Animal Instinct at Glinka Gallery in Second Life

The Ginka Gallery: Lash VV – Animal Instinct

Currently open at The Glinka Gallery, operated and curated by Wolfgang Glinka, is an exhibition of original paintings by Serbian painter and digital artist, Lash VV. Entitled Animal Instinct, it marks his fourth show at the gallery, and focuses on one of his core interests as an artist: the natural world.

Located within one of the gallery’s halls, Animal Instinct is a collection of some 25 paintings of animals in the wild. It’s a selection that offers insight into Lash’s range as an artist, the pieces representing original works produced in oil, acrylics, watercolours, charcoal and ink drawings, drypoint, his skills with digital post-processing techniques and more.

The Ginka Gallery: Lash VV – Animal Instinct

These are pieces also representing their subjects in a similarly broad range of genres – still-life, impressionist, minimalist, abstracted – with each approach clearly balanced to best reflect the motion of its subject or captures the manner in which we tend to picture them in the mind’s eye.  This gives each picture a depth and sense of life that can so easily capture the eyes – and also offer a hint of a story.

Take Dance of Love, for example. It captures two Japanese cranes in courtship, but more than this, though the the style, the minimalist use of colour, the piece offers a broader suggestion of the country itself.  close by, Antelopes similarly captures the alertness of their subject while the light hatching of lines beyond them as all we need to see in order to be transported to the Serengeti.

The Ginka Gallery: Lash VV – Animal Instinct

Standing just inside the hall on the right is Fight, a beautifully raw piece, accompanied by a poem by Wolfgang entitled Rutting that equally captures the rawness of animal life in the wild.

Watched over by a 3D salamander also created by Lash, this is a wonderfully evocative selection of art guaranteed to capture the hearts of wildlife lowers.

SLurl Details

Space Sunday: collisions, gamma bursts and rockets

A Hubble Space Telescope image from Oct. 8 shows the debris blasted from the surface of an asteroid called Dimorphos 12 days after it was struck by NASA’s DART spacecraft. Credit: NASA / ESA / STScI / Hubble

The results are now in – to a degree – on the success of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirect Test (DART) mission which has been the focus of my two previous Space Sunday updates.

An attempt to test the theory that a vehicle launched from Earth could successful divert the orbit of a near-Earth obit (NEO) threatening this planet with a collision simply through the kinetic force imparted through crashing into it, DART struck Dimorphos, a 160-m asteroid orbiting the much larger Didymos as both orbit the Sun every 2.11 years crossing and re-crossing Earth’s orbit.

As I’ve previously noted, Dimorphos was selected as a target as scientist know a lot about its orbits – it shares a stable solar orbit with Didymos, it had a near-circular equatorial orbit around Didymos once every 11.9 hours, allowing DART to strike it pretty much head-on, thus transferring all of its 22,530 km/h velocity into a force to counter Dimorphos’ own velocity and 5 million tonnes of mass.

Prior to the impact, the DART team indicated any change in Dimorphos’ orbit of Didymos of 73 seconds or more would be considered a success – although it would likely take a couple of weeks after the impact before the exact change in the asteroid’s orbit would be known, as detailed Earth-based observations would be required.

It turns out that DART didn’t affect the orbit of Dimorphos by seconds – by a whopping 32 minutes, altering it from 11 hours and 55 minutes to 11 hours and 23 minutes and also reducing the average distance between Dimorphos and Didymos. This strongly suggests such a mission, undertaken a the right time, could be an effective means of diverting an Earth-threatening asteroid. However, the team note further observations are required.

This result is one important step toward understanding the full effect of DART’s impact with its target asteroid. As new data come in each day, astronomers will be able to better assess whether, and how, a mission like DART could be used in the future to help protect Earth from a collision with an asteroid if we ever discover one headed our way.

– Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division.

One of the reasons DART may have had a much greater impact (no pun intended) on Dimorphos and give pause for further consideration is that while much was known about its orbit around Didymos, little was known about its composition. Post-impact, the images captured by the Hubble and James Webb space telescopes and Earth-based observatories suggest Dimorphos is essentially a ball of loosely packed gravel, dust and ice. Thus, DART’s impact was amplified by the jet of ejecta throw off of the asteroid. As such, it is unclear as to whether the impact would have had the same effect against a more closely-bound asteroid, such as those which are iron-rich.

A mosaic of enhanced imagery shows the material that was ejected from the asteroid Dimorphos as a result of the DART collision. The nested “windows” in the picture reflect how the exposure was adjusted to compensate for the brightness of the material. Credit; NASA

Given this, getting an early a warning as possible of a potential impact so that the threatening asteroid or comet could be struck at a point in its orbit where it is far enough from Earth, it only requires a slight alteration to its orbit in order to be deflected.

An upcoming mission that could achieve this is the Near-Earth Object (NEO) Surveyor. Due for launch in 2026, this Earth-orbiting observatory is specifically designed to seek out NEOs of 140 m diameter or larger which regularly cross Earth’s orbit around the Sun and come within 30 million kilometres of our planet while doing so.

An artist’s impression of the Near-Earth Object (NEO) Surveyor, due for launch in 2026. Credit: NASA

By using two heat-sensitive infrared imaging channels, the observatory will be able to make accurate measurements of NEO sizes and gain valuable information about their composition, shapes, rotational states, and orbits, allowing scientists and engineers to determine the best means to divert any that may come to present a real impact threat.

Gamma Ray Burst “The Most Powerful Flash of Light Ever Seen”

Astronomers just detected what may be the most powerful flash of light ever witnessed.

Gamma ray busts are the most energetic type of electromagnetic explosion known to exist in the universe. They are believed to come in two forms: short bursts, lasting around 2 seconds and believed to be caused by ultra-dense neutron stars colliding; and long bursts, lasting several minutes, believed to be caused by so-called “hypernovas”, – the death explosion of really super-massive stars prior to them collapsing into black holes.

Gamma-ray bursts are the most energetic flashes of light known to exist in the universe. Credit: NASA, ESA and M. Kornmesser

Up to 100 times brighter than supernovas, and therefore also referred to as super luminous supernovae, these latter blasts can give off as much energy in a minute or so as the Sun will generate throughout its 10 billion year lifespan.

The blast detected on Sunday, October 9th by NASA’s orbiting Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, appears to have released 18 teraelectron-volts (TeV; one trillion electron volts) – almost double the energy of any such other burst thus far detected. In fact it was so powerful, it confused astronomers. Initially, it was believed the burst came from somewhere relatively close to the solar system and that it was an X-ray burst. It took additional analysis to confirm the flash was in fact a gamma-ray burst, and that it originated some 2.4 billion light-years away – which still makes it the closest such burst ever seen.

An artist’s impression of the explosion of SN 2006gy, a superluminous supernova. Credit: NASA

Officially designated GRB221009A, the burst was far enough away to cause excitement among astronomers rather than concern. However, should such a blast occur anywhere close to our stellar neighbourhood, it could very realistically end all life on this planet. In fact, it is believed that one of the biggest mass-extinction events in Earth’s history – the Late Ordovician mass extinction (LOME) event, which occurred 450 million years ago and eliminated up  60% of marine genera and nearly 85% of marine species in the second-largest mass extinction event of Earth’s history – may well have been triggered by such a blast.

Exactly which star caused GRB221009A isn’t known at this point, but it is so bright across all spectrums – X-ray, optical, radio and gamma – it is easy for observatories on Earth to monitor, allowing an extensive catalogue of data about it to be gathered.

When you are dealing with cosmic explosions that blast out stellar remains at near the speed of light, leaving a black hole behind, you are watching physics occurring in the most extreme environments that are impossible to recreate on Earth. We still don’t fully understand this process. Such a nearby explosion means we can collect very high quality data to study and understand how such explosions occur.

– Astronomer Gemma Anderson, Curtin University in Australia

Continue reading “Space Sunday: collisions, gamma bursts and rockets”

Seanchai Library: October 16th-21st 2022

Seanchai Library

It’s time to highlight another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library – and this week previews the launch of a very special event.

As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s home in Nowhereville, unless otherwise indicated. Note that the schedule below may be subject to change during the week, please refer to the Seanchai Library website for the latest information through the week.

Sunday. October 16th,  13:30: The Halloween Tree, Part 1

On All Hallows Eve, young Pipkin is due to meet his eight friends outside a haunted house on the edge of town. But as he runs through the gathering gloom, Something sweep him away.

Arriving at the house in expectation of meeting Pipkin, his eight friends instead encounter the mystical Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud, who informs them that Pipkin has been taken on a journey that could determine if he lives or dies.

Aided by Moundshroud and using the tail of a kite, the eight friends pursue Pipkin through time and space, passing through the past civilisations – Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Celts – witnessing all that has given rise to the day they know as “Halloween”, and the role things like ghosts and the dead play in it.

Then, at length they come to the Halloween Tree itself, laden with jack-o’-lanterns, its branches representing the confluence of all these traditions, legends and tales, drawing them together into itself.

With David Abbott, Faerie Maven-Pralou and Caledonia Skytower at Haunted Hollow in Chestnut Hills.

Monday, October 17th, 19:00: The Wolfen

Gyro Muggins reads Whitley Strieber’s 1978 debut novel.

Two New York Police Department detectives investigate a series of suspicious deaths across New York City. These are revealed to be the work of a race of intelligent beings descended from canids, called the Wolfen.

The novel is told from the point of view of the human characters as well from the Wolfen themselves. The savage killing of two New York City policemen leads two detectives, a man and a woman bound together by a strange, tough passion, to hunt down the wolfen – once called werewolves.

Tuesday, October 18th

12:00 Noon: Russell Eponym

With music, and poetry in Ceiluradh Glen.

19:00: Howl’s Moving Castle

Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle.

To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

Caledonia Skytower reads Diana Wynne Jones novel.

Wednesday, October 19th, 19:00: Seanchai Flicks – Spooky Edition

The Seanchai cinema space shares Halloween-themed video adventures.

Thursday, October 20th,

19:00: Be Spooky! Be Brief!

100-word spooky tales with R. Dismantled in Ceiluradh Glen.

21:00: Seanchai Late Night

Late night contemporary Sci-Fi-Fantasy with Finn Zeddmore.