Combining light from the Unit Telescopes as shown in this diagram makes the VLT the largest optical telescope in existence in terms of collecting area.
It could be raining molten iron.
The Very Large Telescope in Chile has detected more about a distant planet than I ever expected was possible.
Wasp-76b orbits it’s star at 3% of the distance that Earth orbits from the Sun, which accounts for a temperature to vaporize iron. At this distance, a planet, even the gas giant this seems to be, would be tidally locked, with one face always exposed to its star’s radiation.
The extreme temperature difference between the day and night sides produces ferocious winds that carry the iron vapour to the cooler night side, where temperatures decrease to about 1,500C and the iron condenses and falls as rain that constantly peppers the planet’s gas surface and vanishes beneath it. The Guardian reporting on a study published in Nature
Using the Echelle Spectrograph for Rocky Exoplanets and Stable Spectroscopic Observations, astronomers watch for a dip in starlight that can indicate a planet is crossing in front of the star. Okay, that’s become a standard, accepted method.
Scientists have now moved on to more refined observations that look not only at the dip in intensity but how the spectrum of the light is shifted, which can reveal what gases are present in the planet’s atmosphere.
BTW, it probably isn’t exactly raining iron. It’s unlikely that large droplets form, since temperatures could be higher in the lower atmosphere, even on the planet’s night side. Maybe…iron fog.
This December, return with me to Titan. Subscribe now and I’ll let you know when the book is released.
On Saturn’s deadly moon, kin should be your greatest ally, not your greatest threat.
The only colony on Titan shatters into factions, and Fynn becomes a reluctant rebel leader. His sister seized control of the cult that brought them to the frozen moon, but her tyrannical rule drives them farther apart.
Only Fynn and his friends see the frozen moon’s dangers and wonders. Only they can keep the dome’s erratic life support running. Enduring the cult’s oppression may be the only way to survive. Can Fynn save them when they’re pushed too far?
I’m scrubbing out the last typos and grammos. At least, I hope they’re the last. A few always sneak in from an alternate reality. But I plan to release the new story the first weekend of December 2019, so subscribe to receive an email alert or watch this blog.
How did Fynn get into this mess? Catch up now. Titan Book 1 is, of course, available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited. If you have KU, you already paid for this story, so why not read it now?
Hail to you, Ra,
Perfect each day!
Or so it appears
As skyward we gaze.
The sun burns too bright
For humans to bear,
As said of the gods,
It’s blindness to stare.
But sometimes through clouds,
If hazes are thick,
You’ll glimpse some strange spots
That blemish the disk.
No longer dependent
On weather to view,
Is solar observing
That daily we do.
Much more fantastic
Than imagined of old
Is the vast sphere of plasma
Today we behold.
Inspired by a recent solar cycle study reported in newsweek.com
Science fiction with humor, that’s Peace Force. On a planet colonized long ago by humans, Harriet is unemployed and newly homeless. She’s recruited by a crazy robot (funniest robot since Hitchhiker’s Guide’s Marvin) to become the sole member of the police force on a planet that’s so peaceful, it doesn’t need a police force.
Or so it seems.
As new-hire training turns real, Harriet picks up an orphan pickpocket partner, an artificial intelligence car that can’t wait to get out of the garage, and a retired police officer who isn’t ready to leave it all behind.
The story is good entertainment and there are two more books in the series. Comments on Amazon call it a fun romp. Though there is a darker twist at the end I wasn’t expecting, I think the description is spot-on: “It’s good clean fun, written with wry humor.” And the day I’m posting this, it’s free on Amazon.
Blogging note: this is new. When I pasted my post into WordPress, it grabbed the Amazon link and inserted a really-big picture of the book cover with a “buy it now” and “free preview” button. Hmm. Is this convenient or annoying? I wonder who’s paying whom for the link? I took the big buttoned image out this time… but it is slick. Do you like slick?