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Fly Me to the Moon

If you in as old as I am, you may remember a song by Frank Sanatra called Fly Me to the Moon that started out "Fly me to the moon, let me play among the stars, let me see what life is life on Jupitar and Mars . . ." In a sense it foresaw the fascination with the cosmos and romanticized space travel. Lately there has been talk about colonizing the moon, Mars and beyond, spending billions and even trillions of dollars on the effort. Yes, we live on a planet that is incredibly beaufiful and conducive to life although we are spoiling the Earth with our overpopulation and our pollution. We are beset by many problems here and for the effort and cost of traveling to some forbidding world light years away we could have a paradise here on Earth if we would just work together to solve our problems. 


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A New Look at the Dinosaur Extinction

Scientists have recently confirmed that an impact from an asteroid (or comet) caused the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event – more affectionately known as the event that took out the dinosaurs. Here, a Manhatten-sized object slammed into the Yucatan Peninsula near Mexico and decimated the global environment…causing one of the greatest extinction events in Earth’s history. New evidence suggests the situation was even gloomier than previously thought.

It seems likely that the impact event caused a global firestorm. As the 6-mile diameter object plowed into Earth, an incomprehensible amount of rock was vaporized and thrown high into the atmosphere. As the material fell back to earth, it would have generated an amazing amount of heat, superheating the atmosphere to a stifling 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit. If this were the case, the upper atmosphere would have glowed red for several hours.

Fortunately for life on Earth, the rest of the atmosphere worked as an insulator, preventing those completely unbearable temperatures from sterilizing the planet. Unfortunately, for a large population of life on Earth (about 80%, in fact), these conditions still ignited pretty much every dead leaf and twig on the planet causing a firestorm that makes the recent fire-disaster in Australia look like a cool walk in the park. If you didn’t have shelter underground or in the water, chances are you didn’t survive.

Temperatures on the surface were still hundreds of degrees for several hours after the impact and remained quite warm while the fires burned. One of the main pieces of evidence of this firestorm is seen in a layer of ash found at the geological boundary for the Cretaceous-Paleogene period, also called K-Pg. This marker is seen all over the planet in a consistent manner suggesting widespread fires were taking place at that time. In case you think the ash-layer was caused by the reentering debris from the asteroid, those calculations have already been run. Our current estimates shows the ash-layer is too thick to be solely from the impact event. Whether or not the extra ash came from a global firestorm that contributed to the death of 80% of all life on Earth has yet to be determined; but the initial data looks promising.


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Hubble spots a celestial Menace

This delicate-looking shell, known as SNR B0509-67.5, is in fact a gaseous envelope formed by the expanding blast wave and ejected material from a supernova in the Large Magellanic Cloud. 

The bubble-shaped shroud of gas is believed to be 23 light-years across and is expanding at more than 18 million km/h. This tenuous-looking bubble is called SNR B0509-67.5, or SNR 0509 for short. It is located in the large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) located some 160,000 light-years from our place in the cosmos. In this case, the SNR part of the designation stands for “Supernova Remnant” because, well, that’s what it is. The bubble is all that’s left of a once massive star that exploded some several hundred thousand years ago. SNR 0509 is about 23 light-years across and is expanding at about 18-million kilometers per hour. The rippling pattern seen in this remnant is likely caused either by different densities of material in interstellar gasses or from interactions with the fragments of the star.


Photo:NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

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Suzy Q is from Nashville, TN.

She is a Class 2 player.

She has been playing for 2 yrs.

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Loudon County Zanoba Tournament


LOUDON HS Panthers vs. LENOIR CITY HS Redskins

Saturday April 4, 2019  2:00 PM

Roane State Community College

100 W. Broadway St.

Lenoir City, TN 37771

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