Sonntag, 16. März 2014 - 18:30 Uhr

Astronomie - Reparaturarbeiten bei Arecibo Observatory durch Erdbeben verursachte Schäden



The Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico.


The Arecibo Observatory’s 305 meter (1,000 ft) radio telescope is undergoing emergency repair after being damaged during a 6.4 magnitude earthquake on January 13, 2014. A large cable that supports the telescope’s receiver platform had “serious damage,” according to Bob Kerr, the Director of the Arecibo Observatory.
“A protocol structural survey following the January 13 earthquake revealed serious damage to [a] short cable section, with apparent breach of several cable strands,” Kerr told Universe Today via email. “An experienced structural engineering firm was brought to assess the damage, and to consider repair options.”
The earthquake’s epicenter was located in the ocean about 60 kilometers (37 miles) northwest of Arecibo and was one of the largest to hit Puerto Rico in several years. The quake caused some floor cracking in buildings and homes on the island, as well as power outages, but no major damages or injuries, officials said. There were, however, at least 70 aftershocks with at least three of a magnitude 3.5 or greater.
The platform hangs above the Arecibo dish, supported by cables. Via Cornell University.
The famous radio observatory is located near Puerto Rico’s north coast, and opened in 1963. It was built inside a depression left by a sinkhole and is the largest curved focusing dish on Earth. The dish’s surface is made of thousands of perforated aluminum panels, each about 1 by 2 meters (3 by 6 feet), supported by a mesh of steel cables. The receiver is on a 900-ton platform suspended 137 meters (450 feet) above the dish by 18 cables running from three reinforced concrete towers.
It was one of these 18 cables that was damaged, and this particular cable was actually a known potential problem. Kerr said that during original construction of the telescope in 1962, one of the original platform suspension cables that was delivered to the observatory was too short, and another short cable section was “spliced” to provide sufficient reach to the platform.
“That cable segment and splice near the top of one of the telescope towers was consequently more rigid than the balance of the suspension system,” Kerr said. “When the earthquake shook the site, just after midnight on January 13, it is that short cable and splice that suffered damage.”
“You might say that our structural Achilles heel was exposed,” Kerr added.
Inspectors from New York’s Ammann & Whitney Bridge Construction, who have been inspecting the Arecibo observatory site since 1972, were brought in to access the situation. Kerr said a relatively low-cost (less than $100,000) repair option was designed, and materials are now being procured to complete a repair that is expected to bring the telescope back into full service.
“While the project awaits full review by the National Science Foundation, necessary steel materials for the repair are being shipped to the Observatory at this writing,” Kerr said. “Our estimated completion date for this project is March 11, 2014.”
This repair is considered temporary, however, and Kerr said a more comprehensive long-term cable repair design is being developed.
But the repair to the cable is by no means easy. The Arecibo Observatory maintenance staff will be doing the repairs themselves, working high above the ground on the 900-ton steel suspension bridge-like suspension system.
Kerr said they hope to complete this emergency repair “as expeditiously and safely as possible,” and that “it is testimony to the remarkable expertise, capability, and bravery of the Arecibo staff. I am dubious that a parallel capability exists at any other U.S. science facility.”
In the meantime, the telescope is being used only sparingly and with an “abundance of caution,” using only limited motion of the telescope. Kerr said that despite the damage, the telescope was able to continue its science mission by participation in a ten-day global ionospheric study in late January, in addition to continuing a search for pulsars in the sky above Arecibo, and searching for fast radio bursts (FRBs). Because radio telescopes can work at all times of day and in all kinds of weather, the observatory normally operates 24 hours a day. The Angel Ramos Visitor Center at the Observatory was closed for a few days, but reopened on January 22, with normal access and visiting hours.
The Observatory is recognized as one of the most important national centers for research in radio astronomy, planetary radar and terrestrial aeronomy. During its 50-plus years of use, findings from Arecibo have contributed to better understanding of the Earth’s atmosphere, the Moon, asteroids, other planets, exotic stars, our galaxy, and the large-scale galactic structure of the universe. The facility was featured in the movies “Contact” and “Golden Eye,” as well as dozens or TV shows and books, and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Puerto Rico.
It is operated by SRI International, teaming with The Universidad Metropolitana and the Universities Space Research Association, in cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.
Quelle: UT
Update: 16.03.2014
Arecibo Observatory Main Suspension Cable Repaired Following Earthquake
Workers making repairs at Arecibo Observatory.

MENLO PARK, Calif. On January 13, 2014, the William E. Gordon radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico sustained damage following a 6.4 magnitude earthquake that was centered 37 miles northwest of Arecibo. Following the earthquake, Arecibo Observatory staff conducted a structural survey that revealed serious damage to a main suspension cable section, with apparent breach of several cable strands within that cable, which supports the 900-ton focal platform of the telescope. There are 18 main suspension cables in all.

A short cable segment and splice near the top of one of the telescope towers, which is more rigid than the rest of the suspension system, suffered damage when the earthquake shook Arecibo.  

Ammann and Whitney Consulting Engineers were brought in to assess the damage and to consider repairs needed before the telescope could return to full operations.

“In an abundance of caution, telescope motion had been very limited since the earthquake,” said Robert Kerr, Ph.D., the Observatory's director and a principal scientist at SRI International, which leads a multi-organization team that manages, operates, and maintains the Arecibo Observatory. “Nevertheless, the telescope continued its science mission, including participation in a 10-day global ionospheric study in late January and continuing a productive search for pulsars in the sky above Arecibo.”
Arecibo Observatory has now completed the immediate repair of the William E. Gordon telescope. The repair design was created by Ammann and Whitney and the structural repair work was performed by Arecibo Observatory staff. Beginning on March 13, the telescope is back to full service for the scientific community. 

The Arecibo Observatory is operated by SRI International, teaming with Universidad Metropolitana and the Universities Space Research Association, in a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation.

SRI International


Sonntag, 16. März 2014 - 18:14 Uhr

Astronomie - Das staubige Herz eines aktiven Sternsystems


Kernregion der Circinus-Galaxie. Das Bild rechts zeigt die inneren 1000 Lichtjahre der Circinus-Galaxie in sichtbarem Licht. Der aktive Galaxienkern (welcher sich im schwarzen Quadrat befindet) wirft intensive Strahlung und gasförmige Materie nach außen. Diese entweichen ausschließlich entlang eines kegelförmigen Bereichs in Richtung Nordwesten (oberer rechter Teil des Bildes), angedeutet durch die weiße V-förmige Struktur in dieser Richtung. In allen anderen Richtungen wird die Kernregion der Galaxie durch dichtes Gas und Staub verdeckt. Der absorbierende Staub konnte nun durch neue Beobachtungen mit dem Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI) der ESO in bislang unerreichter Genauigkeit untersucht werden. Das linke Bild (es entspricht in seiner Größe dem schwarzen Quadrat im rechten Teilbild) zeigt ein Falschfarbenmodell der Staubemission. Die Staubstrahlung kommt aus einer relativ dünnen scheibenartigen Struktur (in Weiß dargestellt) und aus einem weiter ausgedehnten senkrecht dazu gelegenen Bereich. Die innere Scheibe ist ebenfalls durch Emission des Wassermoleküls (rot-grün-blaue Linie) nachweisbar. Die Staubemission wird in Richtung Südosten (unten links) stärker absorbiert als in Richtung Nordwesten (oben rechts), verdeutlicht durch den Farbwechsel von Violett zu Grün.


Sonntag, 16. März 2014 - 17:55 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - Ist Stan Romanek der neue Ed Walters ?


Stan Romanek presents himself as the typical “every man.” He had his typical job in his typical town with his typical family. There was certainly no reason to believe that
this Joe Sixpack would end up as national news. It is exactly this image that has so many of us believing his story. He comes across as so sincere. Why would all these mean people be picking on him and calling him a fraud? Let’s look, shall we? What follows was on Stan’s original “official” webite.
December 27, 2000 The first UFO seen by Stan was in the daytime at the location of Alameda and Jewel in west Denver (Lakewood). When first observed, (paraphrased here) "it was about 50 feet from Stan's car, directly above thelevel of power linesalong the sideof the road. It was keeping pace, just ahead of my moving car at about 40 miles per hour and in the air at a slight angle forward. The approximate size was that of a minivan. I slowed then stopped my car, as did other cars and their drivers
observing this object. After ainstantly "popped" to a higher height several hundred feet up, causing an intense "sonic boom" that was felt on my clothes and body.
Other than this sonic "pop", the object made absolutely no sound. At this point the camera was ready to film, and the video was taken."


I remember very clearly watching the video as itwas aired on Denver’s local Fox newscast aroundthat time. I was a UFO investigator at the time,and I was very skeptical of the video. It was very blurry and shaky (as all UFO videos seem to be...) and not very convincing. The autofocus of the camera was unable to lock onto the object and, therefore, it was distorted. When this happens, the resulting image looks nothing like the real object. Yet, Stan decided that the blurry images were in fact exactly how the objects looked. Below you see his rendition. These drawings are a stretch, to put it lightly, from what the object actually looked like. I will goahead right now and stake my life on it.


I, too, went out and filmed a strange object in the sky. Mine was from a different angle than Stan’s so the lights were featured more. My auto-focus was also unable to capture the object clearly. Pictured below is what I captured. As you can see from the still photo from the video and the illustration next to it, I captured an alien craft on film. It seems to be organic in nature and was propelled with some kind of red spiraling plasma. An “Orbmobile,” if you will.


Oh, an airplane...

Just so you know, on film, the more light is blurred, the more round it appears. Hence, orbs. Stan’s first UFO on film is an “Orb cluster.” Hmmm...
Now, to further back up Stan’s story, there were plenty of eye witnesses to these next few sightings. Mostly, they were family, people Stan already knew, and people actively involved in the UFO community that Stan professed to ridicule at the time. Let me make sure, at this point in the article, that you realize that this in not a balanced newsworthy article. It is written from my perspective with my opinions. And my opinion is that a lot of “coolaid” was being passed around. What I mean, dear reader, is that Stan has a way of convincing people of what they just saw. “Look at that UFO! Did you just see that UFO? Did you see its red lights? Its organic nature?”
When the reporter asks what they saw, what do you think they might say? There were many other sightings over the next year or so. The interesting thing is that the UFOs
kept changing. There was no consistency in the reports so the reports didn’t support each other.

Next, we’ll talk about the mysterious mathematical equations that he started writing. The current statement on Stan’s website reads: Stan Romanek suffers from Dyslexia and has been affected by this learning disability all of his life. Because of this, Stan's math competency is at a 4th grade level and he has no idea what any of these equations or drawings mean. Hoping that the equations might in some way be of benefit and in an effort to find their meaning, Stan requested that all of the equations be openly shared. This is very interesting since he claimed early on (on TV show “Proof Positive”) that he has had his I.Q. tested at genius levels. There was no mention
of Dyslexia then...
Now his first equation was revealed to him July 2002 while under hypnosis. There are multiple problems with the reliability of hypnosis but we won’t go into that here.
Here is the first statement about the equation from his website:
Included in the equation is a formula depicting a helium atom bombarding element 115., Element 115 at the time did not exist. It was years later when element 115 would be experimented with.

Unfortunately for our hero, element 115 has been talked about since (at least) the mid eighties and was no secret among true UFO nuts. After all, it was one of the pieces of “alien” knowledge that Bob Lazar tried to use to prove his claims. The next statement on this equation went a little something like this:
Also included in the equation is a depiction of our solar system represented by ten dots and a circle. It wouldn't be until years later that scientists would discover a tenth planet in our solar system and name it, "Xenia" or "Planet X".
Now, if this knowledge truly came from outer space, they would have known that two of those ten planets didn’t qualify as planets after all. If they had qualified, many more objects would have also qualified creating a much longer list than ten. As it sits, we only have eight planets. Bummer. I miss Pluto. At least now we have “plutoids.”
Finally, the website mentions Drake’s Equation. This was an equation that surfaced in the early 60’s and was used to estimate the number of extraterrestrial civilizations in the Universe. Stan, supposedly knowing nothing of this equation (again, known by the UFO community), puts it at the end of his equation and multiplies it by 100! How is this proof of anything? Now, how about all of these scientists that are analyzing Stan’s evidence? As we know, throughout history scientists rarely agree on anything that isn’t proven. There are always different “camps” in the theoretical areas of science.
It seems all of Stan’s scientists are from the same “camp.” Let’s start with George Zeiler. He is the Deputy International Director of MUFON, the world's largest civilian UFO research organization. How impartial do you think he is? Next comes Dr. Jack Kasher. Now, while Dr. Jack has some educational credentials, here is the important part: Dr. Kasher is a consultant, state (Nebraska) director, and central regional director for MUFON, and has spoken more than two hundred times on UFOs. Cool. Well, how about Deborah Lindemann? Deborah has a private hypnotherapy practice, in Fort Collins, Colorado. Can you think of any time that hypnotherapy yielded bad, very bad, life destroying bad results? Might want to check into Satanic Ritual Abuse Syndrome... Now, let’s talk about Biophysicist William Levengood. Have any idea what he does with his education? He argues that crop circles are the real deal even though hoaxers have come forward to admit the hoax. Sigh. Finally, we have Dr. Claude Swanson. Dr. Swanson is the most impressive of Stan’s “scientists” but mired heavily in his own spin of the paranormal. He attempts to use physics to prove haunted houses and his results are questionable at best. He twists statistics to fit his hypothesis. He raises eyebrows but provesnothing.
Why aren’t the truly great scientists of our time weighing in on this? Well, one did...

After seeing what “Stan’s” scientists had to say, I was very curious what one of my heroes would have to say about these magical equations. Here is his reply:
“Hi, Baxter, In fact, I did look at these equations. He could have cribbed them from just about anywhere... college texts, the web... even Wikipedia. They're no more proof that he’s been in contact with aliens than his stories are. He has to show something NEW. Some fact we don't know. Not just rummage through the human attic and find a few things of which we're already aware.
Cheers, Seth Dr. Seth Shostak Senior Astronomer SETI Institute” I couldn’t have found a better voice for science and logic on this planet... As a footnote, Dr. Frank Donald Drake (of Drake’s Equation) is the founder of SETI. I think SETI’s senior astronomer might be a bit familiar with analyzing this kind of thing...
Stan’s aliens themselves have gone through drastic changes over the years. Here is a recounting of his first encounter with them:
“Stan started to get a horrible headache in the back of his head. He decided to go to bed early to relieve it. He eventually did fall asleep, but he was awakened at 2:00 AM by a knock at the door. Stan remembers three "people" waiting for him in the hallway. As he approached them, he realized that they were not fully human.”


Now, when you compare his drawing to the alien photos and film footage that he has shown at his lectures, you see that these things have no resemblance to anything he has captured on film. The things he has captured on film look stunningly like the aliens we see in movies, tv, and in other popular culture. Ok, so, when Stan awakened the next morning, these aliens had wounded him. They punctured him on the lower back and he had abrasions on his wrists. He even went so far to be amazed that they healed THIS MUCH in just a few days!


Sorry, but that looks like pretty normal healing to me. I’ve seen those Neosporin commercials. The next fun piece of convincing proof is how the wounds, even after healing, “fluoresced” under black light. We thought it would be fun to take our own photo of this phenomena.


The one on the left is Stan’s hand and the one on the right is mine. Amazing, isn’t it? Stan also went into his “implant” stories. One, he had in his hip, he dug out with a pocket knife in the presence of a physician. Um, no. a physician would not allow something like that to take place in his presence. An unsanitary knife? Unsafe conditions? Possible lawsuit? No. Anyway, this implant was looked at under some electron microscope somewhere. It appeared to be a mineral with hairs growing out of it and microchips were scattered on its surface. Stan’s wife hid the implant in a location that even Stan was unaware of. It was in a vial in the back of a radio.
Well, the Government knew! They shot a focused beam of vibration (or something) and broke the implant into three pieces. This is just a thought but bear with me...
What if the implant was something calcified in his leg? Under a microscope it might appear mineral after a few days of drying out. Salt is a common component of our insides and probably was present also. Salt is often a perfect cube under a microscope. These “microchips” were only viewed as being “perfectly square” and no circuitry was observed. When something is removed from our bodies, it is normally kept in a liquid of some kind. After a time of drying out, doesn’t it make sense that it would break apart all by itself ?
Soon, the Government would start playing a larger role in all of this. Stan was warned to keep quiet about the aliens. He was even savagely beat up! He had to move somewhere safe... How about Colorado Springs! There’s no military presencethere!
You people have no idea how hard it is sometimes to type these “facts” with a straight face... Is anyone with me when I say that if the government wants you to be quiet, they find a way to make you quiet?
Stan’s solution to the dilemma is to go and give lectures about how mean the Government is and to sell books and video to his audiences. The Government won’t get him then! Now, at a lecture we attended, Stan did show us a few photos of the aliens. They were hysterical. There were several photos that were taken of a dark field behind his house. When the photos were lightened, however, they were full of aliens. The aliens just happened to look like a seven year old had discovered Photoshop. There were armies of aliens (bad stick figure aliens) in these photos that were approaching Stan’s house. In some photos, they were spying on a family barbecue on the back deck. They would be peeking (looking NOTHING like a halloween mask or doll) from behind bushes. It was brilliant. The perfect plan to learn about Stan’s barbecue
sauce recipe... well worth traveling across the cosmos for.

The videos he showed at the lecture were... interesting. In one, he was awakened by a red orb (laser pointer) floating above his bed. He went out into the living room, luckily with his video camera, and was startled by a two foot tall blue alien doll that slowly looked around the corner at him from thekitchen. The “doll” was stiff and had to be held at an angle to give the impression of looking from behind the doorway. Stan has recently stated that he will no longer be showing that video because it looks too “fake.” Hmm. Go figure. The other video, well, you know about the other video. Let me jump forward in time a little bit... The last two days of May ’08 were very crazy this
year for me. On Thursday, Bryan, my paranormal partner in crime, called me and informed me that we were going to spend the evening recreating Stan Romanek's lousy
alien evidence. Why, you ask? Because a Denver man by the name of Jeff Peckman wants attention. Jeff Peckman is a sad, white haired (not that there is anything wrong with that) man. He is 54 years old and still lives with his parents. In my opinion, his life is amounting to nothing and he now needs to make a mark. So...
Peckman wants to have a Denver ET Commission so Denver can be the first to be prepared for their arrival. This is not only an additional strain on taxpayers but also is an embarrassment to the area! Peckman saw Stan's evidence and the two little scamps got together. They then announced on Thursday that they would be showing one piece of the "proof" for the press only on Friday. This “proof” was the video of an alien peeking into Stan’s window late at night. This is when I got Bryan’s phone call...


So, we spent the evening screwing around with a four foot tall alien prop from a costume shop. I brought my 14 year old son in for the fun. Also joining us were LU and Stu. We had a blast recreating the "evidence" that we felt was the most obviously fake from Stan's lecture. Wehad the most fun recreating the “smoking gun,” a video of an alien peeking into Stan’s window and then blinking. Stu was the genius behind the blinking in our video. That next morning I was awakened by a phone call from one of our local radio celebrities, Peter Boyles. They wanted me on his radio show at 6:00. I thought I should share the Hell and called Bryan and told him that they needed HIM
on the air in 20 minutes. Bryan took the opportunity and did a wonderful job on the show. Needless to say, that was just the beginning of one hell of a day. The two of us did more media in one day than we have done in the whole previous year! The phone just wouldn't stop ringing! The bad thing is that the press doesn’t listen to what you tell them. They get so damned starry eyed over whether they might get good ratings that they let the details drop. The main detail thatgot dropped by everyone in this story is the simple fact that Stan’s video was not leaked to the internet. The video that was circulating was the one WE created! No matter how much we repeated this detail, we were ignored. Everyone wanted the exclusive of Stan’s leaked footage. This has not worked to Stan’s advantage though. Having the video hidden would have created a marketing dream for when his “documentary” or whatever actually came out. Since it became such a media frenzy and there actually was footage to view that was comparable to his, people are roasting him for the bad quality. Funny. As bad as our video is, ours is better quality than his... When his does come out, he will really look bad.


I wouldn’t put it past him to try to re-shoot a better version. The amount of press that we handled that day was nothing compared to Stan and Jeff. They did all kinds of interviews. It was amazing how the story would change when they were asked why they couldn’t just show the “alien in the window” video to the public. Somewhere back between 2004 and 2005, the story was that Stan needed to hide his stuff for “security reasons.” Then, the story changed. The exact posting on the website was: “Stan's information has been temporarily taken off line while he prepares material for his feature film about the most amazing and important UFO/Alien/Government information yet, involving hundreds of witnesses, astounding video and photos, hard physical evidence, scientific discoveries, and more. No bull.” During the press siege the answers were “the scientists won’t let me,” “Stan sold his story to the History Channel and they won’t allow it,” and “Stan’s documentary will be available for sale in a few months.”
They even had a “film expert” analyze the footage. The reasons he gave as to why it couldn’t be faked were that the time-codes had not been altered which meant that there could have been no digital effects. This implied that the “blinking” was real and a cost of $50,000 was what it would cost to build an animatronic alien.


Next, since it was a second story window, the perpetrator would have had to have had scaffolding set up outside. Somehow, we were able to make all of these things happen for $90?
When I corresponded with this “expert” later, I found out that he was a longtime acquaintance of Stan’s and was on the production crew for the upcoming documentary! Vested interest, anyone? Stan is trying to get us to believe that aliens are an everyday part of his life. They spy on him, chase him, torment him, heal his wounds, give him incredible information, warn him of the government's plan to silence him, allow him to photograph them and show all kinds of questionable proof that they exist, and make darn sure that he doesn't look like a raving idiot in the process! These guys are great! So, if you were an alien that traveled incredible distances to visit us, wouldn't you make it your first priority (as a show of good will) to pick a dupe to make a complete fool of? I know I would. I now hear that Stan is making claims about us. His story is that we approached him some time ago and asked to come to his house. He had heard “bad things” about us and denied our request. We became “hellbent” on destroying him because of this denial. While it is true that we offered our services and he ignored us. We did not get “hellbent” over it. We instead watched who he did allow into his circle. He chose only those with a predisposition to crazy alien stories (believe me, there are plenty of them...). He made no effort to show any skeptic how real his situation was. Very telling, don’t you think?

When this came up at a later time being used as “proof” to push a stupid initiative through Denver City Council, we became a bit more “hellbent” to stop it. I want to make myself clear: Because of all of this hubub surrounding this recent alien crap, I felt it necessary to make it clear how I feel about extraterrestrial life. I am now being called a non-believer and debunker of all things alien. It has been offered that I may even be working for the government to help cover this up. Funny thing. I got my start in the
paranormal as a UFO investigator with the UFO International Association. I was inspired to pursue this because, as a result of a hypnotic regression, I was led to believe that I, myself, had been visited. My investigations led me to apply logic to the situation and eventually my brain overcame the stupid suggestions of the hypnotic regression.


I can assure you that hanging out with other selfproclaimed abductees is not too fun. Everyone either has the same recycled story or a completely contradictory story. The aliens that were abducting these people came in all shapes and sizes but all seemed humanoid. Even Star Trek was smart enough to make some of the aliens completely
different from us! Why hasn’t the Horta come to visit us?
I am not so stupid not to realize that there (mathematically) has to be other life in the universe. There is definitely some dispute about whether this other life has had opportunity to become advanced. Then there is the big question about what a master plan would be of these said aliens. Would it be to spend their resources to come here, run around naked with bodies that mechanically couldn't operate like ours in this gravity, and play jokes on us? That is a tough one. Sure, you can't solidly
speculate what the intentions of a said visit would be, but we can connect many reasonable dots and form some sort of a picture. Instead of making this article a huge document showing the arguments for aliens on Earth, I will just imply that there are some logical and compelling arguments that I'm sure you internet savvy people can unearth on your own. If aliens were traveling here and if they didn't feel that we were "ready" for them, they would use the utmost care in not exposing themselves. They would not choose select people to mess with because these people are "ready." That doesn't advance any cause they would have and would destroy the lives and reputations of these special people. "You can't make that speculation!" Peckman has been known to shout. Yes, I can.
Until we know more, we are forced to work with the information we have. Logic is logic no matter where you come from. Get over yourselves with that argument. It only goes so far. There is a lot of delusion in the paranormal community but the UFO community is at critical capacity when it comes to crackpots.


The lengths they will go to show government conspiracy is amazing and holds no water. Sure, the government likes to keep many things related to national security under wraps. That doesn't mean that we should be insulted and feel lied to. We have them for that purpose, remember? The government needs to be concerned with the possibility of aliens and they are concerned. They aren't going to discuss such a volatile subject with you, Billy-Bob, so get over it! The indisputable proof that ufologists
often show is the same damn proof that ghost hunters show and we all know how reliable that is. Do I think aliens currently being on Earth is possible? Sure. Do I think they are visiting Stan Romanek? Not a chance. Do I think that the government knows a lot more about the alien situation than I do? Sure. Do I think we need a local commission to make sure we reap the benefits of aliens among us now? Um, what the Hell are they going to do in this commission to guarantee that?!?
So, let’s recap. Stan’s story changes as it gets retold. He was genius, he is dumb, aliens were evil, aliens are wonderful, can’t show this because of security reasons, can’t show this because I have a movie coming out, can’t show this because the scientistswon’t let me.
The photos and video of the UFOs are easily reproducible simply from not knowing how to use your camera correctly. The amazing equations tell us nothing new and could have been gleaned from a variety of sources. His “scientists” and “witnesses” all have a predisposition to believing UFO stories or are already in the UFO community. All of his “evidence” is easily reproducible and doesn’t support itself (the wounds on his arms don’t directly support the equations or any of his video). This leaves us in a situation where we can only believe Stan’s story based on “because I said so.” Our government, which seems to be capable of many amazing and horrible things, can’t seem to silence this simple man. The best piece of evidence is a bad video of an alien puppet peeking in a window when they still have three pieces of an implant that could be analyzed?
The most telling aspect of this is Stan’s behavior itself. Let me illustrate. If you looked very young for your age and bragged about it, someone may challenge your claim.
Would you hide from the challenge? Would you only talk to those that already believed you? Would you complain loudly that this challenger is “hellbent” to get you? OR would you simply show them your evidence for closer inspection? Wouldn’t you LOVE to prove them wrong by pulling out your birth certificate and your driver’s license? Wouldn’t you invite them to view it with a smile on your face because you know you are right? Something is terribly wrong here. Stan continues to hide when there should be nothing to hide. The things he shows are easily picked apart and the alleged “great stuff” is not allowed to be shown for further analysis.
My assessment is that these claims cannot be proven with the evidence being presented. If there are aliens here, they have GOT to be laughing their asses off!
We can conclude this with some thoughts from some of the greatest minds of our time.
I asked James Randi, today’s leader among skeptics, if he thought all of the “experts” in Stan’s case had a vested interest. His reply was clear.
“Depend on it, the "PhDs" are the Sarfatti bunch, and they'll all be VERY supportive...” -James Randi “I am discounting reports of UFO's. Why wouldthey appear only to cranks and weirdoes? If there is a government conspiracy to suppress the reports and keep for itself the scientific knowledge the aliens bring, it seems to have been a singularly ineffective policy so far.”
- Steven Hawking
“I think that the alien abduction enthusiasts understand the need for physical evidence. It's the pathway to some degree of respectability. And for 40 years, they've been telling us that the evidence is just around the corner. It's about to be released, it's being studied at this moment - and nothing ever comes of it.”
- Carl Sagan 1934-1996


I have been following the debate between James Carrion (the international director of MUFON and a STAR team investigator) and the followers/defenders of Stan Romanek for the last few months. This along with the recent article by the Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society (RMPRS) describing Romanek, has me wondering if UFOlogists like to repeat history. I am sure that many in MUFON will disagree with me but this sounds way too much like the Ed Walters case from twenty years ago.
Romanek’s rise to prominence in the UFO community started in 2000-2001, when he began to present videos of UFOs near his work and home. Looking at his website,
I have to wonder if he was simply following the Ed Walters blueprint. Thesimilarities are rather interesting:
• Romanek - Presented videos of his
UFO encounters to UFO groups and
the local media
• Walters - Presented Polaroids and
videos to the local media and, eventually,
• Romanek - His car was pursued by
UFOs (across several states in one
• Walters - Aliens pursued him in his
truck on several occasions
• Romanek - Aliens came to his home
• Walters - Aliens came to his home
• Romanek - Was physically affected
by his encounters with the aliens
• Walters - Was physically affected by
his encounters with the aliens.
• Romanek - videos of UFOs look a lot
like balloons with flashing lights attached
• Walters - videos of red UFOs look a
lot like balloons with road flares attached.
• Romanek - wrote a book and was
rumored to have a History channel
program planned
• Walters - wrote a book and was rumored
to have a television program
offer on the table.
• Both proclaimed in their books that
their cases were “most documented”
or “most astounding”.
The only thing missing is the “model” in the attic. However, it really does not stop there. Just like the Gulf Breeze saga, an inner circle has formed around Romanek. They are close associates that will label anybody who questions the case and the evidence as “debunkers” or “government agents”. They speak for Romanek and protect the case because they have become personally involved to the point they will believe just about anything Stan says or presents as evidence. An excellent example of this is when Romanek failed a lie detector test hosted by “Coast-to-coast AM”. Not surprisingly, an unknown source named “Brent” came up with a ready made excuse for Romanek. According to this source, he knew the person administering the exam and the examiner went out of his way to falsify the results and trip up Romanek. This was widely circulated and the individual, who administered the test was labeled a “religious fanatic” (and probably a debunker). We don’t even know if “Brent” is who he says he is and if he actually knew the individual, who performed the test! It was simply accepted as fact. James Carrion’s recent concerns have to do with how the word “follow” is misspelled the same way (“fallow”) in several UFO reports that are being used to support the Romanek case. It is also misspelled the same way in a supposedly official
AF document found in Romanek’s mailbox. In order to find a way around this, Mrs. Romanek has presented the names of the individuals who supposedly sent these UFO reports. Apparently, Mr. Romanek can not defend his own claims and has chosen to have his wife “carry his water” for him in this debate. The bottom line is the Carrion wants to have the evidence scientifically evaluated by independent analysts. This is good science and should be applauded. It is too bad that Stan Romanek’s little circle is not going to allow a real scientific investigation to occur. Even if others offer to pay for such examinations, the group chooses to have some ready made excuse not to allow it to happen. When Romanek told ABC he had an X-ray of an implant in his leg, they offered to have it medically examined. He then proclaimed the implant has since “disappeared”. The best way to keep a farce like this going is to protect the “evidence”. Even Ed Walters knew this and he would not allow anybody, outside of his little circle, to closely examine his photographs. Just as this issue was going to press, James Carrion reported that Stan Romanek contacted MUFON in order to file a lawsuit against them. Apparently, he is really after James Carrion and not MUFON as a whole. I find it odd that MUFON’s leadership is not making a stand here. Is MUFON afraid to investigate, unable to investigate, or are they unwilling to investigate? In my opinion, it is time for those “movers and shakers” in the UFO community to demand that a full investigation be made by competent and independent investigators. Their silence on this matter is deafening. If the leaders of UFOlogy (assuming they do exist) want it this way, then they are just demonstrating that UFOlogy is not a “science” ,where standards of evidence apply in the search for an answer. Science can quickly identify a hoax by carefully examining the evidence. Perhaps UFOlogy should simply proclaim itself a “religion”, where you can pick and choose what you believe and disbelieve. Charlatans often find religious groups fruitful ground on which to flourish. This appears to be the case with the Stan Romanek saga. Is Stan Romanek the new Ed Walters?

Quelle: SUNlite 1/2010 - Baxter



Sonntag, 16. März 2014 - 13:32 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - Lektionen : Wie schlecht können UFO Beobachtungen sein ?


It seems many pro-UFOlogists tend to have some difficulty with believing how poor a UFO observation can be, not to mention how inflated, distorted and embellished
that poor report may become as the story weaves its way through the sensational rumor-mills of Saucerdom, and becomes magically transformed into rock-solid ‘Unidentified!’
Perhaps, as I have recently learned such UFOOLogy stems from a passionate rejection of western science and the intellectual contributions of men like Thomas
Huxley. Or, this kind of behavior may be rooted in what Karl Pflock identified as “The UFOlogist’s will to believe.”
I shall offer but, a few case examples of how bad a UFO report can be in this brief article, with the hopes that no one will be offended by the obvious misperceptions
and misinterpretations the witnesses have made regarding their strange, sudden and shocking UFO experiences.
I will close this article with a ‘belly-laugh’ true story of the attempts of one relatively new saucer crash expert who has ‘borrowed’ and embellished a very old
and well-known UFO hoax to advance his own promotional agenda and rise to stardom in contemporary Saucerdom!
These Cautionary Tales are dedicated to the memories of my dear friends, Karl T. Pflock, Robert G. Todd, Philip J. Klass, UFORIC’s Gordon Myers and APRO/UFORIC
researcher Mike McClellan who wrote a very persuasive article debunking the Aztec UFO crash claims of the charlatan, Professor Robert Spencer Car back in the early seventies.
Bristol/Levitown, Pa, back in the midseventies: Police were dispatched in the pouring rain on a dark windy night in response to a frantic call from a woman who had been terrorized and chased from a parking lot into her apartment building by a low-flying, frightfully noisy UFO! Others in the apartment building had heardand seen the fleeting, dark saucer too.
They told officers “It seemed to be circling the building at very low altitude!” Two police cruisers arrived on the scene with their lights flashing in urgency. Cops hurried curious residents out of danger.
Then, they took up defensive positions behind their vehicle’s opened doors with pistols drawn and pointed skyward, as the strange triangular craft dove at them and
quickly vanished into the darkness…. its loud fluttering sound fading in the howling wind and pouring rain.
I had been notified by a police source (Because of earlier UFO reports in the township I had investigated), and arrived on the scene a bit later. By that time, it was
learned the dark triangular UFO was actually a youngster’s Batman kite with its tether tangled in a rooftop TV antenna.
It was made of black plastic (Like that of a lawn and leaf disposal bag), and its loud fluttering sound was produced as the wind flowed from its flexible trailing edges.
In another instance, a MUFON UFO field investigator phoned about a UFO he had spotted while driving to work early one morning. He had observed the object with a dark band along its middle (on the horizontal axis of the craft) He observed the object again the following day, it was a ‘MetLife blimp’ with a blue stripe on its side (Flying above a TV covered golf tournament). On the first morning it was quite hazy and the details of the blimp were not distinct to the unaided eye. Back in the 70’s my wife (Grace) received a call from her younger sister whose husband was stationed in San Diego, California.
She told my wife of a huge “Torpedolike silvery UFO” which was flying along the coast. She said it was enormous, not noisy like the jets she often saw and small power and sailboats in the water were slipping in and out of the colossal UFO’s shadow as it slowly moved along.
Later that evening my brother-in-lawphoned and embarrassingly told me his wife had mistaken the Goodyear Blimp for a silvery-mother ship. He was absolutely astonished his wife did not know such blimps existed. She had never heard of the Hindenburg disaster, Zeppelins or, the Akron blimp of sad memory. So, here we may be confronted a generational gap of common knowledge and complete ignorance of aeronautical history!?
Another UFO field investigator who is a MUFPON leader in Pennsylvania, phoned with a report by a lady living on a farm. She had reported a UFO which appeared to be an airplane flying backwards! The plane was actually an experimental privately- owned aircraft from a nearby air facility, NOT a flying saucer in disguise!
Although, the objects mentioned above were first perceived and reacted to by witnesses, UFO investigators and Police personnel as UFOs ( i.e., Assumed alien spacecraft). These overly-zealous and errant reactions were based entirely on scant observational data/clarity and ignorance of all the other possible tell-tale identity indicators involved in the incidents.
In short, a UFO sighting may appear strange and unidentifiable to those who apply A KNEE-JERK REACTION TO THEIR FAULTY OBSERVATIONS AND PREDISPOSITION
In another free-fall of non-logic example. One saucer crash expert currently on the scene is spreading his ‘New Age Gospel of nonsense’ about a saucer crash that ‘allegedly’ took place fifty-one years ago in the desert near Aztec, New Mexico. Unfortunately, two criminal con men were tried a convicted for this same hokum
during the early fifties, using a very similar UFO crash yarn which was merely the prelude to bulking investors out of money.
But, now the old dusty hoax has been revisited and with a soon to be published book ignoring all the court records and the verdict. The long-dead case has been
‘Resuscitated’ for a new generation of unsuspecting UFO enthusiasts and believers.
There are of course, little problems one must overlook at times, obvious excesses and contradictions which tend totake the old tale to new heights of absurdity:

1. The expert claims someone at the crash site, pressed a button inside the craft (Presumably, with a stick shoved through the broken glass of one of the craft’s portholes) Then, the 80 foot in diameter craft suddenly fell apart in sections… Something like a gigantic transformer toy, I guess!?
2. This remarkable transformational feat, may help us grasp how an 80 foot in diameter alien spacecraft may have been loaded upon 8 foot wide flat-bed truck and spirited away from the scene by (You guessed it!) The super-secretive and cover up skilled specialists of the U.S. military.
3. Of course, there are a whole passel of newly discovered witnesses to the crash. Although some may think it a wee bit unusual so many folks just happened to be in that particular part of the lonely desert when the ill-fated alien saucer plummeted to Earth. One must realize these folkshave kept silent for over fifty years, waiting for just the right opportunity to be part of this historically significant book on the mythical cover up,despite this publication not being the first attempt to resurrect the yarn, while also over-looking the fact that Mike McClellan had found NO eyewitnesses to the event during his investigation back in the early seventies.
4. Then, we are informed a work crew of El Passo Oil and Gas company employees came upon the downed saucer after being dispatched to the scene of a small brush fire near a company drip tank. The problem is old-timers who lived in the area all their lives say oil and gas company tanks and lines were not yet existentin the alleged crash sire area before 1960. So, there may be a bit of a time line problem with the new version of the 1948 story? (This bit of information was provided by a MUFON state director’s report. He had interviewed Aztec old-timers back in the 1990’s)
5. Back in the 1940’s a military pilot had emergency landed a P-38 lightning fighter plane at a property near the ‘alleged’ crash site. A group of mechanics came a few days later, disassembled some of the aircraft and loaded it upon a big truck before driving away. A local newspaper owner who was something of a colorful character, well-known for his leg-pulling nature may have adapted the factual story into a saucer crash yarn ? (At least, one of the old-times suggests that possibility), and others
in the area spoke of the newsman’s chronic yarn-spinning too! He had even once published a news story about his being taken aboard a space ship in the desert by little saucer men, and visited with ranch-hands who relished his stories as they gathered in barns and bunkhouses.
I’m afraid there is very little anyone can do to divert the flood of saucer hokum. But “SUNlite” is an online life preserver in the turbulent waters of UFOOLOGY for those who would embrace its intellectual wisdom.
Oh yes ‘UFOOLogy’ is a rather pithy (Extra vowel) word I coined about fifteen years ago, it may be defined as the consensuspowered corruption of the scientific method, a lack of applied prudence, and the careless abandon of common sense reasoning skills in favor of purely emotional anecdotal accounts. In the old days out west, it was simply known as “Spoofing” young fellers and gullible easterners.

‘Twas the night before Nanosh and all through the ship, not a hybrid was stirring, not even a blip. The stun guns were hung by the ejection pod’s door, and six photon torpedoes lie stacked on the floor. When out on the ship’s rim there arose such a clatter, I thought in the instant we’d struck anti-matter. But, the word quickly spread that
“Nanosh” had arrived, and we feasted on tribbles both, sauted and fried.
Oh what a joyous and festive event, we danced with Abductees ‘til the evening was spent. Yes, Nanosh had come, and we all felt the glee, except for some Hybrid that
paused to go wee. So, beam up to see us on Nanosh next year, we’ll nibble on tribbles, and drink lots o’ beer...and we’ll feast, and we’ll feast ‘til your Earth belly pops, just remember rule one..bring a Hybrid a pot!
Dear Saucer-heads, Saucerettes or Saucer Cross-Dressers, (please take your pick).I just thought I’d send you these Holiday Greetings, while also wishing you and yours a heart felt and Joyous Nanosh.

Quelle: SUNlite 1/2010 - Matthew Graeber


Sonntag, 16. März 2014 - 12:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Start von Proton-M-Trägerrakete mit zwei Satelliten auf Baikonur


MOSCOW, A Proton-M carrier rocket with two communications satellites aboard was installed on a launch pad at Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday, March 12.
The carrier rocket and ground equipment will undergo pre-launch checks and the rocket will be filled with fuel. Its launch is scheduled for 03:08 Moscow time March 16.
Express AT-1 and Express AT-2 satellites were made by the Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems in cooperation with the French company Alenia Space for Space Communications under the Russian Federal Space Programme for 2006-2015.
Update: 15.03.2014

"Start: 01:08:00 March 16, 2014 (Moscow time, MSKS).
End: 04:08:0 March 16, 2014 (Moscow time, MSKS).
Launch time: 03:08:00 March 16, 2014 (Moscow time, MSKS)"

Start in GMT heute um 23:08, in MEZ morgen um 00:08

Proton-M carrier rocket with two satellites to be launched March 16

A Proton-M carrier rocket with two communications satellites on board installed on a launch pad at Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, will be launched on Sunday, March 16, the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) said.

The liftoff is scheduled for 03:08 March 16, Roscosmos said on Saturday, March 15.

The carrier rocket and ground equipment underwent pre-launch checks and the rocket was filled with fuel.

Express AT-1 and Express AT-2 satellites were made by the Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems in cooperation with the French company Alenia Space for Space Communications under the Russian Federal Space Programme for 2006-2015.

Proton-M carrier rocket with two satellites abroad installed on Baikonur launch pad

A Proton-M carrier rocket with two communications satellites aboard was installed on a launch pad at Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday, March 12.

The carrier rocket and ground equipment will undergo pre-launch checks and the rocket will be filled with fuel. Its launch is scheduled for 03:08 am Moscow time (11:08 pm GMT) March 16.

Proton-M put Turkish satellite into orbit from Baikonur

The TurkSat-4A Turkish satellite launched from Baikonur on Saturday with the use of a Proton-M rocket is put into orbit, a Roscosmos source said. The satellite safely separated from the Briz-M upper stage at the planned time, he source said.

TurkSat-4A belongs to the Turkish satellite communication operator Turksat AS. The 3,800-kg satellite made by the Japanese Mitsubishi Electric (MELCO) Corporation will be used to provide TV broadcasting services for Turkey, Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

"The TurkSat-4A spacecraft separated from the upper stage and has been handed over to the client's control," a Roscosmos spokesperson said. The TurkSat-4A belongs to the Turkish satellite communications operator Turksat AS and is designed to provide TV broadcasting and broadband Internet services in Turkey, Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

The satellite was manufactured by the Japanese corporation Mitsubishi Electric (MELCO) on the basis of the DS2000 MELCO modular platform, is carrying Ku-, Ka-, and C-band transponders, and weighs 4,869 kilos.

The satellite's service life is 30 years. This has been the second space launch Russia has carried out in 2014. A week before, a Soyuz-U rocket carrying the Progress-M-22M expendable freighter spacecraft had been launched from Baikonur.

This was the first Proton launch in 2014. It was reported earlier that Russia had carried out 32 space launches in 2013 out of a total of 82 performed by all countries. It was the first commercial launch by Russia this year.

One of the Russian launches ended up in a crash, and one more was partially successful. Russia performed 23 space launches from the Baikonur space center, 7 from Plesetsk, and 2 from the Yasny launch pad in 2013.

A Soyuz-ST rocket was also used in two launches from the Kourou space center and the Russian-Ukrainian Zenit-3SL rocket in a launch under the Sea Launch program.

In addition, a Russian first stage was used as a component of the South Korean rocket KSLV-1, and it will also be used on the Angara rocket.

The US performed 19 space launches, China 15, France 7, Japan and India 3 each, Iran presumably 1, and South Korea and the Sea Launch consortium 1 each.

Proton-M space vehicles were used in 10 Russian launches in 2013, Soyuz-U, Soyuz-FG, and Rockot in 4 each, Soyuz-2.1b in 3, Soyuz-2.1a and Dnepr in 2 each, and Soyuz-2.1v, Zenit-3SL (Land Launch), and Strela in 1 each.
Quelle: Voice of Russia

Update: 16.03.2014

Two Russian telecom satellites put on pre-calculated orbit





Quelle: Roscosmos

MOSCOW, A telecommunications satellite Express-AT2 created on the order from Russian space communications operator was put at 12.28pm Moscow time on pre-calculated orbit successfully on Sunday.

Proton-M carrier rocket with satellites Express-AT1 and Express-AT2 was launched at 3.08am Moscow time from the launching pad number 200 of Baikonur spaceport. Upper stage rocket Briz-M has separated from the booster at 3.17am Moscow time nine minutes after the start and continue to bring the satellites on the orbit.

Satellite Express-AT1 was the first to separate from the booster at 12.10pm Moscow time, telecommunications satellite Express-AT2 has reached its orbit at 12.28pm Moscow time.

Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems jointly with French company Thales Alenia Space has produced geostationary medium-sized telecommunications satellites Express-AT1 and Express-AT2 on the order from enterprise Space Communications within Russia’s federal space programme for 2006-2015. The satellites provide for telecasting in western and eastern Russia in ku-range and replenished the grouping of Express satellites.




Sonntag, 16. März 2014 - 11:23 Uhr

Astronomie - Haben wir eine Nachricht von Anbeginn der Zeit gefunden?


Astronomers are expected to announce they have found 'primordial gravitational waves' - an echo of the big bang in which the universe came into existence 14bn years ago.

Described as 'like a message from the dawn of time', if confirmed it  it would be a groundbreaking discovery that would change the face of physics and give scientists their first glimpse of how the universe was born.

Gravitational waves, the last untested prediction of Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity,  are minuscule ripples in the fabric of the universe that carry energy across space - rather like the waves than travel across an ocean.


Microwave radiation from the whole sky, captured by the European Space Agency's Planck satellite. Astronomers are on Monday expected to announce they have found 'primordial gravitational waves' ¿ an echo of the big bang in which the universe came into existence 14bn years ago.


The signal is rumoured to have been found by a specialised telescope called Bicep (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) at the south pole.

It scans the sky at microwave frequencies, where it picks up the fossil energy from the big bang.

The team of scientists have only said they will unveil a 'major discovery' in the field of astrophysics on Monday (March 17) in a presentation at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA).

According to theory, the primordial gravitational waves will tell us about the first, moment of the universe’s history.

Cosmologists believe that 10-34 seconds after the big bang (a decimal point followed by 33 zeros and a one) the universe was driven to expand hugely.

Known as inflation, the theory is used to explain why the universe is uniform from place to place.

However, astronomers have never been able to explain how it happened.

Experts say convincing evidence of their discovery would almost certainly lead to a Nobel prize.


The 14-billion-year-long history of our universe. It shows the main events that occurred between the initial phase of the cosmos -- where its properties were almost uniform and punctuated only by tiny fluctuations -- to the rich variety of cosmic structure that we observe today, ranging from stars and planets to galaxies and galaxy clusters.


'If they do announce primordial gravitational waves on Monday, I will take a huge amount of convincing,' said Hiranya Peiris, a cosmologist from University College London told The Guardian.

'But if they do have a robust detection … Jesus, wow! I’ll be taking next week off.'

CfA officials have refused to speculate on the announcement.

They only stated that the center will 'host a press conference at 12:00 noon EDT (16:00 UTC) on Monday, March 17th, to announce a major discovery.'

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics is made up of the Harvard College Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysics Observatory. Scientists at the center pursue studies of those basic physical process that determine the nature and evolution of the universe," according to the CfA website's official description.

Quelle: MailOnline




Sonntag, 16. März 2014 - 10:49 Uhr

Planet Erde - NASA komplettiert Flüge der diesjährigen Spurensuche von Klimawandel


NASA's Global Hawk No. 872 flares for landing at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam to begin the 2014 ATTREX climate-change mission Jan. 17. The two-month-long airborne science flight campaign wrapped up with the aircraft's return to NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center March 14. (U.S. Air Force)


NASA's Global Hawk research aircraft returned to its base at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., early Friday morning March 14, marking the completion of flights in support of this year's Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment (ATTREX), a multi-year NASA airborne science campaign.

On Feb. 13, the autonomously operated aircraft began conducting science flights from Andersen Air Force Base on Guam in the western Pacific region on a mission to track changes in the upper atmosphere and help researchers understand how these changes affect Earth's climate.

"The western Pacific region is critical for establishing the humidity of the air entering the stratosphere," said Eric Jensen, ATTREX principal investigator at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif.

ATTREX measures the moisture levels and chemical composition of upper regions of the lowest layer of Earth's atmosphere, a region where even small changes can significantly impact climate. Scientists will use the data to better understand physical processes occurring in this part of the atmosphere and help make more accurate climate predictions.

Studies show even slight changes in the chemistry and amount of water vapor in the stratosphere, the same region that is home to the ozone layer that protects life on Earth from the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation, can affect climate significantly by absorbing thermal radiation rising from the surface. Predictions of stratospheric humidity changes are uncertain because of gaps in the understanding of the physical processes occurring in the tropical tropopause layer.

ATTREX is studying moisture and chemical composition from altitudes of 45,000 to 60,000 feet in the tropical tropopause, which is the transition layer between the troposphere, the lowest part of the atmosphere, and the stratosphere, which extends to roughly 30 miles above Earth's surface. Scientists consider the tropical tropopause to be the gateway for water vapor, ozone and other gases that enter the stratosphere. For this mission, the Global Hawk carries instruments that will sample the tropopause near the equator over the Pacific Ocean.

ATTREX scientists installed 13 research instruments on NASA's Global Hawk 872. Some of these instruments capture air samples while others use remote sensing to analyze clouds, temperature, water vapor, gases and solar radiation.

This year, ATTREX conducted seven long-duration science flights totaling 121 hours, averaging more than 17 hours per flight. This year's flights bring the total hours flown in support of ATTREX to 297 hours since 2011.

Jensen and Project Manager Dave Jordan of Ames lead the ATTREX mission. It includes investigators from Ames and three other NASA facilities: Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The team also includes investigators from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Miami, the University of Heidelberg, and private industry.

ATTREX is one of the first research missions of NASA's new Earth Venture project. These small and targeted science investigations complement NASA's broader science research satellite missions. The Earth Venture missions are part of NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder Program managed by Langley.

NASA monitors Earth's vital signs from land, air and space with a fleet of satellites and ambitious airborne and ground-based observation campaigns. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth's interconnected natural systems with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to better see how our planet is changing. The agency shares this unique knowledge with the global community and works with institutions in the United States and around the world that contribute to understanding and protecting our home planet.


A team of NOAA researchers checks out the UAS Chromatograph for Atmospheric Trace Species (UCATS) instrument installed in NASA's unmanned Global Hawk for the ATTREX mission. (NASA photo).

Quelle: NASA


Samstag, 15. März 2014 - 22:52 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - C.S.I. UFO: Haben Ufologen Angst vor den physischen Beweisen?


SUNlite / By Peter W. Merlin

A pioneering forensic scientist named Professor Edmond Locard (1877-1966) once wrote, “Physical evidence cannot be wrong, it cannot perjure itself, it cannot be wholly absent. Only human failure to find it, study and understand it can diminish its value.”
When UFOs first caught my interest at age nine, I embraced this philosophy wholeheartedly. Blurry pictures and shaky video were not sufficient. I wanted hard evidence. I was not willing to simply take it on faith that unidentified aerial phenomena were extraterrestrial spaceships. Over the years, I became increasingly frustrated and disappointed with the apparent failure of researchers to prove the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence.
After all, the whole point of conducting UFO research is to identify unknown objects in the sky. Observed from afar, they provide little information. If, however, one of these objects were to crash then there would be a chance of obtaining physical remains for study. Subsequently I became interested in UFO crash retrieval stories because they offered the best hope of providing the evidence I craved.
Reading everything I could find on such famous (or infamous) incidents as Roswell, Aztec, and Kecksburg, I soon began to notice emerging patterns. It seemed that many UFO crash retrieval stories shared common elements:
The incident and recovery of debris • allegedly had the highest level of security classification (as in an unacknowledged special access “black” project).
The unknown object crashed on • public (usually rural) land in relatively close proximity to a civilian population.
Civilian witnesses were often inter• rogated and warned by government officials to forget what they saw.
The crash site was secured and con• trolled by government personnel for as long as deemed necessary to conduct recovery operations.
Cleanup of crash debris was given • top priority.
While overall details differ, all UFO crash retrieval stories seem to end the same way. A government cleanup crew – sometimes common soldiers, sometimes elite special forces – sanitizes the crash site, removing every trace of debris. Civilian UFO investigators are therefore left with no hope of finding physical evidence at the scene.
Is such a thing possible or even probable? Could the government sanitize a crash site? Taken at face value, it initially seemed likely. Whatever government agency responded to such an incident would probably have access to practically unlimited resources with which to accomplish the task of eradicating evidence. But, was there a historic precedent?
It occurred to me that government response in the wake of a crash involving a Top Secret aircraft (such as those flown from the remote Area 51 test facility at Groom Lake, Nevada, for example) would be virtually indistinguishable from the response to a UFO crash. National security concerns would dictate a need to prevent classified materials from falling into the hands of civilians or foreign intelligence agents.
In 1992 I began researching crashes involving once-classified aircraft. After conducting numerous interviews and reviewing thousands of pages of declassified documents I found that many incidents involving previously unacknowledged “black” programs bore startling similarities to alleged UFO crash retrievals. Examples included mishaps involving such craft as the A-12 spy plane, D-21B drone, and F-117A “stealth fighter.”
In the early 1960s, the Central Intelligence Agency funded and managed a project to design, build, test, and operate a reconnaissance plane capable of attaining speeds of more than 2,000 miles per hour and altitudes up to 90,000 feet. The Lockheed A-12 was first flown in 1962 but its existence remained a closely guarded secret until 1981. Two other variants – the YF-12A interceptor and SR-71 reconnaissance plane – were funded by the Air Force and publicly surfaced in 1964, in part to serve as a cover for sightings of the A-12 during testing or overseas deployment.


A-12 / USAF

When an A-12 crashed near Wendover, Utah, in May 1963, the CIA deflected public and media scrutiny with a cover story that an ordinary F-105 fighter jet had crashed. Declassified documents indicate that security was paramount and cleanup was top priority, even superseding the accident investigation.
Around the same time Lockheed developed a stealthy, ramjet-powered reconnaissance drone called the D-21 to be launched from an A-12 variant. A fatal accident led to a modified version, designated D-21B, which was instead carried under the wing of a B-52 bomber and launched using a booster rocket.
Subsequently, in September 1967 a D-21B was inadvertently launched during what was supposed to have been a captive test flight over central Nevada. According to interviews with military and civilian witnesses, personnel from Area 51 secured the crash site as quickly as possible and members of the cleanup crew walked shoulder-to-shoulder through the debris field, picking up every piece. Witnesses were admonished to forget what they had seen.
Lockheed’s F-117A, first flown in 1981, was designed to be virtually invisible to radar infrared detection. Developed as a clandestine “black” program in the late 1970s, tested at Area 51, and deployed to operational units at nearby Tonopah Test Range, the airplane’s existence was a closely guarded secret for nearly a decade.
When one of the secret jets crashed on a mountain near Bakersfield, California, in July 1986 the impact site was declared a National Defense Area to prevent entry by unauthorized personnel. Armed guards manned roadblocks at perimeter checkpoints and helicopters patrolled the skies as crews worked for several weeks to clean up the site. Air Force spokesmen refused to identify the aircraft type. Confirmation didn’t come until the existence of the F-117A was announced in November 1988.
With details of these events now declassified, it is possible for civilian researchers to study official correspondence and accident investigation reports, interview civilian and government witnesses, and visit crash sites to search for debris. Physical evidence is retrieved from a crash site can be studied and identified using declassified documents, photos, and even entire airframes on display in museums. The results of such research can serve as baseline data for comparison to UFO crash retrieval stories. In fact, I visited many such crash sites and in every instance found identifiable physical evidence. The sites had not been sanitized. I thought UFOlogists would embrace this information since they had always been told that the government cleans up every trace of debris at Top Secret crash sites. I now had conclusive proof that this was not true.
While I was wondering how best to share my data with UFO researchers, author Curtis Peebles introduced me to an online discussion forum called UFO UpDates hosted by Errol Bruce-Knapp on Forum members included a wide cross-section of people including some well-known names in UFOlogy and nearly every new post sparked a lively discussion. I gravitated toward the Roswell entries even though I had long since become convinced that the 1947 incident in the New Mexico desert involved nothing more fantastic than some sort of balloon and radar reflector system. Believers were still pushing the idea that government forces had completely sanitized the debris field.
In a July 24, 2005, UFO UpDates exchange Robert Gates and Christopher Allen debated the idea that civilian witnesses to the Roswell Incident had remained silent for decades as a result of secrecy oaths. As an illustrative example of a supposedly similar event Gates cited the A-12 crash near Wendover, claiming that, “local civilian witnesses were sworn to secrecy, and to this day have not uttered a word...”
I posted a response several days later, under the heading “Crash Retrieval: A New to behold. “I think the assumption for far too long among mainstream media, my colleagues, is that anyone who’s interested in UFOs is a crackpot, a whacko, someone in desperate need of some kind of psychiatric attention,” said Knapp. “And, unfortunately,” he added, “A lot of times, they’re right.”
Ryan Wood gave a presentation titled, “A New U.S. UFO Crash Retrieval,” that supposedly promised to be “the breakthrough event for UFOlogy.” Wood said the incident that allegedly occurred near Death Valley, California, according to a prospector’s story from an August 1949 edition of the San Francisco Examiner, offered “the potential for compelling physical evidence.” Wood showed recent photos of a desert rock outcrop he had identified as the “crash site” based on the help of someone using a “remote viewing” (skeptics would call it “imagining”) technique. Wood found no debris at the location.
Dr. Michael Salla, using what he called “testimony of key military whistleblowers” and the highly suspect “SOM-1 Special Operations Manual,” gave an overview of supposed covert mechanisms and processes used by the government to manage UFO crash retrievals. The idea of elite, covert teams capable of sanitizing crash sites was a common theme at the conference until I took the podium.
To prepare for my presentation I had researched about a dozen incidents involving retrievals of various classified aerospace vehicles and weapons in the western U.S., spanning a period of approximately 50 years. I wrote detailed case studies of seven incidents and then selected three that most closely resembled classic UFO crash retrieval stories. At the conference I explained to an audience of 300 how visiting these crash sites today and studying the remaining physical evidence can provide insight into the effectiveness of government/military crash retrieval activities. I summarized my findings by noting that I could provide numerous additional case studies involving incidents in which responsible government agencies had sufficient motivation to completely sanitize crash sites in order to protect advanced materials, design configurations, or other classified information. I reiterated that material evidence indicates that these sites were not sanitized despite good reason Perspective.” In order to make it stand out, I posted my message as a new topic and used the A-12 incident to frame my thesis that examining similar crash retrieval events could help create a template for studying alleged UFO crash retrieval stories. I gave a detailed account of my investigation of the Wendover mishap, citing documents, witness interviews, and fieldwork. I particularly emphasized the physical evidence that remained at the crash site itself without overtly mentioning the implications for Roswell. Readers could draw their own conclusions. With the hook thus baited, I awaited my first response.
I was prepared for a spirited debate, assertions that extraterrestrial crash sites would be treated differently than those of even the most exotic Earthly craft, and demands for proof. My rebuttals were ready. I was even prepared for at least some researchers to recognize the implication that I was offering hope of finding actual physical evidence at a UFO crash site (or disproving a false site). I was not prepared for silence.
A week went by with no response. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. After more than a month without a single response to my revolutionary ideas, I unsubscribed to UFO UpDates. Did no one realize I was offering a set of tools with the potential to produce the Holy Grail of UFOlogy as well as to weed out hoaxes and false leads? Perhaps I just needed to find the right audience.
When I learned of the 4th Annual UFO Crash Retrieval Conference, scheduled for November 2006 in Las Vegas, I contacted organizer Ryan Wood and asked if he would like me to give a presentation called, “After the Fire: How the Government Responds to Top Secret Crashes.” He said, yes, and added me to the three-day program that included Richard Dolan, Michael Lindemann, Stanton Friedman, Nick Redfern, Linda Moulton Howe, Bruce Maccabee, and others.
During the event KLAS-TV investigative reporter George Knapp gave a keynote address covering his experiences with UFOlogy that included interviews with such controversial figures as Robert Lazar and Dr. Dan Burish. His rapid-fire delivery and subtle turn of phrase were awesome and opportunity to do so. I also emphasized that although some UFO crash incidents would doubtless prove to be hoaxes or misidentified terrestrial objects, if they involved real events, then evidence should remain to determine the nature of those events.
The audience greeted the conclusion of my lecture with polite applause and surprisingly few questions though I was gratified that some people had understood my main points. The other speakers, of whom at least several support the idea that “black ops” teams routinely sanitize UFO crash sites, largely ignored me for the duration of the conference. Someone later told me that Linda Moulton Howe even suggested that I was “an obvious government agent.”
As with my earlier UFO UpDates experience, I was surprised by such attitudes. For the first time ever, someone was offering UFO researchers hope of finding proof of extraterrestrial intelligence. Wouldn’t a government disinformation agent try to crush such hope by suggesting that nothing would be left to find because it had all been cleaned up?
I certainly hadn’t presented my thesis from a skeptical viewpoint. I merely provided an investigative tool that would be equally useful to believers and skeptics alike. In an era when numerous popular television shows (C.S.I. – Crime Scene Investigation and its spinoffs, Navy NCIS, Forensic Files, and others) feature forensic science as a tool for solving mysteries using analysis of physical evidence, UFO researchers are rejecting or ignoring such methods. What are they afraid of?


Peter with a piece of debris from the D-21b crash site, which was supposedly cleaned thoroughly and left no trace of the classified object crash.


Some of the many pieces Peter recovered from an A-12 crash site in Utah that was also cleaned up with an effort to retrieve every scrap of material from the craft. Notice the inspection markings and serial numbers that can trace the debris back to the skunkworks.


Editor’s note: Peter has an excellent account of the 1963 A-12 crash in Utah . The title of the article is called “Oxcart down! - Searching for the remains of a secret spy plane. It is a superb read. One of the SECRET documents presented has the reporting officer stating, “All small bits and pieces meticulously picked up by hand....” Apparently, not ALL had been recovered.


So what??

For those of the crashed spaceships persuasion, Peter’s experience demonstrates that no crash site can be sanitized to the point that no debris would be left. Every location is going to have some scraps left over that were missed! There have been at least two expeditions to the Foster Ranch debris field and nothing has ever been found that was unearthly.
Editor’s note: Peter has an excellent account of the 1963 A-12 crash in Utah . The title of the article is called “Oxcart down! - Searching for the remains of a secret spy plane. It is a superb read. One of the SECRET documents presented has the reporting officer stating, “All small bits and pieces meticulously picked up by hand....” Apparently, not ALL had been recovered.
To top it off, there is supposed to be at least one other location for the rest of the crash, which shifts every time a new book is published. No verifiable alien spaceship debris has ever been found at any of these locations.
Were those that cleaned up the actual crash sites of these classified aircraft inept? Were the soldiers and officers at Roswell just better at picking up every single scrap of debris? If not, why hasn’t anyone been able to produce a single item from the crash even though two extremely careful examinations have been made?
The lack of any verifiable physical evidence in these locations indicates what landed there was cleaned up the way no other crash site was ever “sanitized” or that it was something of a more earthly origin.


Quelle: SUNlite 4/2009   / Siehe auch Beitrag von Jochen Ickinger auf CENAP-UFO-Meldestelle-Blog


Samstag, 15. März 2014 - 21:55 Uhr

Astronomie - Es gibt keinen Planet X



There's no evidence for the existence of Planet X, despite a NASA space telescope’s best efforts to track it down.

The hypothetical world that may or may not be orbiting the sun beyond the orbit of Pluto has inspired many a doomsday theory. In the run-up to the much anticipated “Mayan Doomsday” of Dec. 21, 2012, the marauding Planet X was scheduled to make a inner-solar system dash, sparking gravitational mayhem, triggering civilization-ending solar flares. Some doomsayers held onto the crackpot notion that Planet X could be the fictional planet “Nibiru” that is inhabited by the Annunaki, an alien race hellbent on re-claiming Earth as their own.

15 months later, we all know how that alien invasion went — apparently we won.

All this doomsday nonsense to one side, the hunt for “Planet X” actually has roots in real science. In the mid- to late-19th Century, astronomers were tracking the gravitational perturbations of the gas giant planets in an effort to track down an undiscovered world in the outermost reaches of the solar system — this hypothetical massive planet was dubbed “Planet X.” However, this fascinating trail of discovery ended at the discovery of tiny Pluto in 1930. Lacking the gravitational oomph to explain the gravitational perturbations, it turned out that Pluto wasn’t the Planet X astronomers thought it would be. After the realization that the gravitational perturbations observed were more likely observational error, Planet X became a story of legend.

The idea that the sun may have a stellar partner has also been investigated — perhaps there’s a brown dwarf (a failed star) going unnoticed out there. Nicknamed “Nemesis,” this binary partner could be evading detection.

A few oddities in the outer solar system have given astronomers pause to think that something massive might be lurking out there, however, whether it be a massive planet or sub-standard star. One strong piece of evidence laid in the discovery of the “Kuiper Cliff,” a sudden drop-off of Kuiper Belt objects in the region just beyond Pluto. Could the Cliff be caused by a previously overlooked world? Also, geological record has suggested there’s a regularity to mass extinctions on Earth linked to comet impacts — could a distant orbiting body be perturbing comets, sending them our way on a cyclical basis?

“The outer solar system probably does not contain a large gas giant planet, or a small, companion star,” said Kevin Luhman of the Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds at Penn State University, University Park, Pa.

Luhman and his team have analyzed data from NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), a space telescope that carried out a detailed infrared survey of the entire sky from 2010 to 2011. If something big is lurking out there, WISE would easily have spotted it. Alas, WISE has turned up no Planet X candidate. Previous observations by WISE have also ruled out the Planet X-comet perturbation theory.

According to a NASA news release, “no object the size of Saturn or larger exists out to a distance of 10,000 astronomical units (AU), and no object larger than Jupiter exists out to 26,000 AU. One astronomical unit equals 93 million miles. Earth is 1 AU, and Pluto about 40 AU, from the sun.”

However, the modern search for a Planet X was never WISE’s prime mission. In a second study, the discovery of 3,525 stars and brown dwarfs within 500 light-years of the sun are detailed. In cosmic distances, these objects are right on our galactic doorstep. Both studies have been published in The Astrophysical Journal.

“Neighboring star systems that have been hiding in plain sight just jump out in the WISE data,” said WISE principal investigator Ned Wright of the University of California, Los Angeles.

During its prime mission, WISE was able to capture two full scans of the infrared sky approximately 6 months apart. By comparing the positions of objects in the two scans, astronomers are able to deduce how much the objects have moved. The greater the positional shift, the closer the object is to Earth. This is known as the parallax effect and provides astronomers with a valuable tool to detect how close a celestial object is to Earth.

When WISE’s cryogenic helium ran dry, its primary mission came to an end, but late last year, the space telescope was rebooted to continue to search for the infrared signals of near-Earth objects and renamed NEOWISE.

Quelle: D-News


Update: 15.03.2014


Putting an End to the Planet X Saga? Latest Search for Hypothetical Planet at Edge of Solar System Comes Up Empty

Deeply ingrained in popular culture, it has been the object of obsession for scientists and conspiracy theorists alike: a hypothesized hidden planet lurking beyond the orbit of Pluto, which was long-thought to be the cause of observed perturbations in the orbits of the outer giant planets, past mass extinction events on Earth, and other modern-day doomsday, apocalyptic scenarios. Detailed all-sky surveys in recent years made with NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, although revealing the presence of thousands of stellar and substellar objects within the Sun’s wider neighborhood, have shown that the long-sought-for “Planet X” is nowhere to be found.

The notion of a massive, unobserved planet orbiting the Sun beyond the known reaches of the Solar System goes back to the 19th century, even before the discovery of Neptune in 1846. The discovery of the blue-tinted ice giant planet itself came as a result of a series of efforts by 19th-century astronomers to explain the discrepancies between the predicted and observed orbit of Uranus that were caused by Neptune’s gravitational tug. When astronomers realised that Neptune was experiencing similar perturbations in its orbit, they suspected that the most likely cause was the presence of a yet another unobserved planet, even farther out from the Sun.

American astronomer Percival Lowell was central in the hunt for this hypothesized trans-Neptunian massive planet during the early 20th century, which he dubbed “Planet X.” With the discovery of Pluto by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930 the matter was initially thought to be resolved. When astronomers finally realised that Pluto’s mass was too small and insignificant to have any effect on the orbits of Uranus and Neptune, the search for Planet X was rekindled. It took the detailed observations of NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft during its fly by of Neptune in 1989 for astronomers to realise that the observed orbital discrepancies were due to errors made in the calculation of Neptune’s mass by their 19th-century counterparts. With the help from the Voyager 2 data, more precise measurements of the ice giant mass were made, accounting for the observed orbital anomalies.

Nonetheless, the prospect of a distant world avoiding detection while secretly revolving around the Sun has remained very popular among the general public to this day, fueling countless conspiracy theories at the same time that morphed Planet X to the menacing Nibiru, a hypothetical rogue planet that has been many times prophesied by conspiracy theorists to sweep through the Solar System and lead to the complete obliteration of Earth. The latest in this long series of unfounded eschatological predictions was the infamous 2012 Mayan Apocalypse, supposedly occurring on Dec. 21, 2012, bringing an end to life as we know it.

Despite all the doom and gloom of such apocalyptic scenarios that are so prevalent in our modern-day society, the already slim chances for the existence of this far-off world within the frozen expanses of the outer Solar System were further reduced following the launch of NASA’s WISE spacecraft in December 2009. A low-cost Explorer-class mission, WISE conducted two all-sky surveys in infrared wavelengths in 2010 before running out of its hydrogen coolant, with a sensitivity 1,000 times greater than that of the Infrared Astronomical Satellite, or IRAS, that had performed a similar mission 25 years earlier. Sweeping the sky continuously for 10 months at four different infrared wavelengths—3.3, 4.7, 12, and 23 micrometers—WISE’s observations were of unprecedented detail. By analysing this wealth of data, astronomers were able to discover millions of black hole candidates in distant galaxies, thousands of new asteroids in the Solar System, a new ultra-cool class of brown dwarfs, and dozens of comets.

Contrary to observations made in visible wavelengths where many deep-sky objects are hidden from view, either enveloped in dense regions of gas and dust or bathed in intense surrounding starlight, by observing in the infrared the internal heat that these objects radiate becomes readily visible to astronomers, allowing them to study even very dim and cool celestial objects like planets, asteroids, and brown dwarfs that would otherwise remain invisible.

The sensitivity of the WISE spacecraft was such that it could detect a Jupiter-sized planet out to 26,000 Astronomical Units from the Sun (more than a third of a light-year away) and a Saturn-sized planet out to 10,000 A.U. For comparison, Pluto lies at a mean distance of 40 A.U. from the Sun. Yet, it found none.

“The outer solar system probably does not contain a large gas giant planet, or a small, companion star,” says Kevin Luhman, Associate Astronomy Professor at the Penn State University’s Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and lead author of a study published in the Astrophysical Journal, detailing the WISE observations.

The absence of a massive gas giant planet lurking at these distances doesn’t mean that one couldn’t exist farther away from the Sun. A Jupiter-sized planet located at a distance of 1 light-year away would have gone undetected by WISE’s instruments. Still, these latest results cast much doubt on earlier hypotheses concerning the existence of a distant planetary companion to the Sun named Tyche and a stellar companion named Nemesis. The latter, in particular, was thought to be a companion red dwarf star to the Sun, or possibly a brown dwarf. Although many times more massive than Jupiter, brown dwarfs are substellar objects, not massive enough to undergo nuclear fusion reactions in their cores. It was postulated that these hypothetical worlds would have highly elliptical orbits disrupting comets within the Oort Cloud, the hypothetical reservoir of icy bodies that is thought to extend out to 1 light-year from the Sun and flinging them toward the inner Solar System. According to that hypothesis, the past mass extinction events recorded in the Earth’s geological record were caused in part by such extraterrestrial impacts.

Objects like Tyche and Nemesis would have been easily spotted by WISE if indeed they were there. Yet, even though WISE discovered many dozens of brown dwarfs out to a distance of 30 light-years away, it found no traces of such distant companions to the Sun. Results from the infrared telescope also showed that even the number of brown dwarfs discovered near the Sun was much lower than anticipated. “This is a really illuminating result,” says Davy Kirkpatrick, member of the WISE science team at NASA’s Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. “Now that we’re finally seeing the solar neighborhood with keener, infrared vision, the little guys aren’t as prevalent as we once thought. This is how science progresses as we obtain better and better data. With WISE, we were able to test our predictions and show they were wrong. We had made extrapolations based on discoveries from projects like the Two-Micron All-Sky Survey, but WISE is giving us our first look at the coldest brown dwarfs we’re only now able to detect.”

Nevertheless, astronomers were able to detect the two closest brown dwarfs to Earth, both members of the star system WISE J104915.57-531906, lying just 6.5 light-years away. “One major goal when proposing WISE was to find the closest stars to the Sun,” says Edward L. Wright, principal investigator for WISE, from the University of California, LA. “WISE J1049-531906 is by far the closest [brown dwarfs] found to date using the WISE data.”

Following its 10-month all-sky survey in late 2010, and having depleted its hydrogen coolant responsible for keeping the space telescope at the needed operating temperature of minus 429 degrees Fahrenheit, WISE was put into hibernation the following year. NASA reactivated the mothballed orbiting observatory in September 2013, while renaming it NEOWISE and giving it a new three-year mission to discover and characterise Near-Earth Asteroids whose orbits bring them close to the Earth. “WISE is the spacecraft that keeps on giving,” says Wright.

Despite the lack of any evidence for the existence of Planet X or other similar stellar interlopers from the edges of the Solar System, NASA’s WISE mission has provided a wealth of data that will keep astronomers and planetary scientists occupied for years to come. “We’re finding objects that were totally overlooked before,” says Kirkpatrick, who also led a recent study published in the Astrophysical Journal detailing the discovery of 3,525 stars and brown dwarfs within 500 light-years from the Sun, using data from WISE. “We think there are even more stars out there left to find with WISE. We don’t know our own Sun’s backyard as well as you might think,” adds Wright.

Even though these latest results to come from WISE likely won’t help to reduce the number of the pseudoscientific, crackpot conspiracy theories that permeate contemporary popular culture, centered around the always imminent End of Days, the space telescope can nevertheless help us gain a new appreciation for the wondrous Universe that lies above our heads.

Quelle: AmericaSpace

Tags: Theres No Planet X 


Freitag, 14. März 2014 - 22:50 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Heute Abend: National Geographic LIVE EVENT von ISS


Tonight, starting at 8 p.m. EDT, NASA and National Geographic Channel will provide viewers with a live look behind the scenes aboard the International Space Station and with the ground team at Mission Control in Houston.
During the live two-hour broadcast, the astronauts will share a bit of their unique perspective of Earth, show some of the scientific experiments that have taken place aboard the station and discuss the importance of keeping healthy during long-duration missions.


NASA, Astronauts Invite National Geographic Aboard Space Station for Live Event


The International Space Station is a unique orbital laboratory where astronauts live and work to expand the frontiers of research. For two hours this Friday, NASA and National Geographic Channel will provide viewers with a live look behind the scenes, both aboard the orbiting complex and with the ground team at Mission Control that watches over the crew and station systems 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

As their orbital home soars 260 miles above the Earth, astronauts Rick Mastracchio of NASA and Koichi Wakata, the first Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency station commander, will give National Geographic Channel viewers a guided tour of the space station, which has more livable room than a conventional six-bedroom house.  The two astronauts, who arrived at the space station back on Nov. 7 along with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, are scheduled to remain aboard the station as the crew of Expedition 39 until mid-May.  Three more crew members, including NASA astronaut Steve Swanson, are slated to launch to the station on March 25 to round out the crew.

› National Geographic Channel's "Live From Space" site

Wakata became the first Japanese commander of the station when his Expedition 38 crewmates – Commander Oleg Kotov and Flight Engineers Mike Hopkins and Sergey Ryazanskiy – departed on Monday.

During their time aboard the station so far, Wakata and Mastracchio have welcomed three visiting cargo spacecraft, including the first commercial delivery mission of Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Cygnus spacecraft in January. And Wakata and Mastracchio already are gearing up for next week’s robotic capture of the SpaceX Dragon cargo ship.

The seven-windowed cupola from which Wakata and Mastracchio will be operating the station’s robotic arm for the capture of Dragon also serves as a prime viewing spot for the astronauts to photograph the Earth below. The astronauts’ dramatic and colorful photos from space are not just reminders of Earth’s fragile beauty. They also provide near real-time information exchange between the crew and scientists tracking dynamic geological and meteorological events here on Earth. Critical environmental monitoring sites are photographed repeatedly over time. And Earth-limb pictures taken at sunrise and sunset document changes in atmospheric layering, and record such phenomena as auroras and noctilucent (night clouds in the upper atmosphere) clouds.

The astronauts will share a bit of their unique perspective of Earth with viewers Friday, but the public can visit the Gateway to Astronaut Photography to catch up on the more than one million Earth photographs taken by astronauts so far.

During Friday’s broadcast, the astronauts will show off some of the nearly 300 experiments that have taken place aboard the station over the past year.  Fully assembled and continuously inhabited, the orbiting laboratory provides a unique environment for multidisciplinary research and technology development that drives space exploration, basic discovery, and benefits to people on Earth.

For example, a trio of free-flying robots known as Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites, or SPHERES, have been used for variety of experiments studying topics such as satellite servicing, wireless power transfer, virtual navigation and fluid slosh in rocket tanks. The bowling-ball-sized SPHERES robots have even played a role in education as teams of students from around the world go head-to-head to program the best algorithms to command the robots for the Zero Robotics competition.

The crew also will discuss the importance of keeping healthy during these long-duration missions through a balanced diet of prepackaged space food and a daily two-hour exercise regimen to prevent the loss of muscle mass and bone density. Human health management for long-duration space travel is a key focus area for research as NASA and Roscosmos prepare for two crew members, Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko, to spend a full year aboard the space station beginning in 2015.

While the crew works aboard the station, teams of flight controllers around the world work together to monitor systems and experiments aboard the station and keep the crew safe. National Geographic and U.K.’s Channel 4 will go into the heart of Houston’s Mission Control Center with NASA astronaut Mike Massimino to show how the specialists there work tirelessly to anticipate and deal with every potential incident or emergency.  On Sunday, Massimino will give Channel 4 viewers another live look into Mission Control as he details the real-time decisions he and the ground teams faced during his series of spacewalks on two space shuttle missions to service and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope.

If the two-hour glimpse into life and work aboard the station whets your appetite for more, tune in to NASA Television each weekday at 11 a.m. EDT for “Space Station Live” for the latest on the activities of the Expedition crew. Also check out “Space to Ground,” a weekly wrap-up of all the station activities, available on NASA’s website and on iTunes.

And while the crew is hard at work up in space, you can keep an eye on them from here on Earth. As the third brightest object in the sky the space station is easy to see if you know when to look up. NASA’s Spot The Station service gives you a list of upcoming sighting opportunities for thousands of locations worldwide, and will let you sign up to receive notices of opportunities in your email inbox or cell phone. Or, you can use NASA SkyWatch to look up coming opportunity by your home zip code, or download the NASA app for your mobile device and sighting opportunities around the globe.


Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata poses for a photo at a window in the Cupola of the International Space Station while the Canadarm2 robotic arm's Latching End Effector appears to be looking through the window from outside the station.


Quelle: NASA


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