Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Nasa asteroid alert as massive space rock makes pass - Update

NASA has released spectacular pictures of asteroid Bennu. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrived at asteroid Bennu on 3 December 2018. Branded an "apocalypse asteroid", Nasa says it has a one in 2,700 chance of hitting our planet between 2175 and 2199.

It is about 500 metres across and would be capable of an explosive blast of 1,200 megatons in TNT equivalent, about 80,000 times the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
Bennu will pass 750,000 km; 460,000 mi from Earth on 23 September 2060. The close approach of 2060 causes divergence in the close approach of 2135. On 25 September 2135, the nominal approach distance is 300,000 km; 190,000 mi from Earth, but Bennu could pass as close as 100,000 km; 65,000 mi.

The 2135 approach may cause Bennu to pass through a gravitational keyhole which could create an impact scenario. The keyholes are all less than 55 km wide.
In 2196 the odds are 1 in 11,000 of an Earth impact.
Nasa has issued a "close approach" alert for an asteroid – and says it'll even be joined by a second Earth-skimming asteroid on the same day. The good news is that asteroids regularly pass close to Earth. What Nasa considers 'close' in the case of 2013-CW32 is around 3,119,690 miles – about 14 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

That's a very good thing because 2013-CW32 is around 820 feet across (253 meters) and travelling at 36,775 mph. (59183 kph) For perspective, the 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor was estimated to be 20m and it caused an explosion 30 times stronger than the atom bomb over Hiroshima.
See ----->Spike in meteor impacts may be ongoing

Lefkandi in Evia

Terracotta sculpture found at Lefkandi (Euboea), 950 BCE.
Ancient Lefkandi is a coastal village on the island of Euboea, Greece. The settlement is where the first recorded war in Greek history was fought. Occupation at Lefkandi can be traced back to the Early Bronze Age, and continued to the early 4th century BCE.

Lefkandi was one of the locations settled by the Mycenaeans after the fall of Knossos. It is considered by historians as a link for the Mycenaean civilization into Greece.
The significance of the site was revealed in 1980 when a mound was found to contain two shaft graves under a structure called a "hero's grave." It held remains of a couple and four horses which were sacrificed. One of the bodies had been cremated, with the ashes stored in a bronze amphora. It's believed that the ashes were those of a man. The woman's body wasn't cremated. She was buried and adorned with jewelry. An iron knife with an ivory handle was found near her shoulder.

The Lefkandi Centaur, ca. 900 BCE
Six cemeteries were discovered on Euboea, dated between 1100–850 BCE. Rich grave goods in the burials included gold and luxury imports such as Egyptian faience and bronze jugs, Phoenician bowls, scarabs, and seals. The occupation at Lefkandi is unusual in that its residents seemed to have carried on with their Mycenaean social structure while the rest of Greece fell into disarray ... the 'dark ages'.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Museum displays Ancient Gold from Gallic Wars

10 gold coins discovered in Kent in 2016 have gone on display. The group of gold coins was found at a site near Chiddingstone Castle. The coins are thought to date from around 50 or 60 BC and would have probably been used to pay or bribe mercenaries fighting with the Gauls against Julius Caesar.

They were manufactured in the Amiens region of northern France.
During the middle of the 1st century BC an ambitious Roman proconsul named Julius Caesar began a lengthy 8 year war (The Gallic Wars) for control of Gaul (modern France and Belgium).

Caesar's success in Gaul laid the path for his eventual position as sole ruler of the Roman Republic.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Faustina (the elder) and the 5 good emperors

From about 96 CE to 180 CE, the Roman Empire was ruled by the “Five Good Emperors“. They were Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. One of the most telling aspects of this group is that each adopted his own successor based on merit, not strict inheritance. Historians believe this was responsible for the good governance. Faustina married the future emperor Antoninus around 110 CE. Upon Hadrian’s death in 138, Antoninus became the next Emperor of Rome and Faustina gained the title “Augusta”

Faustina suffered an untimely death not long into Antoninus’ reign, in about 141. Antoninus honored his beloved wife with a gold aureus. An NGC grade Choice Extremely Fine; Strike: 5/5, Surface: 3/5. made $ 4,500 at Goldberg.
See ----->The Five Good Emperors

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

New theory on what killed Alexander the Great

There's been speculation over what caused the death of Alexander the Great ever since the event. Some think the 32-year-old suffered from typhoid fever, malaria, or was poisoned. A senior lecturer thinks the Macedonian king suffered from Guillain-Barre syndrome. It's a neurological disorder causing paralysis.

One of history's puzzles was why his body didn't decompose for six days. Ancients took that as proof that he was a god. The new theory suggests he was still alive, but had complete paralysis, with his breathing virtually undetectable.
Guillain-Barre syndrome is a rare disorder in which the body's immune system attacks nerves. Weakness and tingling in the extremities are usually the first symptoms. The cause of Guillain-Barre syndrome is unknown, but it is often preceded by an infectious illness. As Guillain-Barre syndrome progresses, muscle weakness evolves into paralysis. Untreated it leads to respiration failure and death.

The symptoms and time course of Alexander's death are consistent with an infection and then Guillain-Barre syndrome.

See ----->Death of Alexander the Great

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Ancient Gold of Kuban

The construction of the Olympic venues for the Sochi Olympics triggered large-scale archaeological excavations previously unseen in the resort city. Over a dozen archeological expeditions yielded more than 400 artifacts that were handed over to the city's museum. The Imereti Valley was previously considered unattractive for archeological expeditions, but the finds show that the area has been populated since ancient times.
The Bosporan Kingdom was an ancient state located in eastern Crimea and the Taman Peninsula. The Bosporan Kingdom was the longest surviving Roman client kingdom.

Their prosperity was based on the export of wheat, fish and slaves. The profit of the trade supported a class of conspicuous wealth.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Caligula Coins

The Roman Empire produced scores of bad emperors, but Gaius is ranked among the very worst. Caius Caesar was born in 12 A.D., the son of Germanicus and Agrippina Sr. He was nicknamed Caligula, meaning "little boots," by the legions because as a child his mother dressed him in military uniforms, including little boots. Caligula’s early coinage celebrates his descent.

The great-grandson of Augustus inherited none of his ancestor’s virtues and all of his vices. He quickly murdered Tiberius Gemellus, his co-heir, he murdered his pregnant wife, he heaped public honors upon his horse, and bankrupted Rome's treasury.
Caligula was tall, with spindly legs and a thin neck. His eyes and temples were sunken and his forehead broad and glowering. His hair was thin and he was bald on top, though he had a hairy body. He was very pale.

During his reign it was a crime punishable by death to look down on him as he passed by, or to mention a goat in his presence.
Initially he was popular, succeeding the reclusive and paranoid Tiberius in 37 A.D. when he was 24 years old. For a few brief months he ruled well. Soon his reign degenerated into debauchery and murder.

Caligula was sadistic, cruel and indulged in sexual aberrations that offended Rome and were considered insane. Caligula's power soon led him to believe himself a God. This led him to kill anyone that he thought surpassed him in something.

Sestertius features the three sisters of Caligula. Appearing on the coin wasn't a good omen.
Ancient accounts of Caligula’s reign focus on his cruelty, his excesses, and his clinical insanity – an unpredictable mixture of fits, anxiety, insomnia and hallucinations.

He often claimed to hold conversations with Jupiter and to sleep with the moon goddess. He was famous for his sadism. Declaring himself a deity caused a major backlash in Judea, because Jewish law said that they could only worship their God. His refusal to revoke the decree that the nations worship him caused the revolution in Judea.
Caligula's hubris eventually destroyed him. He insulted his Roman military commanders, particularly Cassius Chaerea, who plotted against and murdered him on January 24, 41 at the Palatine Games.

In 2014 a Caligula coin appeared on 'Pawn Stars'. The coin was a silver denarius that was struck in the last 24 days of Caligula's life.

Caligula coins are rare. The hatred for Caligula ran deep. His name was erased from many public inscriptions, his statues pulled down and destroyed and his coinage recalled and melted.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Spike in meteor impacts may be ongoing

Ever since our sun was born around 4.6 billion years ago, the solar system has been a very violent place. Like a pinball machine filled to the brim with moving balls of every description ... meteors, comets, and even baby planets crashing into each other.

The 'giant-impact hypothesis' suggests that the Moon eventually formed from the debris left over from a collision between Earth and a planet the size of Mars. Scientists say earth barely escaped being pulverized completely. The moon is a comparatively untouched geological archive and a constant companion to Earth for most of its lifetime.
Researchers found a way to map and date the moon’s craters from a billion years ago to the present using NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). Mapping a billion years’ worth of craters on the moon took 5 years. The team found that two to three times as many objects have been slamming into the moon starting 290 million years ago, compared to the impact rates in the 710 million years prior. The lunar impact spike 290 million years ago also appears on Earth. The best guess as to the reason is almost all the impacts we have on Earth came from objects that escaped the asteroid belt. Whatever the cause, this impact flux spike will continue to consume scientists and for good reason. The 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor was estimated to be 20m in diameter with an airburst of around 500 kilotons, an explosion 30 times stronger than the one over Hiroshima.
An illustration of the moon's craters, scaled by size and color-coded by age. Blue craters are younger than 290 million years; green are 290-580 million years old; yellow are 580-870 million years old; red are 870 million-1.16 billion years old; and pink are older than 1.16

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Saturn's rings only as old as the dinosaurs

Saturn’s rings are one of the most amazing sights to behold in our solar system, but scientists can't explain their origin. That might be changing thanks to the last data collected by NASA’s Cassini probe before it met its planned demise in September 2017. Saturn’s rings are much younger than the planet, only about 10 to 100 million yo, compared to Saturn's age of roughly 4.5 billion years. The big findings came from gravity field measurements as Cassini plunged towards the planet.
Coincidentally, the time-frame of formation of the rings is the same as when the dinosaurs were wiped out some 65 million years ago. Scientists speculate some sort of unusual upheaval of objects and collisions may have occurred at the time. They predict, based on Cassini's data, that the planet’s rings would be completely gone in 'just' 300 million years.