Chances are you’ve never seen Cancer the Crab, the faintest of the 13 constellations of the Zodiac. Yet Cancer contains one of the sky’s finest star clusters, known as the Beehive. Also, Cancer has a special significance to astronomy and earthly culture. And it has a rich history and mythology. Follow the links inside to learn more about the constellation Cancer.
Aldebaran, the brightest star in the constellation Taurus the Bull, might be hard to see in the glare of the rather fat waxing crescent moon on the night of March 7. Try putting your finger over the moon and you might have an easier time seeing Aldebaran, its surrounding V-shaped Hyades star cluster and the nearby Pleiades star cluster.
Steve Mould, a host of science television shows in the UK, stumbled on the chain fountain while he was looking for a way to demonstrate something else. Mould, who has a master’s degree in physics from Oxford, discovered a rising curve in a moving chain of beads as the beads flow out of a container. Once he starts it, the bead chain keeps going, like water or gasoline being siphoned from a tank. Why?
MIT scientists identify a plasma plume that naturally protects the Earth against solar storms.
Scientists at the University of Hawaii and University of Tokyo are gaining new insights into the movements and behaviors of sharks using video cameras and sensors attached to the animals. They’ve also started a project that examines eating habits of sharks and other top ocean predators like tuna using small instruments, electronic pills, that can be ingested by the creatures.
The Hubble Space Telescope has captured sequential images of something we’ve never seen before: an asteroid breaking into pieces. Asteroid P/2013 R3 was observed as a fuzzy object in September 2013. By October 2013, it had fragmented into three smaller pieces. Observations in January 2014 with the Hubble Space Telescope show 10 pieces making up asteroid p/2013 R3. Each of the pieces has a comet-like dust tail.
For the second time in two days, an asteroid is flying safely between the moon’s orbit and Earth. This one is smaller than yesterday’s (about 10 meters in contrast to yesterday’s 30-meter-asteroid flyby). So it’s about half the size of the asteroid that exploded in the air over Chelyabinsk, Russia, injuring over 1,000 people, in February 2013. Today’s asteroid is labeled 2014 EC. It’s coming even closer than yesterday’s asteroid, 0.2 lunar distances in contrast to 0.9 lunar distances yesterday. That’s 48,000 miles (77,000 km) away. There is no threat to Earth from this asteroid.
Lightningophobes, take note. Here’s a new map, arranged by county, showing – over a 15-year period – injuries, fatalities, and instances of property and crop destruction, caused by lightning. Darker-red areas show where the lightning events have tended to happen more regularly.
NASA routinely studies lightning space to aid in weather forecasting. A new instrument is being planning for a 2016 launch.