Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Origami/Rev II

Mesmerizing says it all. Stellar. With luck, the Webb will change how we view reality. :)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Tabby's Star

Tabby's Star, aka KIC 8462852, is stirring intense interest due to extensive dimming that defies traditional explanations as seen by an earlier BRT post titled KIC 8462852 and now, by Forbes, as Something's afoot as the esteemed Sherlock would say, when analysing a case as fascinating as this one truly is.

While other stars show small, periodic dips in their brightness due to transiting planets, Tabby's star shows something unique.

Its dips are much larger in magnitude by up to a factor of 20, and show up irregularly in time.

It gets better

Now the mystery has grown stranger still.  A paper made public last week based on a different kind of Kepler imaging (full-frame imaging) found not two but one enormous dip in the light curve, as well as a surprising and significant dimming the of star over the four year observing period of the space telescope.  The paper has been submitted for publication in American Astronomical Society journals.

Benjamin Montet of Caltech and Joshua Simon of the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, analyzed the full-field images taken by Kepler every three months (rather than the hourly images studied by Boyajian et al,) and concluded that something strange was indeed going on.

Their conclusion: “No known or proposed stellar phenomena can fully explain all aspects of the observed light curve.”

Something's afoot indeed. :)

Don't you love a mystery.? Yours truly does. :)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Origami - Ladybug style :)

Ladybugs, one of yours truly's favorite insects, possess a secret, how do they fold their large wings under a wonderfully colored top wing,  called the elytra, in only a tenth of a second. And when it lands, it folds it back in just two. Switching between flying and crawling many times in a day, the ladybug travels vast distances.

This has been a fascinating mystery until now.

To the naked eye, this elegant transformation is a mystery. But scientists in Japan created a window into the process in a study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Just how the ladybug manages to cram these rigid structures into tiny spaces is a valuable lesson for engineers designing deployable structures like umbrellas and satellites.

A ladybug’s hind wings are sturdy enough to keep it in the air for up to two hours and enable it to reach speeds up to 37 miles an hour and altitudes as high as three vertically stacked Empire State Buildings. Yet they fold away with ease. These seemingly contradictory attributes perplexed Kazuya Saito, an aerospace engineer at the University of Tokyo and the lead author of the study.

Read on to see how this remarkable insect does the deed with elegance & grace as this points out yet again, nature never disappoints. :)

Addendum: Here's the origami part.

Nature finds a way, always. :)

Monday, May 15, 2017

Powers Boothe - R.I.P.

A different kind of sight & then some :)

Another mystery solved.  :)

Now that we've witnessed this behaviour for the first time, it's become clear that the narwhal tusk is a multipurpose appendage that really was worth the cost of evolving the most unusual tooth in nature.

Late last year, researchers discovered that this tusk helps narwhals 'see' like no other species on Earth - when they measured the whales' echolocation skills, they found that they have the most directional sonar ever detected.

Like dolphins and other whales, they're able to navigate dark, murky waters by producing clicking sounds at a rate of up to 1,000 clicks per second, and using the echoes to reconstruct their surroundings based on how the sound waves bounce off nearby prey or rock formations. 

Previous research had found that the narwhal tooth had foregone the protection of hard, external enamel to make it sensitive to even the tiniest of stimuli - and this appears to have given them the edge over all other echolocating species.

Nature never disappoints. :)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Major 9th

Yours truly studied jazz composition at Berklee back in the day. Walking back and forth from the Beacon Street pad to Berklee, I leaned how sharps and flats connected to each key signature by endlessly repeating the Cycle of 5th pattern set as seen below.

To yours truly, it's not much of a stretch to see how a talented composer could see the "resonance chain" where the “years” of each orbiting body relate to one another as simple ratios. For every eight times the innermost world races through its day-and-a-half-long orbit, the next planet goes around roughly five times, the next one after that orbits three times, and the next one two times. And so on.

With this in mind, the orbital harmonics of the TRAPPIST-1 system puzzled researchers to no end until jazz guitarist Matt Russo looked at the problem and built a major 9th chord, based on the ratios of the differing planetary orbits, as start point, to creating a very cool music composition & video that intuitively shows how the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system operates in actuality.

The seventh planet, h, orbits about once every three weeks. Sped up some 200 million times and expressed in sound waves, that frequency is a C note. From there, the known ratios between planets determine every other planet’s signature note. Together the notes form a major ninth chord. “It’s really remarkable that it worked out like that,” Russo said. “Even with a different pattern of resonances, you wouldn’t get a chord that sounds as good.”

A Major 9th = CEGBD as the key of C has no sharps or flats.

How cool is that? :)

Circular Reasoning :)