The Hunt for Life #Aurora #Juno

Aurora on Earth are caused by particles from the Sun interacting with our planet’s protective magnetic field. Without that magnetic field on Earth, we would not be here. All life is entirely dependent on the shielding that our magnetic field provides. So if we are to search for life elsewhere, one good way to separate out those planets that may harbor life from those that do not, will be to search for Aurora. Except we’re not at the stage in our technology where we can image planets around other stars well enough to see aurora. So we have to find another way.

Luckily, the aurora also produces radio waves. So instead of watching, we can listen.

ET is not phoning home, but we are hearing the potential for life in our solar system

and beyond



Space, meet Space #amacrojot #ISS


Space is awesome.

I mean awesome in the original meaning of the word ‘awesome’, in that it fills us with awe. In the new meaning of the word awesome (i.e., cool)  we, as humans, are gradually learning how to live in space by spending time on the International Space Station. In this amazing footage from the international space station, an astronaut Scott Kelly, captures footage of the Northern lights (particles from the Sun hitting the Earth) just as the Sun begins to rise. Flying over the Earth, looking down at the Sun’s affects in both the light and energy it provides, and how it bombards us with particles, makes us see how fragile the planet is. And maybe fills us with awe again.

You can see the ISS in the sky quite often. You just have to know when and where to look.

Just to and select your location. The next good chance from Las Cruces is Thursday August 20, 2015, at 9pm.

Just look up.


Here comes the Sun

Watch out Earth, here comes the Sun, and you are in the way.

This is far from the usual your weather forecast. Big storms are brewing these one originate from the sun. It’s raining radiation. Now, don’t worry too much. We’re safe, protected by the Earths’s coddling magnetic field. But anything mead the outside of that magnetic shielding does have to watch out. Two large solar eruptions erupted over the last few days. Now the combined energy from two recent solar events will arrive at Earth on Saturday, prompting the Space Weather Prediction Center, Boulder, to issue a strong geomagnetic storm watch but we still are unsure as what this solar storm will do precisely.

“People on the ground really don’t have to worry,” said Lika Guhathakurta, a program scientist with NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. She said soalr storms don’t affect humans on the ground, although astronauts could be at risk. NASA can take steps to protect the crew members on the International Space Station, and satellite operators can turn off sensitive sensors on satellites to mitigate the risk to your smartphones and wi-fi connection. There may be temporary glitches, though, Guhathakurta says.
And if there is a major issue, scientists are taking precautions to make sure all the important parties are prepared.

On the upside, solar storms also create beautiful aurora. So if you have any family in the northern United States who are outside major metropolitan areas they should be out be watching the skies on Thursday and Friday nights. People here in New Mexico are less likely to get the kind of splendid aurora sights that people in the Northeast and Alaska will see, but it might not hurt for them to take a glance at the sky anyway, just in case.

Touched by the beauty of the Sun. #amacrojot #beauty #sun #aurora

Beauty is a over-used word. But in this case, it’s the only word.

As scientists, we often get asked why we do science.
Is it to help society? Well, we do invent technological advances, medical advances, and engineering advances, but that’s not why do to science.

Is it to make money for the country? Well, we do return investment at the rate of 10:1 over a decade, invent the internet, create new modes of travel, but that’s not why we do science.
Is it to educate? Well, we do teach in critical thinking, mathematics and engineering, but that’s not why we do it.

We do science because nature is beautiful. In fact, the only thing as beautiful as this video is the mathematics we use to explain why this happens. There is no need for the mystical, the magical, or the deities to explain this beauty. This is just mathematical beauty, dancing in front of our eyes.

Great job, Sun.
Keep reminding us why we do this.