” Thousands of people gathered on beaches in northern France and south west England on Saturday to watch what is being called “the high tide of the century”.
The exceptionally high spring tide, swollen by a “supermoon” effect linked to the solar eclipse on Friday, sent huge surge waves crashing onto beaches and along estuaries on both sides of the English Channel, to the delight of surfers and tourists.
The most dramatic effects of the day’s supertide were witnessed at the picturesque island of Mont Saint-Michel, off the coast of Normandy, where a wall of water as high as a four-story building momentarily cut it off from the mainland.
For a few minutes, Mont Saint-Michel was completely encircled by the sea by a ‘supertide’ caused by the Moon’s extra-strong gravitational pull on the sea. The phenomenon is linked to the alignment of the Moon, Sun and Earth following Friday’s solar eclipse.
Spotlights illuminated the island’s medieval walled town and gothic abbey during the high tide, with visitors jostling to take photos of the phenomenon.
As the surge began to make its way along the coast and tidal estuaries, surfers took to the water in the north west town of Pontaubault and waves crashed onto seawalls along the coast, drenching onlookers.”
” A near-total solar eclipse will occur in the skies above Britain this week, prompting warnings about the dangers of watching the spectacle without taking precautions.
The eclipse will begin around 8.30am on Friday and last for two hours as the moon moves in front of the Sun. The proportion of the Sun covered by the moon will increase the further north you are.
In London, 84% of the Sun will be covered, while in Edinburgh the proportion is 93%. The last solar eclipse of such significance took place in August 1999, when a total eclipse occurred.”
Links to much more on the impending solar eclipse:
Here is a video that very deftly illustrates the insignificance of man .
” A black hole that grew to gargantuan size in the Universe’s first billion years is by far the largest yet spotted from such an early date, researchers have announced. The object, discovered by astronomers in 2013, is 12 billion times as massive as the Sun, and six times greater than its largest-known contemporaries. Its existence poses a challenge for theories of the evolution of black holes, stars and galaxies, astronomers say.
Light from the black hole took 12.9 billion years to reach Earth, so astronomers see the object as it was 900 million years after the Big Bang. That “is actually a very short time” for a black hole to have grown so large, says astronomer Xue-Bing Wu of Peking University in Beijing. He led an international collaboration that describes the discovery in Nature.
For its age, this black hole “is really much more massive than anything else we have seen so far”, says Christian Veillet, director of the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory in Tucson, Arizona.”
Read more about this discovery that turns previous theories of the nature of black hole growth on it’s head at Nature
” The American Meteor Society received more than 160 reports of bright fireball sightings clustered around Lake City, Florida over the weekend. Some witnesses were as far away as Georgia and South Carolina.
Many reported feeling a sonic boom. AMS says over 15 of the reports described a “window rattling delayed boom.” Scientists believe a meteor caused the phenomenon, ending its flight about 30 miles west from Jacksonville.
Last week, people in Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio reported seeing a fireball, which was captured on camera by NASA.You can report a fireball event here. “
Thanks to WFLA
” Organizers of a proposed human settlement on Mars have unveiled the final 100 would-be colonizers. Here are the top 10 candidates .
Selected from more than 200,000 applicants, the 50 men and 50 women are a step closer to taking part in the one-way mission. You can read more about Britain’s five hopefuls here. The organizers ranked the candidates by points: here are the top 10.
Christian O Knudsen
I believe the potential benefits of the Mars One project far outweigh the potential costs it may have to me, personally.
I believe these benefits will be scientific progress, which can benefit all of us on Earth, if you compare the Mars One mission to the moon landing, I think scientific progress, on a similar scale to what we experienced following that endeavour, is a reasonable expectation.
Another benefit of of the Mars One project, in my mind, is the motivation it ignites in other people, the surge in students choosing an education in the fields of science and engineering following the Apollo space programme is, in my opinion, a result of this motivation.
Furthermore, personally, and without any scientific backing, I believe that the increase in living standard these advances allow, will leave more space for individuals to expand the sphere of people they care for and will sacrifice for, beyond themselves, beyond their family and beyond their nationality.
As idealistic and altruistic as all this may sound, I’m also personally motivated by the desire to test limits, personal as well as technological.
Here is the time-lapse video comprised of one still shot of the sun taken every eight hours from June of 2010 until February 2015 as recorded by the Solar Dynamics Observatory …
Published on Feb 11, 2015
” The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) celebrates its 5th anniversary since it launched on February 11, 2010. This time-lapse video captures one frame every 8 hours starting when data became available in June 2010 and finishing February 8, 2015. The different colors represent the various wavelengths (sometimes blended, sometimes alone) in which SDO observes the sun.
For more about SDO, please visit http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/ “
While this video pays tribute to the fifth anniversary of the SDO and provides some spectacular film closeups of the sun , solar flares , corona dances and more … simply awe-inspiring …
Published on Feb 11, 2015
” February 11, 2015 marks five years in space for NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which provides incredibly detailed images of the whole sun 24 hours a day. Capturing an image more than once per second, SDO has provided an unprecedentedly clear picture of how massive explosions on the sun grow and erupt ever since its launch on Feb. 11, 2010. The imagery is also captivating, allowing one to watch the constant ballet of solar material through the sun’s atmosphere, the corona.
In honor of SDO’s fifth anniversary, NASA has released a video showcasing highlights from the last five years of sun watching. Watch the movie to see giant clouds of solar material hurled out into space, the dance of giant loops hovering in the corona, and huge sunspots growing and shrinking on the sun’s surface.
The imagery is an example of the kind of data that SDO provides to scientists. By watching the sun in different wavelengths – and therefore different temperatures – scientists can watch how material courses through the corona, which holds clues to what causes eruptions on the sun, what heats the sun’s atmosphere up to 1,000 times hotter than its surface, and why the sun’s magnetic fields are constantly on the move.
Five years into its mission, SDO continues to send back tantalizing imagery to incite scientists’ curiosity. For example, in late 2014, SDO captured imagery of the largest sun spots seen since 1995 as well as a torrent of intense solar flares. Solar flares are bursts of light, energy and X-rays. They can occur by themselves or can be accompanied by what’s called a coronal mass ejection, or CME, in which a giant cloud of solar material erupts off the sun, achieves escape velocity and heads off into space. In this case, the sun produced only flares and no CMEs, which, while not unheard of, is somewhat unusual for flares of that size. Scientists are looking at that data now to see if they can determine what circumstances might have led to flares eruptions alone.
Goddard built, operates and manages the SDO spacecraft for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. SDO is the first mission of NASA’s Living with a Star Program. The program’s goal is to develop the scientific understanding necessary to address those aspects of the sun-Earth system that directly affect our lives and society.
This video is public domain and can be downloaded at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11742 “
” A Nasa probe is to start photographing the icy world of Pluto, to prepare itself for a historic encounter in July.
The New Horizons spacecraft has travelled 5bn km (3bn miles) over nine years to get near the dwarf planet.
And with 200m km still to go, its images of Pluto will show only a speck of light against the stars.
But the data will be critical in helping to align the probe properly for what will be just a fleeting fly-by.
Pluto will be photographed repeatedly during the approach, to determine the probe’s position relative to the dwarf planet, explained Mark Holdridge, from the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL) in Baltimore.
” We then perform a number of correction manoeuvres to realign our trajectory with the reference trajectory, thus ensuring we hit our aim point to travel through the Pluto system,” he said.
When New Horizons arrives at Pluto it will be moving so fast – at almost 14km/s – that going into orbit around the distant world is impossible; it must barrel straight through instead.
One complication is that the seven different instruments aboard the spacecraft need to work at different distances to get their data, and so the team has constructed a very elaborate observation schedule for them all.
But what this means is that very precise timing will be required to make sure the flyby runs smoothly.
The closest approach to Pluto is set for around 11:50 GMT on 14 July – at a miss distance of roughly 13,695km from the surface.
Mission planners want the exact timings nailed to within 100 seconds. New Horizons will know then where and when to point the instruments. “
” NASA’s Opportunity rover celebrated 11 years on Mars Saturday (Jan. 24), and the robot’s handlers are marking the occasion with a gorgeous panoramic photo that Opportunity took of its Red Planet home.
Opportunity landed on Mars on the night of Jan. 24, 2004, a few weeks after its twin, Spirit, made its Red Planet debut. The rovers were tasked with three-month missions to search for signs of past water activity on the Red Planet. Both Spirit and Opportunity found plenty of such evidence, and then kept rolling long after their warranties expired.”
” Spirit stopped communicating with Earth in 2010 and was declared dead a year later, but Opportunity is still going strong. The robot has been exploring the rim of the 14-mile-wide (22 kilometers) Endeavour Crater since August 2011, and it crested a rise on the rim known as Cape Tribulation earlier this month. [Latest Mars Rover Photos from Opportunity & Spirit] “
” A mountain-size asteroid will zoom past Earth Monday (Jan. 26), marking the closest pass by such a large space rock until 2027.
Asteroid 2004 BL86, which is about 1,800 feet (550 meters) wide, will come within 745,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) of our planet Monday — about three times the distance between Earth and the moon. While this flyby poses no threat to Earth, it does present a rare opportunity to get a good look at a near-Earth asteroid, NASA officials say.
Scientists are eager to study 2004 BL86 to pinpoint its orbit, observe its surface and even look for moons. The plan is to track the fast-moving asteroid using the 230-foot (70 m) dish-shaped Goldstone antenna at NASA’s Deep Space Network in California, as well as the 1,000-foot (305 m) Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. These radio dishes will beam microwave signals at the asteroid, which will then bounce off the target and return to Earth. [Photos: Potentially Dangerous Asteroids]
” For objects that get this close, that are this large, the radar observations are really analogous to a spacecraft flyby in terms of the caliber of the data that we can get,” said Lance Benner of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who is the principal investigator for the Goldstone observations of the asteroid.”
” Using images from the Hubble Space Telescope, a bird’s-eye panoramic view of part of the Andromeda galaxy is the clearest, largest picture ever assembled by NASA of the galaxy next door.
The Andromeda galaxy is located more than 2 million light-years away from Earth but the Hubble Space Telescope was powerful enough to capture part of it, bringing together 1.5 billion pixels representing a stretch of galaxy with a length of 61,000 light-years. Over 100 million stars were immortalized in the image as well, some of them seen in clusters of thousands.”
” The impressive photograph raises the bar for precision studies involving spiral galaxies dominating the universe as they number more than 100 billion. Astronomers have never been able to view stars so clearly yet so widespread in external spiral galaxies. “
” A huge, short burst of radio waves tearing through space has been caught in real time for the first time ever—and it could help scientists work out where these mysterious cosmic bursts come from. Until now, we only knew of these bursts from historical data.
A team of scientists from Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia, has identified the first ever fast radio burst, sometimes known as a blitzar, as it happened. These bursts last around one millisecond and give off as much energy as the sun does in a million years. Zing.”
” This blitzar’s origin is a mystery, but whatever caused it “must be huge, cataclysmic and up to 5.5 billion light years away,” according to researcher Emily Petroff when she spoke to New Scientist. It could be a flare from a giant magnetized neutron star, the collapse of an oversized neutron star, or something else altogether.”
” You might not believe any of this stuff. But suspend your disbelief for a moment and make space for something incredible.
Let’s start this past summer, when a NASA scientist named Harold “Sonny” White unveiled an artist’s rendering of a spacecraft capable of shooting across the galaxy.
The spacecraft was theoretical, but the research behind it was real. For years White has been exploring the possibilities of actual “Star Trek”-like travel. He even named his ship the IXS Enterprise.
There are obstacles, such as forms of energy that might not exist. That’s a problem.
For NASA, yes, but also for the world’s scientists and Trekkies and time-travel obsessives (not necessarily mutually exclusive groups) for whom “warp drive” technology — once the stuff of science fiction but now generally accepted as a mathematical possibility — hangs like the most delicious carrot on the most spectacular stick in the cosmos.
The dreamers are out there. They attend space conventions and frequent online discussions and brush aside pooh-poohing issues over “causality” and “exotic matter,” and believe these questions must have answers. You just have to know where to look — because maybe the key to unlocking this cosmic mystery will be found in a place nobody expects.
Like here in David Pares’ garage.
You might call Pares (pronounced “PARE-is”) one of those dreamers, though what he’s doing goes far beyond the realm of online chatter. “
Read more at Omaha.com
” The Geminid meteor shower of 2014 will peak overnight on Dec. 13 and 14, but the shower as a whole is active between Dec. 4 and Dec. 17. NASA is predicting between 100 and 120 meteors per hour for observer’s with optimum observing conditions (dark, clear skies away from city lights). Several webcasts by NASA, Slooh and others are available to watch the meteors. The best time to begin looking for Geminid meteors will be about 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. your local time, since the last quarter moon will rise around midnight.
The Geminids are a meteor shower that happens every December. NASA says astronomers consider it one of the “best and most reliable” showers of the year, but the shower actually did not start occurring until very recently (in astronomical and human terms).
First reports of the shower emerged in the mid-1800s, but at the time there were only 10-20 meteors per hour. These days, it’s more like 120 meteors at the peak.
Astronomers are puzzled about the number of meteors observed. While scientists have known for a generation about the source of the shower – an asteroid named 3200 Phaethon – the volume of the shower’s meteors is strange given the observed amount of debris.
The Geminids appear to come from the constellation Gemini, but in reality it is fragments of 3200 Phaethon that cause the sky fireworks. The asteroid has a debris trail in orbit around the sun. Once a year, Earth runs into this dusty path, which intersects our planet’s path through space.”
” Those who do not have suitable viewing conditions for the Geminid Meteor Shower’s peak can view Slooh’s live broadcast of the event below, which is set to air on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 8:00 p.m. EST.”
The event will broadcast from two locations beginning with Slooh’s flagship observatory at the Institute of Astrophysics, Canary Islands, and later from Prescott, Arizona, at Prescott Observatory.”
” The Geminids are very strange because they hit Earth sideways,” Berman said. “These meteors hit us gently. While Summer’s Perseids strike Earth at 37 miles per second, that’s amazingly fast, and the Leonids are even a little bit faster, hitting us at just over 40 miles a second, these Geminids hit us at only 22 miles a second.” “
” Move over, Halley: 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko may now be the most famous comet in the cosmos. Comet 67P has been the photogenic subject of many images sent back by the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission. The mission’s Philae lander made space history by successfully settling onto the surface of the comet last month.
We’ve seen crags, its weird kidney shape and all sorts of dramatic shadows playing across the comet’s surface. One thing all those images have in common is that they’re in stark, artsy black and white.”
” This leaves us with a curious question: what does 67P look like in color? An image accompanying a presentation for an upcoming American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco offers up an intriguing option. The comet may be slightly reddish. The presentation, titled “Color Variegation on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko,” is set for December 18, at which point more information on the image is expected to be released.”
Russia’s Soyuz TMA-13M spacecraft blasts off from Russian-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome on May 29, 2014. Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images
” I knew I could only be in Kazakhstan when I saw the priests. Two of them—half-bears, half-men—walked up to the Soyuz on its pad at the fabled Baikonur Cosmodrome, their robes blowing in the desert wind. Then they sang at the rocket and bowed at the rocket and finally threw holy water at the rocket, and then they came over to us, the assembled reporters, and they threw holy water at us, too, because we probably looked like we could use it. I’m not a religious man, but I accepted my soaking under a boundless blue sky and thought what I suspect most of the people on the pad were thinking:Can’t hurt.
The entire Russian space program seems built on the guiding principle of can’t hurt. I was there for Esquire to report “Away,” a story about the future, about Scott Kelly, the first American who will spend a year in space, one more stepping-stone on our long journey to Mars. But in Kazakhstan, it felt more as though I were visiting the past, returning to a time when romance and witchcraft hadn’t yet made way for science. Over nearly 50 years of manned flight—every last one of those launches, from Yuri Gagarin on, having sprung from the same slab of cracked concrete—the Russians have acquired layers and layers of ritual, all of it either silly or sacred depending on how magical your thinking. “
” The Soyuz is always drawn out of its massive assembly building at exactly 7 o’clock in the morning, pulled along by a locomotive with one of its headlights mysteriously put out. The cosmonauts spend one of their last nights on Earth at their hotel in town and watch a pretty bad movie, White Sun of the Desert, and they always walk out to the bus that will take them to the pad to the same song, by a band called Earthlings. Later, they all climb out of that bus and piss on one of its tires because Gagarin allegedly did so; female cosmonauts and astronauts pour out a pre-filled cup.
And then, with a far better success record than the Americans could ever claim, they strap into their rocket, ancient and blessed, and launch into space. “
Story continues at Popular Mechanics
” A recently discovered NASA photograph of what looks like a human skull lying on the surface of Mars has intrigued many people with a lot of buzz on social media platforms.
The image was reportedly taken by the panoramic camera on the Spirit rover in the planet a few years ago, but gained notice recently after the Paranormal Crucible website posted a YouTube video of the image with digital alterations to make it look even more like a skull.
Although the digitally altered picture of the image appears to push the theory that Alien creatures could have lived in the red planet, the image itself does not seem to be convincing enough to draw any conclusion. Many would only argue that it is nothing more than just another rock in the planet.”
” A sudden flash of light on a dark roadway over the Sverdlovsk region in Russia on November 14 at about 5:40 pm was captured on a motorist’s dash-camera. The mysterious red and yellow glow suddenly appeared in the sky for about 14 seconds and then faded away. There is no confirmation of the source of this celestial event.
Some local residents have suggested that it was a meteor similar to the one that fell in the Chelyabinsk region in February 2013, which exploded about 18 miles above the earth’s surface, causing damage to thousands of buildings and injury to 1,500 people from broken windows. No damage or injuries have been reported. “
Published on Nov 6, 2014
” NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman takes viewers on a quick tour of the International Space Station.”
” The first sign there was a problem Friday with Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo came at about 45,000 feet, just two minutes after the spaceplane separated from the jet-powered aircraft that carried it aloft, officials said.
It wasn’t something overt with SpaceShipTwo, said Stuart Witt, the chief executive of Mojave Air & Space Port in California, where SpaceShipTwo was launched and monitored.
It was what didn’t happen next during the test flight, he said. Witt did not offer details, but appeared to indicate the spaceplane did not follow its previous test-flight patterns.
Nothing seemed abnormal during the takeoff or flight prior to the spaceplane’s failure, he told reporters during a news conference.
” …If there was a huge explosion, I didn’t see it,” Witt said.
This much is known, according to Witt and others: One pilot is dead and another has been hospitalized with serious injuries.”
” An unmanned cargo rocket bound for the International Space Station exploded Tuesday over a launchpad in Virginia.
No injuries were reported following the first catastrophic launch in NASA’s commercial spaceflight effort.
The accident at Orbital Sciences Corp.’s launch complex at Wallops Island was sure to draw criticism over the space agency’s growing reliance on private U.S. companies in this post-shuttle effort.
NASA is paying billions of dollars to Orbital Sciences and the SpaceX company to make station deliveries, and it’s counting on SpaceX and Boeing to start flying U.S. astronauts to the orbiting lab as early as 2017. NASA spokesman Rob Navias said there was nothing on the lost flight that was urgently needed by the six people living on the space station.
Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket blew up over the launch complex, just six seconds after the liftoff. The company said everyone at the site had been accounted for, and the damage appeared to be limited to the facilities.”
” This was filmed between 4th and 11th April 2011. I had the pleasure of visiting El Teide.
Spain´s highest mountain @(3718m) is one of the best places in the world to photograph the stars and is also the location of Teide Observatories, considered to be one of the world´s best observatories.
The goal was to capture the beautiful Milky Way galaxy along with one of the most amazing mountains I know El Teide. I have to say this was one of the most exhausting trips I have done. There was a lot of hiking at high altitudes and probably less than 10 hours of sleep in total for the whole week. Having been here 10-11 times before I had a long list of must-see locations I wanted to capture for this movie, but I am still not 100% used to carrying around so much gear required for time-lapse movies.
A large sandstorm hit the Sahara Desert on the 9th April (bit.ly/g3tsDW) and at approx 3am in the night the sandstorm hit me, making it nearly impossible to see the sky with my own eyes.
Interestingly enough my camera was set for a 5 hour sequence of the milky way during this time and I was sure my whole scene was ruined. To my surprise, my camera had managed to capture the sandstorm which was backlit by Grand Canary Island making it look like golden clouds. The Milky Way was shining through the clouds, making the stars sparkle in an interesting way. So if you ever wondered how the Milky Way would look through a Sahara sandstorm, look at 00:32.
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