Last night, lucky observers across western North America saw a cluster of bright lights moving across the sky – the break-up of a Chinese rocket body.
Dust is lifted each year from the world’s largest desert, the Sahara, which lies across the northern third of Africa. This dust can be seen in satellite images, sweeping out to sea, making a 3,000-mile journey to South America. The Amazon rainforest is a dense green mass of humid jungle that covers northeast South America. The Sahara dust, a tan cloud in the air, stretches between these continents, and ties together the desert and the jungle. Scientists have been studying this process, and, as it turns out, Saharan dust feeds the Amazon rainforest just enough to replace lost nutrients there.
Ye-ow! What a story. The image above is making the rounds on science websites this week (February 23, 2015). It shows a Buddhist statue with (surprise!) a mummified body inside. A CT scan, at right on the image above, shows the mummy. It’s a strange image, but the story around it is even stranger.
Earth detectors haven’t yet detected dark matter. We know it’s there only because dark matter interacts, gravitationally, with visible matter and radiation. Modern theories suggests that dark matter makes up a substantial portion of the mass of our universe, and the inner part of our galaxy, where our solar system resides, is thought to contain dark matter. This month – in a paper published February 18, 2015 in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society - a New York University (NYU) professor cites dark matter as the cause for earthly catastrophes, specifically mass extinctions and geologic upheavals. The idea seems far-fetched, but has an easy-to-visualize logic behind it.
When you look at the sky at this time of year, one of the most prominent constellations you see is Orion the Hunter. It’s recognizable mainly for the short, straight row of three medium-bright “Belt” stars at its mid-section. See those stars on the photo above? What you don’t see, with the eye alone, is the great complex of bright and dark nebulae – vast clouds drifting in our Milky Way – in and around Orion. That’s what Max Corneau has captured in this long-exposure photograph.
Short answer: Yes, it’s possible. Newest video by the AsapSCIENCE guys.
February 24, 1987. When Supernova 1987A first appeared in earthly skies – during the night of February 23-24, 1987 – astronomers were beside themselves with delight. It was the closest observed supernova since 1604. In this shining pinpoint in our sky, those fortunate to be in Earth’s Southern Hemisphere (in whose sky the supernova appeared) could see the death throes of a giant star. The new star remained visible to the eye for many months. It has been studied by astronomers for decades since. Follow the links inside to learn more about Supernova 1987A.
It’s hard to think of Procyon – the Little Dog Star – without also thinking of the other Dog Star, Sirius. If you’re looking at the right time of year (or right time of night), you can always find Sirius because it’s the sky’s brightest star. Procyon is always near its brighter brother on the sky’s dome. Procyon isn’t nearly as bright as Sirius. It’s the 8th brightest star in the sky, and the 6th brightest of stars that are easily visible from the most populated regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Follow the links inside to learn more about Procyon, the Little Dog Star.
No leap year in 2015. The next leap day will be February 29, 2016. The reason for leap years explained here.