Digital Diatribes

A presentation of data on climate and other stuff

Archive for the ‘Astronomy’ Category

Landscheidt, Part 6

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on June 20, 2008

Please go here for the previous Landscheidt articles, if you’re just catching up now. This will greatly aid in the context of what I am writing about.

Moving on to the next statement in the Landscheidt paper, Swinging Sun, 79-Year Cycle, and Climatic Change, he states: According to Gleissberg (1975) the discovery of corresponding long-term recurrence tendencies in sunspot frequency would be of considerable importance, for it would make possible accurate long-range forecasts of low-frequency variations.

The 1975 paper by W. Gleissberg is the German-penned “Gibt es in der Sonnenfleckenhaufigkeit eine 179-jahrige Wieder-holungstendez?” It’s attribution is as follows: “Verdff. Astron. Inst. Univ. Frankfurt, 57: 2, 11.” Not only couldn’t I track down an English version of this paper with my meager resources, but I couldn’t find the original German version, either. Not that it would have done me much good, other than to be amused at things like “Sonnenfleckenhaufigkeit.” Those Germans have quite a way of putting things… Read the rest of this entry »


Posted in Astronomy, Climate Change, Cycles, Landscheidt, Science, Solar cycles, Sun | Leave a Comment »

Et tu, Pluto?

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on June 11, 2008

What happens to runt planets

Well, now they’ve gone and done it. As if it wasn’t bad enough that I have to reprogram my brain with the idea that Pluto isn’t actually a planet, the powers at be have given the little runt a category.

The International Astronomical Union has decided on the term plutoid as a name for dwarf planets like Pluto at a meeting of its Executive Committee in Oslo.

Almost two years after the International Astronomical Union (IAU) General Assembly introduced the category of dwarf planets, the IAU, as promised, has decided on a name for transneptunian dwarf planets similar to Pluto. The name plutoid was proposed by the members of the IAU Committee on Small Body Nomenclature (CSBN), accepted by the Board of Division III, by the IAU Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN) and approved by the IAU Executive Committee at its recent meeting in Oslo, Norway.

A couple things stand out about that quote from the article. First, it’s an obvious attempt to get in Pluto’s good graces, by using the entire name of this little guy and lumping on “id” at the end. Need I get into the psychology of “id?” I thought so.

Second, there is actually some group that calls themselves the “Committee on Small Body Nomenclature?” Only scientists could dream that one up. And as if that’s not good enough, there’s yet another committee: “Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature.” How does a guy go about getting on one of these committees?

But, just when you thought scientists have the ability to define things in a way that people can understand them, rather than as an exercise of self-aggrandizement to see how fancy they can make something sound, we get the definition of a “plutoid.” Here it is:

Plutoids are celestial bodies in orbit around the Sun at a distance greater than that of Neptune that have sufficient mass for their self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that they assume a hydrostatic equilibrium shape, and that have not cleared the neighbourhood around their orbit.

Please. Get the “u” out of “neighbourhood” you bunch of elitists. And, in case anyone is wondering, “A hydrostatitic equilibrium shape” basically means spherical. So, this really just says it’s something past Neptune that’s a ball that won’t bounce into rocks and stuff.

Call me old school, but I still kind of like the little guy being a planet. And what’s it hurt, anyway?

Posted in Astronomy, Current Events, News, Pluto, Plutoids, Science, Solar System, Space | 9 Comments »

Landscheidt Part 2

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on March 22, 2008

Please see Part 1 here if you want this to make good sense. Here’s the 10 second version:

The sun (more accurately, the Center of the Sun – heretofore known as CS) revolves around the Center of Mass of our Solar System (CMSS) as the CMSS traces an orbit around the galaxy. The sun is a ball of plasma. As the CS goes around the CMSS, which is changing relative to the sun’s position based on the dispersion of the planets in their respective orbits around the sun, it traces a path in a Helix-type pattern, at different orbital curvatures and distances from the CMSS. When things revolve around a fixed point, there is Torque and a change in angular momentum. Plasma being a charged (ionized) gas, the revolution around the CMSS creates a magnetic field with a certain potential (vector potential) that is driven by the changes in angular momentum. This then is a key driver of solar activity.


One note:  while in Part 1 I referred to the sun’s movement about the CMSS, it is a more accurate representation to refer to the CS’s movement, since CMSS is often within the boundaries (or “limb”) of the sun.   So, from this point on, I will use the more accurate CS in referencing the sun when discussing orbital movement. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Astronomy, Climate Change, Cycles, Global Warming, Landscheidt, Science, Solar cycles, Sun | 2 Comments »

My Random March Through the Insanity of Solar Cycle Research (aka – Explanation of Landsheidt’s first paper, part 1)

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on March 18, 2008

I have become recently fascinated by some papers I have run across recently that really help me understand solar cycles and the impacts on climate. However, I am a simple guy. Yes, I am a math guy and a science guy, but quite honestly, despite all my education and years in those fields, I’ve never reached the point where I prefer formulas over lay terminology. And as I read the papers themselves and synopsises thereof, I am left with a feeling that this important topic is being left behind by the normal human being in the debate. What I want to do is give a very thorough review and understanding of it that accomplishes two purposes: the thoroughness allows the reader to actually understand the scientific mumbo-jumbo. Because a non-scientist will not understand what is being said in 10 words, I will use 100 words. But in the end, hopefully, the reader will be able to intelligently give a short, layman’s explanation that hits the salient points, and is factually accurate.

I am going to try to do something here that I may regret. I have become very interested in papers written and researched by Dr. Theodor Landscheidt. But I am not a scientist, and neither are most of us. The concepts, however, are vitally important in the debate regarding global warming and whether or not it is driven by solar activity. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Astronomy, Climate Change, Cycles, Global Warming, Landscheidt, Science, Solar cycles, Sun | 1 Comment »

Full Eclipse Coming, and The Lunar Cycle (2nd in a Series)

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on February 17, 2008

As I was taking a look at the weather site this evening with my 6-year old (trying to find out whether the 8 inches of snow we’d already received today was going to stop sometime before our house was buried) he saw a little video box that he asked me to play. Of course, as soon as I did, he lost interest and fled away to his next pursuit, but I was glad he had drawn my attention to it. Little did I know that this coming Wednesday, February 20, there will be a full lunar eclipse! This doesn’t come around all that often, and as luck would have it it’s supposed to be below zero degrees Fahrenheit when it happens, but you can bet I’m going to be checking that out.

Well, this got me thinking about something I had put together some time ago. Almost a year ago, when I was on one of my Global Warming/Climate Change kicks, I started doing research into the concept of cycles. I had intended to post a series about my research, but soon life took me in another direction and I failed to follow through. As a concept, it is my contention that Climate Change is effectively driven by a complex array of cycles. These cycles range from the daily cycle of a rotation of the earth, to monthly cycles relating to the moon, to the annual revolution of the earth, and so on and so forth. There are earthly cycles, solar cycles, axis oscillation cycles, and even cycles in our solar system and galaxy that can impact our planet. The contention I had was that everyone understands and expects the short cycles. By simple experience, we observe them, and while there are scientific explanations to everything, we don’t need a climatologist to explain to us that earth is warmer during the day and cooler at night, or that summer is hotter than winter. But I think we too easily dismiss other cycles that we do not understand as well, or those that go on for centuries or millennia, since we do not ever observe a full cycle. Instead, we convince ourselves that there is something unusual about changes we see going on today because it is different from a few decades ago, and the conclusion is that we are somehow causing it. I think we give ourselves too much credit.

Well, anyway, My “first in a series” post (almost a year ago) is here. It deals with the “one day cycle.” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Astronomy, Climate Change, Cycles, Earth, Eclipse, Global Warming, Lunar Cycles, Moon, Science, Tides, Weather | 1 Comment »