A Different “Friday” Post

I had about half of the planned “Friday” post done, when I noticed a news item about pesticides in some American city water. That got my attention, so did what the scientists said. By the time I stopped writing ‘a few notes,’ I had much of a post written.

It wasn’t the one I had in mind, and the format was a bit unusual, but it was about science. Besides, there was no way I’d get the planned one done in time.

So this week’s ‘science’ post is “Pesticides in the Water.” I may get “Mars: Leaky Red Planet,” the one I’d originally been writing, done before Friday’s done. Or maybe not.

Now, I’ve got dishes to wash and a few other tasks. Then I really could use sleep.

Update, Friday, April 8, 2017.

“Mars: Leaky Red Planet” will have a different title when I post it. I’ll also be talking about the discovery of an atmosphere around an Earth-like planet. That’s a “first.”

Scientists in Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory’s MEarth Project detected an atmosphere around Gliese 1132 b, a (somewhat) Earth-like planet: a bit larger that Earth, almost certainly rocky like our home, but hotter than Venus.

It’s about 39 light-years away, in the general direction of Mu Velorum; but closer: about 39 light-years, very roughly a third of the way to Mu Velorum. Gliese 1132 b’s star, Gliese 1132, is a red dwarf; too dim to see from Earth. Unless you have a telescope.

Mu Velorum is another story. It’s a binary, the larger and brighter puts out about 107 times as much light as our star. The Mu Velorum B is smaller and fainter; and scientists aren’t sure about its statistics. Not yet, and that’s another topic. Topics.

The scientists studying Gliese 1132 b were using a telescope array at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory’s (CTIO) telescopes.

Those telescopes are about 80 kilometers east of of La Serena, Chile. The MEarth Project has another robotic observing site just south of Tucson, Arizona. Controls for both sets are in Cambridge, MA.

With sites in both of Earth’s hemispheres, they get a look at the entire sky.

I assume that’s where at least some of the scientists live and work, but they could be anywhere that has good Internet connectivity.

Like I said, “Mars: Leaky Red Planet” will have a different title. What we know, and what we don’t, about Gliese 1132 b’s atmosphere ties in with what I’ve written. I’ll have more to say about both ready — before next Friday, I hope.

About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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