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Last chance to enter the EGU Photo Contest 2018!

Last chance to enter the EGU Photo Contest 2018!

If you are pre-registered for the 2018 General Assembly (Vienna, 8 -13 April), you can take part in our annual photo competition! Winners receive a free registration to next year’s General Assembly! But hurry, there are only a few days left to enter!

Every year we hold a photo competition and exhibit in association with our open access image repository, Imaggeo, and our annual General Assembly. There is also a moving image competition, which features a short clip of continuous geoscience footage. Pre-registered conference participants can take part by submitting up to three original photos and/or one moving image on any broad theme related to the Earth, planetary and space sciences.

Shortlisted photos will be exhibited at the conference, together with the winning moving image, which will be selected by a panel of judges. General Assembly participants can vote for their favorite photos and the winning images will be announced on the last day of the meeting.

How to enter

You will need to register on Imaggeo to upload your image, which will also be included in the database. When you’ve uploaded it, you’ll have the option to edit the image details – here you can enter it into the EGU Photo Contest – just check the checkbox! The deadline for submissions is 15 February.

Previous winning photographs can be seen on the 20102011, 2012,  2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 winners’ pages.

EGU 2018 will take place from 08 to 13 April 2017 in Vienna, Austria. For more information on the General Assembly, see the EGU 2018 website and follow us on Twitter (#EGU18 is the official conference hashtag) and Facebook.

Light years from home – a geologist’s tale

Light years from home – a geologist’s tale

In a departure from the usual posts we feature on the blog, today Conor Purcell (a freelance science writer) brings you a thought provoking science fiction piece. Grab a drink and dive into this geology inspired adventure!

“It’s typical geology for a rocky planet” K reported. “Captured beneath the ocean at its northern pole, the core is a mix of metamorphic and sedimentary rock, with sand and fossilized organisms of the non-intelligent form. Nothing unusual.”

“We should use our new systems for this analysis,” It thought to itself. “Best to begin with a rocky planet.” K was the collective thinking entity of its group, a unified consortium of representatives now located across interstellar space: their task to find intelligent life beyond itself.

Here, on the orbiting cube, lying lengthways in front of K, and secured within the hold of the onboard core analyser, was a long cylindrical section – a core – of rock and mud which had been excavated from the planet below. K was now beginning the routine inspection performed on each of the cores acquired across the surveyed planets.

“Inspect all elements and produce time-series of environmental parameters relevant for the planet” K commanded itself.

It was then that something unusual triggered a notification in its Thought Centre – something it had never experienced. “What is this?” it asked.

For millennia, K had been searching for evidence of intelligent life on exoplanets beyond its own host star. In earlier times ground based receivers had been constructed and used to scour the endless black sky, and although life had been discovered to exist almost everywhere, without exception it took the form of mindless cellular or multicellular organisms. No trace of another Type 1 civilization had ever been found. Even as K’s technology advanced, observing and measuring the atmospheres of millions of remote planets to seek out the signatures of machine and biological life, and now even visiting those remote worlds, no sign of intelligence had yet been discovered.

What now caught the attention of K’s Thought Centre was a narrow section of fine material which appeared to have been laid down in a remarkably short period of time, during just twenty solar orbits. “This geology is unique,” K thought.

“On a planet that contains layers stacked typically over tens of thousands or millions of years, what kind of mechanism could produce such a pattern?” it asked itself. “A rapid fluvial event could produce something like this” it responded. “But not exactly: the material here is far too fine to be explained by known terrestrial, oceanic or atmospheric forces in the universe,” it thought. K could not explain it.

Far below the orbiting cube on which the analysis was being performed, over extensive distances from the poles to the equatorial belt, the K machines proceeded to core their way across the planet. For a rocky sphere of this size, two hundred cores would be drilled and sampled. The complete process would take a little over one solar orbit.

“What do we think about this anomaly?” K asked itself. “We should compute an age model for the section.”

“The section in question is relatively young, just 2.167 million solar orbits in age” it calculated. “It is wedged at the intersection between two geological epochs, marked by a large (25 degrees Kelvin) and incredibly rapid (300 years) temperature increase across the transition.”

K next extracted a sample from each of the section’s annually laid sediments and instructed itself to begin the weighing of trace elements. Chemical analysis of the ratios of isotopes would spell out a varying signal across time, detailing past temperatures and planetary ice volume. This kind of varying palaeoclimate history had been discovered on planets throughout the galaxy. It was ubiquitous.

But, amazingly, unlike the millions of geological cores previously processed, this short section presented no ordinary signal: the pattern generated by the weight of these trace elements was encrypted.

K had not seen anything like it before and inside its Thought Centre an alert was raised: no signal in the known universe had ever been found encrypted.

“Perform an analysis on the encryption, decipher, and display results,” K commanded.

“The signal has been encrypted using a very basic cypher, and can be unravelled easily.”

The deciphering took just microseconds, and right there and then the signal was laid bare, changing K’s understanding of the universe forever.

After millennia of exploration, believing it was the lone thinking entity in the universe, here was evidence conveying the existence of another intelligence, a message sublimely detailed in the universal language of mathematics. It read:

‘This was once an inhabited place which we called Earth.’

By Conor Purcell Science & Nature Writer with a PhD in Earth Science

Conor Purcell is a Science & Nature Writer with a PhD in Earth Science. He can be found on twitter @ConorPPurcell and some of his other articles at cppurcell.tumblr.com.

Last chance to enter the EGU Photo Contest 2017!

Last chance to enter the EGU Photo Contest 2017!

If you are pre-registered for the 2017 General Assembly (Vienna, 23 -28 April), you can take part in our annual photo competition! Winners receive a free registration to next year’s General Assembly! But hurry, there are only a few days left to enter!

Every year we hold a photo competition and exhibit in association with our open access image repository, Imaggeo and our annual General Assembly. There is also a moving image competition, which features a short clip of continuous geoscience footage. Pre-registered conference participants can take part by submitting up to three original photos and/or one moving image on any broad theme related to the Earth, planetary and space sciences.

How to enter

You will need to register on Imaggeo to upload your image, which will also be included in the database. When you’ve uploaded it, you’ll have the option to edit the image details – here you can enter it into the EGU Photo Contest – just check the checkbox! The deadline for submissions is 1 March.

Imaggeo on Mondays: The waxing Earth

Imaggeo on Mondays: The waxing Earth

These incredible images of Earth were acquired from the European MSG-2 satellite on July 21, 2009. The MSG, which stands for Meteosat Second Generation, satellites are operated as a series of satellites which continually orbit our planet, capturing detailed images of Europe, Africa and parts of the Atlantic and Indian Ocean every 15 minutes. The data acquired is largely used by meteorologists.

The satellites operate in a geostationary orbit. This means they are located some 36000km above the equator and follow the Earth’s rotation. This orbit allows an extraordinary view on the waxing Earth at 5:00, 6:00, 7:00, 8:00, 10:00, and 12:00 UTC.

But what causes this periodicity ? Exploring the phases of our Moon over the period of approximately a month helps us visualise this phenomenon. It takes the Moon 27 days to complete a full revolution around Earth. During this time, the relative position between the Moon, Earth and the Sun changes, so that, seen from the Earth’s perspective, a new, waxing, full Moon, and waning Moon. Similarly, from the perspective of a geostationary satellite, the Earth apparently orbits the satellite once per day and likewise it observes a “new Earth”, “waxing Earth”, “full Earth”, and “waning Earth” once per day.

Interestingly, the MSG satellites have only one channel (covering the full earth disk) in the visible spectral region, in other words, the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to the human eye. The human eye has receptors for three different colours, which means information is missing to generate true colour composite images from MSG. For this reason, Maximillian Reuter (a researcher at Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen, in Germany) and Susanne Pfeifer (Climate Service Center Germany) developed an algorithm that primarily uses the SEVIRI (the main instrument aboard MSG) channels at 0.6μm, 0.8μm and 1.6μm, to transform RGB (red/green/blue) false colour composite images of the used channels into (quasi) true color images. The result is today’s featured image. The lack of information in the blue and green parts of the visible spectrum is compensated by using data from NASA’s Blue Marble next generation project.

By Maximillian Reuter, researcher at Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen and Laura Roberts, EGU Communications Officer.

References :

More information in the publication M. Reuter, S. Pfeifer: Moments from space captured by MSG SEVIRI. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 32, 14, 4131-4140, doi: 10.1080/01431161.2011.566288,2011.

Imaggeo is the EGU’s online open access geosciences image repository. All geoscientists (and others) can submit their photographs and videos to this repository and, since it is open access, these images can be used for free by scientists for their presentations or publications, by educators and the general public, and some images can even be used freely for commercial purposes. Photographers also retain full rights of use, as Imaggeo images are licensed and distributed by the EGU under a Creative Commons licence. Submit your photos at http://imaggeo.egu.eu/upload/.