Friday, December 15, 2017

Scientists Just Discovered Our First Known Interstellar Visitor And It’s Pretty Weird

First Known Interstellar Object – Solar System

Scientists have been working on the Pan-STARRS (Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System) observatory at Haleakala, Hawaii just over a month back and had glimpses of something quite extraordinary, the first known interstellar object which had passed through the solar system.

They had distinguished observations together with details with the object for the past month and presently known as 11.2016 U1 `OUMUAMUA’, it seems to be the first object of this type. The `I’ signifies its interstellar origin – ISO. The interstellar `Oumuamua embarked in the solar system as though it had fallen from above, closing to within 0.25 AU from the sun which places it between the orbit of the sun and Mercury.

 However, there had been no clue of a tail as `Oumuamua' came near. The interstellar during its initial approach from above the solar system had been moving at a solid 15.8 miles per second – 25.5km/s and had bottomed out under the solar system after the gravity of the sun had pulled it in a different orbit. It is now on its way back out of the solar system on an altered route at an even higher speed of 44km/s.

Developing Follow-Up Strategy

Onumuamua – interstellar, is said to be quickly disappearing as it heads out of the solar system receding from the Sun as well as the Earth and receiving new observations quickly seems to be very vital. The IfA team comprising of those who had discovered 1l had prepared to follow up solar system discoveries quickly from Pan-STARRS, operated by the IfA, funded by NASA, according to Karen Meech, astronomer leading the investigative team who commented that they were capable of developing rapidly a follow-up strategy on a very short timescale.

It was exciting to think that the brief visit by Oumuamua had given them the opportunity to do the first representation of a sample from another solar system. Established on its observed characteristics, `Oumuamua is roughly the shape of a cigar with two of its axes around 80 meters across and the third 800 meters long. Its trail together with the speed recommends that it is not an ejected fragment of our own solar system at any earlier stage of its development.


Insight of the Cosmos

The research team tends to think that it is a distant prospect though this possibility could not be totally ruled out. They have speculated in fact that its encounter with our sun could have been the first instance interstellar `Oumuamua had encountered another star.

Though brief as it could have been, the complete encounter tends to remind us of the classic sci-fi book, `Rendezvous with Rama’ of Arthur C. Clarke wherein a massive cylindrical spacecraft on a quick approach in our own solar system had been explored by humans before it had continued on its journey to the Large Magellanic Cloud.

However, while we will not be seeing `Oumuamua’ again, the brief visit of the interstellar to our solar system has somewhat provided some insight of the cosmos to some extent.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Archaeologists Uncover Rare 2,000-Year-Old Sundial During Roman Theatre Excavation

2,000-Year-Old Sundial

Undamaged Sundial Discovered – Interamna Lirenas – Italy

During an excavation of a roofed theatre in the roman town of Interamna Lirenas, in the vicinity of Monte Cassino, in Italy, a 2,000 year old inscribed sundial has been discovered which is said to be one of the only known artefact to have survived.

 The sundial has not only survived undamaged for over two millennia but its presence of two Latin texts could indicate that researchers from the University of Cambridge have made it possible to assemble accurate information regarding the person who had commissioned it.

The students of the Faculty of Classics had located the sundial lying face down while they had been excavating the front of one of the entrances of the theatre along a secondary street. The sundial could possibly be left behind during that time when the theatre as well as the town had been rummaged for building material at the time of the Medieval to post-Medieval era. It may not have belonged to the theatre though could be removed from a noticeable spot more likely from the top of a pillar in the nearby setting.

A lecturer at the Facultty of Classics at Cambridge and a Colleague of Gonville & Caius College, Dr Alessandro Launaro, mentioned that `less than a hundred specimens of this particular type of sundial have survived and of those only a handful tends to bear any kind of inscription and so this really is a special discovery.

Numerous Contemplations

He further added that they have not only been capable of identifying the individual who had custom-made the sundial but have also been capable of determining the specific public office he held with regards to the probable date of the inscription.

Highly featured towards the base, is the name of M(arcus) NOVIUS M(arci) F(ilius) TUBULA [Marcus Novius Tubula, son of Marcus] while the engravings on the curved rim of the dial surface record that he held the office of TR(ibunus) PL(ebis) [Plebeian Tribune] and had paid for the sundial D(e) S(ua) PEC(unia) with his own cash. It is said that the nomen Novius had been quite common in Central Italy while the cognomen Tubula (literally `small trumpet), on the other hand is verified at Interamna Lirenas.

What is more appealing is the public office Tubula held with regards to the likely date of the inscription. Numerous contemplations regarding the name of the individual together with the lettering style of the inscription of the sundial placed comfortably during (mid 1st c. BC onwards) wherein the inhabitants of Interamna, had been granted by then, full Roman citizenship.

Carved From Limestone

Launaro stated `that being the case, Marcus Novius tubal, coming from Interamna Lirenas could be a hitherto unknown Plebeian Tribune of Rome and the sundial could have represented his method of celebrating his election in his own hometown.

 The sundial carved from a limestone block of 54 x 35 x 25 cm, tends to feature a concave face carved with 11 hour lines, (defining the twelve horae of daylight) intersecting three days curves (providing the indication of the season considering the time of the winter solstice, equinox and summer solstice).

Though the iron gnomon (the needle forming the shadow) seems to be lost, some of it tends to be present below the surviving lead fixing and this type of spherical sundial had been comparatively common during the Roman period which was called hemicyclium.

 Launaro further added that though the recent archaeological fieldwork has profoundly affected our understanding of Interamna Lirenas, dispelling long-held views with regards to its precocious decline and considerable marginality, this was not a town of remarkable prestige or notable influence.

Informative Case-Study

He stated that it remained an average, middle-sized settlement and this is precisely what makes it a potentially very informative case study regarding conditions in the majority of Roman cities in Italy during that time. In this regard, the discovery of the inscribed sundial tends to give some insight on the place Interamna Lirenas occupied in the broader network of political relationship all over Rome, Italy as well as it was also a more general indicator of the amount of involvement in the affairs of Rome where individual coming from this as well as the other comparatively secondary communities could aspire to.

New evidences regarding important aspects of the Roman civilization, emphasizing on the high levels of connectivity together with integration (political, social, economic and cultural) have been adding up with the on-going archaeological project at Interamna Lirenas, which it tends to feature.

Headed by Dr Launaro (Gonville & Caius College) together with Professor Martin Millett (Fitzwilliam College), both from the Faculty of classics, together in partnership with Dr Giovanna Rita Bellini of the Italian Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio per le Province di Frosinone, Latina e Rieti, the 2017 excavation is part of an enduring relationship with the British School at Rome and the Comune of Pignataro Interamna which has profited from the generous aid of the Isaac Newton Trust as well as Mr Antonia Silvestro Evangelista

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Hidden Structure InSided the Great Pyramid of Giza

Pyramid of Giza

Secrets of Great Pyramid of Giza

Scientists have come across a long hidden narrow emptiness in Great Pyramid of Giza which has revealed the secrets of the 4,500 year old monument. The emptiness is said to stretch for at least 30 metres above the Grand Gallery, an ascending corridor which tends to connect the chamber of the Queen to the Kings’ towards the core of the Pyramid.

The existence of the emptiness is not known or if there are any valuable artefacts within, since the same is not accessible. However, it tends to have the same dimensions to the Gallery of 50 metres long, eight metres high and about a metre wide. According to the researchers, it could be a construction gap’ section of a trench enabling workers to access the Grand Gallery as well as the chamber of the King while the rest of the pyramid was built.

The discovery came to light when physicist had taken images of the interior of the Pyramid utilising particles fired to Earth from space wherein these cosmic particles penetrated the rock in much the same way like X-rays though much deeper. Since the 19th century, the combination of efforts of the archaeologist, physicists as well as the historians have been considered as the biggest discovery within the Giza landmark.

Man-Made Construction of the World

The Great Pyramid or the Pyramid of Giza, built under the supervision of the Pharaoh Khufu and completed in 2550 BC, functioned as the tallest man-made construction of the world for thousands of years. The edifice, the only survivor of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World is also known as Khufu’s Pyramid. There is no general agreement with regards to its creation.

Scientists state that the latest finding published in the journal Nature could give some insight on its construction. In October 2015, in order to get better understandings regarding the Pyramid, researchers from various countries such as France and Japan had started a project to scan the structure.
 They made the discovery utilising cosmic-ray imaging, recording the behaviour of subatomic particles known as muons which tend to penetrate the rock. Muons that tend to travel through rock or any dense material will slow and ultimately stop.

 The reason is to catch the muons when they have passed through a Pyramid and to measure their energies as well as trajectories. Thereafter researchers can compile a 3D image which exposes the hidden chambers. This discovery according to the study brings about the possibility that the empty space could be connected to other various undiscovered structures within the Pyramid.

Scan Pyramids Big Void

Pyramid had detectors installed in it, including in the Queen’s Chamber. This enabled a glimpse of the interior of the Pyramid without physically disturbing the same, the outcome of which was the empty space differed from rock. The paper stated that the presence of the space, known as the ScanPyramids Big Void had been confirmed on utilising three various detection technologies for many months after the same had been discovered.

Thereafter the results had been analysed thrice. The ScanPyramids mission comprised of researchers from the Ministry of Antiquities, the University of Cairo, Egypt together with the non-profit organisation the heritage Innovations Preservation – HIP Institute. Author Mehdi Tayoubi, president and co-founder of the HIP Institute reported to MailOnline that the ScanPyramids Big Void is not a room or a chamber and they are not clear it is horizontal or inclined or it is composed by one or many successive structure, though it tends to be big.

The Grand Gallery is said to be an internal spectacular structure a type of internal cathedral towards the centre of the Pyramid. The said Big Void could be successive chambers, a tunnel, owing to the similar size characteristics like the Grand Gallery with the possibility of several theories.

Several Techniques – Scan Pyramid

The newly revealed structure, in spite of the discovery is still to be reached physically by any researcher. Mr Tayoubi, the report author had stated that this structure does not seem to be accessible and they don’t see any person had attempted considering the Grand Gallery, for accessing the void which is overhead.

He presumed that the void had been hidden from the time of the construction of the Pyramid and was not accessible. In spite of the discovery, the excavated structure is yet to be reached in person by any researcher. Mehdi Yayoubi stated that they need the technique and the right one at the right time in order to be capable of identifying it and to discover the same. He added that they were confident that the results were accurate, since no one had seen the interior of the void and the purpose of its construction tends to be mysterious.

According to the experts, the researchers claimed that it could be on an ascent meaning that it could have been utilised to transport massive blocks in the centre of the pyramid and then left. All through the process of their study, the team had utilised several techniques to scan the Pyramid.

Friday, November 3, 2017

The Theft of the Mona Lisa is What Made Her Famous

 Mona Lisa

Painting of Leonardo da Vinci – Stolen from Louvre Museum

The well-known Mona Lisa painting of Leonardo da Vinci had been stolen on August 21, 1911 from the Louvre museum in Paris by a small time thief Vincenzo Perugia who had earlier worked in the museum. The robbery of Mona Lisa had caused quite a stir all over the world which was concluded over two years thereafter, when the priceless Mona Lisa painting had been located in the possession of Perugia.

 It had been 24 hours before anyone had noticed that the painting of Mona Lisa had gone missing with artworks often been removed for the purpose of being photographed or cleaned. Charney, founder of the Association for Research into Crimes against Art – ARCA, had stated that the Louvre had more than 400 rooms though only 200 guards and even less on duty overnight. There was basically no alarm and was under-secure where most of the museums seemed to be at that point of time.

It seemed to be a mystery as to how he managed to steal the Mona Lisa painting and the purpose of committing the crime. The first mystery is how he managed to get into the museum on the day in August to gain access to the Mona Lisa painting. The police speculated that he could have hidden himself in the museum the previous night and had come out once the museum had been closed for the day.

Different Conclusions

However Perugia himself had informed that he had gained access to the museum in a much creepy manner on that particular day of the actual theft. He informed that had a white smock worn by the employees of the museum that had probably been kept from the time he had worked at the Louvre earlier and when the crew of workers for that day had entered through the employee entrance, he had joined the crowd and walked through the museum unobserved.

He had walked all around the huge building mingling with the other employees till he had entered the room where the painting of Mona Lisa hung and had waited till he had been the only person there. This event had been before any kind of modern alarm system existed so he could just take the Mona Lisa painting off its hangers and moved quickly to the nearest stairway. Thereafter he had removed the painting from its frame as claimed later by him and walked away with the Mona Lisa painting under his smock.
Mona Lisa

The Archives Nationales in Paris had questioned this and pointed out that Perugia had been too short to have hidden it under his smock while wearing it. Instead they recommended that he had taken the smock off wrapped the Mona Lisa painting in it and had walked back from the same door from which he had entered.

Stealing Artwork Entirely Patriotic 

Or probably there could have been the involvement of another person. Either of these options had been successful in smuggling the painting of Mona Lisa. However this does not seem to be the only probable disagreement between the authorities concluded and what Perugia had claimed.Being a native of Dumenza, Italy, Perugia had been living in Paris during the theft of the Mona Lisa. Uncertain on what could be done with the Mona Lisa painting, he had hidden it in an old truck in his apartment trying to figure out on his next plan of action.

He seemed to get restless to get the painting out of his possession and so he travelled back to his home town and made a stop at Florence. Here he got in touch with Alfredo Geri, the owner of a nearby art gallery. Geri had been suspicious of the painting which was in possession of Perugia and so he took the opinion of another owner of a gallery who discovered that Perugia indeed had the original da Vinci painting. The two men persuaded Perugia to leave the Mona Lisa painting in their possession and Perugia was too happy to oblige. The two men had immediately contacted the police and had Perugia arrested.

Imprisoned and Released in Seven Months 

Perugia later had claimed that he merely desired to return the Mona Lisa painting to its rightful country of origin and also stated that the purpose of stealing the artwork was entirely patriotic. Noah Charney, art professor had informed that Perugia had mistakenly thought that he would be considered as a hero by the Italian people.

On the contrary, he was imprisoned and the Mona Lisa painting had finally been sent back to the Louvre in 1913. There is another theory on why he finally decided to deposit the painting with Alfredo Geri, the gallery owner. It had nothing to do with the home of the Mona Lisa painting and irrespective of his statement of patriotism it had been clear that he had intentions of selling it for a huge amount of money.

Towards the end of 1911, Perugia had written to his father stating that he would be making his fortune `in one shot’. He had been released within a short sentence period of seven months since the authorities were unclear on what to do with a culprit of this kind of crime. Perugia had fought for Italy during the First World War and eventually went back to France, married and had a daughter.

Mona Lisa – Great Masterpiece 

On October8, 1925 in a suburb near Paris he had breathed his last. Since he had then reverted back to his birth name of Pietro Peruggia, very few linked his name to the infamous robbery of the Mona Lisa painting. The painting became very popular after it had been returned and it grew till he became possibly the most well-known piece of art in the world.

Charney has informed that this could not have occurred if a different painting had been stolen. The image of Mona Lisa had been plastered in newspapers as well as in magazines all across the world. Carney acclaims that the world-wide attention was drawn, familiarizing the image of the lady with the mystic smile.

So Perugia in some way had been responsible for the present amazing fame of the Mona Lisa painting. No one may ever know the precise motivation of Perugia for the theft of the well-known painting of Mona Lisa. Times have changed and the Mona Lisa tends to hang behind a bullet-proof glass in a space of the Louvre with security guards monitoring the Mona Lisa painting all the time in order to avert another theft of this great masterpiece which only a Renaissance genius could have created.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Counting Raindrops Using Mobile Phone Towers

Mobile Phone Towers

Rainfall – Cellular Telecommunication Networks

Observing rainfall utilising cellular telecommunication networks could offer immense opportunity in reducing loss of life as well as economic loss by improving flood early caution system. This is essentially important in the case of densely populated areas wherein the rainfall information seems to be vital in order to control water management. It is not clear about the precise number of people who died in a series of mudslide on August 14th that had taken place in and the surrounding area of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone.

The upper estimate was said to be over a thousand. It is said that the region that had been swept away had not be evacuated mainly since no one was aware how much rain had really fallen earlier, according to rainfall expert Modeste Kacou, at Felix Houphouet-Boigny University in Abidjan in the vicinity of Ivory Coast. Rain devices seem to be scarce in Sierra Leone and satellites tend to identify rainfall in the tropics though estimates for small regions tend to be often inaccurate.

To make matter worse, these numbers tend to be calculated much later after it takes place. Several countries therefore are inclined to utilise cloud-scanning ground radar for measuring precipitation when it takes place though Sierra Leone does not have such radar.

Ivory Coast – Lack Rainfall Radar/Maintenance Cost

Ivory Coast tends to have a double of the GDP per person of Sierra Leone. However like most of West Africa, it tends to lack rainfall radar and maintenance cost would mean that the number of weather stations all over the world has been dropping thus making it difficult to forecast flash floods together with landslides also in some of the rich countries.

Hence it would be useful if some other alternative means of measuring rainfall probably an economical one which has a tendency of employing the prevailing widespread equipment could be formulated. There is such a system which is said to involve mobile-phone networks.The simple understanding is that rain tends to weaken electromagnetic signals.

Several mobile-phone towers particularly those in remote locations utilise microwaves in order to connect with the other towers on the network. A dip in the power of these microwaves tends to expose the presence of rain. The modus operandi does not seem to be as accurate as rooftop rain gauges. However as Dr Kacou points out that as transmission towers seem to be more numerous they seem to report their data automatically and cost meteorologist anything.
Well-Timed/Precise Surface Rainfall Measurement
Well-timed and precise surface rainfall measurements seem to be crucial for water resources management, weather prediction, agriculture, climate research together with ground authentication of satellite-based rainfall evaluations. But most of the land surface of the earth tends to lack this type of data. In several areas of the world, the density of surface rainfall evaluating networks has been quickly decreasing. This progress could probably be stabilized on utilising received signal level data from the huge number of microwave connection used all over the world in commercial cellular communication networks. Together with these types of links, radio signals proliferates from a transmitting antenna at a base station to a receiving antenna at another base station. Rain persuaded reduction and consequently path-averaged rainfall intensity could be retrieved from the attenuation signal between transmitter and receiver. Here it is seen how one network could be utilised in retrieving the space-time dynamics of rainfall for the whole country.