly exactly. Luckily it's a whole new way to treat your farm equipment yeah exactly a grain elevator next all right so let's let's go back and talk about the about why this is important. Why why is this important. Why is this a thing that people are trying to do. What's wrong with the rockets than the days of of your we used to have a Saturn five took us to the moon and that was fine. Well it turns out. It takes time and costs money to build those rockets and every time you don't reuse it. You're requiring a whole bunch of people to build something new from scratch and you're you're increasing the cost per pound that you have to spend a get that stuff into space. If you can reuse anything each bit that you reuse means you don't have to pay for it. Get a second time and you don't have to wait for it to be constructed so the dream ream was to get us to that well airplane kind of a future. We're just like Boeing doesn't usually throw out. Its planes every the time you fly them. Once and won seven forty seven gets to re you get reused for decade after decade while it was hoped that well maybe rocket won't have a decade of experience flying. It'll at least get three four five launches before it gets recycled into the giant rocket pile. We're ever they put those and Star Trek and various science fiction from the nineteen fifties and stuff. We saw images of rockets they would land land. They would take off again. That was the bold future. It seemed obvious that that was what would happen and yet for some reason these he's reusable rockets never came about they were always destroyed every part of the rocket except for like the little capsule that the people sat inside a of was burned up in the atmosphere left to orbit the sun for ever. Why did they not go straight to those reusable rockets early on well ain't put simply spaces hard but early on we simply didn't have the computational computational power to be able to do the fast maneuvers that are required of the Rocket Engines to maintain an upright flight as they come in for a landing. It's only modern computational power that allows the Falcon nine first stage to come in and land on moving targets like barges and stationary targets Lake City shores now with the space shuttle. It had been hoped that we'd be able to repurpose more of it than we did. The external tank is just a tank. How hard can that be. The solid rocket boosters will those burn up but unfortunately even there there is concerns that if we start raising the engines too much it's too dangerous for human human life at one point there was plans with the Space Shuttle C. Program which was never actually flown that they'd reuse some of those components will carrying a the cargo that didn't include human beings because well if you accidentally blow up in eighteen satellite that sucks for at and T. but no lives are lost and even even that was just pooh-poohed pushed aside it was only really with the Ansari X Prize that we saw <hes> motivation put out there of it's time people we will reward you money. Go forth try this and was scaled composite that was able to finally win that although now it Virgin Galactic which has purchased Gail composite and has moved forward with the reusable space plane component <hes> is one of the well laggers laggers in the space race to get reusable to be the thing everyone's using right but the the original x prize was incredible double and exciting and the but the goal was fairly modest it was about having a vehicle be able to fly to the edge of space and return in and do that twice within two weeks I think and but but flying to an altitude of one hundred kilometers is a completely different story from to going to an orbital velocity which is one thing is flying up high. The other is going sideways weighs twenty eight thousand kilometers an hour two different orders of magnitude and Carmen Line that so far we've had a <hes> <hes> scaled composites get past. We've seen blue origin get past with their new shepherd but only spacex x has done reusable orbital rockets so far and what makes these orbital launches so much more difficult. Is that stage. You're bringing back is reaching a significantly higher. Altitude has to carry the fuel. It needs to get back and the maneuver through all the different layers layers of wind all the different layers of turbulence in that atmosphere to get back to well pretty much at starting point. It's yoyoing through you space. This episode of astronomy cast is sponsored by bark box for a free extra month bark box visit bark box dot com when you subscribe subscribe to a six or twelve month plan. I've said this before and I'll say it again. I love box in a way that has nothing to do with with them. Being our sponsor I have to Australian shepherds with two very different sets of likes and dislikes and bark box has high quality toys and treats to fit their every want a need my puppy. Stella is the Household Evil Doer and she loves nothing more than Shredding Toys. Yes and with bark box. I can get toys meant to be shred. One of my favorite was a cocoon that came apart to reveal a butterfly for Eddie well. He just likes to cuddle and for him. There are soft washable toys to love each themed. Bark box comes with a couple toys. Grain free treats perfect for training and a larger high-quality. US May chew for when you just need your dogged busy for a few minutes. There's over forty dollars of doggy goodness goodness in each box and with a subscription they start at just twenty two dollars each once again for free extra month of bark box six visit bark box dot com when you subscribe to a six or twelve month plan you and your dogs are. GonNa love yourselves for doing this <hes> so so. Let's talk a bit about how sort of how this whole reusable rocketry path is is going to work and I think you know here. We are as we're recording. This episode of move talked about space many times but we are planting a flag today an arbitrary flag and just talking about the history and future of potential future reasonable rocketry without necessarily knowing how it's all going to going to work out so but but we've seen enough just mind-bending mind-bending accomplishments so far that I think we feel pretty confident that that things are moving in the right direction so like from where we are look. Where are we today at the State of reusable rocket. How much of a rocket gets reused right now. Currently we're looking at the first stage which is the <hes> bottom most part of the rocket that expense all of its fuel and then gets <hes> cast aside in most cases were flown own aside and flown back if you happen to be SPACEX and we're looking at single stage rockets starting to figure out how can we will bring back our entire thing so this was the thing that really was like Oh. We need to start doing a show on this that that brought this home to me the electron rocket. This is looking to go reusable. This is a little tiny rocket. They're currently getting launched out of New Zealand. I they are only only launching the tiniest of cargoes and since they don't have all that much extra room the question starts to become. How do you come back safely and they don't have it in them literally? They don't have the space in them to start to do the retro rockets that you see on the blue origin in the space x rockets so they came up with the creative idea of carrying a parachute with a special side drag and some crazy helicopter opther pilot is going to be tasked with catching these things as they follow up at the sky well. They're not the only one who are considering this approach of course United Launch Alliance Alliance. They have the Vulcan rocket which is going to be there next generation rocket designed to really compete with SPACEX and it's not going to be fully league reusable in the way that that the first stage of the Falcon nine is it's going to strap on rocket engines that that will peel away from the the the first stage and they will drift back to Earth on parachutes and get caught by helicopters because according to launch alliance really it's the engines in that whole part of it is the most complicated and expensive and they're going to be using blue origin be four or engines like Bluer jains new Glenn rocket so it's sort of a <hes> you know there's there. There are a bunch of different strategies that are that are going into this some of which are going to be more cost effective than than others but SPACEX has already demonstrated full reusability of the first stage which what is got to be the most. It's feels like it's the most elegant way but they're already pushing forward with the starship. Let's talk about the what the Star Chef is going to accomplish. Oh that's cool so kyle. Carmichael is saying that catching a parachuting rocket is nothing new. They're catching corona capsules back in the nineteen sixties but they work boosters right. They were just ca now. I'm having trouble breathing. They were just capsules. Not what actual rocket boosters like a rocket booster is an enormous machine that weighs many tons and to catch that as it's plummeting back to Earth Earth. You've got to think about the <hes> the dynamics and the danger of doing that and if you mess up than your rocket crashes ashes into the ocean and better luck next time so it at this point now I don't know about you Pamela <hes> but from my position like everything else just seems ridiculous compared to what spacex is doing with them landing under their own boost even thought there were a bunch of different ideas right what if they use balloons loons what if these parachutes what if they I don't know if they catch them with an airplane or something right but now it's clear that that this just just works and every model and yeah <hes> I was talking with the Anton Petrov from what Damalf <hes> he's a youtuber and he was saying that there are literally now dozens if not hundreds of rocket companies in China that are pushing forward the whole concept of reasonable rocketry so this is the way and not only reusing the but I asked you about about starship so can you if we put that arbitrary flag in the ground and say okay here we are. SPACEX has nailed first-stage boosters the the Falcon heavy. Let's strap three of those first-stage boosters together using a big chunk of your rocket starship takes it to the next level. So what's the plan. Lynn there so so starship really takes it to a whole new level. They have all sorts of engines fuel compartments and everything else else that allows them to carry with them. Everything they need to land on for instance. The moon vertically take off from the moon hop back to Earth and vertically land here again now. We're we're only testing this one stage at a time. One Silo at a time is the way it looks but these rockets are essentially giant silver tubes of fuel with fully steerable engines and their ability to nail the fully steerable is really where they shine they have at the top of each stage these little thrusters that keep them upright and at the bottom autumn they can steer their their their bottom engines as well in through all of this they can prevent themselves from spending they can prevent themselves from tilting and do this in such a fuel efficient way that they can go there and come back again and and so at this point space x still they re used their your first stage rocket for a significant cost savings but they still have to ditch their their upper stage kick stage but they can catch they're they're now catching their their ferrings but the <hes> the magic of the starship will be as you said that they will be able to reuse that upper stage of the rocket fully as as do want to go back to share from her because this this is the most video game like thing. I have ever seen in space craft development. They have a speed two of them. That used yes two of them. The the one that successfully caught used to be called. Yester- Stephen it is now called mystery and the first time out after the rename the zoomed it around in the ocean caught one of the ferrings and this this is the kind of thing where you kind of expect expect the Benny Hill music to be playing as early as a possessive catch it <hes> this is just as musk's is awesome as you said you you know. The ferrings are worth six million dollars. It's like watching Palette of money fall back to earth and not try to catch it and so now they've caught two at the time there were recording again. They've got two of these bearings have two halves of the fearing but not at the same time and now they've got now that they've starting to nail the the one catch they've got the second boat and so the plan is they're going to catch both ferrings and reuse them so they're getting culture culture that fully reusable future <hes> but back to the starship okay or the I mean I guess the question is like in your mind. People will find you know you reuse the first age thing repulsively lands on its landing on its launch pad or lands on a barge in the ocean. Why is the top stage so much more complicated well it. It becomes a weight issue. You you want to carry as little littlest with you as possible. This is why when we send most things back to Earth. We only bring the capsule in general when we send things to outer space we we are a to use the Soyuz is one of my favorite examples. They have a lower skirted area attached to the Soyuz capsule which is where they have things like stowage they stick their space toilet there and before they bring any of these capsules back down to Earth they discard all of that the number of space toilets destroyed by the Russians is truly a thing to behold and the reason that they're doing this over and over and over is that's extra weight that they have to figure out how to steer how to maneuver how to shield and to be able to deal with the heat of reentry the needed maneuvers so that you don't burn up and then the breaking which is currently done with parachutes. You don't want to have that much stuff with you and by landing a powered landing not even shut out a powered landing. The shuttle was lighter to have powered landing. You have to bring all the fuel all the added weight for the engines everything with you which is added weight going up and then you need to have it coming back or else you run into the OS shoot. We ran out of fuel before we actually got up to the ground and you crash rather abruptly into the surface and that's not pleasant for anyone involved and the other thing about this. Is it means you just don't have to reconfigure so so. Currently you launch one way you enjoy your space toilet. You reconfigure things is needed and then you come back down in that new configuration <hes> this avoids all of there's no back and forth up and down moving where you're hanging out. You have everything the entire time. The plan is for the when the full stack is put together together right the first the whole thing launch with the the first stage which is calling the super heavy and then the second stage to calling the starship on top the whole thing will launch which the first stage will detach wants to tell the fuel returned to the landing pad to the launch pad for refueling they'd should bland precisely where it needs to be to take off again the the upper states. The starship will fly into orbit. Do whatever it's gotTa do as you said go to the moon orbit take people you know to the space station and then it will need to come back through the atmosphere are which is we saw with horrible results how dangerous the atmosphere is with the Columbia's astor land beside the the launch pad and then they'll use a crane stack of backup refill the top and away. They'll go again and and I think we I need to leave room for them to say hey. We're trying to get to this particular object that requires a whole lot of extra fuel to take off so we're going to land on a barge in the ocean but the thing is they know how to do that. The real motivation to land on land is to avoid salt sea water. It is highly corrosive. When they land on barges they get extra corrosion from the splash the missed the fog olive that landing land is just well less corrosive so so what will be the if they pull this off. What will this save. What will this. How will this change things. Oh so I don't even know where to start cost. Yeah yeah prices really the big deal going to space right now. We'll spaces hard but space is also expensive which means that. There's is lots of experiments. We can't do just because it's too expensive. There's lots of <hes> materials that we can't develop in in gravity that we know we can develop in the micro gravity of space but it's too expensive to get our chemicals dispaced do the manufacturing Aaron then bring things back so for manufacturing to research to tourism. There's always gonna be rich people into space. This starts starts to make all those things more accessible now. It's unlikely to enter us into that new. Twa Age of love go where you want when you want on vacation if your normal everyday person but it does start to get us to well well the more people we get an orbit. It's also going to have a societal effect. We know about the over your fact from astronauts where as they look down on earth they realize. Oh Oh oh well our world is so tiny so fragile small and by getting the people who are in power around the world and who control we'll resources around the world to see our world with this new perspective. There's also going to be societal effects that we can't even begin to imagine <hes> maybe the first two we need to send. We're actually right of well. I think both of them <hes> would love to to take a flight on their on their rockets once they're safe <hes> <hes> but I I mean I've heard the people say that it could bring down the price of launches by a factor of ten to a factor of expectation so right now. Traditional rockets are on the order of about ten hundred hundred dollars per pound to launch into space. A trip on a Falcon nine brings the price down into the couple of thousand dollars <hes> little cheaper super. If you go with a with a Falcon heavy launch it's thought that the the Subaru the the the starship will bring the price down onto the order of a couple of hundred dollars per kilogram. Maybe even below one hundred dollars per kilogram and the hilarious thing about this is in fact that price is cheaper than people used to estimate estimate for speed elevators and since space elevators are really complex to build. We don't yet know how to do this. <hes> yeah reusable rockets and one of the big factors that makes it so hard to figure out just how low the price will go is we have. Chinese companies like linked space that have already mentioned to do three successful hops of the same rocket and they haven't made sub orbit or even orbit yet but the more companies we have doing this the more competition there is and the more innovation is going to I'd be driven and that also has the potential to lower costs just figuring out how to effectively get the manufacturing of the rockets so it's not just the cost of a given rocket. It's the cost of the the whole well assembly line that makes that rocket so there's going to be priced costs that come and getting more efficient building the rockets price cuts that Sitcom from getting more efficient at reusing the rockets and well yeah. We don't know just what the lower limit on price just. I will turn. I know a lot of people when they're starting to hear about these rockets launching more launches cheaper launches. What about the environment you've there's. There's a bit of good news the with the with both what spacex is doing him with what blue origin is doing. They're doing methane rockets so the methane is a chemical that is a potent greenhouse gas but in fact you can create it right out of the atmosphere so use solar energy you can you you can turn water and carbon dioxide into methane so in theory methane breaks down ultraviolet light but in theory these rockets doc. It's will be carbon neutral. They will be generating their rocket fuel right at the launch pad pulling it right out of the atmosphere and then turning it into rocket fuel in fact. I wish that airplanes would do that because in theory airplanes can use methane as a fuel as well so it would be great to see that that whole technology push forward to the point that all air travel is carbon neutral the the this is one of those things where we keep learning morning. We don't fully understand our own atmosphere in always the negative direction and since these rockets do relocate where atoms are at different heights in our atmosphere <hes> it's. I'm going to be more cautious on yes but the using methane is definitely the direction to be going early models looking at <hes> standard <hes> locks the systems actually had some pretty devastating impacts on our atmosphere because they were putting things back at elevations in the atmosphere that were very bad bad for the greenhouse effect so hopefully we're getting better over time. Hopefully we're getting better at modeling over time and the other thing is <unk> by getting more fuel efficient on the rockets by being able to launch heavier payloads with lower impact well. We're GONNA. It's it's essentially essentially the Tesla outer space carry more impact soon. Let's just before we wrap up this. Let's talk a just a bit about what people are going to see unfold over the next few months and and years because we really are at a bit of a turning point for this whole whole process right now so we we as we mentioned we've watched the star hopper which was the first the mark the first prototype which was really just a little water tower with one raptor engine underneath offended two hops one very short one. That was really cool. What comes next what's their plan well with which particularly cool wistar hopper is they now have two sites one in Florida and one in Texas and they're essentially racing against each other doing incremental antle innovation where they develop something new tested if it works they share it with the other folks and this constant innovation try and test try and test <hes>. We don't know how fast you can innovate when you're not worried about failure along the way and accept that the failure is part of developing new ideas. This is radically different from what we've seen from things like the UCLA consortium. I am kind of bedding that we're going to start seeing some of the old aerospace getting their contracts cancelled as as space x basically says thump here it is and is able to launch heavier and heavier things at lower and lower costs now. This unfortunately is going join to have impacts on all the spacecraft that are currently under development that we're planning to launch on these already paid for on these already paid for you lay rockets so I think there's going to be a period of epoch confusion fusion as the landscape radically changes. I think that we're going to start to see basically shaming of companies that reuse <hes> the way electron was like well. We're going to be reasonable. Now was awesome but definitely had an era of well. Everyone else is doing and and that public shaming of non reusability I think is going to be the most amusing part as a spectator so the next big event. I think we're going to see them market so they've got these the you mentioned these two facilities have got their mark. One Star hoppers which are pretty much full scale mockups of the of the first of the starship Russian. They're a little smaller but they're going to launch in late. September like just a couple of weeks the plan to start some into who the multicolor altitude and the thinking is is that they will actually launched orbital by twenty twenty even twenty twenty one and and well it. It isn't the advances in Res Ability. <hes> blue origin is looking with their new shepherd to launch human beings before the end of this year and we're still waiting to see. I if the Falcon is going to be able to launch with human beings this year and it's not called yet yeah. They had that explosion over the summer that was a bit of a setback but yeah the plane they did. They did a test fire of the of the SPACEX dragon successfully just a last week so I think they're they're moving forward to being able to actually launch human beings so this is definitely going to be a topic that we will come back to but I you know it and it's it's obviously been a theme in many of our episodes as we've been been going along but we just wanted to to bring it back and and sort of see where we are along along that pathway and I'm sure we'll be talking about it again. If starship does truly launched with the full but the full stack and and I just want to acknowledge that we've focused focused on SPACEX. It's not a SPACEX or multiple Chinese companies. I mentioned one. <hes> Avatar is being put together by India who also has their Reusable Launch Vehicle T. D. P. Program. I this is a multinational time of everyone getting on the Res Ability Bandwagon <hes> and here's to hoping that everyone starts live streaming it because is this yeah absolutely before we go Pamela. Do you have any patrons to think so. We are here by the grace of you. <hes> astronomy cast is produced by Susie Murph who does more than just edit together the sound. I she also heard me. Herds Fraser gets everything posted <hes>. We're working on planning trips. <hes> we just got back from <hes> fourth of July weekend going out to Joshua tree all this myriad of random stuff well you let us pay her which in turn lets her kid. Go to college <hes> so you are making the world a little bit better in a little bit more educated every time you support. US unpatriotic and I want US stew to thank just a set of those people <hes> so I'm GonNa thank Jordan Young Berry Gowan Ramji amount through on Andrew Pulse Dry David Trod Brian Cabell the giant nothing and Laura Kelsen so thank you Pamela and thank you. Everyone will see you all next week. Thank you for listening to astronomy cast a nonprofit resource provided by the Planetary Science Institute Suit Fraser Cain and Dr Pamela Gay you can find show notes and transcripts for every episode at astronomy cast you can email us at info astronomy cast dot com tweet us at astronomy cast like us on facebook and watch us on Youtube we record our show live on youtube every Friday at three PM Eastern Twelve PM Pacific or nineteen hundred ut see our intra music was provided by David Joseph Wesley. The Atra Music is by Travis Searle and the show was edited by Susie Murph.
08-Milky Way Marvels: TRAPPIST-1
"Hey before we continue. I got of course. Have you ever thought about doing a podcast herself. But maybe you have no idea where to start. Well if you haven't heard about anchor. Hey it's the easiest way to make podcast it's free. They've got creation tools. That lets you record. And edit your podcast right from your phone or your computer. I mean to can't get much easier than that and if you'd like money you can make money from your podcast with no minimum listenership. If you're into that thing but the bottom line is it's everything you need to make a podcast all in one place. Download the free anchor app or go to anchor dot. Fm to get started mercury. Venus earth mars the moon the sign all the other things we know about our solar system that we were taught since we were kids. But now i'm hyped about trappist one. Have you ever heard of it. Everyone ask that question in prepping for this episode. Gave me two answers and let me say that one of those answers was not yes to the question of have you heard of trepp is one. I got either no or tr- tr- trap is one but it's okay. I'm gonna let you kill my buzz because hey you know what you don't know until you know it and then you know it so mi hopefully get you hyped about trump easiest one podcast presented by sonic embassy episodes zero eight milky way way. More one well come to milky way. Marbles it's an ongoing series in which we explore various wonders of galaxy. Like many of you. I don't really pay attention to space. Discoveries i mean i do but i don't like i love astronomy but hard core follow it but sometimes a new discovery hits my eyes or ears and it really catches my attention and that's what happened with trappist one one of the things that really gets me. Hyped is when new discoveries are announced but not just any discovery mainly the announcements of new planets especially exo planets a what planet x planet like hug kiss planet. I wish earth needs to be planet of exo exo right about now but no in this case. It's an e x planet. An exo planet is an extra solar planet a planet orbiting different star than our sun. Pretty much a planet outside of our solar system at this moment there are more than four thousand known plant and there are thousands of others that are unconfirmed and require further study. Meaning we think they exist. We just need to stare at a more scientists. Say that in the milky way galaxy there are in fact more planets than there are stars. Think crazy but i guess when you think about it. Our solar system has one star the sun but as nine planets. So i guess i can see how that could be the case of like in my house. I'm outnumbered four to one. Except in this case they are the stars. And i'm just a guest joint. So how are exoplanets discovered. I mean. I can't just get some binoculars. Go outside and be very very very still very very patient and not blink and finally kicked sight of a planet dot around a dot of light in the night sky. Here's dr pamela gay. Senior scientists at the planetary science institute and the podcast astronomy cast along with freezer. Cain explaining a few methods on how exoplanets are found so the ways that we're finding planets day range from purposeful to There's a planet. And i just love the fact that we're now accidentally finding planets so just like when we had this first conversation you can find planets by looking at bright stars using high resolution spectra graphs and looking for the little tiny motions are indicative of a planet. Slowly moving its star around the mutual center of mass and the amount of motion that we're seeing. You could run faster than these starts are moving. It's not a huge movement and this is where you need bright stars we can really spread their light out. We can make really accurate measurements of what's called the radial velocities. The rate at which the star is moving towards us away from us now in order to find planets using radios lusty method. You need to have a planet that is passing between us and the star it can be a little higher a little lower than the star so this method allows you to find stars that are transiting and that would transit. If only they were closer to their star or they're angled was tilted just a little bit more. It does not let us find the planets that are going around the star in the plane in the sky relative to us. Radio velocity method like a galactic tug of war between the star and the planet so scientists look for the wobble so to speak the the initial way that people found planets was. They looked for the doppler shifting of regular everyday stars by hot jupiters and because the gravitational pull of a planet will indeed yank around its sun. We measured those motions the same way a police officer measures. If you're speeding or not by seeing how light coming from the star. It's shifted bread words or blue words in its motion. So no doubt. This way is not a flawless way to find planets with the radio. Of lusty method. We are limited to finding planets that are moving towards us and away from us in the plane of the sky. This means ideally. We can only find that first of all are big enough to yank their star around and second of all are close enough that they're big enough has an effect and you have to have the geometry where they're moving in and out words and away from us in the plane the sky okay. That's all annoying limits. What we're able to seek there is another method used today that i find really intriguing and one used in the discoveries of traps so we have the radio of last year that uses ground based telescopes large telescopes large specter's graphs and can only really work with bright stars. The other methods that we have is looking for transiting planets there's planet passes in front of its star causing the stars light to dim slightly. This is something that you can do with a backyard telescope if your backyard happens to have really good sky conditions. What you need is the perfect sky. That isn't fluctuating twinkling all over the place and really really really. Well calibrated equipment. You don't need big equipment. You need well calibrated equipment. So you can look for that fraction of a percent dip in the stars light and the cell so cool. I really need to get me a really really good telescope. This was initially done mostly with stars that we knew planets going around and around them and after people with like four inch driveway. Telescopes started being able to replicate planet results while we launched this little spacecraft that just might have been called kepler and we started pulling and planets thousand at a time potential planets thousand at a time and since then we've been going through confirming them using doppler technique and sometimes even well lately we've found a tiny tiny handful of planets by looking directly for them we're looking for tiny tiny tiny dips sometimes just a tenth of a percent of light in the light from a star and this is something we've only been able to do for the past couple of decades so i'm wondering what some limitations of this method are now with the transit method it gets even wirth's with the transit method we have to have the planet precisely aligned so that it passes in front of its star a clip sing some of the light from the star relative to arts which means the alignment has to be not just in and out of the sky but persuasively so that it's not tilted upper down too much even in our own solar system we don't see venus and mercury regularly eclipsing are son if we only catch venus just every few generations having a pair of transits. How much rarer is going to be to see alien planets. Transferring their starts. Well it turns out. it's pretty common. But it still limits what we can say. If you go to the planet's dot nasa dot gov and look up five ways to find a planet you can see how many exoplanets have been discovered using each of these methods so using methods like this have led to my new fascination with trappist one what is trappist one trappist one is the name of star an ultra. Cool red dwarf star. That's maybe a little bit bigger than jupiter. It's about forty light years from earth or two hundred thirty five trillion miles or twelve par six the like button if you first heard about a parcel from star wars movie just mia liars if you find that constellation aquarius trappist one will be in there but don't expect to walk outside tonight and see it well at least not with your naked eyes but more on that in a bit it was discovered in one thousand nine hundred ninety nine by university of delaware physics and astronomy professor john galaxies and colleagues it was originally called two mass j. Two three zero six two nine. Two eight dash zero five zero two two eight five. I don't know about you. But i like the name. Trap is one better but more on the newer name in a bid to so trap is one is star and just like human beings. There is a lot of diversity. Among the stars there are many different types of stars we often use our son as the measure of reference for other types often they are classified into seven types based on their temperature so there are neutron stars whole sars giant stars red giants blue giant. Supergiant there are dwarf stars. White dwarfs brown dwarfs yellow dwarfs like our sun and there are red dwarves like trappist one red dwarfs are the most common type of star found in our galaxy in fact about three fourths of the stars are estimated to be read doors so what is a red dwarf well again. let's use the star. We know the most about as i reference point the sun although considered a dwarf stars will is like a giant compared to a red dwarf. A red dwarf is a tiny star. We're talking these. Things are on average at least forty percent the size of the sun if not smaller they do come a bit larger and in fact. There's a lot of argument over exactly where you draw the line at the top of what the size red dwarf is at the bottom. These are the smallest objects capable of prolonged hydrogen burning via the proton proton chain deep in their core and like the sun yellow dwarfs or hotter. You've off more energy and a yellowish or whitish color. All making it more bright easier to see a red dwarf is relatively cool which means they give off less energy and red colour all making it more less bright. It all comes down to. What kind of star is it. I don't know about you. But i have incandescent lights in my house in random places still because i am a bad human being and i know that. The hundred watt light bulbs. If i touch those suckers too soon totally gonna burn myself whereas the lower wattage bulbs the not turned up all the way on the fader bulbs if i want to replace his with fluorescent bulb. Turn them off and grab them in. Its good stars. It's the same way if they're big. They're hot. They're gonna get rid of all of water and burn that planet. You have a smaller redder. Cooler star and water can be liquid but not boil away. These stars also go through a different kind of launching into existence whereas a red dwarf. It's going to be an angry little x-ray jettison object for awhile but it's not going to go through that prolonged period of being super hot. So that's why you can't see trappist one or probably any red dwarf star in the night sky without a really powerful telescopes which is really unfortunate. I would. I would really love to go. Outside and stare at trap is one and daydream or dream about what's there so what is there. And why am i so excited about it. Well in two thousand sixteen. A team of astronomers at the university of leauge in belgium had been observing the star two mass j two three zero six two nine. Two eight dash zero five zero two two eight five now even though they were in belgium. They were using robotic telescope in lucia chile called transiting planets and plan testimonials small telescope south or trappist self. It's a belgian telescope. They discovered two planets orbiting two mass j. Two three zero six two nine two eight zero five zero two two eight. Five discovery is huge. Not only are they. The first planet ever discovered around such a tiny indian star but also the art earth-like meaning both are similar in size to earn our rock. Ball's not gas balls and incredibly similar in temperature to earth this launches in intensive followup and nonstop observation so this star two mass j two three zero six two nine two eight dash zero five zero two two eight five is now a star system or planetary system and is renamed trappist one. Thank you and the name. Trappist is not just named for that telescope. Missile valley of belgians are den mountain range almost nine hundred yield known as orval abbey trappist. Monks have been brewing beer here. Since the twelfth century now this world famous trappist monastic. Beer has inspired the name of one of the most extraordinary astronomical fines ever trappist is the nickname of a system of seven earth sized planets orbiting dwarf star. Forty light years away. Air mclaughlin cnn. The edge belgium clever beer goes with everything. I wonder which came first the name idea or the idea for the acronym. And it's like here's what we want the acronym to be now. Let's come up with clever name for each letter so it makes sense. Perhaps the beer but as you heard in that clip in two thousand seventeen. They discovered five. More planets. orbiting trap is one for a grand total of seven. Here is thomas zurbuchen of the nasa science mission directorate in february of two thousand seventeen. I'm excited to announce today that dr ba cal. John and his team have used our spitzer space telescope to determine that are actually seven earth sized planets orbiting the nearby trappist one-star about forty light years. Away what's more is that. Three of these planets are in the habitable zone where likud water can pool on the surface in fact with the right atmosphere it conditions that could be water on any of these planets so for the first time we found many terrestrial planets around a single star. And that's the first being able to measure. In addition to that both the mass service and the radio of these habitable song type. Earth science bonnets. These planets are among the best in of all the planets reno to follow up to see for example with james webb space telescope. That original launch last year that atmospheres and also to locate biosignatures. If there are any discovery gives us a hint that finding second earth is not just a matter of if but when these new five planets discovered just like the first two are all earthlink and three of them are in the habitable zone in other words like mother earth. They are at a distance from their son in which liquid water could exist. The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable zone. Planets found around a single star outside our solar system. How did they figure out that these planets are like this. What gets me is how figuring this out. We can't exactly directly image the surface of these worlds yet. Because we haven't spent the money to build those telescopes yet. I'm really hoping we'll get there but right now what ends up happening is we have. These worlds are getting discovered by kepler. And there's a whole bunch of them. Kepler sixty two e is one of the ones that the most attention. But there's a whole bunch of these different worlds and we can observe them translating in front of their stars so we know how quickly they're moving their orbit. We are able to see how long it takes them to damn and so you have your object and as it passes in front of the star it takes time for it to go from completely beside the star to completely in front of the star and that amount of time it takes to move also gives us the whip the planet so with these transit systems. We have the ability to physically measure the size of the planet. If it's the right kind of debt once we know how big the world is. We know how it's orbiting we can start making assumptions about what it's masses and then the motley our free to model and they plug into their computers while you through these things any through these things in assuming okay. If the star has this composition the solar nebula would have had this composition and in the models it works out what elements would have gotten blasted to the outer solar system during planetary formation. What elements would have been left behind. What should this world who've been made of and it appears that to get the sizes. Were seeing you need a world covered in water. So let's paint the picture of what. The trump is one system. Looks like and of course lets us what we know best which is our own solar system to make it make sense you know how our son is really huge like compared to earth they say a million plus urns could fit inside and you know how jupiter is really huge to our other planets and they estimate that just a thousand jupiter's can fit inside the sun and thirteen hundred plus earth's could fit inside jupiter now the star trap is one is about the size of jupiter. Maybe a bit bigger. So hopefully that gives you a mental picture of the sizes. Okay now let's talk orbits and proximity if you picture drawing a line representing each planets orbit around the sun and it would make a circle around the sun starting with mercury then you go out a little bit further and you trace the path of venus around the sun. Go out a bit. Further trees earth's path with the line a bit further for mars go away jupiter etc. Then if you look at it from above all the orbits would look like the rings of tree or the ripples when you drop a pebble into a pond. I think it's safe to say that we consider mercury to be pretty darn close to the sun but check this l. All seven of travis ones known planets are closer to their son than mercury is two hours. Isn't that nuts. When you think about it. All seven planets orbit lines could fit inside. mercury's orbit mind the planet's our system are in like a rural countryside. Nice peaceful elegant. We'll get around the sun when we get there and intrepid one they're pushed up and huddled together like a downtown rush hour. Use me trying to get around with inside to get around the the sun. It's even been like in more to how. Jupiter systems moons orbit so close. If you wear on the surface of one of these planets would have a wonderful view on the other planets sees them like we see davino so mouse like dot so flight but you would see them really us. We see the moon. You would see awards with which are very weak. You could see the strictures on his. Walt would be as large as a moon an even larger for some of them so it would be a wonderful view on these planets. Eleby so cool. Just like in sci-fi art imitating life imitating art in a moment what we know so far about the travis one planets and what's the future of study for this interesting star system long confidence dodger lovers from the award winning producers at sonic embassy comes on your podcast mini series that takes a fund entertainment work on various nouns and popular culture. Pop culture icons 'cause everyone hates to. What was it about spongebob that you liked what made me. Viking was just the type of love hate relationship with that man coach icons. We're taking give back. Podcast presented by sonic embassy now streaming everywhere. You listen milky way mama's so what do we know about trap is one. What are some of the details of the planet's. It's too early for names just yet. So all the planets are labeled traps one. B c d e f g and h in order of increasing distance from their parents star so like mercury the first rock from its son would be trappist one be so again with all that nonstop observation. What do we know. Here's mikhail john. One of the belgian astronomers who. I made this discovery at that. Nasa press conference in february two thousand seventeen. Well we are missouri with spitzer very very precisely they sizes and firm all we have thanks to spitzer to preliminary measurements of the masses for six of them and for one of them. Our missouri is precise enough to strongly suggest a water rich composition which is very exciting because this is one of the plant the zone. Football is planet Orbiting so closely started immersed be always out probably tidally locked which means they always face to start with the same site lag the moon with a paramount decide and permanent nine side. Trump is one planet. Could be just like this. So ultra cool dwarf Are known to be very active when they are young. This is the main concern about these potential debatable. Planets at the because it could have been Atmosphere being eroded strongly by star when it was young. Now it's quite it's Quite old wives so it's not very active but maybe Wanted twelve young. It was conditions where quite different so it will be by observations that we will really figure out surprised of this planet and what happened during visa very active and young face. Yeah so the atmospheres of planets. Tell us a great deal about the formation evolution of planets and also about all of the physical processes that are occurring on the plant surface and in the air especially those that might make the planet habitable or actually addictive of hosting life. We can use space based telescopes today. to to study the atmospheres of planets using a technique called transmission spectroscopy which is text the fingerprints of different chemical species in a planet's air such as water methane ozone or oxygen. We're currently using the hubble space telescope to study the planet's in the trappist one system to determine if they have hydrogen helium dominated atmospheres. It's actually great to find out if they don't that gives us a another push forward and having these planets be in fact rocky and also the potential of those planets to support water on their services just last year. Hubble actually probed the innermost planets travis. One system traffic being c. and found that they didn't have a hydrogen helium dominated atmospheres. So that's just one more step along the path to having these potentially habitable world that was nicole lewis astronomer at the space telescope science institute in baltimore. So i'll use is on exoplanets here. To give you a brief tour of the habitable zone of the trappist one system. So if we zoom out to the system away from the ho star you'll see all seven planets the innermost planet in the habitable zone is trappist one e. so in this illustration you'll you'll see an artist's rendition of trappist one e which is a really interesting planet for a number of reasons. It's very close. Incised it also receives about the same amount of light as earth's doesn't our own solar system. This means that in trappist one e you could have temperatures that are very very similar to the ones that we have here on earth the next planet is trappist one f. now this is a potentially water rich world that is again the same size as earth now trappist trappist one f has about a nine day or it and during that time it receives about the same amount of sunlight as mars does in our own solar system and the final planet in the habitable zone of the trappist one system is trappist one g now trappist one g is the largest planet the traffic one system about thirteen percent larger radius than that of earth and it receives about the same amount of starlight as somewhere in between mars and the asteroid belt in our solar system. We're hearing a lot of talk about that quote habitable zone but yeah so according to nasa which means that this number could be out of date of looking on a nasa website. And it's hard to keep these websites up today last. This website was updated. Kepler alone had found thirty exoplanets less than twice the size of the earth that were located in habitable zones by which i mean that area around a star were the temperature allows if the atmosphere of the planet is right for water to exist on the planet and ice cream liquid and gas is at the triple point of water now we have mars also theoretically in the habitable zone venus but these two worlds have chosen very different paths toward becoming not good places to live venus kept of its atmosphere said mine mine mine and then made it poisonous. Mars was like b free atmosphere. It left its atmosphere. Go away and without an atmosphere it also like lost all of its what are and things like that above the surface water locked down in the surface so both these worlds chose different paths towards non habitability while existing at someplace that given the correct atmosphere given the correct magnetic field. These worlds receive just the right amount of sunlight that they could have regions at this triple point of water and actually in january of two thousand twenty one. A new study of trappist one was published. That found that its planets have very similar densities and make-up's to each other but possibly very different from earth in our solar system there is a lot of variety planet densities. The new study has led scientists to believe that the planets have rocky services and iron rich course. Their chords are likely smaller than earth's since the planet each have a mass. Roughly eight percent less than earth's complaining the planetary interior models from the universities of bern and zurich with the planetary atmosphere models at the university of geneva they were able to evaluate the water content of the seven trappist one planet with the precision literally unprecedented for this category planet and these internal and atmospheric structure models show that the three inner planets the trap is one system are likely to be waterless and that the four outer planets wouldn't have more than a few percent water possibly liquid on their services whether the differences between earth and the travis planets changed the potential for life. Somewhere in the traffic one system is still unclear. We just don't know enough yet. And that's why the studies will continue. So what does the future look like in further. Study of this fascinating star system. I mean there are so many more questions to be answered. Here is sara seager professor of planetary science and physics at mit cambridge. At the nasa press conference in february two thousand. Seventeen one of the reasons. Astronomers are so excited about it is. It's a veritable laboratory for studying a planets orbiting very cool very small very dim red stars. That are so incredibly different from our son. In fact astronomers constantly go back forth about all the excitement about these worlds because they're very easy to study other people have fears and concerns. And so we actually get to tests many people's theories about these world being tidally locked and radiation from the hosts are and things like that. So hopefully. we're counting on speculative to find more of these systems and planets around these ultra cooled worse these very common stars that we can study so in addition to use in astronomy. When someone makes a discovery like this we almost any telescope that can sell up to follow up and so in that way we have We heard about hubble already from nicole but hubble kepler k. to spitzer and other telescopes are exploring the trappist system further. I'd say that what the team is most excited about. Although this is still a bit in the future is the james webb space telescope because with this telescope and the reason the trap is planets are so significant is that they are accessible to observations with james webb space telescope. So with the james webb will be able to study the atmospheres and we will try to assess the greenhouse gas content which will help us understand the surface temperature of the planets. Are they indeed. The right temperature to support liquid water in life as we know it in fact we're even gonna use the james webb search for gases gas. That don't belong. That might be produced by life. Such as oxygen methane a whole host of other gases to me a looking from the point of nasa science broken. It's exciting because it's of course it's a leap forward but it goes in parallel to the other leaps. Were taking right now. look at. What's happening at mars where we're really looking at the complex chemistry. That's happening looked at the recognition. That mars actually is a place where not only used to be water. But there's water today. Abundant water in parallel to that You know the recognition that we now have technology ability of going to europa and actually looking at that system which is in its own right. Neely an exciting system he goes. There's a notion world. they're not hit. Stop rock at the bottom. You know really unexpected place. In in sight there's many otter places like that and then on the theory side. We already heard i Really understanding of the biology of life's gonna if there's a tremendous amount of progress to get her these areas really create kind of crescendo toward stat Really answering that question that has been on our minds for so long. This is the right time to ask the question this time to have this discovery right now. A yellow dwarf sized. Thank you to senior scientists at the planetary science institute dr pamela gay and publisher of universe today for cain for allowing me to use portions of their wonderful astronomy. Podcast called astronomy. Cast if you appreciate space and science this is definitely a podcast. That's worth adding to your platelets. You can find a strong cast at the same place. You're listening to this at their dot com and you too. So what do you think you heard travis one before today. Have you googled already to take a look at the artist conception of the planet's yet are you excited about all the exoplanet discoveries. I love to know my email is studio at sonic embassy dot com. You can also find the sonic embassy on twitter. Vero facebook patriotic and i g our website sonic embassy dot com some great resources to check out. Besides your favorite search engine are exoplanets dot nasa dot gov es dot org exoplanet dot edu. J. w dot org earth sky dot org and trappist dot winnie if you enjoy this episode. Share it so more people can find out about us but if you think. This podcast was not worth further observation. Well you should share that. On social media with linked to sonic embassy dot com slash podcast. That would really show me if you have an idea that you think would make a great episode and let me know. Thank you so much for listening. Love you and hope you'll listen more. Hey there's another episode of milky way marvels in the works so follow the sonic embassy to stay up to date super bass. Sonic in this.
Ep. 553: What To Look Forward To In 2020
"Episode by three. We're looking forward to twenty welcome to starting to be castor fact speech journey to God's will help you stand up early what we know what how we know what we know. I'm user came. Publisher of University with is always Dr Pamela Gay. A senior scientists for the Planetary Science Institute and the directive caused request. Tamil he doing. I'm doing well. I survived are forty hour story. Aust- weekend and We're doing in good and It's it's looking like twenty. Tony has the potential to be a explosively awesome year. Oh hope in the good way all right. Well it's hard to believe it but we survived another trip around the sun. Now it's time to take a whole the whole journey all over again but with new news. Let's take a look at some of the space and astronomy stories that we're looking forward to in twenty twenty. Yeah of course the big news is that Bagel juices definitely probably dimming. Yes so there's no probably on it. Bagel Jews is is currently dimming to the point that it is a lower magnitude a lower brightness which is a higher number magnitude do stuff backwards in the know it all just depends on whether you're above or below the yes. No it is a is a bigger hold on the lightness fainter. The object right right. And so like the brightening skies like minus twenty. Just what seven the sun or something like that. I remember it's tweeted. Yeah yeah so bagel juice the the top if you are a Ryan right shoulder if you're looking at a Ryan. His left shoulder that top red the star that top red shoulder had been the brightest star in the constellation. Had Been One of the top brightest stars in the sky up ten. Yeah and currently it is fainter than Algebra on the bright orange. I of Taurus. The bull will and in the last fifty years of modern measurements. We have never seen it this faint. Now this is a supergiant star. They do do you vary in magnitude. This particular start has a number of different ways that we see it growing and dimming by because it's one of the most likely to go boom Supernova explode stars in the sky all leave the astronomers early please explode and there's a whole lot of headlines flooding around right now saying astronomers think beetlejuice will split Split. Now we don't think it's going to explode. We are wishful. We are hopeful. It is doing something we've never seen before we know it has the potential to go boom. We know it's about nine million years old and that starts the size generally go boom within the first ten million years of their lives. But that doesn't mean it's going to go. Oh boom and in fact January is is a important month because if it follows it's normal behavior and is simply getting fainter than it normally gets right right now we will see it begin to increase in brightness which means it's magnitude number will go down towards zero We we we will begin to see that change Actually it's already below zero so it will simply go even lower. We will see that change in January. Now if we don't see that you're going to see a whole lot of astronomers going these burn please go boom do something because we are owed a visual brightness Supernova in our galaxy galaxies like ours in general general should have a massive supernova every hundred years or so. We haven't had one in a while unless the other side sixteen hundred sixteen eighteen seventy four sixteen hundred kepler's Supernova was the last one we saw in the galaxy. And that's really unusual like there should have been and they're probably were there just on the side of the disc and we couldn't see them but but the closest one was one thousand nine hundred eighty in the large cloud and that was one hundred. Seventy seventy thousand light years away and that is that sucks and there's a couple of things that I've been seeing in the news that I wanNA highlight as just wrong so one of the things that I've been seeing a lot of stories say is telescopes around the world. The most mighty instruments are being turned towards beetlejuice. No they're not thought beetlejuice. Is stupidly. Bright if you pointed an eight meter telescope even add it at its faintness right now to image edge it. It would do bad things to your detector now. There are people that that you can block down light. You can spread it out with the spectograph but you don't need an eight meter telescope scope to be doing this stuff. It became the first telescope to have its disk at a low resolution image and not was done with a one and a a half meter telescope back in the late nineties. Jewelry or something crazy and so this this can account for some of the variations. That are happening with it. it has cells on the surface. Like you know when you look at the at the surface of the Sonny's healed blobby cells little granules right so beetlejuice you can have cells. That are sixty percent. The size of beetlejuice. Yeah so and beetlejuice extends out almost to the orbit of Jupiter Superior and so passed the orbiter. Judy pins it. Didn't yeah that's right. Yeah until it grows and shrinks like AH MIRA variable stars has yeah it has these these cells on its surface that that blob around and so and it's blowing out gas dust. It's thought right that it should blow about the mass of the Sun in its lifetime out in space now. What we we need at this point is colored formation because the way a star changes in magnitude as a pulsating variable you see changes in color linked with changes in size which are linked with changes in brightness and it all interplay S- quite nicely now if the temperature isn't if the color and temperature the same thing isn't changing the way we expect for a pulsating variable star that is new information nations? It is even weirder than before I haven't been able to find high quality colored data yet and this is another one of those things that isn't getting talked about a lot. There's been a few good twitter feeds but I haven't seen a good analysis in in the mainstream media yet and the data. That's it's getting pulled for. beetlejuice is getting pulled from the American Association of Variable Star observers massive amazing database and this database database consists largely for this object of naked eye observations of people standing out in their driveway. Going Oakland for number right is beetlejuice compared to all the surrounding stars and so while this is really good data the the person to person variations are huge which means you can just download the data and use it as is you have to do statistical analysis of of people over time. Pull everything to mean and in fact they initially people who are just pulling the data down really. Oh this is nothing special intel. They started making these corrections. Different people start making these crashes and we're like Oh expletive. This is actually faster than we've seen. There are few people that have good photo electric. This is digitally measured bright. Mrs Guinan at Villanova. University's them. That's the one I saw two but we need more color information because has knowing how bright or fainted as compared to other stars doesn't offer US temperature. which is what we really need to know? If it's really behaving out of the normal please please. Color information public somewhere. What we really need is neutrino observations? That would tell us if it's on its way out but that is the Neutrino. Informations are only slightly ahead of the go boom late Brighton. Yes formation couple of minutes in the. Here's the thing is when beetlejuice does decide to go whether it be tomorrow please please please or a million years from now. which would be really sad? I when it does decide to go. It will be observable with the technology technology. We have today in all the colors of the electromagnetic spectrum so all colors of light but it will also a potentially beginning off detectable gravitational waves and it will be giving neutrinos so this will be something that we can the study across particle physics gravity physics and light When you think about like pictures of Crab Nebula which was in ten fifty four? It's ten times closer yeah Q.. Magin how what it will look like if it when it goes off. Say we'll get to magnitude hanged tude minus ten potentially it could rival the full moon yet a it will pixel for Pixel be brighter than the foam. Yes but we'll be team size right and it will be ten times brighter than Venus and Venus. If you know where to look you can see as a daytime daytime object this means that the SUPERNOVA will be day time object or we are for a go boom bagel juice. Yes I know you don't actually care what I wish what I hope what I desire but beetlejuice and for anyone who still lives in the beetlejuice system apologize for the horrific disaster that we are hoping will happen to your system but if you live if you orbits a red supergiant you've had a bad time for longtime that's a terrible terrible place to live so I don't think we have to worry about any civilizations to having a rough go of it when their star explodes but so I mean the reality is that we are hoping that beetlejuice is GonNa explode but we have no idea what's going to happen and we will just wait and most most likely it's going to increase in brightness again and then maybe one hundred years from now we'll go ou- beetlejuice dimmer than we've seen in one hundred years ears and then at some point one hundred thousand years or so someone's GonNa go. Wow build you just exploded and and I see in the shot that Astra wise is asking are are neutrino detectors. Directional and an individual neutrino detector is not directional it's simply goes neutrinos neutrinos but at this point in time we have multiple neutron detectors around the world and by looking at the arrival time in different places it starts to give us they vague directional information. It's never going to be accurate enough to say that that started it but statistically if you see a burst of of neutrinos and it's vaguely in the correct quadrant of the sky You can Link the two events as we're able to back with Supernova nineteen eighty-seven and like the Ice Cube Observatory in Dhaka's sort of the most sensitive machine ever to do this and it has one cubic kilometer of ice that it's watching neutrinos exploded. And then you've got other ones as well all around the world now so actually. But it's I mean you get a couple of Neutrino detections with a supernova going off and it's like there was a recent Supernova twenty fourteen was about eleven the closest one since Supernova eighty-seven a Supernova was about eleven million light years away and your by Galaxy. And no super no no Neutrino detections. So they are so far one has not aw. That's close enough beyond easy for them to really protect us so so this is absolutely new science. This is six hundred fifty seven hundred under light. It's kind of hard to measure the exact distance. This means. All you people but Ryan Lugar have a shoulder yes he will have a shoulder it. It will be a bloody Nebula of shoulder it turns out towards the bull is filing the couch him And as a Longhorn. I'm okay with US right. Well this whole episodes Google Beta land in other things so January. The thing to look forward to in January is the rebranding or not of rightaid. juice doesn't get reb writer re Brighton than then. It's getting weird and I'm okay with that. Yeah so let's just go like. I don't think we're going to go month by month. Let's just pick some some events some big events that you're excited about for for twenty twenty. So what's what's the next big thing that you're excited about. So so I'm always a fan of meteor showers and and In January an unfortunately this is during the WS meeting saw be done in Hawaii which is really weird statement normally doesn't say unfortunately but the Honolulu has a lot of light pollution. So there's going to be quartered meteor shower and so here we're looking at a few. Meteors is per hour We also are GonNa have the best at the end of the Year Gemini ads that we've had in a while. There's going to be a new moon and Dan as someone who was born during the gem needs. I don't think about the astrology too hard because that hurts the soul but I love the fact that I was born during a meteor shower and this this year is the year to go out and watch that meteor shower beyond that this is the year I have decided. I'm going to actually lake. Try and get good ish astro hat astro photography. I don't have the money to be good. I'm aiming for good ish and there's some really cool events this year we're going to have Jupiter and Saturn Saturn close enough. They're going to be one fifth the diameter of the moon apart which means that in a really good camera lens. You're going to be able to resolve both of them. Yeah ever so slightly side by side and and that is also in December number of next year. Apparently I'm really excited about next December. I've been doing my on this event for for probably a decade now. I've I've been looking forward to this moment. This conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn. Because as you say it's going to be one fifth the diameter of the full moon which means that in a fairly high power image. Yeah you're going to have both Jupiter and Saturn side by side in the IP nunes tangled altogether or ground background. Yeah I mean it's going to be some of the most stunning creative pictures. I think that we will have seen in Astro Photography Planetary Astro photography in in a decade. So this is a this is a big one wins at happening. In December December. Twenty first so yeah now now if you want to practice and these are the kinds of events you really need to practice for a cool thing that you can practice with its much sooner is a Mars is gonNA pass behind. Signed the dark edge of the moon which means you'll be able to see this this guy glow of the Moon in images where you're resolving Mars and that's just kinda really cool and being able to see Mars deep behind the lunar mountains. It's just cool to L. Practice your astro photography and that's February eighteen. So let's talk about Obviously there's a couple of eclipses there's going to be angular clips lips so unusual combination of that. Let's talk about some missions in robotic spaceflight first and then we'll shift over to some human spaceflight so now we're getting our closest approach to Mars again sort of near the end of twenty twenty which means that we've got. It's the perfect time. It's the window that you send things to Mars and so we've got to really important missions that are going to Mars ars from NASA. It's the twin of curiosity is going to be the Mars Twenty Twenty rover which. I'm sure it's going to get an a new name at some point. And so it's going to be launching launching and then you've got Europe's EXO Mars mission which consists of an order as well as the Rosalind Franklin rover which I love is as the name name. Maybe Isa's been having a shoe mayor of time getting this parachute working and so it could very well be into. They've actually NASA has has been helping them out. They've been letting us there. They've got a test facility where they test do parachutes on this sort of high speed rail system to try and get the deployment working taking. They had a bunch of failures of their system. So if they can't get this sorted out there they're not going to be able to launch this year and they're gonNA have to wait until the next launch winter. Would she'll be twenty two so and things where I really feel. That delay is alright. The Mars Eats Rovers slanders it eats spacecraft. That simply come near by this is referred to as the Mars ars curse within the community and the Galactic Ghoul it. It's one of these things were were. Mars likes to remind. Space is hard and and getting everything to work perfectly when you're landing on another world that has enough gravity that it's yanking things down at a good clip towards the surface but but not enough atmosphere that you can effectively break in the waves that we're used used to it makes testing and designing things here on our world with our atmosphere and gravity. Nobody really really hard. You have to take things extraordinarily high up in the atmosphere if you WanNa try and practice and they just haven't had had the successful tests now this isn't for lack of trying. They have pulled together parachute experts from around the globe. They've done workshops. They're they're doing everything they kion. John and I really hoping they pull this off. But if they don't have successful tests I'm really hoping that they know parred and give it another go around. Yep this is the year that Cyrus Rex's going to be grabbing its sample from Banu and and making it while I think he makes his journey any home in two thousand twenty one but this year we get we get the we get the sample thanks. I'm parched to all the work from our good friends at COSMO Quest Yup and we're looking at hopefully I in the new year we're going to see a Rehearsal of what that will look like as we have these primary and secondary landing sites one in towards the North Pole. The others near the equator. quitters much easier to get to the polar holder site is much more interesting but I both of them kind of have awful nasty horrible boulders and are kind of tiny and nasty rocks all the way down so I'm personally just looking forward to the rehearsal. We'll see what we learn about. Oh Gosh when we get closer. It's even worse than we imagined or hey it's not that bad. But that is not the only mission Russian that visited Royd and we will get the sample back from High Busa to the Japanese spacecraft. That got up to all kinds addition arrogance with its with its asteroid. Right you go. And they're going to be. I love the mission planning on this. They are going to be ejecting their sample from a distance greater than the distance of the moon flinging it towards Earth where they expected to come in over Australia. And I just love the fact that orbital mechanics is that exact like you know. It's that exact cause the homework assignments but deceit actually implemented is glorious glorious. Yes totally. We've we've got a couple of other missions. Oh the Chinese who have been exploring the from the far side of the moon. They're going to be launching their Chunga. Five Commission and the goal here is to actually bring a sample back to Earth from the moon and we are again watching the Chinese step-by-step step catch up catch up and and demonstrate how serious they are about about exploring the moon and progressing the science. They've now done things that that no one else has done. And this is the next step. They've set up us a radio telescope on the far far side of the moon. They've got a they've got a rover roving around on the far side of the moon and at the South Pole. So we you know they're serious and then next x comes to sample and and this is where slow and study really is showing that it wins the race. And we're going to talk more about this later in the episode but I look at what they're doing systematically calmly on the timeline that work without a whole lot of we're gonNA do such such an inside job stuff done at the rate that they're comfortable and they're systematically checking off all the firsts. What's your and catching up to everything that we can do? And they're doing it alone because I regulations here in the United States don't let let them work with US largely. Yep and it's it's awesome. I think everyone needs yapping. An eye on what they're doing they're I mean they're this is gonna what happened this year but they are in the process of of building and launching their third Tanjong station. It's going to be a much larger international space station station with partnerships with many other countries. So when you look at that checklist right. They've sent spacecraft to the moon. They've built they've said astronauts to space. They built space stations. Sion's they have at this point now. They've done everything but land humans on the moon and that's the plan so just keep watching and yeah. That's that's all I've got. Is there rocking it out. And then a couple of other missions nations as well the solar orbiter is going to be launching some more observations of the Sun. Let's talk about the humour. She won another robotic mission. But it's one talking about starlink so they're planning on. I think a launch every two weeks which is insane. And we've talked about this before there's so many mixed emotions about this mission because on one hand social justice says we need to bring Internet to the entirety of the world in a way that can only be done with spacecraft. Because as Philip Metzger is pointed out you can't run fiberoptics to every tiny island in the Pacific. You can't run cables able to every farmhouse in the American Midwest all these remote individuals whether they be hunters in Canada Or just there's so many different things the only way we're getting them. Internet is satellite Internet and power constraints technology. She constraints means we can't do it with geosynchronous satellites right now if you want to be able to do it affordably and so at this point in time we we need Starlink but starlink racks ground-based images requiring more images than previously. Were needed to be taken to accomplish. Push the same science so we are slowing our ability to accomplish science In the name of getting Internet to rural populations friends and all the mixed emotions. Yeah all and so if it does you know. I think I've I've I've hammered this regularly right if if starlink delivers on the promise of getting Internet to people across the world and and helps everybody. It'd be a part of the global community because really if you are on the Internet today you are not part of the modern economy. It's true you'll get and so there's a digital divide the haves and the have nots and when you have not because you can't you can't sell your goods. You can't buy goods. You can educate your your children in the new technologies apologies. It is you know it's it's absolutely required to be part of the modern society or just you know not and so it's this digital divide and so if Starlink helps that happen then the price that we will pay is that we will lose we will lose some of our access to the sky access in. This guy will be more difficult but if Starlink is used to ruin the skies and it's there to make bankers rich then then it's going to be. We are a catastrophe and an absolute insult. So let's hope that the folks SPACEX and musk a stand up for what's right and do the right thing going to get really mad. It's true human spaceflight for twenty twenty so so here again all the mixed feels but you've you go back and listen to this episode. This part is going to sound very similar to what we did a year ago. Exactly it's it's one of these things where I'd I visited Kennedy a couple of weeks ago. Kennedy Space Center down in Florida. Along with Suzy our producer Anne one of my co hosts over on cosmic Wesak twitch twitch I we and we scheduled it thinking that would be able to see SIERRAS. Nineteen SPACEX flight up to the International Space Station as well as the star liner test and possibly the space x abort test. We schedule A trip back. In August which meant we actually saw zero launches but we went to Disneyworld and we saw lots of launches. Is there more fictional starlight watches but while we were at Kennedy and we did the the standard tore they have the facility. One of the things that really got me was how much they are plugging. Star liner and arguments as American made American Industry American American American and there was only a side mention of SPACEX. And I need to do more research to try and understand. Why SPACEX SPACEX isn't getting branded the same way as an American ship because one of the lines that keeps coming up in the standard NASA broadcasts as with Star liner is. We're going to re returning American astronauts from American soil on an American made spaceship ship and they ended it with before the decade is out it except now the decade is out and they haven't done it does a decade end in twenty twenty eighteen or the decade end in two thousand twenty. I guess it depends on who you talk to start from year one but if you start from year zero does it does do you. I mean it's pork I'm sure but do you think humankind started the calendar years zero to call your one. Well it it should I now. Admittedly I don't think there is a year zero ce common era but anyways anyways. I really think that it's a bit concerning how much emphasis is getting. Put on star liner I because star liner recently had a not quite healthy test. Yes he didn't make it to the International Space Station and we heard a lot a lot of folks even NASA administrators coming out and saying well. We don't think Boeing needs to do a second test because the rocket worked fine and everything that went wrong along with the capsule an astronaut could have handled. And this we don't need to do. Another test is is very different. From on where you see spacex casually blowing things up now and then saying okay. We're just going to repeat this week at right and I'm much more a fan of test Intel. It consistently only works and then use it with the people's then rushed production. Yeah and and so I really really hope that we get human beings launching from American soil so that it saves US money that can get used for other stuff breath in the near future. I don't care. If IT SPACEX or space launch systems or Boeing. I do care about whether messaging makes it ahead of trial and proof of concept. I'm sure this whole thing has something to do with money. Has something to do with. Lobbyists has has something to do with the establishment and and this is just momentum and yet there's only so long you can handle the withering hail progress the from SPACEX. Before you just start going under. So if if SPACEX NEEDS TO OUT COMPETE THE ESTABLISHED LAUNCH SH- providers. Then that's what they're going to do right like like when you when you compare the capabilities and just how far ahead space x with the crew dragon already is to the steps that Boeing's taking with the star liner and you get you. Compare the amount of money that Boeing charged far more than what they charged for SPACEX. Thanks for the Crew Dragon. Lead to renew fairly recently on that. Either it's worse than that. Let's back it up half a step and just look at the scenery scenery. We have SPACEX is designed their crew dragon to launch on their Falcon nine. Try neutral technology. They were originally designing their Ryan Capsule to lunch on the space launch systems which is by launch alliance. which is a consortium of companies includes includes Boeing and Lockheed so far space launch systems is years and years behind development and billions of dollars over budget fairly fairly recently in the grand scheme of spacecraft Innovation a a switch was made where they decided to to fund Boeing to develop a star liner. which would launch on the tried and True Atlas rocket which is? Kind of like your Go-to you know it's going to work. And and so you see this step sideways and backwards with star liner which is a okay. What can we build? That will actually fit on this rocket. Karate have and this wasn't where we thought we were going to be. We thought we were going to be just a few years ago with space launch systems. uh-huh versus Space X two rockets suites the Falcon series the series. And now we have because it was recognized. Base systems are so far behind the gain and they don't want to have just one spacecraft. We've made that mistake before with the shuttle series where we only had had one thing we could rely on. They WanNa more than one thing that we can rely on. And that's wise for sure it is and blue. Origins is behind the game. There's there's no one else's far along but star liner is the next a big hub coming on the far distant horizon. Starship is sorry I got that backwards. strug liner is the Boeing which is up on the horizon. STARSHIP is far future. Coming to us from SPACEX still being innovated space launch systems which should already be flying isn't and it's all very confusing and and so yeah. I mean space launch. In theory three we will see the first flight of the Space Launch System at the end of twenty twenty. That's currently the still on the docket. So we should see see this year which crew dragon take humans to the International Space Station. We might see star liner take humans to the international rational space station assuming they get these problems figured out with the with the launch. Last week we should see the space launch system. Do its first is launch at the end of twenty twenty on crude and and then as the backdrop to this whole thing we should theoretically likely see tests of the starship of the species starship do something orbital this year although remember I mean we had the big reveal back in September. Her Musk's it. It's going to be launching. It's going to go to. It's twenty kilometer hop in a couple of months. Compliments went by. We're three months past I. And and one of their star ships kind of exploded opulent so we could be there. Were Still GonNa wait many months maybe even years years for the next starship to actually trying to pop and maybe years until it goes orbital so I yeah I did it will take them a long time to get it human rated. I suspect we will see because they are doing rapid prototyping across multiple sites. And this is the big. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEAN SPACEX Boeing and space launch systems. And as near as I can tell all the other people is is spacex. His rapid prototyping recognizing some of the prototypes are going to fail spectacularly and and that's okay for them failures option as long as you learn from it. Yeah I have so much respect for that. So it's I mean I think so. Place your bets. Then what do you think is going to happen this year in human spaceflight. So does this list fly now does does starship fly. I suspect suspect it will fly. I am deeply concerned. It will fly with humans before they do another test. But we will see starship fly this year two with humans onboard stylized. Starship we will not see with humans. Fly this here. We will probably see more testing out. I don't know They got the Falcon heavy to work and they can use a lot of the same tack. So yeah I can see them doing Elliot low-earth-orbit. Yeah okay. I mean who knows what the future holds. But I'm super skeptical. That they'll they'll do that. They'll do lower orbit they'll they will successfully return starship from low-earth-orbit but who knows So then crew. Dragon carries carries astronauts to the space station idea star. Leonard US now really wait. Hold on star or liner is Boeing isn't it yes starlight nerve versus starship going to break me. Do not name your products this closely together. People do not do this. I breath I think that you could call this one hundred if you like and we can call it. The super heavy I think Boeing will people on the top of an atlas. I am concerned they will do it without more testing. Yeah I think we'll see it right by the end of the year. I think we'll see we'll see like a year from now we'll see t they go A.. C. T. One hundred launched to the station with humans on board and I think we'll see a crew dragon go in a couple of months from now. That's what I'm Yeah Yup awesome well. It's it's exciting though. I mean there's a ton a ton of stuff happening this year both astronomically mcleay robotically and human space exploration Louis. And so no matter what. This is an incredible time time to be watching this. I can't think of time when there's been more going on. We casually mentioned twenty. Four launches of satellites you know oh carrying telecommunication satellites in the entire planet. You know it's going to be crazy here. I can't wait for us to catalog it. It and watch it and report on it for the entire year with you all of our friends all the streams that we do. Here's to a great twenty twenty and we will be coming to you next from the w asked meeting in Hawaii going to be working to bring you all the Science Maula five days. Yeah yeah so I believe that we are going to be skipping next week just because wes yes prep is going to eat US alive. Yes but there will be a lot more to come including photos of the two of us together in one place. You heard it here before we go there any names this week. There are show. Wouldn't be possible if it weren't for the generous contributions of so many of you through our patriotic program. I if you would like to become a supporter of the show. Please please consider helping us out at Patriot dot com slash astronomy cast. This is how we pay Susie. This is how we pay our hosting bills and this is also so how we get you more content so this week I would like to thank Jordan Young Berry Gallon. Fra Tanta Rummenigge Zhou Andrew. Alestra David Truck Brian. K Gold the giant nothing. Laura Carlson Robert Paula's Macquarie Kori Ali Paul Jarman less Howard just Cunningham Emily Patterson and a blip in the universe excellent all right. We'll CENEX Week Pamela. Later bye thank you for listening to. Astronomy cast a nonprofit resource provided by the Planetary Harry Sites Institute Frazier Kane and Dr Pamela Gay. You can find show notes and transcripts for every episode at astronomy cast. You can email us us at info at astronomy cast dot com tweet us at astronomy cast like us on facebook and watch us on YouTube. We record our show live live on youtube every Friday at three PM Eastern twelve. PM Pacific or nineteen hundred ut. See Our intra. Music was provided by David. Joseph of Wesley the Ultra Music is by Travis. Searle and the show was edited by Susie Murph.
Ep. 546: Weird Issues: Planetary Migration
"At Five Forty six issues planetary migration. Welcome to strong DECASTRO. Weekly facts. Journeyed Cosmos help. You understand not only what we know but how will we know. I'm I presume. Came Publisher University today with me as always Dr Pamela Gay. A senior scientists for the Planetary Science Institute and the Director of cosmic quest hip. Am I doing. I'm doing well. How are you doing great for anyone listening? It's been a week since you've heard our dulcet tones but for us it's been in scarcely T- ten minutes so here we are with our next episode on our Weird Series Series Weird issue series. He's and and what Pamela is travelling so we We had a bunch of them up. But I don't think the science will change changed dramatically in a week or so but could be wrong. It's true yeah that's true now. Before we discovered other planets our solar system seemed like a perfectly reasonable template for everywhere but now we see massive planets close to Starr's which leads you to the question. How does it get there? Do Planets form in place order. They migrated round penalty. You put this in the docket. You had a much more complicated title when you originally put this in. It was something to the the gist of which I just put his that last sentence. Did everything form in place or did it all migrated round. I'm not allowed to name. I am an astronomer bronner. Yeah the the one precludes the other. We've discussed this before you were here to name. You're either to poetic or or where they toured. Yeah Yeah Yeah. And I'm like I'm all about Click Bait man so keep short it but no so then so again as always each time we kind of go back and think about the the days of your and what did we think about planetary formation and the locations of the planets back back in old timey land. Well back when we only had one solar system to study in detail right there was only one we. We came up with this beautiful solar nebula model which the big pieces are still generally to be true but the details. Oh my goodness were wrong wrong. So the picture that we had before is that solar systems form and the light pressure of the Sun pushes most of the gases outward leaving rocky worlds forming internal gaskets gathered up forms usually one giant gas giant outer in the outer solar system. You end up with some ice giants. Maybe a smaller gas giant and things form in a nice and ordered way and you may end up with resonances between those massive worlds that push things out further and send rocks cascading in but in general enroll where we see things is where they formed which means that when we look at things like the asteroid belt which is located at that place in the solar system where the heat from the sun either baked things dry or left the moist those asteroids that formed there are still representative of that Solar Nebula and the distribution on the trail within it ends what we thought right right it and in fact the distribution I forget the exact rules on this but if you looked at the at the locations of all of the planets in the solar system system there was a really straightforward almost mathematical position to each one of the planet. As long as you assumed the asteroid belt is a planet it was a beautiful set of ratios ratios. I think that that was where they had to be Yes and so. We assumed that everywhere we looked we would see the exact same thing. Did we know what did we find. So so one of the first things that we found was gas. Giants don't always exist far away. From their stars they tend to be found snuggled up next to their stars periodically and and we'd also assume that they'd have to be in circular orbits because has angular momentum issues but then we find them in these highly elliptical orbits and and we we assumed that there would only be one gas giant truly giant Jupiter like planet per star and we sometimes uh-huh find more than one and so basically all the rules. We came up with. Were wrong right. Yeah and so now if we ever to look out into the universe and try to make some rules about how planets where you'll find planets in other her star systems. What are the rules? I think that depends on who you talk to. And what they for breakfast that day. So like bordering on no rules it. It's it's bordering on new rules. Appear to come out every week but there are no like there have been star systems. Found with as you mentioned giant planets orbiting close to their stars multiple giant planets planets planets that are small located close in between planets around red dwarfs. It's it's a mess there are you're it's chaos out there if the solar system could do something it has done something and this is kind of awesome and what's fun is watching the theorists play catchup and one went one of my favorite examples of this. I know so so so yes One of my favorite examples of this is a new paper. That came out in the astro-physical Journal that I had as lead author graduate student. Renata for leak and Does this young woman did this. Amazing amazing work where. She ran a myriad of hundreds of simulations of solar systems where she started out each solar system with ten worlds and she started on each solar system with a different amount of mass and the mass follows would would the different planets and she allowed her models to have multiple massive gas giants. And this was new like this wasn't a thing. People people had been doing before because solar systems are not supposed to have mass multiple massive gas giants and we have to. ooh Well Saturdays. Not that big okay. So so thorough lying to Jupiter or larger or more yeah okay and and so the the models that she did. We're able to explain Blaine. All of these crazy. Jupiters were finding as what happens when you allow a solar system to evolve for twenty million years ears and notice that worlds collide and and the fact that worlds collide seems to be something that that we have to keep re realizing and this is one of my favorite things as someone who does not do this research to sit back and watch as a spectator tator because I there is this realization of Oh expletive one of the best ways to get at the earth. Having a moon is to assume that he mars-sized object hit the Proto Earth they collided. They splashed up the light materials. Late Materials Rico. Last we ended up with the moon that it's lower density than the earth we even named the Prior Object Fair right and so I'm just imagining the cognitive dissonance here right. You're saying planets don't don't move but also a planet moved and crashed into the earth but also planets don't move except for that time that they did which they'd bright rate and so the the fact that other collisions may have occurred people talk about especially when we look at things like urine. which has its pull pointed into the plane of the sun when we look at Venus which seems to be flipped all the way over one? Maybe that could have occurred via some some sort of a collision but there's always that model or out there trying to figure out how to do this using nothing more than title forces so that no collisions are required because because we keep assuming that collisions have to be rare but then there was a recent paper that was able to explain Blaine that the reason. Jupiter isn't as dense in the core as we previously expected as measured from. Its in a moment of inertia Is it appears that Jupiter got smacked by a massive protoplanetary many times the size of our earth when it was Yang so we now we'll have in our solar system alone Earth Moon Result of a collision Jupiter's fluffy core and they did use the word. Fluffy Rice Scribe Dr. This explained with a massive collision a super earth a super we used to have a super earth and Jupiter eight it or it committed suicide. I don't know who was on the elliptical orbit that drove this collision right so so then I mean this yes. Ideally then that that a planet crashed into the Earth a planet was gobbled up by Jupiter or threw itself into Jupiter. Did you uh-huh Uris is flipped over on its side and is in the wrong position in the orbit compared to Neptune in the solar system. They're they're Duke. Okay been flipped. This started to lead astronomers to the possibility that in fact maybe planets shift around. Maybe they do shift around in a solar system and and once you start thinking about that you start looking at the data in a completely different way so initially when we're trying to figure out how the heck do you get. Jupiter snuggled in next to it son. Everyone was blaming frictional effects drag effects. The early early Jupiter was inside the disk of material the protoplanetary disk and it kept consuming things at smaller and smaller orbits until it had migrated migrated in to where there is the hollow spot in the disk and it stopped there will now by instead looking at this as oh no it's simply got smacked smacked around three collisions with other objects and got pushed in. Perhaps it ended up on a highly critical orbit and highly political orbits do overtime over Time Guitar. Italy made more circular. This is completely different and in many ways easier way to explain in what we see and Totta forces do still play a role. Don't get me wrong this. This is how things like when when you look at at Mars. It's Inter- Moon d-mass will eventually become its inner broken band rocky. Rubble Phobos folks. Yes sorry going Damus is going out. They must is fine So it it looks like like you can also have tidally locked worlds migrate end as well and so you have collisions. That are driving it. You have frictional frictional effects that are driving it and the newest result that we're looking at is planets have now been found near the late type stars that had previously been much bigger red giant. Yes I saw. The planets are being found in locations and the US to include where the star. What right? So we've got stars got gut planets that we're able to withstand and their star. They were inside their star for a while the they actually figured out how to explain them without having to have them inside the old art which seemed like a really really bad way to be a planet. Yeah so the way. They've figured out how to explain. This as you have massive star and the planets turned out to be much further out orbits saw planets were actually consumed initially star expands out tation rate changes as it expands and contracts. The plants are asymmetric as the plan as the star collapses lapses back down the same effects. They're causing the inner moon of Mars to spiral inwards towards records Mars are causing these planets to spiral inwards towards their star. So they were tidily dragged in towards their starts. This is shrink. That's really cool. Yeah this brand new today yesterday so last week. Yeah so then like. Let's run the clock back canal to think about the early solar system. What did it look like? It was probably and here again. I this is what we're thinking today to morrow could be different there. There is there is some consensus but I wouldn't say there's great consensus on our understanding right now. I we believe I believe that things started out with all of the outer planets closer into the sense. Our solar system was initially much more compact. The Art cloud may or may not have been there. The kuyper belt may or may not have been there. The Asteroids Maher may not have been there over time time Ravi Station interactions between the most massive worlds in our solar system redistributed everything leading to the asteroids. It's in the resonant places that they are and they aren't in the asteroid belt leading to the centers grouping where they are and where they can stay for a thousand thousand years at a time before they get flung in a new direction leading toward yearn es and Neptune perhaps even switching location news according to some models. And we're dealing with over on its side although that could have happened impact and so so the best that we can say is everything moved and we luckily ended up on on a world that stayed in the habitable zone for the surface of our world. Crazy so this so so then this idea I mean how does this help us. Better explain the other star systems that we see out there in the universe I mean and as we said we're now seeing all of this complexity. Why does this knowledge that planets migrate around? How does that help help us? Better understand what we see so the two big questions that were finally able to answer is it's through this planetary migration that we see so many collisions taking place. And if your initial solar Nebula Abiola is only able to form one fairly significant Jupiter sized world and then things like Saturn up tune in urine us. If those Saturday afternoon urine type things decide they're going to collide together. This is how you start ending up with these truly massive worlds. So what we've been finding is truly massive worlds in highly elliptical orbits and these new models. Also explain this highly elliptical orbits because the high electricity that that's not natural the the the easy way for things to form is a nice Circular orbits that some resonances can knock things slightly out of the round but in general round is how orbits want to be but when you have collisions and you have separate masses doing it you end up with a single much. Larger Object Act or moons and central large object Earth main system. And if it happens just right you end up with the high electricity systems that we are seeing. I guess when you see a planet like a Hot Jupiter you see this planet that is located really close to the Star Star. That shouldn't be possible like it just shouldn't be there couldn't have formed their therefore it had to move there and the fact that it had to move their means the planets it's move. Did they move now. But how yeah and so what are those. I mean you talk about the house. What are those mechanisms that you're causing those planets to shift around so so we're looking at three main mechanisms for shifting the world surround one is when we still have that young solar nebula with a whole bunch of debris in it you have an object that forms with a gap outside side of it relative to its star and a whole bunch of material internal to it around its star and it starts gobbling up the material inside inside of it and this changes its its angular momentum and causes it to migrate slowly inwards depending on how how this occurs and it's through this consumption from the drag and through the conservation of angular momentum that you get this very complex and hard to math out migration migration inwards in early solar system? And I've heard this process might actually happen very rapidly like you've got you've got these these discs risks of material the planet is embedded inside of it. And you've got these. These tidal tails that are coming from the disc there feeding into the planet. Yeah and the closest analogies you can see structures that are kind of like this with the out the the the shepherd moods that are orbiting within the rings of Saturn. Sure and you can see these these lines of material that are coming to these little shepherd moon because of their gravity. And in fact. They'll they you. You know these movements could have happened. In hundreds of thousands of years. The low millions of years at the most it was not a slow process it was vast right so so primary planetary formation probably only took a few hundred thousand years and and it was during Matt that next billion years all chaos broke out with with things moving each other around. And and so you do do have this. You mentioned three ration- rights and the next way that we look at things is you have that next phase of of the solar systems the era of heavy bombardment that we saw within our own solar system. This is where you you have massive collisions taking place where you start off with way more worlds than you eventually end up with and it is through the collision Asian of Earth Mars and bigger sized objects that you can grow massive right Jupiter's I can grow massive terrestrial worlds so I I kind of imagine this like you've got these planets that are on these fast tracks that are moving around inside inside this disc of material but po potentially at different speeds and then you've got planets crashing into each other as their are each other's orbits and what allows this to take place is as things form arm. They don't necessarily have long term stability that they need. They still have all of these resonances that can put them into on short timescales much more elliptical orbits that causes these collisions to take place now over time. The RBIS do circularize. But even once they're circular you can still have resonances that slowly move things and if this slow migration ends up with things injustice the wrong Right depending on your perspective kind of alignment you can end up with what we had. Which is Jupiter and Saturn going around such that for every two times? Jupiter goes around the signs Saturn goes around once and gravitationally anything that hand already been flung somewhere is now going to get flung somewhere. I think you've mentioned in the past that there's still a chance that some of the planets planets will get thrown out by Jupiter and this is the long term slow effects that we model model over the course of thousands millions of years in our computers where we can see how the processing of our own on earth orbit which isn't a perfect circle and the procession of all the other not quite circular orbits leads to different alignments over time. We see the Martian poll wandering over time because it doesn't have a giant moon link. We have very few things are are in any permanent kind of an alignment and I don't think anything in our solar system except for maybe the Sun and even it ah is only on like millions of years fairly permanent Nothing as a permanent alignment because all the slight shifts. All of these slight processions since can lead to new resonances building up and flinging something hither and yon is that the end of the story. I mean you talk about you. Know there's can still be some interactions some slight instabilities that build up over time and and Jupiter throws mercury out of the solar system for example That's not going to happen. But would there be. I mean are there more mechanisms in play like as the sun dies and it loses its mass. Will we see another round of this. Yes so so our son is is constantly losing mass and this means that very gradually over time everything. Everything is migrating outwards a little bit now eventually. It's going to also expand out as it undergoes a change in the kinds of nuclear burning that are going on and its core and and this change and this massive expansion coupled with the mass loss that is going to predate this is going to on eat. Some of the planets in the solar system is going to move the other planets in the solar system and on this redistribution will of course change what resonances are possible as as everything moves now you also have of the continued possibility of things like well. There are sixty kilometer objects in the center built which are not entirely stable and could get flung in our direction and that's not necessarily going to change our orbit that much but who knows what else it could hit along the way and change its its orbit and so all sorts of collisions are possible and you never know when we're going to be affected by another solar system so div or milky in our Milky Way right. So do you think that that we will eventually have a single model model I mean with James Webb. They're going to be able to see newly forming planetary systems and and see watch those little gaps moving around will we end up eventually with some unified model of being able to calculate how planets moved around. And where they they are likely to end up and and what and finally know. What a planetary system should look like doctors? I think what we're eventually going to end end up with is a better understanding of all the things that need to go into our computer models and quantum computers and the ability to say. Hey here's all the stuff that can happen. Universe go and then we're gonNA realize the universe is still finding stuff we didn't include in our models. I really think and that this is going to stay. One of those things for the universe remains more creative than we are in all of the diversity that has actually created. There's is going to be multiple ways for the same situation to arise and since humans are short lived. We're always going to have to say we'll hear all the different ways you can get that and we still may be missing something in our understanding of the universe. I can't wait for us. To discover the weirdness I'm going to make another weird issues episode pebble and you have some names. I this week I do as as always. Our show is supported through the generous contribution of people on Patriae on If you would like to support our show this is how we pay for. Our servers servers are software and Susie susie being the most important of those three You can support. All of these things are going to patriots dot com slash. Astronomy cast this week. We would like to thank gardens far. Ed Stephen Shearwater Gordon Dewey Bill. Hamilton Frank Tippin. When George thorwald Richard Riviera Alexis Thomas Substrate Sylvan Westby Jeff Collins? John Drake Arctic Fox Merrick. Back Dairy Nate detweiler James Platt and Ron Larson. Thank you thank you Pamela. And we'll see see you next week by everyone. Thank you for listening to. Astronomy cast a nonprofit resource provided by the planetary NATO Sites Institute Frazier Kane and Dr Pamela. Gay You can find show notes and transcripts for every episode at astronomy cast. You can email us at info at astronomy cast dot com tweet us at astronomy cast like us on facebook and watch us on YouTube. We record our show live on youtube every Friday at three PM Eastern Twelve PM Pacific or nineteen hundred ut are intra music was provided by David. Jazz has of Wesley. The ultra music is by Travis. Searle and the show was edited by Susie Murph.
Ep. 573: Exoplanet Atmospheres
"Trying to cast episode five seventy three EXO planet atmospheres welcome trying to her weekly facts based journey through the cosmos where we help you understand not only what we know about how we know what we know. I'm Fraser Cain publisher of Universe today with me as always Dr Pamela Gay a senior scientist for the planetary, Science Institute and the of Cosmic Quest Hip Pamela how you doing I'm doing well. How are you doing Fraser doing great? Again. Actually you normally talk about how wonderful the weather is been actually here. The weather's gotten really nasty again. It's gotten cold and. And it's been a pretty mediocre springtime. And we're stuck indoors so. Although. Amazingly the they decided that that the virus is is pretty much wiped out on Vancouver, island so at this point now no cases in two weeks nobody in the hospital. We have no. issue. So clearly what you need is absolutely no more travel guests. No visitors islip the island. No one else can come to our island until until that vaccine gets created like a meeting New Zealand. And and so. I yeah we're not so lucky here. We're dealing with the fact that in the United States Memorial Day holiday weekend, lead to lots of people getting together and We're having a resurgence nationwide and here in the small town. I live and. We've had seven new cases diagnosed in the past week, but to get tested. You have to be so sick. They're going to hospitalize you. So definitely remain inside Oh. Yeah, OH, yeah! Yeah? People in my life will not let me leave my house well or leave my yard as the case may be. And I think it's important for us to just mention I, mean as a Canadian I'm watching. What's going on in your country right now? With shock and horror, and and yet this is clearly a long time coming and I just really hope that that this time around. People in power listen. To the desires of the individuals who have had various levels of oppression. This is it. It's gone on for too long. It's ridiculous to see this happen again and again and it's it's great to see both the amount of of protests, and and just the showing of support that's going on and to see I hope. People taking this seriously and enacting significant change. It's to put things bluntly. Black lives matter, and for long that they have been considered disposable by the police here in the United States where we see white serial killers. People who shoot up schools getting carried away in handcuffs and given hamburgers and white supremacists allowed you to fill our capitol buildings while wearing submachine guns with nothing happening. We have watched as children get killed playing in parks with water guns. We have seen a teenager walking home with. A killed for no reason. And black lives matter. I mean this has been going on. It was just too with with the most recent event. It was just such a stark, obvious, well documented example of a man being killed by police in real time, and you got to see it so. In one thousand black men and boys. Yes, country can expect to be killed by the police so. You have our support in Canada. Everyone who's protesting and and we will continue I think to you know to keep this in the forefront of our minds as we will get. That said. Let's get on with these Ronnie, so not only have astronomers discovered thousands of exoplanets, but they're even starting to study the atmospheres of world's thousands of light years away. What can we learn about these other worlds, and maybe even signs of life? So the at this point now, of course, we know of more than four thousand planets I've lost count. It's too many to count. It's in the thousands, which is such great news, but the all we know about the vast majority of these planets is it exists it goes around the star every. X. Amount of days weeks months. It might be this size. It might be that size in. It might be have more or less mass than the earth. Right, but we don't know much, and that's kind of boring. What we really want to know is. Is there atmosphere? Is there liquid water the in the habitable zone is? Does it look like the kind of world that we could find life on? Finding and deigned and actually examine the atmosphere's is next level. So what does it take for for some kind of telescope to be able to examine the atmosphere of an exoplanet? What it takes quite simply is catching a planet in the process of passing in front of the star, it orbits, and being able to get sufficiently high resolution spectra, both with the planet in front of the Star, and not in front of the star that we can see what the planet's atmosphere is. When we subtract the stars light from the Star plus planets like. That idea of the Spectra of the Star and the specter of the planet. So, what are you talking about their? So. Anything that is giving off. Light is giving it and some portion of a rainbow. This means that if we recreate the pink floyd cover art and shine light through a prism, we see it's spread out into a rainbow. Now, it turns out. Different atoms will absorb light and emit light in very specific colors that are determined through quantum mechanics, and the exact temperature and energy configuration of that atom right so when we look at a spectrum, and we see superimposed on this rainbow, dark lines and bright lines absorption emission. We can say. This rainbow captured the absorption and emission of light from this specific set of atoms. With our son. This allows us to get at the composition of its atmosphere. And with our own atmosphere, we see lines that are getting absorbed the sunlight by water vapor in the atmosphere. Water Vapor is one of the most annoying things in our atmosphere, the plagues spectroscopy rights so we can measure our own atmosphere with our telescopes right so. So you, take the light from anything. Star a Galaxy Planet whatever you want, you break that Light Pink Floyd style into a rainbow. And you then look you. Blow the that rain Bob so that it's really big, and you will see dark lines and and bright lines in that rainbow, and from that that will tell you the presence of various chemicals. You say oh. There's oxygen there. Oh, there's water there. Oh, there's. Uranium they're. Each each each element each atom will provide a very specific signature. Don't know how much there is. You just know that it exists right well. You can actually start to get it. How much based on how much absorption or emission is going on? Each atom is contributing its own number of photons. It can only do so much by itself. It's through Adam upon Adam upon annum, working together to absorb that light that. Were able to see the bright and dark bands that we see now if you only have the smallest amount of oxygen in a planet's atmosphere, we may never see absorption lines from that, because there's just not enough adams to do the absorption, but if a planet that has an atmosphere rich in oxygen passes in front of its star. We will see that as deeper lines in the spectrum, so we can actually start to get at ratios of how much of one. Atom Ramallah Culas, present versus another atom or molecule, and then let's talk about how this relates to study the atmosphere of a planet so you you're you're. Taking this rainbow, you're watching the star, you're getting one rainbow, and then planet passes in front of the Star, and then you get a second rainbow. Yes, and what does that tell you? Well, it tells you. The two of them aren't identical in their velocities in their compositions, and so all the little variations in the placement and depth or height of those absorption emission lines. They tell us something different about the story. So for instance we've all seen what happens when you turn on a blue light and a red light, and you partially overlapped the light, and you see purple in the middle you see the combination of the light from the two sources. Well, this is exactly what happens when you have a planet passing in front of the Star. You have the light that isn't going through the atmosphere, and you have the light that is going through the atmosphere superimposed together. and. If you're able to say, okay I know what this light from the star is. Let me subtract that. Lets you see just what the planet the planet alone is. and. It's this secondary rainbow, which interestingly because the star in the planet have different velocities is. Going to be blue, shifted or red shifted right so the individual. Let's say there's carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of that planet will see all carbon dioxide lines shifted from any carbon dioxide if it's a super cool star. In the stars light, wow, and so that way you, you may know like. If you see carbon dioxide, you may say okay. We know this carbon dioxide, but we don't know whether it's coming from the star or the planet, but it turns out. You can tell just by how that light is shifted. So what are the instruments? What are the tools that astronomers used to study the atmosphere's? There's just blowing my mind that even saying these words what methods what tools in terms telescopes what observatories are is doing the heavy lifting in studying the atmospheres of these other planets. Well the old workhorse that did this for the longest time and is sadly no longer with us. It's bit sir. The first. Mission to really be able to say this world has an atmosphere and we're looking at it. Was that telescope working in the for. Where the light from planets is brightest, because planets are warm, little bodies, and so we emit the most light, infrared and stars are often fainter in the infrared, so you're dealing with less starlight, more planet, light and Spitzer was kind of ideal for this Jeb. US. T when and if it launches is going to be even, but when it launches not two thousand twenty, you have to grit me, if in two thousand and twenty loss of your this is this is. In flux I'll give you that. So so. Right now. We don't really have any big workhorses which is very frustrating for the test mission, which was designed to find these transiting planets and send the data to jetty. S. T. for follow up, so we're having to get creative and what we do, and that creativity means working with the very large telescope and other telescopes here on the planet. To goes far into the infrared as our atmosphere is going to allow us to go and use ground based instruments and one of the ones that proving itself best is express I express really earned a name for itself with the Mascara to discovery. That's an actual planet name. I have no idea what that acronym is where it started to be able to look at planetary atmospheres in detail to see what all is out there. And right now worth is really cool stage where we're able to see hot jupiters that clearly have led in their atmosphere were able to find white dwarfs that have anomalous chemicals are them that point two gas giants getting shredded a part. Now. What we haven't found yet. Is that world that clearly has oxygen and other signs of life. But side by side with all the folks that are working and doing these atmospheric measurements are folks during atmospheric models? Wow, yeah, so I guess that's that's the next step then is is we're starting to see enough of these measurements of these atmospheres of they're starting to get some confirmation of the models which they've been working on for for a long time. And we've been seeing just incredible models of of exoplanet. So so, how do they think that exo planet atmospheres would work because I guess the point is is that? You would be looking for things which we don't have in the solar system. At a certain point, a planet is a planet, and it's going to have an atmosphere that is suited to the chemical composition and temperature structure of the solar system informed in right so this means that. We are looking at super heated gas giants. Kelt, nine be comes to mind. This is a gas giant that is so close to its host star that its surface basing it star. Is the same temperature. As, Stars Yeah Yeah. It's getting roasted from the outside. It's not generating that heat from the inside, but. When you're looking at a planet like that, you don't expect to see nice happy, everyday hydrogen and helium, because it's been I and is completely, and this is where we start looking for things that have a few more electrons that they hold onto a little bit better, and this is where we're doing things like looking for sulfur in these atmospheres, I know was one planet. It was a hot jupiter was that we were seeing things like? Molten iron in the atmosphere. Aluminum, places where it rains. Titanium imagine clouds, but the clouds are made of titanium like it's that hot. It's so hot that every possible metal turns into a gas informs clouds cloudy with a chance of titanium rain. And and this is showing our our bias in what planets that we've found so far now. We don't actually know what the typical planetary system looks like. We don't know how often you have hot jupiters, versus how often you have little tiny you like mercury that were unable to detect at this point in time. Currently because it is easiest to find massive planet, really close to Starr's most of the planet's, we have found are these massive planets very close to their stars. We're getting better today. We had the announcement of to Earth Mass Planet orbiting a regular star. So we have finally found a fat earth is when I'm. GonNa call this. And it is beautiful in its earthy nece, and it's through thousand. Some odd light years away, so we're not getting there anytime soon, but the fact that we have found soccer. At eighty five percent likelihood they're still era bars right right and of course. I mean it's. It's crazy. I mean we've found Earth sized world. We found Earth tides worlds orbiting in the habitable zone of their of the start. It's just that star is a Red Dwarf and these worlds are tidally locked. It gives them a different temperature profile. So what? I. Guess, what would we be wanting to see so I mean as as the next round I mean for example. There's a new telescope coming out as probably be launching in two thousand eight the European. Space Agency's Aerial Telescope, the atmospheric remote-sensing, sensing infrared exoplanet large survey, and that is going to be a telescope designed to study the atmospheres of exoplanets. It is going to be able to to study the atmosphere of earth type world around other stars. What will astronomers be looking for? Well there are two teams that have put together atlases. We have a team from Berkeley team from Cornell and they have been working. To basically map out the distribution of different kinds of planetary atmospheres we can expect and the group at Cornell, in particular have been trying to map out what you can expect from Earth like planets at different stages in their evolution so here they've done things like. Look at our own historical record geologic record of our planet earth, and said Okay during the Cambrian period where we were having. Massive outgrowth of small forms of life. What did Earth's atmosphere? Look like all right so fine? What did it look like? During pre industrial civilization, what does it look like now? Looking at a myriad of different points in our planet's history where we had methanogens where we had our normal now oxygen producing plants, and saying okay, here is a different stages in the planet's evolution. What you would expect US atmosphere to look like there are also massive astro biology collaborations that are looking to say okay if your life has this technology look for this it has this technology. Pollution is a great way to find like I. Like that idea that that if you look back at the history of the Earth are. Said what six major moments or so. Each of which has a dramatic the time at the beginning. When it was just being smashed by asteroids a time, when when it was a carbon dioxide atmosphere similar to say Mars and then time when when the oxygen started to take over, and you can, you can see a very different signature in the atmosphere of planet Earth each one of those times, and now you can, just as we are able to actually examine these other planets. Just map them over and go. Okay, that is a desolate world that is being hammered by asteroids that is world that has cooled down, but doesn't seem to have any life on and WHOA. What's this right? That's interesting. We're seeing a planet with with oxygen, and and it's really important work to to start doing setting up these models now so that when? We know of the atmospheres of thousands of planets. We can make these start matching them up. And it's got to be so frustrating for some of these scientists that were working really hard have their atlases come out coincident with when Jacob US t would be going up and we're expecting rapid fire return on investment as world after world was measured as they were found by task and Nope. So so now we're in this. Wait and see game where it's just like we know how to do this. We could be doing this. We have the publications on what to look for. We have task finding the world's. But at least we have veal, t the very large telescope system for many meter telescopes and a bunch of one meter side dishes. And it's doing the best again from here. On the surface of our planet and scientists are showing over and over that. If you don't give him the toys they want. They're going to repurpose the toys. They have to do things. No one expected right. We are measuring iron rain. Yes, yeah, exactly. I mean obviously. There are like I said. There's the aerial telescope that's going to be coming in. Its job is going to be to do that. There's the habits telescope which could be the one of the next great observatories from NASA. which will do that at a at a even greater scale, and then there's a whole. The next round of the Bega telescopes the extremely large telescope for thirty meter telescope, the the Magellan telescopes each one of these could be brought on board, and of course James Webb. So so really. We're really GONNA shift that emphasis from. And from. Let's see if we could find planets at all to let study planets and see how similar they are, too. Familiar planets, and when I'm really looking forward to his right now we're at this point where when we find an atmosphere, it's usually quite extreme. There's actually been cases with these tidally locked worlds where we have been able to measure the differences between the day and nightside temperatures and atmospheric compositions, because as the small round world orbits in front of its host star. We're actually seeing more of the day side as it goes. into the transit, and then more of the day side again when it comes out of transit, and that effectively shows us. A sunset plus night time just night time and then. Sun Rise plus night time. And, these minor variations allow us to do even more complex math were we're now subtracting the stars light subtracting the light from the night time side of the planet. and. We're getting left with morning or evening. To be able to do complex essentially meteorology of extreme worlds, but right now we're only at the extreme world's case only able to do this with these worlds around red dwarfs with these massive world snuggled up to any kind of snark star. They feel like snuggling up to. We can't yet do this with that fatter. We just found. But we're getting there, but yeah we'll get. We'll get there also, and in terms of technique like when you are trying to look at the planet. In front of the Sun, you're centrally back lighting the planet to be able to observe the atmosphere. You've got a very powerful light source. So if those planets are farther away from the Sun, and you are actually attempting to block the light from the Sun. It becomes a much more challenging job of doing spectroscopy on that planet when you aren't. Observing the star actually way less of a problem, Oh really okay. Yeah, so the the distance between the planet and the Star doesn't matter at all as long as the planet lines up with the disc of the star, and that's actually the bigger problem. If you have a star was a little tiny planet. Close to it passing in front of it. It can have a whole lot of different orbits that still put it in front of that star. As you get further away, the number of orbits the amount of shift you can have in how far up there down your orbit is that keeps you in front of that star? Well, you're eventually going to fall off the desk right cases, so it's much more rare to find these distant planets transiting perfectly in front of their stars, but if we see that transit. It's it's. Just going to be sunlight through an atmosphere, but I can imagine this future where these powerful telescopes like the extremely large telescope or James Webb or aerial are just observing this planet directly there, blocking the light from the star, and they're just observing the planet, no matter where it is on its orbit, whether it orbits above or below whether orbits face on. I, mean each one of those kinds of observations will be fascinating is just. We need to get really good at blocking the light from stars and really good at observing faint planets. And it's the faint planet. It's GonNa. Be Hard. The first thing we're going to be able to do is go that. Three pixels those three picks right there. Those are a planet, but taking all of the light from those three pixels, and then spreading it out into spectrum gives you essentially not taxable amount of light. And so right, right? That's where it gets tricky. If you've got one on it, it's really hard to turn that single photon into a spectroscopy. Diagram, you're just like yeah. But that's so you do need a lot of light in the way you get a lot of light on the thing. That's very faint. Is You have a very powerful telescope and you gather life for a very long period of time? And so are moving. On a moving target and so right we're going to see. These give up their secrets fairy slowly. True Yeah true, but they're going to give up those secrets. Those secrets will. Love, it I love your confidence. Good well I think. When do you think we will start to start like where we will know about the atmospheres of thousands of other planets? What's your? Gut Tell you. Like the way we know of thousands of other planets, we know the atmosphere composition of thousands of other plants, and we know probably like ten right now. Maybe five right I. Think. We're doing slightly better than that. If you count the ones that we can say it. Has this one element we can detect, but we can't tell you a whole lot more yeah. So. It's going to take a dedicated planet observer that has spectroscopy capabilities right, and that's the area so twenty twenty eight, so probably it's going to do a thousand planets and do a large-scale survey, so I guess starting twenty twenty-eight. Exactly! That's going to be our new Kappler. Just for atmosphere does amazing. Pamela some names I this week. I do as as always. We are supported by the generous contributions of people like you, Fraser and I both have personal patriae on accounts that you can support support our own work. 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