“Super Saturn” Has an Enormous Ring System and Maybe Even Exomoons

Illustration by artist Ron Miller of the gigantic ring system around J1407b. (© Ron Miller)

Illustration by artist Ron Miller of the gigantic ring system around J1407b. (© Ron Miller. Used with permission.)

Astronomers watching the repeated and drawn-out dimming of a relatively nearby Sun-like star have interpreted their observations to indicate an eclipse by a gigantic exoplanet’s complex ring system, similar to Saturn’s except much, much bigger. What’s more, apparent gaps and varying densities of the rings imply the presence of at least one large exomoon, and perhaps even more in the process of formation!

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© Jason Major for Universe Today, 2015. |
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News Flash: Asteroid Flying Past Earth Today Has Mini-Moon!

This animation, created from individual radar images, clearly show the rough outline of 2004 BL86 and its newly-discovered moon. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This animation, created from 20 individual radar images, clearly show the rough outline of 2004 BL86 and its newly-discovered moon. Click for larger animation. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Wonderful news! Asteroid 2004 BL86, which passed closest to Earth today at a distance of 750,000 miles (1.2 million km), has a companion moon. Scientists working with NASA’s 230-foot-wide (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California, have released the first radar images of the asteroid which show the tiny object in orbit about the main body.

While these are the first images of it, the “signature” of the satellite was seen in light curve data reported earlier by Joseph Pollock (Appalachian State University, North Carolina) and Petr Prave (Ondrejov Observatory, Czech Republic) according to Lance Benner who works with the radar team at Goldstone.

2004 BL86 measures about 1,100 feet (325 meters) across while its moon is approximately 230 feet (70 meters) across. The asteroid made its closest approach today (Jan. 26th) at 10:19 a.m. (CST), however it will peak in brightness this evening around 10 p.m. (4:00 UT) at magnitude +9.0. Unlike some flybys, 2004 BL86 will remain within a few tenths of a magnitude of peak brightness from 6 p.m. tonight (CST) —> Read More Here

The Latest Hypocrisy in SVP Expert Testimony

The United States Constitution does not allow ‘preventive detention’ — a much abused 18th century prerogative of royal power that was abhorrent to our founding fathers. We are meant to be a country of law, not arbitrary state power. No imprisonment on suspicion that someone might commit a crime and no keeping someone in prison beyond his allotted sentence just because someone thinks he might still be dangerous

Sexually Violent Predator laws in 20 states are an exception. Indefinite preventive detention in a psychiatric facility (really a prison in all but name) is permitted if the individual has committed a violent sexual crime and has a mental disorder that predisposes to its repetition. The US Supreme Court in a narrow 5-4 decision found this to be constitutional, but explicitly only if the perpetrator has a definite mental disorder that would distinguish him from the much more common opportunistic criminal rapist. No mental disorder, no preventive detention.

In an attempt to facilitate preventive detention under SVP commitment statutes, many state evaluators blatantly misused the inherently unreliable Paraphilia Not Otherwise Specified as a qualifying diagnosis in cases that involved no more than typical, opportunistic rape. Until recently, juries bought it — unjustly committing common —> Read More Here

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