Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Crab Nebula and Ancient Light from a Black Hole: The Universe Reveals It's Secrets

The Crab Nebula Supernova Relic Reveals Its Secrets: "We're making an amazing discovery about it."


Though it's only 10 miles across, the amount of energy the pulsar at its core releases is enormous, lighting up the Crab Nebula until it shines 75,000 times more brightly than the sun. The nebula, one of our best-known and most stable neighbors in the winter sky, is shocking scientists with a propensity for fireworks—gamma-ray flares set off by the most energetic particles ever traced to a specific astronomical object. The discovery, reported today by scientists working with two orbiting telescopes, is leading researchers to rethink their ideas of how cosmic particles are accelerated.

"We were dumbfounded," said Roger Blandford, who directs the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, jointly located at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University. "It's an emblematic object," he said; also known as M1, the Crab Nebula was the first astronomical object catalogued in 1771 by Charles Messier. "It's a big deal historically, and we're making an amazing discovery about it."

Blandford was part of a KIPAC team led by scientists Rolf Buehler and Stefan Funk that used observations from the Large Area Telescope, one of two primary instruments aboard NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, to confirm one flare and discover another.

The Crab Nebula, and the rapidly spinning neutron star that powers it, are the remnants of a supernova explosion documented by Chinese and Middle Eastern astronomers in 1054. After shedding much of its outer gases and dust, the dying star collapsed into a pulsar, a super-dense, rapidly spinning ball of neutrons that emits a pulse of radiation every 33 milliseconds, like clockwork.

Most of the Crab Nebula's  energy is contained in a particle wind of energetic electrons and positrons traveling close to the speed of light. These electrons and positrons interact with magnetic fields and low-energy photons to produce the famous glowing tendrils of dust and gas Messier mistook for a comet over 300 years ago.
The particles are even forceful enough to produce the gamma rays the LAT normally observes during its regular surveys of the sky. But those particles did not cause the dramatic flares.
Each of the two flares the LAT observed lasted mere days before the Crab Nebula's gamma-ray output returned to more normal levels. According to Funk, the short duration of the flares points to synchrotron radiation, or radiation emitted by electrons accelerating in the magnetic field of the nebula, as the cause. The flares were caused by super-charged electrons of up to 10 peta-electron volts, or 10 trillion electron volts, 1,000 times more energetic than anything the world's most powerful man-made particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider in Europe, can produce, and more than 15 orders of magnitude more energetic than photons of visible light.

"The strength of the gamma-ray flares shows us they were emitted by the highest-energy particles we can associate with any discrete astrophysical object," Funk said.

"The fact that the intensity is varying so rapidly means the acceleration has to happen extremely fast," added Buehler. This challenges current theories about the way cosmic particles are accelerated, which cannot easily account for the extreme energies of the electrons or the speed with which they're accelerated.

The KIPAC scientists need a closer look at higher resolutions and in a variety of wavelengths before they can make any definitive statements about the mechanisms behind the Crab Nebula's gamma-ray flares. "We thought we knew the essential ingredients of the Crab Nebula," Funk said, "but that's no longer true. It's still surprising us."
The Chandra images in the collage below were made over a span of several months (ordered left to right, except for the close-up). They provide a stunning view of the activity in the inner region around the Crab Nebula pulsar, the rapidly rotating neutron star seen as a bright white dot near the center of the images.

A wisp can be seen moving outward at half the speed of light from the upper right of the inner ring around the pulsar. The wisp appears to merge with a larger outer ring that is visible in both X-ray and optical images.

The inner X-ray ring consists of about two dozen knots that form, brighten and fade. As a high-speed wind of matter and antimatter particles from the pulsar plows into the surrounding nebula, it creates a shock wave and forms the inner ring. Energetic shocked particles move outward to brighten the outer ring and produce an extended X-ray glow.

Enormous electrical voltages generated by the rotating, highly magnetized neutron star accelerate particles outward along its equator to produce the pulsar wind. These pulsar voltages also produce the polar jets seen spewing X-ray emitting matter and antimatter particles perpendicular to the rings.

The Daily Galaxy via Science Express and the lSLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Epic Discovery: Ancient Light from a Massive Black Hole Reveals New, Unknown History of Universe

E65B1F66-D721-C5CD-B736389A50FEC9B9_1Cambridge University astronomers have discovered the 'missing link' in the evolution of the universe following the Big Bang, it was claimed today. For years scientists have known nothing about the 'dark ages' of space - a period between the Big Bang 13.7billion years ago and the creation of the first stars. But newly captured light emitted from a massive black hole has allowed scientists to peer into this unknown portion of the history of the universe.

Astronomers discovered remnants of the first stars and evidence of the aftermath of an exploding star, which was a staggering 25 times larger than the sun. Professor Max Pettini, of Cambridge's Institute of Astronomy, believes the discovery of these gases could help reveal the origins of the universe.

"We have effectively been able to peer into the Dark Ages using the light emitted from a quasar. The light provides a backdrop against which any gas cloud in its path can be measured. We discovered tiny amounts of elements present in the cloud in proportions that are very different from their relative proportions in normal stars today. We have effectively been able to peer into the Dark Ages using the light emitted from a quasar. Most significantly, the ratio of carbon to iron is 35 times greater than measured in the sun.

"The composition enables us to infer that the gas was released by a star 25 times more massive than the sun and originally consisting of only hydrogen and helium. In effect, this is a fossil record that provides us with a missing link back to the early universe."

The Cambridge scientists teamed up with researchers at the California Institute of Technology to carry out the ground-breaking research, using light emitted from a massive black hole, called a quasar, to 'light up' gases released by the young stars.

These early stars are believed to hold the key to how the universe evolved from being filled with hydrogen and helium to one rich in heavier elements such as oxygen, carbon and iron. Lasting half a billion years after the Big Bang, this period is inaccessible to telescopes because the clouds of gas that filled the universe then were not transparent. But astronomers in California and Cambridge successfully located a rare cloud released from a star using the world's largest telescopes

The Daily Galaxy via

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011-New Astrological Patterns at Play

Jan 4 Eclipse

2011~A New Cycle Begins

- By Elizabeth Jones - Master Astrologist

Many have an awareness that the times in which we live are different and somehow significant, even special and unique. Great emphasis has been placed on 2012, for one, but whether you place much credence in that or not, there are many other indicators that this is a turning point for humanity. Certainly it is true economically, politically, culturally and in regards to our institutions of education, government and religion.

Trying to make any sense of it and then to try to figure out  "what to do about it" can be quite bewildering and even overwhelming.

Two Critical Questions

If you are on a path of consciousness or a Spiritual path of some kind, then you may be asking yourself two very important questions these days:
From a practical viewpoint you wonder how you are to thrive, or just survive, in the times we live. This may be financially, regarding your job or work situation or personal relationships and/or family life.

From a spiritual viewpoint you may ask something along the lines of: Why am I here now? What is my part to play at this critical juncture? How can I be of service?
And very importantly, how do these two dynamics intersect in my life? Where do they merge?

One of the key shifts available in 2011 is this: to get the order of these two right. Meaning, to see that in order to thrive in a practical sense, you have to make it your priority to better understand the relationship between your spiritual path and your life path.
In fact, the merging of these two is where the alchemy occurs and magic happens.

Where To Start?

A good place to start is this:
1.   Recognizethat you do have a part to play at this critical time on planet Earth, and then claim it.
2.   To do this you must raise your vibration, up your game, step up to the plate and own your significance.

You signed up to being here now. And you consented to doing something, to being a vehicle for a higher purpose in some way or another.

Does it need to be grandiose and involve a huge effort? Not  necessarily. What it needs to be is authentically yours. For doing so is what will give you every tool, every resource and all the support you need to carry out your Soul Purpose, or what I often call "Your Task".

Keep in mind that your task may not be an "out in the world thing" and could be more of an inner experience. Opening to the Light on the inner brings Light to all that are near and can have a significant impact in raising the vibration on the planet.
And this is the year, I feel, many will experience a shift from seeking or trying to do this to actually manifesting it. But again, getting clear about the order of this is a must.

The Astrological Cycles at Play

One of the great gifts of Astrology is that we can see the bigger cycles at play. And this year, a new cycle is about to begin.

For seven years, Uranus has been in the sign of Pisces. All astrological influences have an agenda and Uranus in Pisces, during this last seven years, was clear: open a channel from our higher mind to our lower mind. This was so we increased our capacity to grasp new knowledge and insights.

The impact of this influence has, over time, opened our minds and hearts to new wisdom and understandings. Most of you have also likely experienced an increase in your own intuition and inner knowing during these years. Hopefully you have also come to trust it more, even rely on it.
During these 7 years, many changed how they saw things and this could have created a kind of chaos as the old way of perceiving didn't seem to fit aspects of the new insights and higher knowledge now available. The old patterns stubbornly held their position in our psyche, often resisting this new information. But over time, and with the help of other astrological influences during this past few years, the beliefs and ways of perceiving your life have likely changed.
The old patterns and precepts served their purpose and now don't seem to fit. This can be uncomfortable as going back isn't even possible anymore. This may be to a career path, how we support ourselves or relationships to our family, friends or partners. It can feel as though the path has actually dissolved when we look back.

I have heard many say such things . . . that significant aspects of their life now seem "old, out dated and just no longer an option." Yet it would seem that a kind of limbo set in for many in 2010, because the "next steps" or new path were not really all that clear. Or perhaps it was clear but just not happening for one reason or another.

On To 2011 and The New Cycle

Yes, I feel we are entering a New Cycle. The planetary energies, patterns and shifts point in this direction.

Yet to the degree that we are in sync with the energies, is the degree we will be able to truly avail ourselves to the magic pulsing through them.

In other words, to embrace this New Cycle, we must align ourselves through exerting our personal will, in a conscious way that embraces and stabilizes the natural rhythms of life, as these are the "carriers" of the current of the creative/creator, or the Pulse of Life itself.

"Rhythm is the carrier of Life."
~Rudolph Steiner

What's Up in Arkansas ? ...

 Many of you are aware of the 'mysterious' occurrence of 5000 birds dropping from the skies in the Crystal Vortex 3 days ago on the 1-1-11. We will say the Crystals are moving into hyper activity, and as Arkansas is the largest deposit of natural quartz crystal in the Northern Hemisphere, unique (quartz -magnetic) electrical activity is not uncommon in the areas of quartz bearing strata.  Quartz is one of 3 piezo-electric mineral crystals, and Arkansas contains specific areas of magnetic lode stone within the crystal vortex parameters & regions. The combination of these two properties can and does stimulate ionics in the  atmosphere, and often attracts unusual electro-magnetic phenomena as well as lightening. As the Master Crystals are awakening, incredible energies are stimulated. ...more to come, stay tuned