Part III – Cosmic Rays and There Effect to Our Solar System and Earth

First, I wish to address the study of the most powerful kinetically energized cosmic ray particle what has now become known as the ‘OMG Particle’.

“OMG” was the nickname given to the first example of what are now known as ultra-high-energy cosmic rays, detected in 1991 by the University of Utah’s Fly’s Eye cosmic ray detector. That single proton slammed into our atmosphere going roughly 99.99999999999999999999951 percent the speed of light. And no, all those nines aren’t just for dramatic effect to make the number look impressive – it really was that fast. This particle had the same amount of kinetic energy as a decently thrown baseball … compressed down into an object the size of a proton.

That means this particle had over 10 million times more energy than what our most powerful particle collider, the LHC, can produce. Due to relativistic time dilation, at that speed, the OMG particle could travel to our nearest neighbor star, Proxima Centauri, in 0.43 milliseconds of the particle’s own time. It could continue on to our galactic core by the time you’ve finished reading this sentence (from its own perspective).

To accelerate a charged particle to insane velocities, you need two key ingredients: a lot of energy and a magnetic field. The magnetic field does the work of transferring to the particle whatever energies are in your event (say, the explosive kinetic energy of a supernova blast or the swirling gravitational pull as matter falls toward a black hole).

The true origins of these ultra-high-energy “OMG” particles are tough to pin down, and despite almost 30 years of detection history, we don’t have a lot of firm answers. Which is fine – it’s good to have at least some mysteries left in the universe. Astrophysicists could use some job security, too.


Science Of Cycles Research Fund


Tropical Storm Miriam Forms In Eastern Pacific

Tropical Storm Miriam has formed in the eastern Pacific.

Miriam is 1,521 miles east of Hilo and moving west at 15 mph as of 11 p.m. Hawaii time. This motion is expected to continue for the next few days.

Miriam has winds near 60 mph and is expected to become a hurricane by late Monday or early Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Tropical Depression Lane was moving west and away from the main Hawaiian islands. As of 11 p.m. today, Lane was 385 miles southwest of Lihue with winds at 35 mph.

Mount Etna, Europe’s Most Active Volcano, Spews Lava And Ash

Europe’s most active volcano, Mount Etna, is back in action, spewing smoldering rocks, ash, and molten lava onto its surroundings.

Mount Etna’s spectacular eruption was filmed on Saturday. Footage shows red hot lava pouring out of the mountain’s crater, with smoke and ash billowing into the atmosphere. The slopes of the fiery mountain are covered with hot and slowly cooling rock, giving it a hellish glow at night.

Mount Etna initially reawoke in late July, and fully resumed its fire-spewing activities this week. The lava kicked in late on Thursday, and the volcano showed a surge in seismic activity, Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology said. The tremor was followed by a flow of molten lava and a thick plume of ash.

In March, scientists found that Mount Etna is actually sliding into the Mediterranean Sea. Apart from the eruptions themselves, the shifting of an active volcano can potentially trigger disastrous landslides, and even tsunamis – which are not a very common occurrence in Europe, to put it mildly.

“This is the first time it’s been observed in an active volcano,” the study’s lead author, John Murray of the Open University, told RT back then. “While it has been known to happen in extinct volcanoes, this is the first time it’s been demonstrated for the whole volcano to be moving like this.”

At Least 2 Killed, Over 200 Injured As Magnitude 6.0 Earthquake Jolts Western Iran

A strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 has struck western Iran, near the border of Iraq on Saturday.

The quake hit 26 km southwest of Javanrud, Iran, at a depth of 10 kilometers, the United States Geological Survey reports.

At least two people have been killed and more than 240 injured, Reuters reported.

Strong shaking was reportedly felt as far as the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

An emergency crisis center has been set up in the city of Javanrud to reach out to badly hit areas.

Weather conditions for any cleanup and recovery efforts over the next few days will be seasonably hot and dry. No rain is expected to hinder anyone from helping the affected.

Temperatures will rise to around 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) each afternoon, and some locations near the earthquake area could be even warmer.

Papua New Guinea Villagers Forced To Flee After Manam Volcano Erupts

A team from Papua New Guinea’s National Disaster Center will visit Manam Island to inspect the damage from a volcanic eruption that forced at least 2,000 villagers to flee to the mainland.

The volcano on Manam Island, off the north coast of Papua New Guinea, erupted early on Saturday, sending plumes of ash 15 kilometers into the air, the National Disaster Center said.

Manam Island, just 10km wide, is one of the Pacific nation’s most active volcanoes and is home to roughly 9,000 people.

Three villages were directly in the path of the lava flow and residents had to be evacuated to safer ground, Martin Mose, director of the PNG National Disaster Centre, said.

Mr Mose said the volcanic activity has since subsided.He said the team sent to Manam Island will assess the current conditions, the potential for further eruptions and whether any more evacuations are required.

‘A new vent had opened’
The Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) reported the eruption began at 6:00am (local time) and ash falls were so heavy that trees broke under the weight.

“The most affected areas are Baliau and Kuluguma and due to the very poor visibility caused by the ash fall, people are using torch light to move around,” it said.

The RVO’s Steve Saunders said it was an unusually large eruption.

“There’s a heavy thick blanket of ash on the flank and if there is heavy rainfall, we are making people aware of the threat.”

Mr Saunders said the initial phase of the eruption was over but a new vent had opened, indicating more activity may be likely.

The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (DVAAC) issued a threat warning to aviation to reroute around the cloud, which was above the cruising level of commercial airlines.

The cloud was expected to dissipate over the next 12 hours, DVAAC meteorologist Amanda Alford said.

Previous eruptions on Manam have killed residents who breathed in the ash or were buried by landslides, according to volcanic information website

7.1-Magnitude Earthquake On Border Of Peru, Brazil, USGS Reports

A 7.1-magnitude earthquake has struck eastern Peru, close to its borders with Bolivia and Brazil on Friday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The quake was recorded at 4:04 a.m. local time at a depth of 378 miles.

The epicenter was 83 miles west of the Peruvian village of Inapari and 140 miles west of the Bolivian city of Cobija.

It is not yet known whether there was any significant damage or casualties, however authorities say there is currently no tsunami threat for Australia.

The US Geological Survey said on Friday a 7.1-magnitude earthquake had struck in eastern Peru, close to its borders with Brazil and Bolivia.

The quake was recorded at 7.04pm (AEST) on Friday at a depth of 609 kilometres.

The epicentre was 135km west of the Peruvian village of Inapari, and 226km west of the Bolivian city of Cobija.

Social media users said tremors had been felt across the country and as far away as Arica in northern Chile.

Two strong shocks struck Pucallpa, a Peruvian town northwest of the epicentre, according to Twitter postings by several residents.

No tsunami warning was issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, and Chile’s fire service said on Twitter that the quake did not have the potential to generate one off the Chilean coast.

The Australian Tsunami Warning Centre, which services all coastal areas of Australia and offshore territories including the Antarctic region, said on Friday night there was no current tsunami threat.

In January, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck the coast of Peru, causing homes and roads to collapse. Two deaths were reported and over 100 people were injured.

In 2007, an earthquake killed hundreds in the region of Ica.

Researchers Find Out Why A Supermassive Black Hole Appears To Move

Researchers often assume that massive galaxies host supermassive black holes (SMBHs) in their nuclei. In recent years, observers have sought galaxies that might contain an SMBH that is displaced from its equilibrium position. Among the scenarios that could cause such a displacement are the merger of two SMBHs or the existence of a binary pair of SMBHs, and finding an example would give astronomers information about the evolution of galaxies and the frequency of the formation and mergers of this type of object.

One of the candidates for a displaced SMBH is the giant elliptical galaxy M87, which contains one of the nearest and most studied galactic nuclei (AGN). Previous studies on the displacement of the SMBH of M87 produced conflicting results. However a new study by Elena López Návas, a student at the University of La Laguna, has produced new data suggesting that the SMBH in this galaxy is in its equilibrium position, and that the displacements found previously were due to variations in the centre of production of light, the “photocentre” caused by outbursts from its relativistic jet, a flow of material expelled from near the surface of the black hole at velocities close to light speed.

To perform this research, it was necessary to analyze a large number of high-resolution images of M87 taken at different times and with different instruments on the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and on ESA’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) (Cerro Paranal, Chile).

“In our work, we have found that the SMBH has been in a very stable position for the past 20 years. What has changed is the centre of light production, the'”photocentre,”” explains López, the author of this study, which has just been published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS).

“As a result of what we have found, we realised that the images which appeared to show a displacement of the centre of the galaxy were taken at an epoch when M87 had a major outburst, which could be measured over the whole range of the electromagnetic spectrum,” says Almudena Prieto Escudero, co-author of the article and a researcher at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC).

This outburst took place between the years 2003 and 2007 in a knot within the jet known as HST-1, the closest knot to the nucleus of M87. While this outburst lasted, this knot increased in brightness so much that it even outshone the nucleus itself.

“A time series analysis of the displacements of the centre of the galaxy show that this outburst is related to the change in the position of the photocentre,” explains the astrophysicist. “But afterward, the photocentre and the nucleus were in the same place, so that we inferred that the nucleus and the black hole were always in the same place, which is the potential mínimum at the centre of the galaxy.”

These new data have inspired much interest in the astrophysical community, because studying the position of the SMBH in M87 is critical for understanding the evolution of the galaxy, and for the analysis of jets in other AGNs. “In addition, this research reminds us that we must be very careful when we study variable sources that show irregularities,such as this enormous jet,” says Lopez, who is now working with a training research contract at the IAC.