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Showing posts from February, 2008

There's Tar In Them Thar Hills

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Is the 21st century's equivalent of the '49s Gold Rush in our future, say in 2049? Think Tom Corbet and Gabby Hays, tanker rockets and space-suited roughnecks.


The Cassini spacecraft and scientists from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md., reported in the Jan. 29 issue of the Geophysical Research Letters that Saturn's orange moon Titan has hundreds of times more liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth. The hydrocarbons rain from the sky, collecting in vast deposits that form lakes and dunes.

At a not so balmy minus 179 degrees Celsius (minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit), Titan is a far cry from Earth. Instead of water, liquid hydrocarbons in the form of methane and ethane fill lakes and seas on Saturn's moon.

Several hundred bodies of water methane have been observed, and dark dunes that run along the equator contain a volume of organics several hundred times greater than Earth's coal reserves.

And don…

Blah, blah, blah . . . WACKO!

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So you start reading what looks like a typical scientific journal article—lotsa names, unusual terms, not very clear what it's all about and then BAM, right between the eyes. Try it.


Evolution of Mid–IR Excess Around Sun–like Stars:
Constraints on Models of Terrestrial Planet Formation
M.R. Meyer, J.M. Carpenter, E.E. Mamajek, L.A. Hillenbrand, D. Hollenbach, A.
Moro–Martin, J.S. Kim, M.D. Silverstone, J. Najita, D.C. Hines, I. Pascucci, J.R.
Stauffer, J. Bouwman, & D.E. Backman
ABSTRACT
We report observations from the Spitzer Space Telescope (SST) regarding the frequency of 24 μm excess emission toward sun-like stars. Our unbiased sample is comprised of 309 stars with masses 0.7-2.2 M⊙ and ages from <3>3 Gyr that lack excess emission at wavelengths 8 μm. We identify 30 stars that exhibit clear evidence of excess emission from the observed 24/8μm flux ratio. The implied 24 μm excesses of these candidate debris disk systems range from 13 % (the minimum detectable) to more than…