The main riddles of the Solar System

Even if we already told you about the secrets of our solar system here, here and here, they do not have numbers, and we return, taking even more mysterious sights and features that confuse our scientists. Sometimes they even kindle conspiracy theories, and this adds fuel to the fire.

Mysterious “sounds” in space

The video above presents five mysterious “sounds” from space, three of which, of course, occurred in our solar system. All these sounds are radio waves or plasma waves translated into sound so that people can hear them.

First, we hear the eerie sounds that NASA’s Cassini spacecraft recorded as bursts of radio from the poles of Saturn in April 2002. Oscillations in frequency and time correspond to the activity of the polar auroras of Saturn, like our own radio bursts from the northern and southern lights. Scientists believe that this complex band of rising and falling tones came from a multitude of radio spots that moved along the magnetic field of Saturn near the polar regions. Conspiracy theorists believe that these sounds resemble the talks of aliens.

Second, we hear the entrance of Voyager-1 into interstellar space (except for the Oort cloud) in 2012. This device is considered the most distant of our pilots outside the Earth. It took him 35 years to hear the sound of this dense plasma (ionized gas) vibrating during a collision with an explosive wave of solar eruptions.

Third, we hear the “xylophone music” of comet 67P / Churyumov – Gerasimenko, recorded by the spacecraft Rosetta in August 2014. Scientists believe that this music is born in the process of “vibrations in the magnetic field of the comet’s environment.” “To make this music audible to the human ear, the frequencies were amplified about 10,000 times.” But even now it remains a mystery how exactly these fluctuations work.

Next we hear a whistling sound (electromagnetic “whistling” radiation) of Jupiter’s lightning recorded by the Voyager. When the radiated waves enter the plasma above the planet, the higher frequencies move faster than the low ones along the magnetic field of Jupiter. Therefore, we hear the effects of the otherworldly whistle.

Finally, we hear the “heartbeat” of the eating black hole in the dual star system GRS 1915 + 105, recorded by NASA Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer in 1996 and converted into sound by MIT scientists. NASA also recorded the heartbeat of a black hole in the IGR system J17091-3624 in 2003.

Hidden magnetic portals around the Earth

If you are familiar with the science fiction concept of wormholes – short moves that connect two remote points in space – then you must understand what a magnetic portal is. The only difference is that the magnetic portals do exist. They are hidden around the Earth, open and close dozens of times a day. Also they are unstable, invisible and short-lived. For the short time that we know them, we found out that it is extremely difficult to predict their behavior. But this can change.

The earth is surrounded by a magnetosphere, an invisible magnetic field produced by the molten core of our planet. In the upper layers of the atmosphere, the lines of the magnetic forces of our planet and the Sun are sometimes encountered to form X points leading to these hidden magnetic portals. Each portal forms an indestructible path of 150 million kilometers from the Earth’s atmosphere to the atmosphere of the Sun, allowing a huge number of solar particles to quickly penetrate our magnetosphere if the portal remains open long enough. When this happens, these solar particles can produce geomagnetic storms, causing aurorae and disturbances in our electrical networks.

Plasmophysicist Jack Scudder found that we can be able to predict these points X. “We found five simple combinations of magnetic field measurements and energy particles that tell us when we approach the X point or the electron diffusion region,” says Scudder. “One device with the right tools can carry out such measurements.”

The mission of NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission was launched in early 2015 to study these magnetic portals and collect more information about them.

Dark Lightning

Although the risk of this is quite high, perhaps you have already gotten a dark lightning – and its beams of antimatter – although you did not even notice.

Dark lightning is also known as “terrestrial gamma-flashes”. Thunderstorms not only produce electricity with the help of visible lightning – they also produce powerful flashes of radiation through quiet dark lightning that is almost invisible. Gamma radiation is usually associated with nuclear explosions, supermassive black holes and supernovae. Therefore, you may be surprised by the presence of such outbreaks in thunderstorms.

While the visible lightning moves from the cloud to the cloud or between the cloud and the earth, forming an arrow, a dark lightning flies upward in all directions into space, including the airspace where commercial airplanes fly. If you fly often, you get radiation more often than you think. We also know that dark lightning fires the cosmos with positrons, an antimatter equivalent to an electron.

Scientists believe that your dose of radiation from a lightning strike is probably equivalent to scanning with the help of computed tomography, but are not sure about one hundred percent. If you get enough radiation at one time or in combination, your body may suffer from a lightning strike. But you will not get such damage that could be with a direct blow of the usual lightning.

The risk of being hit by a dark lightning is quite low, as pilots try not to fly under thunderstorms. “Apparently, the dose will never reach a really dangerous level,” says physicist Joseph Dwyer. “Radiation from a dark lightning is not something that people should fear, and that’s certainly not the reason to throw flights. You can easily get on the plane with the children. ”

We do not know much about the dark lightning. And although we believe that they are born when high-energy electrons collide with air molecules during a thunderstorm, we do not know exactly how visible lightning and dark are connected. We also do not know how often dark lightning is born and, in general, whether they are in someone.

Mysterious bright spots of Ceres

Not so long ago we told you that “Feature 5”, a bright spot on the surface of Ceres, can be a cryovolcano, a volcanic eruption that speaks of the presence of the underground ocean. New images taken by the Dawn spacecraft add a riddle of charm.

First, we saw another bright spot, “Feature 1”, on the surface of Ceres. But these two spots looked different when they were viewed on thermal shots. “Feature 1” was a dark spot on infrared images, which means that it is colder than the surrounding area. “Feature 5” did not appear at all in the thermal images, therefore, its temperature corresponds to the surrounding. We do not know yet what it might mean. Perhaps the spots consist of different materials, or the earth surrounding them is different.

The next round of pictures further exacerbated the riddle. Instead of two spots, we found that they actually consist of several separate points of different sizes with a central cluster. The brightest spot contained a crater 90 kilometers wide.

“Bright spots of this nature have made Ceres unique compared to everything we’ve seen before in the solar system,” said Christopher Russell, who oversees the Dawn mission. – A team of scientists works, trying to understand the source of the spots. Reflection from ice remains the leading candidate, in my opinion, but scientists are looking for other explanations, for example, related to salt. ”

Ceres also lacks large craters on the surface, which should be there. “When we compare the dimensions of Ceres’ craters with what we see on the Vesta protoplanet, we lack a few large craters,” Russell says. “We would like to learn more about this, too.”

Nevertheless, Ceres demonstrates more evidence of activity like landslides and mudslides on the surface than Vesta. Also, Ceres has pretty steep mountains, rising above a relatively smooth surface.

Meaningless Mercury

For four years, the NASA MESSENGER spacecraft flew around Mercury, sending us pictures of rocks that look like giant stairs. The largest in length is about 1000 kilometers, and in height – more than 3000 meters.

Such ledges are created when the rocks are pushed out in this order along the cracks in the earth’s crust of the planet. In the case of Mercury, many scientists believe that these ledges are the “wrinkles” of the surface that were created when the planet decreased by almost 14 kilometers in diameter due to the fact that its core was transformed from molten to solid. And yet these ledges look wrong. If they were formed because of a decrease, they would have to be uniform throughout the surface of Mercury. But instead most of the ledges run along two broad strips from north to south on each side of the planet. At the same time, in the northern hemisphere, the ledges are half as large as in the southern hemisphere.

And this is not all strangeness of Mercury. He is also far from the Sun.

As scientists have determined from the Kepler spacecraft, only one planetary system is similar to ours. As a rule, many stars are surrounded by systems with tightly packed inner planets (STIP). Over time, as a result of the clashes between the inner planets, only a few survivors remain. If scientists make up the right model, our solar system lacks four planets that should have rotated to Venus in former times. When all the clashes ended, only Mercury survived.

This can explain why Mercury contains too many heavy elements and lacks the elements easier. Perhaps collisions with other space objects cleared the outer light crust of the planet, exposing a dense layer. It can also explain why the models of our solar system show that too much material rotates around our Sun, so that only one planet is formed close to Mercury.

“If every star once owned the STIP system, it would mean that the compilers of the models had a long time misjudged the formation of the planets,” says scientist Kevin Walsh. “We’ve always tried to build models to get our four rocky planets, and although that’s true in fact, we did not allow the possibility of forming three or five planets larger than Earth in the orbit of Mercury.” It would be amazing”.

Mysterious feathers of clouds over Mars

In early 2012, an amateur astroner Wayne Dzheszke noticed a strange cloud over Mars. Unlike the thin, subtle clouds that usually form above this planet, these monstrous feathers stretched from the surface to a height of 240 kilometers, being twice as long as any previous clouds. Also they were incredibly wide, up to 500-1000 kilometers across.

The first feathers lasted just over a week in March 2012. Similar feathers appeared for a short time in April 2012. Even after consulting with other astronomers amateurs, Jaschke could not explain what he saw. So he went to the professionals, but they were at a dead end.

Having prosecuted historical data, professional astronomers found images of the Hubble Space Telescope from 1997, when he recorded a similar cloud on Mars. Professionals came to the conclusion that strange feathers did not consist of ice crystals, since the atmosphere of Mars is too warm for this. It also did not look like these feathers were radiance, similar to the auroras on our planet. The type of solar activity necessary to create aurorae was absent in the days when the Martian feathers appeared. Moreover, they were 1000 times brighter than anything in principle, observed from the Earth.

Not all planetologists believe in the reality of these feather clouds. But the rest have to believe 19 different observers who recorded strange eruptions.

Separately from this, Mars Orbiter discovered the presence of “shock glass” in some craters of Mars. Being dark in color, like a lightly cooled lava, a shock glass is formed when a comet or an asteroid hits the surface of the planet and melts a large section of stones and soils that quickly solidify.

This material can store traces of life that lived before and after the collision, like a time capsule. Shock glass can also store atmospheric gases that were during a collision. A good way to reconstruct the atmosphere and environment of ancient Mars.

The origin of the Chelyabinsk meteorite

In February 2013, an inconspicuous meteorite 20 meters wide burst with a force of 30 bombs dropped on Hiroshima, over Chelyabinsk in Russia, east of the Ural Mountains. Fortunately, no one died. However, a moment later, the shock wave covered the city and resulted in 1200 damage cases from the windows flying from broken windows.

Two years later, we still do not know anything about the origin of the meteorite. At first we thought it was a piece of 1999 NC43, a near-Earth asteroid 2 kilometers wide. But the only common thing they have is the orbit around the Earth. “The composition of the Chelyabinsk meteorite, which was discovered after the event, is similar to the common type of meteorites called LL-chondrites,” says scientist Vishnu Reddy. “A near-Earth asteroid has a composition that is very different from them.” Eventually, scientists had to admit that they can not connect a meteorite to a particular asteroid, since most asteroids are extremely small and have chaotic orbits.

We were lucky that the Chelyabinsk meteorite did not explode closer to the ground and did not lead to casualties. But it serves as a reminder and warning that we need to track the asteroids proactively and identify the hazards in advance. In 2018, the non-profit organization B612 will launch the Sentinel space telescope, which will search for such asteroids. If we find them quickly enough, we will have time to prepare for the meeting.

Pluto’s miniature solar system

Unlike everything that we saw before, Pluto and its five satellites resemble a miniature solar system. Scientists believe that Charon, the largest satellite of Pluto, was created as a result of a collision between Pluto and an unknown large object. Other moons – Hydra, Kerber, Nix and Styx – may have formed as a result of this collision. If so, all the moons should be similar. But no.

From photographs taken with the Hubble Space Telescope, scientists have determined that Kerber is darker than Hydra, Nyx and Styx. If all of them were formed due to one collision, where is the root of this difference? Where did Kerber come from then?

Perhaps Pluto captured Kerber in a collision with another object. Nevertheless, if Kerber was formed from the same collision that gave rise to other moons, it could simply be a darker piece of the core of the collision object. But this does not explain the difference in color. Scientists believe that the colors of satellites should be the same, because they exchanged materials with each other for billions of years of its existence.

According to another theory, all the moons are the same inside, although Kerber is slightly different from the outside. However, we are too far away to clarify this point. There is also a theory that Kerber differs more in its form – a donut or a potato – in comparison with other moons.

Another surprise for scientists was that Hydra, Nix and Styx are in Laplace resonance, that is, they exert a gravitational influence on each other so as to close their orbits in cosmic dance around Pluto. In our solar system, only the moons of Jupiter Europe, Ganymede and Io are in this kind of orbital resonance.

In general, orbital resonance means that the gravitational action of at least two objects closes them in orbit around the parent body in a certain ratio. For example, Pluto and Neptune are in resonance 2: 3. Pluto makes two orbits around the Sun (its parent body) for every three orbits that Neptune performs.

Secret materials from the cosmic border

Almost 50 years have passed since we recorded atmospheric infrasound, sound waves with frequencies below 20 hertz. These frequencies lie below the capabilities of the human ear, so the sounds on the video are played 1000 times faster so that they can be heard. Daniel Bauman from the University of North Carolina, who recorded them, believes that a terrible hiss, crackling and hissing sounds like a secret message. Others hear radio interference in them.

Scientists are intrigued by these sounds, because they can not explain their origin. Within the framework of the HASP platform in 2014, Bauman flew for nine hours on a high-altitude balloon at an altitude above 37,500 meters above the Earth’s surface. This region of the atmosphere is called “near space”, it lies below the area where satellites fly, but above the border of commercial aircraft flights. With equipment that he made himself, Bauman became the first person to record infrasound at this altitude.

And although scientists in the 1960s believed that atmospheric infrasound would be a good way to identify nuclear explosions, their interest went into decline when ground sensors appeared capable of doing this work. Therefore, the complexity of the entries of Bauman over New Mexico caught scientists of the modern day by surprise. They want to send another HASP ball to study the unusual infrasound. “I think this work will open the way for other studies,” says geophysicist Omar Marcillo. “This is important for the whole community.”

Serious scientists do not believe that the source of these waves lies in the hands of aliens. Weather events like storms can create infrasonic waves. Earthquakes, meteorites and volcanoes – too. Scientists will have to cut off all possible sources, including the turbulence of air, wind, ocean waves, gravity waves, signals from the nearest wind farm and aerostat cable vibrations.

Planet X

Most recently, in 2014, scientists said that planet X, a hypothetical planet that lies outside Pluto in our solar system, does not exist. But in early 2015, the science course changed again. Analyzing the orbits of 13 extreme trans-Neptunian objects (ETNO) – distant bodies such as dwarf planets Sedna and 2012 VP113, whose orbits around the Sun lie behind Pluto – some scientists have come to the conclusion that at least two planets larger than the Earth, planet X and planet Y , Can be there.

Theoretically, ETNO orbits should be on average 150 a. From the sun. The astronomical unit is 150 million kilometers, the distance from the Earth to the Sun. The slope of their orbits should be within zero degrees. But the theory does not agree with reality. 13 ETNOs have orbits with an average distance from 150 to 525 a. E., And the inclinations are about 20 degrees.

“The excess of objects with unexpected orbital parameters leads us to the idea that there are some invisible forces that change the distribution of ETNO orbital elements and we believe that the most likely explanation is the presence of unknown planets behind Neptune and Pluto,” says lead researcher Carlos de la Fuente -Marcos. “The exact number is unknown, but our calculations speak of at least two planets within our solar system.”

Of course, there may be other explanations for these unexpected orbits. But given that we did not suspect that beyond the boundaries of Pluto in our solar system there could be something before 1992 and most recently discovered the 2012 VP113, no one can say with certainty that there is nothing there. Perhaps our technologies are not yet sufficiently developed to directly see everything.