astronomy

Predicting a supernova precursor (on SN2010mc)

A very interesting paper recently appeared in nature. It describes the detection of a precursor eruption of a supernova progenitor more than a month before the supernova explosion itself. It is particularly interesting because this detection was not serendipitous—it was based on my prediction.

The CLOUD is clearing

The CLOUD collaboration from CERN finally had their results published in nature, showing that ionization increases the nucleation rate of condensation nuclei. The results are very beautiful and they demonstrate, yet again, how cosmic rays (which govern the amount of atmospheric ionization) can in principle have an affect on climate.

20th century global warming - "There is nothing new under the Sun" - Part II

Solar Activity and Climate

It is already more than 200 years since Sir William Herschel claimed that variations in solar activity affect climate on Earth. Since he did not have any reliable temperature measurements, Herschel looked for indirect proxies. He compared the price of wheat in the London wheat exchange to the solar activity as mirrored in the sunspot number, and found a correlation between them.

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20th century global warming - "There is nothing new under the Sun" - Part I

With the exception of those who have been living in a dark cave, it is well known that Earth has warmed over the 20th century. Anyone who reads papers or watches TV knows that it is humans who are those responsible for this warming. According to most media sources, and unfortunately according to many academics, there is no room anymore for any discussion of questions concerning the nature of the warming and its causes.

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A Nice Black Hole Merger Simulation

I recently stumbled upon a nice black hole merger simulation.
Since it is not in my habit of just regurgitating stuff I see on the internet, here is my added value. How can one estimate the quadrupole gravitational radiation of a binary? How close does the binary have to be for it to coalesce within the age of the universe?

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The Occultation of Venus

A few astro photographs, including one of Saturn under horrible seeing!

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Earth's magnetic field protecting us from deadly radiation - A common misconception

From time to time, I hear the statement that Earth's magnetic field is important because it protects earth from "deadly" radiation, and that when the magnetic field will reverse, this lethal radiation will be... very bad. One such example is this promo for a NOVA program called "magnetic storm". Well, I have news. Nothing really bad will happen to us!

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No life on Earth either!

After finding out that Earth is not a planet (it didn't clear out its orbit...), I now learned that Earth's doesn't have life on it. Sounds strange? Well, Navarro-González et la., in a recent paper that appeared in PNAS, showed that the same tests used on the Viking program and that came out negative for life on Mars, showed negative results also in ...

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"SKY" experiment demonstrates link between cosmic rays and condensation nuclei!

After a long embargo, results from the Danish National Space Center (DNSC) Sky experiment were finally published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. The results demonstrate a clear link between cosmic ray induced atmospheric ionization and the formation of condensation nuclei, thus strengthening the claims that cosmic rays affect cloud cover and climate (and consequently implying that a large fraction of 20th century global warming should be attributed to the increased solar activity).

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Comments on nature's "A cosmic connection"

Last week, a report by Jeff Kanipe appeared in nature. In it, Kanipe explains the solar → cosmic-ray → climate connection, and the planned CLOUD experiment in CERN, expected to finally resolve the issue. Given that my work is mentioned in the review, I through I should mention a few relevant points.

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The Critique of Knud Jahnke and a New Meteor Exposure Age Analysis

General Remarks

The manuscript submitted by Jahnke is an attempt to repeat analyses previously carried by myself (Shaviv PRL, 2002, New Astronomy, 2003). Although Jahnke raises a few interesting aspects, his analysis excludes several critical problems, because of which he obtains his negative result, that is, that there is no statistically significant periodicity in the data. By far, the most notable problem is that Jahnke's analysis does not consider the measurement errors. In his analysis, poorly dated meteorites were given the same weight as those with better exposure age determinations. As I show below, this has a grave effect on the signal to noise ratio (S/N) and consequently, on the statistical significance of any result.

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Celestial Climate Driver: A Perspective from Four Billion Years of the Carbon Cycle

My colleague and friend, Prof. Jan Veizer of the University of Ottawa, has written a review on the climatic role of carbon dioxide, cosmic rays and solar variability over different time scale. Unlike other material you will find on this web site, which was written with my subjective physicist's point of view, this review was written by one of the world's leading geochemists. Originally, Prof. Veizer set out to collect the most comprehensive geochemical data set, to reconstruct the paleoclimate variations over Phanerozoic (the past 550 Million years over which there are multicellular fossils to work with). His goal was to find the climatic signature of carbon dioxide in the data. To his disappointment, there was no clear correlation between his paleoclimatic reconstruction and the CO2 reconstruction (e.g.,

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Planet, Gone!

The Plutonian system: Pluto and two moons viewed from a third.
In the last general assembly of the international astronomical union, astronomers voted to demote planet Pluto, to strip it of its planetary status. The reasons for the reduced status are clear. (And it was coming for a long while!) The surprising bit, however, was the definition the particular astronomers concocted, eh, came up with. They were looking for a precise definition, and indeed found one, one which is precisely wrong. According to it, Earth is not a planet either!

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You are about as likely to die from a meteor as you are from a plane crash!

It may sound strange, but you are probably as likely to die from a meteor as you are from a plane crash. Think it's bizarre? Here is the statistics.

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