Scientist finds fossil evidence of sabre-toothed cat in southern Alberta - CP24 Toronto's Breaking News - Canadanewsmedia
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Scientist finds fossil evidence of sabre-toothed cat in southern Alberta – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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MEDICINE HAT, Alta. – Scientists have found fossil evidence from the last ice age of a sabre-toothed cat in southern Alberta – the northern-most record of the predator.

A study by the Royal Ontario Museum and the University Toronto was published Friday in the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences.

“We were describing the different cat fossils that were found in the Medicine Hat area in Pleistocene deposits,” said Ashley Reynolds, a graduate student at the Royal Ontario Museum who led the study as part of her PhD at the University of Toronto.

“We found potentially four different species, (including) the Smilodon fatalis, which is the famous sabre-toothed cat.”

Reynolds said the sabre-toothed cat is most commonly represented in popular culture, such as Diego from the children’s “Ice Age” movies and from the end credits of “The Flinstones” television cartoon.

Researchers also documented three other types of cats, including the American lion, a lynx or bobcat and potentially a cave lion. The fossil of the cave lion had previously only been found in fossils in Yukon and Alaska.

Supersized cats went extinct at the end of the Pleistocene epoch, which was about 11,000 years ago. They hunted large herbivores – such as camels, horses, giant ground sloths and young mammoths – that were also present at the time.

The sabre-toothed cat fossil is a partial bone of one of the cat’s large forepaws.

“Prior to this being described and its record being confirmed … the previous northern-most record was in Idaho, which is about 1,000 kilometres south of Medicine Hat,” Reynolds said.

Her co-author and supervisor, David Evans, said it’s an unusual find.

“Smilodon is best known from tar pit deposits in California and South America,” he said in a news release. “So, it’s both exciting and surprising to find evidence of this iconic sabre-toothed predator in Canada.”

Reynolds said her interest in comparing the anatomy of big cats led her to specialize in the study of pre-historic ones.

“I was looking through our drawers in collections on another project,” she said. “I found a little bag that had a bone in that was labelled as Smilodon and I thought that doesn’t seem right.

“I went to our collections manager and my supervisor and said, ‘Do you guys know anything about this?”’

After reviewing the bone, which was first collected from the area in the late 1960s and later donated to the museum, it turned out that it was a sabre-toothed cat fossil.

“It was really exciting,” said Reynolds. “This is way cooler than we thought it would be.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 4, 2019.

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SDO caught the Mercury transit from space – EarthSky

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NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) had a ringside seat on Monday, November 11, 2019, as Mercury crossed the face of the sun in the last transit of Mercury until the year 2032. The video above shows SDO’s views of the sun – during the hours of the transit – in a variety of wavelengths of light in the extreme ultraviolet.

Plus … hey, who knew NASA could be funny?

Bottom line: Video of November 11, 2019, transit of Mercury, as seen by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

EarthSky 2020 lunar calendars are available! They make great gifts. Order now. Going fast!

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Mercury Transit Live Stream – Den of Geek US

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Your Monday is about to get a lot better, especially if you’re on the East Coast. At 7:35 am ET, you’ll get the clearest view of a rare celestial event, as Mercury transits the Sun from our vantage point for the first time since 2016. This is an event we’re only able to witness from Earth about 13 times per century. In fact, the next time you’ll able to watch Mercury cross in front of the Sun is in 2032, which means you probably won’t want to miss it this time around. 

It’ll take Mercury five and a half hours to complete its transit, so you’ll have until 1:04 pm ET to catch the event. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should stare directly at the Sun — protective eyewear is recommended. Check out NASA’s eye safety tips for viewing transits and eclipses. 

For those of you who won’t get a chance to see the event in person, you can watch Mercury’s transit across the Sun in the live stream below:

Video of Mercury Transit 2019 LIVE Stream

Mercury actually completes a full orbit around the Sun every 88 days, but it’s not often that it does so from an Earth-friendly vantage point due to its “eccentric, egg-shaped orbit,” according to NASA. Due to this unusual orbit, the fastest planet in our Solar System, traveling through space at 29 miles per second, can get as close as 29 million miles and as far as 43 million miles from the Sun. For comparison, Earth is about 93 million miles from the star.

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As you’d expect, the first planet in our Solar System can get MUCH hotter than Earth, reaching temperatures higher than 800 degrees Fahrenheit or as cold as minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit since Mercury has no atmosphere with which to retain heat. Basically, don’t expect to find any signs of life on this celestial hellscape.

I leave you with my favorite scene from my favorite science fiction movie, Danny Boyle‘s Sunshine. Chris Evans (before he was Captain America), Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Michelle Yeoh, Cliff Curtis, Hiroyuki Sanada, and the rest of the movie’s killer ensemble cast gather in their spaceship’s observation deck to watch Mercury transit the Sun on their way to reignite the star and save Earth from a chilly death:

Video of &quot;Sunshine&quot; Movie Clip – Approaching Mercury

John Saavedra is an associate editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9.

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Planet dances with sun | Local News – The Chronicle Journal

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Allan Haney braved cold temperatures at Hillcrest Park on Monday for a front row view of the planet Mercury passing the sun in a rare celestial transit.

He used a pair of binoculars to reflect the sun on a white paper plate to see the tiny black dot that is Mercury as it passed directly between Earth and the sun during the five-and-a-half-hour celestial show that was visible in Canada, the eastern U.S., Central and South America.

The rest of the world, with the exception of Asia and Australia, got just a sampling.

In our solar system, Mercury is the smallest and innermost planet. The next transit will take place in 2032, but North America won’t get another glimpse until 2049.

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