Strange Skies


Observations detect a nearby hypervelocity stellar/substellar object

Brown Dwarf Signature
© Burgasser et al., 2024.Forward modeling of the Keck/NIRES spectrum of J1249+3621 in the 1.10–1.19 µm (left), and 1.235–1.28 µm (right) spectral regions, both of which contain stellar and telluric absorption features.
Using the Keck II telescope, astronomers have detected an object that may be a brown dwarf or a low-mass star, exhibiting a very high radial velocity. The object, designated CWISE J124909.08+362116.0 is located some 400 light years away. The finding was reported July 11 on the pre-print server arXiv.

Brown dwarfs (BDs) are intermediate objects between planets and stars, occupying the mass range between 13 and 80 Jupiter masses (0.012 and 0.076 solar masses). They form like stars but are not sufficiently massive to sustain hydrogen fusion in their cores.

Now, a team of astronomers led by Adam Burgasser of the University of California San Diego reports the detection of a new object at the brown dwarf/star mass boundary.

Using the Near-Infrared Echellette Spectrometer (NIRES) at the Keck II telescope, they investigated CWISE J124909.08+362116.0 (or CWISE J1249+3621 for short) — a high proper motion faint red source first identified by citizen scientists. As a result, it turned out that the source is a rare type of hypervelocity subdwarf.

"We report the discovery of a high velocity, very low-mass star or brown dwarf whose kinematics suggest it is unbound to the Milky Way. (...) The fastest 'hypervelocity' stars are unbound to the Milky Way's gravitational potential and may even have extragalactic origins," the researchers explained.


Best of the Web: Unexpected X-shaped structures in Earth's upper atmosphere seen by NASA leaves scientists baffled

x c plasma earth
© NASA’s Scientific Visualization StudioThis visualization shows C-shaped and reverse-C-shaped plasma bubbles appearing close together in the ionosphere on Oct. 12, 2020, and Dec. 26, 2021, as observed by NASA's GOLD mission.NASA's GOLD mission found unexpected X- and C-shaped structures in the plasma of Earth's ionosphere. Researchers have likened our upper atmosphere to "alphabet soup.".
A NASA satellite has spotted unexpected X- and C-shaped structures in Earth's ionosphere, the layer of electrified gas in the planet's atmosphere that allows radio signals to travel over long distances.

The ionosphere is an electrified region of Earth's atmosphere that exists because radiation from the sun strikes the atmosphere. Its density increases during the day as its molecules become electrically charged. That's because sunlight causes electrons to break off of atoms and molecules, creating plasma that enables radio signals to travel over long distances. The ionosphere's density then falls at night — and that's where GOLD comes in.

NASA's Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) mission is a geostationary satellite that has been measuring densities and temperatures in Earth's ionosphere since its launch in October 2018. From its geostationary orbit above the western hemisphere, GOLD was recently studying two dense crests of particles in the ionosphere, located north and south of the equator. As night falls, low-density bubbles appear within these crests that can interfere with radio and GPS signals. However, it's not just the wax and wane of sunshine that affects the ionosphere — the atmospheric layer is also sensitive to solar storms and huge volcanic eruptions, after which the crests can merge to form an X shape.

Comment: There appears to be an increase in rare, and even previously unknown, phenomena occurring in and around Earth: And check out SOTT radio's: See also:


New Type Ia supernova discovered

Full color image of SN 2023adsy
© Pierel et al., 2024Full color image of SN 2023adsy.
Using the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), astronomers from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) have discovered a new supernova. Designated SN 2023adsy, the newfound stellar explosion is the most distant Type Ia supernova so far detected. The finding was detailed in a research paper published June 7 on the pre-print server arXiv.

Supernovae (SNe) are powerful and luminous stellar explosions. They are important for the scientific community as they offer essential clues into the evolution of stars and galaxies. In general, SNe are divided into two groups based on their atomic spectra: Type I (no hydrogen in their spectra) and Type II (showcasing hydrogen spectral lines).

Type Ia supernovae (SN Ia) are found in binary systems in which one of the stars is a white dwarf. Stellar explosions of this type are important for the scientific community, as they offer essential clues into the evolution of stars and galaxies.

SN 2023adsy was initially identified in 2023 as a transient object in the galaxy JADES-GS+53.13485−27.82088, at a redshift of 2.9. Follow-up observations of SN 2023adsy suggested that it may be a supernova of Type Ia.

Now, a new study conducted by a team of astronomers led by STScI's Justin R. Pierel confirms the previous assumptions.

Cloud Grey

Iridescent clouds seen in Ho Chi Minh City sky

iridescent clouds vietnam climate change
© Dinh Thuong / Tuoi TreThe clouds over Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam on May 12, 2024, look like a glistening rainbow.
Iridescent clouds appeared in the sky of Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday afternoon, prompting many to share images of the phenomenon online, playfully dubbing it 'Aurora borealis in Saigon.'

Saigon is the old name of the city but it is still in popular use.

The magnificent clouds emerged between 3:30 pm and 4:20 pm.

The phenomenon is called cloud iridescence or irisation, a colorful optical phenomenon that occurs in clouds and appears in the general proximity of the sun or moon.

This occurs when water droplets or ice crystals in the cloud diffract the light around the outside of the droplet, as opposed to bending the light through it.

Better Earth

'Bizarre' gravity wave cloud phenomenon photographed over Australia

gravity wave cloud
Sydneysiders have been treated with a bizarre weather display after dozens of photos began circulating online of strange tubular clouds.

The eerie weather phenomenon was photographed and filmed over the city on Tuesday afternoon, with many querying what the reason was for the strange formations.

"Is it aliens?" one man asked. "I feel that as a society we all have the right to really know what is going on. Should we be concerned?"

Comment: Chemtrails, and geoengineering, are indeed real, however, whilst these rather nefarious practices have gained significant traction in the public consciousness in just the last year or so, they seem to be distracting from another the significant changes occurring in our atmosphere - which is also evident in a variety of other strange sky phenomena, including Transient Luminous Events, iridescent clouds, low lattitude and multicoloured aurora, to name a few - and which, unlike those man-made problems, cannot be stopped, and foreshadow greater Earth Changes up ahead: The turbulence comment is notable because in recent weeks there have been a few notable 'extreme' turbulence incidents: Another severe turbulence incident strikes passenger plane, follows death of passenger in similar incident 1 week earlier

Also check out SOTT radio's:

Cloud Grey

Another severe turbulence incident strikes passenger plane, follows death of passenger in similar incident 1 week earlier

dublin airport
© Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne / ReutersAn aerial view of Dublin airport is seen from the window of a Ryanair flight in September 2017.
Passengers who were injured in severe turbulence on a Qatar Airwaysflight from Doha to Dublin have said their clothes were ripped and flight attendants were scratched during the terrifying ordeal.

Twelve passengers were injured as turbulence caused some people on board to hit the cabin ceiling on the flight on Sunday.

All passengers were assessed for injury before disembarking the aircraft once the plane landed safely as scheduled shortly before 1pm, with eight passengers subsequently taken to hospital, airport officials said.

One traveller named Cathal said his shorts had ripped apart as he was flung around the cabin during the turbulence.

Comment: The incidents are notable because at least one recent study revealed that turbulence, overall, has been on the rise for the past 40 years, and particularly across the Atlantic. Alongside this, there's a myriad of other phenomena that seems to support the idea that there are significant changes occurring to our atmosphere, in addition to the increase in extreme weather events: Aircraft experiencing 37% increase in turbulence over last 40 years

See also: Severe turbulence on UK-Singapore Boeing flight, 1 dead, 30 injured


Lost photos suggest Mars' mysterious moon Phobos may be a trapped comet in disguise

Previously unpublished photos of Mars' moon Phobos hint that the mysterious satellite may actually be a trapped comet — or perhaps just a piece of one, along with its twin moon Deimos.
Phobos and Deimos
© NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC/Univ. of ArizonaA composite photo of Mars with its twin moons Phobos and Deimos. New research suggests the pair may in fact be two halves of an ancient comet captured by Mars long ago.
Mars' moon Phobos may actually be a comet — or at least part of one — that was gravitationally captured by the Red Planet long ago, a new preprint study based on previously unpublished photos suggests.

For years, researchers have puzzled over the origins of Phobos and its twin, Deimos. Some have theorized that the moons are former asteroids lured in by Mars' gravity, because their chemical composition is similar to that of certain rocks in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. However, computer models simulating this capture process have not been able to replicate the pair's near-circular paths around Mars.

Another hypothesis suggests that a giant impact, like that which created our moon, gouged the duo out of the Red Planet; but Phobos has a different chemical composition from Mars, making this scenario unlikely, too.

Figuring out exactly how Phobos was born is one of the aims of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) mission, slated to launch in 2026. Sonia Fornasier, an astronomy professor at the Paris Cité University and lead author of the new study, is an instrument scientist for the MMX mission. While she and other scientists were analyzing images to fine-tune the spacecraft's planned path, Fornasier stumbled upon unpublished photos.


Something strange is happening with Earth's magnetic field tail

It's called the magnetotail, of course.

© Courtesy of NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center-Conceptual Image Lab
You may not know this, but Earth's magnetic field has a tail. As the sun's solar wind buffets the planet, it leaves behind a sort of long shadow that trails out in our planet's wake. Scientists call this magnetic tail, appropriately, the magnetotail. Typically, the magnetotail is strewn with magnetic storms.

But for the past several years, scientists have known of a mystery in the magnetotail: a missing storm. They have found a signature of a storm, but no storm to actually go along with it. NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission is now on the case.

MMS consists of four satellites that all launched on the same Atlas V rocket in 2015. Since then, the quartet has been studying Earth's magnetopause: the frontier of the region dominated by the planet's magnetic field. The magnetopause is constantly aflame with magnetic reconnections, which refer to when the lines that make up a magnetic field come together, break apart, then rejoin, creating brilliant flurries of heat and kinetic energy. (These reconnections, if they happen in Earth's atmosphere, can cause auroras.)

Solar Flares

Yucatan Peninsula gets rare glimpse of Northern Lights during largest solar storm in decades

northern lights
Residents in the state of Campeche also captured a rare glimpse of the northern lights
Northern lights were seen across part of the Yucatan Peninsula Friday night as the result of a solar storm. The rare display of pinks and purples dazzled the sky for viewers in northern areas of Yucatan and Quintana Roo.

The solar flares, which have been referred to as the biggest geomagnetic storm in two decades by the Space Weather Prediction Center of the NOAA, were seen across many parts of Latin America, including many areas of Mexico.

According to Protección Civil Baja California (Baja California Civil Protection), the northern lights were expected to be viewable along the northern horizon on the night of May 10 and into the early morning of May 11.


Spectacular southern lights seen across Australia after 'extreme' solar storm

Sean O'Riordan just managed to capture this stunning display at Eaglehawk Neck in south-east Tasmania
© Seán O RiordanSean O'Riordan just managed to capture this stunning display at Eaglehawk Neck in south-east Tasmania.
Aurora australis has lit up skies across southern Australia after an "extreme" geomagnetic solar storm.

Social media users in posted pictures of brightly coloured skies in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and across the Tasman in New Zealand.

However, much of New South Wales missed out on the spectacle due to heavy cloud and rain.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned the storm that creates the beautiful auroras could also threaten infrastructure and essential services, including power supply.

Comment: Related: "Severe Geomagnetic Storm" hits Earth, NOAA warning in effect all weekend