Space News

Discussion in 'Science, Tech, & Space Exploration' started by Toroid, Jun 28, 2019.

  1. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    Unseen in years: 10 C-flares and 2 M-flares in only 24 hours cause widespread radio blackouts in North America and southeast Asia

    Yesterday, May 22nd, sunspot AR2824 unleashed a sequence of solar flares unlike anything we’ve seen in years. In only 24 hours, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded 10 C-flares and 2 M-flares.

    The rapidfire explosions hurled multiple overlapping CMEs into space. According to NOAA models, at least one of them will graze Earth’s magnetic field on May 26th.



    Huge solar radio burst

    During yesterday’s frenzy, the sun emitted a shortwave radio burst so loud that “it drowned out lightning static from a severe local thunderstorm,” reports Thomas Ashcraft, who recorded the noisy signal using a radio telescope in rural New Mexico. Listen to the huge solar storm noise in the audio below:

    The radio burst coincided with an M1.4-class solar flare at 21:30 UT. “This was a very hot and dynamic flare for sure,” says Ashcraft. “I was recording audio at 22 MHz and 21 MHz, and my radio spectrograph was operating from 30 MHz down to 15 MHz. Strong solar radio emissions were present at all frequencies.”

    This event was so intense, radio operators in the Arctic heard it at midnight. Rob Stammes chart-recorded the outburst from the Polarlightcenter in Lofoten, Norway:

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    This event was so intense, radio operators in the Arctic heard it at midnight.

    Widespread radio blackout


    Waves of ionisation rippling through Earth’s upper atmosphere have caused shortwave radio blackouts over North America on May 21st and southeast Asia on May 22nd.

    Ham radio operators, aviators and mariners might have noticed unusual propagation at frequencies below ~20 MHz.

    Astronomers classify solar radio bursts into 5 types. Ashcraft’s radio spectrograph is able to determine which ones were present in the May 22nd outburst. “It was a mixture of Type II and Type V,” he says. These are caused, respectively, by shock waves and electron beams moving through the sun’s atmosphere in the aftermath of strong flares.

    The flaring of sunspot AR2824 continues apace on May 23rd, so more radio bursts may be in the offing. The impact of the CME’s dense flank could spark G1-class geomagnetic storms and auroras. [Space Weather, Daily Express]

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  2. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    Virgin Galactic Spaceplane Completes Flight

    On Saturday, May 22, 2021, Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity spaceplane successfully completed its first spaceflight in over two years. The spaceplane was released from VMS Eve at an altitude of about 44,000 feet then propelled itself to more than three times the speed of sound. The craft reached the edge of space at an altitude of 293,000 feet before gliding back through the atmosphere and returning to the runway of Spaceport America in New Mexico.

     
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  3. Rikki

    Rikki High Priestess

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  4. The shadow

    The shadow The shadow knows!

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  5. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    _118908155_e3sxqztwuamfobr.jpg

    SLS: First view of Nasa's assembled 'megarocket'

    Nasa has assembled the first of its powerful Space Launch System (SLS) rockets, which will carry humans to the Moon this decade.

    On Friday, engineers at Florida's Kennedy Space Center finished lowering the 65m (212ft) -tall core stage in-between two smaller booster rockets. It's the first time all three key elements of the rocket have been together in their launch configuration.

    Nasa plans to launch the SLS on its maiden flight later this year.

    During this mission, known as Artemis-1, the SLS will carry Orion - America's next-generation crew vehicle - towards the Moon. However, no astronauts will be aboard; engineers want to put both the rocket and the spaceship through their paces before humans are allowed on in 2023.

    The SLS consists of the giant core stage, which houses propellant tanks and four powerful engines, flanked by two 54m (177ft) -long solid rocket boosters (SRBs). They provide most of the thrust-force that propels the SLS off the ground in the first two minutes of flight. Both the core stage and the SRBs are taller than the Statue of Liberty, minus its pedestal.

    Over Friday and Saturday, teams at Kennedy Space Center used a heavy-lift crane to first hoist the core stage, transfer it from a horizontal to a vertical position, and then lower it into place between the SRBs on a structure called the mobile launcher. This structure currently resides inside the huge, cuboid Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB).

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    The mobile launcher allows access to the SLS for testing, checkout and servicing. It will also transfer the giant rocket to the launch pad. Engineers began stacking the SRBs on the mobile launcher in November last year.

    While this was going on, the core stage was attached to a test stand in Mississippi, undergoing a comprehensive programme of evaluation known as the Green Run.

    In March, the core stage engines were fired successfully for around eight minutes - the time taken for the SLS to get from the ground to space - in the Green Run's final and most important test.

    After refurbishment, the core was taken by barge to Kennedy Space Center.

    Artemis-3, which will be the first mission to land humans on the Moon since Apollo 17 in 1972, should launch in the next few years. Nasa recently awarded the contract to build the next-generation Moon lander to SpaceX, which is adapting its Starship design for the purpose.


     
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  6. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    Mystery of Betelgeuse's dip in brightness solved

    (Excerpt)

    Betelgeuse's surface regularly changes as giant bubbles of gas move, shrink and swell within the star. The team concludes that some time before the Great Dimming, the star ejected a large gas bubble that moved away from it. When a patch of the surface cooled down shortly after, that temperature decrease was enough for the gas to condense into solid dust.

    "We have directly witnessed the formation of so-called stardust," says Montargès, whose study provides evidence that dust formation can occur very quickly and close to a star's surface. "The dust expelled from cool evolved stars, such as the ejection we've just witnessed, could go on to become the building blocks of terrestrial planets and life," adds Emily Cannon, from KU Leuven, who was also involved in the study.

    Rather than just the result of a dusty outburst, there was some speculation online that Betelgeuse's drop in brightness could signal its imminent death in a spectacular supernova explosion. A supernova hasn't been observed in our galaxy since the 17th century, so present-day astronomers aren't entirely sure what to expect from a star in the lead-up to such an event. However, this new research confirms that Betelgeuse's Great Dimming was not an early sign that the star was heading towards its dramatic fate.


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  7. Toroid

    Toroid Founding Member

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  8. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    Newfound Exoplanet is Full of Water and Has “No Known Equivalent”

    A newfound planet was unexpectedly discovered by the European Space Agency’s exoplanet-hunting CHEOPS satellite and it is quite unique with “no known equivalent”. This newfound planet was found when it “photobombed” its star which is located 50 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Lupus.

    This was the first time that an exoplanet with an orbital period of more than a hundred days has been witnessed transiting a star that is so bright it can be seen with the naked eye. But what’s even more astonishing is that the newly discovered planet has a mass that is 8.8 times greater than Earth’s and contains more water than our planet. Unfortunately, experts have stated that it is not habitable.

    This discovery came as a huge surprise when researchers were studying the two other planets that are part of the star system. This new information means that the sun-like star called Nu2 Lupi is actually orbited by three planets (they are referred to as “b”, “c”, and the newly detected “d”). All three of these planets have masses that measure between those of Earth and Neptune. Another interesting fact is that Nu2 Lupi is one of just three stars bright enough to be seen with the naked eye that have more than one transiting exoplanet.


    Planets “b”, “c” and “d” have orbits that last 11.6, 27.6 and 107.6 days, respectively. To put this into better perspective, planet d’s orbit would be between where Mercury and Venus orbit our sun, while planets b and c would be located inside of Mercury’s orbit.

    While planet b is mostly a rocky planet, the c and d worlds have much more water than what we have here on Earth. However, it isn’t liquid water but high-pressure ice or high-temperature steam that is on those two planets.

    While the European Space Agency has stated that none of those worlds are habitable, planet d is a very interesting and significant place to study as explained by David Ehrenreich from the University of Geneva in Switzerland, “Combined with its bright parent star, long orbital period, and suitability for follow-up characterization, this makes planet d hugely exciting – it is an exceptional object with no known equivalent, and sure to be a golden target for future study.”

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    Two of the three exoplanets have more water than Earth.

    Further analysis of the Nu2 Lupi system may reveal moons, possible rings, or even extra planets, but much more research needs to be conducted in order to know for sure. An artist’s impression of the system can be seen here.

    The research was published in the journal Nature Astronomy where it can be read in full.


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  9. Toroid

    Toroid Founding Member

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    Here's the constellation and star mentioned in the article.
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  10. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    Stunning Image of a 'Radio Galaxy'

    The MeerKAT telescope in South Africa has produced a never-seen-before array of cosmic elements woven into space. The amazing image depicts powerful radio waves dropping into a black hole at the center of a galaxy known as IC 4296.

    The two radio streams of gas on opposite sides of the galaxy are created by the energy from matter as it falls into the massive rotating black hole creates, explains Space.com. "Only MeerKAT's unique combination of sensitivity, angular resolution and dynamic range allowed the discovery of these threads, ribbons and rings," said Jim Condon, one of the study's authors.

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  11. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    First Time Ever That Isotopes Have Been Detected on an Exoplanet

    For the first time ever, isotopes have been found in the atmosphere of an exoplanet. About a year ago, it was reported that multiple planets orbiting a sun-like star had been photographed for the first time ever. The photograph was taken by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (or VLT) in Chile and showed two massive planets orbiting a young sun-like star named TYC 8998-760-1. (The picture can be seen here.)

    The system, which is located about 300 light-years away from us, has two planets named TYC 8998-760-1b and c. TYC 8998-760-1b is approximately 14 times larger than Jupiter and orbits at an average distance of 160 astronomical units (AU), while TYC 8998-760-1c is around 6 times bigger than Jupiter and orbits at a distance of 320 AU (one AU is the average distance of Earth to our sun).

    And now, scientists have made another fascinating discovery regarding TYC 8998-760-1b as they have made the first ever detection of isotopes in the atmosphere of an exoplanet. Astronomers found a type of carbon called carbon-13 in the haze around the planet. They made this detection by using an instrument named the Spectrograph for Integral Field Observations in the Near Infrared (SINFONI) on the Very Large Telescope.

    The team noticed that wavelengths of light that were absorbed by the planet were consistent with carbon-13 (possibly wrapped up in carbon monoxide gas). The most common stable carbon isotope is carbon-12 with six protons, six neutrons, and six electrons; however, carbon-13 contains seven neutrons. And the fact that they found twice the expected amount of carbon-13 in TYC 8998-760-1b’s atmosphere is astonishing and may provide experts with valuable information regarding how the planet formed.

    Paul Mollière, who is an astrophysicist at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany, explained this in further detail, “The planet is more than one hundred and fifty times farther away from its parent star than our Earth is from our Sun,” adding, “At such a great distance, ices have possibly formed with more carbon-13, causing the higher fraction of this isotope in the planet’s atmosphere today.”

    The area in which the planet would have formed would be located past the carbon monoxide snow line – this is where carbon monoxide condenses and freezes into ice from gas because of the distance it is from the warmth of its star. To put this into better perspective, Neptune and Uranus have more deuterium (a hydrogen isotope with one proton and one neutron) than Jupiter because they formed past the water snow line.

    As for what to expect now that this groundbreaking discovery has been made, astronomer Ignas Snellen from Leiden University said, “The expectation is that in the future, isotopes will further help to understand exactly how, where and when planets form.” “This result is just the beginning.” The study was published in Nature where it can be read in full.

    An image of what TYC 8998-760-1b may look like can be seen here.


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  12. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    Jeff Bezos appears at Texas launch site with his Blue Origin crew including brother Mark, Wally Funk and lucky Dutch teen whose dad paid for flight: New Shepard rocket will blast them 66 miles above Earth tomorrow - 13 miles higher than Branson


    Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said on Monday morning that he was 'ready' for his flight to space as he appeared in a series of interviews with his Blue Origin teammates, 24 hours before liftoff. Bezos will fly up to 66 miles above the surface of the Earth on the fully autonomous rocket and capsule, sending him 13 miles higher than billionaire rival Sir Richard Branson who flew to space on Sunday, July 11.

    He will be joined by his brother Mark, 82-year-old aviation pioneer Wally Funk - who will be the oldest person to go to space - and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, whose private equity boss father paid for his flight after an anonymous bidder who'd spent $28million on a seat had to drop out due to a scheduling conflict. Bezos, who stepped down as Amazon CEO last month, and his teammates appeared in their astronaut uniforms at 'Launch Site One' in Van Horn, Texas, for a string of interviews where he said they were not afraid of the mission that would set a precedent for 'commercial air travel'. 'We'll be building a road to space for the next generation to do amazing things and those amazing things will improve things here on earth. 'I could have done this flight as CEO of Amazon and it would have been fine. We really believe this flight is safe. I did have friends say, "why not wait for the second or third flight, why do you have to go now?" 'But we know the vehicle is safe and if it's not safe for me then it's not safe for anyone. But we've taken this one step at a time, our mascot is the tortoise... we are ready.' It will be the first human flight launched by space company, Blue Origin, and will take off tomorrow, July 20, from 'Launch Site One' in Van Horn, Texas, with a live stream of the event starting at 12:30 BST.


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  13. pigfarmer

    pigfarmer tall, thin, irritable

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    The BBC account below is a bit dry. This one has more interesting detail, like bringing people out of retirement to look at the damnd thing. I usually try to avoid posting anything connected to the three big media sphincters, but likes this one. I just caught Space Cowboys on tv the other night, remanded me a bit of that.

    Hubble Space Telescope delivers first images since shutdown

    Hubble space telescope's function is restored

    Hubble space telescope's function is restored
    By Paul Rincon Science editor, BBC News website


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    The Hubble space telescope has been gathering data about the Universe for more than 30 years
    Engineers have restored the science instruments aboard the Hubble Space Telescope, after a glitch took them offline.

    Astronomers can now begin collecting data for the first time since 13 June, when a computer stopped working.

    Last week, engineers began switching over to backup hardware, in a bid to get one of the most important research tools in history up and running again.

    It's the worst malfunction in years to hit the venerated observatory.

    "Hubble is an icon, giving us incredible insight into the cosmos over the past three decades," said Nasa's administrator Bill Nelson.

    "I'm proud of the Hubble team, from current members to Hubble alumni who stepped in to lend their support and expertise. Thanks to their dedication and thoughtful work, Hubble will continue to build on its 31-year legacy, broadening our horizons with its view of the Universe."

    For about a month, Hubble's team of experts has been investigating the cause of a problem with the payload computer, which helps control the onboard science instruments.

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    It came to a halt on 13 June, forcing the instruments to be placed in "safe mode", where all non-essential systems are shut down.

    Last week, Nasa announced that it had identified a probable cause of the glitch and would switch over to the backup hardware.

    This changeover was completed on Friday and the science instruments were returned to operational status over the weekend.

    Most observations missed while science operations were suspended will be rescheduled for a later date.

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    This picture of a giant star-forming region was released for the 30th anniversary of Hubble's launch
    Launched aboard the space shuttle Discovery in 1990, Hubble has gathered over 1.5 million observations about the Universe. These have been used to publish some 18,000 scientific papers.


    It has contributed to major discoveries in astronomy, including the observation that the observed expansion of the Universe was accelerating. This in turn led to a conclusion that most of the cosmos was made up of mystery "stuff" called dark energy.

    A successor to Hubble, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), is scheduled to launch later this year. But many astronomers hope that the two will be able to operate alongside each other - at least for some period of time.
     
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  14. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    Beware! Solar Cycle 25 is heating up faster than expected and some of those blows will soon begin to land

    The latest sign may be found in sunspot counts from July 2021. Continuing a trend that started last year, they overperform the official forecast.

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    Solar Cycle 25 is heating up faster than expected. The latest sign may be found in sunspot counts from July 2021.

    Issued by the NOAA/NASA Solar Cycle 25 Prediction Panel in 2019, the official forecast calls for Solar Cycle 25 to peak in July 2025. However, a better fit to current data shows Solar Cycle 25 peaking in October 2024. This is just outside the 8-month error bars of the Panel’s forecast.

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    the official forecast calls for Solar Cycle 25 to peak in July 2025. However, a better fit to current data shows Solar Cycle 25 peaking in October 2024.

    July 2021 was a remarkable month

    Solar Cycle 25 crossed multiple thresholds, including its first X-flare and, at one point, 6 sunspots on the solar disk. At least 2 radio blackouts were reported around the world

    The last time so many sunspots were seen at the same time was Sept. 2017. One farside CME in July was so strong it affected Earth despite being on the “wrong” side of the sun. A handful of other CMEs narrowly missed our planet.

    If solar activity increases apace, some of those blows will soon begin to land.

    Meanwhile… 3 holes in the sun’s atmosphere

    Two and possibly three holes in the sun’s atmosphere are facing Earth today.

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    2-3 holes in the sun atmosphere are facing Earth right now… Picture NOAA

    Emerging streams of solar wind could reach our planet on Aug. 6th, sparking minor geomagnetic storms. Stay tuned and keep your eyes to the sky… The sun has always something for us! Now prepare yourself against the next solar storm…


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  15. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    Russia Blames American Astronaut for Mysterious Space Station Hole

    The strange case of a mysterious hole discovered in a Soyuz capsule attached to the International Space Station back in 2018 has taken a troubling turn as an official with the Russian space agency now says that the damage was intentionally caused by an American astronaut. The bold accusation reportedly came by way of an article from the Russian news agency TASS. In the piece, an anonymous "high ranking" official with the Russian space agency put forward a rather elaborate scenario for how the curious hole, which measured approximately 2 millimeters in diameter, in the Soyuz capsule came to be and pointed the finger at American astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancello as the alleged culprit.

    The unnamed Russian source claims that, which serving about the ISS, the astronaut suffered from a blood clot in her jugular vein. This condition, they assert, caused Auñón-Chancello to have "an acute psychological crisis" wherein she tried to damage the Soyuz capsule in a manner that would facilitate her early return to Earth. How, exactly, such an audacious plan would have worked goes unsaid, though the Russian official did note a number of curious elements about the incident which led to the space agency's surprising conclusion that the creation of the hole was a proverbial inside job.

    Specifically, they raised suspicions about the fact that a video camera monitoring the area had stopped working, that NASA refused to perform polygraph exams on the astronauts who were aboard the ISS when the damage was done, and that the evidence suggests that the hole was created by someone inside the capsule operating in a weightless environment, meaning it had to have been made by someone in space at the time. As one might imagine, NASA is not buying the conspiracy theory offered by the Russian space agency official and strongly pushed back against the accusation.

    When asked about the claims during a media event on Friday, NASA's human spaceflight chief Kathy Lueders reportedly remarked that Auñón-Chancello "is an extremely well-respected crew member who has served her country and made invaluable contributions to the agency. We stand behind Serena and her professional conduct and I did not find this accusation credible." These words were echoed by NASA administrator Bill Nelson, who declared that "I fully support Serena and I will always stand behind our astronauts." The dispute will undoubtedly increase tension between the two space agencies which may be headed towards a dissolution of their working relationship sometime in the not-too-distant future should Russia go ahead with plans to abandon the ISS.


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  16. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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    The Sun Fires-Off an ‘Earthbound’ CME

    Sunspot AR2859 erupted on Aug 26, producing a C3-class solar flare. SOHO coronagraphs detected the accompanying Coronal Mass Ejection (CME):

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    The storm appears to be on a direct course for Earth, says Dr Tony Phillips (of spaceweather.com). NOAA analysts are looking at the CME now, no doubt keen to determine its exact arrival time — Dr Phillips’ guess: Monday, August 30.

    Over the past few months, Earth’s ever-waning magnetosphere (due to its shifting magnetic poles and the onset of the next GSM) has failed to handle even the most minor of solar events — even ‘non-events’ have posed problems that in years past wouldn’t have gotten a solar physicist out of bed.

    Space weather is now the number one threat to our modern tech-driven civilization. Earth’s magnetic field is weaker than we’ve all realized. In the year 2000, we knew the field had lost 10 percent of its strength since the 1800s. Another 5 percent was lost by 2010.

    Further accelerations occurred in recent years, 2015 and 2017, but we laymen were not privy to any additional loss data–with guesses on why that might be quickly sending you down a conspiracy rabbit hole.



    What we do know, however, is concerning enough — and given the rapid weakening of our planet’s magnetic field (which nobody denies is occurring btw), even Aug 26’s moderate C3-class CME has the potential to cause disruptions on the ground.

    We should expect electrical disturbances upon impact, radio blackouts, and even the blowing of a transformer or two–who knows… But one thing is for sure: this is the future we’re all headed into, and there isn’t a single Draconian power-grab that can save us.

    A widescale grid-down scenario is all-but guaranteed by 2024 (as the sun ramps-up into solar cycle 25).

    Prepare accordingly…

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  17. Toroid

    Toroid Founding Member

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  18. nivek

    nivek As Above So Below

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