By Guest Space Cadet
By Bible Speaks
Space the Frontier Beyond Our Imagination!
What of the Future?
The Hubble telescope promises greater revelations for the immediate future. One astronomer wrote: “With the Hubble Space Telescope, we’ll see the shapes of many galaxies around the vicinity of quasars [quasi-stellar radio sources, the most luminous objects in the universe].” As to understanding the origin of galaxies, Richard Ellis of the University of Cambridge, England, says: “We’re about to enter a very exciting time.”
Human curiosity will continue to spur the search for knowledge of the universe, its beginnings, and its purpose. Such knowledge should awaken in our hearts reverence for the Creator of the vast universe, Jehovah God, who said: “Raise your eyes high up and see. Who has created these things? It is the One who is bringing forth the army of them even by number, all of whom he calls even by name. Due to the abundance of dynamic energy, he also being vigorous in power, not one of them is missing.”—Isaiah 40:26; Psalm 147:4.
Let me attempt to blow your mind: “Now” travels at the speed of light.
When the light turns green, I don't concern myself with the fact that the light actually turned green a nanosecond earlier than I saw it. As far as the distances we're used to, “now” might just as well be universal.
On interstellar distances, you might expect that the lag start mattering. Except it really doesn't. Maybe Sirius isn't there anymore. Maybe it went supernova five years ago, and the shockwave is riding towards us as you read, and it will hit us in another three years. There's no way we'd know. We look up and see the old faithful Sirius sitting right where it's always been. And we can measure its gravitational influence on us and neighboring stars. There is no knowing it's actually gone, and that's because it actually isn't. To someone in the neighborhood of Sirius, the star is no more, but, to us, it still exist. “Existence” travels at the speed of light.
If the sun was spirited away by a species of prankster kardashev 3 aliens, it would keep “being there” for 8 minutes as far as we'd be concerned.
And those 10 billion light years away stars we see through our telescopes, they are there. Because we can see them.
- Julien Boyer
By Guest Nicole
If conservation efforts pay off, whales could help islands meet their emissions reductions
Unlikely heroes could play a starring role in helping the Pacific islands meet their climate commitments: whales.
Residents of the Pacific islands are keeping an anxious eye on the whales that populate their steadily warming waters. Many are concerned that climate change will take a toll on the marine mammals that are an integral part of the islands’ culture, as well as the base of a thriving eco-tourism industry.
Members of the scientific community are also worried, albeit for a different reason: Whales are crucial to ocean carbon absorption. As whale numbers dwindle, it could lead to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, scientists say. But if conservation efforts pay off, whales could play a role in helping the islands meet the reductions to their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) of greenhouse gases framed in the Paris Agreement.
“The main takeaway here is that whales eat carbon, not fish,” said Angela Martin, project lead with Blue Climate Solutions and co-author of a recent report produced for the secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme that looked into the species’ role in carbon absorption.
“The deep ocean stores a lot of carbon, so it’s worth looking at the contribution of animals and help in conservation efforts,” she added.
Whales facilitate carbon absorption in two ways. On the one hand, their movements — especially when diving — tend to push nutrients from the bottom of the ocean to the surface, where they feed the phytoplankton and other marine flora that suck in carbon, as well as fish and other smaller animals. The other, explained Natalie Barefoot, executive director of Cet Law and co-author of the report, is by producing fecal plumes.
“In other words, pooing,” she said. “That also introduces nutrients that create marine plants in the area. These plants use photosynthesis, which absorbs carbon, thus enhancing the carbon capture process.”
But as waters steadily grow warmer, whales may not be able to survive in the region. It’s difficult to predict just how climate change will affect the species, said Barefoot, because they’re part of a complicated ecosystem with many interlinked species.
Climate threats are also coupled with human ones like overfishing. Broadly speaking, however, increased temperatures will likely create tough living conditions and drive more whales out of the waters around the islands.
“Temperature change may directly influence the distribution of whales, and then you have ocean acidification, which can affect the food chain and habitats of their prey. Whales are highly mobile creatures, so if climate change causes the prey to move, they will probably follow them. Then there’s the increased competition that comes about as surface temperatures change and species move to different habitats — all of a sudden, you have different species using the same area, so there’s more competition,” she said.
Then there’s the question of how climate pressures on humans could affect whale habitats. For instance, as shifting weather patterns affect food security, humans could start relying more on the ocean for food. There’s also the possibility that ship traffic will increase as melting ice opens up more routes across the ocean, leading to more pollution, garbage and noise.
That dynamic could create a cycle where warming waters harm the whales, in turn reducing the ocean’s ability to suck in carbon and leading to even more temperature increases.
By Ann O'Maly
Artwork: Gaia is making the definitive map of our Milky Way Galaxy
Europe’s Gaia space telescope has been used to clock the expansion rate of the Universe and - once again - it has produced some head-scratching.
The reason? The speed is faster than what one would expect from measurements of the cosmos shortly after the Big Bang.
Some other telescopes have found this same problem, too.
But Gaia’s contribution is particularly significant because the precision of its observations is unprecedented.
“It certainly ups the ante,” says Adam Riess from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) and the Johns Hopkins University, both in Baltimore, Maryland, US.
The inability to lock down a value for the expansion rate has far-reaching consequences - not least in how we gauge the cosmic timescale.
If the Gaia speedometer is correct, it would mean having to reduce the estimated 13.88-billion-year age of the Universe by perhaps a few hundred million years.
Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-37438458
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