Solar system's superhighway + Magentospheres tour + Black holes gain new powers

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A Tour of Solar System Magnetospheres

INTRO: Simply put, a magnetosphere is the region where a planet’s magnetic field is dominant. Interplanetary space, on the other hand, is dominated by the Sun’s magnetic field and the solar wind. A strong magnetic field can protect a planet from the solar wind and from coronal mass ejections by deflecting high-energy particles. Mercury, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune each have an intrinsic magnetosphere due to their internal magnetic fields. Venus and Mars, on the other hand, lack a global magnetic field, which might have been responsible for Mars losing its atmosphere due to solar wind sputtering. Today’s Astrobite is an overview of the major features of each magnetosphere. For more detail, the reader is directed to the many links throughout and technical references included at the end... (MORE)

MAGNETOSPHERES COVERED: Earth, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune

Black holes gain new powers when they spin fast enough

EXCERPTS: This property is often summarized as the no-hair theorem. Specifically, the theorem asserts that once matter falls into a black hole, the only characteristic that remains is mass. You could make a black hole out of a sun's worth of hydrogen, chairs or those old copies of National Geographic from Grandma's attic, and there would be no difference. Mass is mass as far as general relativity is concerned. In every case, the event horizon of a black hole is perfectly smooth, with no extra features. As Jacob Bekenstein said, "black holes have no hair."

But with all its predictive power, general relativity has a problem with quantum theory. This is particularly true with black holes. If the no-hair theorem is correct, the information within an object is destroyed when it crosses the event horizon. Quantum theory says that information can never be destroyed. So the valid theory of gravity is contradicted by the valid theory of the quanta. This leads to problems such as the firewall paradox, which can't decide whether an event horizon should be hot or cold.

[...] Einstein's theory of general relativity has passed every observational challenge so far, but it will likely break down in the most extreme environments of the universe. Studies such as this show how we might be able to discover the theory that comes next... (MORE - details)

Researchers discover a new superhighway system in the Solar System

RELEASE: Researchers have discovered a new superhighway network to travel through the Solar System much faster than was previously possible. Such routes can drive comets and asteroids near Jupiter to Neptune's distance in under a decade and to 100 astronomical units in less than a century. They could be used to send spacecraft to the far reaches of our planetary system relatively fast, and to monitor and understand near-Earth objects that might collide with our planet.

In their paper, published in the Nov. 25 issue of Science Advances, the researchers observed the dynamical structure of these routes, forming a connected series of arches inside what’s known as space manifolds that extend from the asteroid belt to Uranus and beyond. This newly discovered "œcelestial autobahn," or œcelestial highway, acts over several decades, as opposed to the hundreds of thousands or millions of years that usually characterize Solar System dynamics.

The most conspicuous arch structures are linked to Jupiter and the strong gravitational forces it exerts. The population of Jupiter-family comets (comets having orbital periods of 20 years) as well as small-size solar system bodies known as Centaurs, are controlled by such manifolds on unprecedented time scales. Some of these bodies will end up colliding with Jupiter or being ejected from the Solar System.

The structures were resolved by gathering numerical data about millions of orbits in our Solar System and computing how these orbits fit within already-known space manifolds. The results need to be studied further, both to determine how they could be used by spacecraft, or how such manifolds behave in the vicinity of the Earth, controlling the asteroid and meteorite encounters, as well as the growing population of artificial man-made objects in the Earth-Moon system.

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