A quick 🧵 about the *size* of the #HungaTonga eruption:

Volcanic eruptions are generally assigned a VEI—Volcanic Explosivity Index—value.

This scale is a general indicator of the explosive character of an eruptive event.

This scale, described by Christopher Newhall and Stephen Self in a 1982 paper, is a general indicator of the explosive character of an eruptive event, and reflects the interplay of an eruption's magnitude, intensity, and energy release rate.

The VEI rating scale employs a set of criteria including ejecta volume, style of eruption, plume height, and injection of gases into the troposphere and stratosphere.

There's no question that the #Tongaeruption was huge—it absolutely was.

BUT: some of the factors used to figure out a given eruption's VEI value take a while to assess.

In other words, it's too soon for us to know what VEI represents this eruption. Any claims to the contrary should, for the time being, be met with skepticism.


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More from @ThePlanetaryGuy

Aug 28, 2021
I need you to know I'm being completely serious here.

We have no idea what's inside Uranus.
We really don't have a clue what's inside this or there other "ice giant", Neptune.

It's possible that there's a rocky interior, perhaps at least as large as Earth. There might be a water–ammonia ocean above that rocky centre, topped with a thick atmosphere.

But we don't know.
Uranus and Neptune are the outer Solar System's Venus -- fascinating, largely unexplained, but to be honest pretty much ignored in the modern era of planetary exploration.

I am *so* happy we're going back to Venus.

But we can't forget the Ice Giants.
Read 8 tweets
Aug 26, 2021
The Solar System is *full* of incredible and fascinating worlds!

The Moon.
Uranus and Neptune.
Ceres, Vesta, and the other main asteroid belt bodies.
The myriad other minor bodies scattered across the System.

Every one of them amazing! 🥰
People are pointing out that I forgot somewhere important!

Somewhere that fascinates everyone, that we need to explore more, that holds a special place in our heart.

I am so sorry, Pluto!
Did I miss any other interesting places?!

Let's add Charon, Eris, Makemake, Titan, Triton, Haumea, Io, Ganymede, Europa, Callisto, Dione, Rhea, Tethys, Iapetus, Umbrial, Ariel, Titania, Oberon, Miranda, oh my!
Read 6 tweets
Jun 23, 2021
We have a new paper out in @PNASNews.

We found stuff that moved on #Venus.

Let's talk about it.

A 🧵
Most rocky worlds are what we call "one-plate planets": they have a single, continuous outer shell that we call the lithosphere.

Mercury (shown here), Mars, the Moon, Io... all one-plate planets.

We've long known that Venus is a lot more complex than those other, smaller worlds—but how hasn't exactly been clear.

It doesn't have plate tectonics like Earth. Is it a single shell? Did it *ever* have a mobile surface? What drove that motion?

That's where we come in.

Read 20 tweets
Jun 4, 2021

Interested in learning more about #Venus—and why @NASA's decision to go back there with the #VERITAS and #DAVINCI+ missions is such a big flippin' deal?

Read on.

(a 🧵 on comparative planetology)
It all comes down to one simple question:

Why is Earth's sibling not its twin?

(Credit to @efrankplanetary for that line.)

Venus and Earth are the same(ish) size, age, and composition (in roughly the ~same proportions), orbiting the same star.

So, uh... what's going on?
Here's where we come to our two different stories for Venus—and why figuring out which one is correct is *critical* to understanding not only our own world, but Earth-size worlds everywhere.

Scenario 1: Venus was *always* fucked.
Read 20 tweets
Feb 9, 2021
Lawyer reassures judge that he is, in fact, not a cat.
The cat's panicked expression
"Meow what's the problem, Your Honor?"
Read 4 tweets
Feb 9, 2021
Here's live coverage of the UAW @HopeMarsMission in English—the spacecraft is going to make its orbital insertion burn *in one minute*!! (1030 hrs Eastern)


We should know whether the burn started successfully at around 1041 hrs Eastern
The start of the @HopeMarsMission burn is confirmed—the spacecraft will now attempt to slow itself from ~120,000 kmh to ~18,000 kmh

Read 7 tweets

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