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Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend

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From close encounters with Mars to vibrant meteor showers, the skies are certainly putting on a show this summer.

The Perseid meteor shower peaks this weekend. On the evening of Aug.12 to the morning of Aug.13, stargazers will see the best show the meteor shower has to offer.

"The reason we see the Perseids is because the earth travels through the tail of a comet," Kat Kelly, an astronomer at Vancouver's H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, told On the Coast guest host Angela Sterritt. "That's what we call the radiant, which is where the majority of meteors are coming from."

The best way to see the meteor shower is to find a constellation like Cassiopeia, and look just below it and to the left. Stargazers can see 60 to 70 meteors per hour, says Kelly.

"The Perseids are the biggest show of meteor showers that you can see in the Northern Hemisphere," says Kelly.

But that's not all that's going on in the sky.

A Perseid meteor streaks over Starfest, a stargazing party held annually in southwestern Ontario, in 2014. This year, the Perseids meteor shower will peak on the night of Aug. 12-13. (Malcolm Park)

Last week Mars was the closest it's been to Earth since 2003. It won't be closer until 2035. This month, the red planet will be visible at dawn. Those with amateur telescopes may be able to see some ice caps on the planet and definitely some colouration, according to Kelly.  

Stargazers will also be able to spot Venus between sunset and midnight. Jupiter and Saturn will both be visible from 11 p.m. to the early hours of the morning, says Kelly.

"You can see all of them, in fact, without a telescope. They look like stars, but they don't twinkle. So that's the way you can tell," Kelly said.

To best enjoy the meteor shower and the multiple visible planets, Kelly urges people to reduce light pollution and relax.

"It's also nice to go to a park or a beach … somewhere that is secluded. Bring a blanket and sit back and enjoy."

Listen to the full story:

On the evening of Aug.12 to the morning of Aug.13, stargazers will see the best show the Perseid Meteor Shower has to offer. Kat Kelly, an astronomer at Vancouver's HR MacMillan Space Centre, gives her tips on how to best take in the meteor shower and visible planets this weekend. 5:52

With files from On the Coast

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Error in major climate study revealed – warming NOT higher than expected

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A major new climate study in the journal Nature got worldwide media coverage for finding that the oceans warmed dramatically faster than previously thought — but now the researchers have retracted that conclusion after a man in the United Kingdom blogged about flaws he discovered in the paper.

Just two weeks after publication, the study authors have revised their paper, and now conclude that the oceans are warming fast — but at the same rate as other measurements have found.

A study co-author took responsibility for the error. “I accept responsibility for these oversights because it was my role to ensure that details of the measurements were correctly understood and taken up by coauthors,” study co-author Ralph Keeling wrote in an explanation of the revision.

CATASTROPHIC GLOBAL WARMING LESS LIKELY, STUDY SAYS

The error was first discovered by Nic Lewis, a retired British man who holds a bachelors degree in math from the University of Cambridge and who reads science papers for fun. He has also written a couple of published papers of his own on climate science.

“I’ve always liked to understand the world and to check whether people’s research makes sense to me. Once I find something that seems wrong to me, I like to get to the bottom of it,” Lewis told Fox News.

Lewis said the incident should serve as a cautionary tale.

AL GORE WOULD HAVE LOST GLOBAL WARMING BET, ACADEMIC SAYS

“I think it shows that the fact that a study is peer-reviewed and published by a premier journal gives very little assurance that its findings are valid,” Lewis said.

“I was slightly surprised that neither the peer reviewers nor the editor had spotted what seemed to me an obvious red flag on page 1 of the paper,” he added.

Lewis said that the reviewers who approved that paper may have looked less closely for errors because the conclusion agreed with the typical belief that global warming is an extreme crisis.

‘ARBITRARY’ ADJUSTMENTS EXAGGERATE SEA LEVEL RISE, STUDY FINDS

But all involved, including Lewis, agree that manmade greenhouse gas emissions are warming the oceans.

“People shouldn’t be left with the impression that the errors in this paper put into doubt whether the ocean interior is warming. It clearly is wholly or mainly due to human greenhouse gas emissions,” Lewis said.

The study co-author who took responsibility for the error also made that point.

TERRIFYING CLIMATE CHANGE WARNING: 12 YEARS UNTIL WE’RE DOOMED

“The evidence for ocean warming continues to be supported by millions of temperature readings throughout the oceans made by the international Argo network of sensors,” Keeling told Fox News.

The Argo network of sensors consists of nearly 4,000 floats around the world that observe the ocean. The study done by Keeling and his coauthors attempted to estimate ocean temperatures a totally different way — “by using measurements of atmospheric oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) … which increase as the ocean warms and releases gases.”

Keeling said that such a study still had some value.

GLOBAL WARMING WILL RUIN BEER, SCIENTISTS WARN

“Our study still also provides independent evidence that the ocean is warming. We accept that our method doesn’t determine the amount of warming as precisely as we previously thought,” Keeling added.

Keeling also acknowledged Lewis for pointing out the error.

“The scientific process is self-correcting when errors are made or new evidence is discovered. Hats off to Nic Lewis for his role here,” Keeling said.

WORLD’S LARGEST SHIPPING COMPANY HEADS TO ARCTIC AS CLIMATE CHANGE MAY OPEN UP NEW ROUTES

While the Earth has warmed — government data show that the planet is nearly 2°F warmer than in the 1970s — researchers like Lewis make the case that climate models are not that great and may overpredict warming.

“Climate science suffers from being politicized,” Lewis told Fox News. “It’s too infected by the idea of consensus and models… warming is likely to be less severe than global climate models say.”

The author, Maxim Lott, is Executive Producer of Stossel TV and creator of ElectionBettingOdds.com. He can be reached on Twitter at @MaximLott

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Bizarre Microbes Represent a Major New Branch on the Evolutionary Family Tree

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[unable to retrieve full-text content]

  1. Bizarre Microbes Represent a Major New Branch on the Evolutionary Family Tree  Gizmodo
  2. Rare microbes lead scientists to discover new branch on the tree of life  Yahoo News Canada (blog)
  3. Canadian researchers have discovered a new kind of organism  Digital Journal
  4. Full coverage



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Cargo ship launch clears crewed mission to space station

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FILE – In this Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018 file photo, the Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-10 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, blasts off at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. A Russian Soyuz rocket has put a cargo ship en route to the International Space Station, clearing the way for the next crewed mission. The launch on Friday, Nov. 16 of the Progress MS-10 resupply ship from Baikonur in Kazakhstan marked the fourth successful liftoff of a Soyuz since an crew launch last month. A Soyuz-FG rocket carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos' Alexei Ovchinin failed two minutes into its flight on Oct. 11.


Dmitri Lovetsky / AP

MOSCOW — A Russian Soyuz rocket sent a cargo ship on its way to the International Space Station on Friday, a successful launch that cleared the way for the next crew to travel to the space outpost.

The launch of the Russian Progress MS-10 resupply ship from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan marked the fourth successful liftoff of a Soyuz since a launch with crew members had to be aborted last month.

A Soyuz-FG rocket carrying NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos’ Alexei Ovchinin failed two minutes into its flight on Oct. 11, activating an automatic rescue system that allowed their capsule to land safely. A Russian investigation attributed the failure to a sensor that was damaged during the rocket’s final assembly.

The accident was the first aborted crew launch for the Russian space program since 1983, when two Soviet cosmonauts jettisoned after a launch pad explosion and also had a safe landing. The Russian Soyuz spacecraft is currently the only vehicle that can ferry crews to the space station.

Since the October mishap, two Soyuz rockets were launched successfully from Plesetsk in northwestern Russia, while a third lifted off from French Guiana carrying satellites into orbit. They were of a different subtype than the rocket that failed in October, but the one that lifted off Friday was the same version.

The Progress ship is set to dock at the space station Sunday, delivering almost three tons of food, fuel, water and other supplies to the crew — NASA’s Serena Aunon-Chancellor, Russian Sergei Prokopyev and German Alexander Gerst.

In a separate supply mission, Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket with Cygnus cargo spacecraft is scheduled to lift off Saturday and dock at the station Monday.

The current crew is scheduled to return to Earth next month after the arrival of their replacements. American astronaut Anne McClain, Canadian David Saint-Jacques and Russian Oleg Kononenko are set to go up on Dec. 3.

Speaking Thursday at the Star City space training centre outside Moscow, McClain voiced confidence in the Soyuz despite October’s aborted launch.

“We trust our rocket. We’re ready to fly,” she said. “I think what we learned from the inside in October was how safe this rocket was. A lot of people called it an accident or an incident, or maybe want to use it as an example of not being safe. But for us it’s exactly the opposite because our friends came home, the systems worked and they worked exactly as they were designed.”

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