We should see Venus in the night sky this week!


It is well known that Venus is the second planet from the Sun, and it is the brightest natural object in the night sky after the Moon. According to Starry Night Education on Space.com, in this week, Venus’s brightness becomes brighter than any other times because of a combination of circumstances. There are two reasons that Venus is getting brighter. The first reason is that Venus is approaching Earth. Therefore, it is getting larger. The second reason is (it might be similar with first reason…) that because it is approaching to Earth, it is moving away from Sun. According to this article, it says, “Its phase is also narrowing as it moves in front of the sun, which makes it decrease in brightness. So we’ve got two opposing forces in action: Getting closer means getting brighter, and a narrowing crescent means getting fainter. This week the two balance out to make Venus as bright as it can possibly be.”

In this article, there is information about planet’s cloud. It says because its dense atmosphere and proximity to Sun, it causes for an extreme greenhouse effect. Therefore, the surface temperature of Venus is about 860 degrees Fahrenheit.
Also, there will be special phenomenon on June 5. Venus will pass between Earth and the Sun, so it will look like some black dots on Sun. This event is called a transit of Venus. It only happens only twice a century, so if you miss this time, next one will be on 2117.

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Hypervelocity Planets.


I posted about black holes last time. On the post, I wrote down that black holes’ gravitational attraction are so strong that even light cannot escape from those. However, recently, hypervelocity planets were discovered by Dartmouth’s Idan Ginsburg and Gary Wegner along with Avi Loeb, chairman of the Harvard astronomy department. They were researching about behavior of hypervelocity stars, which were already a well-known phenomenon.
This article says, “The hypervelocity stars are created when a pair of stars locked in a binary orbit are sucked in to a black hole.
The pair are thrust apart, with one remaining in the black hole while the other is thrown to the edge of its galaxy”. The hypervelocity planets are created by the one star came out from the black hole. These planets are smaller than stars, and they were affected by black holes. As a result, hypervelocity planets can have 4 times faster average movement speed. Therefore, they can move up to 30 million miles per hour.
Many astronomers think that this discovery can help to solve many questions about space, planets, and black holes.

Black hole.


During the class, we have learned about Black hole. What is Black hole? According to this article, Black holes are some of the strangest and most fascinating objects found in outer space. They are objects of extreme density, with such strong gravitational attraction that even light cannot escape from their grasp if it comes near enough. The name “black holes” was used since in 1969, John Archibald Wheeler gave the name. Before John Archibald Wheeler, mostly these were called frozen stars which are dead.

As I mentioned, even light cannot escape from Black holes. Therefore, black holes are invisible, but we can still detect black holes by the radiation. Because when matter is pulled in, sometimes, the area around black holes release strong high-energy light that can be even seen from across universe. Black holes have three layers, outer event horizon, inner event horizon, and singularity.

It sounds like scientists know about black holes well. However, this article mentioned that scientists do not truly understand the workings of black holes because our best physics theories break down when trying to describe them.

Venus and Jupiter in Night Sky

Recently, people can see special two bright stars in night sky. These two stars are so bright that people even can recognize those by their eyes. According to this article, these stars are Venus and Jupiter. Venus and Jupiter have moved toward each other for the last several months, and now they are located so close that people can blot them both out with just a few fingers held at arm’s length. Astronomers call this status of two starts as a planetary conjunction Tuesday (March 13). According to this article, Jupiter and Venus lined up just 3 degrees apart, and they move away from each other gradually. For example, On March 13, the degree between those two was 3.0 degree, and on March 14, it became 3.1 degrees. Therefore the degree will be 3.2, 3.3, and so on. Even though the two stars look like close to each other, they are far from each other. The reasons are size and distance.
In this article, the author said, “Though Jupiter is about 11 times wider than the roughly Earth-size Venus; Venus appears about eight times more luminous these days. That’s because Venus is so much closer to us than Jupiter is. On average, Earth orbits 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) from the sun, a distance defined as 1 astronomical unit (AU). Venus zips around our star at about 0.72 AU, while Jupiter is found roughly 5.2 AU from the sun.
In this year, this phenomenon is very special because the two planets were visible for so long in the sky and appeared so bright. We will see another Venus-Jupiter conjunction after 13 months.

Another Solar Flares By Sun.

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There was big issue that the huge solar flare occurred on Jan 27. Also, two days ago, the Sun released powerful solar storms that are the strongest solar storms in this year. This article said the solar flares ranked as X-class storms, the strongest type of solar flares the sun can have. There are 5 ranks depend on the solar flares strength. The five ranks are A, B, C, M, and X. A has the weakest strength solar flares, and, obviously, X has the strongest strength of solar flare. The difference between each rank is about 10 times, so B rank solar storm is about 10 times stronger than A rank solar storm. Also, in those ranks, it is broken down into subsets, from 1 to 9. For example, the solar storm on Jan was ranked as X1.7-class eruption. In only X rank solar flare, number can go higher than 9. This time solar flare was ranked as an X5.4-class eruption. Now, the Sun is under an active phase of its 11 year weather cycle, and it is known as Solar Cycle 24. NASA is expecting that in 2013, the Solar Cycle 24 will be reached its peak level of activity. So, we will see more news about Solar Flare occurring.

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Possibility of asteroid striking in 2040

There are movies such as Armageddon and Deep Impact that treat about asteroid striking. In the movie, human recognizes that one huge asteroid is heading to Earth, and if they do not stop it or change its orbit, Earth will be destroyed and whole human race will be vanished. Therefore, people are united and try to prevent occurring this. In the end, human saves Earth and their lives. This is not just movie story anymore. According to NASA, there is one huge space rock, called asteroid 2011 AG5, circles the sun on a path between the orbits of Mars and Venus, and there is possibility that AG5 hits Earth on 2040. The chance is 1/625, and one scientist said this asteroid has the highest chance to hit Earth. Astronomers said they still need more observation, and we still enough time to prepare it. However, if it is true, now we only have 28 years which means that it might happen when I am still alive!  I think it is not bad to think about what we can do if it happens in real. There will be some choices we can have!

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2012/03/06/asteroid-2011-ag5-a-football-stadium-sized-rock-to-watch-carefully/

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