Greetings from Palmia Observatory
Well part of our work this week is getting website email alerts set up and transferred to the groups.io site, in lieu of more restrictions by Gmail. More of and more of observatory email alerts are being prevented from being delivered.
Here is an example. It seems in Gmail's desire to limit spam, that this type of mail, with embedded web references, etc., somehow falls under the attention of spam algorithms and is blocked. For this reason we are transitioning to the groups.io server, which will also allow each person more control of their own email alerts. It is ironic that the algorithms block an email from myself to a mail server that I setup, all in the name of suspicious email or spam prevention. Hmm, maybe I am a spammer and just don't know it. Anyway, hope everything works out!
|Why do Gmail algorithms flag this email for rejection? (Source: Palmia Observatory)|
In the meanwhile, we are busy completing packing our bags and are leaving for Iceland this weekend. We are glad to be able to get out and about and use some of our cancelled cruise coupons. There is also an ongoing volcanic eruption so we hopefully it just looks good without causing a lot of damage. We will also try to capture an image from the plane and report further on our adventure back to Iceland.
|View of volcanic eruption during landing in Reykjavik (Iceland Monitor, 29 June 2021)|
Since Iceland at this season is mostly in daylight with hardly any dark night skies, we will not be able to see any Northern Lights. Iceland is also on a different time zone from which you would think based on its longitude. As you can see in this chart, the local time is aligned directly with GMT, rather than 1 hour behind GMT.
|Local time in Iceland determined more by geopolitics than geography (Source: Worldtravelserver)|
In other local astronomy news, OCA Jonathan Hankey showed some solar images taken with a new H-Alpha eyepiece. As I recall he used a 102mm refractor telescope with the eyepiece. Wow, there is a lot of detail that pops out with this combination. Thanks for sharing, Jonathan!
|Sun in H-Alpha using the DayStar Quark Eyepiece (Source: OCA Jonathan Hankey)|
Jonathan reported that he took these solar H-Alpha images with a DayStar Quark Eyepiece. We have reported in the past on using the Coronado Solar Scope, but was not familiar with the DayStar eyepiece. This catalog order page from HighpointScientific shows some of the details. Using an eyepiece like this means you can use your own telescope and just plug in the eyepiece to make H-Alpha images of the sun. Pretty neat!
|DayStar Quark H-Alpha Eyepiece (Source: highpointscientific.com)|
We know that solar magnetic fields play a big role in the turbulence seen on the surface and the launching of coronal mass ejections. The question of magnetic fields in the universe is an ongoing research area, especially whether magnetic fields were primordial, that is there at the time of the big bang or whether they were created later. This recent article in New Scientist points out that astronomers are very close to answering that question. We will have to follow this topic more in the future.
|Do magnetic fields date back to the big bang? (Source: Ian Taylor, New Scientist, 26 June 2021)|
It is quite interesting to see how the effects of intergalactic medium and intergalactic magnetic fields are measured and how those fields impact observations. In this next screenshot from a recent study shows how astronomers study the cosmos along the line of sight of the studied background galaxy in order to get a sense of how much matter and strength of magnetic fields are found along the line of sight.
|Galactic effects on remote signals arriving here on Earth (Source: A, Amaral, et al, 2102.11312v3)|
Closer to life here on Earth, we find that scientists are getting closer to understanding another mystery involving magnetism and that is how do birds and other animals sense the Earth's magnetic field and use it in navigation. I don't understand the chemistry of the molecules involved, but here in this recent article in Nature how the change in the molecule FAD are instrumental in sensing the magnetic field.
|Making more progress on understanding animal magnetism (Source: E. Warrant, Nature, 24 June 2021)|
In other space related news from SpaceX in Boca Chica, Mary, aka BocaChicaGal, is back from vacation and is reporting on goings on there. This photo shows the changing landscape of the launch area. The continuing build of the orbital launch tower is now seen to be getting very impressive.
|Beautiful view of SpaceX Boca Chica launch site and orbital tower (Source: @BocaChicaGal)|
Finally, in wondering if space is finite or infinite, we should consult with some funny, if previously unknown astronomers, Frank and Ernest. Here we see the debate and an instance of bias hampering the ongoing debate! Where do you come down on the universe being finite or infinite?
|Is it bias or is space really limited? (Source: Frank and Ernest, 27 June 2021)|
Oops, I thought I had ended this blog with a bit of humor from the Sunday papers, but I find there is even more humor, even when it pretends to be serious, in the just released report. Everyone interested in UFO's has been patiently waiting for this report just released by Office of the Director of National Intelligence on June 25. The executive summary from that report is pasted below.
The report discusses some of aspects of observations, called Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP), rather than UFOs, but the results are the same. You can look at the summary and find a lot of "ifs" and "maybes" without much of anything very definitive. I expected a little more detail. For example, how big are these observed UAPs? Are they just a couple of feet in diameter or are they hundreds or thousands of feet in diameter? Let us in on the observed data!
From my perspective, I see no threat to national security because the report just doesn't contain anything that is significant When I watched some of the earlier released videos, which form a part of the analysis covered in the report, it was just not clear what we were seeing and what it meant. For example, we saw in one video an object, apparently being tracked by aircraft targeting systems, and we see the ocean surface zooming by at what looks like high speed, as if the object if moving very fast. Why? Why is it not just the speed of the aircraft moving relative to a slowly moving object, say a small balloon, and what we see if just the motion of the ocean waves from the high speed aircraft? We are not given enough information to review what is going on.
So, for me, there is nothing to worry about from these UAPs. The experts that understand the weapon targeting systems, who know all of the hidden details, don't seem to be worried. We don't even now how big the UAP objects were. Granted if the measurements showed it to be the size of a modern aircraft or rocket, there would be cause of concern. But this kind of info is missing. My real worry is more about who is in charge of the Office of DNI and how they would let a report of this nature get out into the public. Who's in charge and what are they doing?
|Executive Summary of UAP Preliminary Assessment Report (Source: Office of DNI, 25 June 2021)|
Ok, enough of me ranting about the lack of information that can be analyzed by other scientists. So, as if that story is not funny enough, David lets us in on an even funnier story of the UFO actually being caught on tape. This is a good place to end our discussion about UFOs at this time. Thanks for that David!
|Yep, another UFO caught on tape! (Source: David Naiditch)|
Until next time,