Rising temperatures may be having a profound physical impact on one of the world’s favourite songbirds.
Researchers in Spain found that over a 20-year period, nightingales had evolved smaller wingspans.
The scientists say this is linked to a changing climate in the region which has seen the early onset of spring and increased drought.
They are concerned that this could affect the bird’s ability to migrate in winter.
Famed for its ability to sing, the nightingale has a very rich repertoire as it is able to produce over 1,000 different sounds, compared to just 340 by skylarks.
Although common in many parts of Europe and Asia, the bird is mainly seen and heard in southern England.
Numbers here have declined markedly over the last half century, down 90%, with multiple factors to blame including deer eating their preferred nesting sites, but also because of a changing climate.
The nightingale spends the winter in sub-Saharan Africa, with the small, brown creature clocking up huge distances during migration.
Wing size is critical to this endeavour.
Now,, researchers say that ability to migrate may be impeded by climate change.
Scientists in Spain have studied 20 years of data on wing shape in two populations of the birds.
They found that the average wing length of the nightingales relative to their body size has decreased.
They believe this is related to changes in temperatures seen in the Mediterranean region.
“Our results show that spring is delayed and the intensity of the summer drought is higher, which means a shorter optimal breeding period for the birds,” said Dr Carolina Remacha, from Madrid’s Complutense University, who led the study.
“We find the unique possibility that shorter wings are being favoured.”
The researchers believe that birds like the nightingale normally adapt to the demands of migration by having longer wings, having a larger clutch size but a shorter lifespan.
However, the changing temperatures are interfering with this and provoking a response from the birds.
Faced with a shorter breeding season, the researchers believe the most successful birds are having smaller families with smaller wings.
They argue that these adaptations are likely to come at a price.
“If these changes are the response to the new environment, then obviously the ones that have been selected, the ones with shorter wings, are the optimal nightingales for the new situation,” said co-author Prof Javier Perez-Tris also from Complutense University.
“These are not the best wings for migration, but the shorter wings come in the same package.”
The researchers say that the birds are continuing with the same migration patterns and destinations and therefore their survival is likely to be reduced.
While the scientists say this “maladaptation” is evident in the birds they have studied in Spain where there have been droughts in the summer, it may also be impacting other members of the species in different regions.
“If the climate is changing in a similar way, and the pressures are similar than you’d expect similar responses,” said Dr Perez-Tris.
The research has been published in The Auk: Ornithological Advances.
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SpaceX rings in Falcon 9’s 10th anniversary with a rocket reusability first – Teslarati
Today is the tenth anniversary of SpaceX’s inaugural Falcon 9 launch, marking a decade of largely uninterrupted success that the company has rung in with a record-breaking Starlink launch and rocket landing.
Just one day shy of the occasion, booster B1049 lifted off on its fifth orbital launch and Falcon 9’s 86th launch overall, successfully placing the eighth batch of 60 SpaceX Starlink satellites in orbit and becoming the first booster ever to complete five orbital-class launches and landings. Designed to fly no fewer than 10 times each, that means that SpaceX is already half of the way to achieving a major goal of the rocket’s Block 5 upgrade just 24 months after its launch debut.
With Starlink-8 under its belt, Falcon 9 B1049 has officially become the fastest orbital-class rocket or spacecraft in history to perform five launches, beating out Space Shuttles Columbia (~27 months), Challenger (~24 months), Discovery (~22 months), Atlantis (~26 months), and Endeavour (~29 months) with launches in ~20 months. Over the 10 years it’s been operational, thanks in large part to the unprecedented leaps SpaceX has made while independently developing booster reusability, Falcon 9 has become the most affordable source of large orbital launches and has come to dominate the commercial launch market and the company’s lead is only likely to grow in the coming years.
Lifting off just hours after SpaceX completed Port Canaveral recovery operations with the first astronaut-proven Falcon 9 booster (B1058), B1049’s fifth successful launch and landing means that the company will soon be able to attempt the sixth launch of an orbital-class booster for the first time ever. All but guaranteed to support one of the 20-24 Starlink missions SpaceX has planned for 2020, B1049 could be ready for its sixth launch as early as late July or August.
Just like the booster’s two prior launches, B1049 was carrying a ~16 metric ton (~35,000 lb) batch of 60 Starlink communications satellites. Thanks to Falcon 9’s exceptional cost-to-performance ratio the rapid expansion of Starlink launch activities, SpaceX’s workhorse rocket has already launched almost 450 metric tons (~1 million lb) of satellites and cargo into orbit over 10 years of service and 85 launches.
If things go according to plan, the Starlink launch campaign SpaceX needs to complete the massive satellite constellation will rapidly double (and almost triple) the total mass SpaceX has placed in orbit. The first major phase of 4400 satellites – currently 9.5% complete – will collectively weigh more than 1100 metric tons (~2.5 million lb), while the combined second and third phases will raise that by almost a full magnitude. Falcon 9 may forever be famous thanks to the leaps it’s made in reusability, affordability, and reliability, but it will likely end up being best known for its foundational role in the deployment of SpaceX’s vast Starlink internet constellation within a few years.
After B1049.5 safely returns to Port Canaveral aboard drone ship Just Read The Instructions (JRTI) sometime next week, SpaceX can offload the rocket, transport it to a nearby hangar, and begin preparing it for launch #6 – a first for the company. If SpaceX can average 90-day turnarounds for the booster over its next several flights, B1049 could potentially become the first Falcon 9 first stage to achieve its 10-flight design goal before the end of next year.
Meanwhile, SpaceX is already preparing to launch its (ninth) Starlink mission as early as June 12th, beating the pad’s current turnaround record by almost three days (~25%). All things considered, a full decade in, SpaceX and its Falcon 9 rocket are just getting started.
Check out Teslarati’s newsletters for prompt updates, on-the-ground perspectives, and unique glimpses of SpaceX’s rocket launch and recovery processes.
Full 'Strawberry' Moon coincides with a penumbral lunar eclipse tonight – Daily Mail
Full ‘Strawberry’ Moon coincides with a penumbral lunar eclipse TONIGHT – but rain clouds in parts of the UK may ruin the celestial spectacle
- The Strawberry Full Moon will hit its peak in the UK before sunset at 20:12 BST
- It coincides with a penumbral lunar eclipse that will see the Moon dim slightly
- The Moon won’t appear pink unless it is close to the horizon as the name comes from the fact it coincides with the annual strawberry harvest not its colour
A ‘Full Strawberry Moon’ will appear in the sky tonight and it will coincide with a subtle penumbral lunar eclipse, according to astronomers.
While it is called a Strawberry Moon, that doesn’t mean it will appear red or pink, the name comes from the fact strawberries are ready to harvest this time of year.
However, the Moon, which will reach its peak at 20:12 BST, will appear slightly dimmer than a normal full Moon due to the special type of eclipse.
A penumbral eclipse is the most subtle form, it occurs when the earth, sun and moon are all aligned – with the Earth casting a slight shadow over the Moon.
While it is called a Strawberry Moon, that doesn’t mean it will appear red or pink as the name comes from the fact strawberries are ready to harvest this time of year
A penumbral eclipse is the most subtle form, it occurs when the earth, sun and moon are all aligned – with the Earth casting a slight shadow over the Moon
For skygazers in parts of the UK rain clouds will dampen the spectacle, and make the dimming effects harder to spot, according to weather forecasters.
Zoltan Toth-Czifra, founder of Under Lucky Stars, says the Full Strawberry Moon will be a stunning sight if the skies are clear.
“This year has been full of astronomical events with the supermoons over the past few months and it doesn’t end there,’ he said.
He said the Moon will rise and be visible every night over the weekend and that Moons always rise in the east and set in the west.
‘Unlike its name, the moon won’t be red or pink in colour,’ said Toth-Czifra.
THE STRAWBERRY FULL MOON DOESN’T APPEAR PINK OR RED
Despite its name, the moon is unlikely to be turning a hue of strawberry red.
In recent years, traditional Native American names for the full moons have become more common in modern day parlance.
According to the Maine Farmer’s Almanac – which first published the Native American names for the full Moons in the 1930’s – the name comes from the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries in northeastern North America.
The name is applied to the full Moon in June or the last full Moon of Spring, but the same full moon went under many other traditional names in other parts of the world.
‘But it will be a breath-taking full moon, so you may even see it cast moon shadows on the ground,’ he said.
‘This moon is named Strawberry Moon as a reference to the time of harvesting strawberries in North America, originally from Native American tribes who used the moon as an indicator of when the fruit would be ripe.’
Toth-Czifra said the lower than average level of pollution due to lockdown, combined with clear skies in some parts of the UK, will make the Moon clearer than usual.
‘As always, the moon will affect the Earth’s ocean, and the extra gravitational pull means we should brace ourselves for some spectacular tides worldwide,’ he said.
The eclipse won’t be obviously visible as it is a penumbral eclipse – unlike a full or partial version, this won’t actually block out part of the Moon.
Astrophysicist Dr David Gozzard, from the University of Western Australia International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research said the eclipse will last around three hours.
‘A strawberry moon is a name for a full moon in June and lunar eclipses like these always happen at the full moon,’ he said.
‘It’s called a penumbral eclipse so the Earth’s shadow has a fuzzy outer region where you only get a partial shadow and not a full shadow of the sun. That’s called a penumbra and that is the area the moon will pass through.’
The Strawberry Full Moon is named that way because it coincides with the strawberry harvest – it won’t appear pink by default but could look more pink if it is low on the horizon
‘Lunar eclipses come in pairs or sometimes triplets so this will have a corresponding sibling eclipse in May next year. It will be a more spectacular eclipse with a total or partial eclipse of the shadow of the earth,’ Dr Gozzard said.
The Strawberry Full Moon, which will appear an hour before sunset tonight, has also been called the Rose Moon in Europe due to it arriving as roses begin to bloom.
It won’t be easily visible for everyone in the UK, but some will get a clear view.
The Met Office forecast for tonight says there will be sunny spells and showers for many, some heavy with isolated thunder.’
‘Heavy rain and gales developing across northern Scotland, edging south later.’
SpaceX Sent NASA Astronauts Into Orbit Using Linux – Futurism
This past weekend, Elon Musk-led private space company SpaceX made history by launching a pair of NASA astronauts into orbit, an accomplishment that could upset the balance of the international space industry.
According to a terrific breakdown by ZDNet, the historic launch also contributed to a shift in power from proprietary software to open source — by running the Falcon 9 rocket on a version of the open source operating system Linux.
Kernel Space Program
The unspecified version of Linux, according to ZDNet, runs on three dual-core x86 processors — a redundancy system that keeps the astronauts safe by making sure all three units agree before executing each command.
ZDNet also pointed to a 2013 Reddit post in which SpaceX employees confirmed that Dragon and Falcon 9 both on Linux.
SpaceX isn’t the first group to bring open source software into orbit.
The International Space Station itself, where the NASA astronauts launched by SpaceX are now residing, reportedly switched to Linux from Microsoft’s proprietary Windows operating system in 2013.
READ MORE: From Earth to orbit with Linux and SpaceX [ZDNet]
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