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About ProtoJeb21

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    The Exoplaneteer

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  • Location EPIC 248435473 g
  • Interests Astronomy, planetary science/exoplanetology, entomology, meteorology (mainly tropical cyclones), Star Wars, Gravity Falls, drawing, data analysis, mathematics, and hiking.

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  1. ProtoJeb21

    Weather Chat Megathread

    When Invest-99E is forming in the Pacific and a second invest breaks off from it and has a chance to develop as well:
  2. ProtoJeb21

    What funny/interesting thing happened in your life today?

    Last Friday, my AP Physics teacher was using an old Coyote and Roadrunner cartoon as an example for a kinematics problem, which gave me an idea for something to do that weekend: figure out how freakishly fast Wile E. Coyote is going on his Acme rocket skates. Here’s the clip I used: To get results that even mean anything, I needed a way to measure the distance Coyote was traveling. So I decided to use Coyote himself as my ruler for this investigation. Estimating the distance from his head to rump at 0.875 m (between the average length of 0.85 to 0.90 m for a regular coyote) and using pixel measurements, I got his total height of 1.7468 m. Using that, I could find the meter/pixel ratio of the zoomed-out scene showing him and the Roadrunner on that mountainside road and measure the distance Coyote traveled between the final two bushes. This turned out to be 11.4393 meters. Next I had to find the time it took Coyote to travel between those two bushes...which was not easy. I had to slow down the video by 4 times, take over a dozen measurements, and then convert the average time for 25% speed to 100% speed time. The final result was a time of just 0.2925 seconds and a velocity of 39.34 m/s — around 88 mph! I wasn’t finished yet. Sure, Coyote is going fast, but it’s not ridiculously fast. I needed to prove how unrealistic and absurd this scene was, and if you watched the clip, you’ll know what I’m going at: his instant acceleration. When Coyote fires up his Acme rocket skates ($99.99 at your local illegal weapons dealer), he almost immediately accelerates to his top velocity of 39.34 m/s. Once again, I slowed down the clip and tried to time it...but I couldn’t. It was so fast that I could only get a max limit of <0.15 seconds for 25% speed, which is <0.0375 seconds in real time. When that estimate is plugged in with the already calculated velocity, I get Coyote’s acceleration...of at least 1.049 km/s^2. That’s creating G-forces of over 100 gees! And keep in mind, that’s his minimum possible acceleration. I knew it would be ridiculous, but not potentially greater than that of the Roadrunner himself! Wait a minute...I don’t even know the velocity and acceleration of the Roadrunner. looks like I’ve got another mathematical investigation for this weekend.
  3. I forgot to mention this earlier: K2-18b is very similar in mass, radius, and density to GJ 1214b, although it has a greater amount of heavier materials and a lower temperature.
  4. There are two major updates on two different potentially habitable systems to talk about: LHS 1140 and K2-18. First off, the K2-18 system has been re-analyzed again due to the questionable nature of K2-18c. A second study concluded that this planet was a false positive and just an artifact from stellar activity. Howeve, this study did a more careful analysis and found that it is a legitimate planet. It turns out the former accidentally associated K2-18c with the star’s typical activity, when the two signals are shown to be separate after a longer analysis. Not only is K2-18c re-confirmed in this study, but it also kinda kills any hope for life on K2-18b. Why? Because of the Gaia Data Release 2. According to Gaia data, K2-18 is slightly larger than initially expected, which puts K2-18b at 2.711 Re and 8.63 Me. This gives it a density of just 2.4 g/cm^3, too low for a water-rock planet like previous estimates showed. However, K2-18c is actually less massive than previously thought, with a minimum mass of 5.6 Me. It could be primarily rocky with a thick atmosphere and/or a water envelope. The full paper can be read here: The other system with a major update is LHS 1140. A second, much smaller planet was confirmed, with less than twice the mass of Earth and a little over a quarter larger in radius, giving it a composition similar to TRAPPIST-1b. The paper that it was reported in claims that LHS 1140c has an “Earth-like composition”, which is absolutely not the case — its density implies a rather thin but still significant layer of water. This could be in the form of a very thick, Super-Venus atmosphere, not unlike that of TRAPPIST-1b. However, I have doubts about the radius of LHS 1140c, because it was calculated using new Gaia DR2 parameters for LHS 1140. This also makes LHS 1140b larger and less dense than initially thought, but that isn’t a bad thing. With 7 times the mass of Earth and 1.73 times Earth’s radius, LHS 1140b is, composition wise, a massively scaled-up version of Earth. This makes it by far the largest rocky habitable zone planet yet found, and also puts it in the rare class of rocky planets with radii above the 1.6 Re transition boundary. LHS 1140 is a pretty awesome system with a Super-Venus and a Super-Super-Earth, but it may be ever more complex. The people behind the study that confirmed LHS 1140c noted that it and LHS 1140b have just about the same relative inclination to one another. While at first this may not seem like much, it turns out that this phenomena is only seen with compact multi-planet systems like TRAPPIST-1 and Kepler-186. The authors concluded that LHS 1140 is likely to have more planets that have yet to be detected. While a ~90 day signal was reported by another team a few months ago, this is likely not the only other planet in the system; others likely exist between 1140c and 1140b. Maybe one of them could be in the habitable zone as well! The LHS 1140 paper can be read here:
  5. ProtoJeb21

    The Hubble Space Telescope is now in "Safe Mode"

    At least we’ll still be able to have good Hubble science until the JWST launches...if it ever does. I hope the one-gyro operations won’t be detrimental to any exoplanet studies scientists want to use Hubble for.
  6. ProtoJeb21

    Weather Chat Megathread

    The long-lasting storms of the past two weeks are finally coming to a close. Hurricane Sergio has degraded to a remnant low after making landfall in Baja California, and Hurricane Leslie, while still a Category 1, is set to become post-tropical sometime tomorrow. I was hoping Leslie would curve back out into the Atlantic and last even longer, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. It may make an exceptionally rare hurricane-force landfall in the Iberian Peninsula after passing very close to the Canary Islands. Hurricane Michael has also degraded to a rather strong remnant low/post tropical cyclone while passing south of New England. Yesterday it brought heavy rain and flash flood alerts. This morning, the rain had stopped, but the winds were quite high, with gusts up to tropical storm force. By about noon EST, all of Michael’s winds and convection had left, leaving a nearly perfectly clear sky. That would be great for looking at Mars or something, if I didn’t have a club meeting until 9 pm. Hopefully there’s some time afterwards.
  7. ProtoJeb21

    Weather Chat Megathread

    I’m still shocked that Hurricane Michael intensified so much all the way up until landfall. Officially, it struck as the second strongest Category 4 in Atlantic history, with 155 mph winds and a pressure of 919 mbar. Its pressure is second only to Hurricane Opal at 916 mbar (which did have lower winds of 150 mph). However, recon data suggests Michael may have gotten to Category 5 status right before landfall, but this will be hard to confirm or deny due to the very short time frame this took place in. If there’s any remotely promising news, it’s that Michael’s eye is (finally) starting to collapse, which should result in rapid degeneration of the storm through Friday. Unfortunately, it’s not weakening fast enough. Winds are still at Category 4 force, with the NHC assessing Michael as a 140 mph storm as of their latest advisory.
  8. Hurricane Michael may be a Category 5 hurricane based on aircraft reconnaissance data.

    To everyone in Florida, may you and your loved ones stay safe, and remember: as bad as this is, don’t panic, as fear may kill you in this situation. 

    1. electricpants


      ...i don't really know how to respond to stuff like that in an appropriate way. :/

      i don't live in florida but still, i do want to kinda be respectful about news like this

    2. HansonKerman


      Oh-oh (Arial = serious). I didn't even know about this until Thursday, a friend told me. 


      Stay safe.


      i don't live in florida but still, i do want to kinda be respectful about news like this

      It's fine :) 

      (BTW I'm New England)

  9. ProtoJeb21

    Weather Chat Megathread

    Hurricane Michael may now be a Category 5 hurricane. The most recent recon pass has found a pressure as low as 920 mbar and winds around 160 mph. This is an absolute worst-case scenario. To everyone who didn’t evacuate, please stay safe. This is now life or death. EDIT: follow the recon flights here:
  10. ProtoJeb21

    Weather Chat Megathread

    Hurricane Michael has rapidly intensified into a 140 mph Category 4 storm, and is expected to get even stronger in the ~12 hours before landfall. As I said last night, if you’re in the path of Michael and have the chance to evacuate, do so immediately. This is nothing to take lightly at all. Don’t risk your life by trying to ride it out.
  11. ProtoJeb21

    Weather Chat Megathread

    You beat me to it! Originally I wasn’t too sure that Michael would become a Category 4, but it seems almost certain now. Current recon flights have recorded winds of over 115 kt (130 mph) in some parts of the storm, and its pressure continues to drop by 1 mbar or more for each pass through the center. That ring of -80 C convection is even more concerning. The last time I saw anything like that was with Hurricane Norman when it peaked at 150 mph in late August, but it’s possible it was stronger than initially estimated. If Michael reaches Norman’s intensity, the impacts would be nothing short of catastrophic. To anyone in Michael’s path, take NO chances with this storm. If you have the chance to evacuate, do it. I’m dead serious when I say that this could be worse than Irma’s Florida landfalls.
  12. ProtoJeb21

    Weather Chat Megathread

    Tropical Depression 14 has formed near the Yucatán Peninsula and could already be a tropical storm. Current Dvorak estimates suggest an intensity of 35-40 kt (40-45 mph), which will either be confirmed or disproven by an aircraft recon flight heading to investigate the system right now. Future Michael will be limited by horizontal wind shear, but that will weaken by 48 hours and allow thfor system to take advantage of the otherwise favorable conditions in the Gulf of Mexico. Several models are suggesting that Future Michael could rapidly intensify into a Category 2 or maybe even a Category 3 before making landfall on Wednesday. For anybody living on the Gulf Coast, start getting prepared NOW.
  13. ProtoJeb21

    New Hubble Observations Boost Evidence For Elusive Exomoon

    I’m not too sure about that. Kepler-1625b-i is probably too close to its giant parent planet for any moons to exist in stable orbits around it. But it’s not out of the realm of possibility that other, much smaller moons orbit further out — maybe some captured asteroids or dwarf planets.
  14. ProtoJeb21

    Weather Chat Megathread

    The Dvorak estimates I was using earlier were slight overestimates; as of their latest advisories, Kong-Rey is a 155 mph Super Typhoon, and Walaka has winds of 150 mph. The site where I got the estimates from has revised their Dvorak numbers down to T#6.7-7.0, which are more compatible with the latest data from the NHC and JTWC. However, the cyclone intensities have remained the same — 175 mph and 908 mbar for Kong-Rey, and 160 mph and 925 mbar for Walaka. Both storms should end up around these intensity estimates by the 11 pm EST advisories.
  15. ProtoJeb21

    Weather Chat Megathread

    @SaturnianBlue Super Typhoon Kong-Rey and Hurricane Walaka are undergoing explosive intensification. As of the most recent Dvorak estimate updates, Kong-Rey is as intense as Hurricane Maria (T#7.3, 175 mph, 908 mbar), while Walaka is at least a strong Category 4 (T#6.5, 145-150 mph, 939-935 mbar), although I feel that its intensity is slightly underestimated. Just look at its appearance on satellite imagery.