90377 Sedna is a large minor planet in the outer reaches of the Solar System that was, as of 2015, at a distance of about 86 astronomical units from the Sun, about three times as far as Neptune. Spectroscopy has revealed that Sedna's surface composition is similar to that of some other trans-Neptunian objects, being a mixture of water and nitrogen ices with tholins, its surface is one of the reddest among Solar System objects. It is most a dwarf planet. Among the eight largest trans-Neptunian objects, Sedna is the only one not known to have a moon. For most of its orbit, it is farther from the Sun than at present, with its aphelion estimated at 937 AU, making it one of the most distant-known objects in the Solar System other than long-period comets. Sedna has an exceptionally long and elongated orbit, taking 11,400 years to complete and a distant point of closest approach to the Sun at 76 AU; these facts have led to much speculation about its origin. The Minor Planet Center places Sedna in the scattered disc, a group of objects sent into elongated orbits by the gravitational influence of Neptune.
This classification has been contested because Sedna never comes close enough to Neptune to have been scattered by it, leading some astronomers to informally refer to it as the first known member of the inner Oort cloud. Others speculate that it might have been tugged into its current orbit by a passing star one within the Sun's birth cluster, or that it was captured from another star system. Another hypothesis suggests that its orbit may be evidence for a large planet beyond the orbit of Neptune. Astronomer Michael E. Brown, co-discoverer of Sedna and the dwarf planets Eris and Makemake, thinks that it is the most scientifically important trans-Neptunian object found to date, because understanding its unusual orbit is to yield valuable information about the origin and early evolution of the Solar System. Sedna was discovered by Michael Brown, Chad Trujillo, David Rabinowitz on 14 November 2003; the discovery formed part of a survey begun in 2001 with the Samuel Oschin telescope at Palomar Observatory near San Diego, California using Yale's 160-megapixel Palomar Quest camera.
On that day, an object was observed to move by 4.6 arcseconds over 3.1 hours relative to stars, which indicated that its distance was about 100 AU. Follow-up observations were made in November–December 2003 with the SMARTS telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, the Tenagra IV telescope in Nogales and the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Combining those with precovery observations taken at the Samuel Oschin telescope in August 2003, from the Near-Earth Asteroid Tracking consortium in 2001–2002, allowed to determine its orbit; the calculations showed that the object was moving along a distant eccentric orbit, at a distance of 90.3 AU from the Sun. Precovery images have been found in images of the Palomar Digitized Sky Survey dating back to September 25, 1990. Brown nicknamed Sedna "The Flying Dutchman", or "Dutch", after a legendary ghost ship, because its slow movement had masked its presence from his team. For an official name for the object, Brown settled on "Sedna", a name from Inuit mythology, which Brown chose because the Inuit were the closest polar culture to his home in Pasadena, because the name, unlike Quaoar, would be pronounceable.
On his website, he wrote: Brown suggested to the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center that any future objects discovered in Sedna's orbital region should be named after entities in arctic mythologies. The team made the name "Sedna" public before the object had been numbered. Brian Marsden, the head of the Minor Planet Center, said that such an action was a violation of protocol, that some members of the IAU might vote against it. No objection was raised to the name, no competing names were suggested; the IAU's Committee on Small Body Nomenclature accepted the name in September 2004, considered that, in similar cases of extraordinary interest, it might in the future allow names to be announced before they were numbered. Sedna has the second longest orbital period of any known object in the Solar System of comparable size or larger, calculated at around 11,400 years, its orbit is eccentric, with an aphelion estimated at 937 AU and a perihelion at about 76 AU. This perihelion was the largest of that of any known Solar System object until the discovery of 2012 VP113.
At its aphelion, Sedna orbits the Sun at a mere 1.3% of Earth's orbital speed. When Sedna was discovered it was 89.6 AU from the Sun approaching perihelion, was the most distant object in the Solar System observed. Sedna was surpassed by Eris, detected by the same survey near aphelion at 97 AU; the orbits of some long-period comets extend farther than that of Sedna. As Sedna nears its perihelion in mid 2076, the Sun would appear as an bright star-like pinpoint in its sky, 100 times brighter than a full moon on Earth, too far away to be visible as a disc to the naked eye; when first discovered, Sedna was thought to have an unusually long rotational period. It was speculated that Sedna's rotation was slowed by the gravitational pull of a large binary companion, similar to Pluto's moon Charon. A search for such a satellite
A raven is one of several larger-bodied species of the genus Corvus. These species do not form a single taxonomic group within the genus. There is no consistent distinction between "crows" and "ravens", these appellations have been assigned to different species chiefly on the basis of their size, crows being smaller than ravens; the largest raven species are the thick-billed raven. The term "raven" referred to the common raven, the type species of the genus Corvus, which has a larger distribution than any other species of Corvus, ranging over much of the Northern Hemisphere; the modern English word raven has cognates in all other Germanic languages, including Old Norse hrafn and Old High German raban, all of which descend from Proto-Germanic *hrabanaz. Collective nouns for a group of ravens include "unkindness", "treachery", "conspiracy". In practice, most people use the more generic "flock". Corvus albicollis – white-necked raven Corvus corax – common raven Corvus coronoides – Australian raven Corvus crassirostris – thick-billed raven Corvus cryptoleucus – Chihuahuan raven Corvus mellori – little raven Corvus rhipidurus – fan-tailed raven Corvus ruficollis – brown-necked raven Corvus tasmanicus – forest raven †Corvus moriorum – Chatham raven †Corvus antipodum – New Zealand raven †Corvus corax varius morpha leucophaeus – pied raven Cultural depictions of ravens Ravens of the Tower of London Raven videos on the Internet Bird Collection North American ravens on eNature
The fulmars are tubenosed seabirds of the family Procellariidae. The family consists of two extinct fossil species from the Miocene. Fulmars superficially resemble gulls, but are distinguished by their flight on stiff wings, their tube noses, they breed on cliffs, laying one or two eggs on a ledge of bare rock or on a grassy cliff. Outside the breeding season, they are pelagic, feeding on fish and shrimp in the open ocean, they are long-lived for birds, living for up to 40 years. The northern fulmar lived on the Isle of St Kilda, where it was extensively hunted; the species has expanded its breeding range southwards to the coasts of northern France. As members of Procellaridae and the order Procellariiformes, they share certain traits. First, they have nasal passages; the bills of Procellariiformes are unique in being split into between nine horny plates. They produce a stomach oil made up of wax esters and triglycerides, stored in the proventriculus; this can be sprayed out of their mouths as a defence against predators and as an energy rich food source for chicks and for the adults during their long flights.
It will mat the plumage of avian predators. Fulmars have a salt gland, situated above the nasal passage and helps desalinate their bodies, due to the high amount of ocean water that they imbibe, it excretes a strong saline solution from their nose. Two prehistoric species have been described from fossil bones found on the Pacific coast of California: Fulmarus miocaenus and Fulmarus hammeri from the Miocene; the genus name Fulmarus is derived from the Old Norse word fúll meaning foul, már meaning gull, in reference to the smell of their stomach oil. The two fulmars are related seabirds occupying the same niche in different oceans; the northern fulmar or just fulmar lives in the North Atlantic and North Pacific, whereas the southern fulmar, is, as its name implies, a bird of the Southern Ocean. These birds look superficially like gulls, but are unrelated, are in fact petrels; the northern species is grey and white with a yellow bill, 43 to 52 cm in length with a 102 to 112 cm wingspan. The southern form is a paler bird with dark wing tips, 45 to 50 cm long, with a 115 to 120 cm wingspan.
Both recent species breed on cliffs. Unlike many small to medium birds in the Procellariiformes, they are neither nocturnal breeders, nor do they use burrows. In Britain, northern fulmars bred on St. Kilda, they spread into northern Scotland in the 19th century, to the rest of the United Kingdom by 1930. The expansion has continued further south. Fulmars are pelagic outside the breeding season, like most tubenoses, feeding on fish, small squid, crustaceans, marine worms, carrion; the range of these species increased in the 20th century due to the availability of fish offal from commercial fleets, but may contract because of less food from this source and climatic change. The population increase has been notable in the British Isles. Like other petrels, their walking ability is limited, but they are strong fliers, with a stiff wing action quite unlike the gulls, they look bull-necked compared to gulls, have short stubby bills. They are long-lived, the longest recorded lifespan for F. glacialis being 40 years, 10 months and 16 days.
Fulmars have for centuries been exploited for food. The engraver Thomas Bewick wrote in 1804 that "Pennant, speaking of those which breed on, or inhabit, the Isle of St Kilda, says—'No bird is of so much use to the islanders as this: the Fulmar supplies them with oil for their lamps, down for their beds, a delicacy for their tables, a balm for their wounds, a medicine for their distempers.'" A photograph by George Washington Wilson taken about 1886 shows a "view of the men and women of St Kilda on the beach dividing up the catch of Fulmar". James Fisher, author of The Fulmar calculated that every person on St Kilda consumed over 100 fulmars each year. However, when the human population left St Kilda in 1930, the fulmar population did not grow. Aberdeen. Fowlsheugh Ecology. Lumina Press. Bull, John. "Open Ocean". In Opper, Jane; the Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds. The Audubon Society Field Guide Series. Birds. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf. P. 314. ISBN 0-394-41405-5. Ehrlich, Paul R..
The Birders Handbook. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. P. 14. ISBN 0-671-65989-8. Gotch, A. F.. "Albatrosses, Fulmars and Petrels". Latin Names Explained A Guide to the Scientific Classifications of Birds & Mammals. New York, NY: Facts on File. pp. 191–192. ISBN 0-8160-3377-3. Harrison, P.. Seabirds: an identification guide. Beckenham, U. K.: Croom Helm. ISBN 0-7470-1410-8. Yeatman, L.. Atlas des oiseaux nicheurs de France. Paris: Société Ornithologique de France. P. 8. See more recent publication with similar title. "Fulmar". Encyclopædia Britannica. 11. 1911. Northern fulmar profile as p
Whales are a distributed and diverse group of aquatic placental marine mammals. They are an informal grouping within the infraorder Cetacea excluding dolphins and porpoises. Whales and porpoises belong to the order Cetartiodactyla with even-toed ungulates and their closest living relatives are the hippopotamuses, having diverged about 40 million years ago; the two parvorders of whales, baleen whales and toothed whales, are thought to have split apart around 34 million years ago. The whales comprise eight extant families: Balaenopteridae, Cetotheriidae, Monodontidae, Physeteridae and Ziphiidae. Whales are creatures of the open ocean. So extreme is their adaptation to life underwater. Whales range in size from the 2.6 metres and 135 kilograms dwarf sperm whale to the 29.9 metres and 190 metric tons blue whale, the largest creature that has lived. The sperm whale is the largest toothed predator on earth. Several species exhibit sexual dimorphism. Baleen whales have no teeth, they use their throat pleats to expand the mouth to take in huge gulps of water.
Balaenids have heads. Toothed whales, on the other hand, have conical teeth adapted to catching squid. Baleen whales have a well developed sense of "smell", whereas toothed whales have well-developed hearing − their hearing, adapted for both air and water, is so well developed that some can survive if they are blind; some species, such as sperm whales, are well adapted for diving to great depths to catch squid and other favoured prey. Whales have evolved from land-living mammals; as such whales must breathe air although they can remain submerged under water for long periods of time. Some species such as the sperm whale are able to stay submerged for as much as 90 minutes, they have blowholes located on top of their heads, through which air is expelled. They are warm-blooded, have a layer of fat, or blubber, under the skin. With streamlined fusiform bodies and two limbs that are modified into flippers, whales can travel at up to 20 knots, though they are not as flexible or agile as seals. Whales produce a great variety of notably the extended songs of the humpback whale.
Although whales are widespread, most species prefer the colder waters of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, migrate to the equator to give birth. Species such as humpbacks and blue whales are capable of travelling thousands of miles without feeding. Males mate with multiple females every year, but females only mate every two to three years. Calves are born in the spring and summer months and females bear all the responsibility for raising them. Mothers of some species nurse their young for one to two years. Once relentlessly hunted for their products, whales are now protected by international law; the North Atlantic right whales nearly became extinct in the twentieth century, with a population low of 450, the North Pacific grey whale population is ranked Critically Endangered by the IUCN. Besides whaling, they face threats from bycatch and marine pollution; the meat and baleen of whales have traditionally been used by indigenous peoples of the Arctic. Whales have been depicted in various cultures worldwide, notably by the Inuit and the coastal peoples of Vietnam and Ghana, who sometimes hold whale funerals.
Whales feature in literature and film, as in the great white whale of Herman Melville's Moby Dick. Small whales, such as belugas, are sometimes kept in captivity and trained to perform tricks, but breeding success has been poor and the animals die within a few months of capture. Whale watching has become a form of tourism around the world; the word "whale" comes from the Old English whæl, from Proto-Germanic *hwalaz, from Proto Indo European *kwal-o-, meaning "large sea fish". The Proto-Germanic *hwalaz is the source of Old Saxon hwal, Old Norse hvalr, Swedish val, Middle Dutch wal, Dutch walvis, Old High German wal, German Wal; the obsolete "whalefish" has a similar derivation, indicating a time when whales were thought to be fish. Other archaic English forms include wal, whal, whaille, etc; the term "whale" is sometimes used interchangeably with dolphins and porpoises, acting as a synonym for Cetacea. Six species of dolphins have the word "whale" in their name, collectively known as blackfish: the killer whale, the melon-headed whale, the pygmy killer whale, the false killer whale, the two species of pilot whales, all of which are classified under the family Delphinidae.
Each species has a different reason for it, for example, the killer whale was named "Ballena asesina"'killer whale' by Spanish sailors. The term "Great Whales" covers those regulated by the International Whaling Commission: the Odontoceti family Physeteridae; the whales are part of the terrestrial mammalian clade Laurasiatheria. Whales do not form a order.
A sculpin is a type of fish that belongs to the superfamily Cottoidea in the order Scorpaeniformes. As of 2006, this superfamily contains 11 families, 149 genera, 756 species. Sculpins occur in many types including ocean and freshwater zones, they live in rivers, submarine canyons, kelp forests, shallow littoral habitat types, such as tidepools. Sculpins are dwelling on the bottoms of water bodies, their pectoral fins are smooth on the upper edge and webbed with sharp rays along the lower edge, a modification that makes them specialized for gripping the substrate. This adaptation helps the fish anchor in fast-flowing water. Families include: Abyssocottidae: deep-water sculpins Agonidae Bathylutichthyidae Comephoridae: Baikal oilfishes Cottidae: common sculpins Cottocomephoridae: bighead sculpins, Baikal sculpins Ereuniidae: deepwater bullhead sculpins Hemitripteridae: sea ravens, sailfin sculpins Psychrolutidae: fatheads Rhamphocottidae: the grunt sculpin
The Gemini Observatory is an astronomical observatory consisting of two 8.1-metre telescopes, Gemini North and Gemini South, which are located at two separate sites in Hawaii and Chile, respectively. The twin Gemini telescopes provide complete coverage of both the northern and southern skies, they are among the largest and most advanced optical/infrared telescopes available to astronomers.. The National Science Foundation of the United States, the National Research Council of Canada, CONICYT of Chile, MCTI of Brazil, MCTIP of Argentina own and operate the Gemini Observatory; the NSF is the majority partner, contributing 70% of the funding needed to operate and maintain both telescopes. The operations and maintenance of the observatory is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, through a cooperative agreement with NSF. NSF acts as the Executive Agency on behalf of the international partners; the Gemini telescopes house a suite of modern instruments, offer superb performance in the optical and near-infrared, employ sophisticated adaptive optics technology to compensate for the blurring effects of the Earth's atmosphere.
Gemini is a world-leader in wide-field adaptive optics assisted infrared imaging, has commissioned the Gemini Planet Imager, an instrument that allows researchers to directly image and analyze exoplanets that are a millionth as bright as the host star around which they orbit. Gemini continues to support research in all areas of modern astronomy, including the Solar System, star formation and evolution, the structure and dynamics of galaxies, supermassive black holes, distant quasars, the structure of the Universe on the largest scales. Past participants in the Gemini Observatory include the United Kingdom; the UK dropped out of the partnership at the end of 2012 and the Gemini Observatory has responded to the loss of funding by reducing its operating costs, streamlining its operations, implementing energy savings measures at each site. Both telescopes are now operated remotely from Base Facility Operations centers in Hilo, La Serena, Chile; the Gemini Observatory's international Headquarters and Northern Operations Center is located in Hilo, Hawaii at the University of Hawaii at Hilo University Park.
The Southern Operations Center is located on the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory campus near La Serena, Chile. The "Gemini North" telescope called the Frederick C. Gillett Gemini Telescope is located on Hawaii's Mauna Kea, along with many other telescopes; that location provides excellent viewing conditions due to the superb atmospheric conditions above the 4,200-metre-high dormant volcano. It saw first light in 1999 and began scientific operations in 2000; the "Gemini South" telescope is located at over 2,700 metres elevation on a mountain in the Chilean Andes called Cerro Pachón. Dry air and negligible cloud cover make this another prime telescope location. Gemini South saw first light in 2000. Together, the two telescopes cover all of the sky except for two areas near the celestial poles: Gemini North cannot point north of declination +89 degrees, Gemini South cannot point south of declination −89 degrees. Both Gemini telescopes employ a range of technologies to provide world-leading performance in optical and near-infrared astronomy, including laser guide stars, adaptive optics, multi conjugate adaptive optics, multi-object spectroscopy.
In addition high-quality infrared observations are possible due to the advanced protected silver coating applied to each telescope's mirrors, the small secondary mirrors in use, the advanced ventilation systems installed at each site. It is estimated that the two telescopes cost US$184 million to construct, a night on each Gemini telescope is worth tens of thousands of U. S. dollars. The two 8-meter mirror blanks, each weighing over 22 t, were fabricated from Corning's Ultra Low Expansion glass; each blank was constructed by the fusing together of and subsequent sagging of a series of smaller hexagonal pieces. This work was performed at Corning's Canton Plant facility located in upstate New York; the blanks were transported via ship to REOSC, located south of Paris for final grinding and polishing. One decision made during design to save money was eliminating the two Nasmyth platforms; this makes instruments like high resolution spectrographs and adaptive optics systems much more difficult to construct, due to the size and mass requirement inherent with Cassegrain instruments.
A further challenge in designing large instruments is the requirement to have a specific mass and center-of-mass position to maintain the overall balance of the telescope. In November 2007 it was announced that the UK's Science and Technology Facilities Council had proposed that, to save £4 million annually, it would aim to leave the telescope's operating consortium. At a consortium meeting in January 2008, the conclusion was made that the UK would withdraw from the Gemini Partnership and the Gemini Observatory Agreement effective February 28, 2007; this decision disrupted observatory budgets, resulted in the cancellation of at least one instrument in development at that time, the Precision Radial Velocity Spectrograph. Since the reason for the UK breaking its part of the agreement seemed to be financial, there was public outcry, including the "Sav
Michael E. Brown
Michael E. Brown is an American astronomer, professor of planetary astronomy at the California Institute of Technology since 2003, his team has discovered many trans-Neptunian objects, notably the dwarf planet Eris, thought to be bigger than Pluto. He has been referred to by himself and by others as the man who "killed Pluto", because he furthered Pluto being downgraded to a dwarf planet in the aftermath of his discovery of Eris and several other probable trans-Neptunian dwarf planets, he is the author of How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming, published in 2010. He was awarded the Kavli Prize in 2012 “for discovering and characterizing the Kuiper Belt and its largest members, work that led to a major advance in the understanding of the history of our planetary system.” Brown is a Huntsville, Alabama native and graduated from Virgil I. Grissom High School in 1983, he earned his A. B. in physics from Princeton University in 1987, where he was a member of the Princeton Tower Club. He did his graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley where he earned an M.
A. degree in astronomy in 1990 and a Ph. D. degree in astronomy in 1994. Michael Brown is credited by the Minor Planet Center with the discovery or co-discovery of 27 minor planets, he is best known in the scientific community for his surveys for distant objects orbiting the Sun. His team has discovered many trans-Neptunian objects. Notable are Eris, a dwarf planet and the only TNO known to be more massive than Pluto, leading directly to Pluto's demotion from planet status. Brown's team famously named Eris and its moon Dysnomia with the informal names Xena and Gabrielle after the two main characters of Xena: Warrior Princess. Together with Jean-Luc Margot in 2001, he discovered Romulus and Linus, two minor-planet moons in the asteroid belt. Brown and his team had been observing the dwarf planet Haumea for six months before its announced discovery by José Luis Ortiz Moreno and colleagues from the Sierra Nevada Observatory in Spain. Brown indicated his support for Ortiz's team being given credit for the discovery of Haumea.
However, further investigation showed that a website containing archives of where the telescopes of Brown's team had been pointed while tracking Haumea had been accessed eight times in the three days preceding Ortiz's announcement, by computers with IP addresses that were traced back to the website of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, where Ortiz works, to e-mail messages sent by Ortiz and his student. These website accesses came a week after Brown had published an abstract for an upcoming conference talk at which he had planned to announce the discovery of Haumea; when asked about this online activity, Ortiz responded with an email to Brown that suggested Brown was at fault for "hiding objects", said that "the only reason why we are now exchanging e-mail is because you did not report your object." Brown says that this statement by Ortiz contradicts the accepted scientific practice of analyzing one's research until one is satisfied that it is accurate submitting it to peer review prior to any public announcement.
However, the Minor Planet Center only needs precise enough orbit determination on the object in order to provide discovery credit, which Ortiz provided. The director of the IAA, José Carlos del Toro, distanced himself from Ortiz, insisting that its researchers have "sole responsibility" for themselves. Brown petitioned the International Astronomical Union to credit his team rather than Ortiz as the discoverers of Haumea; the IAU has deliberately not acknowledged a discoverer of Haumea. The discovery date and location are listed as March 2003 at Ortiz's Sierra Nevada Observatory. However, the IAU accepted Brown's suggested name of Haumea, which fit the names of Haumea's two moons, rather than Ortiz's Ataecina. In January 2016, Brown and fellow Caltech astronomer, Konstantin Batygin, proposed the existence of Planet Nine, a major planet between the size of Earth and Neptune; the two astronomers gave a recorded interview in which they described their method and reasoning for proposing Planet 9 on January 20, 2016.
In 2010 Brown published a memoir of his discoveries and surrounding family life, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming. Brown was named one of Time's 100 most influential people of 2006. In 2007 he received Caltech's most prestigious teaching honor. Asteroid 11714 Mikebrown, discovered on 28 April 1998, was named in his honor. In 2012, Brown was awarded the Kavli Prize in Astrophysics. Brown's former graduate students and postdocs include astrophysicists Adam Burgasser, Jean-Luc Margot, Chad Trujillo, Marc Kuchner, Antonin Bouchez, Emily Schaller, Darin Ragozzine, Megan Schwamb. Brown married Diane Binney on March 1, 2003, they have Lilah Binney Brown. Konstantin Batygin Planet Nine Brown's homepage Michael E. Brown on IMDb Michael E. Brown on Twitter Mike Brown's planets Brown's blog The Search for Planet Nine Konstantin Batygin's and Brown's blog Brown's Talk on How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming Part