Red Headed Stepchild
(The Barrett family memoir of Navy Life)
by Sophie Ruth Meranski with photos


96-1428 }A{ {I}
Ireland word square - map like - many words diagonal, backward, down-up++++NEW IDEA APRIL 12 CONTAIN or REFLECT SOLAR HEAT back toward surface with GREENHOUSE GASES in lower portion of sun's CORONA.--WARM solar SURFACE - AMPLIFY ESCAPE of MASS from SURFACE of SUN to SOLAR WIND. This might be safest technique to remove mass uniformly from all areas of sun. ++++May 27+=+ TIME SCALE OF THE UNIVERSE If you understand radioactive half lives, each isotope has a characteristic decay period, which varies extremely slightly. The most important is Uranium 238, which has 50% decay every 3.3 billion years. Isotopes with short decay periods have disappeared almost completely since the earth formed a little over 4.6 billion years ago. Isotope ratios are telling us that a very few meteorites are older than the sun and formed either in cool red giant stars like Betelguese or in supernovas. The inert rare gas Xenon has many isotopes. The heaviest and lightest Xenon isotopes are ordinarily rare, but in certain uncommon meteors, they are greatly enriched, indicating they are older than the solar system and fomed in ancient stars that no longer exist. If you are going to understand scientific concepts of age, isotopes and radioactivity are fundamental. Four basic forces are known in physics - more may be discovered that work at very high temperatures and pressures or at extremely short distances, but we know the strong and weak nuclear forces that hold nuclei together despite their positive electric charges which repel each other - then the electromagnetic force - light, radio, heat, X-ray chemical bonds - and gravity, which is weakest but works at great distances. Radioactivity is the basis of scientific chronology, but many other lines of evidence corroborate the picture. I may try later to extract some of this for an essay to put on my website. Many of my essays start with letters and E mails. There is still some uncertainty over the precise age of the observable universe, but it is currently estimated around 13 billion years plus or minus around 15%. It started with a huge incredibly hot fireball of unbelievable density. What happened before, or whether there are other universes is not well understood. For most scientific discussions the universe means what we observe in telescopes by electromagnetic and gravity waves. The speed of light is a constant a little over 186,000 miles per second, as was observed in Denmark in 1676 - the eclipses of Jupiter's four moons was delayed a thousand seconds when Jupiter was behind the sun at far point of orbit. At that point the light has to travel the diameter of the earth's orbit extra to reach us- that distance is 186 million miles - it takes a thousand seconds, so a very accurate determination of speed of light was made in 1676. It has been verified many times - U.S. Navy with mirrors made an accurate determination in late 1800s Michelson-Morley group. [Don't argue with U.S. Navy!] When we look out great distances, we are also looking back into the past. The cosmic background radiation is the oldest thing we see in all directions - it is estimated to have formed three hundred thousand years after the formation of the observable universe, at a time when matter had cooled sufficiently so that light could escape and go its own way. This has cooled to about three degrees K. above absolute zero. This took over twelve billion years. I am going to check its usual name n the literature Cosmic Background Radiation or Cosmic Microwave Radiation. Get in habit of reading "Science" and "Nature" magazines at your libraries and you will see a great deal of current research - look up BOOMERANG observations in Antarctica in year 2000. They are finding a huge vibration pattern like sound just before the electromagnetic radiation separated from the dense matter. - In the Bang Bang mostly the lightest element Hydrogen was created - just one proton H+ - then some deuterium - a protom plus and neutron charge plus one, atomic weight two - and Helium with two protons and two neutrons charge plus two, atomic weight Four. For reasons I have't completely studied, most of the deuterium from the Big Bang went on to form heavier elements, which were less than one per cent of original Big Bang matter. Scientists attach great importance to determination of the relative abundance of Deuterium in the universe - for some reason it predicts the total amount of Baryonic matter - which is made up of protons and neutrons and their components called QUARKS in the nucleus and the electronegative orbiting electons. About a billion years later recently Hubble orbiting telescope studies show galaxies and stars forming earlier than we expected or predicted. What happens it seems, is that mysterious dark matter collects gravitationally first, and then the familiar baryonic matter. Baryons are quarks, protons, neturons. We don't know what the mysterious dark matter is - it may be twenty times more abundant than the conventional matter we know. It does not react to electromagnetic forces and does not clump in nuclei under the strong nuclear force, which has been described by Richard Feynmann's mathematical techniques renormalization and Quantum Chromondynamics. I am not completely sure if it is known if the weak force affects non-baryonic matter, but we know of its existence only through its gravitional effects, including the rapid rotation of the sun around the center of the Milky Way galaxy, which is a hugh black hole about 25,000 to 27,000 light years from us in direction of contellation Sagittarius. I have been starting from the Big Bang, and we have gone out to release of Cosmic Background Radiation about 300,000 years later and then formation of stars, quasars, and galaxies less than a billion years later over ten billion years ago. In our Milky Way galaxy the oldest stars have around 98% Hydrogen and a little Helium and very little of the heavier elemets, which astronomers call "Metals" but not in a chemist's sense. These stars are called POPULATION TWO stars. Arcturus is the brightest of these only about 37 light years away, passing through the plane of the visible Milky Way Halaxy, which is a warped but flat disk about six thousand light years thick and one hundred thousand light years in diameter. A light year is 5.9 trillion miles. Earth and sun are about half way from center of disk to the rim out beyond autumn-winter constellations Auriga and Taurus in direction between bright stars Capella and Aldebaran. Stars keep forming when shock waves gather gas together, though star formation was greatest in early history of galaxy. Younger stars usually have more heavy elements recycled from old stars where these heavy elements formed. The sequences and ages are being worked out in great detail, but you need to understand isotopes and nuclear physics if you are going to understand it. The oxygen, nitrogen, carbon in our bodies formed in old stars more than 4.6 nillion years ago, mostly in the final supernova stages, where they blow off incredible energy. Some important isotopes were formed in cool outer shells of Red Giant stars, which are nearing supernova. The properties of stars can be predicted largely if you know their total mass and age. Metal content and spin are additional minor factors. There is a Herzsprung-Russell diagram that relates spectral characters of starlight to total luminosity, corrected for distance of the star, as light apparent brightness varies as square of distance. Two women at Harvard made very important contributions to understanding all this - Henrietta Swann Leavitt 1869-1921 studied variable stars and found that major classes the Cepheid and RR Lyrae stars have a regular period of variation that is related to the absolute luminosity closely enough so that their distances can be estimated fairly well - this is one of the most important lines of evidence on the distances of globular clusters in the Milky Way halo and in distant galaxies. Both Cepheids and RR Lyrae stars are approaching supernova stage. The Cepheids are very large stars and include the North Star Polaris and Deneb "Arabic 'tail'" in Cygnus the Swan or Northern Cross. The RR Lyrae stars are very old Population Two stars that are abundant in globular clusters, many of which are about as old as Milky Way Galaxy. Annie Jump Cannon 1863-1941 observed and catalogued over four hundred thousand stars correlating their spectral colors with their absolute luminosity, as corrected for distance. Distance estimates are a real problem in astronomy and affect ages and velocities, but they are continually being improved. The bigger a star is, the greater the temperature and pressure at the core, nd the faster fusion reactions occur, and the sooner it uses up Hydrogen at the core. Since Hans Bethe's 1930s work, it is generally accepted that a small region at core of sun and what are called "MAIN SEQUENCE" [important concept] stars get their heat from fusion of hydrogen to helium in a small core region where temperature is around 14 to 15 million degrees Kelvin [Celsius + 273]. Minor corrections are bring made as we estimate number of neutrinos formed etc. It takes a million years about for this fusion energy to work its way out FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND MILES to surface of sun - first by radiation for seventy per cent of distance and then by plasma convection in outer thirty per cent of diameter. Stars are classed by surface temperature OBAFGKM -"Oh, Be A Fine Girl[guy] Kiss Me The hottest stars class O have surface temperature 25,000 to 50,000 degrees K. Examples Alnitak in Orion's Belt or Delta Canis major - but they are about 1600 and 500 light years away respectively, fortunately. You don't want them in your meighborhood. These O stars have spectral lines of ionized Calcium and Helium. The next category B is around 11,000 K. and looks blue in spectrum, as the bright supergiant Rigel, the knee of Orion. These have ionized helium but not calcium I think. The next categories A and F - I must check temperatures - somewhere between six and ten thosand degrees K - nearby Sirius is A and Procyon F - I believe they are "dwarf" meaning they are still on main sequence fusing hydrogen at core and stable - then sun surface temperature 5500 degrees Celsius or about 5770 K. is in Class G - there are numerical subdivisions and I think the sun is G2 - and the Roman numeral V [five] is used to mean the sun is a Main Sequence or Dwarf star. If a star has Roman Numerals 1a Ib II III IV it means it is a Supergiant Giant or SubGiant - enlarging, less dense, unstable, often with inner shells and approach supernova ending stage. Most O B A F stars are younger than the sun. The sun is class G dwarf on Main Sequence. Stars in class K and M are cooler than the sun. The smallest stars with sustained fusion at core are about 7.5 to 8 per cent of solar mass, and they will remain on main sequence up to five trillion [five thousand million years] good places to retire. That is why I want to remove mass from the sun. Objects smaller than eight solar masses beginning as gas clouds as stars do, and heat up as gravity makes them contract. They often burn light elements deuterium and lithium, but they do not reach a core temperature and pressure needed for fusion of common hydrogren, so they cool off and have been named "Brown Dwarfs" though some people prefer the name substars. A great many old large stars that were classes O B A F or G stars formed earlier than sun have now burned out their fusion energy and are called White Dwarfs". Their ages can be inferred from their temperatures, as they are extremely dense and cool slowly. The coolest white dwarfs are the oldest, and there are ones believed to be at least eight billion years old, so the Galaxy must be older. On the Internet - using Search Engine enter " trip3 Milky Way " for an excellent account and maps and pictures of the area around the solar system by Annemie Maertens in Belgium. For a couple of million years the solar system hase been passing through an unusual high-vacuum "Local Bubble" created by relatively reent supernova activity. In about fifty thousand years the solar system is expected to encounter galactic clouds in the "Aquila Rift" in direction of constellation AQUILA the Eagle. The rotation of the sun about the galactic center takes about 250 million years. As a group the stars near the sun are rotating toward a point in direction of constellation Cygnus. The sun has a periodic motion of its own in a sixty-six million year cycle, crossing the glactic plane every thirty-three million years. This Belgium source on Internet says the sun is now about sixty light years north of the Galactic Plane and will elongate to a maximum of about 240 light years north of the galactic plane in 14 or fifteen million years, then move back townard the plane. The sun is moving away from nearby Alpha Centauri, Sirius, and Procyon and moving toward a point in constellation Hercules near its bounday with constellation Lyra and bright star Vega. Estimates of the extent and mass of the Milky Way's Galactic Halo are being increased. It is suggested the dark mass of the halo is twenty times the visible matter, and that the halo formed first. Gravitational Lensing observations are finding some white and brown dwarfs, but theorists expect that there will be unfamiliar non-baryonic matter. The Milky Way has captured many smaller galaxies, and is believed to have a "barred spiral" form that reflects this history. It is expected eventually to capture the irregular small galaxies in southern sky known as Large and Small Magellanic Clouds about 160.000 - 180,000 light years away. An spectacular supernova 1987A in the Large Magellanic Cloud 1987 has been closely studied, and many obersevations of gravitational lensing by Milky Way halo objects have involved light from stars in these two neaby galaxies. Eventually the Milky Way is expected to merge with the other large galaxy in the LOCAL GROUP, the Andromeda Galaxy, estimated between 2.5 and three million light years distant. Beyond the Local Group our galaxies appear gravitationally bound to those hundreds of millions of light years away including the galactic cluster centered in constellation Virgo, where elliptical galaxies appear to have formed by more advanced galactic mergers [perhaps lawyers get rich in these]. Some chronology of life on earth. Shorter-lived isotopes add information -there is a potassium isotope with half-life between 100/150 million years, and Carbon 14 half life of 40,000 years is used in archaeology. Position of North star moves in 26,000 year cycle called "Precession of the Equinoxes" which is confirmed by Chinese, Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek records. Elso Barghoorn 1964 published records of bacterial fossils in Gunflint Chert about 1.1. billion years old near Lake Superior western Ontario - they were discovered 1954 but publication was delayed. Oldest bacterial fossils are well over three billion years, and rocks are at least 3.96 billion. Eukaryotic red algae discovered by Nicholas Butterfield and Andrew Knoll appear to go back a billion years, and higher animals arthropods, mollusks, chordates appear in Cambrian over 500 million years ago.In 1998 Harvard-Canadian Earth Scientist Paul Hoffman published strong evidence for ice ages between 730 and 580 million years ago when oceans worldwide were covered by ice to the equator, but the reduction in photosynthesis led to renewed warmth as carbon dioxide from volcanic activity accumulated. Harry Whittington, Derek Briggs, and Simon Conway-Morris of Cambridge University have greatly advanced understanding of Cambrian animal explosion by their studies of Burgess Shale in Yoho National Park, british Columbia, where soft body parts were exceptionally well preserved by sudden burial in turbidity currents. This story was narrated with outstanding illustrations by Stephen Jay Gould in book "Wonderful Life." Petroleum companies use form variations in fossils like ammonoids and fusulinids to trace ages of stratigraphic layers which contain economic minerals. This was a practical economic incentive for study of evolutionary paleobiology. There was an early anoxic period when iron was in reduced chemical state in Archaean epoch. Although photosynthesis appeared around three billion years ago, and then blue green algae "cyanobacteria" developed a form of photosynthesis that releases oxygen, some chemical proecess removed oxygen from atmosphere until about 2.2 or 2.1 billion years ago, in the Proterozoic, when oxygen began to be major component of air. Higher land plant spores have been identified by Jane Gray 1929-2000 from Caradocian epoch of Ordovician 458-449 million years ago and a group at Boston College Weston Observatory recently may have found them in Cambrian sediments of Arizona and Tennessee. Since the Cambrian there have been five big extinctions - one in Ordovician connected with ice age - one in Upper Devonian age of fish around 360 M, the biggest exntinction at end of Permian about 248 million years ago, end Triassic when mammal-like reptiles had setback and dinosaurs became dominaant, and end Cretaceous when comet at Chicxulub Yucatan, may have contributed to extinction of dinosaurs, ammonoids, and many sea forms. Flowering plant pollen goes back over 130 million years. Opening of Atlantic Ocean separated old and new world monkeys and, break-up of Gondwana distributed plants and animals to South America, Arica, Madagascar, India, Antarctica, Australia, New Zealand. In Cretaceous, most of earth had tropical and wet climate, and oxygen and carbon dioxide levels were much hgher than today. Seasonality has increased in temperate and polar regions, and grass and desert have come to occupy perhaps a third of surface of earth. Paleomagnetism tells ages of ocean floor and continental movements by plate tectonics. Some continental rocks are four billion years old, as granite with 2.7 density of water floats atop ocean floor basalt, density 3.2 times water. Granite is also light in color with quartz, feldspars, micas, oxygen, silicon, aluminum, and various combinations of potassium, calcium sodium. Basalt has dark augite,and relatively large amounts of heavy iron and magnesium. Ocean floor is re-cycled deep in mantle. Some of the oldest ocean floor east of Guam Trench in western Pacific is about 170 million years old formed in Pacific. An area of eastern Mediterranean floor may be older geologically and part of the ancient Tethys Sea between northern Laurasia and southern Gondwana, but this area was dry land for a time about six million years ago. Persian Gulf, Mediterranean, and Dead Sea are said to be remains of the very ancient Tethys Sea, but Red Sea is part of the Rift Valley systems in Africe connected to mid-ocean ridges where new ocean floor is forming. Ocean fllor paleomagnetism is like a tape recording of earth history. Drying trend most of Africa transformed rain forest to savannah over 80% of continent, and human ancestors came down from trees, adapted to walking erect, and hunting in groups, where fossils indicate adaptations for speech 1.8 million years ago. Earlier human ancestors behame addicted to Vitamin C while on a high fruit diet in trees. Common ancestor with chimpanees was about 7-8 million years ago. Immune systems are remarkably similar - Major histocompatibility complex variation is older than human species.
Year: 1995