#125 - Dr David Warmflash - Yarkosvky

“It shows you exactly how a star is formed; nothing else can be so pretty! A cluster of vapor, the cream of the milky way, a sort of celestial cheese, churned into light.”

Benjamin Disraeli

Interview with Dr David Warmflash

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With dazzling images on every spread, and illuminating text by astrobiologist Dr. David Warmflash,Moon: An Illustrated History chronologically presents 100 milestones in the Moon’s development and exploration. Starting 4.5 billion years ago when the Moon formed, this stunning volume moves from the hypotheses of the Moon’s formation (4.5 billion years ago) to sixth-century BCE predictions of solar eclipses, from the twentieth-century Space Race between the US and the Soviet Union to private space companies and possible future lunar colonies. Find out about lunar calendar systems and cults in the Bible; how lunar brightness was used to estimate stellar distances; how advancing telescopes in the seventeenth century allowed us to eye the Moon more closely; how author Jules Verne inspired the Father of Astronautics; the originals of the Saturn V Moon Rocket; the Apollo missions, and so much more.

Available 7th May.

Happy Birthday to Ulugh Beg (great ruler) actual name Mīrzā Muhammad Tāraghay bin Shāhrukh The Persian astronomer from the 15th century. As a child he wandered through a substantial part of the Middle East and India as his grandfather expanded his conquests. Builder of the enormous Oleg Beg observatory in Samarkand (Uzbekiststan) in 1424 one of the finest observatories in the Islamic world.

Speaker of at least five languages master of trigonometry and spherical geometry, he'd even written sine and tangents correctly to eight decimal places. Using his hugely long sextant he was able to create one of the greatest star catalogues of his time, only improved upon by Tycho Brahe, he determined the length of the sidereal year with an error of 58 seconds only to be improved by Copernicus. He also very accurately established the axial tilt of the Earth. He had 13 wives.

He has a crater named after him on the Moon. and an asteroid.

Soviet anthropologist Mikhail M. Gerasimov reconstructed the face, his remains were found in the mausoleum of Timur in Samarkand, by Soviet archaeologists in 1941.

OTD 22 March 1981 - Soyuz 39 - Jügderdemidiin Gürragchaa was the first person from Mongolia to fly to space, on Salyut 6., he was Mongolia's Defense Minister from 2000-04. He heads the fund for development of bandy a form of ice hockey in Mongolia

We are now past The Vernal Equinox

Which is one of two points in Earth's orbit where the sun creates equal periods of daytime and nighttime across the globe. Many people mark it as the first day of the spring ...on Earth in the meantime.

Because they don’t really have a tilt, mercury and Jupiter don’t really have a spring, Venus is hell all year round, but Saturn, like mars, has a spring and the atmosphere slowly changes from the clear blues of winter to the hazy gold of summer.

Space News

ESA Sat in vital role to help millions.

As millions of people in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe struggle to cope with the aftermath of what could be the southern hemisphere’s most deadly storm, Copernicus Sentinel-1 is one of the satellite missions being used to map flooded areas to help relief efforts. Copernicus is the European Union's Earth observation programme coordinated and managed by the European Commission in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA), Sentinel-1 was mostly built in Italy.

Cyclone Idai swept through this part of southeast Africa over the last few days, leaving devastation in its wake. Thousands of people have died and houses, roads and croplands are under water

Sentinel-1’s radar ability to ‘see’ through clouds and rain, and in darkness, makes it particularly useful for monitoring floods..

Boeing Woes

Boeing Co has delayed by at least three months, April to now August, of its first uncrewed flight to the International Space Station under NASA’s human spaceflight program, and pushed its crewed flight until November, industry sources said on Wednesday. Boeing’s commercial airplane division is under scrutiny in the wake of two 737 MAX passenger jet crashes in five months, SLS is also hideously behind schedule and on the verge of being put in the bin!!!


The ISS Toilet door paves way for cleaner surfaces.

Space missions are plagued by bacterial biofilms coating surfaces and destoying equipment, let alone the yuk factor.

Researchers from Berlin and Moscow tested an antimicrobial metal surface coating AGXX antimicrobial that one of the researchers Elisabeth Grohmann describes as exploding the bacteria on contact, The metal consists of thin layers of silver and ruthenium treated with vitamin C.

Micro-gravity, solar and cosmic radiation alter the immune-regulatory responses of the crew rendering them more susceptible to bacterial infections, and compounding that the spaceship provides a special environmental niche for microorganisms,

Two hundred and thirty-four bacterial and fungal species were found on the MIR space station, various bacteria exhibited enhanced virulence, increased antibiotic resistance and differential gene expression under space conditions,

These bacteria could spread their virulence and/or antibiotic resistance genes through horizontal gene transfer (HGT) and turn harmless bacteria into potential pathogens.

Bacteria are becoming immune to antibiotics and more interestingly silver!!!

AGXX® has self-regenerating activity based on two coupled redox reactions taking place on the micro-galvanic silver and ruthenium elements on the surface of the material. They result in effective regeneration of the coating.

Paper here


Probably one of the most overshadowed space missions ever, the Osiris-Rex mission that began orbiting asteroid Bennu in December the smallest body in ever to be orbited by a spacecraft, Has made the first ever close-up observations of particle plumes erupting from the surface and also discovered that Bennu is a lot rougher and more rugged than anyone had anticipated

“The first three months of OSIRIS-REx’s up-close investigation of Bennu have reminded us what discovery is all about — surprises, quick thinking, and flexibility,” said Lori Glaze, acting director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We study asteroids like Bennu to learn about the origin of the solar system. OSIRIS-REx’s sample will help us answer some of the biggest questions about where we come from.”

“The discovery of plumes is one of the biggest surprises of my scientific career,” said Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona, Tucson

The higher-than-expected density of boulders means that the mission’s plans for sample collection, also known as Touch-and-Go (TAG), need to be adjusted. The mission team is developing an updated approach, called Bullseye TAG, to accurately target smaller sample sites.

our spacecraft and operations team have demonstrated that we can achieve system performance that beats design requirements,” said Rich Burns, the project manager of OSIRIS-REx at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Bennu has issued us a challenge to deal with its rugged terrain, and we are confident that OSIRIS-REx is up to the task.”

The spacecraft that will return a sample to Earth in 2023

The team has directly observed a change in the spin rate of Bennu as a result of what is known as the Yarkovsky-O'Keefe-Radzievskii-Paddack (YORP) effect.

Space Word of the Week

The Yarkovsky effect which is a force acting on a rotating body in space caused by the anisotropic ( a niece o tropic, different properties in different directions) emission of thermal photons, which carry momentum.

Ivan Yarkovsky realized that the thermal radiation escaping from a body warmed by the Sun carries off momentum as well as heat he noted that the daily heating of a rotating object in space would cause it to experience a force that, while tiny, could lead to large long-term effects in the orbits of small bodies,

One of the components, THE Diurnal effect: or daily effect, is on a spinning asteroid illuminated by the sun, the surface is warmed during its day, and cools at night. But there is a lag between the absorption and emission of that heat, so the warmest point on a rotating body occurs around the "2 PM" site on the surface, This results in a difference between the directions of absorption and re-emission of radiation, so this radiated heat is acting like a little thruster. If the object is a prograde rotator, the force is in the direction of motion of the orbit, and causes the semi-major axis of the orbit to increase steadily; the object spirals away from the Sun. A retrograde rotator spirals inward,

There are also seasonal effects, this is really important as

Yarkovsky's insight would have been forgotten had it not been for the Estonian astronomer Ernst J. Öpik (1893–1985), who read Yarkovsky's pamphlet sometime around 1909, recalling the pamphlet from memory, decades later, discussed the possible importance of the Yarkovsky effect on movement of meteoroids about the Solar System, His grandson, Lembit Öpik boyfriend of a cheecky girl and weather girl and Lib Dem MP who also regulalry attends the BIS and was the only polititian to take asteroids strikes seriously.

The Yarkovsky–O'Keefe–Radzievskii–Paddack effect, or YORP effect for short, changes the rotation state of a small astronomical body – that is, the body's spin rate and the obliquity of its pole(s) – due to the scattering of solar radiation off its surface and the emission of its own thermal radiation.

The term was coined by David P. Rubincam in 2000 to honor four important contributors

Ivan Yarkovsky as above

Vladimir Radzievskii applied the idea to rotation based on changes in albedo

Stephen Paddack realized that shape was a much more effective means of altering a body's spin rate.

Stephen Paddack and John O'Keefe suggested that the YORP effect leads to rotational bursting and by repeatedly undergoing this process, small asymmetric bodies are eventually reduced to dust

The surface of an asteroid is acting in three significant ways:

radiation from the Sun is absorbed and reamitted as photons

Photns diffusively reflected by the surface of the body and

The body's internal energy is emitted as thermal radiation.

Since photons possess momentum, each of these interactions leads to changes in the angular momentum of the body relative to its center of mass


In this March 19 satellite image, the hills of Walker Canyon in a super bloom in Lake Elsinore. The city of Lake Elsinore, about a 90-minute drive from Los Angeles, was swamped last weekend with an influx of about 150,000 people who wanted to see this year's rain-fed flaming orange patches of poppies lighting up the hillsides. (DigitalGlobe)


There are two Behemoth chimneys at the cntre of our Galaxy spewing out XRAYS!!

By surveying the centre of our Galaxy, ESA’s XMM-Newton has discovered two colossal ‘chimneys’ funneling material from the vicinity of the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole.

Two giant bubbles were discovered in 2010 by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope: Giant ‘burps’ of material from the central regions of our Milky Way, where its central black hole, known as Sagittarius A*, resides. And XMM-Newton has discovered two channels of hot, X-ray emitting material streaming outwards from Sagittarius A*, finally linking the immediate surroundings of the black hole and the bubbles together.

Our Galaxy’s core is, although decribed as quiescent (dormant), is still quite tumultuous and chaotic. Dying stars exploding violently, binary stars whirling around one another; and Sagittarius A* itself massive as four million Suns, chomping on all this stuff and belching out radiation and energetic particles as it does so.

data gathered by XMM-Newton between 2016 and 2018 to form the most extensive X-ray map ever made of the Milky Way’s core.” revealing long channels of super-heated gas, each extending for hundreds of light years, streaming above and below the plane of the Milky Way.

“This outstanding result from XMM-Newton gives us an unprecedented view of what’s really happening at the core of the Milky Way, and presents the most extensive X-ray map ever created of the entire central region,” says ESA XMM-Newton project scientist Norbert Schartel.

upcoming X-ray observatories like ESA’s Athena, the Advanced Telescope for High-Energy Astrophysics, scheduled for launch in 2031. Another future ESA mission, Lisa, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, will search for gravitational waves released by the merger of supermassive black holes at the core of distant, merging galaxies





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