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Egg-standing test goes viral as ring-of-fire eclipse crosses Asia – The Journal Pioneer

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By Nur-Azna Sanusi

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Can you make an egg stand on its narrow side during a solar eclipse?

According to a popular scientific theory, an egg will support itself that way when the moon obscures the sun and during the spring equinox, due to increased gravity.

While the theory has been debunked, that did not stop Malaysian and Indonesian social media users from putting it to the test on Thursday, as thousands of skywatchers gathered across parts of Asia to witness a rare annular solar eclipse.

Videos shared online showed dozens of users succeeding in getting eggs to balance on different surfaces including on gravel, a window pane, and a plate during the ‘ring-of-fire’ eclipse.

Hakeem Maarof, a Malaysian father of two, filmed eggs standing on end on a stone pavement and on the road after remembering being told about the theory by a friend.

“It’s more of an experiment for my kids,” Hakeem, who posted the footage of Facebook, told Reuters.

Dr Chong Hon Yew, a retired physicist from the Malaysian Science University, said there was no evidence to back up the theory.

“You can do the same experiment tomorrow, before or after eclipse – it’s easy to do it,” Chong said. “But it’s a fun trick to do (during an eclipse) to get young kids interested in science and astronomy.”

Thursday’s annular eclipse – which occurs when the moon covers the sun’s center but leaves its outer edges visible to form a ring – was also visible in Saudi Arabia, Singapore, India and Sri Lanka.

In most years, two solar eclipses are visible from somewhere on Earth. The maximum number per year is five.

(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff; editing by John Stonestreet)

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Tom Cruise gets a flight date for his space movie – Yahoo Canada Sports

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Tom Cruise smiles as he gives an interview during a red carpet event for the movie "Mission: Impossible - Fallout" at the Imperial Ancestral Temple in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. The film opens in China on Aug. 31. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

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Tom Cruise (Credit: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Tom Cruise will be heading to the heavens to make the first action movie to be shot in space in October, 2021.

An under-the-radar tweet from the Space Shuttle Almanac, which emerged last weekend, appears to confirm that Cruise will be travelling with director Doug Liman on Elon Musk’s SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.

They will head to the International Space Station with the veteran NASA pilot Michael Lopez-Alegria at the helm.

According to the tweet, which lists the passenger manifest on the flight, there is still a spare seat on the mission.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="NASA confirmed in May this year that Cruise would be heading to space to make a movie with Bourne Identity filmmaker Liman.” data-reactid=”38″>NASA confirmed in May this year that Cruise would be heading to space to make a movie with Bourne Identity filmmaker Liman.

“We need popular media to inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists to make @NASA’s ambitious plans a reality,” said NASA administrator Jim Bridestine.

Little is known about the nature of the movie as yet, though the scale of it likely to be pretty limited in terms of crew.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="However, it is thought that Liman, who has worked with Cruise on movies including Edge of Tomorrow and American Made, has penned a draft screenplay for the project.” data-reactid=”43″>However, it is thought that Liman, who has worked with Cruise on movies including Edge of Tomorrow and American Made, has penned a draft screenplay for the project.

US actor Tom Cruise (C), accompanied by film director Doug Liman (L) and producer Erwin Stoff (R) pose at a press conference for their latest movie "Edge of Tomorrow" in Tokyo on June 27, 2014. The three are here to promote the science fiction film, adapted from the novel "All You Need Is Kill" written by Japanese novelist Hiroshi Sakurazaka. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP via Getty Images)US actor Tom Cruise (C), accompanied by film director Doug Liman (L) and producer Erwin Stoff (R) pose at a press conference for their latest movie "Edge of Tomorrow" in Tokyo on June 27, 2014. The three are here to promote the science fiction film, adapted from the novel "All You Need Is Kill" written by Japanese novelist Hiroshi Sakurazaka. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP via Getty Images)

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Tom Cruise with Doug Liman and producer Erwin Stoff (Credit: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP via Getty Images)

The Crew Dragon made history on 30 May this year, blasting into space in a partnership between NASA and Musk’s SpaceX, ferrying astronauts to the ISS.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Cruise, meanwhile, is currently back to filming the latest in the Mission: Impossible movie series with Christopher McQuarrie, after the production was curtailed by the coronavirus lockdown back in March.” data-reactid=”65″>Cruise, meanwhile, is currently back to filming the latest in the Mission: Impossible movie series with Christopher McQuarrie, after the production was curtailed by the coronavirus lockdown back in March.

Returning to the action sequel’s set, he filmed a death-defying motorbike stunt in Norway earlier this month, launching from a ramp from the top of a mountain into a valley before parachuting to safety.

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New 'mini-moon' set to be captured by Earth might just be space junk – CNET

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Does Earth have its second mini-moon discovery in 2020? Unlikely.


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We’ve got one huge moon looming overhead and you might think “that’s enough moons.” But sometimes, Earth gets greedy and starts pulling in small asteroids for extended stays in orbit. The brief visitations by these “mini-moons” are fairly rare, with only two confirmed so far. The most recent came on Feb. 15, when tiny rock 2020 CD3 was discovered by astronomers at the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey. The glorious mini-moon had been ensnared by the Earth’s gravity as early as 2015 and stayed with us until May 2020 before dashing off into the cosmos again. 

But in the unprecedented year of 2020, astronomers have announced the detection of another potential mini-moon: 2020 SO. 

Except this one isn’t acting at all like a small asteroid would. Our mini-moon is no moon at all. It’s moving far too slowly for it to be rock ejected from a cosmic body. Therefore, astronomers reason, it’s probably just space junk left over from the early days of the Space Race.

The current theory holds that 2020 SO is the rocket body from an Atlas Centaur-D rocket originally launched in 1966. The rocket lifted off Sept. 20 carrying the Surveyor 2 lunar lander to the moon. The dimensions and the orbit of 2020 SO, published by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, seem to align neatly with the Centaur body. 

The object will be grabbed by Earth’s gravitational pull in October and will have its closest approach on Dec. 1, getting to within around 31,000 miles. Astronomers should be able to get a closer look at the object, assessing its shape and the kind of light its emitting. 

If it is the Centaur stage — if it is junk — it’s still interesting junk. It’s been out, wandering the solar system for over five decades. We might be able to learn a little about the effects of space on our old rocket bodies. And while it’s not going to cause any problems for Earthlings, as far as we can tell, it does serve as a timely reminder of the space junk issue.  

Since we first began launching rockets and satellites into orbit, we’ve been polluting space around our planet. Not everything that goes up immediately comes down. There are thousands of pieces of space junk, defunct satellites and tiny chunks of garbage, circling the Earth at great speeds. A collision with a piece of junk could be devastating, blowing a hole right through a rocket or satellite. More launches mean more junk and more junk poses a much bigger risk to spaceflight, satellites and our desire to occupy space.

You don’t even have to look back more than 24 hours to see how the potential issues space debris poses. On Tuesday, the International Space Station had to make a “maneuver burn” to avoid an unknown piece of cosmic trash hurtling toward it. 

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Arctic summer sea ice 2nd lowest on record, but why care? | Daily Sabah – Daily Sabah

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United States government scientists reported Monday that the Arctic Ocean’s floating ice cover has shriveled to its second-lowest extent since satellite records began in 1979.

Until this month, only once in the last 42 years has Earth’s frozen skull cap covered less than 4 million square kilometers (1.5 million square miles).

The trend line is clear: The extent of sea ice has diminished 14% per decade over that period. The Arctic could see its first ice-free summer as early as 2035, researchers reported in the Nature Climate Change journal last month.

But all that melting ice and snow does not directly boost sea levels any more than melted ice cubes make a glass of water overflow, which gives rise to an awkward question: Who cares?

Granted, this would be bad news for polar bears, which are already on a glide path toward extinction, according to a recent study.

And yes, it would certainly mean a profound shift in the region’s marine ecosystems, from phytoplankton to whales.

But if our bottom-line concern is the impact on humanity, one might legitimately ask, “So what?”

As it turns out, there are several reasons to be worried about the knock-on consequences of dwindling Arctic sea ice.

Feedback loops

Perhaps the most basic point to make, scientists say, is that a shrinking ice cap is not just a symptom of global warming but a driver as well.

“Sea ice removal exposes dark ocean, which creates a powerful feedback mechanism,” Marco Tedesco, a geophysicist at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Freshly fallen snow reflects 80% of the Sun’s radiative force back into space. But when that mirror-like surface is replaced by deep blue water, about the same percentage of Earth-heating energy is absorbed instead.

And we’re not talking about a postage stamp area here: The difference between the average ice cap minimum from 1979 to 1990 and the low point reported today – more than 3 million square kilometers – is twice the size of France, Germany and Spain combined.

The oceans have already soaked up 90% of the excess heat generated by manmade greenhouse gases but at a terrible cost, including altered chemistry, massive marine heat waves and dying coral reefs. And at some point, scientists warn, that liquid heat sponge may simply become saturated.

Altering ocean currents

Earth’s complex climate system includes interlocking ocean currents driven by wind, tides and something called the thermohaline circulation, which is itself powered by changes in temperature (“thermo”) and salt concentration (“haline”).

Even small changes in this Great Ocean Conveyor Belt, which moves between poles and across all three major oceans, can have devastating climate impacts.

Nearly 13,000 years ago, for example, as Earth was transitioning out of an ice age into the interglacial period that allowed our species to thrive, global temperatures abruptly plunged several degrees Celsius. They jumped back up again about 1,000 years later.

Geological evidence suggests a slowdown in the thermohaline circulation caused by a massive and rapid influx of cold freshwater from the Artic region was partly to blame.

“The freshwater from melting sea ice and grounded ice in Greenland perturbs and weakens the Gulf Stream,” part of the conveyor belt flowing in the Atlantic, said Xavier Fettweis, a research associate at the University of Liege in Belgium.

“This is what allows western Europe to have a temperate climate compared to the same latitude in North America,” he said.

The massive ice sheet atop Greenland’s landmass saw a net loss of more than half-a-trillion tons last year, all of it flowing into the sea. Unlike sea ice, which does not increase sea levels when it melts, runoff from Greenland does.

That record amount was due in part to warmer air temperatures, which have risen twice as fast in the Arctic as for the planet as a whole. But it was also caused by a change in weather patterns, notably an increase in sunny summer days.

“Some studies suggest that this increase in anticyclonic conditions in the Arctic in summer results in part from the minimum sea ice extent,” Fettweis told AFP.

Bears on thin ice

The current trajectory of climate change and the advent of ice-free summers – defined by the U.N.’s IPCC climate science panel as under 1 million square kilometers – would indeed starve polar bears into extinction by the century’s end, according to a July study in the journal Nature.

“Human-caused global warming means that polar bears have less and less sea ice to hunt on in the summer months,” Steven Amstrup, lead author of the study and chief scientist of Polar Bears International, told AFP.

“The ultimate trajectory of polar bears with unabated greenhouse gas emissions is disappearance,” he said.

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