Swift Catches Mega Flares from a Mini Star

On April 23, NASA's Swift satellite detected the strongest, hottest, and longest-lasting sequence of stellar flares ever seen from a nearby red dwarf star.


The initial blast from this record-setting series of explosions was as much as 10,000 times more powerful than the largest solar flare ever recorded.

At its peak, the flare reached temperatures of 360 million degrees Fahrenheit (200 million Celsius), more than 12 times hotter than the center of the sun. 

The "superflare" came from one of the stars in a close binary system known as DG Canum Venaticorum, or DG CVn for short, located about 60 light-years away. Both stars are dim red dwarfs with masses and sizes about one-third of our sun's. 

They orbit each other at about three times Earth's average distance from the sun, which is too close for Swift to determine which star erupted. 

At 5:07 p.m. EDT on April 23, the rising tide of X-rays from DG CVn's superflare triggered Swift's Burst Alert Telescope (BAT). Swift turned to observe the source in greater detail with other instruments and, at the same time, notified astronomers around the globe that a powerful outburst was in progress.

For about three minutes after the BAT trigger, the superflare's X-ray brightness was greater than the combined luminosity of both stars at all wavelengths under normal conditions.

The largest solar explosions are classified as extraordinary, or X class, solar flares based on their X-ray emission. 

The biggest flare ever seen from the sun occurred in November 2003 and is rated as X 45. But if the flare on DG CVn were viewed from a planet the same distance as Earth is from the sun and measured the same way, it would have been ranked 10,000 times greater, at about X 100,000. 

How can a star just a third the size of the sun produce such a giant eruption? The key factor is its rapid spin, a crucial ingredient for amplifying magnetic fields. The flaring star in DG CVn rotates in under a day, about 30 or more times faster than our sun. 

The sun also rotated much faster in its youth and may well have produced superflares of its own, but, fortunately for us, it no longer appears capable of doing so.



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Moon Secrets Revealed - John Lear & Richard Hoagland

John Lear is the son of the famous inventor of the Lear Jet. He is a Lockheed L-1011 Captain and is highly regarded in aviation circles. He has flown over 150 test aircraft and has won every award granted by the Federal Aviation Administration. 


John also holds 18 world speed records and has worked for 28 different Aircraft Corporations. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, John began coming forward with some startling revelations concerning the subject of aerial phenomena and Unidentified Flying Objects.

Lear returned for a discussion about photographic evidence for cities and mining operations on the moon. He said that mining operations for such substances as helium-3 have been going on for years, and that anti-gravity ships, secretly launched from Antarctica, arrive at the moon in only one hour's time.



Lear also argued that the moon was towed into its current orbit by a huge electromagnetic vehicle, and that vehicle can be seen in a photo taken of the moon crater Tsiolkovsky. 

He also believes that the moon contains a breathable atmosphere, as evidenced by photos showing smoke or vapor coming from the surface. 

Joining the conversation during the third hour, Richard C. Hoagland concurred with Lear that there are artificial structures on the moon, yet he suggested they may be ancient rather than new.



If there is mining that is taking place there, it could be for the "retro-engineering of ancient technology," said Hoagland, who added that he does not think the photographic evidence supports the notion that the moon has an atmosphere.

India's Mars Orbiter Captures Flying Saucer?

A possible UFO has been captured in a recently released image from India's Mars Orbiter Mission.




The object, spotted by youtube user Paranormal Crucible, looks very much like a classic flying saucer, it even has a visible dome. The object is barely visible due to a severe dust storm, so some subtle filtering has been applied to the images below.



Is it possible that the Indian mission has accidentally photographed a huge flying disc in the Martian atmosphere?



The Mars Orbiter Mission, also known as MOM or Mangalyaan (Hindi for "Mars-Craft"), is due to study the Martian weather as well as the surface composition for the next six months, so lets hope we see more un-brushed images released into the public domain, because this one is fascinating.

Sea Sponge Found On Mars?

Interesting spherical/ball shaped object caught by Curiosity Rover, and as the video suggests this could be proof of past marine life on the red planet.
A close-up of the object reveals a perfectly round ball of some kind, and it does resemble a sea sponge, albeit an ancient one.

Although they may look plant-like, sponges are the simplest of multi-cellular animals.

A sponge is a bottom-dwelling creature which attaches itself to something solid in a place where it can, hopefully, receive enough food to survive.



As we know nature does not create perfectly round rocks, so this indicates the object is either manufactured, or in this case the possible fossilized remains of a sea sponge.

If it is a sea sponge, then this proves that Mars did have oceans and had an atmosphere capable of sustaining life.

The Afterlife Investigations: The Scole Experiment

The Scole Experiment chronicles the extraordinary results of a five-year investigation into life after death. 


At the beginning of 1993 four psychic researchers embarked on a series of experiments in the Norfolk village of Scole. 

The subsequent events were so astounding that senior members of the prestigious Society for Psychical Research asked to observe, test and record what took place.

The investigators encountered evidence favouring the hypothesis of intelligent forces, able to influence material objects, and to convey associated meaningful messages, both visual and aural.

Very interesting documentary, worth a watch.

Study Reveals Death Of Ancient Stars Led To Universe

At first glance, it looks uncannily like an image of the human brain, but in fact, this is the death of one of the first stars in our Universe.


Researchers say the death throes of these early stars were unique as they exploded as supernovae and burned completely, leaving no black hole behind, but instead spewing out chemical elements into space that eventually formed our Universe.

Certain primordial stars those between 55,000 and 56,000 times the mass of our Sun, or solar masses may have died unusually, the team concluded.

Astrophysicists at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) and the University of Minnesota came to this conclusion after running a number of supercomputer simulations at the Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) and Minnesota Supercomputing Institute at the University of Minnesota.

They relied extensively on CASTRO, a compressible astrophysics code developed at DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's (Berkeley Lab's) Computational Research Division (CRD).

Their findings were recently published in Astrophysical Journal (ApJ).

First-generation stars are especially interesting because they produced the first heavy elements, or chemical elements other than hydrogen and helium.

In death, they sent their chemical creations into outer space, paving the way for subsequent generations of stars, solar systems and galaxies.

With a greater understanding of how these first stars died, scientists hope to glean some insights about how the Universe, as we know it today, came to be.

"We found that there is a narrow window where supermassive stars could explode completely instead of becoming a supermassive black hole, no one has ever found this mechanism before," says Ke-Jung Chen, a postdoctoral researcher at UCSC and lead author of the ApJ paper.

"Without NERSC resources, it would have taken us a lot longer to reach this result."

"From a user perspective, the facility is run very efficiently and it is an extremely convenient place to do science."

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5000-Year-Old Water Pipeline Discovered in Western Iran

A 5000-year-old water system has been unearthed during the second season of a rescue excavation project at the Farash ancient historical site at the Seimareh Dam reservoir area in western Iran.


An archaeological team led by Leili Niakan has been conducting the second season of their rescue excavation since March, when the Seimareh Dam came on stream.

The team plans to save ancient artifacts and gather information about the ancient sites that are being submerged by the reservoir of the dam, which became operational in early March.

This system, which comprises a small pool and an earthenware pipeline, was discovered on the eastern shore of the reservoir of the dam on the border between Ilam Province and Lorestan Province, Niakan said.

Niakan said part of the water system has been submerged as the water level has risen.

However, the team covered that part of the system beforehand to save it for future archaeological excavations when the dam is put out of commission, she added.

Via Iranfrontpage

Mysterious Feature Evolves in Titan Sea

NASA's Cassini spacecraft is monitoring the evolution of a mysterious feature in a large hydrocarbon sea on Saturn's moon Titan.

The feature covers an area of about 100 square miles (260 square kilometers) in Ligeia Mare, one of the largest seas on Titan. It has now been observed twice by Cassini's radar experiment, but its appearance changed between the two apparitions.
The mysterious feature, which appears bright in radar images against the dark background of the liquid sea, was first spotted during Cassini's July 2013 Titan flyby. 
Previous observations showed no sign of bright features in that part of Ligeia Mare. Scientists were perplexed to find the feature had vanished when they looked again, over several months, with low-resolution radar and Cassini's infrared imager. 
This led some team members to suggest it might have been a transient feature. But during Cassini's flyby on August 21, 2014, the feature was again visible, and its appearance had changed during the 11 months since it was last seen.
Scientists on the radar team are confident that the feature is not an artifact, or flaw, in their data, which would have been one of the simplest explanations. 
They also do not see evidence that its appearance results from evaporation in the sea, as the overall shoreline of Ligeia Mare has not changed noticeably.
The team has suggested the feature could be surface waves, rising bubbles, floating solids, solids suspended just below the surface, or perhaps something more exotic.
The researchers suspect that the appearance of this feature could be related to changing seasons on Titan, as summer draws near in the moon's northern hemisphere. Monitoring such changes is a major goal for Cassini's current extended mission.
“Science loves a mystery, and with this enigmatic feature, we have a thrilling example of ongoing change on Titan," said Stephen Wall, the deputy team lead of Cassini's radar team, based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. 
"We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to continue watching the changes unfold and gain insights about what’s going on in that alien sea.”
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and ASI, the Italian Space Agency. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. 
The radar instrument was built by JPL and the Italian Space Agency, working with team members from the United States and several European countries.
Via NASA

Mount Ontake: Stunning Video Of Climbers Running From Eruption

Five more lifeless bodies have been found on the slopes of Japan's Mount Ontake, bringing the total number of presumed dead in a volcanic eruption Saturday to 36.


Twenty-four bodies still remain on the mountain, while 12 have been recovered, identified and pronounced dead, Nagano Prefecture Police said Monday.

The search for more missing hikers has been suspended due to dangerous conditions at summit. Hydrogen sulfide gas is being spewed from the mountain, police said, putting rescuers in danger.

The volcano in central Japan unleashed a huge cloud of ash late Saturday morning that billowed down the mountainside and engulfed hikers in its path. Witnesses described hearing a sound like thunder when the eruption began.

Authorities estimated there were 200 to 250 hikers in the area at the time of the eruption. Most of them were reported to have managed to make the long trek down the mountain.

But some people remained trapped in several lodges on Mount Ontake, and others were missing altogether, local authorities said.

More than 350 rescue workers a mix of police, firefighters and military personnel began climbing two separate routes up the mountain on Sunday morning, authorities in the nearby village of Otaki said.


They said they observed 17-20 inches (40-50 centimeters) of volcanic ash covering the ground in some areas.

The Japan Meteorological Agency has raised the Volcanic Alert Level for Ontake from 1 to 3.

That means the public is advised to not approach the volcano, the summit of which is at an altitude of 10,060 feet (3,067 meters).

The agency warned that another large eruption could take place in the next six days or so. Small continuous eruptions continued Sunday.

The volcano's plume of smoke and ash was reported to have disrupted air travel in Japan, causing delays at several airports.


Mount Ontake, the second tallest volcano in Japan, after Mount Fuji, is a popular destination for hikers, especially in the fall when the foliage's rich autumn colors are on display.

The last major eruption of Mount Ontake, which is about 125 miles (200 kilometers) west of Tokyo, took place in 1979, according to the Global Volcanism Program at the Smithsonian Institute.