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A police officer holds back other policemen as some demonstrators do the same with their side after a contact during an anti-G7 rally near the venue of the G7 summit in the Sicilian town of Taormina, Italy, Saturday, May 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)


WASHINGTON -- Earth is likely to reach more dangerous levels of warming even sooner if the U.S. retreats from its pledge to cut carbon dioxide pollution, scientists said. That's because America contributes so much to rising temperatures.

President Donald Trump, who once proclaimed global warming a Chinese hoax, said in a tweet Saturday that he would make his "final decision" this coming week on whether the United States stays in or leaves the 2015 Paris climate change accord in which nearly every nation agreed to curb its greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Leaders of seven wealthy democracies, at a summit in Sicily, urged Trump to commit his administration to the agreement, but said in their closing statement that the U.S., for now, "is not in a position to join the consensus."

"I hope they decide in the right way," said Italy's prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni. More downbeat was German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said the leaders' talks were "very difficult, if not to say, very unsatisfactory."

In an attempt to understand what could happen to the planet if the U.S. pulls out of Paris, The Associated Press consulted with more than two dozen climate scientists and analyzed a special computer model scenario designed to calculate potential effects.

Scientists said it would worsen an already bad problem and make it far more difficult to prevent crossing a dangerous global temperature threshold.

Calculations suggest it could result in emissions of up to 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide in the air a year. When it adds up year after year, scientists said that is enough to melt ice sheets faster, raise seas higher and trigger more extreme weather.

"If we lag, the noose tightens," said Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer, co-editor of the peer-reviewed journal Climatic Change.

One expert group ran a worst-case computer simulation of what would happen if the U.S. does not curb emissions, but other nations do meet their targets. It found that America would add as much as half a degree of warming (0.3 degrees Celsius) to the globe by the end of century.

Scientists are split on how reasonable and likely that scenario is.

Many said because of cheap natural gas that displaces coal and growing adoption of renewable energy sources, it is unlikely that the U.S. would stop reducing its carbon pollution even if it abandoned the accord, so the effect would likely be smaller.

Others say it could be worse because other countries might follow a U.S. exit, leading to more emissions from both the U.S. and the rest.

 

Another computer simulation team put the effect of the U.S. pulling out somewhere between 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.18 to 0.36 degrees Fahrenheit).

While scientists may disagree on the computer simulations they overwhelmingly agreed that the warming the planet is undergoing now would be faster and more intense.

The world without U.S. efforts would have a far more difficult time avoiding a dangerous threshold: keeping the planet from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

The world has already warmed by just over half that amount - with about one-fifth of the past heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions coming from the United States, usually from the burning of coal, oil and gas.

So the efforts are really about preventing another 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) from now.

 

"Developed nations - particularly the U.S. and Europe - are responsible for the lion's share of past emissions, with China now playing a major role," said Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis. "This means Americans have caused a large fraction of the warming."

Even with the U.S. doing what it promised under the Paris agreement, the world is likely to pass that 2 degree mark, many scientists said.

But the fractions of additional degrees that the U.S. would contribute could mean passing the threshold faster, which could in turn mean "ecosystems being out of whack with the climate, trouble farming current crops and increasing shortages of food and water," said the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Kevin Trenberth.

Climate Interactive, a team of scientists and computer modelers who track global emissions and pledges, simulated global emissions if every country but the U.S. reaches their individualized goals to curb carbon pollution. Then they calculated what that would mean in global temperature, sea level rise and ocean acidification using scientifically-accepted computer models.

By 2030, it would mean an extra 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide in the air a year, according to the Climate Interactive models, and by the end of the century 0.3 degrees Celsius of warming.

"The U.S. matters a great deal," said Climate Interactive co-director Andrew Jones. "That amount could make the difference between meeting the Paris limit of two degrees and missing it."

 

Climate Action Tracker, a competing computer simulation team, put the effect of the U.S. pulling out somewhere between 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.18 to 0.36 Fahrenheit) by 2100. It uses a scenario where U.S. emissions flatten through the century, while Climate Interactive has them rising.

One of the few scientists who plays down the harm of the U.S. possibly leaving the agreement is John Schellnhuber, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the scientist credited with coming up with the 2 degree goal.

"Ten years ago (a U.S. exit) would have shocked the planet," Schellnhuber said. "Today if the U.S. really chooses to leave the Paris agreement, the world will move on with building a clean and secure future."

Not so, said Texas Tech climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe: "There will be ripple effects from the United States' choices across the world."

 Source: This article was published on ctvnews.ca by Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press

Categorized in Others

If you could travel back in time 41,000 years to the last ice age, your compass would point south instead of north. That’s because for a period of a few hundred years, the Earth’s magnetic field was reversed. These reversals have happpened repeatedly over the planet’s history, sometimes lasting hundreds of thousands of years. We know this from the way it affects the formation of magnetic minerals, that we can now study on the Earth’s surface.

 

Several ideas exist to explain why magnetic field reversals happen. One of thesejust became more plausible. My colleagues and I discovered that regions on top of the Earth’s core could behave like giant lava lamps, with blobs of rock periodically rising and falling deep inside our planet. This could affect its magnetic field and cause it to flip. The way we made this discovery was by studying signals from some of the world’s most destructive earthquakes.

Supercomputer models of Earth's magnetic field.NASA

Around 3,000km (1,900 miles) below our feet—270 times further down than the deepest part of the ocean—is the start of the Earth’s core, a liquid sphere of mostly molten iron and nickel. At this boundary between the core and the rocky mantle above, the temperature is almost 4,000 degrees Celsius (7,200 degrees Fahrenheit), similar to that on the surface of a star, with a pressure more than 1.3 million times that at the Earth’s surface.

 

On the mantle side of this boundary, solid rock gradually flows over millions of years, driving the plate tectonics that cause continents to move and change shape. On the core side, fluid, magnetic iron swirls vigorously, creating and sustaining the Earth’s magnetic field that protects the planet from the radiation of space that would otherwise strip away our atmosphere.

Because it is so far underground, the main way we can study the core-mantle boundary is by looking at the seismic signals generated by earthquakes. Using information about the shape and speed of seismic waves, we can work out what the part of the planet they have travelled through to reach us is like. After a particularly large earthquake, the whole planet vibrates like a ringing bell, and measuring these oscillations in different places can tell us how the structure varies within the planet.

nasa earth interiorNasa image showing Earth's interior. Scientists propose the core acts as a giant lava lamp, influencing the planet's magnetic field.

DIXON ROHR/NASA

In this way, we know there are two large regions at the top of the core where seismic waves travel more slowly than in surrounding areas. Each region is so large that it would be 100 times taller than Mount Everest if it were on the surface of the planet. These regions, termed large-low-velocity-provinces or more often just "blobs," have a significant impact on the dynamics of the mantle. They also influence how the core cools, which alters the flow in the outer core.

 

Several particularly destructive earthquakes over recent decades have enabled us to measure a special kind of seismic oscillations that travel along the core-mantle boundary, known as Stoneley modesOur most recent research on these modes shows that the two blobs on top of the core have a lower density compared to the surrounding material. This suggests that material is actively rising up towards the surface, consistent with other geophysical observations.

New explanation

Aurora BorealisAurora Borealis from space. Aurorae are caused by the interaction of particles in the solar wind with Earth's magnetic field.

PRINT COLLECTOR/GETTY IMAGES

These regions might be less dense simply because they are hotter. But an exciting alternative possibility is that the chemical composition of these parts of the mantle cause them to behave like the blobs in a lava lamp. This would mean they heat up and periodically rise towards the surface, before cooling and splashing back down on the core.

 

    Such behaviour would change the way in which heat is extracted from the core’s surface over millions of years. And this could explain why the Earth’s magnetic field sometimes reverses. The fact that the field has changed so many times in the Earth’s history suggests that the internal structure we know today may also have changed.

    We know the core is covered with a landscape of mountains and valleys like the Earth’s surface. By using more data from Earth oscillations to study this topography, we will be able to produce more detailed maps of the core that will give us a much better understanding of what is going on deep below our feet.

    Paula Koelemeijer is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Global Seismology at the University of Oxford

    This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

    Categorized in Internet Technology

    Why do the other planets, like Venus (shown above) have a different atmosphere than Earth? Credit: ESA

    Here on Earth, we tend to take our atmosphere for granted, and not without reason. Our atmosphere has a lovely mix of nitrogen and oxygen (78% and 21% respectively) with trace amounts of water vapor, carbon dioxide and other gaseous molecules. What’s more, we enjoy an atmospheric pressure of 101.325 kPa, which extends to an altitude of about 8.5 km.

    In short, our atmosphere is plentiful and life-sustaining. But what about the other planets of the Solar System? How do they stack up in terms of atmospheric composition and pressure? We know for a fact that they are not breathable by humans and cannot support life. But just what is the difference between these balls of rock and gas and our own?

     

    For starters, it should be noted that every planet in the Solar System has an atmosphere of one kind or another. And these range from incredibly thin and tenuous (such as Mercury’s “exosphere”) to the incredibly dense and powerful – which is the case for all of the gas giants. And depending on the composition of the planet, whether it is a terrestrial or a gas/ice giant, the gases that make up its atmosphere range from either the hydrogen and helium to more complex elements like oxygen, carbon dioxide, ammonia and methane.

    Mercury’s Atmosphere:

    Mercury is too hot and too small to retain an atmosphere. However, it does have a tenuous and variable exosphere that is made up of hydrogen, helium, oxygen, sodium, calcium, potassium and water vapor, with a combined pressure level of about 10-14 bar (one-quadrillionth of Earth’s atmospheric pressure). It is believed this exosphere was formed from particles captured from the Sun, volcanic outgassing and debris kicked into orbit by micrometeorite impacts.

    Mercury's Horizon
    A High-resolution Look over Mercury’s Northern Horizon. Credit: NASA/MESSENGER

    Because it lacks a viable atmosphere, Mercury has no way to retain the heat from the Sun. As a result of this and its high eccentricity, the planet experiences considerable variations in temperature. Whereas the side that faces the Sun can reach temperatures of up to 700 K (427° C), while the side in shadow dips down to 100 K (-173° C).

    Venus’ Atmosphere:

    Surface observations of Venus have been difficult in the past, due to its extremely dense atmosphere, which is composed primarily of carbon dioxide with a small amount of nitrogen. At 92 bar (9.2 MPa), the atmospheric mass is 93 times that of Earth’s atmosphere and the pressure at the planet’s surface is about 92 times that at Earth’s surface.

    Venus is also the hottest planet in our Solar System, with a mean surface temperature of 735 K (462 °C/863.6 °F). This is due to the CO²-rich atmosphere which, along with thick clouds of sulfur dioxide, generates the strongest greenhouse effect in the Solar System. Above the dense CO² layer, thick clouds consisting mainly of sulfur dioxide and sulfuric acid droplets scatter about 90% of the sunlight back into space.

    Another common phenomena is Venus’ strong winds, which reach speeds of up to 85 m/s (300 km/h; 186.4 mph) at the cloud tops and circle the planet every four to five Earth days. At this speed, these winds move up to 60 times the speed of the planet’s rotation, whereas Earth’s fastest winds are only 10-20% of the planet’s rotational speed.

    Venus flybys have also indicated that its dense clouds are capable of producing lightning, much like the clouds on Earth. Their intermittent appearance indicates a pattern associated with weather activity, and the lightning rate is at least half of that on Earth.

    Earth’s Atmosphere:

    Earth’s atmosphere, which is composed of nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor, carbon dioxide and other trace gases, also consists of five layers. These consists of the Troposphere, the Stratosphere, the Mesosphere, the Thermosphere, and the Exosphere. As a rule, air pressure and density decrease the higher one goes into the atmosphere and the farther one is from the surface.

     

    Closest to the Earth is the Troposphere, which extends from the 0 to between 12 km and 17 km (0 to 7 and 10.56 mi) above the surface. This layer contains roughly 80% of the mass of Earth’s atmosphere, and nearly all atmospheric water vapor or moisture is found in here as well. As a result, it is the layer where most of Earth’s weather takes place.

    The Stratosphere extends from the Troposphere to an altitude of 50 km (31 mi). This layer extends from the top of the troposphere to the stratopause, which is at an altitude of about 50 to 55 km (31 to 34 mi). This layer of the atmosphere is home to the ozone layer, which is the part of Earth’s atmosphere that contains relatively high concentrations of ozone gas.

    Space Shuttle Endeavour sillouetted against the atmosphere. The orange layer is the troposphere, the white layer is the stratosphere and the blue layer the mesosphere.[1] (The shuttle is actually orbiting at an altitude of more than 320 km (200 mi), far above all three layers.) Credit: NASA
    Space Shuttle Endeavour sillouetted against the atmosphere. The orange layer is the troposphere, the white layer is the stratosphere and the blue layer the mesosphere. Credit: NASA

    Next is the Mesosphere, which extends from a distance of 50 to 80 km (31 to 50 mi) above sea level. It is the coldest place on Earth and has an average temperature of around -85 °C (-120 °F; 190 K). The Thermosphere, the second highest layer of the atmosphere, extends from an altitude of about 80 km (50 mi) up to the thermopause, which is at an altitude of 500–1000 km (310–620 mi).

    The lower part of the thermosphere, from 80 to 550 kilometers (50 to 342 mi), contains the ionosphere – which is so named because it is here in the atmosphere that particles are ionized by solar radiation.  This layer is completely cloudless and free of water vapor. It is also at this altitude that the phenomena known as Aurora Borealis and Aurara Australis are known to take place.

    The Exosphere, which is outermost layer of the Earth’s atmosphere, extends from the exobase – located at the top of the thermosphere at an altitude of about 700 km above sea level – to about 10,000 km (6,200 mi). The exosphere merges with the emptiness of outer space, and is mainly composed of extremely low densities of hydrogen, helium and several heavier molecules including nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide

    The exosphere is located too far above Earth for any meteorological phenomena to be possible. However, the Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis sometimes occur in the lower part of the exosphere, where they overlap into the thermosphere.

    This photo of the aurora was taken by astronaut Doug Wheelock from the International Space Station on July 25, 2010. Credit: Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center
    Photo of the aurora taken by astronaut Doug Wheelock from the International Space Station on July 25, 2010. Credit: NASA/Johnson Space Center

    The average surface temperature on Earth is approximately 14°C; but as already noted, this varies. For instance, the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth was 70.7°C (159°F), which was taken in the Lut Desert of Iran. Meanwhile, the coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth was measured at the Soviet Vostok Station on the Antarctic Plateau, reaching an historic low of -89.2°C (-129°F).

    Mars’ Atmosphere:

    Planet Mars has a very thin atmosphere which is composed of 96% carbon dioxide, 1.93% argon and 1.89% nitrogen along with traces of oxygen and water. The atmosphere is quite dusty, containing particulates that measure 1.5 micrometers in diameter, which is what gives the Martian sky a tawny color when seen from the surface. Mars’ atmospheric pressure ranges from 0.4 – 0.87 kPa, which is equivalent to about 1% of Earth’s at sea level.

     

    Because of its thin atmosphere, and its greater distance from the Sun, the surface temperature of Mars is much colder than what we experience here on Earth. The planet’s average temperature is -46 °C (51 °F), with a low of -143 °C (-225.4 °F) during the winter at the poles, and a high of 35 °C (95 °F) during summer and midday at the equator.

    The planet also experiences dust storms, which can turn into what resembles small tornadoes. Larger dust storms occur when the dust is blown into the atmosphere and heats up from the Sun. The warmer dust filled air rises and the winds get stronger, creating storms that can measure up to thousands of kilometers in width and last for months at a time. When they get this large, they can actually block most of the surface from view.

    Mars, as it appears today, Credit: NASA
    Mars, as it appears today, with a very thin and tenuous atmosphere. Credit: NASA

    Trace amounts of methane have also been detected in the Martian atmosphere, with an estimated concentration of about 30 parts per billion (ppb). It occurs in extended plumes, and the profiles imply that the methane was released from specific regions – the first of which is located between Isidis and Utopia Planitia (30°N 260°W) and the second in Arabia Terra (0°N 310°W).

    Ammonia was also tentatively detected on Mars by the Mars Express satellite, but with a relatively short lifetime. It is not clear what produced it, but volcanic activity has been suggested as a possible source.

    Jupiter’s Atmosphere:

    Much like Earth, Jupiter experiences auroras near its northern and southern poles. But on Jupiter, the auroral activity is much more intense and rarely ever stops. The intense radiation, Jupiter’s magnetic field, and the abundance of material from Io’s volcanoes that react with Jupiter’s ionosphere create a light show that is truly spectacular.

    Jupiter also experiences violent weather patterns. Wind speeds of 100 m/s (360 km/h) are common in zonal jets, and can reach as high as 620 kph (385 mph). Storms form within hours and can become thousands of km in diameter overnight. One storm, the Great Red Spot, has been raging since at least the late 1600s. The storm has been shrinking and expanding throughout its history; but in 2012, it was suggested that the Giant Red Spot might eventually disappear.

    Jupiter is perpetually covered with clouds composed of ammonia crystals and possibly ammonium hydrosulfide. These clouds are located in the tropopause and are arranged into bands of different latitudes, known as “tropical regions”. The cloud layer is only about 50 km (31 mi) deep, and consists of at least two decks of clouds: a thick lower deck and a thin clearer region.

    There may also be a thin layer of water clouds underlying the ammonia layer, as evidenced by flashes of lightning detected in the atmosphere of Jupiter, which would be caused by the water’s polarity creating the charge separation needed for lightning. Observations of these electrical discharges indicate that they can be up to a thousand times as powerful as those observed here on the Earth.

     

    Saturn’s Atmosphere:

    The outer atmosphere of Saturn contains 96.3% molecular hydrogen and 3.25% helium by volume. The gas giant is also known to contain heavier elements, though the proportions of these relative to hydrogen and helium is not known. It is assumed that they would match the primordial abundance from the formation of the Solar System.

    Trace amounts of ammonia, acetylene, ethane, propane, phosphine and methane have been also detected in Saturn’s atmosphere. The upper clouds are composed of ammonia crystals, while the lower level clouds appear to consist of either ammonium hydrosulfide (NH4SH) or water. Ultraviolet radiation from the Sun causes methane photolysis in the upper atmosphere, leading to a series of hydrocarbon chemical reactions with the resulting products being carried downward by eddies and diffusion.

    Saturn’s atmosphere exhibits a banded pattern similar to Jupiter’s, but Saturn’s bands are much fainter and wider near the equator. As with Jupiter’s cloud layers, they are divided into the upper and lower layers, which vary in composition based on depth and pressure. In the upper cloud layers, with temperatures in range of 100–160 K and pressures between 0.5–2 bar, the clouds consist of ammonia ice.

    Water ice clouds begin at a level where the pressure is about 2.5 bar and extend down to 9.5 bar, where temperatures range from 185–270 K. Intermixed in this layer is a band of ammonium hydrosulfide ice, lying in the pressure range 3–6 bar with temperatures of 290–235 K. Finally, the lower layers, where pressures are between 10–20 bar and temperatures are 270–330 K, contains a region of water droplets with ammonia in an aqueous solution.

    On occasion, Saturn’s atmosphere exhibits long-lived ovals, similar to what is commonly observed on Jupiter. Whereas Jupiter has the Great Red Spot, Saturn periodically has what’s known as the Great White Spot (aka. Great White Oval). This unique but short-lived phenomenon occurs once every Saturnian year, roughly every 30 Earth years, around the time of the northern hemisphere’s summer solstice.

    These spots can be several thousands of kilometers wide, and have been observed in 1876, 1903, 1933, 1960, and 1990. Since 2010, a large band of white clouds called the Northern Electrostatic Disturbance have been observed enveloping Saturn, which was spotted by the Cassini space probe. If the periodic nature of these storms is maintained, another one will occur in about 2020.

    The winds on Saturn are the second fastest among the Solar System’s planets, after Neptune’s. Voyager data indicate peak easterly winds of 500 m/s (1800 km/h). Saturn’s northern and southern poles have also shown evidence of stormy weather. At the north pole, this takes the form of a hexagonal wave pattern, whereas the south shows evidence of a massive jet stream.

    The persisting hexagonal wave pattern around the north pole was first noted in the Voyager images. The sides of the hexagon are each about 13,800 km (8,600 mi) long (which is longer than the diameter of the Earth) and the structure rotates with a period of 10h 39m 24s, which is assumed to be equal to the period of rotation of Saturn’s interior.

     

    The south pole vortex, meanwhile, was first observed using the Hubble Space Telescope. These images indicated the presence of a jet stream, but not a hexagonal standing wave. These storms are estimated to be generating winds of 550 km/h, are comparable in size to Earth, and believed to have been going on for billions of years. In 2006, the Cassini space probe observed a hurricane-like storm that had a clearly defined eye. Such storms had not been observed on any planet other than Earth – even on Jupiter.

    Uranus’ Atmosphere:

    As with Earth, the atmosphere of Uranus is broken into layers, depending upon temperature and pressure. Like the other gas giants, the planet doesn’t have a firm surface, and scientists define the surface as the region where the atmospheric pressure exceeds one bar (the pressure found on Earth at sea level). Anything accessible to remote-sensing capability – which extends down to roughly 300 km below the 1 bar level – is also considered to be the atmosphere.

    Diagram of the interior of Uranus. Credit: Public Domain
    Diagram of the interior of Uranus. Credit: Public Domain

    Using these references points, Uranus’  atmosphere can be divided into three layers. The first is the troposphere, between altitudes of -300 km below the surface and 50 km above it, where pressures range from 100 to 0.1 bar (10 MPa to 10 kPa). The second layer is the stratosphere, which reaches between 50 and 4000 km and experiences pressures between 0.1 and 10-10 bar (10 kPa to 10 µPa).

    The troposphere is the densest layer in Uranus’ atmosphere. Here, the temperature ranges from 320 K (46.85 °C/116 °F) at the base (-300 km) to 53 K (-220 °C/-364 °F) at 50 km, with the upper region being the coldest in the solar system. The tropopause region is responsible for the vast majority of Uranus’s thermal infrared emissions, thus determining its effective temperature of 59.1 ± 0.3 K.

    Within the troposphere are layers of clouds – water clouds at the lowest pressures, with ammonium hydrosulfide clouds above them. Ammonia and hydrogen sulfide clouds come next. Finally, thin methane clouds lay on the top.

    In the stratosphere, temperatures range from 53 K (-220 °C/-364 °F) at the upper level to between 800 and 850 K (527 – 577 °C/980 – 1070 °F) at the base of the thermosphere, thanks largely to heating caused by solar radiation. The stratosphere contains ethane smog, which may contribute to the planet’s dull appearance. Acetylene and methane are also present, and these hazes help warm the stratosphere.

    Uranus. Image credit: Hubble
    Uranus, as imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope. Image credit: NASA/Hubble

    The outermost layer, the thermosphere and corona, extend from 4,000 km to as high as 50,000 km from the surface. This region has a uniform temperature of 800-850 (577 °C/1,070 °F), although scientists are unsure as to the reason. Because the distance to Uranus from the Sun is so great, the amount of sunlight absorbed cannot be the primary cause.

    Like Jupiter and Saturn, Uranus’s weather follows a similar pattern where systems are broken up into bands that rotate around the planet, which are driven by internal heat rising to the upper atmosphere. As a result, winds on Uranus can reach up to 900 km/h (560 mph), creating massive storms like the one spotted by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2012. Similar to Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, this “Dark Spot” was a giant cloud vortex that measured 1,700 kilometers by 3,000 kilometers (1,100 miles by 1,900 miles).

     

    Neptune’s Atmosphere:

    At high altitudes, Neptune’s atmosphere is 80% hydrogen and 19% helium, with a trace amount of methane. As with Uranus, this absorption of red light by the atmospheric methane is part of what gives Neptune its blue hue, although Neptune’s is darker and more vivid. Because Neptune’s atmospheric methane content is similar to that of Uranus, some unknown constituent is thought to contribute to Neptune’s more intense coloring.

    Neptune’s atmosphere is subdivided into two main regions: the lower troposphere (where temperature decreases with altitude), and the stratosphere (where temperature increases with altitude). The boundary between the two, the tropopause, lies at a pressure of 0.1 bars (10 kPa). The stratosphere then gives way to the thermosphere at a pressure lower than 10-5 to 10-4 microbars (1 to 10 Pa), which gradually transitions to the exosphere.

    Neptune’s spectra suggest that its lower stratosphere is hazy due to condensation of products caused by the interaction of ultraviolet radiation and methane (i.e. photolysis), which produces compounds such as ethane and ethyne. The stratosphere is also home to trace amounts of carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide, which are responsible for Neptune’s stratosphere being warmer than that of Uranus.

    In this image, the colors and contrasts were modified to emphasize the planet’s atmospheric features. The winds in Neptune’s atmosphere can reach the speed of sound or more. Neptune’s Great Dark Spot stands out as the most prominent feature on the left. Several features, including the fainter Dark Spot 2 and the South Polar Feature, are locked to the planet’s rotation, which allowed Karkoschka to precisely determine how long a day lasts on Neptune. (Image: Erich Karkoschka)
    A modified color/contrast image emphasizing Neptune’s atmospheric features, including wind speed. Credit Erich Karkoschka)

    For reasons that remain obscure, the planet’s thermosphere experiences unusually high temperatures of about 750 K (476.85 °C/890 °F). The planet is too far from the Sun for this heat to be generated by ultraviolet radiation, which means another heating mechanism is involved – which could be the atmosphere’s interaction with ion’s in the planet’s magnetic field, or gravity waves from the planet’s interior that dissipate in the atmosphere.

    Because Neptune is not a solid body, its atmosphere undergoes differential rotation. The wide equatorial zone rotates with a period of about 18 hours, which is slower than the 16.1-hour rotation of the planet’s magnetic field. By contrast, the reverse is true for the polar regions where the rotation period is 12 hours.

     

    This differential rotation is the most pronounced of any planet in the Solar System, and results in strong latitudinal wind shear and violent storms. The three most impressive were all spotted in 1989 by the Voyager 2 space probe, and then named based on their appearances.

    The first to be spotted was a massive anticyclonic storm measuring 13,000 x 6,600 km and resembling the Great Red Spot of Jupiter. Known as the Great Dark Spot, this storm was not spotted five later (Nov. 2nd, 1994) when the Hubble Space Telescope looked for it. Instead, a new storm that was very similar in appearance was found in the planet’s northern hemisphere, suggesting that these storms have a shorter life span than Jupiter’s.

    Reconstruction of Voyager 2 images showing the Great Black spot (top left), Scooter (middle), and the Small Black Spot (lower right). Credit: NASA/JPL
    Reconstruction of Voyager 2 images showing the Great Black spot (top left), Scooter (middle), and the Small Black Spot (lower right). Credit: NASA/JPL

    The Scooter is another storm, a white cloud group located farther south than the Great Dark Spot – a nickname that first arose during the months leading up to the Voyager 2 encounter in 1989. The Small Dark Spot, a southern cyclonic storm, was the second-most-intense storm observed during the 1989 encounter. It was initially completely dark; but as Voyager 2 approached the planet, a bright core developed and could be seen in most of the highest-resolution images.

    In sum, the planet’s of our Solar System all have atmospheres of sorts. And compared to Earth’s relatively balmy and thick atmosphere, they run the gamut between very very thin to very very dense. They also range in temperatures from the extremely hot (like on Venus) to the extreme freezing cold.

    And when it comes to weather systems, things can equally extreme, with planet’s boasting either weather at all, or intense cyclonic and dust storms that put storms here n Earth to shame. And whereas some are entirely hostile to life as we know it, others we might be able to work with.

    We have many interesting articles about planetary atmosphere’s here at Universe Today. For instance, he’s What is the Atmosphere?, and articles about the atmosphere of MercuryVenusMarsJupiterSaturnUranus and Neptune,

    For more information on atmospheres, check out NASA’s pages on Earth’s Atmospheric LayersThe Carbon Cycle, and how Earth’s atmosphere differs from space.

    Astronomy Cast has an episode on the source of the atmosphere.

    Source: This article was published universetoday.com By Matt Williams

    Categorized in Internet Technology

    Earth is a pretty nifty place. I mean, I’ve spent my entire life here and I’m guessing you have, too, and there’s plenty to see and do, but why is it here at all? For a long time, researchers have tried to answer that question with varying degrees of success, but a new theory of how Earth formed is gaining traction, and it might be the explanation we’ve been looking for.

     

    The most widely-accepted explanation for how Earth and most terrestrial plants formed hinges on materials orbiting a newborn star — in this case, our sun — which bunched up and formed planets. It’s a fine theory, but some researchers have grown increasingly skeptical that the materials that make up our planet, which is rocky and iron-rich, could have stuck together on their own.

    A new idea, introduced by Alexander Hubbard, a Ph.D. in Astronomy who now works with the American Museum of Natural History, turns to the sun for an explanation. Hubbard has proposed that the sun went through a period of intense volatility in which essentially roasted much of the material in its immediate vicinity, stretching as far as Mars. The softened materials would have been the right consistency to bunch up and form planets, and would explain why the rocky worlds of Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars sprung up.

     

    Hubbard’s theory isn’t just a random guess; He’s basing the idea on observed behavior of an infant star which went through a phase just like the one he’s proposing of our own sun. FU Orionis was first observed rapidly brightening in 1936 and at present it shines over 100 times brighter than it did when originally observed. If our own sun pulled the same trick in its early life it could have been exactly what was needed to form our planet.

    Source: This article was published on bgr.com by Mike Wehner


    Categorized in Internet Technology
    The Sunday Times just dropped its highly anticipated Sunday Times Rich List, which ranks the wealthiest people in Britain, as well as the rest of the world.Data from the list shows that it is actually entrepreneurs and self-made business people who dominate the top spots — not just mainly those with inherited wealth.While, of course, there are families that keep passing their companies and wealth down in the family, such as the owners of Koch Industries, Walmart, and even the L'Oreal cosmetics empire, there are an increasing amount of self-made billionaires from across the globe. Most of these self-made people are in the tech industry, such as China's Jack Ma of Alibaba and Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook.Check out who are the wealthiest people on earth:

     

    33. Alain & Gerard Wertheimer: Net worth — £18.9 billion ($24.5 billion). The brothers (pictured here with the Queen), own and control the House of Chanel perfume company.

    33. Alain & Gerard Wertheimer: Net worth — £18.9 billion ($24.5 billion). The brothers (pictured here with the Queen), own and control the House of Chanel perfume company.
    Getty

    32. Samuel and Donald Newhouse: Net worth — £19.9 billion ($25. 8 billion). The brothers are heirs to Advance Publications, a multimillion-dollar publishing and broadcasting empire which includes The New Yorker and Vogue.

    32. Samuel and Donald Newhouse: Net worth — £19.9 billion ($25. 8 billion). The brothers are heirs to Advance Publications, a multimillion-dollar publishing and broadcasting empire which includes The New Yorker and Vogue.
    President of Advance Publications Donald Newhouse, Newscaster Paula Zahn and Katherine Newhouse Mele.Getty

    31. Ma Huateng (Pony Ma): Net worth — £20.1 billion ($26.09 billion). The Chinese internet entrepreneur is the founder, president, CEO and executive board member of Tencent. Tencent is a holding company for subsidiaries that provide everything from online advertising, media, entertainment, and payment systems.

    31. Ma Huateng (Pony Ma): Net worth — £20.1 billion ($26.09 billion). The Chinese internet entrepreneur is the founder, president, CEO and executive board member of Tencent. Tencent is a holding company for subsidiaries that provide everything from online advertising, media, entertainment, and payment systems.
    Tencent Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Pony Ma attends a news conference announcing the company's results in Hong Kong March 18, 2015REUTERS/Bobby Yip

    T=28. George Soros: Net worth — £20.7 billion ($26.87 billion). Soros is one of the world's most famous and successful investors. However he started from humble beginnings where he worked as a railway porter and waiter to put himself through his university education at the London School of Economics.

    T=28. George Soros: Net worth — £20.7 billion ($26.87 billion). Soros is one of the world's most famous and successful investors. However he started from humble beginnings where he worked as a railway porter and waiter to put himself through his university education at the London School of Economics.
    Georges Soros, Chairman of Soros Fund Management in 2016.Reuters

    T=28. Phil Knight: Net worth — £20.7 billion ($26.87 billion). Knight is the co-founder and chairman emeritus of one of the world's largest and most recognisable sports brands, Nike.

    T=28. Phil Knight: Net worth — £20.7 billion ($26.87 billion). Knight is the co-founder and chairman emeritus of one of the world's largest and most recognisable sports brands, Nike.
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    T=28. Maria Franca Fissolo: Net worth — £20.7 billion ($26.87 billion). The Italian billionaire is the owner of Europe's second largest confectionery company Ferrero. She is a widow of Michele Ferrero.

    T=28. Maria Franca Fissolo: Net worth — £20.7 billion ($26.87 billion). The Italian billionaire is the owner of Europe's second largest confectionery company Ferrero. She is a widow of Michele Ferrero.
    Maria Franca Fissolo.YouTube/Gazzetta D'Alba

     

    27. Mukesh Ambani: Net worth — £21.8 billion ($28.29 billion). Ambani, pictured on the right of former UK chancellor George Osborne, is the chairman, managing director and largest shareholder of a Fortune Global 500 company Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).

    26. Axel Dumas: Net worth — £22.2 billion ($28.8 billion). He is the CEO of major fashion house Hermès. He is the sixth-generation member of the family to lead it after his family founded it in 1837.

    26. Axel Dumas: Net worth — £22.2 billion ($28.8 billion). He is the CEO of major fashion house Hermès. He is the sixth-generation member of the family to lead it after his family founded it in 1837.
    Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty

     

    25. The Henkel family: Net worth — £22.5 billion ($28.88 billion). The German chemical and consumer goods company was founded in 1876 by Fritz Henkel. Christoph Henkel inherited a £1 billion stake in the group in 1999 shortly after his father Konrad's death in 1999.

    25. The Henkel family: Net worth — £22.5 billion ($28.88 billion). The German chemical and consumer goods company was founded in 1876 by Fritz Henkel. Christoph Henkel inherited a £1 billion stake in the group in 1999 shortly after his father Konrad's death in 1999.
    Reuters / Ina Fassbender

    24. Steve Ballmer: Net worth — £23.6 billion ($30.63 billion). He was the former CEO of Microsoft from January 2000 to February 2014 and is the current owner of the basketball team, the Los Angeles Clippers.

    24. Steve Ballmer: Net worth — £23.6 billion ($30.63 billion). He was the former CEO of Microsoft from January 2000 to February 2014 and is the current owner of the basketball team, the Los Angeles Clippers.
    REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

     

    23. Jorge Paulo Lemann: Net worth — £23.9 billion ($31 billion). Pictured on the left, Lemann is the richest person in Brazil and made his fortune as a corporate takeover legend.

    23. Jorge Paulo Lemann: Net worth — £23.9 billion ($31 billion). Pictured on the left, Lemann is the richest person in Brazil and made his fortune as a corporate takeover legend.
    Scott Olson/Getty Images

    22. Sheldon Adelson: Net worth — £24.6 billion ($31.93 billion). He is the founder and CEO of gambling giant Las Vegas Sands Corp and is a major Republican party donor.

    22. Sheldon Adelson: Net worth — £24.6 billion ($31.93 billion). He is the founder and CEO of gambling giant Las Vegas Sands Corp and is a major Republican party donor.
    Kin Cheung/AP

    21. Li Ka-shing: Net worth — £25.4 billion ($32.97 billion). He is one of Asia's richest men after being one of the first big investors in Facebook while also acquiring British telecom company O2, which he purchased in 2015 for $15 billion.

    21. Li Ka-shing: Net worth — £25.4 billion ($32.97 billion). He is one of Asia's richest men after being one of the first big investors in Facebook while also acquiring  British telecom company O2, which he purchased in 2015 for $15 billion.
    Stanford University, Flickr

    20. Wang Jianlin: Net worth — £25.7 billion ($33.36 billion). He is the founder of China's largest real estate developer Dalian Wanda Group and also owns a 20% stake in Spanish football club Atlético Madrid.

    20. Wang Jianlin: Net worth — £25.7 billion ($33.36 billion). He is the founder of  China's largest real estate developer Dalian Wanda Group and also owns a 20% stake in Spanish football club Atlético Madrid.
    Damir Sogolj / Reuters

    19. Jack Ma: Net worth — £26.7 billion ($26.7 billion). The Chinese tech billionaire is the founder and executive chairman of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.

    19. Jack Ma: Net worth — £26.7 billion ($26.7 billion). The Chinese tech billionaire is the founder and executive chairman of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.
    Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

     

    18. Ingvar Kamprad and family: Net worth — £28 billion ($36.34 billion). The Swedish business magnate has been at the helm of IKEA, one of the world's largest furniture stores and most beloved brands, for more than 70 years.

    17. Karl & Theo Albrecht Jr & Beate Heister and family: Net worth — £30.5 billion ($39.59 billion). Germany's Karl Albrecht founded the discount supermarket chain Aldi with his brother Theo.

    17. Karl & Theo Albrecht Jr & Beate Heister and family: Net worth — £30.5 billion ($39.59 billion). Germany's Karl Albrecht founded the discount supermarket chain Aldi with his brother Theo.
    In this July 30, 2002 file photo a man carries two plastic bags in front of an ALDI market in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. AP Photo /Martin Meissner, file

    16. Stefan Quandt & Susanne Klatten: Net worth — £30.8 billion ($39.98 billion). He is the son of the late Herbert and Johanna Quandt, and owns 25.6% of BMW while his sister claims a 20.8%.

    16. Stefan Quandt & Susanne Klatten: Net worth — £30.8 billion ($39.98 billion). He is the son of the late Herbert and Johanna Quandt, and owns 25.6% of BMW while his sister claims a 20.8%.
    Stefan Quandt in 1999.Reuters

     

    15. Liliane Bettencourt: Net worth — £31.8 billion ($41.28 billion). She is the heiress to the L'Oreal cosmetics fortune and the company's largest shareholder.

    15. Liliane Bettencourt: Net worth — £31.8 billion ($41.28 billion). She is the heiress to the L'Oreal cosmetics fortune and the company's largest shareholder.
    REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

    14. Sergey Brin: Net worth: £33.4 billion ($43.35 billion). The Russian American computer scientist co-founded tech giant Google with Larry Page.

    13. Larry Page: Net worth — £34.2 billion. Page beats his cofounder of Google counterpart, Sergey Brin, by £1 billion.

    13. Larry Page: Net worth — £34.2 billion. Page beats his cofounder of Google counterpart, Sergey Brin, by £1 billion.
    Chris Hondros/Getty Images

     

    12. Bernard Arnault: Net worth — £35.2 billion ($45.69 billion). Arnault is the Chairman and CEO of the world's largest luxury goods company, LVMH.

    12. Bernard Arnault: Net worth — £35.2 billion ($45.69 billion). Arnault is the Chairman and CEO of the world's largest luxury goods company, LVMH.
    Reuters/Charles Platiau

    11. Michael Bloomberg: Net worth — £39 billion ($50.62 billion). He is the founder, owners and CEO of the huge global financial services, mass media, and software company Bloomberg. He has also pledged half of his fortune to charity after his death.

    11. Michael Bloomberg: Net worth — £39 billion ($50.62 billion). He is the founder, owners and CEO of the huge global financial services, mass media, and software company Bloomberg. He has also pledged half of his fortune to charity after his death.
    Lori Hoffman/Bloomberg

    10. Larry Ellison: Net worth — £40.6 billion ($52.7 billion). He is the founder and chairman of the international giant Oracle. He is also big into yacht racing and buying whole Hawaiian islands.

    10. Larry Ellison: Net worth — £40.6 billion ($52.7 billion). He is the founder and chairman of the international giant Oracle. He is also big into yacht racing and buying whole Hawaiian islands.
    Oracle executive chairman Larry EllisonOracle

    9. Carlos Slim Helu and family: Net worth — £46 billion ($59.71 billion). He is Mexico's wealthiest man and one of the richest self-made billionaires in the world after taking control of Latin America's biggest mobile telecom firm America Movil.

    9. Carlos Slim Helu and family: Net worth — £46 billion ($59.71 billion). He is Mexico's wealthiest man and one of the richest self-made billionaires in the world after taking control of Latin America's biggest mobile telecom firm America Movil.
    Reuters

     

    8. Mark Zuckerberg: Net worth — £47.7 billion ($61.92 billion). The 32-year-old is the chairman, CEO, and cofounder of social networking giant Facebook.

    8. Mark Zuckerberg: Net worth — £47.7 billion ($61.92 billion). The 32-year-old is the chairman, CEO, and cofounder of social networking giant Facebook.
    Founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerber gives his speech during the presentation of the new Samsung Galaxy S7 and Samsung Galaxy S7 edge on February 21, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. David Ramos/Getty Images

    7. John & Jacqueline Mars: Net worth — £49 billion ($63.6 billion). The brother and sister are heirs to the confectionary empire that makes Mars Bars.

    7. John & Jacqueline Mars: Net worth — £49 billion ($63.6 billion). The brother and sister are heirs to the confectionary empire that makes Mars Bars.
    Reuters

     

    6. Warren Buffett: Net worth — £61.6 billion ($79.96 billion). The legendary investor is also considered the most successful investor in the world, as chairman and largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway. He has also promised to give 99% of his fortune away to philanthropic causes.

    5. Jeff Bezos: Net worth — £61.8 billion ($80.22 billion). He is the founder, chairman, and CEO of the world's largest online shopping retailer Amazon. He is also an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

    4. Amancio Ortega: Net worth — £63.5 billion ($82.42 billion). Ortega founded Inditex in 1985, which owns brands like Zara, Pull & Bear, Bershka, and Massimo Dutti. He also owns around 60% of the company.

    4. Amancio Ortega: Net worth — £63.5 billion ($82.42 billion). Ortega founded Inditex  in 1985, which owns brands like Zara, Pull & Bear, Bershka, and Massimo Dutti. He also owns around 60% of the company.
    Amancio Ortega attends the International Jumping of Monte Carlo in 2012.Piovanotto Marco/ABACA/PA Images

     

    3. Bill Gates: Net worth — £70.8 billion ($91.9 billion). Gates made his fortune from cofounding the world's largest PC software company Microsoft.

    2. Charles & David Koch: Net worth — £78.9 billion ($102.4 billion). Charles has been the chairman and CEO of the US' second largest private company Koch Industries since 1967. It is a family run business and his brother David is vice president.

    2. Charles & David Koch: Net worth — £78.9 billion ($102.4 billion). Charles has been the chairman and CEO of the US' second largest private company Koch Industries since 1967. It is a family run business and his brother David is vice president.
    Charles (left) and David KochYouTube still, Reuters

     

    1. The Walton family: Net worth — £100.6 billion ($130.59 billion). The American family are the founders of the world's largest retailer, Walmart. The three most prominent living members are Jim, Rob and Alice.

    1. The Walton family: Net worth — £100.6 billion ($130.59 billion). The American family are the founders of the world's largest retailer, Walmart. The three most prominent living members are Jim, Rob and Alice.
    Walton family members (L to R) Jim, Rob and Alice Walton speak onstage at the Wal-Mart annual meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas, June 5, 2015.Reuters

     

    Source : This article was published businessinsider.com By Lianna Brinded
    Categorized in Business Research

    Many of the effects of climate change are irreversible. Sea levels have been rising at a greater rate year after year, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates they could rise by another meter or more by the end of this century.

    Categorized in Search Engine

    Google has unexpectedly announced it's building a "brand new" version of Google Earth that will give users "new experiences." After neglecting Earth for several years, Google seems to be substantially reviving it, possibly by emphasising virtual reality.

    Categorized in Search Engine

    The Earth is in a perpetual state of change. Whether by human action or solar disturbances, it’s guaranteed that earth’s future will be more than interesting – but not exactly free of chaos. The following list presents ten major events that the earth is predicted to experience in the coming billion years.

    10. New Ocean ~10 Million Years

    Tl5008D279

    One of the hottest places on Earth, the Afar depression – lying between Ethiopia and Eritrea – is on average 100 metres below sea level. With a mere 20km between the surface and the hot magma bubbling below, the land is being slowly thinned by tectonic movements. Hosting a deadly array of volcanos, geysers, earthquakes and even toxic superheated water, the depression is hardly a holiday resort; but come 10 million years when all this geological activity has ceased, leaving only a dry basin, it will eventually fill up with water and form a new ocean – perfect for jet skiing in the summer.



     

    9. Major Impact Event ~100 Million Years

    Impact Event 1

    Given the eventful history of the Earth, and the relatively high number of anarchic rocks floating around in space with a vendetta against planets, it is predicted that within the next 100 million years, Earth will experience another impact event comparable to that which caused the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction 65 million years ago. This is of course bad news for any life on Planet Earth. Although some species will no doubt survive, the impact will likely mark the end of the age of mammals – the current Cenozoic Era – and instead usher in a new age of complex life forms. Who knows what sort of life will thrive on this newly purged Earth? Perhaps one day we’ll be sharing the universe with intelligent invertebrates or amphibians. For now though, our imagination is the only limit as to what may occur.



    8. Pangaea Ultima ~250 Million Years

    Earth From Space-2733

    Within the next 50 million years Africa, which has been migrating north for the past 40 million years, will eventually begin to collide with southern Europe. This movement will seal up the Mediterranean sea within 100 million years, and thrust thousands of miles of new mountain ranges into existence, much to the glee of climbers worldwide. Australia and Antarctica will also want to be part of this new supercontinent, and shall continue their paths northwards to merge with Asia. Whilst all this is occurring, the Americas will proceed on their westward course away from Europe and Africa, towards ASIA.



    What happens next is up for debate. It is believed that as the Atlantic ocean grows, a subduction zone will eventually form on the western border, which will drag the Atlantic sea floor down into the earth. This will effectively reverse the direction which the Americas are travelling, and eventually force it into the eastern border of the Eurasian supercontinent in around 250 million years time. If this doesn’t occur, we can expect the Americas to continue their path westward until they merge with Asia. Either way we can look forward to the formation of a new hypercontinent: Pangaea Ultima – 500 million years after the last, Pangaea. Following this it will likely split once more and start a new cycle of drifting and merging.

    7. Gamma Ray Burst ~600 Million Years

    Swift-Gamma-Ray-Lg

    If a major impact event every couple of hundred million years isn’t bad enough, Earth also has to contend with incredibly infrequent Gamma-ray bursts – streams of ultra-high energy radiation typically emitted from hypernovae. Although we are bombarded by weak Gamma-ray bursts daily, a burst originating from a nearby system – within 6500 light years away – has the potential to wreak havoc for anything standing in its way.

     

    With more energy than the Sun will ever produce in its lifetime raining down upon Earth within period of minutes or even of seconds, Gamma-ray bursts can calmly strip away large portions of the earth’s ozone layer, triggering radical climate change and extensive ecological damage, including mass extinctions. It is believed by some that a Gamma-ray burst prompted the second largest mass extinction in history: the Ordovician-Silurian event, 450 million years ago, which eradicated 60% of all life. Like all things in astronomy, however, pinning down exactly when the unlikely set of event that leads to a Gamma-ray burst directed at Earth will occur is difficult, although typical estimates place it at between 0.5 and 2 billion years from now. But it could be as soon as a million years, should the threat from Eta Carinae be realised.



    6. Uninhabitable ~1.5 Billion Years

    Rikkflohrbadlands-Brilliant-Sunset-Crop

    As the Sun becomes progressively hotter as it slowly grows in size, the Earth will eventually lie outside of its habitable zone – too close to the sizzling sun. By this time, all but the most resilient of life on Earth would have perished. The oceans will have completely dried up, leaving only deserts of burning soil remaining. As time goes by and the temperature rises, Earth may go the way of Venus, and turn into toxic wasteland as it is heated to the boiling point of many poisonous metals. What remains of humanity will have had to vacate by this point to survive. Luckily, by this point Mars will lie inside the habitable zone, and may provide a temporary haven for any remaining humans.

    5. Disappearance of the Magnetic Field ~2.5 Billion Years

    Badlands-1

    
It is believed by some, based upon our current understanding of the Earth’s core, that within 2.5 billion years the Earth’s outer core will no longer be liquid, but will have frozen solid. As the core cools, Earth’s magnetic field will slowly decay, until it ceases to exist altogether. With no magnetic field to protect it from the vicious solar wind, Earth’s atmosphere will be gradually stripped of its lighter compounds – such as ozone – until only a fragment of its former self remains. Now with a Venus-like atmosphere, the barren Earth will feel the full force of solar radiation – making the already inhospitable land even more treacherous.

 

    4. Inner Solar System Calamity ~3.5 Billion Years

    Yss%20June%20Topictopov

    
In around three billion years there is a small but significant chance that the the orbit of Mercury will have elongated enough to cross the path of Venus. Although we cannot currently predict exactly what will occur when this happens, the best case scenario is that Mercury will simply be consumed by the Sun, or destroyed by a collision with its bigger brother Venus. The worst case scenario? Well, the Earth could collide with any or all of the other major non-gaseous planets, whose orbits would have been radically destabilised by Mercury’s transgressions. If the inner solar system remains somehow intact and undisrupted, within five billion years the orbit of Mars will cross that of Earth, creating once more a recipe for disaster. 



    3. New Night Sky ~4 Billion Years

    654242Main P1220B3K

    As the years pass, any life on Earth will have the pleasure of witnessing the Andromeda galaxy grow steadily larger in our night skies. It will be a truly magnificent sight to see the full majesty of a perfectly formed spiral galaxy glowing in the heavens, but it won’t last forever. Over time it will begin to horribly distort as both it and the Milky Way begin to merge, throwing the otherwise stable stellar arena into chaos. Although direct collision between astronomical bodies is incredibly unlikely, there is a small chance that our Solar System may be ejected and thrown into the universal abyss. Either way, our night sky will, at least temporarily, be adorned with trillions of new stars

    2. Ring of Debris ~5 Billion Years

    Permian Ring Arcs 1280
    
Although the Moon is steadily receding at a distance of 4cm a year, once the Sun has entered its red giant phase, it is likely that such a trend will cease altogether. The additional force exerted on the moon by our bloated star will be enough to cause Moon to slowly come crashing back down to Earth. Once the Moon reaches the Roche limit it will then begin to disintegrate, as the tidal force exceeds the gravity holding the satellite together. After this it is possible that the debris will form a ring around the Earth, giving any life a pleasant skyline, until it falls back to earth again after a period of many millions of years.



    If this does not occur, there is another means by which the Moon may come plunging back towards its parent. Should the Earth and Moon continue to exist in their current form, with their orbits uninterrupted, then after around 50 billion years the Earth will become tidally locked with the Moon. Soon after this event the Moon’s orbital height will begin to decay, whilst the Earth’s rotational velocity rapidly increases. This process will continue until the Moon reaches the Roche limit and disintegrates, forming a ring around the earth.



    1. Destruction ~Unknown

    Ch6-4Horsemen Pastorpack Small
    
The probability of the Earth being destroyed within the next dozen billion years is high. Whether by the cold jaws of a rogue planet, or the smothering embrace of our dying Sun, it will no doubt be a sad moment for any surviving humans – should they even remember their birth planet. Let’s just hope that Earth doesn’t suffer the sad fate of drifting alone in the cold depths of space, having been ejected from its home system. Even then, once black holes have taken over (10 Duodecillion years from now) there will be little hope for its survival.

     

    Source:  listverse.com

    Categorized in News & Politics

     

    The telescope at China's Purple Mountain Observatory in Nanjing has captured images of an asteroid approaching Earth. The asteroid, coded as 2009ES by the Minor Planet Center (MPC), was observed Wednesday night. This is the first time that a telescope in China has captured images of the asteroid, one of 1,640 minor bodies listed by MPC that could have a close encounter with the Earth.

    Scientists estimate that should an asteroid measuring 10,000 meters collide with Earth, the impact would equal the explosion capacity of 3 billion atomic bombs. Astronomers widely believe that such an asteroid hit the Earth 65 million years ago, wiping out the dinosaurs.

    The observatory's 1.2-meter Schmit is the largest telescope of its kind in Asia.
    The observatory was notified by MPC on Sept. 5 to observe the asteroid. It passed Earth within a range 18.8 times of the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

    Zhao Haibin with the observatory said minor planets' trajectories could be changed by stellar attraction from planets such as Mars. Continuous observation is needed to keep track of any changes.

    "With the help of our images, astronomers across the globe have a more accurate moving trajectory of the asteroid," he said. Previously, eight other telescopes around the world had captured images of the asteroid.

     

    The Daily Galaxy via Chinese Academy of Science and Xinhua

    Source : http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2016/09/chinas-largest-telescope-sights-an-asteroid-approaching-earth.html

     

    Categorized in Others

     

    Life as we know it almost came to an end Wednesday when an asteroid narrowly missed Earth as it whizzed by, but fortunately close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

    Most humans across the planet went on with their day as usual, oblivious to the event which NASA discovered just two days before it happened.

    The US space agency announced the asteroid named 2016 RB1 passed about 25,000 miles (40,000km) from our collective home, roughly one tenth the distance between the Earth and the moon.

    Even if it had hit the Earth’s surface, its estimated size of 25 by 50 feet is much smaller than the one believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs.


    It also passed the Earth at the South Pole, so any destruction may have been limited to scientific researchers, cruise ship passengers, and penguins.

    NASA claims it’s the closest an asteroid will come to Earth for “at least the next half century.”

     

    The space rock was discovered by astronomers from the Catalina Sky Survey at the summit of Mount Lemmon north of Tucson, Arizona.

    An asteroid of similar size left more than 1,200 people injured when it hit Chelyabinsk in Russia in 2013.

    Source : https://www.rt.com/viral/358666-asteroid-narrowly-misses-earth/

     

    Categorized in Others

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