Thursday, May 03, 2007

You Heard it Here--Mercury is Hot!


Way back on June 15, 2006, a Balinese volcano predicted that planet Mercury's interior is "hot." Using the radio telescopes at Arecibo, Jodrell Bank and Goldstone radio astronomers have just confirmed that the interior is indeed molten. You heard it here first! Their research will be published in the May 4 issue of SCIENCE.

As has been described here, planets like Mercury formed when a tiny singularity was caught in the gaseous disk of the infant solar system. The singularity was far too tiny to suck everything up, but the small amount it did eat generated radiation which made it grow red hot. Larger particles were attracted until we had a sphere of rock with a hot centre. This was the birth of a planet.

The singularity is still there, having kept Mercury's core hot for billions of years. It spins inside Mercury, dragging part of the core with it. This process powers the dynamo of a magnetic field. Mercury's powerful magnetic field is the chief sign of a tiny Black Hole.

Astronaut Wally Schirra has passed away at age 84. One of the original seven astronauts, Schirra flew on Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions. Gus Grissom nearly matched that record, flying Mercury and Gemini before being assigned to Apollo. Unfortunately, Grissom died in the Apollo 1 fire 40 years ago. The program recovered and was flying again by 1968..

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7 Comments:

Blogger Kea said...

Red hot news indeed. But I'm not expecting many passengers of the Concorde to notice...

11:34 AM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

They could think up other names: How about Titanic cosmology? It is nice to see we have the same taste in photos today.

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Carl Brannen said...

Gosh Louise. How many times do you think you have to be right before this breaks out? The cool thing is that when the herd finally changes direction, you'll have all this stuff already wrapped up.

I'm all stoked right now because I've just finished simulating the exact relativistic corrections to Newton's gravity equations in the usual Newtonian flat space. This is compatible with what you're doing because "flat" only works for things a lot smaller than cosmology considers. Using a Newtonian flat coordinate set for small things (like black holes) frees up curvature for cosmology where it belongs.

The calculation uses the fact that short geodesics maximize proper time. So you can compute the equations of motion by using calculus of variations on the integral of ds/dt over t. This gives the equations of motion in x(t), y(t) and z(t) form, with no mention of proper time s, just like Newton's equations of motion.

Along the way to making the calculation, I got the most amazing amount of bad advice from smart people who should have easily understood what I was doing, but were blinded by textbooks.

1:43 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Good work, Carl.

6:12 AM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

Louise,

My calculations of GR orbits on flat space were so annoying to the local experts that my thread giving the calcultions was just locked.

This is a fate usually reserved for threads that discuss flying saucers or get into useless fights over which interpretation of QM is less stupid. I'm quite annoyed.

Several half educated know-it-alls showed up on the thread and told me that what I was doing was impossible or ill advised. But it's simply applying the calculus of variations to the proper time experienced by a body in orbit.

Maybe it bothers them that it isn't in the textbooks on celestial mechanics. Could you take a look at it and verify that the method is legitimate?

I know that it is theoretically possible to do physics in a vacuum, but it is a lot harder. I wrote a java program to integrate the equations of motion and plot the orbits. For a couple days I had an error in the software and the orbits didn't look right. They're okay now.

But with the bad software, I almost came to the conclusion that I didn't understand ds^2 line elements or the calculus of variations. In retrospect I see how important it is to have other people read your work and verify it.

9:41 AM  
Blogger nige said...

That's a very nice Java application illustrating the difference between Newtonian gravity and general relativity for orbits!

The procession of the perhelion of the orbit makes the general relativity solution look quite chaotic when clicking the "faster" button a few times.

Obviously, it's still a planar orbit and isn't actually chaotic.

I'd like to do a classical-type simulation for a multi-body problem, say the helium atom (2 electrons) to study the chaos produced by the effect of each electron on the other as it moves.

Something like the Schroedinger distribution might result:

‘... the ‘inexorable laws of physics’ ... were never really there ... Newton could not predict the behaviour of three balls ... In retrospect we can see that the determinism of pre-quantum physics kept itself from ideological bankruptcy only by keeping the three balls of the pawnbroker apart.’

– Dr Tim Poston and Dr Ian Stewart, ‘Rubber Sheet Physics’ (science article, not science fiction!) in Analog: Science Fiction/Science Fact, Vol. C1, No. 129, Davis Publications, New York, November 1981.

In particular, for the hydrogen atom, is the chaotic Schroedinger distribution just the effect of the measurement uncertainty when you introduce another (third) particle to probe where the electron is relative to the nucleus, or is the uncertainty there before you take a measurement because of virtual particles in the vacuum surrounding the electron causing small scale random deflections of it's path:

‘... the Heisenberg formulae can be most naturally interpreted as statistical scatter relations [between virtual particles in the quantum foam vacuum and real electrons, etc.], as I proposed [in the 1934 book The Logic of Scientific Discovery]. ... There is, therefore, no reason whatever to accept either Heisenberg’s or Bohr’s subjectivist interpretation ...’

– Sir Karl R. Popper, Objective Knowledge, Oxford University Press, 1979, p. 303.

5:04 AM  
Anonymous Purchase Viagra said...

I also think Mercury is hot, because the planet is so close of sun. I have thought since ever that Mercury is a little sun.

6:30 AM  

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