Sunday, December 23, 2007

Asteroid May Hit Mars Next Month

Mars could be in for an asteroid.

A newly discovered chunk of space rock 1 and has a chance of 75 slamming into the Red Planet at 30 January, scientists said Thursday.

"These rates are very unusual," said Steve Chesley, an astronomer with the Near Earth Object Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "We often work with very long conflict, if we track ... threatening asteroids."

The Odds

The asteroid, known as 2007 WD5, was discovered at the end of November and is similar in the size of an object, the remote central Siberia in 1908, unleashing energy equivalent to a 15-megaton nuclear bomb and wipe 60 million trees.

Scientists tracking the asteroid, which is currently half-way between Earth and Mars, the first impact at a rate of 1 in 350, but increases the chances this week.

The scientists expect the rates to reduce again early next month for ever new observations of the asteroid's orbit, Chesley said.

"We know that it is from Mars to fly and are most likely to miss, but there is a way to have an impact," he said.

Excited, no fear

If the asteroid is not to dismantle Mars, it will probably hit near the equator of the planet, close to where the rover Opportunity has exploration of Mars levels since 2004. The robot is not in danger, because they are outside the impact zone.

With the space rock moving at a speed of 8 miles (13 km) a second, a collision Mars would carve a hole in the size of the famous Meteor Crater (see photo) in Arizona.

In 1994, fragments of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 (see photo) smacked into Jupiter, creating a series of overlapping fire balls in space.

Astronomers have witnessed an asteroid with another planet.

"Unlike an effect of the earth, we are not afraid, but we are thrilled," said Chesley.

Monday, December 17, 2007

"Giant Human Skeleton" Photo Inspires Hoax

From~National Geographic The National Geographic Society has not discovered ancient giant humans, despite rampant reports and pictures.

The hoax began with a doctored photo and later found a receptive online audience—thanks perhaps to the image's unintended religious connotations.

A digitally altered photograph created in 2002 shows a reclining giant surrounded by a wooden platform—with a shovel-wielding archaeologist thrown in for scale.

By 2004 the "discovery" was being blogged and emailed all over the world—"Giant Skeleton Unearthed!"—and it's been enjoying a revival in 2007.

The photo fakery might be obvious to most people. But the tall tale refuses to lie down even five years later, if a continuing flow of emails to National Geographic News are any indication. (The National Geographic Society owns National Geographic News.)

The messages come from around the globe—Portugal, India, El Salvador, Malaysia, Africa, the Dominican Republic, Greece, Egypt, South Africa, Kenya. But they all ask the same question: Is it true?

Perpetuating the Myth

Helping to fuel the story's recent resurgence are a smattering of media outlets that have reported the find as fact.

An often cited March 2007 article in India's Hindu Voice monthly, for example, claimed that a National Geographic Society team, in collaboration with the Indian Army, had dug up a giant human skeleton in India.

"Recent exploration activity in the northern region of India uncovered a skeletal remains of a human of phenomenal size," the report read.

The story went on to say the discovery was made by a "National Geographic Team (India Division) with support from the Indian Army since the area comes under jurisdiction of the Army." The account added that the team also found tablets with inscriptions that suggest the giant belonged to a race of superhumans that are mentioned in the Mahabharata, a Hindu epic poem from about 200 B.C.

The story went on to say that the discovery was made possible by a National Geographic team (India Division) with the support of the Indian army since the area falls under the jurisdiction of the army. "

The account added that the team also tablets with inscriptions indicate that the giant belonged to a race of superhumans that in the Mahabharata, a Hindu epic of around 200 BC

"They were very large, very large and powerful, so that they have their arms around a tree trunk and uproot", the report says, repeatedly claimed that first appeared in 2004.

Voice editor P. Deivamuthu admitted National Geographic News that his publication was of the fake reports.

The monthly, which is based in Mumbai (Bombay), published a withdrawal after Deivamuthu readers aware of the false report, he said.

"We are against the proliferation of lies and ducks," Deivamuthu added. "In addition, our readers a very intellectual class, and will not brook any nonsense."

Other blog entries such as a posting in May 2007 at a site called Srini's weblog allegedly quoting a report published in the Times of India on 22 April 2004. But a search of this newspaper archives revealed no such items.

Arabian Giant

Variations of the giant photo hoax also alleged discovery of a 60 - to 80-foot long (18 - to 24-meter) human skeleton in Saudi Arabia. In a popular, which also first appeared in 2004, an oil exploration team to have said.

Here is the skeleton has proved to be evidence of giants, which in Islamic, but as a Hindu, writings.

The Debunkers

Sites to debunking urban legends and "netlore" picked up on the various hoaxes giant soon after they first appeared.

California-based, for example, found that the skeleton image was lifted from Worth1000, the hosts photo-manipulation competitions.

Entitled "Giants", the skeleton and shoveler image had occupied the third place in a competition in 2002 as "archaeological 2 anomalies."

The picture is a creator-signatories from Canada, with the screen name IronKite told National Geographic News by e-mail that he had nothing to do with the subsequent hoax.

He added that he wants to remain anonymous because some forums debating whether the giant was real or not, their whole argument in a religious one. " It has been argued, for example, that the Saudi Arabian find was fully in line with the teachings of the Koran.

"That was about the same time that death threats and cash bonuses were against cartoonists and other professionals for the industry, things to do, such as the depiction of the Prophet Mohammed," Iron Kite wrote.

As the picture was made

Iron Kite began with an aerial photograph of a mastodon excavation in Hyde Park, New York, 2000. He then digitally superimposed on a human skeleton on the animal's remains.

The subsequent addition of a man digging, the biggest technical challenge.

"If you see, he is in possession of a yellow-handled shovel, but it is nothing to end," said IronKite.

"Originally it was the end of spades. But [it] looked like it was the exact same room as occupation of the skeleton of the temple, making the whole thing look fake.

"Now it looks like he is only with a stick, and that the people do not notice. It's funny."

IronKite also changed the color of the clothes of the man for the creation of a "single tie-in with the white-shirted peering observers from the wooden platform.

The two figures to exaggerate the extent of the skeleton, he added.

Iron Kite said he tickled that the image, lasted only about an hour and a half to create, has so much attention Internet.

"I laugh myself if some stupid guy claimed to know someone who was there, or even goes so far as to say that he or she was there when they found the skeleton was in the picture," said IronKite.

"Sometimes people seem so desperate to believe in something that they themselves lie or exaggerate their own arguments stronger."

Wanting to Believe

David Mikkelson of said such hoaxes succeed if they seem to confirm what people already inclined to believe, as a prejudice, political views or religious beliefs.

A Hoax must also be presented "in a framework that has the appearance of credibility," he said in an e-mail.

The "old giant" has the two elements, according to Mikkelson.

"He appeals to both a religious and secular vision of the world than others and more than mere fantasy science would lead us to believe," he said.

"Proof," Mikkelson added, "comes in the form of a fairly convincing pictures."

For those who may knowingly propagated the myth that Mikkelson added, the motivation was probably no different than the motivation for participation in a game of someone ringing doorbell and running away, it's an easy way to have a laugh at someone's cost. "

Alex Boese, "curator" of the virtual Museum of Hoaxes, said fake giants have a long history dating back to at least 1700.

The recent hoax reminiscent of the once famous Cardiff Giant myth, with a ten-foot-tall (three-meter) stone image dug in 1869 in Cardiff, New York, said Boese.

Many people believed that the number was a petrified man, claiming he was one of the giants in the Bible's Book of Genesis: "There were giants in the Earth in those days."

Similarly, Boese said, the last Giant Hoax "taps into the human desire for secrecy and their desire to see concrete confirmation of the religious legends."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mysterious Clouds More Common Due to Climate Change?

Night-shining clouds are seen over Finland in this undated photo. Scientists say such clouds are appearing brighter and more often and that human-caused climate change may be the cause.

Mysterious "night shining clouds," that in view of the polar sky, the bright and frequently in the last few years, and climate change, the offender, scientists announced on Monday.

So-called noctilucent clouds, the stripes across the sky in vivid colors in the polar summer, ten times brighter than previously thought, according to recent data from NASA's Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) satellite.

The data collected during two polar cloud seasons, beat the formations appear daily, are widespread, and have begun, in the form of lower margins than before.

Canary climate change

Night illuminating clouds are mostly of ice particles in the water vapor condenses on atmospheric dust.

The AIM mission is the first detailed examination of the clouds that are about 50 miles (80 km) above Earth's surface - "literally at the edge of space", AIM Principal Investigator James Russell III said yesterday at a press conference at the American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco, California, USA.

The air there is more than one thousand times drier than the Sahara, and the temperature drops to minus 235 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 148 degrees Celsius) - ideal conditions for the creation of clouds.

A declaration is expected for the clouds' increase is that the temperatures in the upper atmosphere have become even colder by the construction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, says Russell.

Annual emissions of carbon dioxide levels have been about 20 percent since 1990. Most scientists agree, is the formation of the climate change and the heating surface.

In the upper atmosphere, carbon dioxide is not acting like a thick, heat-trapping blanket.

Instead, it forms a thin layer, to escape the heat, the temperatures drop and ice particles to form.

"[The] cloud is the mine's canary of global warming," said Russell National Geographic News.

No Other Plausible Reason

The evidence that carbon changes in the night sky illuminating is still hesitant, said Russell.

But, "quite frankly, we do not know of other plausible reasons why it is not global climate change," he said.

"If this is true, who says we are not only changing the atmosphere in which we live, we are changing a very remote, rarified part of our atmosphere."

Such profound change means that "we need to be," says Russell.

"If [the cloud changes] are, in fact, carbon dioxide to build, here is another reason that we confirm, it should strive to do something about this."

"Exquisite thermometer"

AIM also discovered "dramatic changes" in the cloud behavior, "says Scott Bailey, AIM Deputy Principal Investigator.

The data suggest that the clouds are very variable, rotating every five days after minute shifts in the temperature-even as little as 5 degrees Fahrenheit (2.7 degrees Celsius).

"These clouds are noble thermometer," he said.

"Now we are in a position to the entire life cycle [a cloud] for the first time," Bailey said National Geographic News.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Nazca Lines

Nazca lines are the outstanding group of geoglyphs in the World. Deep within the surface of the desert sand Pampa approximately 300 hundred pieces from straight lines, geometric forms and images of animals and birds, and their structures are clearly visible only from the air.
CLICK on the image to enlarge and view coordinates.

Image Placemark Location: longitude: -75.18786894045414, latitude: -14.72050199914096
CLICK on the image to enlarge and view coordinates.
CLICK on the image to enlarge and view coordinates.
CLICK on the image to enlarge and view coordinates.

There are three mysterious aspects to Nazca Plateau
Satellite image of the Nazca Plateau (CLICK on the image to enlarge)
First, the straight lines, many miles long, across sectors of the pampas in all directions (see photo above). Many of the headlines seem to be random and have no pattern to them.
Secondly, many of the lines forming geometrical figures: angles, triangles, grapes, spirals, rectangles, wavy lines, etc. Other lines are converging with concentric circles, or from a headland. Other sheets are "roads" as geometric surfaces and appear to have large groups of the population.
Third, many lines form animal patterns.
Could these geoglyphs are portraits of the ancient animal gods or patterns of constellations? Are they roads, Stern hands, perhaps even a giant card? If the people who lived here before 2000 years had only a simple technique, how did they manage, the more accurate figures? Have a plan? If this is the case, the ordained? It seems so otherworldly. To the Nasca lines created by the elimination of desert rocks, the sand under the pale pink visitors have proposed that all conceivable explanation of runway for spaceships on track for the athletes, op art, pop art, astronomical observations.

It is assumed that the geoglyphs were of a people, the Nasca - but why and how these wonders of the World defied explanation.

As much as the lines awe us, we are equally amazed at the imagination of people who have tried to explain it.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

UFO witness appeal

Do you have a triangular craft in the sky between Stourbridge, Halesowen on the evening of Wednesday, 28 November 2007?

Several people have contacted the largest UFO group in the Midlands-UFORM - are entitled to an unexplained aircraft in the sky.

The incident took place at about 7.00pm on Wednesday, 28 November 2007, when a man filmed more than 30 seconds recordings of the space ship in a westerly direction from Halesowen to Stourbridge.

The object, described as "like a huge" dorito, had distinctive red lights on the bottom, the position shifted while the craft was flying.

Another eyewitness reported after the incident to see the craft, while the Lickey Hills in the area of Sutton Birmingham.

The testimony of the alleged UFO observed through binoculars, as it is "very fast" in the skyline.

Two other independent employee came forward within a few hours after the sighting. UFORM operates a 24 hour hotline for the public to report UFO incidents.

Steve Poole, chairman of the UFORM, said:

"This could be a very significant sighting, especially given the fact that one of the witnesses has filmed the event.

"We would like to hear from anyone else who may have seen this object. You can remain anonymous if they wish. It was a clear night, and I am sure that many people were probably out doing Christmas shopping and have seen the craft . "

To contact UFORM:

* E-mail:


UFORM or UFO Research Midlands - was founded in 1995 by Steve Poole coincide with the massive increase in UFO sightings in the West Midlands.

Now committee with dozens of members, the group holds monthly meetings in Stourbridge with internationally renowned guest speakers, hosts sky-watch and acts as the leading organization for research in the area for anyone interested in the UFO phenomenon.

To learn more about UFORM, click on the link below:

* Interview with Steve Poole on UFORM

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Superfast laser kills Viruses

A physicist, biologist and son destroyed a common virus with a vibrant super lasers, but not healthy cells. The discovery could lead to new therapies for the treatment of viruses such as HIV, which are not healing.

"We have a technique, using a laser to seduce the vibrations of the armature of a virus and damage, so it will not be the` more operational, "said Kong Tsen, professor of physics at Arizona State University. "We are testing again on HIV and hepatitis now."

Tsen Shaw and his son-Wei Tsen, pathology students at the Johns Hopkins University, came to the idea while strolling in the park, and the need for antiretroviral therapy, beyond vaccination . Tsen Senior experimented with ultra-long laser pulses (universal service), devices increasingly outside of physics.

Raydiance, a manufacturer of laser USP, has signed a contract with the FDA in July to explore laser therapies. How Wired News reported in the year, an official estimate from the FDA, it could be cent for medical applications USP Laser, Laser eye of the cell treatment by the removal of the tumor cells.

In the latest research, and his son Tsen showed that their techniques laser could destroy the protein shell or Kapside, mosaic virus tobacco, and leaves only harmless mucus hardening of molecules.

The laser is broken, Kapside low power consumption: 40 times lower, in fact, that energy, that the human T lymphocytes damage. Other types of radiation, such as ultraviolet rays, to kill microbes produce, but would harm human cells.

The virus can disable laser operates on the principle of resonance forced behalf. Scientists agree the laser on the same frequency, the virus vibrates. Then, until the crank to reduce the volume. Since much ohrenzerreißende his shaken the glass vibrates lasers, the virus until it breaks.

Lasers USP Releases energy Femtosekunden-Pulsen -- millionth of a nanosecond -- for a while.

"The extremely short pulses to the creation of a physical effect that the traditional lasers, and other types of approaches makes laser` t do, "said Scott Davison, president of the USP Venture Backed laser Raydiance. "What we are seeing is a new wave of exploration and discovery in implementing USP in a range of sectors and applications."

Unlike meat blow in laser surgery laser USP Don `Umsatzesaus much heat. Tsen said, the technique could be useful for the immediate removal of viruses in the blood in blood banks. Some viruses, such as HIV, have a window in which it is very difficult to detect.

"This technique is very useful to disinfect all viruses, known and unknown, Tsen said." That would be the very safe blood transfusion. "

The Tsens `success of the technology has been in test tubes. It must be examined in animals and then humans. Salaries are even further in the future. But with more walks in the park, everything seems possible.

From :

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Mysterious object Belmez!

In belmez de Los Angeles moraleda, Spain, sits in the Pereira family home, scene of the strange events that have lasted for more than 30 years. The events that began in 1971 when Maria Gomes Pereira seen strange to form burner of her kitchen. It looked like a human face, so that Maria's husband took Ax and destroyed burner, and it was planted with new cement. A week later appearing in the new floor. The family asked the city council to investigate and after weeks of digging a hole and found containing human bones under the direct burner. The pit was filled and developed new burner, but within weeks more faces began to emerge again. Whatever the Pereira family tried to destroy them, and the object returned. For thirty years the faces have visited by scientists, researchers and countless television crews. It is believed many of the faces were faked and that has been painted. But a thorough examination of the burner that showed the faces were painted cement instead of the highest. This seemed to prove that the phenomenon is real and one of scientists announced that it was "without doubt the most important Paranormal phenomenon of this century."

Friday, November 23, 2007

Tut Mummy on Public Display for First Time

Egypt's antiquities chief Zahi Hawass (center) supervises the removal of the mummy of King Tutankhamun from his stone sarcophagus on November 4, 2007.

The mummy was moved to a high-tech glass display case in the tomb's antechamber, the first time the famed boy king has ever been on public display.

Photograph by AP Photo/Ben Curtis, Pool

The mummy of King Tutankhamun today went on public display for the first time—85 years to the day since his tomb was discovered in Egypt's famed Valley of the Kings.

Until now the boy pharaoh's remains had rested in his sarcophagus in the burial chamber of the tomb, which lies just north of the city of Luxor.

But on Sunday morning the remains—settled inside a wooden box—were carefully transferred to a high-tech glass display case about 30 feet (9 meters) away in the tomb's antechamber.

The valley was frenzied with TV camera crews, photographers, and journalists, who converged below the gravelly sun-drenched hills near the tomb.

The atmosphere seemed fit for a modern-day movie star, underscoring the enduring celebrity of a king who died more than 3,000 years ago.

The move will help preserve Tutankhamun's mummy, which experts say has been deteriorating rapidly because of exposure to heat and humidity.

The new display is also expected to increase visits to the tomb from about 350 to 900 tourists a day, generating funds for the protection of Egyptian antiquities.

"I can say for the first time that the mummy is safe, the mummy is well preserved, and also at the same time, all the tourists who will enter this tomb tomorrow morning will be able to see the face of Tutankhamun for the first time," said Zahi Hawass, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities and a National Geographic Society explorer-in-residence.

(National Geographic News is part of the National Geographic Society.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

8-Foot Giant Catfish caught in Cambodia

Captured just before midnight on November 13 by fishermen in Cambodia, the Mekong giant catfish was 8 feet long (2.4 meters long) ands weighs 450 pounds (204 kilograms).

"This is the only giant catfish that was so far this year, making it the worst year on record for catching fish species giants," said Zeb Hogan (right), a fisheries biologist at the University Reno in Nevada.

After collecting data on fish, Hogan released unharmed.

Siluro giant once were abundant throughout Southeast Asia, the Mekong River Basin, including the Tonle Sap River-home of the fish in these exclusive pictures taken near Phnom Penh.

But in the last century, the giant Mekong catfish population has declined by 95 to 99 percent, scientists say. Only a few hundred adult giant catfish can stay.

Since 2000 five to ten fish have been caught accidentally every year across the Mekong area.

Earlier this year, Hogan launched the three-year period Megafishes Draft paper by world giant freshwater fishes (See photos of other giant fish.)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Satellite captures Earth 'rising' and 'setting'

Series of five images of the Earth 'setting' as seen from the Moon - taken by the Kaguya probe.

A Japanese satellite has captured the first high definition images of the Earth from the moon.

Footage taken from 62 miles above the lunar surface shows the most-detailed yet pictures of an "Earth-rise" and "Earth-set" above the moon's horizon.

Still photographs from the sequences show our planet in brilliant blue with Antarctica at the top, Australia in light brown on the left and the Middle East in the lower right section.

The images were taken last week using a high definition (HD) television camera, developed specially for use in space by the Japanese national broadcaster NHK.

This was mounted on Kaguya, a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) probe which is carrying out the most extensive investigation of the moon since the Nasa Apollo missions.

Earth-rises and earth-sets can only be seen from satellites travelling in orbit around the moon as our planet is always seen in the same position from the lunar surface.

The Kaguya probe, named after a princess in a Japanese fairytale, was around 240,000 miles from Earth when it captured the footage.

The first ever image of the Earth was taken in 1959 by the US satellite Explorer VI while it was passing over the Pacific Ocean.

Kaguya, which launched in mid-September, will produce high resolution surface and gravity maps, observe lunar magnetic fields and search for water ice during its one-year mission.

Japan has been expanding its space operations, and has set a goal of sending an astronaut to the moon by 2020.

The onboard high definition camera of the moon explorer "KAGUYA," which is under initial functional verification, successfully acquired the world's first high definition images of an "Earth-rise" and "Earth-set." It was also the world's first HD images of the Earth from about 380,000 km away in space.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Indian man marries dog to beat 'curse'

An Indian farmer has married his dog in a bid to overcome what he believes is a curse caused by him having stoned to death two mating dogs in his rice field, press reports said.

Doctors were clueless, but an astrologer finally told him he was cursed by the spirits of the dogs he had killed. He could undo the curse only if he married a dog and live with it, the soothsayer said.

After a long search for a 'suitable bride', Selvakumar managed to get a four-year-old mongrel bitch from a friend and had a fully-fledged Hindu wedding in front of villagers and elders on Sunday, eyewitnesses said.

The canine bride, named Selvi, was adorned in a sari and flowers and brought to the temple by village women. A Hindu priest conducted the ceremony.

The reports, however, said Selvi the dog attempted to make a run for it -- apparently due to the large crowds -- but was eventually tracked down and returned to her new 'husband'.

"The dog is only for lifting the curse and after that, he plans to get a real bride," a friend of the groom said.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Six-legged frog is star attraction

A Chinese restaurant has found a six-legged frog - and is keeping it to attract diners.

The frog is on display in a glass tank at the restaurant in Quanzhou city, reports People's Daily.

"I bought more than 5 kilos of frogs from the market the other day, and upon coming back found that one of them has six legs," says chef Xiao Song.

The frog has two extra legs on the front left side which, according to waiters, means that it has a lopsided hop.

Experts at the local forestry department say the extra legs were most likely caused by genetic mutation.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Article~Time Dilation

The special theory of relativity describes how motion affects measurements of time and distance. Einstein concluded that these measurements must depend on how the person making the measurements is moving. The basis of this theory is that all people, whether moving or stationary, must agree on certain basic physical phenomena, especially those involving the behavior of light.

Imagine that you are standing on the Earth while our friend is traveling across our solar system at a high speed, as shown in the accompanying sketch. You set off a flashbulb that emits sudden bright flash of light. The radiation moves away from you at the same speed at all directions, and thus you see an expanding spherical shell of light. What does your high-speed friend see?

Einstein argued that this person must also see light moving away from her at the same speed in all directions, and thus she also sees an expanding spherical shell of light.By requiring that both people observe a spherical shell, Einstein derived a series of equations to relate specific measurements of time and distance between two people. These equations are named the Lorentz transformations, after the famous Dutch physicist Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (a contemporary of Einstein who developed these equations independently but did not grasp their true meaning.) These equations tell us exactly how a moving person's clock slow down and how rulers shrink.

To appreciate the Lorentz transformations, again imagine that you are on Earth while a friend is moving at a speed v with respect to you. Suppose that you both observe the same phenomenon on Earth - say, the beating of your heart or the ticking of your watch, which appears to occur over an interval of time. According to your clock (which is not moving relative to the phenomenon), the phenomenon lasts for T0 seconds. This is called the proper time of the phenomenon. But according to your friend's clock (which is moving relative to the phenomenon), the same phenomenon lasts for a different length of time, T seconds. The Lorentz transformation for time tells us that these two time intervals are related by:

Lorentz transformation for time

T = time interval measured by an observer moving relative to the phenomenon
T0 = time interval measured by an observer not moving relative to the phonomenon
v = speed of the moving observer
c = speed of light

EXAMPLE: Suppose that your friend is moving at 98% of the speed of light. Then, v/c = 0.98 so that

=> T = 5T0

The Lorentz transformation for time is plotted in the accompanying graph, which shows how 1 second measured on a stationary clock is stretched out when measured using a clock carried by a moving observer. Note that significant differencesEXAMPLE: Fast-moving protons from interstellar space frequently collide with atoms in the Earth's upper atmosphere. When they do, they can create unstable particles called muons (pronounced "mewons") that decay in an average time of 2.2 x 10 to power -6 seconds. Such muons typically move at 99.9% of the speed of light and are formed at an altitude of 10kn. As measured by an observer on the Earth, the time that a muon would take to reach the Earth's surface is

This is 15 times longer than the life expectancy of a muon, so it would seem that muon would never reach the Earth's surface before decaying. In fact, these muons are detected by experiments on the surface! The reason is that as seen by an Earth observer, the muon is a "moving clock", and hence its decay is slowed down by time dilation. To an Earth observer, the actual lifetime of a muon is

Thus, as measured by an Earth observer, muons live more than long enough for them to reach the surface. The detection at the Earth's surface of muons from the upper atmosphere is compelling evidence for the reality of the time dilation.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Article~Unknown object seen over south dakota skies

An object was seen over the South Dakota skyline this morning, but what it was is still not known.

The first two minute clip of video was taken at 8:00 AM from our Empire Mall Skycam looking south-southeast. You can clearly see the object leaving a vapor trail behind in the sky as it drifts toward the southern horizon.

The second part of the clip was taken from our Rapid City Skycam. This view is looking east as the object moves from north to south parallel to the horizon. The second half of the video from Rapid City was captured at about 8:15 AM CDT.

We`re gathering information about it today and we`ll share what we find later today on and News.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Article~Malaysian Astronaut Won't Ignore Faith During Spaceflight

STAR CITY, Russia (AP) -- Among the things Malaysia's first astronaut will be worrying about next month: How does an observant Muslim pray toward Mecca while soaring hundreds of miles above the Earth?

Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor will blast off aboard a Russian-built Soyuz space craft en route to the International Space Station along with Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and U.S. astronaut Peggy Whitson.

They blast off from the Russian-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Oct. 10.

Speaking at a news conference Thursday at Russia's cosmonaut training center in Star City, on Moscow's outskirts, Shukor said during his 10 days in space, he hoped to perform life science and other research, but said he would not ignore the responsibilities of his faith.

"I do agree that I am a Muslim, I am Islamic, but my main priority is more of conducting experiments,'' the 35-year-old astronaut said. "As a Muslim, I do hope to do my responsibilities, I do hope to fast in space.''

After months of discussion and two international conferences, the Islamic National Fatwa Council came up with guidelines as to how Muslim astronauts should observe daily rituals. The rules were published in 12-page booklet titled "Muslim Obligations in the International Space Station.''

Observant Muslims are required to turn toward Mecca -- located in Saudi Arabia -- and kneel and pray five times a day. However, with the space station circling the Earth 16 times a day, kneeling in zero gravity to pray -- or facing toward Mecca for that matter -- makes fulfilling those religious obligations difficult.

Malaysia's National Fatwa Council ruled that Muslim astronauts will not be required to kneel to pray if the absence of gravity makes it too hard. Facing Mecca while praying will be left to the "best abilities'' of the astronaut, the council said.

Adding to the difficulties is the fact that the launch coincides with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan -- when Muslims are expected to fast from dawn until dusk. The fatwa decided the fasting may be postponed until returning to Earth.

Other exceptions include allowing simple silent prayer if performing physical rituals is impossible.

Shukor will return to Earth Oct. 20 along with two members of the station's current crew -- cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Article~Mysterious peruvian meteor disease solved

An object that struck the high plains of Peru on Saturday, causing a mysterious illness among local residents, was a rare kind of meteorite, scientists announced today.

A team of Peruvian researchers confirmed the origins of the object, which crashed near Lake Titicaca, after taking samples to a lab in the capital city of Lima.

Nearby residents who visited the impact crater complained of headaches and nausea, spurring speculation that the explosion was a subterranean geyser eruption or a release of noxious gas from decayed matter underground.

But the illness was the result of inhaling arsenic fumes, according to Luisa Macedo, a researcher for Peru`s Mining, Metallurgy, and Geology Institute (INGEMMET), who visited the crash site.

The meteorite created the gases when the object`s hot surface met an underground water supply tainted with arsenic, the scientists said.

Numerous arsenic deposits have been found in the subsoils of southern Peru, explained Modesto Montoya, a nuclear physicist who collaborated with the team. The naturally formed deposits contaminate local drinking water.

"If the meteorite arrives incandescent and at a high temperature because of friction in the atmosphere, hitting water can create a column of steam," added José Ishitsuka, an astronomer at the Peruvian Geophysics Institute, who analyzed the object.

By Wednesday, according to Macedo, all 30 residents who felt ill reported feeling better.

"People Were Extremely Scared"

Locals described the meteorite as a bright, fiery ball with a smoke trail. The sound and smell rattled residents to the point that they feared for their lives, Ishitsuka said.

The meteorite`s impact sent debris flying up to 820 feet (250 meters) away, with some material landing on the roof of the nearest home 390 feet (120 meters) from the crater, Ishitsuka reported.

"Imagine the magnitude of the impact," he said. "People were extremely scared. It was a psychological thing."

The meteorite`s crash also caused minor tremors, shaking locals physically and emotionally.

"They were in the epicenter of a small earthquake," Montoya, the nuclear physicist, said.

The resulting crater resembles a muddy pond measuring 42 feet (13 meters) wide and 10 feet (3 meters) deep.

Solving the Mystery

Even as meteorite samples arrived in Lima Thursday for testing, Peruvian scientists seemed to unanimously agree that it was a meteorite that had struck their territory.

"Based on the first-hand reports, the impact and the samples, this is a meteorite," Macedo, of INGEMMET, said.

Tests revealed no unusual radiation at the site, though its absence didn`t rule out a meteorite crash.

"Everything has radioactivity, even underground rocks," Montoya said. "But nothing out of the ordinary was found."

Preliminary analysis by Macedo`s institute revealed no metal fragments, indicating a rare rock meteorite. Metal stands up better to the heat created as objects enter Earth`s atmosphere, which is why most meteorites are metallic.

(See related news photo: "Mysterious Space Object Crashes Into House" [January 5, 2007].)

The samples she reviewed had smooth, eroded edges, Macedo added.

"As the rock enters the atmosphere, it gets smoothed out," she said.

The samples also had a significant amount of magnetic material "characteristic of meteorites," she said.

"The samples stick to the magnet," Ishitsuka, the astronomer, confirmed. "That shows that there is iron present."

Water samples at the crater proved normal, but the color and composition of soil were "unusual" for the area, Macedo noted.

José Machare, a geoscience adviser at INGEMMET, said x-ray tests conducted on the samples earlier today further confirmed the object`s celestial origins.

He said the group`s findings put to rest earlier theories that the object was a piece of space junk or that the crater had formed by an underground explosion.

"It`s a rocky fragment," Machare said, "and rocks that fall from the sky can only be meteorites."

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Article~Speed of light

The special theory of relativity begins with two principals. We have already stated the first of these, that the laws of physics are the same to all observers. The second principal follows from Einstein's work on electromagnetism:

The speed of light is the same to all observers.

From these principals, the basic equations of the special theory of relativity follow logically (refer to time dilation section). These equations relate measurements by observers moving at different speeds. They ensure, for example, that both you on the Earth and a friend in a spacecraft traveling near the speed of light agree on the same laws of physics, unaffected by any pitfalls or paradoxes caused by how you and your friend are moving relative to each other.

In developing the special theory of relativity, Einstein found that he had to abandon old-fashioned, rigid notions of space and time. For example, imagine a friend whizzing across or solar system in a spacecraft while you remain here on the Earth. Einstein proved that your friend's clock would seem to tick more slowly than your own. In addition, your friend's rulers when held parallel to the direction of motion will seem shorter than yours. In brief, moving clocks are slowed and moving rulers are shortened in the direction of the motion. These strange results are direct consequences of the speed of light being an absolute constant.

(a)As seen by the outfielder, ball is approaching her at (30 m/s) + (10 m/s) = 40 m/s

(b)Incorrect Newtonian description:
As seen by astronaut in spaceship, light is approaching her at (3x108 m/s) = 4x108 m/s

Correct Einsteinian description:
As seen by astronaut in spaceship, light is approaching her at 3x108 m/s

The Speed of Light is the Same to All Observers.

(a) in Newtonian physics, the speed of light of any object depends on how the observer is moving.

(b) Einstein showed that this commonsense principle does not apply to light. No matter how an observer is moving, he will always measure light to have the same speed. This remarkable fact about light, which goes completely against intuition, is at the heart of Einstein's special theory of relativity. This theory has other bizarre consequences. For example, the astronaut with the flashlight will see the flying astronaut's spaceship as being shortened along the direction of motion and will see the flying astronaut's clocks (including his wristwatch and his heartbeat) as ticking slowly. Furthermore, the special theory of relativity says that the laws of physics are the same no matter how fast you are moving, so both astronauts see the same effects of relativity. Here the flying astronaut will see the astronaut with the flashlight (who is moving relative to him) as shortened along the direction of motion and as having slowly ticking clocks.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Article~Big Bang Theory

"We go about our daily lives understanding almost nothing of the world. We give little thought to the machinery that generates the sunlight that makes life possible, to the gravity that glues us to an Earth that would otherwise send us spinning off into space, or to the atoms of which we are made and on whose stability we fundamentally depend. Except for children (who don't know enough not to ask the important questions), few of us spend much time wondering why nature is the way it is;

where the cosmos came from, or whether it was always here; if time will one day flow backward and effects precede causes; or whether there are ultimate limits to what humans can know."

Carl Sagan
From an introduction to "A Brief History of Time"
by Stephen Hawking

Big Bang Theory, currently accepted explanation of the beginning of the universe. The big bang theory proposes that the universe was once extremely compact, dense, and hot. Some original event, a cosmic explosion called the big bang, occurred about 10 billion to 20 billion years ago, and the universe has since been expanding and cooling.

The theory is based on the mathematical equations, known as the field equations, of the general theory of relativity set forth in 1915 by Albert Einstein.
In 1922 Russian physicist Alexander Friedmann provided a set of solutions to the field equations. These solutions have served as the framework for much of the current theoretical work on the big bang theory. American astronomer Edwin Hubble provided some of the greatest supporting evidence for the theory with his 1929 discovery that the light of distant galaxies was universally shifted toward the red end of the spectrum. This proved that the galaxies were moving away from each other. He found that galaxies farther away were moving away faster, showing that the universe is expanding uniformly. However, the universe's initial state was still unknown.

In the 1940s Russian American physicist George Gamow worked out a theory that fit with Friedmann's solutions in which the universe expanded from a hot, dense state. In 1950 British astronomer Fred Hoyle, in support of his own opposing steady-state theory, referred to Gamow's theory as a mere "big bang," but the name stuck. Indeed, a contest in the 1990s by Sky & Telescope magazine to find a better (perhaps more dignified) name did not produce one.

Click picture to enlarge

Approximately 13.7 billion years ago, the entirety of our universe was compressed into the confines of an atomic nucleus. Known as a singularity, this is the moment before creation when space and time did not exist. According to the prevailing cosmological models that explain our universe, an ineffable explosion, trillions of degrees in temperature on any measurement scale, that was infinitely dense, created not only fundamental subatomic particles and thus matter and energy but space and time itself. Cosmology theorists combined with the observations of their astronomy colleagues have been able to reconstruct the primordial chronology of events known as the big bang.

Quantum theory suggests that moments after the explosion at 10 -43 second, the four forces of nature; strong nuclear, weak nuclear, electromagnetic and gravity were combined as a single "super force"(Wald). Elementary particles known as quarks begin to bond in trios, forming photons, positrons and netrinos and were created along with their antiparticles. There are minuscule amounts of protons and neutrons at this stage; approximately 1 for every one billion photons, neutrinos or electrons (Maffei). The density of the Universe in its first moment of life is thought to have been 1094g/cm3 with the majority of this being radiation. For each billion pairs of these heavy particles (hadrons) that were created, one was spared annihilation due to particle-antiparticle collisions. The remaining particles constitute the majority of our universe today (Novikov).

During this creation and annihilation of particles the universe was undergoing a rate of expansion many times the speed of light. Known as the inflationary epoch, the universe in less than one thousandth of a second doubled in size at least one hundred times, from an atomic nucleus to 1035 meters in width. An isotropic inflation of our Universe ends at 10-35 second that was almost perfectly smooth. If it were not for a slight fluctuation in the density distribution of matter, theorists contend, galaxies would have been unable to form (Parker).

The universe at this point was an ionized plasma where matter and radiation were inseparable. Additionally there were equal amounts of particles and antiparticles. The ratio of neutrons and protons albeit small is equal. When the universe aged to one hundredth of a second old neutrons begin to decay on a massive scale. This allows for free electrons and protons to combine with other particles. Eventually the remaining neutrons combine with protons to form heavy hydrogen (deuterium). These deuterium nuclei combine in pairs and form helium nuclei. The formation of matter from energy is made possible by photons materializing into baryons and antibaryons with their subsequent annihilations transforming them into pure energy (Maffei). Because of these collisions and annihilations matter was unable to remain viable for more than a few nanoseconds before a bombardment of electrons would scatter these photons. Like water trapped inside a sponge, radiation is so dense (1014g/cm3) that no light is visible. Known as the "Epoch of Last Scattering" the temperature has now dropped to a mere 1013K with the Strong Nuclear, Weak Nuclear and Electromagnetic interactions now able to exert their force. (Chown)

As the gas cloud expands one full second after the initial explosion and the temperature of our Universe has dropped to ten billion degrees, photons no longer have the energy to disrupt the creation of matter as well as transform energy into matter. After three minutes and a temperature of one billion degrees, protons and neutrons were slowing down enough in order to allow nucleosynthesis to take place. Atomic nuclei of helium was produced as two protons and neutrons each bonded. For every helium nuclei formed there were about ten protons left over allowing for twenty-five percent of the Universe to be comprised of helium. The next important phase of the expansion occurred around thirty minutes later when the creation of photons increased through the annihilation of electron-positron pairs. The fact that the universe began with slightly more electrons than positrons has insured that our Universe was able to form the way it has (Parker).

The universe for the next 300,000 years will then begin to expand and cool to a temperature of 10,000°K. These conditions allowed for helium nuclei to absorb free floating electrons and form helium atoms. Meanwhile hydrogen atoms were bonding together and forming lithium. It is here that the density of the universe has expanded to the point where light can be perceived. Until this point photons continued to be trapped within matter. Finally the expansion allowed for light and matter to go there separate ways as radiation becomes less and less dense. Matter and radiation therefore too, were bonded no longer and the oldest fossils in the Universe were born (Peebles).

In 1814 the science of spectroscopy was launched by William Wollaston, an English physicist who noticed that there were several dark lines that separated the continuous spectrum of the Sun. These lines came to the attention of Joseph von Fraunhofer, a German optician and physicist who carefully plotted the position of those lines. Then in 1850 German physicist's Gustav Kirchhoff and Robert Bunsen refined the spectroscope. They then learned to heat different elements to incandescence and using the spectroscope identified an elements corresponding lines on the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum(Parker).

In 1863 Sir William Huggins, an amateur astronomer viewed a nearby star through his 8 inch refractor with a spectroscope attached. He found what he had originally hypothesized, the same spectrum lines that were observed in our own Sun. Meanwhile, Kirchhoff and Bunsen had successfully categorized the spectrum lines of many elements including those of hydrogen, sodium and magnesium. Huggins found these same spectrum lines in the distant stars he had observed and correctly predicted that some of the same elements that Kirchhoff and Bunsen were cataloging were emanating from these celestial bodies (Parker).

Christian Doppler of Austria discovered twenty years earlier that the frequency of a sound wave was dependent on the relative position of the source of the sound. As a sound moves away from an observer the pitch will lower. Likewise if the source is not moving but the observer is, there will be a corresponding change in the wave frequency of the sound. Doppler theorized on this same shift for light waves yet it was the French physicist Armand Fizeau who proved in 1848 that when a celestial object moves away from an observer, the lines in the visible spectrum would shift toward the red end. Conversely, when an object moves toward the observer, Fizeau found that the lines in the spectrum shifted toward the blue end. Huggins observed a shift in the hydrogen lines of Sirius toward the red end of the spectrum. This "redshift" indicated that Sirius was moving away from us. A few years later he was able to calculate the radial velocity of the star Sirius at between 26 to 36 miles per second (Parker).

During the 1890's the Lick Observatory in California began to track and chart the radial velocity (which is actually the velocity at which the line of sight that the star is observed) of many stars, as well as gaseous and planetary nebulae. Astronomers at Lick calculated the measurements of 400 stars including their radial speed and velocity. In 1910 Vesto Slipher measured the velocity of the Andromeda Nebula at 300 km per second, thirty times greater than previously observed. Four years later, Slipher had confirmed the radial velocities of 14 spiral nebula, with the overwhelming majority shifting to the red end of the spectrum. Slipper's observations showed that the majority of spirals he measured were moving away from us (Parker).

Around 1913 several astronomers, among them Edwin Hubble, used a variable star known as a Cepheid (a star that fluctuates in intensity) to measure their period-luminosity relationship. This would accurately determine the distance to any Cepheid in the observable vicinity. Hubble became the first astronomer to discover an independent galaxy outside the confines of the Milky Way. Hubble calculated the distance of the Andromeda Galaxy to be 900,000 light years away; larger than the predicted size of our own galaxy. Using the radial velocity measurements of Slipher along with Hubble's own calculations he began to notice a correlation between the distance of these galaxies and their radial velocities. The proof was conclusive: the further away a galaxy was relative to the Earth, the greater the velocity of that galaxy. Hubble had irrefutable proof that the Universe was expanding. By 1936 Hubble had received data from galaxies more than 100 million light years away. The redshifts at this distance were so large that the spectral lines had changed color (Weinberg).

As astronomers were collecting data on the Universe based on their observations, theorists were busy developing models that attempted to explain the cosmos. Recently equipped with Albert Einstien's Theory of Relativity, Einstein was one of the first to attempt an explanation of the physical Universe. Einstein believed the Universe to have a static, uniform, isotropic distribution of matter. Einstein's own calculations however proved to result in the exact opposite, an oscillating universe that had the potential for expansion or contraction. He was certain that the universe was stable. Einstein was compelled to amend his original equation. He used the term cosmological constant, which created a spherical, four-dimensional closed universe (Parker).

Around the same time the Dutch astronomer Willem deSitter used Einstein's general theory of relativity to develop his own model of the Universe. His model was unique in that it did not take into consideration the existence of matter in the Universe. However it did go beyond Einstein's model in that it predicted the redshift, even though de Sitter felt it was an illusion, and did not at the time link it to any recession of celestial objects. The academic community of 1930 did not fully embrace either model of the universe. Then the Secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society in England was made aware that three years previous, one of his students had written a theory of the universe independent of the two major forces in cosmological theory. Georges Lemaître created a cosmology that predicted a universe that was forever in a state of expansion. When this theory was rejuvenated by its republication in the journal Monthly Notices, it brought to the table another similar theory that was devised ten years earlier. Aleksander Friedmann, a Russian mathematician, analyzed Einstein's cosmological constant that produced a static universe. Friedmann proved that there are three possibilities for the universe when the cosmological constant is zero. If the matter in the universe is greater than the critical density, the universe would ultimately collapse back onto itself. If the inverse is correct the universe would expand forever. If the universe were flat with a constant of zero at critical density, the universe would again expand infinitely. Both Lemaître and Friedmann's solutions were analyzed by Einstein and were summarily dismissed. It was not until Hubble had proved that galaxies were in fact receding in 1932 that Einstein was forced to drop his static universe model. The observational proof that the universe was expanding, combined with the models of Friedmann and Lemaître that predicted an expanding universe unified the cosmologist and the astronomer in agreement. The only question remained was if the universe is expanding, what was the origination of this expansion? Lemaître used the second law of thermodynamics as his starting point. Based on the assumption that the expansion of the universe was an increase in the disorder of a system, originating from a singularity of neutrons, this primordial nucleus would then explode where an increase in the entropy of the universe would be apparent. On May 9, 1931, Lemaître published his theory of the universe in the journal Nature and it was met with general skepticism (Parker).

George Gamow expounded on Lemaître's work, using recent discoveries in quantum theory. Lemaître formulated his model based on the theory that a giant nucleus began to entropy, breaking down into individual constituents. Gamow believed that a nucleus containing not only neutrons but protons and electrons as well was the starting point. Due to the very high amount of radiant energy in the early universe, temperature would be in excess of one billion degrees Kelvin. At five minutes old, Gamow speculated, this universe would have particles that could not combine. But as the expansion began the temperatures would decrease and nuclear fusion would occur. Atoms would form as protons and neutrons would attach themselves to one another. Gamow then Hypothesized that all the elements in the Universe were created at this time. One year later however, it was proven that Gamow's math didn't stand up to scrutiny as it was shown that atomic mass 5 could not have been created from this primordial nucleus, as well as mass 8 (Gribbin).

Although all of the elements in the universe were proven not to have originated from the Primordial Fireball, the theory gained momentum until it received a worthy adversarial cosmology known as the Steady State Theory. Fred Hoyle (who despairingly coined the term Big Bang) and his colleagues constructed a model of the universe that was widely accepted for religious reasons if not so much for its scientific hypothesis. Hoyle suggested that the universe is infinitely old and has remained in a steady state except that the universe was indeed expanding. However galaxies are not receding from one another but space is constantly being created between galaxies. In order for the average density to remain constant, Hoyle suggested that matter had to be created in these new areas where space was expanding. Only one hydrogen atom needed to be created every year in an area the size of a 100 meter cube to account for the expansion. This spontaneous generation of matter Hoyle argues would allow for the formation of new galaxies between ancient ones and the Universe would maintain its steady state. It would then follow that astronomers would be able to detect young galaxies in the midst's of very old ones. This was one of the many inconsistencies that were found with the Steady State Theory. In the 1950's Steady State Theorists took a heavy blow when radio galaxies were discovered showing that, consistent with big bang Cosmology, galaxies evolved and were very active billions of years ago (Parker).

Finally the empirical evidence big bangers had predicted was observed in 1965 by Bell Labs Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson. Robert Dicke of Princeton University was the first to search for fossil remains of the big bang. Dicke suggested that the Big bang emanated from a previous universe and that a temperature in excess of one billion degrees was necessary to create our new universe. This energy would in turn produce an infinitesimal amount of radiation that should be measurable to this day. Based on Planck's law that all bodies emit energy that can be documented on an electromagnetic diagram. Depending on the length of the wave they can register anywhere from X rays to radio waves and everything in between. A bodies emission of energy is contingent upon the constituent elements of the body, the amount of surface area of the body and the surface temperature of the body. The body that emits the greatest amount of energy is a so called black body. Using Planck's Black Body Curve as a guide Dicke theorized that the Cosmic Background Radiation of the Big Bang should be about 3° above absolute zero. Dicke's colleague Jim Peebles also concluded that when the Fireball's remnants cooled to 3000° Kelvin nuclei would be able to form and helium was able to form from hydrogen. This left a universe with a mixture of approximately 75% hydrogen and 25% helium, resembling the same amount of helium found in the Sun. Peebles concluded that since the two most abundant elements in the universe were created when the Universe was at 3000° K and since then the universe has expanded by a factor of 1000 the radiation from the Big Bang should have a temperature of about 10° K. Later refinements to these equations revised the estimated temperature to 3° K. Dicke and Peebles were confident that there instruments would be the first to detect this Cosmic Background Radiation (Parker). At the same time Penzias and Wilson were busy attempting to measure radiation from the Milky Way Galaxy. They were narrowing in on their source when they were left with a noise that was interfering with their signal. This noise originated from cosmic radiation and had a temperature of 3°K. It seemed to be coming in from all directions and never fluctuated. With their original research corrupted due to the unexplained noise they resigned themselves to writing a paper on this unexplainable phenomenon. Months later Penzia's discovered that Peebles group was searching for this relic radiation without success. Upon further examination they realized that Penzia and Wilson had stumbled upon the single most important discovery that confirmed the Primordial big bang Explosion(Parker).

Big Bang theorists made several predictions that have eventually supported the theory. The first is Hubble's observation of the redshift-distance relationship. This relationship enables us to approximate the age of the universe with the help of three separate celestial bodies that all arrive at the same relative result. Hubble used what is known as "standard candles" to build a "cosmic distance ladder." By knowning the distance of certain celestial bodies he would be able to incrementally construct an age for the Universe. These standard candles were: cepheid variables in neighborhood galaxies; bright stars in more distant galaxies and in galaxies millions of parsecs away, the brightness of the galaxy itself was used as a standard candle (Maffei)

Central to the question of the age of the Universe are two important theoretical terms. The Hubble Constant refers to how fast the velocities of the galaxies increase with their distance from the Earth. There is quite a raging debate on the value of this constant ranging from 50 Km/sec per Mpc (Mpc is a Megaparsec, about 3 million light years) to 100 Km/sec per Mpc. This explains the disparity in the ± 5 billion year estimate for the age of the universe. The other constant of importance is known as q that defines the deceleration of the expansion of the universe. Depending on the critical density of the universe that this q constant is based, the universe will prove to be either infinitely expanding as in the flat and open models, or an oscillating closed universe; a big crunch/big bang universe that will ultimately condense back into a singularity and begin the process all over again(Weinberg). Hubble's succesor Allan Sandage predicted a closed universe when he plotted a number of radio galaxies many billions of light years away. The evidence for this closed universe was quickly challanged a few years later and eventually fell out of favor. To this day the Hubble Constant and the q constant remain the two most important unanswered problems in modern cosmology.

Observations have also supported the predictions of theorists that certain elements could only have been created moments after the big bang. Based on the relationship between the amount of helium in the universe and the number of different types of particle "families" researchers concluded that there is one neutrino per family of particles. Due to the current energy density of the universe there will be a corresponding amount of helium produced. This in turn will create different types of neutrinos. When the predicted amount of neutrinos corresponded to what was observed it was another victory for the big bang cosmology(Wald).

After the discovery of the cosmic background radiation in 1965 scientists were eager to extend their research into outerspace through the use of a man-made satellite orbiting the Earth. From this vantage point an unimpeaded opportunity to study this phenomenon would be made available and by late 1989 the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) was ready for action. COBE consisted of three seperate experiments. The first instrument was known as the FIRAS, an acronym for the Far Infrared Absolute Spectrometer. This instrument was created to confirm the research previously accumulated that the background radiation does indeed have a black body spectrum (Hoverstein).

The next question COBE attempted to answer was, is the background radiation the same temperature in all directions? Big bang theory states that in order to have mass condense and form galaxies, there must be inhomogeneties left over from the Big bang that will be able to be detectable. The differential microwave radiometer (DMR) was designed to detect anisotropy fluctuations on the scale of 30 millionths of a degree. Inflation theory predicted such fluctuations and that quantum processes at work during the primordial stages of the big bang (when the universe was the size of a proton) allowed for clouds of matter to condense into galaxies (Sawyer).

The final experiment was known as DIRBE. The Differential Infrared Background Experiment was designed to look into the farthest corners of the Universe; upwards of 15 billion light years away from the Earth, and accumulate data on the infrared light of these primordial galaxies. DIRBE data is continuing to be accumulated with no conclusions having been drawn to date (Gribbin). John Mather from the University of California at Berkeley was responsible for the FIRAS experiment. Not long after COBE was positioned into orbit came the exciting data that was eagerly awaited and much anticipated. The background radiation fit the blackbody curve to within 1%. Sixty-seven seperate points of frequency obtained by COBE fir the theoretical blackbody spectrum perfectly! Observation had accurately confirmed what Big bang cosmology had long ago predicted. This finding proved to be the easy part (Parker).

George Smoot and his colleagues also from Cal Berkeley took three arduous years to sort through the billions of bits of data that the DMR provided. His announcement on the 23rd of April, 1992 at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society in Washington, D.C. said it best: "English dosen't have enough convey the story [of the results] , we have observed...15 billion year old fossils that we think were created at the birth of the universe."(Parker). Although the temperature fluctuations were less than thirty millionths of a degree in variation, these areas of temperature and density fluctuation were more than 500 million light years in width. These miniscule perbutations that were formed during the big bang were the very density that was needed in order to create galaxies and thus life itself (Noble).

The Big Bang model that attempts to explain the origin and structure of the universe incorporates the talents of many individuals through the course of more than 150 years of study. Many times facing opposition similar to that of Galileo and Copurnicus, these cosmologists used a deductive approach in solving the greatest question in the history of science. The findings and observations of these emminant scholars forced them to draw the conclusions they arrived at. Every prediction that quantum physics and the theories of relativity have made regarding the origin and the state of the universe have either been observed and confirmed and/or not proven to be false. That is in essence the reason we have arrived at this cosmology, fully confident that our science and technology can look back in time 15 billion years and see the birth of our universe.