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Unveiling the Mysteries of Comet 12P/Pons Brooks: The Devil Comet’s Rare Celestial Show

Explore the enigmatic beauty of Comet 12P/Pons Brooks, the “Devil Comet,” as it graces our skies with rare eruptions and celestial displays.

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Comet 12P/Pons Brooks, known as the “devil comet,” is an intriguing celestial visitor that has captured the attention of astronomers and stargazers alike. This comet, with a diameter of about 10.5 miles (17 kilometers), follows a highly elliptical orbit around the sun, completing its journey approximately every 71 years. What sets 12P apart is its cryovolcanic nature – an ice volcano in space.

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks photographed by the Virtual Telescope Project facility in Manciano, Italy on March 2, 2024. (Image credit: Gianluca Masi/Virtual Telescope Project)

The icy shell of 12P occasionally erupts due to solar radiation, releasing a mix of ice and gas known as cryomagma into space. This process significantly expands the comet’s coma, the cloud of gas and dust surrounding its nucleus, making it appear brighter for a few days. In July 2023, astronomers witnessed 12P erupt after nearly 70 years, with subsequent eruptions occurring more frequently.

During earlier eruptions, the comet’s expanded coma gave it a unique appearance resembling demonic horns. However, recent observations show that these horns seem to have vanished, replaced by a distinctive green glow caused by high levels of dicarbon in its coma and tail, a rare phenomenon in comets.

For sky watchers in the Northern Hemisphere, viewing opportunities are optimal before April 21, when 12P makes its closest approach to the sun. Post this date, the comet will become visible to those in the Southern Hemisphere until the year’s end. To catch a glimpse, head to the countryside away from city lights. While visible to the naked eye, binoculars can enhance the viewing experience.


12P has surprised observers with unexpected brightness, including a rare flare that transformed its gas cloud into a horseshoe shape, earning it monikers like the Devil Comet or Millennium Falcon Comet. Additional flares have been detected, hinting at potential future surprises as the comet approaches Earth.

The cause of these flare-ups remains a mystery, with some astronomers speculating about rare volcanic activity on the comet’s surface. When planning a stargazing outing, target days closest to a new moon to avoid moonlight interference. Checking the weather forecast is essential to ensure clear skies for optimal viewing conditions.

Upon arrival at your stargazing spot, allow your eyes time to adjust to the darkness, especially if you’ve been exposed to bright screens. Patience is key, as celestial wonders like Comet 12P/Pons Brooks often reveal themselves gradually, rewarding those willing to wait.

As you gaze at this unique cosmic spectacle, reflect on the transient nature of comets and the vast mysteries of the universe they represent. The journey of Comet 12P serves as a poignant reminder of the beauty and unpredictability of celestial phenomena, inviting us to marvel at the wonders of the cosmos and contemplate our place within it.

https://www.space.com/watch-comet-12p-pons-brooks-zoom-past-andromeda-galaxy-livestream

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Putting Jobs First: California High-Speed Rail Crosses 13,000 Construction Jobs Milestone

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California High-Speed Rail construction site with workers in hardhats.
Artistic rendering of a CAHSR high-speed train running in the Central Valley. California High-Speed Rail.

In a significant milestone for the nation’s first high-speed rail project, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) announced that it has successfully created over 13,000 construction jobs since 2015. This accomplishment not only signifies progress for the ambitious high-speed rail system but also highlights the positive impact it has had on the local Californian workforce.

California High-Speed Rail Crosses 13,000 Construction Jobs Milestone

Central Valley Takes the Lead:
With over 70 percent of these jobs going to residents of California’s Central Valley, the project has played a vital role in providing employment opportunities for individuals in the region. It is worth acknowledging the efforts of nearly 1,400 workers dispatched each day to various high-speed rail construction sites. These jobs have injected economic vitality and growth into communities across the Central Valley.

Regional Breakdown:

  1. Fresno County: 4,222 jobs
  2. Kern County: 2,538 jobs
  3. Tulare County: 1,282 jobs
  4. Madera County: 580 jobs
  5. Kings County: 462 jobs
  6. Merced County: 189 jobs
  7. Remaining California Counties: 3,387 jobs
  8. Out-of-State: 369 jobs

A Decade of Strong Partnerships:
The Authority has had a longstanding partnership with the California State Building Trades, which has facilitated the creation of thousands of good-paying union jobs. Notably, during the past five years alone, over 10,000 construction positions have been generated through these collaborative efforts. Moreover, a significant focus has been placed on directing employment opportunities towards individuals from disadvantaged communities, further promoting inclusivity and economic upliftment.

California Jobs First Council:
To bolster job creation even further and ensure economic prosperity for all Californians, the California Jobs First Council was established. This council aims to align economic resources, expedite job creation, and enhance opportunities throughout the state. With particular focus on the Central San Joaquin Valley, this initiative serves as an impetus for creating more jobs, rapidly, in every community.

Future Expansion and Construction Progress:
Looking ahead, the Authority is resolute in extending the current 119-mile high-speed rail network to span 171 miles, reaching from Merced to Bakersfield. The construction has already commenced on this expansion project. Presently, more than 25 dynamic construction sites are active within the Central Valley. As a testament to its commitment to environmental stewardship, the Authority has obtained full environmental clearance for 422 miles of the high-speed rail program, stretching from the Bay Area to Los Angeles County.

Stay Updated:
For the latest developments and information about the high-speed rail construction, interested individuals are encouraged to visit the official website: www.buildhsr.com. On the website, visitors can access recent videos, animations, photographs, press center resources, and the latest renderings of the project. All files are available for free use, courtesy of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority’s achievement of surpassing 13,000 construction jobs is undoubtedly a cause for celebration. By focusing on job creation and prioritizing the local workforce, this landmark project is making a positive difference in the lives of Californians, particularly those in the Central Valley. With continued progress and future expansions, the California High-Speed Rail project not only brings efficient transportation but also provides a substantial economic boost that benefits communities and individuals alike.

https://hsr.ca.gov/2024/03/19/putting-jobs-first-california-high-speed-rail-crosses-13000-construction-jobs-milestone/

Source: California High-Speed Rail Authority

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13k+ jobs created! 🚄 California High-Speed Rail breaking records and boosting the economy! jobs infrastructure https://stmdailynews.com/category/the-bridge/urbanism/

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What is California High-Speed Rail?

The California High-Speed Rail (CAHSR) is a state-funded project led by the California High-Speed Rail Authority. Currently under construction, Phase 1 is planned to cover 494 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles, passing through the Central Valley. There are plans for Phase 2, which would extend the system to Sacramento and San Diego, totaling 776 miles. Authorized by a 2008 ballot, this ambitious project aims to connect major urban areas, significantly reducing travel times. The goal for Phase 1 is to achieve a travel time of 2 hours and 40 minutes between San Francisco and Los Angeles, a vast improvement from the existing Amtrak service, which takes around nine hours.

Construction of Phase 1 began in the Central Valley back in 2015. The project is being built in sections due to limited funding. The state aims to complete a 171-mile (275 km) long Initial Operating Segment (IOS) connecting Merced and Bakersfield by 2024. The IOS is expected to begin its revenue service as a self-contained high-speed rail system between 2030-2033, at an estimated cost of $28–35 billion. CAHSR trains running along this section would be the fastest in the Americas, with a top speed of 220 mph (350 km/h).

Between January 2015 and December 2023, a whopping amount of $11.2 billion was spent on the IOS project, which includes 119 miles (192 km) currently under construction, alongside upgrades to the existing rail lines in the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Los Angeles. The plan is that Phase 1 will share tracks with conventional passenger trains. However, the Authority has not yet secured funding to connect the Central Valley section with either the Bay Area or Los Angeles, which involves crossing several major mountain passes. As of 2024, it is estimated that Phase 1 will cost a total of $106.2 billion.n.

Supporters of the California High-Speed Rail project emphasize the potential benefits it offers, including the reduction of air traffic and highway congestion, decreased pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and the promotion of economic growth by connecting inland regions to coastal cities. However, opponents argue that the project is too expensive and advocate for directing funds to other transportation or infrastructure initiatives. The choice of route and the decision to initiate construction in the Central Valley, rather than more densely populated areas, have been points of contention. The project has encountered notable challenges such as delays and cost overruns due to management issues, legal disputes, and a lack of complete funding commitment.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_High-Speed_Rail#

https://stmdailynews.com/category/the-bridge/urbanism/

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The Purple Line: Making History and Connecting L.A.

The Purple Line Extension Project: Connecting L.A., overcoming challenges, and unearthing history. #PurpleLine #LosAngeles #Transportation

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The completion of tunneling on the Purple Line Extension Project marks a significant milestone in the development of Los Angeles’ transportation system. With plans to connect Downtown Los Angeles with key areas of the Westside, this subway expansion project will not only alleviate traffic congestion but also create historical significance for the city. Let’s delve into the history, challenges, and cultural implications surrounding the Purple Line.

Wilshire Boulevard – A Legacy of Rail Ambitions:
Wilshire Boulevard has long been considered a prime location for rapid transit. However, throughout the years, mass transit initiatives faced various challenges, including bans on streetcars, failed monorail proposals, and shifts in subway alignments. Despite this tumultuous past, the Purple Line Extension Project is revitalizing the vision to connect millions of people to essential destinations.

Tunneling Technology Evolves:
The tunnelling process for the Purple Line has significantly progressed, thanks to advancements in tunnel boring machines (TBMs). These colossal drills, equipped with giant cutter heads, have improved safety, speed, and sustainability. Compared to earlier methods, modern TBMs utilize an ‘earth pressure balance’ technique, ensuring constant pressure in the surrounding soil during excavation. This progress allows for a sturdy, secure tunnel construction.

Completing Section by Section:
The project is divided into three sections, each unveiling a distinct aspect of Los Angeles’ history. Section 1, stretching from Wilshire/La Brea to Wilshire/Western, uncovered a trove of over 2,000 fossils, including mammoths, dire wolves, and giant sloths. Additionally, numerous anomalies were discovered, such as mysterious steel beams buried beneath the ground. Section 2, between La Cienega Avenue and Century City, revealed remnants of Century City’s past as it evolved from a former backlot. Beverly Hills High School also held abandoned oil wells, highlighting L.A.’s oil-rich history. Finally, Section 3 unearthed remnants of structures from the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers and Sailors, providing a glimpse into late 19th-century architecture.

Overcoming Challenges:
Excavating through tar-soaked soil presented immense challenges during the tunneling process. However, with perseverance, innovation, and new techniques, the TBMs successfully navigated 10 miles beneath the surface. Remarkably, this feat was accomplished without any complaints of noise or vibrations, a testament to meticulous planning and consideration for the surrounding communities.

Cultural and Historical Significance:
Los Angeles has a unique relationship with its underground realm. From the tar pits of Hancock Park to the city’s identity as an urban oil field, the subterranean world influences the collective psychology of Angelenos. The completion of the Purple Line tunnels represents a continuation of this connection between past and present. The underground holds a powerful allure, filled with fascination, myths, and hints of what the future holds.


The Purple Line Extension Project is not just a transportation endeavor; it is a historic achievement for Los Angeles. Overcoming hurdles, preserving fossils, and unearthing remnants of the city’s past, this project symbolizes the city’s unwavering dedication to creating a comprehensive, efficient, and sustainable transit system. As the final phases of construction and station development progress, the Purple Line will connect communities, create opportunities, and leave an indelible mark on the city’s history.

https://thesource.metro.net/2024/04/03/how-the-purple-line-is-making-history/
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12P/Pons-Brooks: Witness the ‘Mother of Dragons’ Comet in the Night Sky!

Witness the “Mother of Dragons” comet, Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, in the Northern Hemisphere’s night sky – a rare celestial spectacle not to be missed!

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A bright green comet with a long tail streaking across a dark night sky.
More details 12P/Pons–Brooks is a periodiccomet with an orbital period of 71 years. It fits the classical definition of a Halley-type comet with an orbital period between 20 and 200 years, and is also one of the brightest known periodic comets, reaching an absolute visual magnitude ~5 in its approach to perihelion.=10.5px Comet Pons-Brooks was discovered at Marseilles Observatory in July 1812 by Jean-Louis Pons, and then later recovered in 1883 by William Robert Brooks.

Astronomical enthusiasts and stargazers have a limited window to behold the captivating spectacle of the “Mother of Dragons” comet, also known as Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks. This celestial wanderer, gracing our skies once every 71 years, is currently making its grand appearance in the Northern Hemisphere.

Discovered in 1812 by French astronomer Jean-Louis Pons and British-American astronomer William Robert, this massive comet, larger than Mount Everest, is a breathtaking amalgamation of dust and ice. Its magnificent green tail, a result of the Sun’s heat interacting with its icy composition, paints a vivid picture across the cosmos.

What sets Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks apart is its classification as a cryovolcanic comet, harboring an icy volcano that releases dust, gases, and ice as it journeys through space. To catch a glimpse of this rare celestial visitor, observers are advised to look towards the western horizon in clear, dark skies post-dusk. While it may be visible to the naked eye, binoculars or a small telescope can enhance the viewing experience, particularly as its brightness can be unpredictable.

The highlight of this cosmic display is anticipated to be on April 21, marking the comet’s brightest phase before gradually fading from view as the days lengthen. Missing this astronomical event means waiting until the summer of 2095 for another chance to witness the “Mother of Dragons” comet in all its splendor. So seize the opportunity while you can, and marvel at the celestial wonder that graces our night sky in this fleeting moment of cosmic convergence.

About 12P/Pons-Brooks

12P/Pons-Brooks is a comet that returns every 71 years. It is one of the brightest periodic comets and can reach an absolute visual magnitude of about 5. The comet was first seen in July 1812 by Jean-Louis Pons at Marseilles Observatory, and again in 1883 by William Robert Brooks. Comets that have an orbital period of 20-200 years are called Halley-type comets. Some ancient records suggest that 12P/Pons-Brooks has appeared before.

The next time the comet passes the sun at its closest point will be on 21 April 2024. It will come the closest to Earth on 2 June 2024, at a distance of 232 million kilometers. During this time, it is expected to shine as bright as a 4.5 magnitude star. The comet’s nucleus is estimated to be around 30 kilometers in diameter, based on the 2020 measurements that were taken assuming it wasn’t producing too much gas or dust.

The December κ Draconids meteor shower, which occurs from November 29th to December 13th, is believed to originate from 12P/Pons-Brooks.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12P/Pons%E2%80%93Brooks

https://stmdailynews.com/unveiling-the-mysteries-of-comet-12p-pons-brooks-the-devil-comets-rare-celestial-show/

2024 Passage

On June 10, 2020, the comet Pons-Brooks was discovered by the Lowell Discovery Telescope when it was located beyond Saturn’s orbit at a distance of 11.9 AU from the Sun. It underwent a significant outburst on July 20, 2023, brightening from magnitude 16-17 to 11-12, resulting in a horseshoe-shaped coma. This outburst was likely caused by the release of approximately 10 billion kilograms of dust and ice. By August 5, the coma had expanded to a diameter of 600,000 kilometers at a rate of 220 m/s. The comet experienced subsequent outbursts on October 5, November 1, and November 14, with the latter bringing its brightness to apparent magnitude 9.3. Additional outbursts were observed on December 14 and January 18, 2024.

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