Friday, 16 March 2012
Though I would repost these facts about St Patrick's day, for all you honorary Irish out there The Shamrock The shamrock, which was also called the "seamroy" by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring. By the seventeenth century, the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism. As the English began to seize Irish land and make laws against the use of the Irish language and the practice of Catholicism, many Irish began to wear the shamrock as a symbol of their pride in their heritage and their displeasure with English rule. Irish Music Music is often associated with St. Patrick's Day—and Irish culture in general. From ancient days of the Celts, music has always been an important part of Irish life. The Celts had an oral culture, where religion, legend and history were passed from one generation to the next by way of stories and songs. After being conquered by the English, and forbidden to speak their own language, the Irish, like other oppressed peoples, turned to music to help them remember important events and hold on to their heritage and history. As it often stirred emotion and helped to galvanize people, music was outlawed by the English. During her reign, Queen Elizabeth I even decreed that all artists and pipers were to be arrested and hanged on the spot. Today, traditional Irish bands like The Chieftains, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem are gaining worldwide popularity. Their music is produced with instruments that have been used for centuries, including the fiddle, the uilleann pipes (a sort of elaborate bagpipe), the tin whistle (a sort of flute that is actually made of nickel-silver, brass or aluminum) and the bodhran (an ancient type of framedrum that was traditionally used in warfare rather than music). The Snake It has long been recounted that, during his mission in Ireland, St. Patrick once stood on a hilltop (which is now called Croagh Patrick), and with only a wooden staff by his side, banished all the snakes from Ireland. In fact, the island nation was never home to any snakes. The "banishing of the snakes" was really a metaphor for the eradication of pagan ideology from Ireland and the triumph of Christianity. Within 200 years of Patrick's arrival, Ireland was completely Christianized. Corned Beef Each year, thousands of Irish Americans gather with their loved ones on St. Patrick's Day to share a "traditional" meal of corned beef and cabbage. Though cabbage has long been an Irish food, corned beef only began to be associated with St. Patrick's Day at the turn of the century. Irish immigrants living on New York City's Lower East Side substituted corned beef for their traditional dish of Irish bacon to save money. They learned about the cheaper alternative from their Jewish neighbors. The Leprechaun The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is "lobaircin," meaning "small-bodied fellow." Belief in leprechauns probably stems from Celtic belief in fairies, tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil. In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls, responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies. Though only minor figures in Celtic folklore, leprechauns were known for their trickery, which they often used to protect their much-fabled treasure. Leprechauns had nothing to do with St. Patrick or the celebration of St. Patrick's Day, a Catholic holy day. In 1959, Walt Disney released a film called Darby O'Gill & the Little People, which introduced America to a very different sort of leprechaun than the cantankerous little man of Irish folklore. This cheerful, friendly leprechaun is a purely American invention, but has quickly evolved into an easily recognizable symbol of both St. Patrick's Day and Ireland in general.
Friday, 9 March 2012
Monday, 5 March 2012
Sunday, 4 March 2012
March 4, 2012 – SPACE – Scientists are predicting that the asteroid 2012 DA14 has a good chance of colliding with earth in eleven months. Watch the skies in February 2013! According to RT, NASA has confirmed that the 60 meter (or 197 feet) asteroid, which was spotted by Spanish stargazers in February this year, has a good chance of colliding with earth. The scientists suggest confronting this asteroid with either big guns or, more strangely, with paint. The problem with either option is that there is no time to build a spaceship for the operation. A spaceship could either shoot the asteroid down or simply crash into it – this would either break it into pieces or throw it off course. NASA expert David Dunham suggested: “We could paint it.” The paint would change the asteroid’s ability to reflect sunlight, alter its spin and change its temperature. However, even taking the asteroid off course could be dangerous when it returns in 2056, according to Aleksandr Devaytkin the head of the observatory in Russia’s Pulkovo, as told to Izvestia in Russia recently. The asteroid’s closest approach to earth is scheduled for 15 February 2013, when they predict that the distance between it and earth will be under 27,000 km (16,700 miles). With the asteroid zooming that low, it will be too late to do anything with it besides trying to predict its final destination and the consequences of impact. However, NASA’s David Dunham did say: “The asteroid may split into pieces entering the atmosphere. In this case, most parts of it will never reach the planet’s surface.” But theories are that if the entire asteroid did crash into the planet, the impact will be as hard as in the Tunguska blast, which in 1908 knocked down trees over a total area of 2,150 sq km (830 sq miles) in Siberia. So keep your head down and watch the skies. –Digital Journal As you can see, the Earth distance of object 2012 DA14 on the JPL chart approaches 16,700 miles on February 16, 2013, where the question of gravity accretion could be an issue depending on the trajectory path of the asteroid. It could also be a miss. The A.M. or Apparent Magnitude scale puts the object’s brightness at 24.4 H, which would make it a little brighter than Pluto’s moon, Nix, which means it would not be highly visible to the naked eye until it entered Earth’s atmosphere. -The Extinction Protocol Earth’s gravity: Earth could capture an asteroid, but only under certain conditions. The asteroid would have to be a certain size, traveling at just the right speed, and grazing by Earth at just the right angle. For example, a bus-sized asteroid grazing Earth’s atmosphere might be captured by our planet’s gravity. Afterward, moon’s gravity might pull it into a stable orbit above Earth – to give Earth a second moon. Planetary scientists believe that asteroid capture was common billions of years ago. The planets are thought to have formed by a process of “accretion” – where small chunks of debris came together to form larger chunks. So there were lots more chunks – what we now call “asteroids” – moving through the solar system back then. –Earth-Sky contribution Vicky G This is a copy of a report from NASA, seems like 2012 disaster movies are only a few months out. Saw another post regarding this with suggestions what can be done about this One was paint it. If that is the best option the NASA scientists can come up with, they might as well abandon the Space Programme now, there will not be much need of it. They also say they do not know where it is likely to hit. Much help that is. Perhaps the Mayans were correct after all. Perhaps worries about Climate change are irrelevant as if it does hit us, there could be a major shift in climate, for the ones who survive it. More likely a new Ice Age rather than Global Warming. luv R
Friday, 2 March 2012
Astronomers have uncovered an extreme stellar machine -- a galaxy in the very remote universe pumping out stars at a surprising rate of up to 4,000 per year. In comparison, our own Milky Way galaxy turns out an average of just 10 stars per year.
The discovery, made possible by several telescopes including NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, goes against the most common theory of galaxy formation. According to the theory, called the Hierarchical Model, galaxies slowly bulk up their stars over time by absorbing tiny pieces of galaxies -- and not in one big burst as observed in the newfound "Baby Boom" galaxy.
"This galaxy is undergoing a major baby boom, producing most of its stars all at once," said Peter Capak of NASA's Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. "If our human population was produced in a similar boom, then almost all of the people alive today would be the same age." Capak is lead author of a new report detailing the discovery in the July 10th issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The Baby Boom galaxy, which belongs to a class of galaxies called starbursts, is the new record holder for the brightest starburst galaxy in the very distant universe, with brightness being a measure of its extreme star-formation rate. It was discovered and characterized using a suite of telescopes operating at different wavelengths. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and Japan's Subaru Telescope, atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii, first spotted the galaxy in visible-light images, where it appeared as an inconspicuous smudge due to is great distance.
This galaxy, called Zw II 96, loosely resembles the most active star-forming galaxy in the distant universe.
› Full image and caption It wasn't until Spitzer and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, also on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, observed the galaxy at infrared and submillimeter wavelengths, respectively, that the galaxy stood out as the brightest of the bunch. This is because it has a huge number of youthful stars. When stars are born, they shine with a lot of ultraviolet light and produce a lot of dust. The dust absorbs the ultraviolet light but, like a car sitting in the sun, it warms up and re-emits light at infrared and submillimeter wavelengths, making the galaxy unusually bright to Spitzer and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope.
To learn more about this galaxy's unique youthful glow, Capak and his team followed up with a number of telescopes. They used optical measurements from Keck to determine the exact distance to the galaxy -- a whopping12.3 billion light-years. That's looking back to a time when the universe was 1.3 billion years old (the universe is approximately 13.7 billion years old today).
"If the universe was a human reaching retirement age, it would have been about 6 years old at the time we are seeing this galaxy," said Capak.
The astronomers made measurements at radio wavelengths with the National Science Foundation's Very Large Array in New Mexico. Together with Spitzer and James Clerk Maxwell data, these observations allowed the astronomers to calculate a star-forming rate of about 1,000 to 4,000 stars per year. At that rate, the galaxy needs only 50 million years, not very long on cosmic timescales, to grow into a galaxy equivalent to the most massive ones we see today.
While galaxies in our nearby universe can produce stars at similarly high rates, the farthest one known before now was about 11.7 billion light-years away, or a time when the universe was 1.9 billion years old.
"Before now, we had only seen galaxies form stars like this in the teenaged universe, but this galaxy is forming when the universe was only a child," said Capak. "The question now is whether the majority of the very most massive galaxies form very early in the universe like the Baby Boom galaxy, or whether this is an exceptional case. Answering this question will help us determine to what degree the Hierarchical Model of galaxy formation still holds true."
"The incredible star-formation activity we have observed suggests that we may be witnessing, for the first time, the formation of one of the most massive elliptical galaxies in the universe," said co-author Nick Scoville of Caltech, the principal investigator of the Cosmic Evolution Survey, also known as Cosmos. The Cosmos program is an extensive survey of a large patch of distant galaxies across the full spectrum of light.
"The immediate identification of this galaxy with its extraordinary properties would not have been possible without the full range of observations in this survey," said Scoville.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology, also in Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA. For more information about Spitzer, visit http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/spitzer and http://www.nasa.gov/spitzer .
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