Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Astronomers say behaviour of ‘most mysterious star in the universe’ is not caused by an alien megastructure

Discovery of Mysterious Star In Universe

Results of an investigation directed in the discovery of an alien mega structure revolving a distant star has been released by a group of 200 researchers. Attention of the astronomers had been drawn by a star known as KIC 8462852 or Tabby’s star due to a strange phenomenon that saw the light it creates ‘inexplicably dimming and brightening sporadically like no other.

This gave rise to a stargazer to recommend that the blinking was due to the presence of a Dyson Sphere which is a theoretical Death Star-style power station surrounding the sun and collecting all its energy. A data has been revealed about the `most mysterious star in the universe’, by the scientist making this recommendation, from an investigation fund utilising $100,000 raised in a campaign of Kickstarter.

An astrophysics assistant professor at Pen State Department of Astronomy, Jason Wright, stated that they had been anticipating that once they eventually caught a dip happening in real time, they could see if the dips had the same depth at all wavelengths.

He further commented that if they were almost the same, it would indicate that the cause was something opaque, such as an orbiting disk, planet or star or also large structures in space and the latest research rules out alien megastructue though it tends to raise the plausibility of other phenomena being behind the dimming’.

Las Cumbres Observatory

It had been suggested earlier that the dimming had been due to a planet or a swarm of comets. Tabetha Boyajian of Louisiana State University commented that the dust is most likely the cause why the light of the star seems to dim and brighten.

 The latest data portrays that the different colours of light have been blocks at various intensities and hence whatever tends to pass between us and the star is not opaque as it would be expected from a planet or alien megastructure.

The star had been carefully observed by the scientists through the Las Cumbres Observatory from March 2016 to December 2017. There had been four distinct episodes starting in May 2017 when the light of the star had dipped. Crowdfunding campaign supporters had nominated and voted to name these episodes where the first two dips had been named Elsie and Celeste.

The last two had been named after the ancient lost cities- Scotland’s Scara Brae and Cambodia’ Angkor.The authors have mentioned that in several ways what tends to occur with the star is like these lost cities. They had written that `they are ancient; we are watching things that happened more than 1,000 years ago. They are almost certainly caused by something ordinary, at least on a cosmic scale and yet that makes them more interesting, not less. But most of all, they are mysterious’.

New Era of Astronomy

The technique, by which the star is being researched, is done by collecting and analysing abundance of data from an individual target brings in a new era of astronomy. Tyler Ellis an LSU doctoral candidate studying the star had commented that they are gathering much data on an individual target and this project is reflective of changes in astronomy with the access of this abundance of data.

Scientists going through huge amount of data from NASA Kepler mission had been the ones to identify the unusual behaviour of the star in the initial stage. The main purpose of the Kepler mission was to locate planet which is done by detecting the periodic dimming that takes place from a planet moving in front of a star and so blocking out a small bit of starlight.

Planet Hunters, an online citizen science group had been established in order that volunteers could assist in classifying light curves from the Kepler mission as well as to search for such planets. Boyajian had stated that if it was not for people with unbiased look on our universe, this unusual star would have not been noticed and again without the support of the public, for this dedicated observing run, they would not have this huge amount of data.

Models - Circumstellar Material

Wright has mentioned that there are models involving circumstellar material such as exocomets which had been the original hypothesis of Boyajian’s team that seem to be consistent with the data they had. Moreover Wright also pointed out that some astronomers preferred the idea that nothing seems to be blocking the star and that it just seemed to get dimmer on its own, this also is consistent with the data of summer.According to Boyajian it seems to be quite exhilarating and is grateful to all those who had made their contributions to this in the past year, namely the citizen scientists together with their professional astronomers. He stated that it was quite humbling to have all of them contributing in numerous ways of helping in figuring out the same.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Mysterious Pool and Fountain Discovered at Ancient Christian Site in Israel

Mysterious Pool and Fountain

Second Largest Spring – Judean Hills

An old pool and fountain considered to be 1,500 years old has been revealed by archaeologist in Jerusalem which could have been the spot of one of the most referred baptism of Christians. The pool could have been formed as a place of a main story referred in the New Testament where St. Philip the Evangelist had baptised and converted an Ethiopian to Christianity.

It has not been determined that the pool had been utilised for the baptism of the Ethiopian, however if it had been used for the same, it would possibly be the centre of `one of the main events in the spread of Christianity’. However, it is not known what the pool had been used for. The artifacts are said to be part of Jerusalem Ein Hanya, the second largest spring in the Judean Hills.

 Irina Zilberbod, the excavation director for the Israel Antiques Authority (IAA), stated, that according to the Jewish Press, the most significant finding in the excavation was a large and impressive pool from the Byzantine period. Zilberbod further stated that it was hard to know what the pool had been utilised for, whether for irrigation, washing, landscaping or perhaps as part of baptismal ceremonies at the site.

Magnificent Nymphaeumor Fountain

The site had been exposed and excavated by the team of archaeologist from the IAA between 2012 and 2016 though it had only been made available to the public recently. The IAA is of the belief that the pool tends to date back between the 4th and the 6th centuries A.D.The pool is considered to date back to the Byzantine Era that had happened around 1,500 years ago.

 Byzantine-era pool is said to drain into a network of channels leading to a magnificent nymphaeum or fountain which seems to be adorned with images of nymphs. According to the scientist, the fountain is said to be the first of its kind in Jerusalem.

The pool could have been a part of a royal estate which had been constructed during the time of the First Temple era that had started 3,000 years back. A column discovered at the site which may be 2,400 year old might have specified that the ground had been used as a royal estate and the pool could have served as the centre of a `spacious’ complex before a church which had once stood on the grounds.

Zilberhod had stated that a row of elaborate, roofed columns served as a path to various residential wings. The experts had been successful in restoring the water systems in order to make the fountain in a working condition.

Common Motif in Christian Art

Yuval Baruch, the IAA’s Jerusalem district archaeologist, according to the Times of Israel, had stated that identifying the place where the event had taken place had kept the scholars busy for several generations and had become a common motif in Christian art.

He further added that it’s no wonder part of (Ein Hanya) is still owned by Christians and is said to be a focus of religious ceremonies for the Armenian Church as well as the Ethiopian Church. Moreover scientists also discovered a mass of rare, ancient trinkets, varying from pottery, roof tiles, glass together with multi-coloured mosaic pieces.

With the help of these items, scientists have determined that the site could have probably been active between the 4th and the 6th centuries. The scientists had come upon a rare silver coin that is said to be one of the oldest they had found so far in the area of Jerusalem.

According to them it is said to be the Greek currency drachma. The Times of Israel observed that drachma had been minted in Ashdod by the Greek rulers between 420 and 390 BCE.

Lost Roman City of Julias

The site is considered as one of the most amazing archaeological locations in Israel which has provided much perception on early Christianity. For instance last year archaeologist had discovered an amazing 1,500 year old Christian mosaic which had been the floor of a church or monastery in the ancient city of Ashdod-Yam.

In 2017 another ancient Greek inscription was discovered on a 1,500 year old mosaic floor in the proximity of Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. On the inscription was the name of the Byzantine emperor Justinian who had ruled in the 6th century A.D. and honours the building’s founding by Constantine a priest.

Between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, a 1,500 year old church had been discovered at a Byzantine-era rest stop in 2015. In 2014, the remains of another church from the same era had been uncovered in southern Israel.

Experts are of the belief that they have also discovered the lost Roman City of Julias which was formerly the village of Bethsaida considered to be the home of the apostles of Jesus, namely Peter, Andres and Philip.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Lost Wreckage of 'British Roswell' Flying Saucer Discovered in Science Museum


Missing Wreckage – Silpho UFO

The missing wreckage of a flying saucer addressed as the `British Roswell’ has been discovered in a tin box in Science Museum in London. The piece of metal located in 1957 on Silpho Moor near Scarborough, North Yorkshire had been quite strange that it was named as `Silpho UFO’.The disc being 16 inches in diameter was said to weigh 22 lbs. had been inscribed with hieroglyphics identical to the wreckage of the so-called spacecraft discovered in June 1947, at Roswell, New Mexico. When the disc had been cut open, a book was found within which was made of 17 thin copper sheets wherein each sheet was covered in more hieroglyphs.

Phillip Longbottom, a local care owner had claimed that the hieroglyphs translated into a 2000-word message that had been sent by an alien known as Ullo containing a warning which stated that `You will improve or disappear’. The remnants of the wreckage had been sent to the Natural History Museum in London where the experts have arrived at a decision that it could probably be an elaborate hoax since there had been no evidence that the metal neither came from elsewhere in the Solar System nor had suffered high temperatures of entering the atmosphere of the Earth. All the same, Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding believed that the piece from the wreckagehad been an extra-terrestrial and had stated that the same had been examined by him in 1959 andit was found to be a `miniature flying saucer’.

Mysterious Object – Museum Files

It is yet uncertain as to what really happened to the item of the wreckage thereafter and the members of the UFO community eventually were of the belief that it had been scrapped off deliberately. However it now seems that item of wreckage had been sent in 1963, to the Science Museum in London and laid forgotten in the files for over 50 years.

The same was discovered only after Dr David Clarke of Sheffield Hallam University had given a talk recently on the release of the Ministry of Defence files of UFO at the Science Museum. According to him one of the museum staff had tapped him on the shoulder and asked him if he was aware that the bits of flying saucer wreckage had been kept in a cigarette tin in the museum group store for years.He informed that he had been totally amazed when later on the tin box had been opened and found the wreckage in it. It was clear that there were the remnants of the missing Silpho Saucer which some had claimed as the answer to the popular Roswell incident of Britain.

He further stated that it had been unbelievable to know that the pieces of this mysterious object had been in a museum files for over half a century. The former editor of UFO Brigantia magazine, Andy Roberts had stated that the Silpho Saucer story had been the answer to Roswell incident of Britain wherein a crashed flying saucer was apparentlyflown away from a ranch in New Mexico in 1947.

Amazing Breakthrough

According to him it was an amazing breakthrough and incredible to know that all this while the pieces of the mysterious wreckage was lying in the museum files. The flying saucer had initially been found Scarborough businessman Frank Dickenson who had been driving in the proximity of the moor with two of his colleagues when they had spotted a glowing object in the sky which seemed to fall to the ground.

He discovered the wreckage of the metallic saucer fallen in a patch of bracken and had returned back to inform his colleagues and when they had gone back to the wreckage it seemed to have disappeared.

Frank had been desperate to locate the wreckage and had placed an advert in one of the local paper where a man had come up and sold the same to him for £10. On purchasing the wreckage back, Frank, together with Anthony Parker and Phillip Longbottom had forced the object open to find traces of glass, ash and copper book inside.

Tests that had been carried out at Manchester University had disclosed that the shell of the object comprised of lead and the copper parts seemed to be of unusual high purity. Further test had also been carried out at Manchester University and it was discovered that the same could not have come on Earth from space since it was not exposed to high temperatures.

Jenny Randles and UFO expert had commented that it is the most costly as well as a well-organized hoax which had even taken place in Britain. When the reported crash had taken place it had caused tremendous concern since the space race between the US and Soviet Union had just started and they had apprehension that the object could be from a spy satellite.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Sprawling Maya Network Discovered Under Guatemala Jungle


Hidden Maya Ruins in Guatemala

An international team of scientists together with archaeologist have come together to participate in the PCUNAMLidar– Light Detection and Ranging initiative, charting over 772 square miles of Guatemalan jungle by plane.

Their discoveries have been exposed in digital maps together with augmented reality app. They have come across over 60,000 hidden Maya ruins in Guatemala in a huge archaeological discovery. In order to survey digitally below the forest shelter laser technology – Lidar, had been utilised which revealed houses, elevated highways, palaces together with defensive fortifications. Landscapes known in the vicinity of Maya cities is presumed to have been home to millions of the people besides other research earlier recommended.

The research had recorded over 810 square miles in northern Peten. Archaeologists are of the opinion that the cutting edge technology would bring about a change in the way the Maya civilisation would be seen by the world. Stephen Houston, Professor of Archaeology and anthropology at Brown University had commented that this is one of the greatest advances in over 150 years of Maya archaeology. He informed BBC that after decades of work in the archaeological field, he had observed that the magnitude of the latest survey was breath-taking.

Lidar – Unveils Archaeological Treasures

He further added that it sounds hyperbolic though when he had seen the (Lidar) imagery; it brought tears to his eyes. The results from the research utilising Lidar technology, recommend that Central America sustained an advanced civilisation similar to the sophisticated cultures such as ancient Greece or China.

Ithaca College archaeologist Thomas Garrison had informed BBC that everything had been turned on its head. He was of the belief that the scale as well as the population density had been grossly underestimated and could be actually three or four times more than earlier presumed.

Lidar described as `magic’ by some of the archaeologist tends to unveil archaeological treasures which seem almost invisible to the naked eyes, particularly in the tropics.
  • It is said to be a sophisticated remote sensing technology which utilises laser light to sample the surface of the earth, densely
  • Millions of laser pulses are beamed every four seconds at the ground from a plane or helicopter
  • Wavelengths are measured as they tend to bounce back which is not different from how bats use sonar to hunt
  • The extremely precise measurements are then utilised in order to provide a detailed three dimensional image of the ground surface topography.

Digitally Eliminate Dense Tree Shelter

The team of scholars working on the project utilised Lidar to digitally eliminate the dense tree shelter in order to design a 3D map of what is actually beneath the surface of the now-uninhabited Guatemalan rainforest.

Francisco Estrada-Belli, a Tulane University archaeologist had informed National Geographic that `Lidar is revolutionising archaeology the same way the Hubble Space Telescope revolutionised astronomy and to comprehend what is seen, they would need 100 years to go through all the data.

Archaeologist had meticulouslyrecorded the landscape for years, excavating a Maya site known as El Zotz in northern Guatemala.However the Lidar survey had disclosed kilometres of fortification wall which the team never seemed to notice earlier.

Mr Garrison informed Live Science that probably, ultimately they would have got to this hilltop where this fortress seemed to be, though they were within about 150 feet of it in 2010 and did not observe anything. BBC was informed that while Lidar imagery had saved archaeologist years of on-the-ground searching, it also created a problem.

Recognized Structures – Stone Platforms

Mr Garrison, who is part of a consortium of archaeologist involved in the latest survey, explained that the complicating thing regarding the Lidar is that it gives an image of 3,000 years of Mayan civilisation in the area, in a compressed manner.He further added that though it is a great issue to have, it provides us with new challenges as they learn more about the Maya.

Recently Lidar technology has been utilised in revealing earlier hidden cities near the iconic ancient temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The civilisation of Maya had covered an area around twice the size of medieval England, at its peak around 1,500 years ago, having an estimated population of about five million.

Mr Estrada-Belli had informed that with this new data it was no longer difficult to think that there were 10 to 15 million people there inclusive of several living in low-lying , marshy areas which many had presumed to be uninhabitable.

Most of the 60,000 recently recognized structures are presumed to be of stone platforms which could have supported the average pole and thatch Maya home. The archaeologists were impressed by the incredible defensive features that had been comprised of walls, fortresses together with trenches. Garrison informed that they depicted the Maya had devoted more resources in defending themselves rather than presumed earlier.

Three Year Project – Guatemalan Organisation

One of the hidden discoveries is said to be a pyramid which had been covered in vegetation that tends to be almost lost in the jungle. New insight is being shed on Tikal which is deep in the Guatemalan rainforest.

By utilising Lidar, archaeologist identified an earlier unknown pyramid in the heart of the city which was presumed to be a natural feature. Moreover it was also discovered that the city was three to four times bigger than earlier presumed having extensive defences on its outskirts. The fortification backs the new theory which the ancient engaged in large scale wars, as per National Geographic.

Another surprising discovery which perplexed the archaeologist was the complex network of causeways connecting all the Maya cities in the vicinity. The elevated highways enabling easy passage even during the rainy season had been adequately wide to recommend that they were heavily trafficked and had been utilised for trade.

Mr Houston had stated that the idea of seeing a continuous landscape though understanding everything is linked across several square miles is amazing. He also added that they can expect several more surprises. The Lidar survey was considered to be the first part of a three year project directed by a Guatemalan organisation which tends to promote cultural heritage preservation.

It would ultimately record more than 5,000 sq. miles of the lowlands of Guatemala. The discoveries of the project would be featured in a Channel 4 programmed known as the Lost Cities of the Maya - revealed in airing in the UK on Sunday 11 February – 20.00GMT

Monday, January 29, 2018

UC San Diego Researchers Shed Light on Formation of Black Holes and Galaxies

Black Holes

Supermassive Black Holes – Captivating

Latest discoveries have heighted the understanding of how powerful winds generated by supermassive black holes make an impact on the growth of a galaxy. Professor Shelley Wright of University of California San Diego commented that supermassive black holes are captivating and understanding why and how galaxies seem to be affected by their supermassive black holes tends to be an outstanding puzzle in their formation.

 The researchers of University of California San Diego in the Department of Physics have provided some insight on the formation of supermassive black holes and galaxies. Their discoveries had been published in issue of Astrophysical Journal of December 20, 2017 which had directly influenced the theoretical work on supermassive black holes together with the galaxies’ formation and evolution through cosmic time. Moreover, their work had also provided vital new clues on how black holes influenced the star formation history of galaxies.

 The bright vigorous supermassive black holes are called `quasars’. The researchers, Wright and Vayner, leading and serving as first author on the paper titled `Galactic-scale Feedback Observed in the 3C 298 Quasar Host Galaxy’, had examined the energetics surrounding the powerful quasar-generated winds. Their measurements had placed the distant supermassive black hole and galaxy named 3C 298 at around 9.3 billion light years away.

Galaxy Mass – Associated with Supermassive Black Hole Mass

Wright had explained that they had studied the supermassive black holes in the early universe wherein they had been actively developing by accreting huge amounts of gaseous material. Though black hole themselves do not tend to emit light, the gaseous material they seem to chew on, is heated to the maximum temperature thus enabling them to be the most luminous objects in the universe’.

The research done by the team according to Wright disclosed that the winds blow out through the complete galaxy and affect the growth of stars. She commented that this is remarkable which the supermassive black hole is capable of impacting stars creating at such large distances. The neighbouring galaxies presently portray that the galaxy mass is strongly associated with the supermassive black hole mass.

 The research of Wright and Vayner specifies that 3C 298 is not within the normal scaling relationship between nearby galaxies and the supermassive black holes which hang about towards their centre. However in the early universe, the study portrays that the 3C 298 galaxy is considered to be 100 times less massive than it tends to be given its behemoth supermassive black hole mass which signifies that the supermassive black hole mass had been established much earlier than the galaxy.


Moreover the potentially the energetics from the quasar had been capable of controlling the development of the galaxy. For research purpose, the UC San Diego researchers used several state-of-the-art astronomical facilities, the first being the W. M. Keck Observatory instrument OSIRIS with its advanced optics (AO) system.

The W. M. Keck Observatory telescopes are said to be most scientifically productive on the Earth where the two – 10 meter optical/infrared telescopes on the summit of Maunakea towards the Island of Hawaii tends to feature a suite of advanced instruments comprising of imagers, multi-object spectrographs, integral-field spectrometers, high-resolution spectrographs together with world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems.

This enabled ground-based telescope to attain higher quality images by rectifying the blurring that is due to the atmosphere of the Earth and the resulting images seemed to be good like those obtained from space. The second main facility had been the Atacama large Millimeter/submillimeter Array which is known as `ALMA’.

 This is an international observatory in Chile which is capable of detecting millimetre wavelengths utilising up to 66 antennae to accomplish high resolution images of the gas surrounding the quasar. According to Vayner, the most appealing part of researching this galaxy has been in putting together the entire data from various wavelengths and techniques.

Nature of Galaxy/Formation of Supermassive Black Hole 

Each new dataset obtained on this galaxy provided a question and helped in putting some of the pieces of the puzzle together. But at the same time it also developed new questions regarding the nature of galaxy as well as the formation of the supermassiveblack holes.

 In agreement Wright had also commented that the data sets had been tremendously gorgeous from both Keck Observatory as well as ALMA providing immense new information regarding the universe. These discoveries had been the initial results from a bigger survey of distant quasars together with their energetics’ influence on the formation of star and galaxy development.

Vayner along with his team will carry on the developing results on more distant quasars utilising the new facilities as well as the potentials from Keck Observatory and ALMA. The graduate program of the Department of Physics in the Division of Physical Sciences at UC San Diego has been listed #16 as per the U.S. News and World Report ranking. The first students to be enrolled at UC San Diego in 1960 had been graduate student in physics.