The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is reporting a 7.2-magnitude earthquake – a very strong earthquake – that took place in central and southern Mexico this morning. It was originally reported as a 7.5-magnitude and then revised downward. The deep earthquake, whose epicenter was 30 miles below Earth’s surface, occurred near Tecpan, Guerrero, Mexico at 14:27:29.40 UTC on Apr 18, 2014. USGS said the quake was centered northwest of the Pacific resort of Acapulco, where many Mexicans are vacationing for the Easter holiday. The quake was also felt in of Mexico City, a city of 8.8 million which is vulnerable to earthquakes.
The Lyrid meteor shower’s peak morning is April 22, but you might see meteors before that date since we’re crossing the Lyrid meteor stream from about April 16 to 25.
Did you sleep through last night’s eclipse? Or maybe you had cloudy skies. If so, here’s the next best thing. Enjoy these.
On April 8, Earth in its smaller orbit passed generally between Mars and the sun. Our motion in orbit has placed Mars opposite the sun from our point of view, visible all night while the sun is below our feet. It’s what astronomers call an opposition of Mars. Meanwhile, a full moon is also, always, opposite the sun. It must be so, in order to appear full from Earth. An outer planet is always near the full moon during the month it reaches opposition. A total eclipse always happens at full moon. Voila! Mars is near the moon on eclipse night. More illustration inside to help you visualize it.
By Jay Ryan of the website Classical Astronomy
The total eclipse of Tuesday morning, April 15, 2014 is the first in a tetrad of total eclipses. That is four in a row, an uncommon alignment of the astronomical circumstances that cause eclipses to take place. There will be another total eclipse this year on October 8, and also on April 4 and September 28 of 2015. Tetrads are somewhat uncommon astronomical events. Interestingly, the eclipses of this tetrad also happen to coincide with the Jewish feasts of Passover and Sukkoth (or Tabernacles). These eclipses are being represented as Blood Moons in a couple of books that are currently making the rounds, and the Christian media is all abuzz. These books are predicting that this tetrad of eclipses are prophetic portents, harbingers of significant events ahead for the nation of Israel, and even the End Times, presaging the Second Coming of Jesus. Honestly friends, this touches a couple of my pet peeves …
April 10, 2013. On this date – a year ago today – a towering wall of dirt and rocks gave way and crashed down the side of Bingham Canyon Mine in Utah. The landslide was to be one of the largest non-volcanic landslides in the history of North America. Researchers later reported that the landslide – which moved at an average of almost 70 mph and reached estimated speeds of at least 100 mph – left a deposit so large it would cover New York’s Central Park with about 20 meters (66 feet) of debris.
April 10, 1815. Mount Tambora began a large volcanic eruption on this date. This volcano – on Sumbawa Island, east of Java in what is today Indonesia – ultimately dumped an estimated 160 cubic kilometers (38 cubic miles) of melted rock and ash onto the surrounding countryside and into the air. By some estimates, it was the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history.
Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile today (April 9, 2014) released this image of the planetary nebula PN A66 33 — usually known as Abell 33 – located roughly 2,500 light-years from Earth. What you see here is the planetary nebula in a chance alignment with a foreground star.
The giant red blob in this image is a huge, unusual mass of warm water that currently spans the tropical Pacific Ocean. As it moves eastward – propelled by anomalous trade winds – it’s also getting closer to the ocean’s surface. Once the warm water hits the sea surface, it will begin to interact with the atmosphere. The warm water is expected to boost temperatures and change weather patterns … and possibly bring on a monster El Nino in 2014. There are signs this is already beginning to happen.