A Marsquake, A Cryptic Tweet & Swirling Plasma

It’s Tuesday evening in Australia, which means it’s time for Talkin’ Science with Dr. Brad Tucker.  This week we’re taking a trip to the red planet to hear a Marsquake, we’re checking in on Twitter to catch Blue Origin’s cryptic tweet from last week and then stopping by Western Australia’s Curtin University where astronomers there have discovered some more interesting things about black holes…


For the first time, we’ve heard a Marsquake thanks to NASA’s Insight probe on the red planet. Interestingly, if this size of quake happened here on Earth, we probably wouldn’t have felt it or known about it because of the various atmospheric conditions present here. While Mars (and the Moon) don’t have tectonic plates – the cause of Earthquakes – the ground can still shake due to cooling and contraction of the surface.  Scientists use quakes to uncover the mysteries beneath the surface – this one is too small and faint for any meaningful analysis.


Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns Blue Origin a company competing with SpaceX and Boeing to design and build the next generation space vehicles. Last week they tweeted “May 9 2019” and included a picture of the 1914 sailing ship Endurance. That ship ferried Ernest Shackleton on his trans-Antarctic expedition and while speculation is rife as to what this cryptic tweet means, Dr. Brad believes it’s relating to the current interest on the south pole of the Moon – coincidentally titled Shackleton’s Crater…


Compared to a rotating sprinkler, V404-Cygni has been recording spinning around sending out bursts of plasma. Cygni’s jets appear to be triggered by a misalignment between the rotation of the black hole and the disc of material swirling around it, causing the inner part to wobble like a spinning top, pulling the jets around with it. Astronomers used a special technique to take 100 snapshots in four hours which were stitched together and analysed.

If you live in Perth, Brad’s in town next week to talk about The Universe and The Future of Space in his special classroom series, followed by some stargazing. Meet Brad and do a spot of stargazing, all the details are available here. Also, be sure to like his Facebook page to keep up to date with the latest science and space news!

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