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From Venus meeting Mars to Thunder moon: Celestial events in July to keep an eye out for – Firstpost



This month stargazers are in for a treat since there is a long list of exciting events lined up for you. It will include meteors’ showers, Venus being spotted after sunset and planetary conjunctions, July will be an astronomer’s delight.

Night sky.

Take a look at the dates and time for all these astronomical events:

  • Thursday, 8 July: For a very short time period before sunrise, the moon will be positioned several finger-widths to the left of the bright dot of Mercury. The moon and Mercury will be close enough to see through binoculars, but stargazers must remember to turn their optics away before the sun rises.
  • Friday, 9 July: On this day, the moon will officially reach its new phase. It is the right day for star watchers to look at the moon as it becomes unobservable from anywhere on Earth for about a day.
  • Sunday, 11 July: On this day, the crescent moon will shine 6.5 degrees to the celestial northwest of the two planets – Venus and Mars. Before they set at about 10:00 pm, stargazers can catch the trio when they are composed of some interesting scenery.
  • Monday, 12 July: During the evenings, Venus and Mars will meet in very close conjunction. While both planets will be travelling eastward in their orbits, it will look like Venus kissing Mars as it will catch up and pass each other.
  • Friday, 16 July: For a few hours in the sky, Lunar X will become visible for stargazers. As per, the Lunar X is located on the terminator where it is predicted to develop and then gradually fade out in due course of time.
  • Saturday, 17 July: On this day, the moon will complete the first quarter of its orbit around Earth. Usually, in the first quarter, the moon rises around mid-day and sets around midnight, so it will be visible in the afternoon daytime sky. On the same day, Pluto will reach opposition for 2021. During this time, the earth will be positioned between Pluto and the sun. It will minimize our distance from that outer world.
  • Sunday, 18 July: An asteroid named Pallas will halt its regular eastward motion and begin a retrograde loop that will last until early November. For stargazers, the asteroid and stars will appear together in the telescope.
  • Tuesday, 20 July: This is a special day as it will be the 52nd anniversary of man’s first steps on another world. On this day, six crewed Apollo Missions were sent to different regions of the moon to carry out experiments.
  • Wednesday, 21 July: On this day, the bright planet Venus will gleam above the prominent double star Regulus in Leo. Both will be observable in binoculars for the entire week.
  • Friday, 23 July: The moon will reach its full phase which is commonly called the Buck Moon, Thunder Moon, or Hay Moon. It always shines in or near the stars of Sagittarius or Capricorn.
  • Saturday, 24 July: Skywatchers will be able to see a natural satellite shining very brightly below and between bright Jupiter on the left and Saturn on the right. The trio will make a nice wide-field photo opportunity for people interested.
  • Sunday, 25 July: On this day, the moon’s eastward orbital motion will move towards Jupiter. The pair will be visible in binoculars all night long.
  • Thursday, 29 July: This special day will feature the annual Southern Delta Aquariids meteor shower that will last from 21 July to 23 August.
    On the same day, Mars will follow in Venus’ footsteps. They will be visible after sunset, with Venus shining brightly. Also, observers in Central Europe, the Middle East and most of Asia will be able to see small round black shadows crossing Jupiter at the same time on 29 July.
  • Saturday, 31 July: For the second time in July, the moon will reach its third quarter phase. This week of moonless nights will be the best time for observing deep-sky targets.

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Facial Recognition—Now for Seals – Hakai Magazine



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Have you ever looked at a seal and thought, Is that the same seal I saw yesterday? Well, there could soon be an app for that based on new seal facial recognition technology. Known as SealNet, this seal face-finding system was developed by a team of undergraduate students from Colgate University in New York.

Taking inspiration from other technology adapted for recognizing primates and bears, Krista Ingram, a biologist at Colgate University, led the students in developing software that uses deep learning and a convolutional neural network to tell one seal face from another. SealNet is tailored to identify the harbor seal, a species with a penchant for posing on coasts in haulouts.

The team had to train their software to identify seal faces. “I give it a photograph, it finds the face, [and] clips it to a standard size,” says Ingram. But then she and her students would manually identify the nose, the mouth, and the center of the eyes.

For the project, team members snapped more than 2,000 pictures of seals around Casco Bay, Maine, during a two-year period. They tested the software using 406 different seals and found that SealNet could correctly identify the seals’ faces 85 percent of the time. The team has since expanded its database to include around 1,500 seal faces. As the number of seals logged in the database goes up, so too should the accuracy of the identification, Ingram says.

The developers of SealNet trained a neural network to tell harbor seals apart using photos of 406 different seals. Photo courtesy of Birenbaum et al.

As with all tech, however, SealNet is not infallible. The software saw seal faces in other body parts, vegetation, and even rocks. In one case, Ingram and her students did a double take at the uncanny resemblance between a rock and a seal face. “[The rock] did look like a seal face,” Ingram says. “The darker parts were about the same distance as the eyes … so you can understand why the software found a face.” Consequently, she says it’s always best to manually check that seal faces identified by the software belong to a real seal.

Like a weary seal hauling itself onto a beach for an involuntary photo shoot, the question of why this is all necessary raises itself. Ingram believes SealNet could be a useful, noninvasive tool for researchers.

Of the world’s pinnipeds—a group that includes seals, walruses, and sea lions—harbor seals are considered the most widely dispersed. Yet knowledge gaps do exist. Other techniques to track seals, such as tagging and aerial monitoring, have their limitations and can be highly invasive or expensive.

Ingram points to site fidelity as an aspect of seal behavior that SealNet could shed more light on. The team’s trials indicated that some harbor seals return to the same haulout sites year after year. Other seals, however, such as two animals the team nicknamed Clove and Petal, appeared at two different sites together. Increasing scientists’ understanding of how seals move around could strengthen arguments for protecting specific areas, says Anders Galatius, an ecologist at Aarhus University in Denmark who was not involved in the project.

Galatius, who is responsible for monitoring Denmark’s seal populations, says the software “shows a lot of promise.” If the identification rates are improved, it could be paired with another photo identification method that identifies seals by distinctive markings on their pelage, he says.

In the future, after further testing, Ingram hopes to develop an app based on SealNet. The app, she says, could possibly allow citizen scientists to contribute to logging seal faces. The program could also be adapted for other pinnipeds and possibly even for cetaceans.

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NASA launches nanosatellite in preparation for lunar 'Gateway' station – Yahoo News Canada



The rocket carrying the Capstone satellite lifts off. (NASA)

Nasa has launched a tiny CubeSat this week to test and orbit which will soon be used by Gateway, a lunar space station.

It’s all part of the space agency’s plan to put a woman on the moon by 2025.

The Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (Capstone) mission launched from New Zealand on Tuesday.

Jim Reuter, associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate, said: “Capstone is an example of how working with commercial partners is key for Nasa’s ambitious plans to explore the moon and beyond.

“We’re thrilled with a successful start to the mission and looking forward to what Capstone will do once it arrives at the Moon.”

Read more: Astronomers find closest black hole to Earth

The satellite is currently in low-Earth orbit, and it will take the spacecraft about four months to reach its targeted lunar orbit.

Capstone is attached to Rocket Lab’s Lunar Photon, an interplanetary third stage that will send it on its way to deep space.

Over the next six days, Photon’s engine will periodically ignite to accelerate it beyond low-Earth orbit, where Photon will release the CubeSat on a trajectory to the moon.

Capstone will then use its own propulsion and the sun’s gravity to navigate the rest of the way to the Moon.

The gravity-driven track will dramatically reduce the amount of fuel the CubeSat needs to get to the Moon.

Read more: There might once have been life on the moon

Bradley Cheetham, principal investigator for CAPSTONE and chief executive officer of Advanced Space, “Our team is now preparing for separation and initial acquisition for the spacecraft in six days.

“We have already learned a tremendous amount getting to this point, and we are passionate about the importance of returning humans to the Moon, this time to stay!”

At the moon, Capstone will enter an elongated orbit called a near rectilinear halo orbit, or NRHO.

Once in the NRHO, Capstone will fly within 1,000 miles of the moon’s north pole on its near pass and 43,500 miles from the south pole at its farthest.

It will repeat the cycle every six-and-a-half days and maintain this orbit for at least six months to study dynamics.

“Capstone is a pathfinder in many ways, and it will demonstrate several technology capabilities during its mission timeframe while navigating a never-before-flown orbit around the Moon,” said Elwood Agasid, project manager for Capstone at Nasa’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.

“Capstone is laying a foundation for Artemis, Gateway, and commercial support for future lunar operations.”

Nasa estimates the cost of the whole Artemis mission at $28bn.

It would be the first time people have walked on the moon since the last Apollo moon mission in 1972.

Just 12 people have walked on the moon – all men.

Nasa flew six manned missions to the surface of the moon, beginning with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in July 1969, up to Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt in December 1972.

The mission will use Nasa’s powerful new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), and the Orion spacecraft.

Watch: NASA launch paves way for moon orbit station

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The year’s biggest and brightest supermoon will appear in July & here’s when you’ll … – Curiocity



Summer is here and with it? Sunshine – and some serious moonshine (of the visible variety, of course). This upcoming month, look up in anticipation of the biggest and brightest event of the year, the July Buck supermoon – which will hover over North America on July 13th.

Appearing 7% larger and lower in the sky, this particular event will be one well worth keeping an eye on when it rises above the horizon.

This will be the closest we’ll get to our celestial neighbour in 2022 (357,418 km) and while North America won’t get to see it when it reaches peak illumination at 2:38 pm ETC., it’ll still look pretty dang impressive after the sunsets.

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Not sure when the moon rises in your area? Here’s the earliest that you’ll be able to see the moon in various cities across the continent according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

  • Seattle, Washington  – 9:50 pm PDT
  • Vancouver, British Columbia – 10:02 pm PDT
  • Calgary, Alberta – 10:35 pm MST
  • Edmonton, Alberta – 10:49 pm MST
  • Toronto, Ontario – 9:34 pm MST
  • Montreal, Quebec – 9:18 pm MST

Until then, cross your fingers for a clear sky, friends! It’s going to be incredible.

Happy viewing.


When: Wednesday, July 13th

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