Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Mysterious Flashes of Light Even NASA Can't Explain

Enigmatic Flashes

A spacecraft witnessing Earth had within a span of only one year, spotted hundreds of enigmatic `flashes’ which mirrored off the surface of our planet. The strange spectacle is said to be traced all the way back to the 1990s when Carl Sagan the astronomer had noted identical mysterious glints in images from the spacecraft of Galileo.

Though it was initially presumed that these mysterious flashes of light only seemed over oceans with the possibility of streamlining their source, it has now been discovered by the scientists that they can be viewed over the land also. Researchers have in a new investigation observed that these surges probably tend to be surprisingly small source, tiny, horizontal ice crystals that float high in the sky.

The Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera – EPIC of NASA aboard the NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory –DSCOVR had spotted 866 surges of light over the land between the launch of the observatory in 2015 and August 2016. DSCOVR deputy project scientist Alexander Marshak, had explained that the flashes which have been observed over the ocean could have simply been the reflection of sunlight over a smooth part of an ocean or lake. However the same could not be said regarding the flashes that were observed over the land.

Surge of Light Due to Water in Atmosphere

Marshak had informed that they had discovered some very bright flashes over land also and when they first witnessed it they thought that maybe there was some water there or a lake the sun seemed to be reflecting on.

 However the flint seemed to be quite big and so the same was not considered. EPIC tends to capture red, green and blue images many images apart resulting in the flashes to seem as tri-coloured fragments. The researchers suspected that if these strange occurrences had been caused due to reflected sunlight, they would be concentrated to distinct locations on Earth where the angle between the sun as well as the Earth would be similar as that between the spacecraft and Earth.

On plotting this it was discovered that the two matched. This seemed to be helpful, according to the researchers, to weed out lightning as a probable cause. Marshak had stated that lightning does not care about the sun and the location of EPIC. The researchers, in their study had imagined that the surge of light could be due to water high up in the atmosphere in the form of ice particles.

Presence of High Cirrus Clouds

In order to get an understanding, they plotted the angles of the reflections, tapping them into two channels on EPIC which enabled them to measure the height of clouds. The study showed the presence of high cirrus clouds 3 to 5 miles where these enigmatic flashes had been noticed. Besides these the angles suggested that they are positioned horizontally.

Marshak had informed that the cause of the flashes was definitely not on the ground and is certainly ice and most probably solar reflection off of horizontally focused on particles. This information is being utilised by the researchers to help in determining whether or not they have an impact on the extent of sunlight which tends to pass through the atmosphere.

The scientist state that in addition to the implications for Earth, glints like those spotted by DSCOVR could also be utilised to study exoplanet.

Monday, May 22, 2017

NASA Releases Stunning 'Action Cam' Footage of Astronauts Working 250 Miles Above Earth

Fascinating Recording Released on YouTube

Unbelievable action cam recording from spacewalk on the International SpaceStation has been revealed by NASA, providing a close look at what occurred when astronauts tend to step outside the orbiting craft. Initially it could be easy to overlook that they are 250 miles above the surface, as the astronauts tend to go about their tasks, though a quick change of perception revealing the curve of Earth faraway comes as a shuddering reminder.

Thomas Pesquet of ESA together with Shane Kimbrough of NASA had prepared the pressurized Mating Adapet-3 for a second International Docking Adapter that would permit profitable crew vehicles to berth. The fascinating recording which had been released on YouTube recently had been captured by Pesquet on March 24 in advance of the robotic move ofthe Pressurized Mating Adapter 3, on March 26.

The space agency had explained that the cables as well as the electrical connections had been disconnected by Pesquet and Kimbrough enabling PMA-3 to later on to move from the port side of the Tranquillity module to the space facing area of the Harmony module. The video had portrayed the task from the perception of the astronauts as they carried out the practical mission on the external of the ISS.

Peggy Whitson – Record Breaking Eighth Spacewalk

Besides it also provides a spectacular view of the Earth as perceived from distant above. The spacewalk had been directed to prep the PMA-3 for the docking adapter that would be provided by a SpaceX Dragon freight craft. Moreover, the team also installed a new computer relay box on the starboard zero truss, bringing in the innovative software to the adapter.

According to NASA, they had greased the latching end effector on the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator `extension’ for the Canadarm2 robotic arm, examined a radiator valve presumed to be leaking some amounts of ammonia, replaced cameras on the Japanese section of the outpost.It has been the second spacewalk of Pesquet while the fifth one for Kimbrough.

At the time of the interview on NASA TV the week of the spacewalk it had been admitted by Kimbrough that going outside was a gee-whiz moment for him. Days after the spacewalk had featured in the `action cam’ recording, Kimbrough had returned to the outside along with astronaut Peggy Whitson for her record breaking eighth spacewalk which is said to be the most performed ever by a woman.

Lost an Important Piece of Shielding

However the excursion had not been without any accidents. The spacewalking astronauts had lost an important piece of shielding at around 10.30 a.m. which was required for the International Space Station, compelling them to carry out an unplanned patch. The cloth bundle had floated away halfway through the spacewalk.

The lost fabric shield is comparatively huge weighing 18 pounds and when it tends to be folded measure around 5 feet by 2 feet and is around 2 inches thick. Spacewalkers had lost things earlier comprising of an entire tool kit in 2008. However the getaway items tend to be usually small, like bolts. Whitson had broken another record on achieving the longest time spent in space by an American. She had extended her trip by three months.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Unexplained Mystery of Granger Taylor

The Unexplained Mystery of Granger Taylor

Granger Taylor – Mechanical Genius

Granger Taylor was a self-taught mechanical genius, a dropout of school in the eighth grade. But at the age of fourteen he had built a one-cylinder automobile that is kept on display at the Duncan Forest Museum together with a steam locomotive which he had hauled out of the woods and renovated.

At the age of seventeen he had also overhauled a bulldozer which no one could repair. Besides that he had also built a model of a World War II fighter plane which had been snatched up by a collector for $20,000. Granger would always speculate on how Flying Saucer were driven and built his own from two satellite dishes one top and another bottom as a means of inspiration.

This flying saucer became a home away from home with a couch, TV together with a woodstove and he would regularly sleep in his space craft. Later on he informed that he had been in touch with extra-terrestrials who were going to display to him how their technology operated. He even went on to tell everyone that he intends going on a trip on an alien space ship and on one particular night in November 1980 he had disappeared, leaving a note for his family.


Great Canadian Mystery

Till date in spite of a RCMP investigation, he was never found nor did they find any probable clues regarding his whereabouts. This has been a great Canadian mystery and surely a person of his apparent mechanical talents could not go unobserved if he had only just slipped away in the night.

 After an investigation period of four years of thorough checks of hospital, employment, passport and vehicle records, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police did not come across a single lead to know where he could have been.

The Granger Taylor Flying Saucer is said to rest on stilts in the backyard area of his home at Duncan on Vancouver Island and is a mute memorial to young Granger Taylor who was its builder. Douglas Curran in his book – In Advance of the Landing: Folk Concepts of Outer Space (1985) had mentioned that `he had built his spaceship out of two satellite receiving dishes and outfitted it with a television, a couch and a wood-burning stove.

 He had become obsessed with finding out how flying saucers were powered, and spend hours sitting in the ship thinking and often falling off to sleep there’.

Disappeared – On Night of November 1984

On a night on November 1984, he had just disappeared leaving behind a yard strewn with old tractors, machine engines, vintage automobiles, a bulldozer together with a note that read- `Dear Mother and Father, I have gone away to walk aboard an alien ship.

As recurring dreams assured a 42 month interstellar voyage to explore the vast universe, then return. I am leaving behind all my possession to you as I will no longer require the use of any. Please use the instructions in my will as a guide to help. Love Granger. He had informed a friend a month before his disappearance that he was in spiritual contact with someone from another galaxy and he had received an invitation to go on a trip through the Solar System.

Curran had mentioned that on the night Granger disappeared, there was a storm which had struck the central area of Vancouver Island and hurricane winds were reported and electrical power had been affected. Granger had disappeared with his blue pick-up truck.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The secret room hidden under a trapdoor in Florence that experts believe contains a lost Michelangelo artwork unseen for centuries

Michelangelo artwork
Michelangelo’s Renaissance Secret

A Renaissance secret remained hidden below the Medici Chapels in Florence for hundreds of years, wherein behind a trapdoor beneath a wardrobe, a room with charcoal and chalk was discovered. According to the National Geographic Exclusive report, the room had been discovered in 1975 when Paola Dal Poggetto, the director then, of the Medici Chapels museum of Florence, had come across the Renaissance treasure.

 In the process of locating new options of exit for tourists, he together with his colleagues had found the trapdoor hidden near the new Sacristy which was a chamber intended to house the ornate tombs of Medici rulers. Beneath the trapdoor, some stone steps gave way to an oblong room packed with coal which appeared at first to be more than a storage space.

However, on the walls, they found the sketches which were believed to be the drawings of the famed artist, Michelangelo. Though the room had been closed to the public in order to safeguard the artwork, Paola Wools the National Geographic photographer had been granted exceptional access to capture its amazing content, thirty years after its discovery.So, while some may have been done by Michelangelo himself, the expert says others were likely to be done by some of his many assistants during their breaks
Michelangelo artwork


Removed Layers of Plaster from Wall – Insight to History of City

After discovering the room that had been occupied with coal, the experts started a cautious task of removing layers of plaster from the wall to know what laid beneath and would get an insight to the history of the city. It was then revealed that dozens of drawings seemed identical to some of the famous works of Michelangelo.

According to the National Geographic, from the pictures there was an image resembling a sculpture in the New Sacristy chamber of the chapel which had been designed by Michelangelo. It was also observed by the experts; equivalents between a specific sketch and the artist’s chalk drawing of the Resurrection of Christ, together with sketches significant of the depiction of Michelangelo of Leda and the swan. Others portrayed humans flying across the walls or dropping from the sky while the drawings are presumed to be a version of one of the figures in the paintings of the artist at the Sistine Chapel.

 According to Dal Poggetto together with the other experts, in 1530, Michelangelo had remained hidden in the oblong room for around two months. The artist is said to have been commissioned by the Medici family.
Michelangelo artwork


Betrayal in 1527

However he had betrayed them in 1527, during their exile by aligning himself against their rule with the others, which had put him in danger at a later stage according to National Geographic.

It was presumed that the artwork in the room had been an assortment of work which he had completed already as well as of those which he intended to complete, though this explanation has not convinced all. Moreover the pieces too are not signed and some of them have been considered to be too `amateurish’ to be actually completed by the famed artist.

As in the case of any unsigned centuries-old artwork, it tends to get difficult in confirming the origins of a drawing with confidence. The consensus is of the opinion that some of the sketches on the wall seem to be too unprofessional belonging to Michelangelo though the attribution of others tends to be a matter of opinion.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Scientists Unlock Secrets of Oldest Surviving Global Trade Map

Global Trade Map

Selden Map of China

The`Selden Map of China - origins and secrets of the 17th century, the oldest surviving merchant map in the world has been revealed by scientist who have utilised state-of-the-art imaging modus operandi. The study headed by Nottingham Trent University in association with the Science Section of the Victoria and Albert Museum for the first time were capable of classifying everything from the techniques and materials utilised, to the flaws and re-drawings made by the surveyor.

Writing in the Journal `Heritage Science’, the scientist had even offered a new location for the creation of the map depending on their proof. The map being 1.6 x 1m illustrates ancient maritime trade routes in Asia is presumed to have been made in the middle of 1607 – 1619 which is painted with watercolours and ink on Chinese paper.

 It is said to be an exceptional illustration of Chinese merchant cartography portraying a network of shipping routes with compass directions beginning from the port of Quanzhou, Fujian province getting as far as Japan and India. Not much is known regarding the origin of the Chinese-style map that had reached the Bodleian Library in 1659, at the University of Oxford which had been donated by John Selden, a prominent London lawyer which is said to be there till it was rediscovered in 2008.
Global Trade Map_2

Matching Systematic Schemes Utilised

Selden in his willhave stated that it was a `map of Chinamade there fairly’ and it had been taken by an English commander. The map had been scrutinized in-situ and non-invasively with the use of remote `multispectral’ imaging technique established at Nottingham Trent University.

The technique provided the scientist to view locations of the map utilising various wavelengths of light exposing the composition as well as make-up of materials that were used together with concealed details that were hidden to the naked eye.

A variety of matchingsystematicschemes had been utilised in identifying the materials. The researchers discovered the binding medium utilised for the map had been gum Arabic which was made from the sap of the acacia tree used by European, south and west Asians.

 It was not the animal glue which was always used during that time in Chinese paintings. On investigation of the pigment utilised, it was found that a combination of indigo with orpiment, which is a yellow mineral instead of gamboge, a yellow dye used in making green was also very unusualfor painting during this period in China.

Complete Map not Planned

The discovery of a basic copper chloride in the green regions indicated the impact from south and west Asia where the manuscripts had been utilised very often. Green pigment had not been utilised in paper based paintings in China.

The researchers have informed that the pigments as well as binders utilised had been more consistent with those discovered in manuscripts from a Persian or Indo-Persian tradition as well as the Islamic sphere then the European or Chinese. With comprehensive investigation, illustrations were found where the cartographers had made alterations, some of which were stylistic while other were unintentional, some made as the cartographer’s information of a positive area settled.

They were capable of identifying that the trade routes had been laid down before the land had been drawn in. They were of the belief that the cartographer had not planned the complete map in the beginning which was the reason that they had to redraw some of the routes several times. They also ran out of space towards the southern as well as the western points of the map, compelling the trade routes to clear off the compass directions.

Two Trade Routes Without Corresponding Compass Direction

Two trade routes had been drawn without their corresponding compass direction signifying that the map was incomplete. The researchers proposed another origin for the map with the evidence – Aceh towards the northwest end of Sumatra where it opened out to the Indian Ocean and is the most westerly port in south East Asia. It has been marked on the map and tends to have the longest history of the presence of Islam in the areas of south East Asia.

Moreover it also has a long history of Chinese contact. Beside this it is also one of the six ports on the map noticeable with a red circle probably signifying the main trading network of the owner of the map and is also the only port marked having a magnetic declination in the early 17th century nearest indicated by the tilt of the compass rose of the map. English ship which would have gone back to Europe from south East Asia would have to pass by Aceh either from the east or west coast of Sumatra, thus providing them with the opportunity of obtaining the map.

Chinese Map Evidence of Fusion of Cultures

According to professor Haida Liang, Head of the Imaging & Sensing for Archaeology, Art History & Conservation research group at Nottingham Trent University, this study tends to explain the importance of not judging a book by its cover.

She further added that `a Chinese map had turned out to be the material evidence of a fusion of cultures. It is stylistically a Chinese painting which tends to follow some Chinese as well as non-Chinese cartographic elements though the painting materials together with their usage are more akin to those of Persian of Indo-Persian manuscripts.

Due to its geographic location, Aceh had been frequented by Indian, Arab, Chinese as well as European traders. They were of the belief that the map could have been made there by a Fujianese probably a Muslim in close connection with the Islamic world.

This had been the globalisation in the early years of the 17th century and on focusing on the material confirmation it was discovered that scientific analysis and art history was used. They thus arrived at new conclusion on where the map had been made following the earlier studies based on historical study.

This work portrayed the immense importance of interdisciplinary research and the new visions it could be bringing along.The map has attained an iconic status and has become the focus of international interest and the understanding of the map through its conservation tends to continue in contributing to the research of eminent scholars all over the world.