September 27, 2023
Meanwhile: On Europa Something in the Europan Ocean is emitting carbon dioxide.
Heavy concentrations of carbon dioxide in the salty Tara Regio region, where the surface ice has been disrupted, suggest the carbon originated deep in the ocean. This suggests a similarity with Earth's deep-sea hydrothermal vent systems, where life on Earth may have originated, Scientific American reported.
It's interesting (and impressive) that this was discovered by the James Webb Telescope, and missed by the Juno and the previous probes in the Jovian System.
April 12, 2023
We Have a Date (UPDATE: No We Don't) Mauser missed it by THAT much.
I have it on very good authority that Twitch.tv/brickmuppet will be livestreaming it. Join my internet alter-ego and his Crack Team of Science Babes....
(well....at least one of them)
...as they discuss this momentous occasion and provide a thoughtful, if snarky peanut gallery to any unplanned fireworks.
Like this for instance...
Join us for the festivities beginning at 07:00 EST/ 11:00 UTC next Wednesday the 19th.
UPDATE: Well...THAT'S a nice clarification. The Space Rocket Launch Schedule website now says that the launch date is TBD. I'm not 100% sure it did not say that before , but I didn't see it, and I'm fairly sure that paragraph was not as long when I read it the first time.
This morning I saw an announcement that it was going to be next Monday and currently I'm seeing this on Yahoo News :
Current federal requests point to a liftoff between Monday, April 17, and Friday, April 21. Many believe Musk would be happy to see Starship fly on April 20, or 4/20, which is often used to reference all things marijuana-related and has become a favorite joke for Musk.
I'm sorry about jumping the gun on this, but it looks like no date is set as of this time.
Spaceflight Now (currently) has the launch as No Earlier Than April 17th.
June 30, 2022
Meanwhile, in Canada.... "Baby Woolly Mammoth" sounds like a Japanese cute girl metal band, but it is actually a thing that was just dug out of the ice blasted Hellscape that is Canada.
Here she is with the unsuspecting gold miners that found her.
Not pictured: 30,000 year old plague germs that are wafting out of the corpse.
Canada, for those that don't know, is a nation, long rumored by, hearsay, urban legend, cryptozoologists and Native American lore to exist somewhere between Detroit and Siberia.
March 18, 2022
Info Bleg For the Tech Literate
I have questions.
I had been working on a post but the concerns I was trying to express and analyze are so far outside my bailiwick that the post was just going to be a demonstration of the Dunning Kruger effect.
I am not a computer expert.
I'm a Mac user...which, I think, is the opposite. Aside from my TI99, my first computer was an old Macintosh that I pulled out of a dumpster in '98. I've gone on via inertia since then buying iMacs.
Computers are black box technology to me, the only thing I know about how they work is that they need good industrial design to keep the magic smoke inside so they can access the ley lines that make up the internet.
(I exaggerate only slightly)
I'm trying to improve, but there's a lotta shit going down right now that's tech related. So I sent some questions to one of the blog's Crack Team of Science Babes, but the answers I got were non-specific and unhelpful.
"The internet was a mistake!"
However, several of my readers are tech savvy, to the point they make their living in IT or computer engineering.
With that in mind:
I have some questions...
How crucial to the tech sector is the Neon shortage really?
I've often heard it said that "All the chips not made in China are made in Taiwan", but how true is that? I'd expect that Europe makes a lot and surely some are still made in North America. As Pixy noted 3 days ago, Foxconn is entering The Saudi Kingdom. I've looked and can't find a breakdown of numbers, or percentages and I don't know enough to know what constitutes "chips" for the purposes of the question. Without wasting too much of your non-existent free time, does anyone have any sources/resources on the subject you could point me to regarding who, where, and 'what quality/ capability?' regarding chip manufacture?
I am, as I've admitted....(looks both ways and whispers in shame)...a Mac user. I have very little experience with PCs and Macs are not tinker friendly...at all. I'm not, realistically, going to be aasembling one anytime soon. Can anyone recommend a good pre-built gaming/streaming PC?
Other than the looming food shortages (admittedly not a trivial issue) logistics, at least in the U.S. seem to have sort of stabilized. However, the tech sector logistics problems seem to be continuing and have multiple second order effects. Does anyone see any light at the end of the tunnel this year regards things like appliances and cars?
The cyber security threats we are seeing now are on a par with what was predicted for Y2K. But seem to be more substantive than Gary North ranting in his basement. Some of you do this for a living. Do you see any way to truly mitigate these vulnerabilities? Prior to the 1980s, many of these crucial functions that are so susceptible to digital manipulation now were handled quite adequately with manually operated or mechanically regulated systems. Is it just cost savings driving this transition to vulnerability or were regulations involved? Given that we used to operate refineries and power-plants without these vulnerabilities are there any hard engineering reasons distinct from political or cost/benefit reasons that we could not install manual/mechanical backups to keep from having some hacker blow up our stuff?
Russia is running out of cloud storage because of the embargoes.
Does this have any implications for non-Russians going forward? The internet was designed to survive, or at least fail gracefully in the event of a nuclear war. The cybersecurity issues and cloud storage seem to be glaring vulnerabilities that can't be mitigated by the users since at least in the case of the "cloud" all aspects of security, durability, and access privileges are completely out of the hands of the user. Is there anything to be done realistically other than "Buy your own damned servers and maintain them!" I confess I'm a little skeptical of the cloud on principle, but I've got a degree in History which doesn't give me a broad and deep understanding of the problem...if there IS a problem.
January 20, 2022
"Filmed on Location, IN SPACE"
The groundbreaking studio, known as SEE-1, comes from film producer duo Elena and Dmitry Lesnevskyâ€™s newly-launched Space Entertainment Enterprise (S.E.E.) and will dock with Axiomâ€™s world-first commercial space station Axiom Station, which is connected to the International Space Station (ISS).
It will allow, most obviously the filming of zero-g scenes in video without the constant interruptions involved with the "Vomit Comet".
It is set to become a free-floating facility in 2028.
One of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes has thoughts.
"Oh noes! Jewish Space Lasers!"
Not useful or productive thoughts this time, but thoughts nonetheless.
January 17, 2022
Oh. Wow. One of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes brings us news from the vicinity of Boyajian's Star or KIC-8462852.
For those who haven't heard about this star, it has been in the news for a couple of years, because of some anomalous dimming. The dimming was initially thought to be indicative of large 'objects' that weren't really shaped like planets orbiting the star. This caused....excitement....in certain circles. There was (and still is) some loose and irresponsible talk of "alien megastructures". However, subsequent observation indicated that the structures might be composed of dust...very fine dust with about the same particle size as cigaret smoke. So comets or a solar ring system were proposed, and, in any event it looked like it was probably soon to be figured out.
Now, 12 years after first baffling astronomers, there are a few theories, but nothing really fits. For one thing, if it IS dust something is replacing it at uneven intervals, leading to loose and irresponsible speculation that the dimming is caused by tailings from asteroid mining or something.
Current investigations are focused on trying to find some odd periodic collision of comets.
One scientist by the name of Dr. Edward G. Schmidt decided to look for other stars that were behaving in a similar way. No other's had been noted but no one had been looking for them. If it's happening in multiple systems, it probably is natural, and by observing multiple such stars, it might be possible to find a cause.
A search of the entire sky turned up only a few. They are ALL clustered in the vicinity of Boyajian's Star and only around stars of the same stellar type, namely G and F stars. Like Earth's sun, or slightly hotter.
This is EXACTLY what one would expect if the phenomenon were the result of alien megastructures or megaprojects that were associated with a civilization that was expanding to nearby systems...and if they were only choosing to do big projects around sunlike stars. Bigger and smaller stars tend to have flares or other problems so G and F stars would make sense in that context.
Of course it still could be a natural phenomenon that only affects a particular type of star in that little bit of the galaxy.
Explaining that would probably be a cosmological discovery of considerable note.
Scientists really don't know what this is.
But it's intriguing that the discovery of other examples actually strengthened rather than debunked the "It's aliens!" hypothesis.
November 02, 2021
Technology Ahead of It's Time Many of you are familiar with Steve1989's YouTube channel. He collects and reviews survival rations and emergency kits, mostly military from various eras.
Steve's notoriety comes from the fact that, being a Florida-Man, he tries to eat the old ration kits if possible, and his deadpan commentary combined with childlike enthusiasm means hilarity frequently ensues. This is particularly true in the pre-1970s ration kits where at least some components are usually inedibly rancid resulting in his transcendental joy when he finds something like a partially edible K-Rat from 1943.
However that is not nearly as impressive as the video I blundered into today. Last year, he opened a U.S. survival ration from 1906. It consisted of three sets of vitamin fortified mystery beef, and three sets of chocolate.
While grim, the ration was completely edible after 114 years and held up MUCH better than much more recent rations. While the newer C-rats and MREs are no doubt vastly better for morale, the shelf life of the 1906 ration is unbeatable. This ration was a much more basic bit of sustenance, intended for in-extremis situations, and can be eaten cold or as a stew in one's mess kit. It is actually more advanced in some ways than the WW2 ration kits. The packaging involved is pretty sophisticated and elegant even by today's standards, and it actually has slightly more calories than a modern MRE in about 2/3 to half the volume.
On the debit side, it's...pemmican and chocolate, kinda grim, with no other menu options.
But it is not intended to be a general purpose meal, one had other options for that, like mobile canteens, rather this was intended for forced marches and traveling light for a few days.
And at least this one kept more than a century. It would be nice, in these interesting times, if these were still being produced. They are much more compact than the modern alternatives that are (dubiously) advertised as lasting a fifth as long.
It should be noted that this is a slightly more advanced and mechanically refined version of a British emergency ration from the 1890s, which inspired it. That one did not hold up quite as well, but even it was partially edible after 121 years.
August 23, 2021
Meanwhile: At the Skynet Symposium Elon Musk, who has for years warned about the trancendental threat that is A.I., has decided to stop worrying and love the anthropomorphic killbots.
To be clear the new TESLABOT is not technically a killbot in that it is not equipped with a keyboard command for terminating peons who offend the users of TESLABOT, but a workaround for that oversight is likely simple. If it comes equipped as advertised with such features as opposable thumbs, it will certainly be equip-able with phased plasma rifles in the 40 watt range or other items with similar functionality.
OK in all seriousness, this diagram notes what the "killbots" will kill...
...or in the polite language of the promo, "eliminate".
Those 'dangerous, repetitive, boring tasks' are what most of us call "jobs".
That is the prey of this killbot.
Of course for 200 years, jobs have been eliminated by advancing technology only to unleash by their increase in productivity a need for more jobs. This, new development, if it comes to pass may be more of the same, but there is concern that it might be different as it is not "the machinery" but is designed to move amongst and service "the machinery" and do the scutt work that the machinery couldn't.
Technology is generally double edged, everyone needs to stay on their toes.
Theres a lot to be skeptical about in this announcement and it is does look like, as one commentator pointed out, "Musk as his absolute Muskiest". But as Brian Wang points out, Must does have experience and some infrastructure for producing high tech, semi-autonomous products on a massive scale, so while skepticism is certainly warranted, don't dismiss it out of hand.
Exit quote: "In the long term I do think there needs to be universal basic income,â€ Musk said. "But not right now because the robot doesnâ€™t work.â€
August 13, 2021
That Moment When ...one realizes that the website one is perusing is a bastion of bullshit can be jarring, but it's always best to find out early.
One of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes brings us just such a moment from Physics-Astronomy.org
"So much von-DÃ¤niken. So very derp."
August 01, 2021
Meanwhile: On Europa One of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes brings us a bit of unexpected news about Jupiter's icy moon Europa.
It seems that NASA has been doing studies of the information gleaned from the various probes that have visited Jupiter and in the process of simulating the environment of Jupiter's moon Europa they have concluded that this is what it looks like on its night side.
You see, the Van Allen belts of Jupiter (In which Europa resides) are so strong that the moon literally glows with Cherenkov radiation and the phosphorescence of certain salts in the sea ice.
The NASA/JPL article linked note that this phenomena has a lot of potential for analyzing the composition of Europa's ice and its subsurface ocean, via spectroscopy. However, there would seem to be other potential implications of this discovery.
Currently, any life on Europa is assumed to be based on relatively inefficient chemosynthesis and to be dependent on discharges from equally hypothetical volcanic vents.
Cherenkov radiation is blue light, meaning it's pretty high energy visible light.
Water is an excellent ionizing radiation shield.
NASA says the sea ice is literally glowing blue, and seems to imply that this light is visible to the naked eye..
So, if the sea-ice over the ocean is, in fact, glowing in blue light, then this light could represent another potential source of energy beyond the hypothesized volcanic vents. As happens on Earth, this would only be complimented by any black smokers spewing nutrients.
Using the vast depth and breadth of biological and radiological knowledge that comes with a History degree, I find myself asking, "Can you grow plants with Cherenkov radiation?" It seems likely, given that blue light is pretty high in energy, and that they make blue grow lights.
The ice and water should protect against the hard radiation that ultimately causing the light, so in theory there might well be a very habitable region in Europa's ocean, one where actual photosynthesis, could potentially take place. Photosynthesis is vastly more efficient than the chemosynthesis that has been postulated as making life on Europa plausible, and (rather more so than chemosynthesis) might even support multicellular life.
Additionally, life or no life, Europa's oceans might be well lit...in an eerie blue glow (dependent, of course upon the thickness of the ice and brightness of the glow).
There are a whole bunch of variables that need to be looked at regarding this, and I'm sure SOMEBODY knows if Cherenkov radiation is devoid of anything that plants need, but I'll be damned if I can find any info in the matter at the moment.
Photosynthesis aside, there is a model put forth by a Richard Greenberg (presumably, his degrees are not in history) that Europa's ocean may be as oxygenated as earth's if not more so, due to the creation of Oxygen and Peroxides created by the radiation bombardment of the icy surface.
Europa's just looking better and better for life.
June 27, 2021
INCOMING! One of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes brings us news from the world Astronomy.
It appears that a planet is entering the inner solar system.
It's technically a dwarf planet...but I don't think we can say dwarf anymore so revel in the clickbait.
It's also a part of the solar system, specifically the Kuiper belt and is just on a really long orbit that is bringing it into the inner Solar System, so, it's basically a comet. However, 2014 UN271 may be more than 200 miles in diameter and probably qualifies as a Dwarf Planet. (Oh, looky there, I said it.)
This appears to be a big Trans-Neptunian Object like Pluto, Eris, or Makemake, which scientists are eager to visit, but are so far away (much farther than even Pluto) that the expense and time required for such missions mean that they are unlikely to be visited in the foreseeable future.
2014 UN271 however, is coming to us! On Saturday, April 5 2031, the object will reach its closest approach to the sun, just inside the orbit of Saturn. 10 years is long enough that a mission can be put together and while Saturn is way out there, its much easier to reach than most of these things. This could be really cool.
There are a couple of things about this object that are speculative; one is its size, which is anywhere between 60 and 230 miles across, the reason for this is that it appears to be outgassing already even though it's beyond Neptune right now. If so, it probably is covered in very low melting point volatiles. This COULD mean that even being beyond Jupiter when it turns back, it could be a truly spectacular comet.
Leaving the staid realm of orbital mechanics and engineering for a moment to wandering into the whackadoodle speculations of history majors, it should be noted that in addition to the scientific bounty this TNO brings with it some spectacularly unlikely potential for hijinks.
These objects appear to be made largely of tholins, ice, and frozen nitrogen. Nitrogen is something that one needs a LOT of if one were (for some reason) going to, say, terraform Mars, and planetary quantities of nitrogen that are accessible are hard to come by. So I could see Elon Musk sending some rather desperate expedition to this thing to set up some mass drivers and frantically mine it for its nitrogen, water, and organics during the few years it is within shooting distance of Mars, all the while frantically hurling blocks of volatiles towards the red planet, maybe with foil screens around them to ensure they don't completely evaporate before impact. This is a dubious prospect for a whole host of reasons but it might make a great story.
One nomenclature note, the object is currently given the tentative name of Bernardinelli-Bernstein, which is WAY outside the normal, mythologically inspired names for such things, but is completely in line with how they name comets.
May 16, 2021
This is a Worthy Video.
Issac Arthur looks at less grounded scifi weapons and comes to some interesting conclusions.
Watch on Bitchute
Isaac Arthur mentions a light-saber video. It is here and it is awesome! There are follow-ups here and here, where they demonstrate that Styrofoam is a sub optimal armor material, and mobile homes are weak to light sabers as well as tornadoes.
There is a moment in the video where Mr. Arthur predicts that hacking will be viable for only a short period as cybersecurity is becoming much better.
Colonial says "Hi!".
Admittedly he's talking long term but I was under the impression that anything can get hacked. I am curious what IT experts think of his rather optimistic prediction.
May 08, 2021
Meanwhile: In Chernobyl
One of out Crack Team of Science Babes has called our attention to happenings in Ukraine.
"I guess it's true then. 2020 won."
Uh. She seems dismayed. Well, lets look at her tabs...
Thirty-five years after the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine exploded in the worldâ€™s worst nuclear accident, fission reactions are smoldering again in uranium fuel masses buried deep inside a mangled reactor hall.
A quick perusal of the article indicates that rainwater leaking into the sub-basements of the stricken power plant was acting as a moderator and facilitating increased nuclear reactions in the solidified mass of uranium that constitutes the now solidified melted-down fuel pile. To combat this, the powers that be erected a rain-proof shelter over the highly radioactive ruin. Unfortunately there has recently been a spike in neutron emissions from a particularly isolated room where the formerly molten mass solidified. There are concerns that the water had been acting as a moderator there as well, but in such a way as to prevent chain reactions rather than facilitate them, and now that the water has drained/ evaporated out this area is getting all fissiony.
Pouring water into the catacombs paved with uranium risks causing chain reactions in other areas.
This is a mess. While a runaway chain reaction would not cause an actual nuclear bomb equivalent, it could cause a steam explosion and possibly fires which would spread radioactivity.
Or not...because these are counterintuitive neutrons and scientists are unsure of what is actually going on.
April 29, 2021
Speculations From the Cutting Edge of of Isekaiology
April 22, 2021
Beta Testing After months of asking Starlink to "Shut up and take my money!" they finally obliged!
Oh. That was a lot of monies.
In any event, a few days or weeks from now, I'll have my Starlink kit and I will be able to report to you, gentle reader, on whether it lives up to its promise.
April 19, 2021
There's a helicopter on frickin' MARS!
March 13, 2021
Bygone Babbagery One of The Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes brings us the latest on the oldest.
(Dinosaur looking thing is unrelated.)
Scientists have used X-Rays, a watchmaker, fine manipulation tools, previous reconstructions and a Greek-English dictionary to come up with the latest, most accurate reconstruction of the oldest known mechanical calculator, the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient Greek device that was discovered in 1901 and was vastly more advanced in concept and construction that had been thought possible during that age. One of the big breakthroughs on this latest attempt was the discovery, via X-Ray that there were, inside the device, a much more complete set of instructions on how to use it than had previously been known.
The paper is here.
The 2 hour presentation by the scientists is here.
A video overview of the matter with slick CGI and dramatic music is here.
(Thanks to Pixy for the initial Nature.com article. )
February 21, 2021
There is a Helicopter ON MARS!
One of our Crack Team of Science Babe's has some commentary on the matter.
Apologies to everyone who viewed the post in the first two hours that it was up.
I was surprised when I saw the "live feed", but figured that it was a test flight ,and, being quite busy today just linked the previous embed as part of a particularly perfunctory post and ran out to run errands. A few minutes ago I came back and checked for any more info and realized that there was none and then a comment by "David" which confirmed my unease.
I replaced the "live feed" with a recent video on Ingenuity.
The different embed retroactively makes the post technically correct...(the best kind of correct).
It's rather interesting that You-Tube, the company that claims to care greatly about fact checking and yeeted with prejudice anyone who mentioned the Hunter Biden story have let this chlickwhore stay up for (checks Youtube) WOW this has been up for THREE DAYS and it is still up.
The previous embed is impressive and does look for all the world like an actual live stream with black and white video supplemented by color corrected video with an additional time delay. The vistas looked very much like Mars indeed, but it's completely fake. If you are very curious about the video that was previously embedded it is here. I'd rather not give the people-shaped-colostomy-bag who posted it any clicks though.
Again, I'm sorry. I'll strive to do better in the future.
January 09, 2021
Meanwhile: At Alpha Centauri This story actually transpired a couple of weeks ago but I have been waiting for the inevitable debunking. Now one of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes is here to inform us how that went...
"The debunking is not going quite as smoothly as expected".
Allow me to explain...
A few weeks ago, radio astronomers detected an odd radio signal that seemed to come from from the nearby Alpha Centauri system, the 3 closest stars to Earth.
That's bloody coincidental, so while the press was being their usual calm selves, the scientists did what they always do when they hear an 'extraterrestrial signal', they set about trying to figure out what Earth radio signal they had mistakenly picked up.
Well, weeks later there have been some developments...sort of.
Basically all known terrestrial radio signals have been eliminated as being this.
As I understand it, the signal hasn't changed much in bearing (relative to the sun), which one would expect if it to do if it were being broadcast from inside the solar system. Moreover, this turns out not to be a particularly weak signal by the standards of radio astronomy, quite the opposite in fact, and after adjusting their readings and analyzing their parallax, they've narrowed it down to coming from the direction of Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf that is the closest of the three stars in Alpha Centauri and the closest star to Earth.
The chances of the first SETI success involving the closest star in the sky is....well, the odds of THAT seem dubious.
However, this signal is strange, and is stubbornly defying debunkery. An inability to, as of yet, debunk something that is vanishingly unlikely is NOT the same as confirmation. However, this has slipped out of the realm of press hype and into the realm of 'interesting'.
There's a good overview of this conundrum here:
Interestingly, the signal doesn't appear to be data...it's a monotone signal, like a dial tone...or a beacon.
Proxima is now known to have at least 2 planets and an asteroid/dust belt.
One of the planets, (Proxima Centauri B) is in the theoretical habitable zone from the star. However that habitable zone is very close to the star. Proxima's a small star, a tad bigger than Jupiter (though much more massive) and it's not a calm star like ours. It flares quite spectacularly. In fact it has flares that are bigger than those spewed out by our sun.
Any planet in the "habitable zone" of this dinky little star is going to get bombarded by star farts, and would require a massive atmosphere similar to Venus, and/or a terribly strong magnetic field to keep its atmosphere from being stripped away.
Note too that "habitable zone" is a bit of a provincial and vague term. Venus, Earth and Mars are in our sun's habitable zone, but only one of them is habitable by humans.
The planet in that system which has gotten the most attention is the aforementioned Proxima Centauri B, in part because it is in the habitable zone and in part because it was discovered first. It has a mass somewhere between 1.7 and 1.6 times that of Earth and an estimated surface gravity, according to Wikipedia of between .95 and 1.1 g. It's a bit bigger and somewhat more massive than Earth. Assuming it has an atmosphere, it's probably colder than Earth...but that's a big assumption, because it's so close to its star that its getting blasted by solar wind and radiation, that, in the absence of a strong magnetic field would have stripped away the atmosphere long ago and sterilized the husk.
We have some experience with the magnetic fields of roughly Earth-size rocky planets, having no less than four of them in the general vicinity. Only one of them, has a useful magnetic field. Mars has one that only extends above the planetary surface in the tropics. Venus has a weak magnetosphere caused by the impact of solar wind on its upper atmosphere, Mercury, which is about the size of the moon (but as massive as Mars) has a very weak field, and Earth has about the second strongest magnetic field in the solar system after Jupiter. Earth's anomalously strong field is actually on par with the other gas giants like Saturn. It is hypothesized that this is due to tidal forces coming from the moon and the fact that Earth still spins on its axis fairly quickly.
As we noted a while back, any planet orbiting as close to its star as Proxima b is likely to be tidally locked, that is, it's likely to orbit once per rotation (like the moon is to Earth). However, In the embedded video there is speculation that it might be in resonance, perhaps with the other, recently discovered, planet (Proxima Centauri C) much as Mercury is in resonance with Jupiter. It is unclear if this is based on models or wishful thinking, but this would at least mean that it would have a day/night cycle. However, even generously granting that possibility, it likely still does not rotate fast enough to generate a sufficient magnetic field to protect it. There is also a data artifact noted in passing on page 8 of this paper that opens the remote possibility that the planet might have a moon (how that could possibly work so close to the star is unclear). There is a video discussion of this planet and the solar system in general here.
The study confirming Proxima b also indicated there might be another, smaller planet with an orbital period of 5.15 days (Noted on page 7 of the previous paper) but Proxima d is, as yet, unconfirmed.
The only other planet confirmed to be in the system in the system, Proxima Centauri C is either a small ice giant (would that be an ice orc?) , or a big rocky world. It is quite frigid and fairly far from the star, being outboard of what appears to be a dust or asteroid belt. This is all based on inferences from the wobble and red-shift of the star, but, recently astronomers were actually able to take a direct picture of Proxima C. While this dark frigid world elicits little interest from those looking for life signs, the ability to directly take a picture of a planet in another solar system is cool indeed. So what does this boring thing look like?
Yes the bigger planet in the system we are "getting signals from" is 'glowy', way bigger than it should be, and appears to be vastly less dense than a planet.
One possibility is that this planet has a massive ring system, that, like those of Saturn and Chariklo, is coated in highly reflective ice.
Uncredited NASA artist's conception of Proxima-C via
For reasons of propriety, we will, of course, dismiss out of hand the notion that Proxima C is an alien megastructure.
December 24, 2020
52 Years Ago, Christmas Eve was Spectacular
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