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Comet NEOWISE spotted flying in Kamloops skies

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Comet NEOWISE is currently flying in Kamloops skies as it exits our solar system after a slingshot around the sun.

The comet, designated C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE), is an unexpected visitor to our solar system and was discovered on March 27 by the space telescope from which it takes its name.

The comet first became visible in July, first appearing in North American skies during the early morning hours before moving to the night shift.

To spot NEOWISE in the sky, look to the northwest about an hour and a half after sunset, around 10:30 p.m. local time. If you know your constellations, look just below the Big Dipper (or Ursa Major).

Smartphone apps such as Sky Map, SkyView or Stellarium, can also help locate the comet in the sky.

While NEOWISE is visible to the naked eye, it will appear somewhat faint, but brighten some as the night sky darkens.

Astronomers are recommending binoculars for best viewing.

NEOWISE is the first naked-eye-visible comet to grace northern skies since Hale-Bopp, which flew for 18 months beginning in 1997.

Saturday’s night skies will be partly cloudy, according to Environment Canada, while Sunday and Monday are both forecast to be clear. Partly cloudy skies are forecast to return next week.

If you miss NEOWISE this time around, its next lap around the sun will not occur until the year 8820.

Source:  – Kamloops This Week

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Renewed hopes for humanity in space – The Hill Times

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The successful launch of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 mission to the International Space Station on Nov. 15 is a symbolic milestone that should be celebrated. Onboard the commercial launch vehicle were American and Japanese astronauts, who joined the other Russian and American crew already residing in the International Space Station, itself a remarkable example of the power of cooperation in space among many countries around the world. As the Falcon 9 soared into space, the collaborative, cooperative and commercial nature of space was once again clear for all to see. 

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Beaver moon eclipsed by Earth's shadow tonight | Georgia Straight Vancouver's News & Entertainment Weekly – Straight.com

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November’s full moon will undergo a partial eclipse after midnight Sunday (November 29) when it slides across the outer (penumbral) edge of Earth’s shadow during the early hours of November 30.

This moon—sometimes called the beaver moon because it comes at a time when beavers are stepping up activities to prepare for the cold winter months ahead—will rise in the east and climb the night sky until the start of the eclipse.

Because the full moon will not cross into the darkest part of our planet’s shadow (the umbra), the eclipse—which will affect about 83 percent of the satellite’s surface—will be seen as a darkening of the affected area.

The partial eclipse will start at 1:42 a.m., when the moon should be high overhead and to the southwest. The moon will take more than four hours to traverse the Earth’s penumbra.

When the moon sets, at 6:56 a.m. Vancouver time, it should be coloured orange.

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NOAA scientists discover new species of gelatinous animal near Puerto Rico – CTV News

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Scientists have discovered a new species of ctenophore, or comb jelly, near Puerto Rico.

The newly named Duobrachium sparksae was discovered two and a half miles below sea level by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries research team. It was found during an underwater expedition using a remotely operated vehicle in 2015 and filmed by a high-definition camera.

NOAA Fisheries scientists Mike Ford and Allen Collins spotted the ctenophore and recognized it as a new species. This is the first time NOAA scientists have identified a new species using only high-definition video, according to NOAA.

“The cameras on the Deep Discoverer robot are able to get high-resolution images and measure structures less than a millimeter. We don’t have the same microscopes as we would in a lab, but the video can give us enough information to understand the morphology in detail, such as the location of their reproductive parts and other aspects,” Collins said.

The scientists also said there was another unique quality to the discovery. During the expedition, they were not able to gather any samples, so the video evidence is all they have.

“Naming of organisms is guided by international code, but some changes have allowed descriptions of new species based on video — certainly when species are rare and when collection is impossible,” Ford said. “When we made these observations, we were 4,000 metres down, using a remote vehicle, and we did not have the capabilities to take a sample.”

There are between 100 and 150 species of comb jellies, and despite their name, they are not related to jellyfish at all, according to the NOAA. The species is carnivorous, and many are highly efficient predators that eat small arthropods and many kinds of larvae.

The researchers said that there did not initially get a long look at the animal, so there is still a lot about this new species that they do not know yet. Their findings were recently published in the journal Plankton and Benthos Research.

“We’re not sure of their role in the ecosystem yet,” Ford said.

“We can consider that it serves similar roles to other ctenophores near the ocean floor and it also has some similarities to other ctenophores in open ocean areas,” he said.

The videos are now part of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Collection and publicly accessible.

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