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Thursday, December 17, 2009

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has discovered the smallest object ever seen in visible light

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has discovered the smallest object ever seen in visible light in the Kuiper Belt, a vast ring of icy debris that is encircling the outer rim of the solar system just beyond Neptune.
The needle-in-a-haystack object found by Hubble is only 3,200 feet across and a whopping 4.2 billion miles away. The smallest Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) seen previously in reflected light is roughly 30 miles across, or 50 times larger.

To read more about this discovery click on this link:

Pictured below is an artist's impression of a one-half-mile-diameter Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) that was detected by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. The icy relic from the early solar system is too small for Hubble to photograph. The object was detected when it passed in front of a background star, temporarily disrupting the starlight.

"In 1950, Dutch astronomer Jan Oort hypothesized that comets came from a vast shell of icy bodies about 50,000 times farther from the Sun than Earth is. A year later astronomer Gerard Kuiper suggested that some comet-like debris from the formation of the solar system should also be just beyond Neptune. In fact, he argued, it would be unusual not to find such a continuum of particles since this would imply the primordial solar system has a discrete "edge.""

"This notion was reinforced by the realization that there is a separate population of comets, called the Jupiter family, that behave strikingly different than those coming from the far reaches of the Oort cloud. The Oort cloud is an immense spherical cloud surrounding the planetary system and extending approximately 3 light years, about 30 trillion kilometers from the Sun. (source:
"Besides orbiting the Sun in less than 20 years (as opposed to 200 million years for an Oort member), the comets are unique because their orbits lie near the plane of the Earth's orbit around the Sun. In addition, all these comets go around the Sun in the same direction as the planets."

"Kuiper's hypothesis was reinforced in the early 1980s when computer simulations of the solar system's formation predicted that a disk of debris should naturally form around the edge of the solar system. According to this scenario, planets would have agglomerated quickly in the inner region of the Sun's primordial circumstellar disk, and gravitationally swept up residual debris. However, beyond Neptune, the last of the gas giants, there should be a debris-field of icy objects that never coalesced to form planets"

"The Kuiper belt remained theory until the 1992 detection of a 150-mile wide body, called 1992QB1 at the distance of the suspected belt. Several similar-sized objects were discovered quickly confirming the Kuiper belt was real. The planet Pluto, discovered in 1930, is considered the largest member of this Kuiper belt region. Also, Neptune's satellites, Triton and Nereid, and Saturn's satellite, Phoebe  are in unusual orbits and may be captured Kuiper belt objects."


Here are 3 lectures about Kuiper Belts done at the   John J. McCarthy Observatory, in New Milford, Josh Reynolds. View the top video first,then the middle one and then the one on the bottom source:

At the start of lecture one Josh Reynold's states that Kuiper was Swedish.He is wrong in this assertion, in fact Kuiper was Dutch . Gerard Peter Kuiper was born on  December 7, 1905, in Tuitjenhorn (Harenkarspel), Netherlands.

"He received his B.Sc. in Astronomy in 1927 and continued straight on with his graduate studies. Kuiper finished his doctoral thesis on binary stars  with Hertzsprung in 1933, after which he immediately traveled to  California to become a fellow under Robert Grant Aitken at the Lick Observatory (which is situated on the summit of Mount Hamilton, in the Diablo Range just east of San Jose,California USA.. In 1935 he left to work at the Harvard College Observatory located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA,  where he met Sarah Parker Fuller, whom he married on June 20, 1936. Although he had planned to move to Java to work at the  Bosscha Observatory in  Lembang, West Java, instead he took a position at the Yerkes Observatory  of the University of Chicago and became an American citizen in 1937."

"Kuiper spent most of his career at the University of Chicago, but moved to Tucson, Arizona in 1960 to found the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona. Kuiper was the laboratory's director until his death in 1973 while on vacation with his wife in Mexico. One of the three buildings at Arizona that makes up the LPL is named in his honor."

"In the 1960s, Kuiper helped identify landing sites on the moon for the Apollo program."

"Kuiper discovered several binary stars which received "Kuiper numbers" to identify them, such as KUI 79."


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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.