Astronomers bring the third dimension to a doomed star's outburst

In the middle of the 19th century, the massive binary system Eta Carinae underwent an eruption that ejected at least 10 times the sun’s mass and made it the second-brightest star in the sky. Now, a team of astronomers has used extensive new observations to create the first high-resolution 3-D model of the expanding cloud produced by this outburst.”Our model indicates that this vast shell of gas and dust has a more complex origin than is generally assumed,” said Thomas Madura, a NASA Postdoctoral Program fellow at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and a member of the study team. “For the first time, we see evidence suggesting that intense interactions between the stars in the central binary played a significant role in sculpting the nebula we … »

Source: Solar News

MESSENGER and STEREO measurements open new window into high-energy processes on the Sun

Understanding the sun from afar isn’t easy. How do you figure out what powers solar flares – the intense bursts of radiation coming from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots – when you must rely on observing only the light and particles that make their way to near-Earth’s orbit?One answer: you get closer. NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft — which orbits Mercury, and so is as close as 28 million miles (45 million km) from the sun versus Earth’s 93 million miles (149 million km) — is near enough to the sun to detect solar neutrons that are created in solar flares. The average lifetime for one of these neutrons is only 15 minutes. How far they travel into space depends on their speed, and slower neutrons don’t travel far enough to be… »

Source: Solar News

Fukushima Frozen Wall Problem Claimed To Be Trickle Of Water

TEPCO is claiming a small water flow of 2 milliliters per minute is causing the frozen wall installation in cable trenches to not work. The cable trenches hold highly contaminated water from units 2 and 3. The plan has been to freeze the ends of these trenches so the water can be removed and later these frozen areas would become part of the frozen wall system.
TEPCO did not explain why such a small flow of water was able to fail the system.
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Source: Fukushima Sub

A summer of supermoons - July, August and September

The summer of 2014 will be bathed in moonlight as three perigee “supermoons” occur in consecutive months: July, August, September. The first supermoon is on July 12 at 08:28 UTC, the second on August 10 at 17:44 UTC and the third on September 9 at 03:30 UTC.The scientific term for the phenomenon is perigee moon. Full moons vary in size because of the oval shape of the Moon’s orbit. The Moon follows an elliptical path around Earth with one side – perigee – about 50 000 km closer than the other – apogee.Video courtesy of Science @ NASA… »

Source: Solar News

Asahi Shimbun Releases Yoshida Fukushima Testimony In English

Asahi Shimbun has finally released a translation of the Yoshida testimony on the Fukushima Disaster. The interviews caused controversy when originally made public as the central government did not think they should be public record. They later back tracked on this.
The first two installments of the translated series are available here. http://www.asahi.com/special/yoshida_report/en/
Yoshida’s statements have been critical for understanding the events of the disaster. Similar testimony exists for many of the workers at the plant that were there during the initial disaster, those have not been made public to date.
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Source: Fukushima Sub

Fukushima Unit 5 Spent Fuel Pool On Alternative Cooling

Yesterday TEPCO reported that they had restarted the regular cooling system of unit 5′s spent fuel pool. The report indicated that the normal cooling system (the one with the leak) had been restarted. No permanent fix was mentioned. Today’s reports indicate that the pool is being cooled, but is being done by sharing the system used for the reactor. Nothing was mentioned about the repair plan for the leaking valve.
The most recent graphs for unit 5 indicate over the last 24 hours there was some use of this alternative system. Another 24-48 hours should show a pattern to determine if they are continuing to run this back and forth shared cooling for unit 5. TEPCO has not responded to questions asking for confirmation or denial of the report by NHK that they considered dumping seawater into the pool as a cooling option.
spent fuel pool cooling July 9
reactor cooling July 9
This …

Source: Fukushima Sub