To kick off the Halloween season of candy consumption, costume concocting and ghost story telling, I present to you a most fiendish lifeform, one that lurks in the dark and spooky rainforests of southeast Asia leeching life from innocent tree roots: a strange entity known as the corpse flower.
Vast unexplored areas of the ocean have now been mapped with new satellite data and scientists have discovered thousands of previously uncharted seamounts in addition to an extinct spreading ridge in the Gulf of Mexico.
Few regions on Earth depend as heavily on glaciers for food, energy and water as South Asia’s Hindu Kush Himalayan ecosystem. But now hundreds of millions in South Asia are at risk from glacier melt. A new research paper in the journal Environmental Science and Policy highlights some of the challenges downstream communities face when glacier water from upstream communities becomes scarce.
The familiar primary and secondary rainbows have been known since there were eyes. The long sought 3rd and 4th order rainbows were finally imaged in 2011. Now we have the 5th order!
The close pass of Comet Siding Spring to Mars was exciting! Closest approach was October 19. Watch for more photos from the event – both from earthly observers and from the spacecraft orbiting Mars and on Mars’ surface – here at EarthSky.org.
Something to think about while raking …
The Double Cluster is also known as h and Chi Persei. It resides in the northern part of the constellation Perseus, quite close to the constellation Cassiopeia the Queen. If you have a dark sky and find Cassiopeia – which is easy, because the constellation has a distinctive M or W shape – be sure to look for Perseus, too. Then just scan with your binoculars between them. The Double Cluster – a breathtaking pair of clusters, each containing supergiant suns – will be there. Follow the links inside to learn more.
If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, try looking northeast this evening for two prominent constellations, Cassiopeia and Perseus. The easier to see will be Cassiopeia, which has a distinctive M or W shape. Cassiopeia represents a queen in ancient mythology, and is one of the most famous constellations in the sky. You’ll see it in the northeast this evening, and higher up in the evening sky in late fall and winter.
Australian astronomers have now chimed in on the subject of why our Milky Way galaxy has fewer orbiting satellites than a prevailing theory of the universe – cold dark matter theory – says it should. They say the reason is that, according to their measurements, there’s only half the amount of dark matter in the Milky Way as previously thought, only 800 billion times the mass of our sun. Their ideas are the latest in a series of widely varying researches, all attempting to explain the “missing” Milky Way satellites.
In fact and in fiction, owls have always turned heads.