Pluto’s Atmosphere and plasma tail. NEW FINDINGS AMAZE

Well here is some data and analysis from New Horizons fly by.

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Many  surprises have already been revealed in the data thus far released from NASA’s New Horizons mission. Today, physicist Eugene Bagashov discusses what we have learned thus far about Pluto’s atmosphere and the larger Plutonian environment.

New Horizons has discovered a region of cold, dense ionized gas tens of thousands of miles beyond Pluto — the planet’s atmosphere being stripped away by the solar wind and lost to space. Beginning an hour and half after closest approach, the Solar Wind Around Pluto (SWAP) instrument observed a cavity in the solar wind — the outflow of electrically charged particles from the Sun — between 48,000 miles (77,000 km) and 68,000 miles (109,000 km) downstream of Pluto. SWAP data revealed this cavity to be populated with nitrogen ions forming a “plasma tail” of undetermined structure and length extending behind the planet.

Also other interesting data on other planets atmospheres including our own earth.

Well worth a watch.

Thanks To Thunderbolts

Maybe the laws of physics are wrong ? Nasa’s successful testing of an Electromagnetic drive system

A group at NASA’s Johnson Space Center has successfully tested an electromagnetic (EM) propulsion drive in a vacuum – a major breakthrough for a multi-year international effort comprising several competing research teams.

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Thrust measurements of the EM Drive defy classical physics’ expectations that such a closed (microwave) cavity should be unusable for space propulsion because of the law of conservation of momentum.

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According to classical physics, the EMDrive should be impossible because it seems to violate the law of conservation of momentum.

The law states that the momentum of a system is constant if there are no external forces acting on the system – which is why propellant is required in traditional rockets.


A controversial design for a new, advanced type of space travel received a boost as German scientists confirmed that it does in fact work.

The EMDrive propulsion system would permit travel at speeds until now only seen in science fiction.

When the concept was first proposed it was considered impossible because it went against the laws of physics.

But subsequent tests – further backed up by this announcement – have shown that the idea could revolutionise space travel.

The system is based on electromagnetic drive, or EMDrive, which converts electrical energy into thrust without the need for rocket fuel.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3177449/Nasa-s-impossible-fuel-free-thrusters-work-German-scientists-confirm-viability-super-fast-space-travel-slash-journey-moon-4-HOURS.html#ixzz3j9oxYx4K
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Our electric star is connected to us through plasma

Thanks to the thunderbolts crew for their great work.

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This is an awesome accomplishment. Cleo Loi, a 23-year-old undergrad student, “has discovered that giant, invisible, moving plasma tubes fill the skies above Earth.”

First she was met with disbelief. “Ms Loi told news.com.au that her research was initially dismissed as being based on imperfections in the telescope images. ‘They had never seen this type of thing before. No one had looked at the data in this way before,’ she said. ‘A lot of the people were pretty convinced is was some problem with the imaging, that it was nothing to get excited about.'”

The implications could be far-reaching. “Ms Loi said the drifting plasma tubes could distort astronomical data, especially satellite-based navigation systems. It may also mean we need to re-evaluate our thinking about how galaxies, stars and clouds of gas behave and what they look like.”

Cleo Loi is a student of the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO) and the School of Physics at the University of Sydney. She has been working on this research as a part of her undergraduate thesis and is the lead author of this award winning research paper which was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Cleo Loi et al has invented a three dimensional way to view the Earth’s magnetosphere.

Loi said: “For over 60 years, scientists believed these structures existed but by imaging them for the first time, we’ve provided visual evidence that they are really there.”

Basically, Sun is constantly emitting charged particles or ionized particles towards Earth. Scientists believe Earth is surrounded by complex magnetic field known as magnetosphere (that protects life on Earth from any damage). When these ionized particles approach Earth their path gets diverted due to which some of the particles may get deflected while some may be funneled towards the pole of Earth resulting in a spectacular array of light, due to the interaction between the magnetic fields and the eruption of gas from these charged particles, thus leading to a display known as ‘aurora’.

Earth’s protective magnetosphere further comprises of ionosphere and plasmasphere. The innermost being ionosphere and the layer above that is plasmasphere. Though not much is known about these complex structures and the research work is still under progress; however scientists believe that these are embedded with a plasma structures which are in the form of tubes and various other strange shapes.

The ionosphere does interfere with satellite navigation systems as well as it affects the images that are received by the radio telescopes hence a detailed study of this layer is a must.

By using the Murchinson Widefield Array (MWA), a radio telescope in the Western Australian desert, Loi probed these regions and ultimately landed on discovering the visual evidences of the 60 year old theory of tubular plasma structures drifting around the Earth.

Loi said: “The discovery of the structures is important because they cause unwanted signal distortions that could, as one example, affect our civilian and military satellite-based navigation systems. So we need to understand them.”

A forerunner of Square Kilometer Array (SKA), MWA consists of 128 antennae that are spread over a huge area of three kilometers which is almost 2 miles.

In her research study, Loi attempted to achieve a vision similar to binocular by splitting the western ends of the array from the eastern ends thus making it possible to get a three dimensional view of the magnetosphere.

Usually when the MWA is used for astronomical work, with a three kilometer baseline it cannot give the required parallax effect that is essential to get the in-depth view. However, during this research the situation was entirely different as the astronomers were looking close to Earth.

During her study, Loi was able to map a series of high and low density plasma tubes that connected the ionosphere and plasmasphere,  in addition these tubes were running parallel to the magnetic field. Says Loi: “We measured their position to be about 600 kilometres [373 miles] above the ground, in the upper ionosphere, and they appear to be continuing upwards into the plasmasphere. This is around where the neutral atmosphere ends, and we are transitioning to the plasma of outer space.”

Further it was seen that with time the tubes are moving slowly hence a changing interference effect has been experienced by the telescopes.

While speaking to IFLScience, Loi said that earlier researchers have been successful in limited probing into the ionosphere using Very Large Array, which is some other type of radio telescope; however applying parallax and getting a visual evidence is something totally new and has never been previously applied to the problem.

Loi said: “People theorized something like this from observations of a type of very low frequency electromagnetic wave. We can detect lightning from another hemisphere and people concluded there must be plasma tubes guiding the signal. It’s a very indirect conclusion, and no one had much idea what these tubes were like.”

For her breakthrough research, Cleo Loi has been awarded the 2015 Bok Prize of the Astronomical Society of Australia.

Loi has mentioned that it was amazing to visualize the giant plasma tubes using MWA’s enormous 30° field. Loi further envisages that the SKA is used in future to study the ionosphere and hopes that the publicity of her research would definitely be successful in bringing about this major change.

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News story regarding this discovery of Plasma tubes.