Rising fluxes of cosmic rays inside the solar system

The word sculptor comes from Latin sculpere, related to scalpere, to cut, from the Indo-European root *skel-¹ ‘To cut’. Derivatives: shell, scagliola (plasterwork in imitation of ornamental marble), shale, scale¹, scall, scalp, scale³ (weighing scales), skoal (drinking vessel made from a shell), shield (a generic word covering all defensive weapons), shelter, skill, sheldrake, school² (of fish), shoal², coulter, cultrate, cutlass, scalene (having three unequal sides, used of triangles, from Greek skallein, to stir up, hoe > skalenos, uneven), shelf, half, halve, scalpel, sculpture, (these words from Latin scalpere, to cut, scrape, to carve). [Pokorny 1. (s)kel- 923. Watkins] Also scallops, the shell, which is a bivalve, or two half shells.
In Greek mythology Aphrodite (Venus) rose from the foam of the sea and was carried by a Scallop shell first to the island of Cythera and then all the way to Cyprus. The names of other shells are sometimes given, but Aphrodite is far more often portrayed in sculpture and paintings on a scallop shell. Scallops are the only seashells that travel the oceans. Scallop shells were the badge of pilgrims and served both as a symbol of the pilgrimage and were used as drinking cups, spoons, and dishes.

There are two cultural references, a famous renaissance painting titled "The Birth of Venus" by Alessandro Botticelli and a sci-fi book related to Kurt Vonnegut.


Venus on the Half-Shell is a science fiction novel by American writer Philip José Farmer, writing pseudonymously as "Kilgore Trout", a fictional recurring character in many of the novels of Kurt Vonnegut.
Farmer's story was first published in two parts beginning in the December 1974 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The plot, in which Earth is destroyed by cosmic bureaucrats doing routine maintenance and the sole human survivor goes on a quest to find the "Definitive Answer to the Ultimate Question", was an inspiration for the plot of the later Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series.


Do we live in a computer simulation run by our descendants? Researchers say idea can be tested​

A decade ago, a British philosopher put forth the notion that the universe we live in might in fact be a computer simulation run by our descendants. While that seems far-fetched, perhaps even incomprehensible, a team of physicists at the University of Washington has come up with a potential test to see if the idea holds water.
In a paper they have posted on arXiv, an online archive for preprints of scientific papers in a number of fields, including physics, they say that the highest-energy cosmic rays would not travel along the edges of the lattice in the model but would travel diagonally, and they would not interact equally in all directions as they otherwise would be expected to do.

"This is the first testable signature of such an idea," Savage said.

Observable consequences of the hypothesis that the observed universe is a numerical simulation performed on a cubic space-time lattice or grid are explored. The simulation scenario is first motivated by extrapolating current trends in computational resource requirements for lattice QCD into the future. Using the historical development of lattice gauge theory technology as a guide, we assume that our universe is an early numerical simulation with unimproved Wilson fermion discretization and investigate potentially-observable consequences. Among the observables that are considered are the muon g − 2 and the current differences between determinations of α, but the most stringent bound on the inverse lattice spacing of the universe, b−1>∼ 1011 GeV, is derived from the high-energy cut off of the cosmic ray spectrum. The numerical simulation scenario could reveal itself in the distributions of the highest energy cosmic rays exhibiting a degree of rotational symmetry breaking that reflects the structure of the underlying lattice.
Measurements by ESA's long-serving twin missions, Mars Express and Venus Express, have captured the dance between the intensity of high-energy cosmic rays and the influence of the sun's activity across our inner solar system.
A comparison of data from the ASPERA plasma sensor, an instrument carried by both spacecraft, with the number of sunspots visible on the surface of the sun shows how cosmic ray counts are suppressed during peaks of activity in the 11-year solar cycle. The international study, led by Dr. Yoshifumi Futaana of the Swedish Institute of Space Physics, has been published today in the The Astrophysical Journal.
All the datasets showed a decrease in the number of cosmic ray detections as the peak in activity for Solar Cycle 24 was reached. In particular, the Mars Express data and the observations from Earth showed very similar features. However, there was an apparent lag of around nine months between the maximum number of sunspots and the minimum in cosmic ray detections at Mars.
As well as the decadal-long relationship with the solar cycle, the researchers also looked at how cosmic ray detections varied over the short timescales of an orbit. Surprisingly, they found that the area protected from cosmic rays behind Mars is more than 100 kilometers wider than the planet's actual radius. The cause of why this blocked area should be so large is not yet clear.

the study mentioned is here

There are a few threads on the Carrington Event, but on the Miyake event, also known as the 774–775 carbon-14 spike and the Charlemagne event, I haven't found much except (https://cassiopaea.org/forum/threads/the-ice-age-cometh-forget-global-warming.38/page-131#post-976167), so here is the description:
Something happened back in 774 or 775 AD that caused a sudden surge in the amount of radioactive carbon-14 around the world. Measurements of tree rings show that the concentration of C-14 shot up by 1.2 percent. That’s the largest and most rapid rise in C-14 ever recorded and about 20 times higher than the normal background rate of variation.

Let's knock on wood and see this event from an arboricultural point of view, or more precisely:

Miyake Events from a dendrochronological point of view​


Cosmic abrupt radionuclide enrichment events provide a new exciting possibility for the exact dating and synchronization of organic samples or annually resolved sequences of organic samples using 14C measurement. Ice cores can be synchronized to the same events using 10Be measurement instead. The two globally assured events in 775 and 994 have already proved the worth of this concept. We propose that a third event has been spotted between -2467 and -2465 in bristlecone pine, perhaps together with another event ten years later between -2457 and -2455. By detecting that double-event in wood from the Belfast Long chronology it would be possible to once and for all time determine a definitive date for this European key oak chronology. We also propose that Belfast Long has to be dated eight years earlier than conventionally assumed. This small offset would have far-reaching consequences for the internal linkage of the entire Belfast chronology, and moderate consequences for the radiocarbon calibration curve.

Discussion and Conclusions


Based on research conducted in Japan and Arizona, we propose that a third Miyake Event has been spotted between -2467 and -2465 in bristlecone pine, perhaps together with another event ten years later between -2457 and -2455. These two events are of about the same size as the event in 994. It should be straight forward to confirm the double-event in an independent absolute pine tree-ring chronology e.g. from Scandinavia.

However, by detecting that double-event in wood from the Belfast Long chronology it would be possible to once and for all time determine a definitive end date for this European key oak chronology. If our hypothesis is correct and Belfast Long has to be dated eight years earlier than conventionally assumed, this would have consequences for the internal linkage of the Belfast chronology and for the radiocarbon calibration curve.
Our hypothesis about the eight years too young conventional date of Belfast Long is based on multiple threads of evidence. That the conventional date is near absolute but perhaps a little bit too late can be concluded from revisiting the precursory Suess radiocarbon calibration curve. The direct crossdating of Belfast Long towards Scandinavian pine points out a possible synchronous position eight years earlier than assumed. A prominent narrow ring event in the last half of the 17th century BC seems to confirm this offset between oak and pine chronologies. Detection of the Miyake double-event in Irish oak eight years later than in bristlecone or Scandinavian pine would be the final proof.
This small offset would have far-reaching consequences for the internal linkage of the Belfast chronology, it would in fact render it invalid as we have shown above. This in turn would have a domino effect on all other European oak chronologies which are synchronuos with the Belfast chronology. This small offset would efficiently break up consensus and finally initiate the overdue discussion of alternative dating solutions within the European oak complex.
The effect of this small offset on the radiocarbon calibration curve however is comparatively moderate. The dendrochronological time scale of the curve would suffer an eight years correction towards older times in the second to sixth millennia BC. This would require an eight years correction of all dates of archaeological material derived from radiocarbon measurement, no big deal. However, in a few cases these eight years could be decisive as we have discussed in the case of the Mesopotamian chronology.
The spotting of a Miyake Event in the third millennium BC opens up for a soon independent assessment of the correctness of the European oak chronologies. Simply, somebody has to determine where the new Miyake double-event appears in samples of the Belfast Long chronology. This would immediately verify or falsify our hypothesis about errors in the European oak complex. Another Miyake Event in tWe have done what was possible with the limited resources we have at our disposal. We will not be able to push this case further by performing the necessary radiocarbon measurements, somebody else has to do that. But do scientists really want to know the truth and will they make the risky test which either overturns our hypothesis (fine!) or definitely starts a process with unforeseen consequences? The elephant which we placed in the middle of the room some years ago has been totally ignored so far. Nobody has joined an open discussion, even less tried to rebut or confirm our hypothesis which is certainly not peer-reviewed but anyway published and citable. So, who dares to break the deadlock and takes the first step over the red line?he first millennium BC, still to be discovered, would be enough to quantify even the problematic dating of Roman time.

If this has motivated you to read the rest of the research here is THE LINK to scroll down a bit to access the full text.

And while I'm at it, here's an article and the more complete research:
(It is better to read it at the source with nice pictures...)
By Genelle Weule
Posted Wed 26 Oct 2022 at 1:01amWednesday 26 Oct 2022 at 1:01am, updated Wed 26 Oct 2022 at 1:09am

The most intense solar storm in recorded history, known as the Carrington event, damaged nascent power and communication networks in the Victorian era.

But Earth has been hit by radiation levels that were up to 100 times greater than this, according to a new study of spikes in radiocarbon stored in tree rings.

The prevailing hypothesis has been that these spikes, known as Miyake events — after the Japanese scientist that first discovered them — were caused by solar storms.

"There are six known [Miyake] events spanning nearly 10,000 years," said astrophysicist Benjamin Pope of the University of Queensland.

The most recent spikes occurred in 774 AD and 993 AD during the early Medieval period.

But new research by Dr Pope and colleagues, published today in Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical and Physical Sciences, reveals that the origin of these extreme bursts of radiation appears to be more complex.

"There's a kind of extreme astrophysical phenomenon that we don't understand and it actually could be a threat to us," Dr Pope said.

While a radiation event of this scale wouldn't directly harm us, it could knock out everything we rely on in our modern world — not just for days, but months or longer.

Space weather written in wood
Many species of trees, especially those in temperate climates, lay down a new ring each year that reads like a barcode of its age.

These markers of time also help scientists pin down when the tree absorbed radioactive carbon-14, produced by the interaction of high energy particles, caused by cosmic rays and solar storms interacting with the atmosphere.

Radiation coming from the Sun can vary throughout the solar cycle, but strong solar storms are four times more likely to occur every 11 years when sunspot activity peaks.

Dr Pope wanted to analyse all the studies of tree rings to find out how strong the Miyake events were, and when they occurred in the solar cycle.

He asked his undergraduate students, led by Qingyuan Zhang, to develop a program to crunch all the data ever published on the events and model how carbon had been locked up in tree rings as it cycled through Earth's biosphere for the past 10,000 years.

"We just thought it would be very interesting if we can confirm any of the existing hypotheses [about the origin of Miyake events], or just maybe challenge some of them," Mr Zhang said.

Data from the study showed that these mysterious radiation storms occurred roughly once in 1,000 years and happened right across the solar cycle, not just solar maximum.

Many of the spikes lasted longer than normal solar storms. At least one event in 663 BC lasted up to three years, and another in 5480 BC built up across a decade.

"At least two, maybe three of these events ... took longer than a year, which is surprising because that's not going to happen if it's a solar flare," Dr Pope said.

Solar flares are also accompanied by aurora at the poles and sometimes, if they are strong enough, at mid-latitudes.
Yet, despite the length and intensity of some of these events, there is scant evidence of anything out of the ordinary in historical texts around the time of the Miyake events, apart from a brief mention of a "red crucifix" in the summer of 774 AD in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles, and an aurora documented in 775 AD in the Chinese chronicle Jiutangshu.

We thought we were going to have a big slam dunk where we could prove that [Miyake events were caused by] the Sun," Dr Pope said.

"This is the most comprehensive study ever made of these events and the big result is a big shrug; we don't know what's going on."

Unusual radiation spikes are not just seen in tree rings; they also appear in ice core data, says physicist Andrew Smith, who is working on separate research at ANSTO.

Dr Smith is studying fluctuations in beryllium-10 and chlorine-36 isotopes in cores from Antarctica that overlap with the 774 and 993 Miyake, and 1859 Carrington events.

The Earth is constantly bombarded by high-energy cosmic rays that produce these isotopes along with radiocarbon-14, but lower-energy particles from the Sun also produce these isotopes during solar storms.

While all the data is yet to be analysed, Dr Smith said the beryllium recorded in ice cores appeared to mirror the tree ring data for 993 and 774.

"There is the strong suggestion in [the beryllium data] that the 993 event was multiple events, not a single event, whereas the 774 event appeared to be more constrained in time," Dr Smith said.

So what could be happening?
Over the years scientists have debated a number of sources for these mysterious events.

Along with solar storms, other galactic phenomena including gamma-ray bursts, supernova explosions and blasts from nearby neutron stars have been put forward as options.

While Dr Pope said no evidence of these other galactic phenomena had been detected nearby, they couldn't be conclusively ruled out.

And if the phenomenon behind Miyake events comes from left field, we have no way of predicting them.

"It's really important that we resolve this question because the Carrington Event was 100 times smaller in terms of radiation output than these Miyake events," Dr Pope said.

The high spikes in the data could simply be from aspects of plant physiology or the carbon cycle we don't understand.

But Dr Pope's best guess is that the longer duration spikes may come from a series of outbursts from the Sun.

"Not just one solar flare, but recurrent solar flares going off again and again."

Solar physicist Hannah Schunker of the University of Newcastle said this scenario was highly plausible.

"We have absolutely no idea how to predict when or where an explosion will occur," said Dr Schunker, who was not involved in the study.

"There's no reason why we couldn't have many complex magnetic regions close by and they all flare one after the other."

Dr Schunker said it was also possible that shorter events could be caused by solar storms and longer ones could be caused by other galactic phenomena, depending upon when in the solar cycle the spike happened.

"When the Sun is quieter [towards solar minimum], there is less magnetic field in the heliosphere to protect the Earth from external sources," Dr Schunker said.

"But when the magnetic field has higher magnetic activity [towards solar maximum]. it's a lot more likely to produce stronger flares."

ANSTO's Dr Smith said he was not surprised there was no obvious relationship with the solar cycle because solar storms can happen anytime.

But, he said, future analysis of the chlorine isotope, which is produced in higher quantities than beryllium in solar events, may shed more light on Miyake events.

"We do need to really understand the severity of these events," Dr Smith said.

"If we had an event like that, even on the short scale … we'd be thrown into chaos."
Key points:
_Earth has been hit by at least six extreme radiation events over the past 10,000 years, according to data in tree rings
_These events, known as Miyake events, were thought to be caused by solar storms
_But the most comprehensive study to date suggests not all these extreme events fit the picture and may be caused by unknown solar or galactic phenomena

Modelling cosmic radiation events in the tree-ring radiocarbon record


Annually resolved measurements of the radiocarbon content in tree-rings have revealed rare sharp rises in carbon-14 production. These ‘Miyake events’ are likely produced by rare increases in cosmic radiation from the Sun or other energetic astrophysical sources. The radiocarbon produced is not only circulated through the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans, but also absorbed by the biosphere and locked in the annual growth rings of trees. To interpret high-resolution tree-ring radiocarbon measurements therefore necessitates modelling the entire global carbon cycle. Here, we introduce ‘ticktack’ (GitHub - SharmaLlama/ticktack: An open-source carbon box model implementation built on JAX.), the first open-source Python package that connects box models of the carbon cycle with modern Bayesian inference tools. We use this to analyse all public annual  14C
tree data, and infer posterior parameters for all six known Miyake events. They do not show a consistent relationship to the solar cycle, and several display extended durations that challenge either astrophysical or geophysical models.
I will complement my previous post on the Miyake event, with a projection if this event were to happen (again).
The video is in Spanish, and it is possible to activate the subtitles corresponding to your language.
The natural phenomenon that will take us back to the Middle Ages

72 hours. That is how long it would take for the mother of all solar storms to wipe out human civilisation. A natural phenomenon that, according to all experts, is inevitable. What we discovered during a three-month investigation was as surprising as it was devastating. Fortunately, according to the scientists and engineers we consulted, humanity can take concrete steps to avoid the effects of this unavoidable cosmic force. We tell you about it in the first episode of the documentary series Control Z: The Great Storm, a future we can undo.
...Or just experience it.
Speaking of Solar Gamma radiation

a little spin-off note: There was/is a drama tv-series going on which circles around the subject “the sun giving off lethal amounts of gamma radiation”. Earth people die around the world, as soon they face the sun’s rays. A bunch of people take off in an airplane from Bruxelles airport flying towards the west in order to avoid the sun. Scotland, Iceland, Canada, Hawaii, etc. while also going from one drama into the next. Quite interesting made.

It is a french spoken Belgium production “Into the Night” with two seasons (french and dubbed plus many languages as subtitles). Curiously there is another one; a Turkish production called “Yakamoz S-245” Playing out in Turkey on the very same solar events - but on a submarine.

Both series meet in the last episode of the turkisk production, in Svalbard, Norway, at the world Seed Vault. (No clue if the series will continue - but the end is very much left open for another adventure for sure)

It is of course all over dramatized in the typical wonky spirit of Netflix conveying murky underpinnings as usual (survival, cataclysm, etc)
Planetary defense radar system prototype captures detailed images of the moon
26 Jan 2023

I am not quite sure where to place this article. It could fit in here, alternative in a thread about meteors, since this technology also is used for the purpose (officially).

In an article published at the photo news site, dPreview, wrote about a prototype of defense radar which is earth bound, producing the highest resolution moon images ever created, using less power than a microwave.

Scientists at the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia have used a transmitter with 'less power than a microwave' to produce the highest resolution images of the moon ever captured from Earth.

Using the Green Bank Telescope (GBT) and Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA), the team captured high-resolution radar images of the moon, laying the foundation for a next-generation radar system that will allow scientists to study planets, moons and asteroids throughout the solar system. The prototype of the new system, which was used to capture the images, is part of a joint effort by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), Green Bank Observatory (GBO) and Raytheon Intelligence & Space (RIS). The group is designing a new radar system for the GBT, the world's largest fully steerable radio telescope.


The team used a low-power radar transmitter designed by RIS with the GBT. The radar transmitter delivers up to 700 watts of output power at 13.9 GHz. The transmitter sent radar waves to the moon's surface, and the echoes were received by the NRAO's ten 25m VLBA antennas. The resulting image shows the Tycho crater on the lunar surface with an impressive 5m resolution.

'It's pretty amazing what we've been able to capture so far, using less power than a common household appliance,' said Patrick Taylor, radar division head for GBO and NRAO.

'A Synthetic Aperture Radar image of the Moon’s Tycho Crater, showing 5-meter resolution detail.' Image credit: Raytheon Technologies.
The flagship system in the works will be much more powerful, with a 500 kilowatt, Ku-band (13.7 GHz) radar system. It will use the existing VLBA array and a future Next Generation Very Large Array (ngVLA) as its receivers. The proposed high-power system will offer 'nearly 1,000 times the output power and several times the waveform bandwidth (up to 600 MHz),' delivering even better resolving performance.
The system will do much more than allow scientists to image and study different celestial bodies, it will also be a critical part of a planetary defense system. The radar system will be able to detect, track and characterize objects that may threaten Earth. During testing, Taylor said the team located a km-sized asteroid more than 2M km from Earth. An asteroid of that size could devastate the planet. The next-generation radar system could detect objects smaller and further away, potentially providing critical information to support NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission.
Concerning astronomy, the GBT's enhanced radar system will deliver data at higher resolutions and wavelengths than were previously impossible. Between those impressive capabilities and the ability to help defend Earth against potential threats, the next-generation radar system promises to enhance planetary science and planetary defense alike.

Short video, 30 sec.
How ngRadar can map asteroids
How astrophotographer Bray Falls helped to confirm the discovery of the Andromeda Oxygen Arc
19 Jan 2023

Another article published at the photonews site dPreview, highlighting the discovery of the Andromeda Galaxy Oxygen Arc. Frankly spoken, I find it pretty amazing that this Oxygen Arc remained hidden for so long, given how many times this galaxy has been photographed... ! Pretty fascinating how the final image turned out after 180 hours of exposure time (in total).


On his instagram page the photographer had a short video there, explaining more about the Andromeda Galazy its Oxygen Arc. (I didn't know how to embed the link here... oh wait, it did work. Tadaaaa!). Anyway; he says the arc measured several diameters of the moon, and that image above took 180 hours of exposure.

The Andromeda galaxy is approximately 2.5 million light years from Earth and for the past 134 years, it has been the one of the most-observed galaxies by astronomers. This is why it's surprising that a recent oxygen nebula was uncovered by amateur astronomers Marcel Drechsler and Xavier Strottner – an arc almost as large as the galaxy itself, that hadn't been discovered until now.

To verify their claim, the duo enlisted French amateur astronomer Yann Sainty to help out. United States-based amateur astronomer Bray Falls was brought in to help verify as well. Together, Sainty and Falls put in roughly 110 hours, each, tirelessly taking images of the arc and stacking them to get a clearer picture of what they were observing.

It seems baffling that a new discovery of this magnitude took over a century. However in the video above, narrated by Falls, he explains why, regardless of all eyes on it over the decades – starting with Isaac Roberts in 1888 – it may have been overlooked until now. First and foremost, astronomers simply don't point their telescopes at the sky and hope for the best.

You can't point a telescope at the sky and hope for the best, you'll also need specialized filters. Image credit: screenshot from Bray Falls' YouTube video

As Falls explains, the night sky consists of different types of gases and dusts. Astrophotographers use narrowband filters to observe the light from specific gasses. The main three gas emissions photographers want to pay attention to are Hydrogen Alpha, Oxygen III and Sulphur II. When an external force or something pressures these gasses, they start to glow in certain colors.

The most prevalent gas in the universe is hydrogen. The other two, oxygen and sulphur, are extremely faint. Those that take the proper steps to observe the faint ones are more likely to come across new nebula. Notably, the Oxygen III filter used, which brings out a light blue color from the ionized oxygen, provided the hint that there was something new out there.


This blue tone is vulnerable to the effects of light pollution and it is faint. It takes a lot of time, dedication and patience to capture it properly. Falls notes that most astrophotographers don't collect data or images using this filter. If you do have the time, there are many undiscovered objects hidden.

The more exposure you have on an object in the sky, the clearer it will show up in your imagery. Falls and Sainty took tons of images at 5 to 10-minute exposure times and combined them in post-processing software to reduce the noise. Overall, the final image is the result of 110 hours worth of captures.

'When it comes to discovering new nebulae, you can't just image in the target filter and call it a day. There are some special treatments you're going to have to do to your image that not a lot of people know about,' Falls explains. One involves capturing blue images for continuum subtraction.

Falls helped verify this oxygen arc, almost as large as the Andromeda galaxy. Image credit: Bray Falls

The how-to
Falls used his own Takahashi FSQ-106 telescope with a .73 reducer and a QHY600 CMOS camera. An F3.6 aperture and 400mm focal length gave him a (relatively) wide field-of-view (FOV) on the nebula at fast speeds. For those looking to get started, he recommends a wide FOV telescope, a lens with a focal length of 300–900mm, and a 3nm O-III filter. Finding an area with dark skies also helps.

What it comes down to is exposure time, along with the type of filter. Having that, along with patience, will yield the better results. I asked Bray what area of the sky should be focused on next and he emphasized it's not the sky, it's the filter.

Making a case for the neglected O-III filter in astrophotography
'A lot of astrophotographers use narrowband filters to shoot their images, and most prefer to focus on the Ha [Hydrogen Alpha] filter since it is bright and contains a lot of details. The O-iii filter which comes from oxygen gas is usually neglected, but as evidence by this discovery there are a lot of things to find with this filter. So more astrophotographers should be checking spots of the sky specifically with this kind of filter that not a lot of people use.'

A limited-edition print of the Andromeda with the oxygen arc can be purchased on Falls' site. Proceeds will support his future astrophotography endeavors.
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A recent study (published in The Astronomical Journal, 30 jan 2023) brings this today's article ( SPACE.com) :


Andromeda galaxy crash triggered a mass galactic migration 2 billion years ago​

The influx of stars into the galaxy next door to the Milky Way was revealed by intricate patterns in their motion today and reflects a violent event in our galaxy’s past.

Astronomers have discovered new evidence that Andromeda, the galaxy next door to our own, grew by merging with another galaxy. The event triggered a mass migration of stars into the galaxy.
This event suggests that the migration of stars to Andromeda and the galaxy's growth history is very similar to that of the Milky Way. That means the findings have implications for our understanding of both galaxies.

The evidence came in the form of observations of the individual motions of almost 7,500 stars in the inner halo of Andromeda. This showed these stars had begun their lives as part of another galaxy that merged with Andromeda around 2 billion years ago.

Related: The Andromeda Galaxy (M31): Location, Characteristics & Images

Each of the dots on this image represents an individual star in the Andromeda Galaxy, with the motion of the star (relative to the galaxy) color-coded from blue (moving toward us) to red (moving away from us). (Image credit: KPNO/NOIRLab/AURA/NSF/E. Slawik/D. de Martin/M. Zamani)

Scientists have long predicted that large galaxies like the Milky Way and Andromeda have grown to their current sizes via collisions and mergers throughout their history, but the patterns in the motions of stars that could confirm this have been elusive.
The investigation was conducted by an international team of astronomers using Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) on the Nicholas U. Mayall 4-meter Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, operated by NOIRLab.

"Our new observations of the Milky Way's nearest large galactic neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy, reveal evidence of a galactic immigration event in exquisite detail," lead researcher and NOIRLab astronomer Arjun Dey, said in a statement (opens in new tab). "Although the night sky may seem unchanging, the universe is a dynamic place. Galaxies like M31 and our Milky Way are constructed from the building blocks of many smaller galaxies over cosmic history. "

The majority of the stars in the Milky Way's halo are also believed to have originated in another galaxy finding a new galactic home during a massive merger event thought to have occurred between 8 to 10 billion years ago. Looking at relics of a previous merger and stellar migration event in Andromeda could help astronomers hunt for similar artifacts in our own galaxy.
"We have never before seen this so clearly in the motions of stars, nor had we seen some of the structures that result from this merger," researcher co-author and University of Edinburgh astrophysicist, Sergey Koposov, said in the statement. "Our emerging picture is that the history of the Andromeda Galaxy is similar to that of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. The inner halos of both galaxies are dominated by a single immigration event."

To trace stellar migration in the galaxy, the team turned to DESI due to the fact that it is the most powerful multi-object survey spectrograph in the world, capable of measuring the spectra of more than 100,000 galaxies in a single night.
"This science could not have been done at any other facility in the world. DESI's amazing efficiency, throughput, and field of view make it the best system in the world to carry out a survey of the stars in the Andromeda Galaxy," Dey added. "In only a few hours of observing time, DESI was able to surpass more than a decade of spectroscopy with much larger telescopes."
Despite first opening its eye to the universe in 1973, the Mayall Telescope is still able to play a role in cutting-edge research like this thanks to five decades of upgrades and improvements.

The team will now continue to use the team-up between DESI and the Mayall Telescope to investigate stars located closer to the edge of Andromeda. They hope this will further reveal the galaxy's structure and the immigration history of its stars.
"It's amazing that we can look out at the sky and read billions of years of another galaxy's history as written in the motions of its stars — each star tells part of the story," team member and NOIRLab researcher Joan R. Najita said. "Our initial observations exceeded our wildest expectations and we are now hoping to conduct a survey of the entire M31 halo with DESI. Who knows what new discoveries await!"
This could also go to the thread here or here, but here it is:




A new study proposes that major biodiversity changes are linked to supernovae—the explosions of massive stars, suggesting that cosmic processes and astrophysical events influence the evolution of life on Earth.

A team of scientists at DTU Space (Denmark’s space research institute) say they have found a strong correlation between changes in the diversity of marine life in the past half a billion years and the occurrence of local supernova explosions.

According to Henrik Svensmark, one author of the study, it is possible that supernova bring about violent changes in Earth’s climate.
“A high number of supernovae leads to a cold climate with a large temperature difference between the equator and polar regions,” said Svensmark. “This results in stronger winds, ocean mixing, and transportation of life-essential nutrients to the surface waters along the continental shelves.”

The team’s paper states, “In accordance with the cosmic ray theory, Earth experienced cold glacial periods when the local supernova frequency was high … high cosmic rays and warm climates when the flux was low. These results suggest that changes in supernovae frequency and, thereby, changes in cosmic rays have significantly influenced the Phanerozoic climate.”

The paper goes on to suggest a correlation between past supernova rates and the burial of organic matter in ocean sediments during the last 500 million years. The sequence goes like this: supernovae rates influence climate; climate influences atmosphere–ocean circulation; that circulation brings nutrients to marine organisms; nutrient concentrations control bioproductivity (how organisms thrive); then, as they die, their remains settle into sea sediments, which fossilize and preserve the record of past biological activity.

All of this appears to correlate with changes in supernova rates — supernovae look to influence climate and the energy available to biological systems.

Variations in relative supernovae history (black curve) compared with genera-level diversity curves normalized with the area of shallow marine margins (shallow areas along the coasts). The brown and light green curves are major marine animals' genera-level diversity. The orange is marine invertebrate genera-level diversity. Finally, the dark green curve is all marine animals' genera-level diversity. Abbreviations for geological periods are Cm Cambrian, O Ordovician, S Silurian, D Devonian, C Carboniferous, P Permian, Tr Triassic, J Jurassic, K Cretaceous, Pg Palaeogene, Ng Neogene. (Illustration: Henrik Svensmark, DTU Space).
Variations in relative supernova history (black curve) compared with genera-level diversity curves normalized with the area of shallow marine margins (shallow areas along the coasts). The brown and light green curves are major marine animals’ genera-level diversity. The orange is marine invertebrate genera-level diversity. Finally, the dark green curve is all marine animals’ genera-level diversity. Abbreviations for geological periods are Cm Cambrian, O Ordovician, S Silurian, D Devonian, C Carboniferous, P Permian, Tr Triassic, J Jurassic, K Cretaceous, Pg Palaeogene, Ng Neogene. [Henrik Svensmark, DTU Space]

Svensmark’s team studied the fossil record of ancient shallow marine areas. These were along the edges of oceans and other bodies of water in the Phanerozoic period of Earth’s geologic history–the period of time we’re in now–which began some 542 million years ago. On studying the rates of change in species of life they found clear evidence of explosions in biodiversity–which, to some degree, recalls the work of Robert Felix, namely ‘Magnetic Reversals and Evolutionary Leaps’ (worth a read).

Next, the team looked at the astrophysical fossil record of supernovae. They studied supernova frequencies recorded in three data sets of open stellar clusters. Those catalogs contain data about clusters within 850 parsecs of the Sun, with ages 520 million years and younger. The team then correlated the data with each other and linked higher-than-normal rates of past supernova explosions with climate-influenced changes in biodiversity in shallow marine environments here on Earth.


The chain of events that leads from star death to biodiversity changes on Earth begins with a massive progenitor star reaching the end of its life and collapsing in on itself. The infalling material rebounds off the stellar core and rushes out into to space.

That cloud of debris scatters all the elements made by the star both before and during the supernova explosion. The event also emits vast amounts of cosmic rays. Those energetic particles eventually arrive in our Solar System. Some smash into Earth’s atmosphere and send showers of ions crashing through our protective layers. In line with the CR theory, these assist in the creation of aerosols that in turn form clouds (more cosmic rays = more clouds = global cooling).

Clouds regulate solar energy, controlling how much sunlight reaches Earth’s surface. The warmth of the sunlight is one part of the water-warmth-nutrient triad that enables life to form and thrive on the planet. The influence of supernovae is part of the cycle of substantial climate shifts, thanks to the intensity of cosmic rays.

According to Svensmark, those changes can be as much as several hundred percent over millions of years: “The new evidence points to a connection between life on Earth and supernovae, mediated by the effect of cosmic rays on clouds and climate”, he said.
POWERFUL GAMMA-RAY BURST MADE CURRENTS FLOW IN THE EARTH: Astronomers have never seen anything like it. On Oct. 9, 2022, Earth-orbiting satellites detected the strongest gamma-ray burst (GRB) in modern history: GRB221009A. How strong was it? It caused electrical currents to flow through the surface of our planet. Dr. Andrew Klekociuk in Tasmania recorded the effect using an Earth Probe Antenna:
View attachment 65664

The blue curve is a signal from Klekociuk's antenna, which was sensing VLF (very low frequency) currents in the soil at the time of the blast. The orange curve shows the gamma-ray burst recorded by the STIX telescope on Europe's Solar Orbiter spacecraft, one of many spacecraft that detected the event. The waveforms are a nearly perfect match.

"I am a climate scientist at the Australian Antarctic Division--that's my day job," says Klekociuk. "VLF is my hobby. I started doing VLF radio measurements in the 1970's when I was in high school. This is the first time I have detected a gamma-ray burst."

Klekociuk's unusual "ham rig" uses Earth itself as a giant antenna. In his back garden there are two metal spikes stuck into the ground 75 meters apart. They are connected to a receiver via buried wires. In recent years amateur radio operators have been experimenting with this weird kind of antenna to detect VLF radio signals circling our planet in the Earth-ionosphere waveguide. Earth's crust forms one of the waveguide's walls, allowing Earth Probe Antennas to detect distant transmitters.

"During the gamma-ray burst I detected flickering from multiple stations," says Klekociuk, who made this map showing transmission paths illuminated by the GRB:
View attachment 65665
Researchers have known since 1983 that gamma-ray bursts can ionize Earth's atmosphere and, thus, disturb the great waveguide. This appears to be the first time anyone has recorded the effect using an Earth Probe Antenna.

The outburst on Oct. 9th shocked astronomers. Consider this tweet from Phil Evans of the University of Leicester: "It's bright. Really bright. Like, stupidly really bright." Evans works with data from NASA's Swift gamma-ray observatory, and the overflowing signal had apparently broken some of his plotting software.

Data from NASA spacecraft have since pinpointed the burst. It came from a dusty galaxy 2.4 billion light years away, almost certainly triggered by a supernova explosion giving birth to a black hole. This is actually the closest GRB ever recorded, thus accounting for its extreme intensity.
I briefly read about that case on the news then, but missed the details. The cause seems to be intriguing, imo.

Scientists have not solved the mystery of the most powerful radiation beam that struck us from the depths of the universe.

The main astronomical journal of the world, Astrophysical Journal, published an article that tries to comprehend the incredible event that happened on October 8 last year. Then a powerful gamma-ray burst hit the Earth, which may have changed our climate and caused an earthquake in Turkey. The article, however, does not please: there are no natural reasons for such an event. We are telling everything that is known today about this incident of universal scale.


Gamma rays are essentially the same light as what we see with our eyes. Only very hard. You know that – ultraviolet is hard. X-rays follow him on the spectrum scale, and don't mess with them. So, gamma rays are even more dangerous than X-rays.

And astronomers thought that nature does not produce them. But they poured out in abundance after nuclear explosions. In the 1950s, countries vied with each other to test atomic bombs, and scientists got acquainted with gamma rays. Finally, they decided to ban the tests. In order to monitor whether anyone is violating, several satellites were launched. And wow, the flashes continued. The machinations of the United States or the Soviets? But it quickly became clear: gamma-ray bursts come from deep space. When Voyager spacecraft were sent there to the outskirts of the Solar System in the 1970s, they were also equipped with gamma counters. Communication with the Voyagers, who are already moving in a strange space where the "rules" dictated by our Sun do not work, has not yet been lost. It was they who on October 8, 2022 became the first witnesses of an incredible event.

So, the Voyager counters worked. They immediately sent a signal to Earth. The signal was flying towards us at the speed of light. A whole 19 hours. But the unimaginable force of the gamma wave flew along with him also at the speed of light. And the Voyagers could not warn us, their data and the gamma wave itself arrived on Earth at the same time.

Gamma detectors near the Earth seemed to be blinded by the incredible force of the pulse. Scientists sent telegrams from different parts of the Earth: the equipment broke down. Later they will make a mathematical model, and they will understand: events of this kind in the Universe occur once every 10 thousand years. Of course, if it is a natural, natural event. It turns out that our civilization has never seen such a thing. And he won't see it for a long time.


Let's discard exotic hypotheses for now. What does science say?

Since gamma rays are extraordinary radiation, the event that produces them is catastrophic. For example, the collision of two neutron (very dense) stars. The momentum, however, will be weak.

For the one that was in October, only the collapse of a star into a black hole is suitable. The star must be huge, and the black hole must be incredible. We calculated that if this is the case, the event happened 2.4 billion light-years away from us. It's somewhere on the edge of the observable world. And that's 2.4 billion years ago! The universe was young and turbulent then.

And here it is important to understand why the article in the magazine was delayed for so long. If this is a supernova, there must be some traces. The nebula, for example – that is, the remnants of this whole catastrophe. Like in the constellation of Taurus, where in 1054 a supernova flash was seen, and now there is a nebula that you will see with binoculars. We were waiting for at least something to appear there. But it's empty. It is empty there as it can be empty in deep space. And this is a huge problem. This suggests that there is no supernova, and no black hole, there.


And here we plunge into an obscure world of conjectures and semi–scientific hypotheses - but still not fantasies. And here are the options:

- we don't understand physics well

Modern physics stands on the fact that the vacuum itself produces and immediately absorbs into nowhere so-called virtual particles, including gamma quanta. But how is this possible? Maybe we don't understand everything right at all? And then gamma rays can be born without a supernova.

- alien nuclear war

Nothing contradicts this assumption. One civilization has smashed another, why not?

- a signal from another dimension

Initially, astronomers were confused about where the signal came from. The fact that he is very far away, they began to assert later and, perhaps, this is a stretch. In that case, who knows, maybe he appeared very close to us, but came from a parallel universe, and isn't that where the notorious virtual particles are diving from?

- a signal for us

Trying to contact "them", we use radio, but radio is a so–so communication channel. Of course, gamma rays are better, they are tougher and pierce everything in their path. What if "they" have a gamma laser, and he aimed a bullet in our direction?


But if so, the aliens have really screwed us up. At the boundary of the Earth's atmosphere, energy in gigawatts was released. It's as if a powerful power plant took and threw all its energy into the atmosphere, and even in the form of gamma radiation. Has it passed without a trace?

We are beginning to understand that the weather is determined not by clouds and other fogs, but by the ionosphere, a layer at an altitude of 80-100 km, which consists of charged particles. The ionosphere hummed like a taut drum under the impact of gamma quanta. The ionosphere is positively charged, the Earth itself is negatively charged. The balance between these charges determines the weather. Of course, there is no balance now and it will not be restored soon. The ionosphere seemed to be saturated with energy from the outside, and it began to "pump out" electrons from the Earth. During these months, scientists observe strange events in the electric field. And the climate behaves very strangely. You saw it the other day: snowfalls in the Rostov region and in St. Petersburg, and at least a snowflake in the Moscow region.

Then, the most powerful earthquake in Turkey. Among the hypotheses there is one: it is the balance of the Earth and the ionosphere that determines the stability of lithospheric plates. The charges flowed – the plates also started moving.

All this has been poorly studied so far. But there are some studies, and we will certainly return to this topic. In the meantime, it is clear: whatever gave rise to a powerful outbreak of gamma radiation, the Earth will have to deal with the consequences for a long time.

Subaru Telescope Hawaii
Last updated: October 11, 2023
A research team including scientists at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) and Osaka Metropolitan University has captured extensive cosmic-ray air showers with unprecedented precision using the ultra-wide-field prime focus camera mounted on the Subaru Telescope. Advancing this new detection method will unlock deeper understanding of the Universe’s most energetic particles.

Screenshot 2023-10-27 at 18-28-46 &quotA New Lens into the Universe's Most Energetic Particles...png

When a high-energy cosmic ray collides with the Earth's atmosphere, it generates an enormous number of particles in what is known as an extensive air shower. In images taken by the Subaru Telescope's prime focus camera, Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC), there are about 20,000 tracks produced by cosmic rays penetrating the CCDs per single shot (Figures 1 and 2). These tracks of cosmic rays act as noise in astronomical observations and are removed by the usual data processing.

View attachment 84191

A research team including Dr. Satoshi Kawanomoto, Dr. Michitaro Koike, and Dr. Satoshi Miyazaki of Subaru Telescope, NAOJ; Dr. Toshihiro Fujii and graduate student Fraser Bradfield of Osaka Metropolitan University; Dr. Tomoki Morokuma of Chiba Institute of Technology; and Dr. Hiroshi Komiyama of Hosei University, focuses on that very "noise." By analyzing approximately 17,000 images captured between 2014 and 2020, the team pinpointed 13 images that contain extensive air showers, with a number of particle tracks far exceeding the usual count.

"To date, there had been no systematic analysis of such events published in academic journals. An extensive air shower needs to be observed in high altitudes before it spreads out. Also, the detector should be thick enough to record long tracks. The data was obtained for the first time precisely because HSC, which adopted CCDs with a thick depletion layer, was operated for long-term observations at an altitude of 4,200 meters. This demonstrates the uniqueness of HSC and its survey (HSC-SSP) from an entirely new perspective," explains Dr. Miyazaki, the Director of Subaru Telescope.

Traditional cosmic ray detectors (Note 1) record the total number of particles and the time information of the incoming rays, without distinguishing the types of particles (like electrons, positrons, of muons). On the other hand, the new method using HSC has the potential to determine the nature of individual particles from the shapes of their tracks.

"By integrating our method with conventional approaches, we hope to advance our understanding of extensive air showers," says Dr. Fujii.

The air showers captured with HSC suggest the possibility of signals derived from dark matter, pointing to potential applications in dark matter exploration. Furthermore, detailed analysis of the precisely captured tracks will open the door to new insights to the transition of the Universe into a matter-dominated era (Note 2).

The lead author, Dr. Kawanomoto, says, "In astronomical images, cosmic rays are subjects for correction. However, by analyzing the long-term, consistent observation data from HSC-SSP, we were able to demonstrate the potential to extract valuable information in scientific areas not intended for the original purpose. I believe this not only provides insights into the observation methods for high-energy particles but also emphasizes the importance of data archives with guaranteed uniform quality."

These results were published in Scientific Reports on October 12, 2023 as Kawanomoto et al. "Observing Cosmic-Ray Extensive Air Showers with a Silicon Imaging Detector."

This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers 20H00181, 20H05856, 22K21349, and JP20H05852. This work was supported by JST, the establishment of university fellowships towards the creation of science technology innovation, Grant Number JPMJFS2138.

(Note 1) Traditional cosmic ray detectors include scintillators, which detect faint fluorescent light emitted when cosmic rays pass through materials like plastic, and water Cherenkov detectors that detect Cherenkov radiation from charged particles in water.

(Note 2) At the beginning of the Universe, it is believed that matter and antimatter existed in equal amounts. However, in the current Universe, antimatter has vanished, and matter dominates. This state is referred to as a "matter-dominated era." The reason why antimatter disappeared is not clear, and it is believed that unknown physical laws may be involved.

Telescope Array detects second highest-energy cosmic ray ever​

In 1991, the University of Utah Fly’s Eye experiment detected the highest-energy cosmic ray ever observed. Later dubbed the Oh-My-God particle, the cosmic ray’s energy shocked astrophysicists. Nothing in our galaxy had the power to produce it, and the particle had more energy than was theoretically possible for cosmic rays traveling to Earth from other galaxies. Simply put, the particle should not exist.

The Telescope Array has since observed more than 30 ultra-high-energy cosmic rays, though none approaching the Oh-My-God-level energy. No observations have yet revealed their origin or how they are able to travel to the Earth.

In their observation that published on Nov. 23, 2023, in the journal Science, the international Telescope Array collaboration of researchers describe the ultra-high-energy cosmic ray, evaluate its characteristics, and conclude that the rare phenomena might follow particle physics unknown to science. The researchers named it the Amaterasu particle after the sun goddess in Japanese mythology. The Oh-My-God and the Amaterasu particles were detected using different observation techniques, confirming that while rare, these ultra-high energy events are real.

“These events seem like they’re coming from completely different places in the sky. It’s not like there’s one mysterious source,” said John Belz, professor at the U and co-author of the study. “It could be defects in the structure of spacetime, colliding cosmic strings. I mean, I’m just spit-balling crazy ideas that people are coming up with because there’s not a conventional explanation.”


Telescope Array detects second highest-energy cosmic ray ever​


I thought this point and the speculation was interesting:
The scientists are unsure exactly where the UHE ray came from. "Its arrival direction points back to a void in the large-scale structure of the Universe," the researchers wrote in Science. This region has no known galaxies, nebulas or other cosmic structures.

It is possible that the cosmic ray originated somewhere else and was deflected toward us by magnetic fields surrounding a star
or other massive object.
Nemesis? The Wave?
However, UHE cosmic rays are less likely to be deflected than less-energetic counterparts, the researchers wrote.But the particle could also come from an "unknown astronomical phenomena and novel physical origins beyond the Standard Model [of physics]," Fujii said.

Also posted here: 'Goddess particle': Earth slammed by ultra-powerful cosmic ray, and we have no idea where it came from -- Sott.net
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