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NASA Spacecraft Spots “Dancing Sprites” And Colorful Electrical Bursts In Jupiter’s Sky For First Time

Nobody had ever seen these bright, transient luminous events dancing across alien skies – until now.

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NASA Spacecraft Spots “Dancing Sprites” And Colorful Electrical Bursts In Jupiter’s Sky For First Time
Photo Credit: NASA

(TMU) New high-definition imagery captured of Jupiter by NASA’s Juno spacecraft is revealing colourful, lighting-like bursts of energy in the upper atmosphere of our solar system’s largest planet.

The phenomena – haunting, jellyfish-like spurts of red lightning dubbed “sprites” and glowing disks known as “elves” – are common occurrences in the upper reaches of the Earth’s atmospheres during thunderstorms, and were first discovered in 1989. Since then, they have been sighted over every continent besides Antarctica.

Scientists have theorized that any planet that has lightning would also produce these super-fast electrical bursts that occur up to 60 miles up in the Earth’s sky, reaching toward space. Researchers predicted that this would certainly be the case in Jupiter’s massive, roiling atmosphere.

However, nobody had ever seen these bright, transient luminous events dancing across alien skies – until now.

Since 2016, Juno has orbited Jupiter and collected troves of images of its aurorae through the spacecraft’s ultraviolet light, or ultraviolet spectrograph instrument (UVS). When scientists began processing some of these images, they noticed an unexpected detail: bright, narrow streaks of ultraviolet emissions that appeared in a flash before quickly vanishing.

“In the process of putting together those images, we noticed that very occasionally we saw these surprising, short-lived, bright flashes,” said Juno scientist Rohini Giles during a Tuesday press conference at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences, according to Business Insider.

“We then went and searched through all of the data that we’ve taken over four years of the mission and we found a total of 11 flashes all with very similar properties,” she added. The outbursts only lasted mere milliseconds.

On Tuesday, her team published a new study on these phenomena in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.

Here on Earth, sprites often resemble alien-like jellyfish-style creatures dangling from the ionosphere, or the layer that lies just above the dense lower atmosphere. In other cases, they look like vertical pillars of light with thin, curling tendrils – and these are called carrot curls due to their resemblance to the root vegetable.

Sprites were given their quasi-magical name by late University of Alaska physics professor Davis Sentman, who devised the name for this weather phenomenon due to it being “well suited to describe their appearance” and fleeting, fairy-like nature – much like the mischievous characters from English folklore.

Sprites occur when lightning strikes the ground, releasing positive electrical energy that requires balancing by an equal and oppositely charged electrical discharge into the sky. The sprites also occur much higher into the sky than regular lightning, which strikes in between electrically charged air, clouds, and our planet’s surface.

In some cases, lightning strikes also send electromagnetic pulses upward, producing glowing disks known as elves.

NASA has released 30 stunning high definition photographs of Jupiter. (Click here to read the full article!)

“On Earth, sprites and elves appear reddish in color due to their interaction with nitrogen in the upper atmosphere,” Giles noted. “But on Jupiter, the upper atmosphere mostly consists of hydrogen, so they would likely appear either blue or pink.”

The Juno team is still unable to confirm whether the events were actually caused by lightning strikes, mainly because the probe’s device that detects lightning is on the opposite side of the spacecraft from its UVS. The images from the two devices are also taken 10 seconds apart, which is far too long a period of time for both instruments to analyze the same flash of light.

However, the researchers are confident that the 11 outbursts detected were transient luminous events. In each case, they disappeared in flash, emitted massive amounts of hydrogen, and took place 186 miles above Jupiter’s water clouds – far too high to be simple lightning.

“We’re continuing to look for more telltale signs of elves and sprites every time Juno does a science pass,” Giles said.

“Now that we know what we are looking for, it will be easier to find them at Jupiter and on other planets,” she added. “And comparing sprites and elves from Jupiter with those here on Earth will help us better understand electrical activity in planetary atmospheres.”

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Astronomy

The Universe May Have “Warped Fifth Dimension” – And New Particle Could Unlock It

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The Universe May Have “Warped Fifth Dimension” – And New Particle Could Unlock It
Photo Credit: TMU

(TMU) A team of researchers believe that they have found a natural explanation for dark matter and a number of other scientific oddities that have so far defied explanation, but their work hinges on the existence of a new theoretical subatomic particle as well as an entirely new “warped fifth dimension” of the universe.

While the sentence seems like the premise of a brain-bending science fiction tale, it’s actually the takeaway from a recent study that researchers hope can shed light on some longstanding mysteries of science.

The new speculative particle, which remains undiscovered, is a type of fermion – or subatomic particle – that would be able to travel through this new dimension and bind dark matter to the luminous matter that comprises everything visible and physical in the universe, reports Motherboard.

Moreover, the theoretical existence of this particle is consistent with other models on how dark matter behaves. While this all seems far-fetched, and appears to the lay person to be a case of physicists bending the rules of the universe to explain their own theory, their research has just been published last month in the The European Physical Journal C.

According to the study, “the presence of new physics” can help lift the veil on these processes that are presently enshrouded in mystery by offering a model of the universe with a fifth dimension that these particles can traverse.

The study was authored by theoretical physicists Javier Castellano and Matthias Neubert at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz’s PRISMA+ Cluster of Excellence, along with Adrián Carmona, an Athenea3i fellow at the department of theoretical physics and the cosmos at the University of Granada.

The researchers told Motherboard that this new particle would be capable interacting with the Higgs Boson, and would be similar to the elementary particle, but would also be too heavy for any of the current-generation particle colliders and accelerators to detect.

However, the existence of the particle and its fifth dimension would represent “a unique window” into the mysteries of dark matter, according to the scientists.

Scientists may have identified what existed before our Universe. Click here to read the article.

“If this heavy particle exists, it would necessarily connect the visible matter that we know and that we have studied in detail with the constituents of the dark matter, assuming that dark matter is composed out of fundamental fermions, which live in the extra dimension,” one of the physicists explained.

“This is not a far-fetched idea, since we know that ordinary matter is made of fermions and that, if this extra dimension exists, they will very likely propagate into it,” they added.

Related CS Article: Nobel Prize Winner Says There Were Universes Before The Big Bang And We Can See The Evidence

While actually proving that this hypothetical subatomic particle and the fifth dimension exists remains difficult at the present time, the researchers believe that their study and the model it lays out can help scientists in future studies of cosmology and particle physics.

“This could also eventually lead to an interesting cosmological history of the universe and might lead to the production of gravitational waves,” they added.

“This is an interesting line of research, which we plan to follow in the months ahead.”

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Astronomy

FM Radio Signal Detected Coming From Jupiter’s Moon Ganymede

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FM Radio Signal Detected Coming From Jupiter’s Moon Ganymede
Photo Credit: NASA

Paul SeaburnGuest Writer

Does anyone listen to FM radio anymore? NASA does and it’s a good thing they do – otherwise, we might have missed an FM signal coming from Ganymede, one of the larger moons of Jupiter. What do the residents of Ganymede listen to? Rock? Rap? Techno-pop? Space-age bachelor pad music? Ganymedean folk music?

“Since its first orbit in 2016, Juno has delivered one revelation after another about the inner workings of this massive gas giant. With the extended mission, we will answer fundamental questions that arose during Juno’s prime mission while reaching beyond the planet to explore Jupiter’s ring system and largest satellites.”

Before we do the big reveal, it’s important to note that this is the second time NASA’s the Juno mission has been in the mainstream media this week. First, the space agency announced a mission extension for Juno to September 2025, the projected “best used by” date of the spacecraft. This gives Juno more time to gather close-up data on Jupiter, its rings and three of its largest moons — Ganymede, Europa, and Io. Ganymede is not only its largest moon (bigger that Mercury in size but not mass) but the only one known to have a magnetic field.

Ganymede
What does this have to do with its FM radio signal – you haven’t forgotten about that, have you?

No, not forgotten – just hoping to delay the disappointing news.

It’s not E.T. It’s more of a natural function.”

Not only was the signal natural, the event was so insignificant that the response to the media was delivered by Patrick Wiggins, one of NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors in Utah. These are over 1,000 volunteer ambassadors (you can look yours up here) – many with backgrounds in science, space, teaching, etc. – who engage with the public to communicate information on NASA’s missions. Patrick Wiggins is retired from Utah’s Hansen Planetarium and works part time with the University of Utah Department of Physics and Astronomy. For a more disappointing but interesting observation on the signal, here’s one from Curiosmos.com

“If you need the scientific name, the signal was a “decametric radio emission” but we actually know it by its much more widespread name – Wi-Fi. The range of the frequency corresponds to that used by our Earthly signals.”

Jupiter’s decametric radio emission was first discovered in 1955 by B.F. Burke and K.L. Franklin at the frequency of 22.2 MHz. The current one was detected by Juno while orbiting near Jupiter’s polar regions close to the magnetic field that connects with Ganymede. It’s believed to have been caused by electrons oscillating slower than their normal rate – a process known as cyclotron maser instability. (Possible prog-rock band or album name?)

Before you sulk away dejectedly, this “decametric radio emission” was the first ever detected from Ganymede. While not broadcast from an FM tower by an intelligent life form, a connection could be found in the future – perhaps even from Juno – because Ganymede has an internal ocean that may contain more water than there is on Earth.

In mythology, Ganymede was a Trojan prince desired by Zeus (the Greek Jupiter), who carried him off to be the cupbearer of the gods. Will Ganymede the moon bear the cup of news of extraterrestrial life beyond Earth? It’s up to you, Juno.

Recommended Articles by Paul Seaburn
About the Author

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as “The Tonight Show”, “Politically Incorrect” and an award-winning children’s program. He’s been published in “The New York Times” and “Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humour. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humour to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn’t always have to be serious.

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Astronomy

Evidence To Prove Moon Landings Were Real Goes Completely Missing From NASA

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Evidence To Prove Moon Landings Were Real Goes Completely Missing From NASA
Photo Credit: NASA

Buck RogersGuest Writer

Nearly fifty years after the first moon landing in 1969, many people still wonder if any of the Apollo landings actually happened at all.

The Apollo astronauts who’ve since been asked about their expeditions have maintained the moon landings were legitimate. Astronaut Edgar Mitchell has spoken of his experiences in countless interviews and has always flatly denied the hoax theories. Buzz Aldrin even punched a man in the face for harassing him about whether or not he really walked on the moon.

“Many alternative researchers and sceptics of government and cultural narratives have put together a substantial and rather captivating case that the moon landings were faked with the help of emerging television and film technologies. 

They posit that the government hired acclaimed film director Stanley Kubrick to stage the landings by creating a convincing movie set in a secret location. Evidence to the support the idea that the video is indeed an elaborate forgery includes anomalies such as the appearance of multiple sources of light in the footage, the flag planted by Armstrong seems to be waving in an environment with no wind, there does not appear to be an impact crater from the lunar landing module, unexplainable objects appear in reflection on helmet visors, the unusual slow-motion effect of the astronauts walking on the lunar surface, the lack of visible stars in the background, and more.”Buck Rogers, 2015

Beyond questions about the authenticity of the footage aired on worldwide television, there other parts of the story which to some suggest that the moon landings, as advertised by NASA and the government, were staged events. For example, confusion about how the astronauts were able to safely pass through the Van Allen radiation belts.

These theories won’t go away until some very reasonable questions are answered, something that is less likely to happen with each passing year, especially when you consider that NASA has admitted that the original video footage and telemetry data for the missions is nowhere to be found.

The original recordings of the first humans landing on the moon 40 years ago were erased and re-used, but newly restored copies of the original broadcast look even better, NASA officials said on Thursday.” [Reuters]

Consider that for a moment. Billions of dollar spent on a space race to the moon and after getting there, not only has no one since returned, but telemetric data for the ground-breaking flight is gone.

“I’d go to the moon in a nanosecond. The problem is we don’t have the technology to do that anymore. We used to but we destroyed that technology and it’s a painful process to rebuild it again.”Donald Pettit, Former NASA Astronaut

In the 2005 documentary film, Did We Go?, filmmaker Aron Ranen and crew visited a number of NASA facilities, speaking with high-level NASA scientists, asking them about the missing data. The interviews are revealing, and they make you wonder why such valuable information would be treated so carelessly, or if it the data ever even existed in the first place.

“I haven’t seen anything that indicates the telemetry data is even in existence, and as I said, even if we had it, we don’t have the machines to play it back.” – Gene Kranz, Apollo 11 Flight Director

The film crew also visited NASA’s Goddard Space Center in its hunt for the missing data, speaking with Dr. David Williams, NASA Archivist at Goddard, who confirmed the data is completely missing.

“We’ve been unable to track it down. I mean we don’t know, uh, where this, this telemetry data ended up, and we don’t know what path it may have taken, so, unfortunately I’m afraid I can’t give you much a clue as to where this data ended up and whether it still exists or not.” – Dr. David Williams, NASA Archivist at Goddard

View the following clip for these interviews. The entire film, ‘Did We Go?,’ can be seen here.

Final Thoughts

The moon landing story is suspicious, and when you also factor in the government’s willingness and capacity to shape public opinion on important events with cooperative media and sophisticated propaganda, you wouldn’t be too far out for having questions.

Consider former President Bill Clinton’s statement on this matter, as written in his personal autobiography, My Life:

“Just a month before, Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong had left their colleague, Michael Collins, aboard spaceship Columbia and walked on the moon…The old carpenter asked me if I really believed it happened. I said sure, I saw it on television. He disagreed; he said that he didn’t believe it for a minute, that ‘them television fellers’ could make things look real that weren’t. Back then, I thought he was a crank. During my eight years in Washington, I saw some things on TV that made me wonder if he wasn’t ahead of his time.” – Bill Clinton, My Life

What do you think the true story is? Are you a believer of a non-believer?

About the Author

Buck Rogers is the earth-bound incarnation of that familiar part of our timeless cosmic selves, the rebel within. He is a surfer of ideals and meditates often on the promise of happiness in a world battered by the angry seas of human thoughtlessness. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com.

This article (Evidence to Prove Moon Landings Were Real Goes Completely Missing from NASA) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Buck Rogers and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.

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Astronomy

Saturn And Jupiter Will Align And Create Extremely Rare ‘Christmas Star’ During Winter Solstice

Jupiter and Saturn will appear closer together in the night sky than they have in about 800 years.

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Photo Credit: TMU

(TMU) The 2020 holiday season is widely expected to be one unlike any other, due in no small part to the ongoing public health emergency. However, Christmas celebrations will also be unique due to an extremely rare planetary alignment, the likes of which have never been seen since medieval times.

Star-gazers will be in for a major treat come December 21, 2020 – the date of the winter solstice – when Jupiter and Saturn will appear extremely close to one another in our night sky, making the planets appear that they might almost collide and becoming one extremely luminous point of light.

The rare celestial treat coinciding with Christmas week will see the Solar System’s two largest planets appear as a “double planet” for the first time in almost 800 years.

“Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, but this conjunction is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets will appear to one another,” said astronomer Patrick Hartigan in a press release from Rice University in Houston, Texas.

“You’d have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky,” he added.

Of course, these massive planets won’t be close to one another. Consider our own planet’s distance from the sun. Astronomers use what’s called astronomical units (au) to measure distances in the sprawling expanse of our solar system. Jupiter lays 5 au from the Earth, while Saturn lays 10 au away.

Since the summer, Jupiter and Saturn have been headed towards each other in our own night sky. And from Dec. 16-25, they will appear to be separated by only less than the diameter of a full moon.

A view showing how the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction will appear in a telescope pointed toward the western horizon at 6 p.m. CST, Dec. 21, 2020. The image is adapted from graphics by open-source planetarium software Stellarium. (This work, “jupsat1,” is adapted from Stellarium by Patrick Hartigan, used under GPL-2.0, and provided under CC BY 4.0 courtesy of Patrick Hartigan)

While astronomers are recommending that the best views will be seen from around the equator, if good weather permits then the alignment will be clear from any location here on Earth.

Jupiter and Saturn will also be clear during the twilight, for roughly an hour after sunset every evening. However, a telescope tilted toward the western sky will be the best way to catch a glimpse of the extremely rare event.

“On the evening of closest approach on Dec 21 they will look like a double planet, separated by only 1/5th the diameter of the full moon,” Hartigan explained. “For most telescope viewers, each planet and several of their largest moons will be visible in the same field of view that evening.”

“The further north a viewer is, the less time they’ll have to catch a glimpse of the conjunction before the planets sink below the horizon.”

Websites like Stellarium will also be helpful in figuring out where you should look for the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction.

If you don’t get a chance to catch Jupiter and Saturn this close together, you can catch the pair again relatively soon – on March 15, 2080.

However, the next time Jupiter and Saturn will be so close in earthly night skies will be in 2400.

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