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A huge tornado was spotted as it passed through northern Colorado, with bystanders capturing the funnel in dramatic footage circulating online. The inclement weather caught local meteorologists by surprise, but caused no deaths. The twister touched down near the towns of Platteville and Firestone, both located in Weld County, on Monday evening, moving northeast for several miles before dissipating some 25 minutes later, meteorologist David Barjenbruch told the Denver Post. Videos of the tornado have made the rounds on social media, showing a dark-brown funnel making its way along the landscape from menacing storm clouds above. The storm brought down a number of power lines, which led to at least one home catching fire, according to a local CBS affiliate. Though reports of damage and injuries are still coming in, the Denver National Weather Service said there had been no deaths as of Monday night - among humans, that is, as two livestock animals were reportedly killed. Two residents driving into Firestone as the twister touched down, Kelsey and Cameron Gransee, said they witnessed the path of destruction left in the tornado's wake. "We saw the damage. We saw the debris field. There were trees down, a house on fire; pretty sad," Kelsey told local media. https://www.sott.net/article/453853-Tornado-touches-down-in-Weld-County-Colorado
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We like to think of ourselves as unique. That conceit may even be true when it comes to our cosmic neighborhood: Despite the fact that planets between the sizes of Earth and Neptune appear to be the most common in the cosmos, no such intermediate-mass planets can be found in the solar system. The problem is, our best theories of planet formation — cast as they are from the molds of what we observe in our own backyard — haven't been sufficient to truly explain how planets form. A new study, however, published in Nature Astronomy in February, demonstrates that by taking magnetism into account, astronomers may be able to explain the striking diversity of planets orbiting alien stars. It's too early to tell if magnetism is the key missing ingredient in our planet-formation models, but the new work is nevertheless "a very cool new result," said Anders Johansen, a planetary scientist at the University of Copenhagen who was not involved with the work. Until recently, gravity has been the star of the show. In the most commonly cited theory for how planets form, known as core accretion, hefty rocks orbiting a young sun violently collide over and over again, attaching to one another and growing larger over time. They eventually create objects with enough gravity to scoop up ever more material — first becoming a small planetesimal, then a larger protoplanet, then perhaps a full-blown planet. Yet gravity does not act alone. The star constantly blows out radiation and winds that push material out into space. Rocky materials are harder to expel, so they coalesce nearer the sun into rocky planets. But the radiation blasts more easily vaporized elements and compounds — various ices, hydrogen, helium and other light elements — out into the distant frontiers of the star system, where they form gas giants such as Jupiter and Saturn and ice giants like Uranus and Neptune. But a key problem with this idea is that for most would-be planetary systems, the winds spoil the party. The dust and gas needed to make a gas giant get blown out faster than a hefty, gassy world can form. Within just a few million years, this matter either tumbles into the host star or gets pushed out by those stellar winds into deep, inaccessible space. For some time now, scientists have suspected that magnetism may also play a role. What, specifically, magnetic fields do has remained unclear, partly because of the difficulty in including magnetic fields alongside gravity in the computer models used to investigate planet formation. In astronomy, said Meredith MacGregor, an astronomer at the University of Colorado, Boulder, there's a common refrain: "We don't bring up magnetic fields, because they're difficult." And yet magnetic fields are commonplace around planetesimals and protoplanets, coming either from the star itself or from the movement of starlight-washed gas and dust. In general terms, astronomers know that magnetic fields may be able to protect nascent planets from a star's wind, or perhaps stir up the disk and move planet-making material about. "We've known for a long time that magnetic fields can be used as a shield and be used to disrupt things," said Zoë Leinhardt, a planetary scientist at the University of Bristol who was not involved with the work. But details have been lacking, and the physics of magnetic fields at this scale are poorly understood. "It's hard enough to model the gravity of these disks in high enough resolution and to understand what's going on," said Ravit Helled, a planetary scientist at the University of Zurich. Adding magnetic fields is a significantly larger challenge. In the new work, Helled, along with her Zurich colleague Lucio Mayer and Hongping Deng of the University of Cambridge, used the PizDaint supercomputer, the fastest in Europe, to run extremely high-resolution simulations that incorporated magnetic fields alongside gravity. Magnetism seems to have three key effects. First, magnetic fields shield certain clumps of gas — those that may grow up to be smaller planets — from the destructive influence of stellar radiation. In addition, those magnetic cocoons also slow down the growth of what would have become supermassive planets. The magnetic pressure pushing out into space "stops the infalling of new matter," said Mayer, "maybe not completely, but it reduces it a lot." The third apparent effect is both destructive and creative. Magnetic fields can stir gas up. In some cases, this influence disintegrates protoplanetary clumps. In others, it pushes gas closer together, which encourages clumping. Taken together, these influences seem to result in a larger number of smaller worlds, and fewer giants. And while these simulations only examined the formation of gassy worlds, in reality those prototypical realms can accrete solid material too, perhaps becoming rocky realms instead. Altogether, these simulations hint that magnetism may be partly responsible for the abundance of intermediate-mass exoplanets out there, whether they are smaller Neptunes or larger Earths. "I like their results; I think it shows promise," said Leinhardt. But even though the researchers had a supercomputer on their side, the resolution of individual worlds remains fuzzy. At this stage, we can't be totally sure what is happening with magnetic fields on a protoplanetary scale. "This is more a proof of concept, that they can do this, they can marry the gravity and the magnetic fields to do something very interesting that I haven't seen before." The researchers don't claim that magnetism is the arbiter of the fate of all worlds. Instead, magnetism is just another ingredient in the planet-forming potpourri. In some cases, it may be important; in others, not so much. Which fits, once you consider the billions upon billions of individual planets out there in our own galaxy alone. "That's what makes the field so exciting and lively," said Helled: There is never, nor will there ever be, a lack of astronomical curiosities to explore and understand. https://www.sott.net/article/453858-Magnetic-fields-may-be-secret-to-planetary-formation-supercomputer-model-reveals
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The so-called Etruscan Pyramid is a megalithic rock-cut monument, located in the Tacchiolo valley near the city of Viterbo, Italy. The monuments name is owed to its lateral pyramidal shape carved from natural magmatic rock, whilst its construction is probably first attributed to the Rinaldonian Civilisation that preceded the Etruscans. The Rinaldonian Civilisation emerged between 4000-2000 BC, and were highly skilled in working stone to construct complex ceremonial monuments, such as the Poggio Rota Stone Circle in Tuscany. Other sources still suggest that the pyramid was an Etruscan construction, or was adapted from Rinaldonian construction from around 700 BC to 400 BC, which has some weight as a theory, as there are several other Etruscan ruins in the vicinity. The Etruscans emerged around 900 BC and established three confederacies of cities, until they were succeeded by the rising Roman Kingdom that spread to dominate the region in the 5th and 4th century BC. The pyramid was carefully sculpted from a single block of volcanic rock, and frontally looks more like a large altar complex with a series of terraces accessed by staircases. On the left side of the pyramid, a long staircase reaches the first altar, whilst on the right side there is a second altar flanked by a ladder. Between both areas, a series of larger steps has been cut leading to the "high place", that is hypothesized to serve a religious purpose in connection to water. This theory is supported by a quadrangular stone basin that overlooks the pyramid for sacred ablution rites (a ceremonial act of washing parts of the body, animals, or sacred containers), whilst a long channel cut in the rock was probably used for the drainage of liquids. The suggestion of sacrificial ceremonies has not been ascertained, but the positioning of the monument results in it being completely obscured from the sun by noon, whilst its alignment faces a northwest direction which the Etruscans believed the gods of the underworld lived. The pyramid was first discovered by two local archaeologists, Giovanni Lamoratta and Giuseppe Maiorano in 1991, but the discovery gained little attention from scholars and academics. It wasn't until 2008, that Salvatore Fosci, a local resident of Bomarzo cleared the overgrown vegetation to reveal the magnitude of the monument. https://www.sott.net/article/453849-The-Etruscan-Pyramid
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A huge tornado was spotted as it passed through northern Colorado, with bystanders capturing the funnel in dramatic footage circulating online. The inclement weather caught local meteorologists by surprise, but caused no deaths. The twister touched down near the towns of Platteville and Firestone, both located in Weld County, on Monday evening, moving northeast for several miles before dissipating some 25 minutes later, meteorologist David Barjenbruch told the Denver Post. Videos of the tornado have made the rounds on social media, showing a dark-brown funnel making its way along the landscape from menacing storm clouds above. The storm brought down a number of power lines, which led to at least one home catching fire, according to a local CBS affiliate. Though reports of damage and injuries are still coming in, the Denver National Weather Service said there had been no deaths as of Monday night - among humans, that is, as two livestock animals were reportedly killed. Two residents driving into Firestone as the twister touched down, Kelsey and Cameron Gransee, said they witnessed the path of destruction left in the tornado's wake. "We saw the damage. We saw the debris field. There were trees down, a house on fire; pretty sad," Kelsey told local media. https://www.sott.net/article/453853-Tornado-touches-down-in-Weld-County-Colorado
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We like to think of ourselves as unique. That conceit may even be true when it comes to our cosmic neighborhood: Despite the fact that planets between the sizes of Earth and Neptune appear to be the most common in the cosmos, no such intermediate-mass planets can be found in the solar system. The problem is, our best theories of planet formation — cast as they are from the molds of what we observe in our own backyard — haven't been sufficient to truly explain how planets form. A new study, however, published in Nature Astronomy in February, demonstrates that by taking magnetism into account, astronomers may be able to explain the striking diversity of planets orbiting alien stars. It's too early to tell if magnetism is the key missing ingredient in our planet-formation models, but the new work is nevertheless "a very cool new result," said Anders Johansen, a planetary scientist at the University of Copenhagen who was not involved with the work. Until recently, gravity has been the star of the show. In the most commonly cited theory for how planets form, known as core accretion, hefty rocks orbiting a young sun violently collide over and over again, attaching to one another and growing larger over time. They eventually create objects with enough gravity to scoop up ever more material — first becoming a small planetesimal, then a larger protoplanet, then perhaps a full-blown planet. Yet gravity does not act alone. The star constantly blows out radiation and winds that push material out into space. Rocky materials are harder to expel, so they coalesce nearer the sun into rocky planets. But the radiation blasts more easily vaporized elements and compounds — various ices, hydrogen, helium and other light elements — out into the distant frontiers of the star system, where they form gas giants such as Jupiter and Saturn and ice giants like Uranus and Neptune. But a key problem with this idea is that for most would-be planetary systems, the winds spoil the party. The dust and gas needed to make a gas giant get blown out faster than a hefty, gassy world can form. Within just a few million years, this matter either tumbles into the host star or gets pushed out by those stellar winds into deep, inaccessible space. For some time now, scientists have suspected that magnetism may also play a role. What, specifically, magnetic fields do has remained unclear, partly because of the difficulty in including magnetic fields alongside gravity in the computer models used to investigate planet formation. In astronomy, said Meredith MacGregor, an astronomer at the University of Colorado, Boulder, there's a common refrain: "We don't bring up magnetic fields, because they're difficult." And yet magnetic fields are commonplace around planetesimals and protoplanets, coming either from the star itself or from the movement of starlight-washed gas and dust. In general terms, astronomers know that magnetic fields may be able to protect nascent planets from a star's wind, or perhaps stir up the disk and move planet-making material about. "We've known for a long time that magnetic fields can be used as a shield and be used to disrupt things," said Zoë Leinhardt, a planetary scientist at the University of Bristol who was not involved with the work. But details have been lacking, and the physics of magnetic fields at this scale are poorly understood. "It's hard enough to model the gravity of these disks in high enough resolution and to understand what's going on," said Ravit Helled, a planetary scientist at the University of Zurich. Adding magnetic fields is a significantly larger challenge. In the new work, Helled, along with her Zurich colleague Lucio Mayer and Hongping Deng of the University of Cambridge, used the PizDaint supercomputer, the fastest in Europe, to run extremely high-resolution simulations that incorporated magnetic fields alongside gravity. Magnetism seems to have three key effects. First, magnetic fields shield certain clumps of gas — those that may grow up to be smaller planets — from the destructive influence of stellar radiation. In addition, those magnetic cocoons also slow down the growth of what would have become supermassive planets. The magnetic pressure pushing out into space "stops the infalling of new matter," said Mayer, "maybe not completely, but it reduces it a lot." The third apparent effect is both destructive and creative. Magnetic fields can stir gas up. In some cases, this influence disintegrates protoplanetary clumps. In others, it pushes gas closer together, which encourages clumping. Taken together, these influences seem to result in a larger number of smaller worlds, and fewer giants. And while these simulations only examined the formation of gassy worlds, in reality those prototypical realms can accrete solid material too, perhaps becoming rocky realms instead. Altogether, these simulations hint that magnetism may be partly responsible for the abundance of intermediate-mass exoplanets out there, whether they are smaller Neptunes or larger Earths. "I like their results; I think it shows promise," said Leinhardt. But even though the researchers had a supercomputer on their side, the resolution of individual worlds remains fuzzy. At this stage, we can't be totally sure what is happening with magnetic fields on a protoplanetary scale. "This is more a proof of concept, that they can do this, they can marry the gravity and the magnetic fields to do something very interesting that I haven't seen before." The researchers don't claim that magnetism is the arbiter of the fate of all worlds. Instead, magnetism is just another ingredient in the planet-forming potpourri. In some cases, it may be important; in others, not so much. Which fits, once you consider the billions upon billions of individual planets out there in our own galaxy alone. "That's what makes the field so exciting and lively," said Helled: There is never, nor will there ever be, a lack of astronomical curiosities to explore and understand. https://www.sott.net/article/453858-Magnetic-fields-may-be-secret-to-planetary-formation-supercomputer-model-reveals
54 views ·
The so-called Etruscan Pyramid is a megalithic rock-cut monument, located in the Tacchiolo valley near the city of Viterbo, Italy. The monuments name is owed to its lateral pyramidal shape carved from natural magmatic rock, whilst its construction is probably first attributed to the Rinaldonian Civilisation that preceded the Etruscans. The Rinaldonian Civilisation emerged between 4000-2000 BC, and were highly skilled in working stone to construct complex ceremonial monuments, such as the Poggio Rota Stone Circle in Tuscany. Other sources still suggest that the pyramid was an Etruscan construction, or was adapted from Rinaldonian construction from around 700 BC to 400 BC, which has some weight as a theory, as there are several other Etruscan ruins in the vicinity. The Etruscans emerged around 900 BC and established three confederacies of cities, until they were succeeded by the rising Roman Kingdom that spread to dominate the region in the 5th and 4th century BC. The pyramid was carefully sculpted from a single block of volcanic rock, and frontally looks more like a large altar complex with a series of terraces accessed by staircases. On the left side of the pyramid, a long staircase reaches the first altar, whilst on the right side there is a second altar flanked by a ladder. Between both areas, a series of larger steps has been cut leading to the "high place", that is hypothesized to serve a religious purpose in connection to water. This theory is supported by a quadrangular stone basin that overlooks the pyramid for sacred ablution rites (a ceremonial act of washing parts of the body, animals, or sacred containers), whilst a long channel cut in the rock was probably used for the drainage of liquids. The suggestion of sacrificial ceremonies has not been ascertained, but the positioning of the monument results in it being completely obscured from the sun by noon, whilst its alignment faces a northwest direction which the Etruscans believed the gods of the underworld lived. The pyramid was first discovered by two local archaeologists, Giovanni Lamoratta and Giuseppe Maiorano in 1991, but the discovery gained little attention from scholars and academics. It wasn't until 2008, that Salvatore Fosci, a local resident of Bomarzo cleared the overgrown vegetation to reveal the magnitude of the monument. https://www.sott.net/article/453849-The-Etruscan-Pyramid
53 views ·