energy jet


** Synopsis: UMD-led team uses data from multiple telescopes to address long-standing questions about the universe’s most powerful explosions. **

Gamma-ray bursts are among the most energetic and explosive events in the universe. They are also short-lived, lasting from a few milliseconds to about a minute. This has made it tough for astronomers to observe a gamma-ray burst in detail.

Using a wide array of ground- and space-based telescope observations, an international team led by University of Maryland astronomers constructed one of the most detailed descriptions of a gamma-ray burst to date. The event, named GRB 160625B, revealed key details about the initial “prompt” phase of gamma-ray bursts and the evolution of the large jets of matter and energy that form as a result of the burst. The group’s findings are published in the July 27, 2017, issue of the journal Nature.

“Gamma-ray bursts are catastrophic events, related to the explosion of massive stars 50 times the size of our Sun. If you ranked all the explosions in the universe based on their power, gamma-ray bursts would be right behind the Big Bang,” said Eleonora Troja, an assistant research scientist in the UMD Department of Astronomy and lead author of the research paper. “In a matter of seconds, the process can emit as much energy as a star the size of our Sun would in its entire lifetime. We are very interested to learn how this is possible.”

The group’s observations provide the first answers to some long-standing questions about how a gamma-ray burst evolves as the dying star collapses to become a black hole. First, the data suggest that the black hole produces a strong magnetic field that initially dominates the energy emission jets. Then, as the magnetic field breaks down, matter takes over and begins to dominate the jets. Most gamma-ray burst researchers thought that the jets were dominated by either matter or the magnetic field, but not both. The current results suggest that both factors play key roles.

“There has been a dichotomy in the community. We find evidence for both models, suggesting that gamma-ray burst jets have a dual, hybrid nature,” said Troja, who is also a visiting research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “The jets start off magnetic, but as the jets grow, the magnetic field degrades and loses dominance. Matter takes over and dominates the jets, although sometimes a weaker vestige of the magnetic field might survive.”

The data also suggest that synchrotron radiation – which results when electrons are accelerated in a curved or spiral pathway – powers the initial, extremely bright phase of the burst, known as the “prompt” phase. Astronomers long considered two other main candidates in addition to synchrotron radiation: blackbody radiation, which results from the emission of heat from an object, and inverse Compton radiation, which results when an accelerated particle transfers energy to a photon.

“Synchrotron radiation is the only emission mechanism that can create the same degree of polarization and the same spectrum we observed early in the burst,” Troja said. “Our study provides convincing evidence that the prompt gamma-ray burst emission is driven by synchrotron radiation. This is an important achievement because, despite decades of investigation, the physical mechanism that drives gamma-ray bursts had not yet been unambiguously identified.”

Comprehensive coverage of GRB 160625B from a wide variety of telescopes that gathered data in multiple spectra made these conclusions possible, the researchers said.

“Gamma-ray bursts occur at cosmological distances, with some dating back to the birth of the universe,” said Alexander Kutyrev, an associate research scientist in the UMD Department of Astronomy and a co-author of the research paper. “The events are unpredictable and once the burst occurs, it’s gone. We are very fortunate to have observations from a wide variety of sources, especially during the prompt phase, which is very difficult to capture.”

NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope first detected the gamma-ray emission from GRB 160625B. Soon afterward, the ground-based MASTER-IAC telescope, a part of Russia’s MASTER robotic telescope network located at the Teide Observatory in Spain’s Canary Islands, followed up with optical light observations while the prompt phase was still active.

MASTER-IAC gathered critical data on the proportion of polarized optical light relative to the total light produced by the prompt phase. Because synchrotron radiation is one of only a limited number of phenomena that can create polarized light, these data provided the crucial link between synchrotron radiation and the prompt phase of GRB 160625B.

A magnetic field can also influence how much polarized light is emitted as time passes and the burst evolves. Because the researchers were able to analyze polarization data that spanned nearly the entire time-frame of the burst – a rare achievement – they were able to discern the presence of a magnetic field and track how it changed as GRB 160625B progressed.

“There is very little data on polarized emission from gamma-ray bursts,” said Kutyrev, who is also an associate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “This burst was unique because we caught the polarization state at an early stage. This is hard to do because it requires a very fast reaction time and there are relatively few telescopes with this capability. This paper shows how much can be done, but to get results like this consistently, we will need new rapid-response facilities for observing gamma-ray bursts.”

In addition to the gamma-ray and optical light observations, NASA’s Swift Gamma-ray Burst Mission spacecraft captured X-ray and ultraviolet data. The Reionization and Transient InfraRed/Optical Project camera – a collaboration between NASA, the University of California system and the National Autonomous University of Mexico installed at Mexico’s Observatorio Astrónomico Nacional in Baja California – captured infrared data. The group also gathered radio observations from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s Australia Telescope Compact Array, located north of Sydney in rural New South Wales, and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s Very Large Array outside of Socorro, New Mexico.

IMAGE….This image shows the most common type of gamma-ray burst, thought to occur when a massive star collapses, forms a black hole, and blasts particle jets outward at nearly the speed of light. An international team led by University of Maryland astronomers has constructed a detailed description of a similar gamma-ray burst event, named GRB 160625B. Their analysis has revealed key details about the initial “prompt” phase of gamma-ray bursts and the evolution of the large jets of matter and energy that form as a result. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

anonymous asked:

i'll take that as a yes and that you're happy. tell us about what you wanted to say when you can speak, kay? well you're better off than the autobots. their medic still barely eats and apparently the seekerlets have taken to energon seeking to find food for themselves.

WHAT!?! He thrusts his wings out, smashing a light on the ceiling. He has half a mind to fly over there right now and have a word with Ratchet. But he’d terrify all the Seekers and probably murder the only instructor they had. Not that it would be a big loss, apparently.

He can’t get back to normal soon enough.

Honestly though. The SU fandom is really confusing me. 

Jasper was very clearly portrayed as being abusive, especially towards Lapis, and yet people adore her and a some even ship her with Lapis. There wasn’t any huge outrage/outburst at her actions and a few people were even trying to defend it. (Liking her as a villain or liking her character design is one thing, but refusing to acknowledge the fact that she is abusive is kinda :/ )

But then Pearl, who is coded as autistic and also seems to have a mental illness, gets this huge wave of backlash, with a lot of people calling her horrible, a monster, saying they hate her, etc…when she does something wrong as a result of her projecting/unhealthy coping mechanism because of her mental illness, grief and trauma. Yes. What Pearl did was wrong, and had abusive tones (teaching Connie that she was nothing and Steven is everything - although this is also a projection of Pearl’s opinion on herself which is another matter). But the absolute demonisation of her character is kinda :/ . Especially when its been shown that, once she realised what she did was wrong, she apologised and is shown to be trying to fix her mistake/get better. 

Between the RainDrops

Summary: Imagine waking up on a rainy day and finding yourself in the arms of a beautiful and deeply asleep Aidan.

Pairing: You/Aidan

Word Count: 502

Inspiration - @imagine-aidan

Originally posted by mysilverliningss

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Title: Scoundrel (Reader x Bucky Barnes)

Summary: Bucky Barnes got under you skin, but that was really an understatement. You loathed the way he made you feel; giddy and flustered. He loved to pester you, and you loved to pester him.

Word Count: 1736

Warnings: slight cursing/angst?

A/N: Bucky x Reader inspired by Han x Leia? Yes pls.  Writing this def helped me get through this hell week. ALSO UH WE HIT 3,000 FOLLOWERS/BFFS? WHAT? We need to celebrate, but I don’t know how! OMG THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH I LOVE EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU. Enjoy this, I hope it starts you week/day off great!

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From Enemies To Family (Chato Santana)

a/n: this is 3,033 words so…there’s that. this is also for my mom friend, @marvelavengings who was kind enough to write me the digger harkness fic. thanks babe. hope this is what you wanted! 

“I’m cool! I’m cool!” You exclaimed, raising your hands midair to show the guards you weren’t going to try anything. They slowly let go of you and backed away. “Fucking assholes.” You muttered under your breath. “Why’re you late?” Rick asked you and you noticed everyone else was out of their prison uniforms. “I was sleeping.” You stated, looking through the big, ugly, brown bag. “Doesn’t cut it,” Rick said and you pulled out the perfect outfit. “Doesn’t cut it.” You repeated with a different tone, causing Harley to laugh.

“If you disrespect me one mo-”

“You’ll blow my head off?” You interrupted him as you unbuttoned the prison uniform. “Not gonna work, I disabled the stupid little bomb the second that one, injected it in my head.” You said and put on the piece of clothing, which was designed specifically for your powers. “Then why are you here?” He asked. “Because, despite what you and everyone else might think, I do have a heart.” You said, zipping up the suit and looking around. “Are we going or not?” You asked Rick. He squinted his eyes, eyeing you up and down.

“If you get out of line, I won’t hesitate to shoot you.” He told you and you smiled. “That’s a nice team motivating speech.” You said sarcastically. “He’s shit, isn’t he?” Floyd asked and you smiled. “Let’s go!” He shouted and everyone headed towards the jet.

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New 3-D simulations show how galactic centers cool their jets

Theories and models by Berkeley Lab and Purdue University scientists show how instabilities develop in extreme energy releases from black holes

Some of the most extreme outbursts observed in the universe are the mysterious jets of energy and matter beaming from the center of galaxies at nearly the speed of light. These narrow jets, which typically form in opposing pairs are believed to be associated with supermassive black holes and other exotic objects, though the mechanisms that drive and dissipate them are not well understood.

Now, a small team of researchers has developed theories supported by 3-D simulations to explain what’s at work.

Finding common causes for instabilities in space jets

“These jets are notoriously hard to explain,” said Alexander “Sasha” Tchekhovskoy, a former NASA Einstein fellow who co-led the new study as a member of the Nuclear Science Division at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), and the Astronomy and Physics departments and Theoretical Astrophysics Center at UC Berkeley. “Why are they so stable in some galaxies and in others they just fall apart?”

As much as half of the jets’ energy can escape in the form of X-rays and stronger forms of radiation. The researchers showed how two different mechanisms - both related to the jets’ interaction with surrounding matter, known as the “ambient medium” - serve to reduce about half of the energy of these powerful jets.

“The exciting part of this research is that we are now coming to understand the full range of dissipation mechanisms that are working in the jet,” no matter the size or type of jet, he said.

The study that Tchekhovskoy co-led with Purdue University scientists Rodolfo Barniol Duran and Dimitrios Giannios is published in the Aug. 21 edition of Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The study concludes that the ambient medium itself has a lot to do with how the jets release energy.

“We were finally able to simulate jets that start from the black hole and propagate to very large distances - where they bump into the ambient medium,” said Duran, formerly a postdoctoral research associate at Purdue University who is now a faculty member at California State University, Sacramento.

Tchekhovskoy, who has studied these jets for over a decade, said that an effect known as magnetic kink stability, which causes a sudden bend in the direction of some jets, and another effect that triggers a series of shocks within other jets, appear to be the primary mechanisms for energy release. The density of the ambient medium that the jets encounter serves as the key trigger for each type of release mechanism.

“For a long time, we have speculated that shocks and instabilities trigger the spectacular light displays from jets. Now these ideas and models can be cast on a much firmer theoretical ground,” said Giannios, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Purdue.

The length and intensity of the jets can illuminate the properties of their associated black holes, such as their age and size and whether they are actively “feeding” on surrounding matter. The longest jets extend for millions of light years into surrounding space.

“When we look at black holes, the first things we notice are the central streaks of these jets. You can make images of these streaks and measure their lengths, widths, and speeds to get information from the very center of the black hole,” Tchekhovskoy noted. “Black holes tend to eat in binges of tens and hundreds of millions of years. These jets are like the ‘burps’ of black holes - they are determined by the black holes’ diet and frequency of feeding.”

While nothing - not even light - can escape a black hole’s interior, the jets somehow manage to draw their energy from the black hole. The jets are driven by a sort of accounting trick, he explained, like writing a check for a negative amount and having money appear in your account. In the black hole’s case, it’s the laws of physics rather than a banking loophole that allow black holes to spew energy and matter even as they suck in surrounding matter.

The incredible friction and heating of gases spiraling in toward the black hole cause extreme temperatures and compression in magnetic fields, resulting in an energetic backlash and an outflow of radiation that escapes the black hole’s strong pull.

A tale of magnetic kinks and sequenced shocks

Earlier studies had shown how magnetic instabilities (kinks) in the jets can occur when jets run into the ambient medium. This instability is like a magnetic spring. If you squish the spring from both ends between your fingers, the spring will fly sideways out of your hand. Likewise, a jet experiencing this instability can change direction when it rams into matter outside of the black hole’s reach.

The same type of instability frustrated scientists working on early machines that attempted to create and harness a superhot, charged state of matter known as a plasma in efforts to develop fusion energy, which powers the sun. The space jets, also known as active galactic nuclei (AGN) jets, also are a form of plasma.

The latest study found that in cases where an earlier jet had “pre-drilled” a hole in the ambient medium surrounding a black hole and the matter impacted by the newly formed jet was less dense, a different process is at work in the form of “recollimation” shocks.

These shocks form as matter and energy in the jet bounce off the sides of the hole. The jet, while losing energy from every shock, immediately reforms a narrow column until its energy eventually dissipates to the point that the beam loses its tight focus and spills out into a broad area.

“With these shocks, the jet is like a phoenix. It comes out of the shock every time,” though with gradually lessening energy, Tchekhovskoy said. “This train of shocks cumulatively can dissipate quite a substantial amount of the total energy.”

The researchers designed the models to smash against different densities of matter in the ambient medium to create instabilities in the jets that mimic astrophysical observations.

Peering deeper into the source of jets

New, higher-resolution images of regions in space where supermassive black holes are believed to exist - from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), for example - should help to inform and improve models and theories explaining jet behavior, Tchekhovskoy said, and future studies could also include more complexity in the jet models, such as a longer sequence of shocks.

“It would be really interesting to include gravity into these models,” he said, “and to see the dynamics of buoyant cavities that the jet fills up with hot magnetized plasma as it drills a hole” in the ambient medium.

He added, “Seeing deeper into where the jets come from - we think the jets start at the black hole’s event horizon (a point of no return for matter entering the black hole) - would be really helpful to see in nature these 'bounces’ in repeating shocks, for example. The EHT could resolve this structure and provide a nice test of our work.”

TOP IMAGE….This rendering illustrates magnetic kink instability in simulated jets beaming from a galaxy’s center. The jets are believed to be associated with supermassive black holes. The magnetic field line (white) in each jet is twisted as the central object (black hole) rotates. As the jets contact higher-density matter the magnetic fields build up and become unstable. The irregular bends and asymmetries of the magnetic field lines are symptomatic of kink instability. The instability dissipates the magnetic fields into heat with the change in density, leading them to become less tightly wound. Credit Berkeley Lab, Purdue University, NASA

LOWER IMAGE….Side-by-side comparison of density “snapshots” produced in a 3-D simulation of jets beaming out from a black hole (at the base of images). Red shows higher density and blue shows lower density. The black directional lines show magnetic field streamlines. The perturbed magnetic lines reflect both the emergence of irregular magnetic fields in the jets and the large-scale deviations of the jets out of the image plane, both caused by the 3-D magnetic kink instability. Credit
Berkeley Lab, Purdue University

Ok, quick recap using Zuko getting shot by lighting in the finale as base reference: 

  • Zuko getting shot by lighting by Azula parallels Aang getting shot by lighting in “The Crossroads of Destiny”
  • The entire sequence of Zuko falling, and Katara watching Zuko get hit, and then running over to him parallels that exact same thing with Aang in the Book 2 finale almost frame-by-frame
    • But it also parallels the flashback we see of Kya and Katara with the camera framing giving us two alternate parallels between Katara/Kya/Aang and Katara/Kya/Zuko
      • All of these examples play into the broader theme of Katara’s arc wherein she tries to protect those she cares about.
        • Interesting, that means that’s also a small parallel there between Katara and Sokka too, and Suki and Katara.  
  • Aang/Zuko falling and getting saved by Katara also parallels:
    • Aang falling and Katara catching him in the very first episode of the series
    • Kind of parallels Aang showing off to Katara and then getting the water waterbent out of his lungs in “The Warriors of Kyoshi” 
    • Katara healing Jet parallels Katara healing Zuko paralls Katara healing Aang
  • Zuko and Katara’s “I should be thanking you” exchange parallels a similar exchange between Jet and Katara in “Jet” 
  • Spirit energy beam parallel between “The Boy in the Iceberg” and “The Crossroads of Destiny” 
    • Also, “The Promise,” and the lighting we see when Aang energbends Ozai 
      • Going beyond that: the spirit portals opening in multiple LOK episodes. 

Independent. Fierce. Intelligent. Strong-willed. Outspoken. Outrageous.

These are words people use to define me.

Bekka does what Bekka wants. If Bekka is even what we are calling her now?

Or is it them?

Does she… or they… even know?

It’s paradoxical. I can be viewed by the same group of people as someone who knows exactly what they want.

Someone who is so sure of herself.

Someone who is going to make something out of nothing.

As well as Someone who has no idea what they are doing.

Who is different every day.

A multifaceted personality… some call it.

I call it being insecure.

It’s not that I’m not being honest with people or with myself.

It’s because I don’t spend enough time with myself.

I never spend time getting to know myself. Because I am afraid of who that is.

I know very little about the person at the core.

It’s pure dark energy. A jet-black heart.

A monster.

And then someone comes along who entices you to get to know the darkness.

Who reaches out with dark tendrils of their own and rips it up to the surface.

Your dark desires. Your wickedness.

And… this person. Isn’t repulsed?

They embrace it?

They encourage it.

Closer your dark energies intertwine.

This is a dangerous path you are setting yourself on with him.

You know it. He knows it.

You do it anyways. And it feels right.

It feels evil and wicked and wrong only in the sense that you both exist on this plane of existence.

Both of you together transcend this world.

Together you are chaos.

Beautiful chaos.

So, let the good doctor stitch up your wounds and set you back into the world.

Little monster.


Centaurus A, the remains of a galaxy collision that happened 600 million years ago. 

The dark clouds are made up of compressed hydrogen that act as kind of interstellar nurseries, where new stars are born. These stars appear reddish pink in the first image. Stars rely on nuclear fusion to fuel them, essentially all that is is smashing hydrogen atoms together at high speeds to create helium atoms, releasing mountains of energy in the process, which can be seen as light. This fact makes these clouds of hydrogen the ideal place for new stars to develop.

At the centre lies a supermassive black hole which is 1 billion times more massive than our sun. It consumes all matter that strays too close and upon doing so, releases huge jets of energy, which can be seen in the second image.

What is a black hole?

When a star runs out of nuclear fuel, it will collapse. If the core, or central region, of the star has a mass that is greater than three Suns, no known nuclear forces can prevent the core from forming a deep gravitational warp in space called a black hole.

A black hole does not have a surface in the usual sense of the word. There is simply a region, or boundary, in space around a black hole beyond which we cannot see.

This boundary is called the event horizon. Anything that passes beyond the event horizon is doomed to be crushed as it descends ever deeper into the gravitational well of the black hole. No visible light, nor X-rays, nor any other form of electromagnetic radiation, nor any particle, no matter how energetic, can escape. The radius of the event horizon (proportional to the mass) is very small, only 30 kilometers for a non-spinning black hole with the mass of 10 Suns.

Can astronomers see a black hole? Not directly. The only way to find one is to use circumstantial evidence. Observations must imply that a sufficiently large amount of matter is compressed into a sufficiently small region of space so that no other explanation is possible. For stellar black holes, this means observing the orbital acceleration of a star as it orbits its unseen companion in a double or binary star system.

Searching for black holes is tricky business. One way to locate them has been to study X-ray binary systems. These systems consist of a visible star in close orbit around an invisible companion star which may be a neutron star or black hole. The companion star pulls gas away from the visible star.

As this gas forms a flattened disk, it swirls toward the companion. Friction caused by collisions between the particles in the gas heats them to extreme temperatures and they produce X-rays that flicker or vary in intensity within a second.

Many bright X-ray binary sources have been discovered in our galaxy and nearby galaxies. In about ten of these systems, the rapid orbital velocity of the visible star indicates that the unseen companion is a black hole. The X-rays in these objects are produced by particles very close to the event horizon. In less than a second after they give off their X-rays, they disappear beyond the event horizon.

However, not all the matter in the disk around a black hole is doomed to fall into the black hole. In many black hole systems, some of the gas escapes as a hot wind that is blown away from the disk at high speeds. Even more dramatic are the high-energy jets that radio and X-ray observations show exploding away from some stellar black holes. These jets can move at nearly the speed of light in tight beams and travel several light years before slowing down and fading away.

Do black holes grow when matter falls into them? Yes, the mass of the black hole increases by an amount equal to the amount of mass it captures. The radius of the event horizon also increases by about 3 kilometers for every solar mass that it swallows. A black hole in the center of a galaxy, where stars are densely packed, may grow to the mass of a billion Suns and become what is known as a supermassive black hole.

dd/ga rpf: the burden of love, like the grace (2/3)

Pairing: DD/GA
Rating: Explicit
Word Count: 1,800 for this part
Summary: Vancouver feels far away now, the long hours of working together and separately, her small hands straightening his tie between takes, and laughing together over some of the more absurd lines in the scripts. He’s starting to forget the details of those blessed days, their miraculous second chance. 
Note: This has grown from two to three parts because man, those two got chatty. And naked.
Thanks: I owe @icedteainthebag all the mango martinis available in the tri-state area for her thougtful beta of this part, which made it a million times better. Also, thanks to all of you who took the time to send me feedback asks and comments in the tags. They really do help keep me motivated!

Part One

He dives into the deep end of the swimming pool. The cool water is a shock to his overheated skin and he stifles a yelp as he comes up for air. The pool is empty this hot afternoon, his only company a pair of Indian matrons, gossiping under the shade of an umbrella and drinking chai. He slowly swims a few laps, his energy sapped by jet lag and forty-five minutes running on the treadmill in the gym.

In the middle of the pool, he rolls onto his back and lets himself float, his eyes closed. He hears the splash of the waterfall on the other side of the pool and the soft laughter of the two women. The late afternoon sun warms his face as he’s suspended in the calm water.  

Not for the first time, he wonders why he’s here, seven thousand miles from New York. He canceled meetings, shuffled schedules involving the kids and his ex-wife and two different soccer leagues, all because of one tweet. “Especially one of you,” she’d tweeted.

Especially one of you. Four words that set everything in motion.

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Abilities: Sap Sipper / Splashy (deals minor Water-type damage to foe when foe or user comes into contact with the other)

Classification: Cascade Pokemon
Height: 6′03″
Weight: 240 lbs
Locale: (not found in the wild)

Stats: ++HP, +Def, +Sp.Atk, -Sp.Def, -Speed

Hydro Pump, Aqua Tail, Shadow Ball, Energy Ball, Aqua Jet, Water Pulse, Aqua Ring, Soak, Reflect, Amnesia, Mist, Misty Terrain

Mutterfall’s body not only generates never-ending water, but also absorbs all water around it. This also helps recycle the water it produces and retains hydration. Their fur is easy to keep clean, since it can simply flush out any impurities like debris, dirt, or even poison. 

> Evolves from Pupspire at Level 30   
> Which evolves from Puppdle at Level 16


Milk and juice vibrating on a speaker can put on a veritable fireworks display of fluid dynamics. Vibrating a fluid can cause small standing waves, called Faraday waves, on the surface of the fluid. Add more energy and the instabilities grow nonlinearly, quickly leading to tiny ligaments and jets of liquid shooting upward. With sufficiently high energy, the jets shoot beyond the point where surface tension can hold the liquid together, resulting in a spray of droplets. (Image credit: vurt runner, source video; h/t to @jchawner)

anonymous asked:

Do you know any spell bottle for travels?

Spell Bottle for Good Travels:

Things you’ll need:

  • carnation (energy for jet lag)
  • chamomile (luck)
  • comfrey (safety)
  • coin or a piece of solver or gold (money for savings)
  • red candle (action, survival, strength)
  • sandalwood or frankincense incense (protection)
  • bottle/jar/bag (large enough to fit the coin/piece of silver or gold

1) Light the incense and red candle.

2) Place the coin, and herbs inside the jar.

3) Place the ashes of the incense inside the jar. (doesn’t have to be all of it if it’s not done burning, just some).

4) Melt the red wax on top of the jar/bottle/bag to completely seal it closed.

5) Make sure the incense and candle are completely blown out before packing up all the materials. Keep the jar with you, or leave it at home in a safe place.

Cosmic Crab nebula

The Crab Pulsar, a city-sized, magnetized neutron star spinning 30 times a second, lies at the center of this tantalizing wide-field image of the Crab Nebula. A spectacular picture of one of our Milky Way’s supernova remnants, it combines optical survey data with X-ray data from the orbiting Chandra Observatory. The composite was created as part of a celebration of Chandra’s 15 year long exploration of the high energy cosmos. Like a cosmic dynamo the pulsar powers the X-ray and optical emission from the nebula, accelerating charged particles to extreme energies to produce the jets and rings glowing in X-rays. The innermost ring structure is about a light-year across. With more mass than the Sun and the density of an atomic nucleus, the spinning pulsar is the collapsed core of the massive star that exploded, while the nebula is the expanding remnant of the star’s outer layers. The supernova explosion was witnessed in the year 1054.

Image credit: NASA, Chandra X-ray Observatory, SAO, DSS


Tiny Air Jets May Cut Plane Tail Size

NASA and Boeing have successfully tested a new technology that may soon cut down the size and weight of aircraft vertical tails. The 757 vertical tail above was outfitted with tiny jet actuators that blow air over its surface.

Called active flow control, the air jets reduce friction and turbulence across the flight surface, and will let future designers make smaller and lighter tails that produce less drag. This performance improvement, which could be deployed on many different aircraft models, would translate into more efficient flight and lower fuel burn.

Aircraft tails aren’t the only places that jet actuators are likely to start appearing. GE has been studying them for use on boat hulls and wind turbine blades, and has licensed the technology for consumer electronics and computers, where it will replace bulkier fans that need more energy and space.

See the tail wind-tunnel tests in a video below.

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Galactic pyrotechnics on display

A galaxy about 23 million light years away is the site of impressive, ongoing fireworks. Rather than paper, powder and fire, this galactic light show involves a giant black hole, shock waves and vast reservoirs of gas.

This galactic fireworks display is taking place in NGC 4258, also known as M106, a spiral galaxy like the Milky Way. This galaxy is famous, however, for something that our galaxy doesn’t have – two extra spiral arms that glow in X-ray, optical and radio light. These features, or anomalous arms, are not aligned with the plane of the galaxy, but instead intersect with it.

The anomalous arms are seen in this new composite image of NGC 4258, where X-rays from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory are blue, radio data from the NSF’s Karl Jansky Very Large Array are purple, optical data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope are yellow and infrared data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope are red.

A new study made with Spitzer shows that shock waves, similar to sonic booms from supersonic planes, are heating large amounts of gas – equivalent to about 10 million suns. What is generating these shock waves? Researchers think that the supermassive black hole at the center of NGC 4258 is producing powerful jets of high-energy particles. These jets strike the disk of the galaxy and generate shock waves. These shock waves, in turn, heat the gas – composed mainly of hydrogen molecules – to thousands of degrees.

The Chandra X-ray image reveals huge bubbles of hot gas above and below the plane of the galaxy. These bubbles indicate that much of the gas that was originally in the disk of the galaxy has been heated and ejected into the outer regions by the jets from the black hole.

The ejection of gas from the disk by the jets has important implications for the fate of this galaxy. Researchers estimate that all of the remaining gas will be ejected within the next 300 million years – very soon on cosmic time scales – unless it is somehow replenished. Because most of the gas in the disk has already been ejected, less gas is available for new stars to form. Indeed, the researchers used Spitzer data to estimate that stars are forming in the central regions of NGC 4258, at a rate which is about ten times less than in the Milky Way galaxy.

The European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory was used to confirm the estimate from Spitzer data of the low star formation rate in the central regions of NGC 4258. Herschel was also used to make an independent estimate of how much gas remains in the center of the galaxy. After allowing for the large boost in infrared emission caused by the shocks, the researchers found that the gas mass is ten times smaller than had been previously estimated.

Because NGC 4258 is relatively close to Earth, astronomers can study how this black hole is affecting its galaxy in great detail. The supermassive black hole at the center of NGC 4258 is about ten times larger than the one in the Milky Way and is consuming material at a faster rate, potentially increasing its impact on the evolution of its host galaxy.

Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Caltech/P.Ogle et al; Optical: NASA/STScI; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA