All posts by CrimsonedGlass

Mysterious object that flew by Earth has finally been identified

Mysterious object that flew by Earth has finally been identified by Mike Wehner

  • The object originally dubbed Asteroid 2020 SO appears to be a long-lost rocket booster that left Earth in 1966 and finally came back.
  • The booster was part of a failed NASA mission to the Moon, and it has apparently been orbiting the Sun ever since.
  • Space junk is becoming an increasingly serious problem, and manmade trash in space could pose a threat to future missions.

Back in September news began to circulate that an object was headed for Earth. That alone wouldn’t be particularly big news, but what made this revelation so interesting is that nobody knew what the object actually was. Was it an asteroid? Perhaps it was, but some scientists offered a different explanation, and now that the object has safely passed by Earth it appears they were probably correct.

The strange near-Earth object originally dubbed Asteroid 2020 SO turned out to be likely manmade. It is now believed to be the remains of a very old rocket that was launched way back in the 1960s. As the mysterious visitor passed by Earth, images of it helped to potentially reveal its true identity, and remind us yet again that humans have a habit of leaving trash wherever they go.More from BGR

Researchers working with the Virtual Telescope Project held a live stream event to track the object as it approached our planet. The high-powered hardware was able to lock onto the bright dot as it cruised through space, and astrophysicist Gianluca Masi, the founder of the project, noted that it was “likely” a piece of NASA hardware that has come back to visit.

Scientists had suspected that the object might not really be an asteroid for some time. This was based on the fact that the object appeared to have a very similar Sun-centric orbit to Earth’s, and the relatively low velocity of 2020 SO offered further clues that it was actually just a piece of junk we accidentally sent flying around the Sun.

The rocket — if that is indeed what it turns out to be — is thought to be a Centaur booster launched way back in September of 1966. It was part of the Surveyor 2 mission which was supposed to send a lunar lander to the Moon’s surface. Unfortunately, the spacecraft lost control and the mission failed as a result, but the rocket booster appears to have lived on, making trips around the Sun and eventually catching back up with Earth.

If a rocket booster from 1966 can come back to “haunt” us after that long, then it’s no surprise that Earth is surrounded by pieces of manmade junk that just won’t go away. Recently, the European Space Agency made the decision to spend the equivalent of roughly $100 million for a mission that will remove a single large piece of space junk from the area around our planet. The mission will launch sometime in 2025.

Sacramento County records record-breaking number of new COVID cases

Sacramento County records record-breaking number of new COVID cases

New numbers from Sacramento County Public Health show the county added more than 1,100 COVID-19 new cases Tuesday, nearly doubling the previous report and setting another record in the county.

Tuesday’s numbers bring the total of confirmed COVID cases in the county since the pandemic began to nearly 39,000. According to the county’s COVID dashboard, an estimated 29,000 people have likely recovered.

Like much of the state, Sacramento County is in California’s most restrictive, purple COVID tier. The positivity rate is 9.4%, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Health officials are concerned about more spikes and an increase in hospitalizations due to Thanksgiving gatherings.

As of earlier this week, intensive care unit beds in the Greater Sacramento area were at 76% capacity, according to state health data. Based on current trends, that number is projected to be at 103% by Christmas Eve, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.

Jupiter may have ‘sprites’ or ‘elves’ in its atmosphere

Jupiter may have ‘sprites’ or ‘elves’ in its atmosphere

This is the first time scientists have seen hints of these bright, fast flashes on another world

By Maria Temming

Jupiter is the first planet other than Earth seen to host what appear to be atmospheric light shows called “sprites” or “elves.”

Understanding light and other forms of energy on the move

These two types of atmospheric glows form when lightning alters electric fields in the atmosphere above a storm. On Earth, these events cause high altitude nitrogen molecules to glow red for a moment. Sprites appear in the mesosphere, at heights of about 50 to 90 kilometers (31 to 56 miles). They can light up the sky for tens of kilometers (miles). Elves are far bigger. They can span hundreds of kilometers. They also form at greater heights — 75 to 105 km. That’s solidly within the lower thermosphere.

Scientists thought sprites and elves also might dance above other planets that crackle with lightning. But until now, no one had glimpsed these lights on another world.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft started orbiting Jupiter in 2016. Since then, Juno has seen 11 flashes of light on the gas giant that could be sprites or elves. These flares appeared above Jupiter’s water clouds, where most lightning forms. Juno saw several in regions known to be stormy.

Explainer: Our atmosphere — layer by layer

Each flash lasted milliseconds. That’s about as long as sprites and elves last on Earth. And the flashes glowed in ultraviolet light. This is the wavelength band in which any sprites or elves on Jupiter would be expected to glow. It’s different from the red hues of sprites and elves on Earth. Why? Unlike Earth, Jupiter’s atmosphere is mostly hydrogen, not nitrogen.

Researchers reported the flashes online October 27 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.

Juno could confirm that these lights are sprites or elves with more observations, says Rohini Giles. She is a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. If Juno saw a lightning strike at the same place as one of these ultraviolet flashes, “that would prove it,” she says.

Juno may also reveal the size of those light shows if it manages a closer look at one of the flashes. Knowing how big they are could tell scientists which the lights are — sprites or elves. Or maybe even both.

Musk says another SpaceX test flight set for Wed

Musk says another SpaceX test flight set for Wed

Starship prototype Serial Number 8, or SN8 will try to reach about 50,000 feet altitude.

By Frank Miles via FOXBusiness

https://video.foxbusiness.com/v/video-embed.html?video_id=6160100147001&embedver=orion#amp=1SpaceX launch will rewrite US access to outer space: Theoretical physicist

Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku discusses the postponement of the SpaceX launch and the future of space travel.

SpaceX may launch its next test flight of a prototype of its Mars rocketship this week, founder and chief executive Elon Musk said on Twitter on Sunday.

He tweeted concerning test fires and the planned schedule: “Just a static fire tomorrow. Flight no earlier than Wednesday.”

The company is trying to develop Starship, which is designed to carry dozens of people on long-range flight so that it would be possible to colonize Mars. Starship will be “the world’s most powerful launch vehicle ever developed,” according to the SpaceX website.

Starship prototype Serial Number 8, or SN8 will try to reach about 50,000 feet altitude.

SpaceX launched the prototype of its Mars rocketship hundreds of feet into the air, then landed it upright in previous successful test flights on Aug. 5 — the prototype’s predecessor SN5 — and Sept. 3 — the prototype’s predecessor SN6.

The August flight of SN5 lasted barely 45 seconds and reached just 500 feet at the southeastern tip of Texas near Brownsville, but was an important first for SpaceX’s Starship. Some earlier tests ended in explosions on the pad.

“Mars is looking real,” Musk tweeted after the short hop. “Progress is accelerating.”

https://video.foxbusiness.com/v/video-embed.html?video_id=6193526779001&embedver=orion#amp=1Tesla’s Elon Musk is ‘big picture guy’: Investor

Hercules Investments CEO James McDonald weighs in on the future of Tesla.

Musk said several more short hops are planned before a test version of Starship aims for a high altitude. The latest test model is relatively plain: It stands a full-scale 100 feet tall and resembles a steel silo — or stretched-out can — with a cap on top.

The private company plans to launch reusable Starships atop still-in-the-works rockets, carrying cargo or crew to low-Earth orbit, the moon and Musk’s most desirable destination, Mars. The entire stack will stretch nearly 400 feet.

45 California counties are now in the purple tier

Very scary to live in California right now – 45 California counties are now in the purple tier by Amy Graff 

Photo: State Of California

Tier assignments in California as of Nov. 24, 2020.

California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced Tuesday four more counties have moved into the purple tier, bringing the total number of purple counties to 45. Two weeks ago, there were only 13 counties in this most restrictive level, which requires many indoor businesses, such as restaurants, movie theaters and museums, to close.

There was concern San Francisco could move from red to purple, but the city held onto its red status this week, and the other eight Bay Area counties didn’t see any movement.

“I think each county has a slightly different story,” said Ghaly. “Just a couple weeks ago, San Francisco was in the yellow tier. Make no mistake, they’ve seen a significant surge in cases. We believe some of the tools they’ve put in place will be helpful. We hope to see them hold steady where they are, but we need to prepared for them to not. I do commend them for continuing to sound the alarm and communicate effectively.”

Colusa, Del Norte, Humboldt and Lassen regressed from red to purple, while Calaveras went from orange to red. The only two remaining counties in the least restrictive yellow tier, Mariposa and Alpine, jumped back to orange.Photo: State Of California

California’s reopening plan is dictated by four color-coded tiers. Each county is assigned to a tier based on its test positivity and adjusted case rate.

The state’s system sorts counties into four tiers — “purple” (widespread), “red” (substantial), “orange” (moderate) or “yellow” (minimal) — that measure the spread of COVID-19, and dictate what types of businesses and activities are allowed to open. The structure allows counties to be more restrictive and move more slowly than the state in its reopening, if they wish.

A county’s tier assignment is based on two key metrics: the case rate (number of new cases per 100,000 residents) and the positivity rate (percentage of people who test positive for the virus of all individuals who are tested). A health equity metric is also part of the equation, but only comes into play to help a county move to a less restrictive tier.

Counties in the purple category are reporting more than seven new daily cases per 100,000 residents and have positivity rates above 8%. For a county to move into the red tier, it must report fewer than seven daily cases per 100,000 residents and a test positivity under 8% for 14 consecutive days. The orange tier requires fewer than 3.9 cases per 100,000 and a test positivity under 4.9% and the yellow less than one case per 100,000 and lower than 2% positivity.

Last week, the state called on purple tier counties to implement a curfew.

The “limited stay at home order” calls on nonessential work and gatherings to stop from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

During the overnight period, people can still go to the grocery store or a drugstore, walk their dog or get takeout from a restaurant, Ghaly said. You can also go outside with members of your household as long as you’re not gathering with others outside your household.

The intention of the curfew is to curb rising cases and prevent a situation where a more extreme lockdown is necessary.

“It’s really to avoid further restrictions,” said Ghaly at a press conference last week to introduce the curfew.

In the purple tier, the state allows hair salons and barber shops to remain open indoors. Retail including shopping malls can be open at 25% capacity.

In the past, a county moved backward by failing to meet the criteria for two consecutive weeks, but last week the state announced counties will now move back into a more restrictive reopening tier after one week of data that doesn’t meet standards for being in a lower tier.

The state is now requiring counties that move back to close required business sectors within 24 hours, rather than three days.Photo: Douglas Zimmerman / SFGATE

A woman jogging in Golden Gate Park runs past signs reminding people to social distance and wear masks in San Francisco on July 28, 2020.

Ghaly also provided a sobering update on the state’s current COVID-19 data that continues to show an alarming upward trend.

The state reported 15,329 new cases Tuesday, nearly the highest daily case number since the start of the pandemic.

The state’s positivity rate was 5.6% across 14 days Tuesday, compared with 3.7% two weeks ago, marking a 51% increase.

Hospitalizations are up 81.3% across the past 14 days, and the number of patients in intensive care units up 57.1%.

On Nov. 1, there were 2,537 people hospitalized with COVID and on Nov. 23 there were 5,844. “When you see these numbers doubling, that’s cause for concern,” Ghaly said. “Hospital systems are stretched.”

Ghaly said the good news is that the state continues to do a lot of testing and on Tuesday reported 283,819 tests, marking a new one-day high.

The press briefing on Tuesday ended with Ghaly calling on California residents to stay home on Thanksgiving and keep any gatherings small, short and outdoors with masks and social distancing

Girl gets fired

This is a phenomenal video to show what depression really looks like. For me, I had never been depressed before. So I didn’t realize what that looked like until it was too late to fix easily. Especially if you’re with someone who struggles with depression too. It tends to quickly devolve to a situation where you create a negative feedback loop making everything worse for both of you.

My favorite part is at 4:45 when they depict her clearly in the middle of depression perfectly… Her house is trashed and she clearly hasn’t taken a shower. Why? Well, I’ve been there. That is exactly what I went through after I won my disability case.

The loss of purpose can cause people to go through all of the stages of grief. And once depression it just gets harder and harder to get out of bed… And that is how a house ends up being in the sad state they find it in (at 4:45 in).

Learn the signs and be proactive. If your lucky, you won’t be depressed for long.

Presbyopia

I had been going a little crazy a couple of days ago… out of the blue I couldn’t read anything close up. Anything close up is completely blurry. The scary part was the onset… Almost like a light switch was flipped. Apparently, I developed Presbyopia.

Presbyopia is a normal aging process in which the eyes slowly become unable to focus on near objects. It typically begins around age 40 and progresses throughout the next few decades. At the onset of presbyopia, reading material may appear blurry and objects may have to be held further away to become clear.