Our Galaxy’s Black Hole Has A Jet

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http://www.chandra.si.edu/press/13_releases/press_112013.html

For a long time astronomers have been looking for signs of a jet eminating from the black hole (Sgr A*) known to reside at the core of our galaxy. There have been clues, and hints, but nothing definitive, till now. We have seen jets from other galaxies, and some from stars, so we knew we could have one ourselves, but lacked good solid evidence. The evidence is in.

At first I was a little skeptical (let it be known I am not a professional), after all there are a lot of things in that photo that could resemble a jetlike stream. But, the spectral information is in line with similar jets in other galaxies, and there is “straight line of X-ray emitting gas that points toward Sgr A* and a shock front” present, where they believe the the jet has interacted with gas and dust in the region. With multiple lines of evidence converging, I have to think they may have something here. Plus, the direction of the jet lines up in parallel with the rotation of our galaxy, which is not exactly a dead certainty for the jets existence, there are other explanations why that might not be the case, but it makes for a more orderly expectation for what I would like to see in a rotating system. (Of course what I’d like to see and reality need not always jive)

As an amateur with amateur equipment, I have gazed many times in the direction of our galactic core. There are a lot of really interesting objects to observe in that area of the sky. There is no way my meager equipment can see this deep or bring out this kind of detail, but it sure is cool that we have instruments that can, and I am positive many more exciting discoveries await in our near future. It is a great time for discovery, and a great time to be here to see it unfold.

 

 

 

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No Freakin Way

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Was the first thing that popped into my head when I saw this.

That pic is the first known biological gear mechanism. Full story here, http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/functioning-mechanical-gears-seen-in-nature-for-the-first-time …anyone who digs science, this is a must click link.

The short story is an insect known as an Issus, has a gear mechanism, by way of evolution, that synchronizes its legs for jumping. Allowing it to perform powerful jumps, and retain control throughout the jump, due to the accurate dispersal of energy to both legs at the moment the jump is initiated. 

As in many evolutionary traits (think embryology) this function is lost in adulthood, being present only in juvenile Issus.

Just…amazing.

 

 

Supernova

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The Bad Astronomy blog ran by Phil Plait, is one of my regular stops every morning. This morning I was blown away by this photo of a supernova remnant. So much so, I decided to post it here. This supernova’s name, SNR 0519-69.0, seemingly docile enough of a description, belies it’s violent, recent past. This is one huge explosion and we are fortunate it is in one of the Milky Way’s dwarf galaxy companions, the Large Magellanic Cloud, and not right next door. Well as galaxies go it is right next door,  but far enough away not to give us any more than a beautiful panorama of a massive explosion.

Much more, and quite a bit better explanation, with a lot of the science to go with it…here: 

http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/06/10/supernova_remnant_the_wispy_remains_of_an_exploded_white_dwarf.html

I have been an amateur astronomer for a long time now, and two of the objects I like to hunt down and observe often are the Veil Nebula and M1, (Messier object # 1), both supernova remnants. This SNR 0519-69.0 is well out of reach of my modest land based telescopes. Heck, from my location I cant even see the Large Magellanic Cloud…We are so fortunate to have Hubble up there, still after all these years, bringing us fantastic pictures of the cosmos, and guys like Phil Plait to to give excellent accounts of the science behind them.

 

Oldest Known Primate Fossil

New fossil described as the oldest known primate. 7 million years older than previously known primate fossils. This new find (well I say new find but according to the article, they have been working on the paper about this fossil for 10 years) has been dubbed Archicebus. 

Going by the tree representation at the link, this critter is at a major fork in our ancestral tree. If you like this kind of stuff, click the link below for a must read article. I do love living in the information age.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130605133552.htm

In a semi related topic, noted creationist, famed liar, and the P.T. Barnum of our time, Ken Ham…gets his trousers all in a bunch because someone called him an ape. It’s hilarious how he acts about the situation, as if he knows better, and implores his dim witted followers to go watch the video. Here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/aronra 

or here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/

Relative comments and conjecture at both sites. Did I mention how much I love living in the information age?

Hey Hambone, we are all apes…dumb-ass!