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straight into a colorful weekend
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There's a kind of exoplanet out there that is suspiciously rare. We call them "hot Neptunes", and only a few have been discovered among the 3,869 confirmed exoplanets. But astronomers have made an eye-watering discovery of an evaporating planet that could prove to be the missing link. Called Gliese 3470 b, this planet is losing its atmosphere at a staggering rate, faster than any we've observed before.

Judging by how rapidly this planet is vanishing, it lends weight to the hypothesis that the reason we've seen so few hot Neptunes is because they've actually shrunk into mini-Neptunes - one of the most common kinds of exoplanet discovered by the Kepler mission.

"The question has been, where have the hot Neptunes gone?" said astronomer Vincent Bourrier of the University of Geneva in Sauverny, Switzerland. "If we plot planetary size and distance from the star, there's a desert, a hole, in that distribution. That's been a puzzle."

A hot Neptune is pretty much what it sounds like. A giant planet, around the size and mass of Neptune or Uranus, but much, much closer to its host star - closer than the distance between Earth and the Sun. Therefore, it's also hotter, with an atmospheric temperature of around 927 degrees Celsius (1,700 Fahrenheit).

There are other Neptune-ish planets out there, but they're generally found orbiting much farther from their star. So either hot Neptunes are just rare in general; or they do form, but then they vanish somehow. Or metamorphose into something else, as per the latest discovery. Gliese 3470 b (GJ 3470b for short) is not the only evaporating planet we've found. There's also Gliese 436 b, which was actually spotted leaking a few years ago, but not at a particularly fast rate.

An international team of astronomers has discovered that GJ 3470b, although at a similar distance from its star to GJ 436b, is much hotter - and losing its atmosphere at 100 times the rate, according to Hubble observations that reveal a cloud of hydrogen blowing out into space around the planet. If it keeps going, it could end up as a mini-Neptune, or even a super-Earth, the team projects.

"This is the smoking gun that planets can lose a significant fraction of their entire mass,"said physicist and planetary scientist David Sing of Johns Hopkins University.

"GJ 3470b is losing more of its mass than any other planet we seen so far; in only a few billion years from now, half of the planet may be gone."

Both planets orbit at a distance of around 6 million kilometres (3.7 million miles) from their stars (just over 10 percent of the distance between the Sun and Mercury, 58 million kilometres), but GJ 436b orbits an old red dwarf, a relatively cool and stable star between 4 and 8 billion years old.

GJ 3470b orbits a much younger star, a red dwarf only 2 billion years old. It's much hotter and more turbulent, which means GJ 3470b is treated to much more blistering radiation. The result of this - seen in other evaporating planets - is that the atmosphere is heated to the point where it boils away.

In addition, although the two planets are of comparable size, GJ 3470b is less dense than GJ 436b, which means its gravitational hold on its atmosphere isn't as strong. It's a result that confirms that atmospheric escape plays a major role in the lack of hot Neptunes, Bourrier said - and one that contributes to our understanding of the way planets change.

"I think this is the first case where this is so dramatic in terms of planetary evolution," Bourrier said.

"It's one of the most extreme examples of a planet undergoing a major mass-loss over its lifetime. This sizable mass loss has major consequences for its evolution, and it impacts our understanding of the origin and fate of the population of exoplanets close to their stars."

The team hopes to expand on their research by using the James Webb Space Telescope, which is scheduled for launch in 2021. Its more sensitive instrumentation could detect escaping helium, which could extend the search for escaping atmospheres to mini-Neptunes. The team's research has been published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

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Siberian tiger - Amur Tiger

A photo I made last August in Allwetterzoo in Munster, Germany.

It is part of this new blog: https://anjawessels.photography/allwetterzoo/

CAMERA: Canon EOS 80D
LENS Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro

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#photography #animal #zoo #AllwetterZoo #iger #cat #bigcat #amurtiger
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“Tell the Truth About Donald Trump—Everything”: Lanny Davis Wants Michael Cohen to Go Full John Dean http://vntyfr.com/5y0SSlb
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Context
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The Feynman Technique - YouTube

'...Richard Feynman was a physicist who received a nobel prize for his work in quantum electrodynamics. He was notorious for asking others to explain concepts in simple language to test their understanding....'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkm0TNFzIeg

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The book Network Propaganda is free to read on Google Play Books it's interesting
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Echoes of Rendezvous With Rama (HD video). A pretty spectacular video of an interstellar visitor, courtesy of the New York Times. There is an ad at the beginning to endure, but the video is worth it. My thanks to Jessie B. for the link. From the article:

The Pan-STARRS telescope was built to patrol the sky for dangerous asteroids in our own system, not interlopers from beyond. But astronomers got a surprise.

Dr. Meech learned in a phone call one night that her colleagues had found one whose path seemed to originate beyond the solar system altogether. “Wow, this is exciting,” Dr. Meech recalled thinking.

I'll say!
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I'll Never Love Again
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Trump Inaugural Fund and Super PAC Said to Be Scrutinized for Illegal Foreign Donations
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Kellyanne needs to take a vacation so she can grasps the Real Truth!
Another wasted hour on CNN. She's living in OZ right along with trumptrash

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Google Analytics Admin Emails Sent To Search Console Users In Latest Bug
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Donald Trump Cancels the Press Holiday Party, Freeing Up More Sweet, Sweet Executive Time http://vntyfr.com/6Dduauv
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North Carolina congressional candidate Mark Harris (R) directed the hiring of a campaign aide now at the center of an election-fraud investigation, according to three individuals familiar with the campaign, despite warnings that the operative may have used questionable tactics to deliver votes.

Harris sought out the operative, Leslie McCrae Dowless, after losing a 2016 election in which Dowless had helped one of Harris’s opponents win an overwhelming share of the mail-in vote in a key county.

State and local investigators say that whether Harris knew that his campaign may have engaged in improper tactics has become a focus of the expanding probes into whether election irregularities affected the 9th District election, in which Harris leads Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes.

That question is also roiling the state Republican Party, whose leaders had rallied around Harris, a 52-year-old evangelical pastor from the suburbs of Charlotte. Party leaders are now backing away from Harris and trying to limit the fallout of a scandal that has delayed certification of the last undecided federal contest of the 2018 election cycle.
washingtonpost
washingtonpost
washingtonpost.com
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Everything with president trump's name on it is under investigation..

From his inauguration to his campaign.. His administration, his foundation, his organization to his transition, is under investigation..
Talk about draining the swamp, Trump is the swamp! Unbelievable!

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Next time you can't find the perfect angle for your selfie, just thank the universe you're not NASA's InSight lander. The spacecraft had to take 11 images with a camera attached to its robotic arm and then stitch them together to create its first self portrait.
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Jamal Khashoggi murder suspect was heard boasting ‘I know how to cut’ https://nyp.st/2RZCu5X
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