Search and rescue efforts are underway today as workers attempt to find survivors still stuck in collapsed buildings across parts of southern China. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported a strong earthquake – 6.1 magnitude – that shook this region on Sunday, August 3, 2014, causing significant damage, injuries and deaths. This morning (August 4), AP is reporting 12,000 homes toppled during the quake, with 398 deaths and some 1,800 injuries.
The image above is one of the highest resolution images ever returned of Mercury. MESSENGER acquired it on June 11, 2014. Last Friday – July 25, 2014 – MESSENGER’s periherm (closest point to Mercury) dropped below 100 kilometers / 62 miles. MESSSENGER is the first manmade object ever to come this close to Mercury.
One of the most anticipated astronomical events of 2014 is the close passage of Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring to the planet Mars on October 19, 2014. The comet’s tiny nucleus, or core, will miss Mars by about 82,000 miles (132,000 kilometers). As comets travel through space, though, they leave behind a trail of dust particles, and this trail of debris might be wide enough to reach Mars and encounter its thin atmosphere … or might miss it, too. Follow the links inside to learn more.
Some 71% to 87% of the iron in North Atlantic seawater may have originated in dust from the Sahara desert.
Pluto and Charon seen dead center in this one-quarter-resolution frame from New Horizons’ LORRI (LOng Range Reconnaissance Imager) Camera. Charon is at the four o’clock position with respect to Pluto. Pluto and Charon were 426.51 million kilometers / 264.86 million miles away at the time from New Horizons and appeared in front of the stars in southern Ophiuchus. The spacecraft is out of hibernation temporarily now, and will remain so through August.
The SETI Institute has released new information about the Camelopardalid meteor shower. Remember the Camelopardalids? It was that meteor shower last May – the result of a close passage of Comet 209P/LINEAR – that astronomers predicted would be spectacular … except it wasn’t. Now these same astronomers are saying that, although the weak display of Camelopardalids disappointed backyard observers, this never-before-seen shower has them excited. Sigh. Okay, here’s what they say.
I’m not sure exactly when starfish began insisting on being called “sea stars”, but somewhere along the line they got it into their heads (or central disks perhaps, they don’t have heads per se) that since they are not actually fish, they should no longer be addressed as such. This despite the fact that prairie dogs and sea horses are graciously carrying on with their misleading monikers to spare society the trouble of learning new names.
Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding area is the site of some of the most powerful volcanic eruptions to have ever occurred on Earth. Thanks to new seismic sensors that have been installed in this area over the past decade, scientists now have better tools to visualize what lies beneath the surface. The latest string of research has found that the reservoir of magma – molten or semi-molten rock – under Yellowstone is about 2.5 times bigger than previously thought.
Twilight is the time of day between daylight and darkness, whether after sunset or before sunrise. The sun is below the horizon, but its rays are scattered by Earth’s atmosphere to create twilight’s pinks, purples, and blues.
These photos all came from our Facebook friends. You’ll love them!
Josh Blash called this photo “Mammatus Illumination,” and he wrote:
Here is a lightning shot I took around 12 a.m. on July 4, when storms were moving off the New Hampshire coast. I couldn’t see it at the time, but after looking at my photos I believe these are mammatus clouds being illuminated by lightning.