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Fri, 25 May 2018
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Strange Skies


Super blue blood moon promises a triple whammy of lunar treats on January 31

Blood moon
© Rebecca Naden / Reuters
The Moon will put on quite the show at the end of the month, as a very rare, "super blue blood moon" will appear in the skies on January 31.

A super blue blood moon happens when three different lunar events happen at once - a supermoon, a blue moon and a blood moon combining to offer sky gazers a triple whammy of lunar treats.

A supermoon happens when the moon's perigee - when its orbit is closest to earth - occurs at the same time as a full moon. It makes the Moon seem much larger than normal, by about 14 percent, NASA explains.

A blue moon appears when there are two full moons in one month. Despite the saying, "once in a blue moon," these moons turn out about once every 2.7 years.


Another possible nova in constellation Circinus

Following the posting on the Central Bureau's Transient Object Confirmation Page about a possible Nova in Circinus (TOCP Designation: PNV J13532700-6725110) I performed some follow-up of this object through a TEL 0.43-m f/6.8 reflector + CCD from MPC Code Q62 (iTelescope Observatory, Siding Spring).

On images taken on January 20.6, 2018 I can confirm the presence of an optical counterpart with R-filtered CCD magnitude +8.09 & V-filtered CCD magnitude +8.33 at coordinates:

R.A. = 13 53 27.57, Decl.= -67 25 01.0

(equinox 2000.0; Gaia DR1 catalogue reference stars for the astrometry).

This transient has been reported to CBAT/TOCP by John Seach, Chatsworth Island, NSW, Australia. Discovery made with a DSLR with 50 mm f/1.2 lens.
Below my confirmation image (single unfiltered 60-sec exposure through a 0.43-m f/6.8 reflector + CCD; MPC Code Q62). Click on the image for a bigger version:

Nova in Circinus
© Remanzacco Blog

Comment: Possible nova in southern Constellation Musca


Noctilucent rocket fumes filmed over Okinawa Island, Japan

Epsilon-3 launch
© Kagaya
On Jan. 18th, the Japanese space agency JAXA launched a small rocket from the Uchinoura Space Center. It made a big display. Japanese artist and photographer Kagaya captured dramatic images of the rocket's exhaust glowing in the starry pre-dawn sky over the Pacific:

"I watched the launch from Okinawa Island and photographed it using my Sony α7RIII camera," says Kagaya, who has posted a must-see video of the event on Youtube.

Grey Alien

UFO video is the start of 'War of the Worlds' claims US Navy pilot

War of the Worlds
© Outer Places
The world is still adjusting to the discovery that the Pentagon maintained a secret UFO program for over the past half a decade.

Emboldened by the news, many UFO enthusiasts and genuine experts have begun weighing in on the matter, arguing either for or against the existence of the alien visitors that the US government is so eager to study.

One of the most compelling pieces of evidence suggesting that UFOs really are the result of highly advanced technology comes in the form of footage from two F/A-18F super hornets who, in 2004, spotted a white "tic-tac" shaped aircraft off the coast of San Diego.

Grey Alien

Mysterious gamma rays are alien messages claims MIT astronomer

© YouTube
Gamma rays may be most famous for creating The Incredible Hulk, but outside of the world of fiction, they're a fantastic source of discussion among scientists who are trying to uncover the mysteries of the stars.

Gamma radiation can travel a long distance, and can potentially prove harmful under the right conditions, but its longevity means that it gives us the opportunity to learn more about distant star systems, and the enormous explosions that take may place within massive stars as they turn into supernovas or bubble away into black holes.

As exciting as these events are to observe, one MIT astronomer by the name of John A Ball has an even more intriguing theory as to what these gamma bursts are caused by. In a paper entitled Gamma Ray Bursts The ETI [extraterrestrial intelligence] Hypothesis, Ball suggests that the explosions that trigger gamma bursts might actually be communications from across the stars.


Rare iridescent rainbow cloud spotted above Darwin, Australia

A spectacular cloud formation caught the attention of Darwin residents during Sunday's storms

A spectacular cloud formation caught the attention of Darwin residents during Sunday's storms
We've heard of clouds having silver linings, but Northern Territory locals have been treated to the sight of clouds with a stunning rainbow lining.

On Sunday, just before a storm hit Darwin, several clouds began to shimmer with a multicoloured glow.

Those who saw it took to social media to try and describe the phenomenon. One called it an "ice prism," another a "cloud bow" due to its resemblance to a rainbow.

"It's incredible," said an Instagram user. "I'm totally not doing this justice".

Grey Alien

Airmen involved in 'The Rendlesham Forest Incident' possibly abducted

© YouTube
Based on all evidence from official government sources, UFOs seem to really love Earth military bases.

Perhaps this is a case of trained pilots being better at spotting anomalies in the night's sky, or perhaps it's simply because visiting aliens want to suss out our planet's defenses, but either way, it's not entirely uncommon for UFOs to show up suspiciously close to government facilities.

An unusual UFO sighting in 1980 referred to as "The Rendlesham Forest Incident" took place in the titular forest in Suffolk in England, when a pair of military airmen investigated an unidentified triangular alien spaceship, getting so close as to touch it and make a note of strange hieroglyphics that were present on its outer hull.

While it's been several decades now since the event took place, The Sun newspaper has released shaky video footage of a senior officer in the Royal Air Force claiming that, in addition to everything else that appeared in the official report on The Rendlesham Forest Incident, it's also possible that the pair of airmen involved may have been abducted by aliens.

The now-retired Colonel Charles Halt was meeting in the woods with UFO researcher Gary Heseltine, in order to film footage for an ultimately incomplete documentary into the event in 2010, when the video was initially filmed.


Possible nova in southern Constellation Musca

Following the posting on the Central Bureau's Transient Object Confirmation Page about a possible Nova in Musca (TOCP Designation: PNV J11261220-6531086) we performed some follow-up of this object through a TEL 0.50-m f/6.8 reflector + CCD + focal reducer from MPC Code Q62 (iTelescope Observatory, Siding Spring).

On images taken on January 15.57, 2018 we can confirm the presence of an optical counterpart with R-filtered CCD magnitude ~6.3 at coordinates:
R.A. = 11 26 14.95, Decl.= -65 31 24.1

(equinox 2000.0; Gaia DR1 catalogue reference stars).

This transient has been reported to CBAT/TOCP by Rob Kaufman, Bright, Victoria, Australia. Discovery image (taken with Canon 650D & 55mm lens) is available here. He also posted a low-resolution spectrum that "shows strong hydrogen emissions as well as FeII lines":
Nova in Musca
© R. Kaufman
Below you can see our confirmation image (single 30-sec exposure through a 0.43-m f/6.8 reflector + CCD), click on it for a bigger version:


Exoplanets discovered rotating at "perfect fifth" intervals

Divine musical scales
© Photo 12/UIG via Getty Images
In 1619 Johannes Kepler calculated the "divine" musical scales of the planets in the solar system. Now citizen science has found a strong musical equivalence in a chain of newly discovered exoplanets.
With the help of citizen scientists, exoplanet hunters have made one of their most unusual discoveries yet: a system called K2-138 that contains five planets orbiting in near-perfect resonances so close to their star that all five orbits are less than 13 days.

Orbital resonances occur when planetary orbits are spaced so that they circle their star in numerically related patterns. In the case of K2-138, this resonance is close to 3:2, which means that each planet makes three circuits of the star in the time it takes the next one out to make two. That is, the outer planet's orbit is 50% longer than the inner one's.

Such resonances are common in the planetary systems discovered by NASA's Kepler space telescope (which seeks exoplanets by looking for dips in the brightness of distant stars that occur when planets cross in front of them, blocking part of their light). That's because Kepler has discovered a great many compact planetary systems, in which planets would gravitationally interfere with each other if their orbits were not somehow synchronised.

But K2-138 is the most dramatic example of this yet, with five planets - all between 1.6 and 3.3 times the size of the Earth - moving like clockwork in a succession of 3:2 resonances. Specifically, their orbits are 2.35, 3.56, 5.40, 8.26, and 12.76 days, forming an unbroken chain of close-to-3:2 resonances - the longest such chain ever discovered. Moreover, there are hints of a sixth planet, which, if it exists, would orbit in about 42 days.

Comet 2

Dynamic space: Rotation of Comet 41P makes inexplicably slows down

Comet 41P
© Chris Schur/Schurs Astrophotography
Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák glides beneath the galaxy NGC 3198 on March 14, 2017, two weeks before the object's closest approach to Earth.
National Harbor, Md. - A small comet broke a rotation-speed record in a big way: New work reveals that an icy rock known as 41P dramatically slowed its spin at an unprecedented rate in 2017, spinning down at about 10 times the pace of the next-ranked comet.

This comet, whose full name is 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresák, experienced "the largest but also the fastest change that has ever been seen in a comet rotation," said Dennis Bodewits, an associate research scientist at the University of Maryland (UMD) in College Park.

Bodewits presented his team's findings Wednesday (Jan. 10) during a press conference held here at the 231st meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

Comment: What could have acted on it? It need not have been something it came close to. And they used to say space was 'stable'...