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jnb

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About jnb

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    http://the-observatory.org

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    Herstmonceux

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  1. Could I ask for some feedback on some videos we were trying to create recently? There are things in there which I think are wrong but the person doing the filming insisted on leaving in definitely things which could be improved but feedback from others is always useful. Mars in 15 minutes Life on Venus If there's anything obviously wrong with the production could I ask that you comment here rather than in the video comments (unless it's appropriate to post there as well obviously) Thanks.
  2. Feel free to strike as many matches as you want ... no free oxygen!
  3. If all they hope to do is a destructive dive into Venus atmosphere and sample the atmosphere en route then yes. To get to a useful, stable, low orbit takes more effort. You can to some extent offset that by repeated aero braking but that is destructive on the spacecraft. The problem with atmosphere sampling from a space craft is that there is a choice between destructive, extremely short duration missions, or high altitude passes that will gather far less data from regions that are not those that interest us. The region that seems to host the phosphine is about 60 - 70km up. Passing through th
  4. But yes it does give a lot of impetus to the arguments for more Venus missions, if not sample return.
  5. Not too sure about that. Then energy requirement of getting to Venus is vastly higher than that of getting to Mars so payloads will be correspondingly smaller. If you want to "scoop" the atmosphere you may have to decelerate anyway and then accelerate to avoid the inexorable grip of gravity. At least with a lander you only need to worry about airbraking to get down.
  6. Jupiter has a low temperature and high pressure atmosphere which would allow phosphine to persist. In the conditions of the Veneral upper atmosphere (low pressure, relatively high temperature, high acidity) phosphine is unstable. I saw an account from the observatory science centre which pointed out that it depends on an unknown life process existing to survive in Venus atmosphere but if you are going to suggest that then you might as well suggest an unknown chemical pathway.
  7. I don't think anyone has ever assumed that you need "perfect" conditions but it is very easy and reasonable to assume that our conditions must be optimum. There are good reasons to make some of those assumptions. Possibly the biggest one is that you need some sort of solvent in which reactions can occur. Piles of dry chemicals don't tend to do much! Water is perhaps the best solvent as is is stable and liquid over a wide range of conditions. Water remains liquid over 100°C range whereas, for example, methane can be a solvent but is only liquid for a range of about 20°C. Possibly the biggest pr
  8. Tell her that you are going to put a second 14" dob in the living room. When she complains you can 'compromise' on a binoviewer.
  9. Consensus seems to be settling on phosphine in Venusian atmosphere
  10. Phosphine is an automatic byproduct of phosphorous acid decomposing. My first thought is that finding phosphoric acid on Venus really wouldn't be surprising, hence finding phosphine wouldn't really be a surprise. That said my expertise is not in biology so I'm always inclined to imagine that a chemical route to producing these things is more likely.
  11. I don't get on with them either. I have always had a suspicion that the problem is that the light levels of most astronomical objects can be so low that there are not enough clues to allow some people to effectively merge the two views. So I have always found them fine for day time use or for the moon but as soon as it is separate stars I end have two separate images.
  12. That one's more bright orange than green!
  13. My (serious this time) guess would be exobiology but within the solar system. That said it will probably turn out to be something quite technical and to the public quite unexciting, perhaps dicovery of or evidence for amino acids on comets beyond just glycine.
  14. In the nature of these things it will probably not be anything astounding (as far as the rest of the world goes) Because of the long lead time it will be something that has turned up in data analysis rather than obvious in the data. If it was obvious in the data then many more people would have noticed it. Also last weekend in the Q&A at the Observatory Science Centre festival Dr Joanna Barstow made a comment about knowing the co-authors which implies a paper based on data and not the data itself. It is also probably not exoplanets because in the same Q&A all the attendees we
  15. This is my Bresser 102 That photo definitely looks more like a 102 than a 127. Also comparing the 2" fitting at the eyepiece and the overall diameter it does not look large enough to have a 127mm lens cell.
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