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Thread: Mysteries in Astronomy (my short list)

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    How did the Sun become a yellow star and why are the Christmas gifts we opened this year still using that discoloration? I think I have a handle on it but perhaps not. [Not a grand mystery, but a colorful one if you will.]
    Will your gravestone say “It’s white, not yellow!”?
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  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    Will your gravestone say “It’s white, not yellow!”?
    I expect to die of something like Yellow Fever, so I might plagiarize with "I told you I was sick!". [Given the white vs. yellow minor disputes, it would be nice to offer three incontrovertible evidences about something, namely me, myself and I. ]
    Last edited by George; 2019-Jan-04 at 05:36 PM.
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    Mystery #2. The answer to what caused the global radiation event in 774-775 A.D. remains unknown, but research continues.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1903.03075

    The Celestial Sign in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in the 770s: Insights on Contemporary Solar Activity

    Hisashi Hayakawa, et al. (Submitted on 7 Mar 2019)

    The anomalous concentration of radiocarbon in 774/775 attracted intense discussion on its origin, including the possible extreme solar event(s) exceeding any events in observational history. Anticipating such extreme solar events, auroral records were also surveyed in historical documents and those including the red celestial sign after sunset in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (ASC) were subjected to consideration. Usoskin et al. (2013: U13) interpreted this record as an aurora and suggested enhanced solar activity around 774/775. Conversely, Neuhauser and Neuhauser (2015a, 2015b: N15a and N15b) interpreted "after sunset" as during sunset or twilight; they considered this sign as a halo display and suggested a solar minimum around 774. However, so far these records have not been discussed in comparison with eyewitness auroral records during the known extreme space-weather events, although they were discussed in relationship with potential extreme events in 774/775. Therefore, we reconstruct the observational details based on the original records in the ASC and philological references, compare them with eyewitness auroral observations during known extreme space-weather events, and consider contemporary solar activity. We clarify the observation was indeed "after sunset", reject the solar halo hypothesis, define the observational time span between 25 Mar. 775 and 25 Dec. 777, and note the parallel halo drawing in 806 in the ASC shown in N15b was not based on the original observation in England. We show examples of eyewitness auroral observations during twilight in known space-weather events, and this celestial sign does not contradict the observational evidence. Accordingly, we consider this event happened after the onset of the event in 774/775, but shows relatively enhanced solar activity, with other historical auroral records in the mid-770s, as also confirmed by the Be data from ice cores.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
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  4. #34
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    More on Mystery #2, that global radiation event of A.D. 774-775.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1903.06806

    Do the Chinese Astronomical Records Dated AD 776 January 12/13 Describe an Auroral Display or a Lunar Halo? A Critical Re-examination

    F. Richard Stephenson, et al. (Submitted on 15 Mar 2019)

    The enhancement of carbon-14 in tree rings around AD 774/775 has generated wide interest in solar activity at that time. The historical auroral records have been examined critically. Of particular interest was the "white vapour" observed in China on AD 776 January 12/13. Both Usoskin et al. (2013, Astron. Astrophys. 55, L3; U13) and Stephenson (2015, Adv. Sp. Res. 55, 1537; S15) interpreted this record as an auroral display. Subsequently, Neuhäuser and Neuhäuser (2015, Astron. Nachr. 336, 225; NN15) proposed five "criteria" for the likeliness of aurorae and on this basis rejected an auroral interpretation. Instead, they interpreted it as a lunar halo, and suggested there were no auroral records as a proxy of solar activity in the interval AD 774-785. We consider if their "lunar halo hypothesis" and their auroral criteria could be of use in future researches on historical auroral candidates. We first show a counter-example for the lunar halo hypothesis from a parallel record on 1882 November 17, which was seen as a whitish colour, in the southerly direction, and near the Moon. We then consider NN15's criteria on colour, direction, and sky brightness and investigate other counter-examples from early-modern auroral observations. We also consider the extension of the white vapour in AD 776 according to the distribution of Chinese asterisms, and show that its large extension was inconsistent with the lunar halo hypothesis. Conversely, the streaks of white vapour penetrating the eight Chinese asterisms can be reproduced if we consider auroral-ray structures at altitudes between 97 km and 170 km, along geomagnetic field lines between the L-shells L=1.55 and 1.64. Our investigations show that we should consider candidate auroral records in historical documents not on the basis of the newly suggested a priori criteria by NN15 but on all the available observational evidence.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    "The Ashen Light of Venus: the oldest unsolved solar system mystery"

    ALPO observers try to find the Ashen Light in 2018, details on how to observer Venus and maybe see it on page 49.

    http://cdsads.u-strasbg.fr/abs/2018JALPO..60c..41B
    ALPO Observations of Venus During the 2014 Western (Morning) Apparition
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    Mystery #21. October 28, 1937: Why do we keep failing to detect significant asteroid flybys until the objects are right upon us or have passed Earth by, from asteroid (69230) Hermes until this day?

    https://phys.org/news/2019-03-danger...arth-hard.html

    Why dangerous asteroids heading to Earth are so hard to detect
    March 22, 2019 by Jonti Horner, The Conversation
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
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    I’m not sure if this counts, not least because my (admittedly modest) search for relevant papers came up blank.

    Several decades ago, emulsions were dangled beneath high altitude balloons, to register cosmic ray tracks. IIRC, the width of such tracks strongly correlated with Z, so the composition of cosmic rays could be estimated.

    Some such tracks seemed to be produced by super-heavy nuclei, way beyond Pb or even U. Evidence for the existence of long-lived super-heavy elements, produced in certain SNe? Or not a mystery at all?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jean Tate View Post
    I’m not sure if this counts, not least because my (admittedly modest) search for relevant papers came up blank.

    Several decades ago, emulsions were dangled beneath high altitude balloons, to register cosmic ray tracks. IIRC, the width of such tracks strongly correlated with Z, so the composition of cosmic rays could be estimated.

    Some such tracks seemed to be produced by super-heavy nuclei, way beyond Pb or even U. Evidence for the existence of long-lived super-heavy elements, produced in certain SNe? Or not a mystery at all?
    I remember seeing a presentation about this in the mid 1970s by someone refuting Price's claim to have seen a magnetic monopole. I don't think it was emulsions, but rather plexiglass sheets, that they then washed in acid to make little holes more obvious. I think both the monopole, and the superheavies were also (and more likely) explained by a nuclear interaction or decay of Uranium or Thorium happening on the way through the sheets.
    Forming opinions as we speak

  9. #39
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    Mysteries involving the appearance of large amounts of radiocarbons in the fossil record might be explained by this.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1904.07323

    Causation of Late Quaternary Rapid-increase Radiocarbon Anomalies

    G. Robert Brakenridge (Submitted on 15 Apr 2019)

    Brief (less than 100 years) rapid-increase anomalies in the Earth's atmospheric radiocarbon production have previously been attributed to either gamma photon radiation from supernovae or to cosmic ray particle radiation from exceptionally large solar flares. Analysis of distances and ages of nearby supernovae remnants, the probable gamma emissions, the predicted Earth incident radiation, and the terrestrial radiocarbon record indicates that supernova causation may be the case. Supernovae include Type Ia white dwarf explosions, Type Ib, c, and II core collapse events, and some types of gamma burst objects. All generate significant pulses of atmospheric radiocarbon depending on distances. Surveys of supernova remnants offer a nearly complete accounting for the past 50,000 years. There are 18 events less than or at 1.4 kilo-parsec distance, and brief radiocarbon anomalies with appropriate sizes occurred for each of the closest events. In calendar years before 1950, these are: Vela, 22 per mil del 14C at 12,760; S165, 20 per mil at 7431; Vela Junior, 13 per mil at 2765; HB9, 9 per mil at 5372; Boomerang, 11 per mil at 10,255; and Cygnus Loop (per mil change not calculated) at 14,722. Although uncertainties remain large, the agreements of prediction to observation support a possible causal connection.
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  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Mysteries involving the appearance of large amounts of radiocarbons in the fossil record might be explained by this.
    That's awesome.
    Conserve energy. Commute with the Hamiltonian.

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Mystery #21. October 28, 1937: Why do we keep failing to detect significant asteroid flybys until the objects are right upon us or have passed Earth by, from asteroid (69230) Hermes until this day?

    https://phys.org/news/2019-03-danger...arth-hard.html

    Why dangerous asteroids heading to Earth are so hard to detect
    March 22, 2019 by Jonti Horner, The Conversation
    Here is another one. Finding NEAs is still a big problem for technical reasons, but they're working on it.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1904.09645

    Towards Efficient Detection of Small Near-Earth Asteroids Using the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF)

    Quanzhi Ye, et al. (Submitted on 21 Apr 2019)

    We describe ZStreak, a semi-real-time pipeline specialized in detecting small, fast-moving near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) that is currently operating on the data from the newly-commissioned Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) survey. Based on a prototype originally developed by Waszczak et al. (2017) for the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF), the predecessor of ZTF, ZStreak features an improved machine-learning model that can cope with the 10× data rate increment between PTF and ZTF. Since its first discovery on 2018 February 5 (2018 CL), ZTF/ZStreak has discovered 45 confirmed new NEAs over a total of 232 observable nights until 2018 December 31. Most of the discoveries are small NEAs, with diameters less than ∼100 m. By analyzing the discovery circumstances, we find that objects having the first to last detection time interval under 2 hr are at risk of being lost. We will further improve real-time follow-up capabilities, and work on suppressing false positives using deep learning.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
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    Quote Originally Posted by antoniseb View Post
    I remember seeing a presentation about this in the mid 1970s by someone refuting Price's claim to have seen a magnetic monopole. I don't think it was emulsions, but rather plexiglass sheets, that they then washed in acid to make little holes more obvious. I think both the monopole, and the superheavies were also (and more likely) explained by a nuclear interaction or decay of Uranium or Thorium happening on the way through the sheets.
    Much delayed thanks!

    Can anyone cite a paper on this?

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jean Tate View Post
    Much delayed thanks!

    Can anyone cite a paper on this?
    Might be it. I think Alvarez wrote something on his own about it.
    http://cdsads.u-strasbg.fr/abs/1975PhRvD..11.3099E
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Might be it. I think Alvarez wrote something on his own about it.
    http://cdsads.u-strasbg.fr/abs/1975PhRvD..11.3099E
    Thanks.

    There's this ("Non-collider searches for stable massive particles"), which I found by checking References and Cited Bys; it has 488 (!) References, among which may be one or more on highZ (highA?) cosmic rays.

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    If you like astronomical mysteries, the two ANITA events are pretty weird. Future ANITA issues will be posted in this thread, which seems to be where they belong.

    ===

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1904.12865

    Superheavy Dark Matter and ANITA's Anomalous Events

    Dan Hooper, Shalma Wegsman, Cosmin Deaconu, Abigail Vieregg (Submitted on 29 Apr 2019)

    The ANITA experiment, which is designed to detect ultra-high energy neutrinos, has reported the observation of two anomalous events, directed at angles of 27 ∘ and 35 ∘ with respect to the horizontal. At these angles, the Earth is expected to efficiently absorb ultra-high energy neutrinos, making the origin of these events unclear and motivating explanations involving physics beyond the Standard Model. In this study, we consider the possibility that ANITA's anomalous events are the result of Askaryan emission produced by exotic weakly interacting particles scattering elastically with nuclei in the Antarctic ice sheet. Such particles could be produced by superheavy (∼10 10 −10 13 GeV) dark matter particles decaying in the halo of the Milky Way. Such scenarios can be constrained by existing measurements of the high-latitude gamma-ray background and the ultra-high energy cosmic ray spectrum, along with searches for ultra-high energy neutrinos by IceCube and other neutrino telescopes.

    ===

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1904.13396
    Can the ANITA anomalous events be due to new physics?

    James M. Cline, Christian Gross, Wei Xue (Submitted on 30 Apr 2019)

    The ANITA collaboration has observed two ultra-high-energy upgoing air shower events that cannot originate from Standard Model neutrinos that have traversed the Earth. Several beyond-the-standard-model physics scenarios have been proposed as explanations for these events. In this paper we present some general arguments making it challenging for new physics to explain the events. One exceptional class of models that could work is pointed out, in which metastable dark matter decays to a highly boosted lighter dark matter particle, that can interact in the Earth to produce the observed events.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
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  16. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Does anyone else have similar astronomic mysteries to discuss? Always open to more. One of those lifelong hobbies, collecting and researching them.
    Why are the numbers for the expansion of the universe due to dark energy so precise, but also so different depending on if you are working from CMB or supernovas. They aren't even in each other's error bars, which is odd.
    Solfe

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    As a historical footnote, the Nemesis star theory is interesting. It isn't much of mystery having been disprove to an extraordinary degree, but the discussion of it was pretty cool. It seemed to solve some problems but then had the obvious issue where it couldn't be found. It kind of highlights the difficultly in searching for Planet X, which is so much harder due to it's estimated size, distance, background stars, etc. Definitely nothing the size of the Nemesis star, but there could be a planet hiding out there. If they find Planet X what do you stop searching for other planets?
    Solfe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    As a historical footnote, the Nemesis star theory is interesting. It isn't much of mystery having been disprove to an extraordinary degree, but the discussion of it was pretty cool. It seemed to solve some problems but then had the obvious issue where it couldn't be found. It kind of highlights the difficultly in searching for Planet X, which is so much harder due to it's estimated size, distance, background stars, etc. Definitely nothing the size of the Nemesis star, but there could be a planet hiding out there. If they find Planet X what do you stop searching for other planets?
    My suspicion is that we will always be looking for the next planet or dwarf planet or weirdo body (e.g., Ultima Thule the Snowman) way out there, just because. And after Oumuamua, we should take a look now and then toward the solar apex to make sure nothing big like a rogue planet surprises us from that direction.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jean Tate View Post
    Thanks.

    There's this ("Non-collider searches for stable massive particles"), which I found by checking References and Cited Bys; it has 488 (!) References, among which may be one or more on highZ (highA?) cosmic rays.
    A VERY frustrating search!

    Quite a few of those 488 look interesting, and some of the "Citations to the Article" very much so.

    However, to see how relevant, I find that many require reading the actual published paper, as the Abstract is not enough. But guess what (no prizes for guessing correctly) ... they're behind paywalls! Even decades old papers!

    "Search for superheavy elements in galactic cosmic rays", Bagulya+(2013) may be an exception:

    The charge distribution of approximately 6000 nuclei with charge numbers above 55 in galactic cosmic rays has been obtained in the OLIMPIYA project. Three superheavy nuclei with the charge numbers in the range 105 < Z < 130 have been detected. The regression analysis has provided a more accurate estimate of the charge number of one of these nuclei (119{-6/+10} with a probability of 95%). Such nuclei should form stability islands. Their detection in nature confirms theoretical predictions and justifies efforts for their synthesis under terrestrial conditions. The model calculations performed in this work possibly can explain the results of some experiments on the investigation of the charge composition of cosmic rays in which particles with charge numbers in the range 94 < Z < 100 were detected (they cannot enter into the composition of primary cosmic radiation because their lifetime is very short). The calculations indicate that events with Z > 92 are due to the fragmentation of heavier nuclei from the stability island, rather than to methodical inaccuracies or fault of instruments. Several such events have been revealed. Thus, the track method makes it possible to obtain the results very important for understanding of the physical picture of the world. The results obtained within the OLIMPIYA project show that the study of tracks of galactic cosmic rays in olivine crystals from meteorites opens new capabilities for the investigation of fluxes and spectra in cosmic rays in the region of heavy and superheavy nuclei.
    Now if only there were a way to get the paper, without paying an extortionate sum of money ...

  20. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jean Tate View Post
    Much delayed thanks!

    Can anyone cite a paper on this?
    From Wikipedia: Alvarez, Luis W. "Analysis of a Reported Magnetic Monopole". In ed. Kirk, W. T. (ed.). Proceedings of the 1975 international symposium on lepton and photon interactions at high energies. International symposium on lepton and photon interactions at high energies, Aug 21, 1975. p. 967.

    Hope this is the one.

    https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:.../metadc865371/

    Free download PDF: https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:..._d/4174786.pdf

    .
    Last edited by Roger E. Moore; 2019-May-02 at 05:32 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    From Wikipedia: Alvarez, Luis W. "Analysis of a Reported Magnetic Monopole". In ed. Kirk, W. T. (ed.). Proceedings of the 1975 international symposium on lepton and photon interactions at high energies. International symposium on lepton and photon interactions at high energies, Aug 21, 1975. p. 967.

    Hope this is the one.

    https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:.../metadc865371/

    Free download PDF: https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:..._d/4174786.pdf

    .
    Very cool, thanks!

    The level of detail, in making and presenting the “fragmentation” case is wonderful. True, this is not observational astronomy, so not, strictly speaking, comparable, but I feel many of “today’s” astronomy papers would benefit from almost pedantic detail like this.

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    More on the ANITA anomalies. Could Antarctica act as a sort of giant mirror?

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1905.02846

    Reflections On the Anomalous ANITA Events: The Antarctic Subsurface as a Possible Explanation

    Ian M. Shoemaker, Alexander Kusenko, Peter Kuipers Munneke, Andrew Romero-Wolf, Dustin M. Schroeder, Martin J. Siegert (Submitted on 7 May 2019)

    The ANITA balloon experiment was designed to detect radio signals initiated by neutrinos and cosmic ray air showers. These signals are typically discriminated by the polarization and phase inversions of the radio signal. The reflected signal from cosmic rays suffer phase inversion compared to a direct tau neutrino event. In this paper we study sub-surface reflection, which can occur without phase inversion, in the context of the two anomalous up-going events reported by ANITA. We find that subsurface layers and firn density inversions may plausibly account for the events, while ice fabric layers and wind ablation crusts could also play a role. This hypothesis can be tested with radar surveying of the Antarctic region in the vicinity of the anomalous ANITA events. Future experiments should not use phase inversion as a sole criterion to discriminate between downgoing and upgoing events, unless the subsurface reflection properties are well understood.
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    25. Why does the sun-grazing asteroid (3200) Phaethon sometimes act like a comet? Is it in fact not an asteroid but a dead comet nucleus? Also, what is (3200) Phaethon's astronomical history, given its odd activity and association with many other small bodies?
    It might have a dry surface with pockets of volatiles scattered underneath. When it heats up, sometimes the pockets burst and sometimes they stay intact.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Mystery #6: The Younger Dryas Asteroid Impact -- Probably happened, but the mechanics need to be worked out now that the astrobleme has been found in Greenland. Probably solved.

    Again, rather than go through the whole mystery from start to present, another thread has already been started about it with the discovery of the giant Greenland crater.

    https://forum.cosmoquest.org/showthr...86#post2466986
    A second Greenland astrobleme has been discovered. Look to this thread for information.

    https://forum.cosmoquest.org/showthr...09#post2484109

    A South American astrobleme has been found as well from the Younger Dryas period.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-38089-y
    Last edited by Roger E. Moore; 2019-May-23 at 05:26 PM.
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    Discovered an older thread about the "Younger Dryas Asteroid Impact" issue: https://forum.cosmoquest.org/showthr...o-title-edited

    Might be interesting for some.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Mystery #4: Transient Lunar Phenomena.
    Transient Lunar Phenomena are still being explored. This man's theory is that moonquakes release interior gas, which reflects sunlight.

    https://www.9news.com.au/technology/...8-fe6a3b524c73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    More on the ANITA anomalies.
    No answers yet, just solutions that don't work out.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1906.11736

    Anomalous ANITA air shower events and tau decays

    Shoshana Chipman, Rebecca Diesing, Mary Hall Reno, Ina Sarcevic (Submitted on 27 Jun 2019)

    Two unusual neutrino events in the Antarctic Impulse Transient Antenna (ANITA) appear to have been generated by air showers from a particle emerging from the Earth at angles 25-35 degrees above the horizon. We evaluate the effective aperture for ANITA with a simplified detection model to illustrate the features of the angular dependence of expected events for incident standard model tau neutrinos and for sterile neutrinos that mix with tau neutrinos. We apply our sterile neutrino aperture results to a dark matter scenario with long-lived supermassive dark matter that decay to sterile neutrino-like particles. We find that for up-going air showers from tau decays, from isotropic fluxes of standard model, sterile neutrinos or other particles that couple to the tau through suppressed weak interaction cross sections cannot be responsible for the unusual events.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    21. October 28, 1937: Why do we keep failing to detect significant asteroid flybys until the objects are right upon us or have passed Earth by, from asteroid (69230) Hermes until this day?
    Finally!

    https://phys.org/news/2019-06-team-s...-asteroid.html

    June 27, 2019
    Team successfully locates incoming asteroid
    by Institute for Astronomy

    For the first time, astronomers at the University of Hawaiʻi have demonstrated that their ATLAS and Pan-STARRS survey telescopes can provide sufficient warning to move people away from the impact site of an incoming asteroid. They detected a small asteroid prior to its entering the Earth's atmosphere near Puerto Rico on the morning of June 22, 2019.
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    Why do we keep failing to detect significant asteroid flybys until the objects are right upon us or have passed Earth by, from asteroid (69230) Hermes until this day?
    One thing I recall reading is that part of the trouble is that it is hard to see asteroids that are between us and the sun, and much easier to see asteroids coming our way looking out away from the sun. As more and more asteroids are mapped, the issue decreases (since the asteroids we care about cross Earth orbit) but I believe it's also been suggested to put one or more space telescopes in closer solar orbit to look outward. (Perhaps in an Earth-Sun L1 halo orbit, for instance.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    ... I believe it's also been suggested to put one or more space telescopes in closer solar orbit to look outward. (Perhaps in an Earth-Sun L1 halo orbit, for instance.)
    I think better still would be at the L4 & L5 points for Venus.
    Forming opinions as we speak

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