Benjamin Banneker & The First American Protest Letter
Born in 1731 to freed slaves on a farm in Baltimore, Maryland, Benjamin Banneker was obsessed with math and science. And his appetite for knowledge only grew as he taught himself astronomy, mathematics, engineering, and the study of the natural world. As an adult, he used astronomy to accurately predict lunar and solar events, like the solar eclipse of 1789, and used his scientific expertise to pioneer new agricultural methods on his family’s tobacco farm.
In 1792, Banneker began publishing almanacs. He was among the first Americans, and the first African-American, to publish almanacs. These provided detailed annual information on moon and sun cycles, weather forecasts, and planting and tidal time tables.
Banneker sent a handwritten copy of his first almanac to Virginia’s Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. This was a decade before Jefferson became president. Jefferson read the almanac and wrote back in praise of Banneker’s work.
Banneker included a letter imploring Jefferson to “embrace every opportunity to eradicate that train of absurd and false ideas and opinions” that caused prejudice against black people. The letter also denounced the Bill of Rights as disingenuous. Banneker questioned the rationale of the imperialistic position taken by the Founding Fathers, especially in light of their rebellion against the tyranny imposed on them by England as settlers seeking a better life in America.
Banneker’s correspondence with the future president is now considered to be one of the first documented examples of a civil rights protest letter in America. For the rest of his life, Banneker fought for this cause, sharing his opposition to slavery through his writing.
Banneker, in his debut almanac of 1792 , was the first to recommend the establishment of a U.S. Department of Peace. It wasn’t until nearly two hundred years later that the U.S. Institute of Peace was established by Congressional authorization in 1984. The organization acknowledges Banneker for his role as the pioneering agent of this idea and states:
The first formal proposal for the establishment of an official U.S. government peace institution dates to 1792. The product of efforts by architect and publisher Benjamin Banneker and physician and educator Dr. Benjamin Rush. The proposal called for establishing a “Peace Office” on equal footing with the War Department – noting the importance to the welfare of the United States of “an office for promoting and preserving perpetual peace in our country.
Nasa is to host a major press conference on a “discovery beyond our solar system”.
The event will see the revelation of major information about exoplanets, or planets that orbit stars other than our sun, according to a release. It made no further mention of the details of what would be revealed.
The event will take place on 22 February at 1pm New York time, it said. It will be streamed live on Nasa’s television station and on its website.
Attending the press conference will be astronomers and planetary scientists from across the world.
Nasa said that the public will be able to ask questions using the hashtag #AskNasa during the conference. The agency will also hold a Reddit AMA, or ask me anything, session straight after the briefing.
Annular Solar Eclipse over New Mexico : What is this person doing? In 2012 an annular eclipse of the Sun was visible over a narrow path that crossed the northern Pacific Ocean and several western US states. In an annular solar eclipse, the Moon is too far from the Earth to block out the entire Sun, leaving the Sun peeking out over the Moons disk in a ring of fire. To capture this unusual solar event, an industrious photographer drove from Arizona to New Mexico to find just the right vista. After setting up and just as the eclipsed Sun was setting over a ridge about 0.5 kilometers away, a person unknowingly walked right into the shot. Although grateful for the unexpected human element, the photographer never learned the identity of the silhouetted interloper. It appears likely, though, that the person is holding a circular device that would enable them to get their own view of the eclipse. The shot was taken at sunset on 2012 May 20 at 7:36 pm local time from a park near Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. Tomorrow another annular solar eclipse will become visible, this time along a path crossing Africa and Madagascar. via NASA
OJ287 is one of the largest black holes in the known universe. If it were placed at the center of our solar system, its event horizon would swallow nearly everything is our Sun’s sphere of influence. All the planets, the asteroid belt, and (obviously) us. This beast is an estimated 18 billion solar masses and drifts through the cosmos some.
The Solar Storm of 1859 — known as the Carrington Event — was a powerful geomagnetic solar storm during solar cycle 10 (1855-1867). A solar coronal mass ejection hit Earth’s magnetosphere and induced one of the largest geomagnetic storms on record. The associated “white light flare” in the solar photosphere was observed and recorded by English astronomers Richard C. Carrington (1826–1875) and Richard Hodgson (1804–1872).
Studies have shown that a solar storm of this magnitude occurring today would likely cause more widespread problems for a modern and technology-dependent society. The solar storm of 2012 was of similar magnitude, but it passed Earth’s orbit without striking the planet. Read More || Edit
It’s always shining, always ablaze with light and energy that drive weather, biology and more. In addition to keeping life alive on Earth, the sun also sends out a constant flow of particles called the solar wind, and it occasionally erupts with giant clouds of solar material, called coronal mass ejections, or explosions of X-rays called solar flares. These events can rattle our space environment out to the very edges of our solar system. In space, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, keeps an eye on our nearest star 24/7. SDO captures images of the sun in 10 different wavelengths, each of which helps highlight a different temperature of solar material. In this video, we experience SDO images of the sun in unprecedented detail. Presented in ultra-high definition, the video presents the dance of the ultra-hot material on our life-giving star in extraordinary detail, offering an intimate view of the grand forces of the solar system.
Video source and credit: NASA Goddard (Highly recommended, don’t forget to watch in HD quality)
Analysis of tree rings reveals highly abnormal solar activity in the mid-Holocene
An international team led by researchers at Nagoya University, along with US and Swiss colleagues, has identified a new type of solar event and dated it to the year 5480 BC; they did this by measuring carbon-14 levels in tree rings, which reflect the effects of cosmic radiation on the atmosphere at the time.
They have also proposed causes of this event, thereby extending knowledge of how the sun behaves.
When the activity of the sun changes, it has direct effects on the earth.
For example, when the sun is relatively inactive, the amount of a type of carbon called carbon-14 increases in the earth’s atmosphere.
Because carbon in the air is absorbed by trees, carbon-14 levels in tree rings actually reflect solar activity and unusual solar events in the past.
The team took advantage of such a phenomenon by analyzing a specimen from a bristlecone pine tree, a species that can live for thousands of years, to look back deep into the history of the sun.
“We measured the 14C levels in the pine sample at three different laboratories in Japan, the US, and Switzerland, to ensure the reliability of our results,” A. J. Timothy Jull of the University of Arizona says.
“We found a change in 14C that was more abrupt than any found previously, except for cosmic ray events in AD 775 and AD 994, and our use of annual data rather than data for each decade allowed us to pinpoint exactly when this occurred.”
The team attempted to develop an explanation for the anomalous solar activity data by comparing the features of the 14C change with those of other solar events known to have occurred over the last couple of millennia.
“Although this newly discovered event is more dramatic than others found to date, comparisons of the 14C data among them can help us to work out what happened to the sun at this time,” Fusa Miyake of Nagoya University says.
She adds, “We think that a change in the magnetic activity of the sun along with a series of strong solar bursts, or a very weak sun, may have caused the unusual tree ring data.”
Although the poor understanding of the mechanisms behind unusual solar activity has hampered efforts to definitively explain the team’s findings, they hope that additional studies, such as telescopic findings of flares given off by other sun-like stars, could lead to an accurate explanation.
IMAGE….Picture of the bristlecone pine forest in California, the United States where the bristlecone pine sample for this study used to live (taken by Prof. A.J.T. Jull). In this forest, there are many living old trees exceed 1000 years old. Harsh environments make bristlecone pines very dense and long lives. Credit A.J.T.Jull