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Asteroid set to fly by Earth next week appears to 'wearing a face mask' – Daily Mail

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Asteroid half the size of Mount Everest is set to fly by Earth next week and an image shows the object ‘wearing a mask’ similar to the scientist observing it amid the coronavirus pandemic

  • An asteroid is set to pass within 3.9 million miles of Earth April 29
  •  It was first spotted in 1998 and is unlikely to collide with Earth
  • Experts observing it said the asteroid looks like it is wearing a face mask
  • The team is currently wearing masks to limit the spread of the coronavirus 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

An asteroid half the size of Mount Everest will fly by Earth next week and astronomers have captured a photo of the object as it moves toward our planet.

The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico snapped a radar image of asteroid 1998 OR2 that will pass within 3.9 million miles of us on April 29.

The team is currently wearing masks in the facility to limit the spread of the coronavirus and have likened the appearance of the object to themselves.

‘TeamRadar and the NAIC Observatory staff are taking the proper safety measures as we continue observations,’ reads a tweet,

‘This week we have been observing near-Earth asteroid 1998 OR2, which looks like it’s wearing a mask!’

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An asteroid half the size of Mount Everest will fly by Earth next week and astronomers have captured a photo of the object as it moves toward our planet. The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico snapped a radar image of asteroid 1998 OR2 that will pass within 3.9 million miles of us on April 29

An asteroid half the size of Mount Everest will fly by Earth next week and astronomers have captured a photo of the object as it moves toward our planet. The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico snapped a radar image of asteroid 1998 OR2 that will pass within 3.9 million miles of us on April 29

The asteroid was first discovered by NASA in 1998, and is said to be ‘large enough to cause global effects’ if it were to hit Earth – but the American space agency says it is very unlikely.

The discovery came on the heels of NASA installing ‘new state-of-the-art computing and data analysis hardware that speeds our search for near-Earth objects,’ said NEAT Project Manager Dr. Steven Pravdo of JPL, in a statement.

The asteroid orbits the sun every 1,340 days, or 3.67 years and completes a rotation on its axis every 4.11 days, CNN first reported.

Astronomers estimate that 1998 OR2 is between 1.1 and 2.5 miles (1.8 to 4.1 kilometers) wide — big enough that an impact could threaten human civilization. But, to repeat, there is nothing to fear here; the asteroid will miss us by a large margin on April 29.

The team is currently wearing masks in the facility to limit the spread of the coronavirus and have likened the appearance of the object to themselves., 'This week we have been observing near-Earth asteroid 1998 OR2, which looks like it's wearing a mask,' the shared in a Tweet

The team is currently wearing masks in the facility to limit the spread of the coronavirus and have likened the appearance of the object to themselves., 'This week we have been observing near-Earth asteroid 1998 OR2, which looks like it's wearing a mask,' the shared in a Tweet

The team is currently wearing masks in the facility to limit the spread of the coronavirus and have likened the appearance of the object to themselves., ‘This week we have been observing near-Earth asteroid 1998 OR2, which looks like it’s wearing a mask,’ the shared in a Tweet

However, the European Space Agency (ESA) sent out a warning last year that there are currently 878 asteroids at risk of hitting the Earth in the next 100 years.

The agency added that an impact by even a small asteroid could lead to ‘serious devastation’ and, to reduce the risks of a collision, the ESA and several other groups have joined together to search for asteroids.

They are also developing technology to deflect space rocks and will discuss potential tactics at several meetings across Europe.

The ESA said: ‘This ESA catalogue brings together all asteroids we know of that have a ”non-zero” chance of impacting Earth in the next 100 years – meaning that an impact, however unlikely, cannot be ruled out.’

IS EARTH DUE FOR A MAJOR ASTEROID IMPACT?

Researchers have discovered most of the asteroids that are about a kilometers in size, but are now on the hunt for those that are about 140m – as they could cause catastrophic damage.

Although nobody knows when the next big impact will occur, scientists have found themselves under pressure to predict – and intercept – its arrival.

Artist's impression pictured 

Artist's impression pictured 

Artist’s impression pictured 

‘Sooner or later we will get… a minor or major impact,’ said Rolf Densing, who heads the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt

It may not happen in our lifetime, he said, but ‘the risk that Earth will get hit in a devastating event one day is very high.’

‘For now, there is little we can do.’ 

Source: AFP 

 

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What a dinosaur's last supper reveals about life in the Cretaceous period – CBC.ca

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A beautifully preserved armoured dinosaur found in an Alberta oilsands mine died on a full stomach. The “extraordinarily rare” preservation of its last meal offers new clues and surprises about how the dinosaur lived during its last days.

The 5.5-metre-long, 1,300 kilogram spiky, plant-eating nodosaur, similar to an ankylosaurus but without a tail club, is the only known one of its species, Borealopelta markmitchelli. (Its name means “shield of the north” and honours Mark Mitchell, the technician who spent 7,000 carefully extracting the fossil from the surrounding rock). 

Victoria Arbour, an evolutionary paleontologist at the Royal BC Museum, describes how some armoured dinosaurs likely used their horns, spines and armour for fighting each other, not just for protection. 1:34

The nodosaur lived 110 million years ago during the early Cretaceous, in a lush forest of conifers, ferns and palm-like plants called cycads, near the coast of what was then an inland sea. At the time, the climate was warmer, similar to that of South Carolina, said Caleb Brown, a paleontologist at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Alberta and lead author of the new study. It was published this week in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

The fossil was discovered by accident in 2011 by Shawn Funk, a shovel operator at the Suncor Millennium Mine near Fort McMurray. Paleontologists from the Royal Tyrrell were called to have a look and realized at once that it was no ordinary fossil.

While most fossils include only bones, this one included skin. It was so well-preserved that it has been described as “mummified.”

Meet one of the world’s best-preserved dinosaurs ever. Borealopelta fossilized so perfectly that we can see every inch of its armour and skin in 3D, 110 million years after its death. 0:58

In the dinosaur’s belly, “there were these massive concentrations of what looked like rocks,” Brown said.

Those were in a mass about the size of a soccer ball, and it appears they were gastroliths — rocks that some plant-eating dinosaurs use to grind up their food in their stomachs, as modern birds do, instead of using their teeth.

Sure enough, when chunks of the mass were encased in resin, sliced and examined under the microscope, the researcher could see well-preserved twigs, leaves, mosses, pollen and spores.

To get some help at identifying the plant material, the dinosaur researchers turned to paleobotanists, including University of Brandon researcher David Greenwood and his team, along with their retired Royal Tyrrell colleague Dennis Braman.

Inside the nodosaur’s belly was a mass about the size of a soccer ball that contained rocks. The rocks are called gastroliths and are used to grind up the animal’s food within its stomach. (Royal Tyrrell Museum)

Ferns and charcoal

They discovered that the dinosaur was a bit of a picky eater. While it lumbered through a landscape that was lush with conifers, horsetails and cycads, there weren’t a lot of those in its stomach.

“It’s almost all ferns,” Brown said, noting that ferns aren’t actually very nutritious. “It wasn’t just hoovering up everything on the landscape.”

But to him, the biggest surprise was that the stomach also contained a significant amount of wood, mostly charcoal, suggesting it was feeding in an area that had recently been ravaged by wildfires.

“And that’s a really cool result,” Brown said. “Because if you look at large mammals that are herbivores today, they often seek out areas that are recovering from forest fires.”

That’s because the new growth tends to be lush, more nutritious than older plants, and low to the ground where it’s easily accessible.

Microscope images show some of the plant material found inside the stomach, including a club moss spore sac (a), fern spore sacs (b-d), a charcoal fragment (e), parts of plant stems and leaves (f-l) and a cross section of a twig, showing its annual rings (m). (Brown et al/Royal Tyrrell Museum)

Forensic paleobotany

By looking at the types of spores and the fact that the twigs appeared to be in the middle of their growing season, the researchers figured out that the animal died during the wet season, which was late spring or early summer.

In Dinosaur Cold Case, a recent documentary about the fossil on CBC’s Nature of Things, Greenwood said extreme storms and flash floods would have been a problem at that time of year on the coastal plain where the dinosaur and suggested that being swept away by rushing water may have been what caused its death.

These are some plant fossils from Alberta from about the time that Borealopelta lived, including ferns, a gingko (d), horsetails (i) and a conifer cone (j). (Brown et al/Royal Tyrrell Museum)

The discoveries about the nodosaur’s last meal are significant because to date, Brown said, “we know almost nothing about what herbivorous dinosaurs eat.”

Only guesses can be made based on what plants lived nearby and the dinosaur’s teeth. There are also clues in fossil dinosaur feces, but the plant material in those are often digested beyond recognition and it’s difficult to know which dinosaur they came from.

Part of the problem is that finding preserved stomach contents from a dinosaur is “extraordinarily rare,” Jim Basinger of the University of Saskatchewan, a co-author of the study, said in a statement. 

Nine cases of possible dinosaur stomachs of plant-eating dinosaurs have been found, the researchers note, but most have turned out to just be plant material found nearby rather than actual stomachs. In this case, the dinosaur was washed far out to sea, without any plants from the landscape it lived in, before it was fossilized.

“So in this case we have what I would say is by far the best evidence that these are stomach contents,” Brown said.

That said, he notes that it may not necessarily be representative of what this species normally ate, as an animal’s diet can vary depending on its age, its health, and the seasonal availability of different foods.

Still, he said it’s useful to be able to compare it to what scientists think plant-eating dinosaurs were eating at that time and raises new questions to investigate, such as: How much of this food a dinosaur this size would have needed to eat to sustain itself? And how did it digest it?

 “I think give us a benchmark for figuring out how this animal may have lived.”

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‘Strawberry Moon’ to rise with a special eclipse for some skywatchers – Globalnews.ca

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The full moon on Friday, June 5 might look a little different in some parts of the world, where the so-called “Strawberry Moon” will fall partially under the Earth’s shadow.

The phenomenon, known as a penumbral lunar eclipse, occurs when the Earth comes between the sun and the moon, thereby casting a faint shadow on the moon. This penumbral lunar eclipse will make the full moon look slightly darker on part of its surface, although only some portions of the world will see it.

The penumbral lunar eclipse will only be visible from parts of Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe and South America, according to NASA’s charts.


READ MORE:
Pentagon officially releases three leaked ‘UFO’ videos

In other words, North Americans will need to watch a livestream on the internet to catch a glimpse of the event, which starts at 3 p.m. EDT. Nevertheless, the so-called “Strawberry Moon” will be visible to everyone.

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That name comes from the time of year and not the expected colour of the moon. There are farm-related nicknames for the first full moon of every month, and the strawberry nickname originated from the Algonquin First Nation, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. The first full moon of June often coincided with the harvest season for wild strawberries in North America, the Almanac says.


The Strawberry Moon is practically full over the horizon as a lady poses for a photo in Malaga, Spain, on June 4, 2020.


Jesus Merida/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Although skywatchers in Canada and the U.S. will miss out on this penumbral lunar eclipse, they’ll only have to wait a month to catch the next one. Another penumbral lunar eclipse is slated to happen on July 5, and that one should be visible from North America. The darkest penumbral lunar eclipse of the year is expected on Nov. 30.

A penumbral lunar eclipse also happened on Jan. 10, coinciding with that month’s “Wolf Moon.”

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0:59
Timelapse captures moment sky darkens for total solar eclipse


Timelapse captures moment sky darkens for total solar eclipse

Not to throw shade at the penumbral lunar eclipses, but they’ll likely pale in comparison to the annular solar eclipse predicted for June 21. That’s when the moon will pass between the Earth and the sun, making the sun look like a ring of fire for viewers in parts of Africa, China, northern India and Pakistan, according to TimeandDate.com.

Again, it won’t be visible from North America — but you’ll still be able to watch the whole thing online without risking eye damage from staring at the sun.

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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In Space No One Can Hear You Campaign: Trump Team Pulls Ad – NDTV

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Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has pulled a video featuring the SpaceX launch and astronauts

Washington:

President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has pulled a video featuring the SpaceX launch and astronauts which appeared to violate NASA’s media regulations, reports said.

The “Make Space Great Again” YouTube ad posted on YouTube showed footage from the Apollo program, as well as video of the landmark SpaceX Demo-2 mission and NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, the SpaceNews.com website said.

YouTube shows the video was removed by the uploader.

NASA generally allows use of its images and video but prohibits the use of its insignia and photographs of its astronauts in advertisements.

“As a government agency, NASA will not promote or endorse or appear to promote or endorse a commercial product, service or activity. Therefore, there are strict limits placed on the use of any of the NASA identities and emblem imagery in advertisements,” the space agency’s advertising regulations say.

“Astronauts or employees who are currently employed by NASA cannot have their names, likenesses or other personality traits displayed in any advertisements or marketing material.”

Hurley’s wife Karen Nyberg, a retired astronaut, and their young son were also reportedly shown in the clip.

“I find it disturbing that a video image of me and my son is being used in political propaganda without my knowledge or consent. That is wrong,” Nyberg tweeted.

A Change.org petition to “Stop Donald Trump politicizing SpaceX and NASA accomplishments” has attracted more than 6,000 signatures so far.

The New York Times described the video as “the latest effort by the president to parlay his stewardship of American space policy into an upbeat campaign issue.”

The SpaceX mission, which blasted off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center on May 30, was the first crewed US spacecraft in nearly a decade.

Trump, who witnessed the liftoff, has relaunched the race to re-conquer the Moon and to journey onwards to the Red Planet.

But the deadlines — 2024 and 2033 respectively — appear unrealistic and have caused turbulence within the space agency.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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