Wild, endangered pandas can face stiff competition from livestock that also graze on bamboo in forests. A case in point occurred at the Wolong Nature Reserve, at Sichuan Province, China, where horses belonging to farmers had been set loose in the reserve and were found feeding on bamboo. The impact of the horses on bamboo stands was documented by Vanessa Hull and her colleagues. Their findings resulted in horses being banned from the reserve.
A quadcopter drone was used to capture this amazing video. If you watch it all, you’ll see thousands of common dolphins stampeding off Dana Point, California, three gray whales migrating together down the coast off San Clemente, California, plus, toward the end, close-ups from Maui of a newborn Humpback whale calf snuggling and playing with its mom, as an escort whale stands guard nearby. Definitely worth five minutes!
Scientists have uncovered new evidence in support of a theory that some Native Americans may be descendants of a population from northeast Asia that lived during the last Ice Age – in isolation, for several thousand years – on the Bering Land Bridge. The scientists’ analysis of core samples from the now-partly-submerged land bridge shows traces of vegetation and insects, suggesting that the area was once a tundra region with mild summers.
The Dark Sky Meter is an app for smartphones that lets users measure the brightness of the night sky. The creators of the app are working to compile a global, high resolution map of both dark places and areas where light pollution has become problematic.
Justin Ng wrote to say he had compiled a number of shots of the Milky Way over Singapore – a major city known for its heavily light-polluted skies – into this beautiful video. He wrote:
This movie aims to … inspire more astrophotographers residing in heavily light polluted cities to unveil the beauty of the elusive Milky Way galaxy.
When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable trophic cascade occurred. The wolves have affected not just the surrounding living ecosystems, but the physical geography of the land itself.
Welcome to the last day of February. The next leap day will be February 29, 2016. The reason for leap years explained here.
The National Weather Service from Kansas City tweeted this water vapor satellite image early this morning (Friday, Feb. 28), showing the approaching storm and the forecast track over the coming 48 hours. This storm will affect California, bringing needed rain, and it’ll also bring more winter weather to much of the U.S. While meteorological spring begins on March 1, a large portion of the United States will still be under old man winter’s wrath.
Mercury has returned to the east before dawn. It’ll have a long apparition extending through April. Start watching Mercury now, and enjoy it for a month!
After a surfeit of new moons in January (well, two), the month of February 2014 has no new moon at all.
The synodic period of the moon – from one new moon to the next – is 29.53 days. In a month as short as February, that means a moon phase could easily be left out.
That’s the case for February 2014.
The next new moon – launching the start of lunation #1128 – will be March 1 at 0802 UTC (3:02 a.m. EST).