As a driver, it’s your job to do whatever you can to keep yourself and everyone else around you safe. Your primary concern is, of course, getting from A to B, but you need to ensure the trip causes no problems along the way. Plenty of drivers take little-to-no care on the road because they feel as though they’re fantastic drivers and need not worry. Even when they’re with their children in the car as they head on perhaps one of the best road trips in Australia, they’ll behave pretty irrationally and ignore keys to road trip safety.
Looking out for others when on the road isn’t the most difficult task in the world – some will not like the idea of changing to accommodate this very necessary practice, however. While you may think you’ll be fine, you just never know when you might land yourself in deep trouble. The road can be very unforgiving if you let it be so. When it comes to taking good care when behind the wheel and with everything surrounding driving, it’s just a case of being sensible and getting a few little jobs done. It’s also a case of training yourself into thinking and behaving in certain ways. Here are a few keys to road trip safety:
Just Don’t Drive Like A Maniac
It sounds simple, but lots of people just don’t heed this kind of advice for a number of reasons. Firstly, some people just don’t like being told what to do and what not to do. Secondly, it might be a little boring for them – seeing as they may have just bought a new, wonderful car. It’s such a simple thing to do, though. Don’t show off and don’t take silly risks. Why mess things up for everyone around you when there’s absolutely no need to?
Get Extra Lessons
If you have had lessons before and have driven before, then you already know that you CAN do this kind of thing. If it’s a case of losing confidence and not backing your ability going forward, then extra lessons will help out so much. They’ll stop you from doubting yourself and they’ll remind you what it feels like to be on the road – all with an instructor and a car built to keep you safe.
A road trip can be a great way to see the world. But you always want to stay aware & safe on your road trip. So here are some other keys to help you stay safe on your next road trip! #RoadTrip #TravelByCar #Bucketlist
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Make Sure The Car Is Good To Go In All Aspects
It’s understandable that you might be a little wary of what might happen if the car you’re driving is a little hit and miss. Before you even think about heading out onto the road, ensure you have a solid car. Let a professional take a look if you’re unsure about how it will move.
Ensure You Have Solid Lawyers To Call Should Things Go South
It’s very easy to feel doubtful about how the future will be when you don’t have the right backing and fall-back options. A lot of people worry about what might happen if they get into a crash or something like that. There are some exceptional car accident lawyers around that will help you out if you are indeed in that position. Knowing the right people who can help after an unfortunate time can have a very positive effect on how your driving experience goes as you’ll be psychologically more ready and eager.
Treat Everyone As Though They’re Dangerous
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The Milky Way’s Mass is Much Lower Than We Thought
How massive is the Milky Way? It’s an easy question to ask, but a difficult one to answer. Imagine a single cell in your body trying to determine your total mass, and you get an idea of how difficult it can be. Despite the challenges, a new study has calculated an accurate mass of our galaxy, and it’s smaller than we thought.
One way to determine a galaxy’s mass is by looking at what’s known as its rotation curve. Measure the speed of stars in a galaxy versus their distance from the galactic center. The speed at which a star orbits is proportional to the amount of mass within its orbit, so from a galaxy’s rotation curve you can map the function of mass per radius and get a good idea of its total mass. We’ve measured the rotation curves for several nearby galaxies such as Andromeda, so we know the masses of many galaxies quite accurately.
But since we are in the Milky Way itself, we don’t have a great view of stars throughout the galaxy. Toward the center of the galaxy, there is so much gas and dust we can’t even see stars on the far side. So instead we measure the rotation curve using neutral hydrogen, which emits faint light with a wavelength of about 21 centimeters. This isn’t as accurate as stellar measurements, but it has given us a rough idea of our galaxy’s mass. We’ve also looked at the motions of the globular clusters that orbit in the halo of the Milky Way. From these observations, our best estimate of the mass of the Milky Way is about a trillion solar masses, give or take.
The distribution of stars seen by the Gaia surveys. Credit: Data: ESA/Gaia/DPAC, A. Khalatyan(AIP) & StarHorse team; Galaxy map: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt
This new study is based on the third data release of the Gaia spacecraft. It contains the positions of more than 1.8 billion stars and the motions of more than 1.5 billion stars. While this is only a fraction of the estimated 100-400 billion stars in our galaxy, it is a large enough number to calculate an accurate rotation curve. Which is exactly what the team did. Their resulting rotation curve is so precise, that the team could identify what’s known as the Keplerian decline. This is the outer region of the Milky Way where stellar speeds start to drop off roughly in accordance with Kepler’s laws since almost all of the galaxy’s mass is closer to the galactic center.
The Keplerian decline allows the team to place a clear upper limit on the mass of the Milky Way. What they found was surprising. The best fit to their data placed the mass at about 200 billion solar masses, which is a fifth of previous estimates. The absolute upper mass limit for the Milky Way is 540 billion, meaning that the Milky Way is at least half as massive as we thought. Given the amount of known regular matter in the galaxy, this means the Milky Way has significantly less dark matter than we thought.
Reference: Jiao, Yongjun, et al. “Detection of the Keplerian decline in the Milky Way rotation curve.” arXiv preprint arXiv:2309.00048 (2023).
The post The Milky Way’s Mass is Much Lower Than We Thought appeared first on Universe Today.
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Is it Life, or is it Volcanoes?
Astronomers are working hard to understand biosignatures and how they indicate life’s presence on an exoplanet. But each planet we encounter is a unique puzzle. When it comes to planetary atmospheres, carbon is a big piece of the puzzle because it has a powerful effect on climate and biogeochemistry. If scientists can figure out how and where a planet’s carbon comes from and how it behaves in the atmosphere, they’ve made progress in solving the puzzle.
But one of the problems with carbon in exoplanet atmospheres is that it can send mixed signals.
Carbon, in this context, means all of the major species of carbon, things like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and methane (CO2, CO, and CH4.) A new study investigates the diversity of these chemicals in the atmospheres of exoplanets similar to Earth orbiting stars similar to the Sun.
The study is “Relative abundances of CO2, CO, and CH4 in atmospheres of Earth-like lifeless planets.” It’s been submitted to The Astrophysical Journal and is available on the pre-press site arxiv.org. The authors are Yasuto Watanabe and Kazumi Ozaki. Watanabe is affiliated with the Department of Earth and Planetary Science at the University of Tokyo, and Ozaki is affiliated with the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
The study is particularly concerned with CO. “We focused on the conditions for the formation of a CO-rich atmosphere, which would be favourable for the origin of life,” the authors write.
There’s no escaping carbon’s importance. Earth life is carbon-based, and there’s no particular reason to think it’ll be different on other planets. This illustration shows carbon molecules in space. Credit: IAC; original image of the Helix Nebula (NASA, NOAO, ESA, the Hubble Helix Nebula Team, M. Meixner, STScI, & T.A. Rector, NRAO
In Earth’s present atmosphere, CO can’t build up because chemical reactions destroy it. But in the deep past, three billion years ago, when the oceans were teeming with simple life, CO could’ve accumulated in Earth’s atmosphere. It’s because there was very little oxygen in the atmosphere, and the Sun was dimmer.
So when we’re searching for biosignatures, an atmosphere with CO could indicate simple life. That’s because it can be an important source of both carbon and oxygen for life. But it’s not that cut and dried. This study aims to untangle some of the details of exoplanet atmospheres so we can identify which mixtures of carbon molecules, including carbon monoxide, might be a biosignature.
“Consequently, a detailed understanding of those factors that govern the relative abundances of CO2, CO, and CH4 in planetary atmospheres has far-reaching implications in the search for habitable planets beyond our solar system,” the paper states.
A key concept in this research is called CO runaway. In an atmosphere like early Earth’s, which contained very little oxygen, CO is produced by photodissociation from UV radiation. On the other side of the equation, it’s destroyed by chemical reactions stemming from the photodissociation of water. When conditions are right, more CO is produced than destroyed, and that can lead to CO runaway.
Understanding CO runaway is critical in the appearance of life because prebiotic chemicals necessary for life—especially peptides—are more readily created in a CO-rich atmosphere than in a CO2-rich atmosphere. Evidence from Mars bolsters this point.
The pair of researchers used atmospheric chemistry models to investigate the details behind CO runaway and how it might help us discern which exoplanets could shelter life.
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Colliding Moons Might Have Created Saturn’s Rings
If we could wind the clock back billions of years, we’d see our Solar System the way it used to be. Planetesimals and other rocky bodies were constantly colliding with each other, and new objects would coalesce out of the debris. Asteroids rained down on the planets and their moons. The gas giants were migrating and contributing to the chaos by destroying gravitational relationships and creating new ones. Even moons and moonlets would’ve been part of the cascade of collisions and impacts.
When nature crams enough objects into a small enough space, it breeds collisions. A new study says that’s what happened at Saturn and created the planet’s dramatic rings.
The research is “A Recent Impact Origin of Saturn’s Rings and Mid-sized Moons,” and it’s published in The Astrophysical Journal.” The lead author is Luis Todorow, a Research Fellow at the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Glasgow.
Saturn’s rings are so iconic that even schoolchildren can identify them. Astronomers have puzzled over them for a long time, trying to figure out how they formed and when. We know they’re mostly made of ice, but a consensus for their formation has been hard to reach.
This study, conducted by NASA and its partners, says a collision between two icy moons is responsible, and the debris is still circling the planet.
We don’t have to wind the clock back too far to find the impact the research identifies. It occurred only a few hundred million years ago, maybe even more recently than that. The research team says that it was triggered by “resonant instabilities in a previous satellite system.”
The research is based on detailed simulations of Saturn and its system of moons (it has 146 confirmed satellites) and rings.
NASA’s Cassini mission laid the groundwork for this research. The spacecraft spent more than ten years in the Saturn system. One of its main discoveries was that the gas giant’s rings and moons are not very old in astronomical terms. The larger ones are probably old, and their cratered surfaces are a clue to their ages. But some of the planet’s smaller moons are likely much younger.
An annotated picture of Saturn’s many moons captured by the Cassini spacecraft. Image Credit: By Kevin Gill from Los Angeles, CA, United States – Saturn – September 9, 2007 – Annotated, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=131463918
A moon’s distance from its planet plays a role in this. The gravitational struggle between a planet and its moon tends to drive moons away. Earth’s Moon is receding a tiny yet measurable amount each year. Some research shows that if the moons nearest to Saturn’s rings were old, they would’ve been pushed away by now. Since they’re still there, they must be young.
But it’s not that cut and dry because the smaller inner moons also have cratered surfaces.
Saturn’s moon Mimas is covered in craters, including the dramatic Herschel crater that gives the moon its “Death Star” nickname. But it’s close to Saturn. What’s going on? Image credit: NASA/JPL/SSI
So Saturn is still mysterious.
Adding to the intrigue is our fascination with icy moons. Saturn’s moon Enceladus, as well as other moons like Jupiter’s Europa, contain vast oceans underneath icy shells. They’re prime targets in the
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