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How to watch the 2020 Leonid meteor shower

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Skywatchers with big coats and a bit of patience can expect to see some shooting stars in the sky this week, thanks to good conditions for the Leonid meteor shower.

The annual meteor shower is expected to peak overnight Monday and into early Tuesday, with 10-15 meteors streaking across the sky per hour, according to NASA. The show is expected to run until the end of month, although fewer “stars” will be visible after this week’s peak.

Viewing conditions will be particularly good this week because the moon is just a sliver in the night sky, according to the International Meteor Organization.

The Leonids are known for occasionally producing spectacular meteor storms of more than 1,000 per hour, although stargazers haven’t seen a super-charged show like that since 2002.

The best way to catch this year’s event is to head outside after midnight local time, provided the sky is clear of clouds. NASA recommends bundling up, facing east and then lying on your back so you can look up at the sky.

It takes most people about 30 minutes for their eyes to adapt to the dark, at which point you should be attuned to the sky and the flicker of meteors.

“Be patient,” NASA says. “The show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse.”

The meteor shower gets its name for Leo, the constellation through which the meteors seem to pass.

The meteors are actually bits of comet dust left behind by Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, which orbits the sun on a 33-year loop. Dust from the comet burns up in Earth’s atmosphere, creating pinpoints of light that we call shooting stars.

The mega-showers are thought to occur once every 33 years due to the comet’s orbit. One of the most famous Leonids showers occurred in 1966, when witnesses said the sky appeared to be “raining stars.”

A similar shower occurred in 1866.

Shower of meteors (Leonids) observed over Greenwich, London, 1866 (1884). From Sun, Moon and Stars by Agnes Giberne.

Oxford Science Archive/Print Collector/Getty Images

Stargazers who miss the Leonids will get another chance to catch a meteor shower next month.

The Geminid meteor shower occurs every December, and is said to be the strongest meteor shower of the year, according to the International Meteor Organization. The meteors are bright and slow, and this year’s event will occur while the moon is virtually invisible, making it much easier to see other objects in the sky.

The Geminids are slated to peak overnight from Dec. 13-14.

 

 

Source:  – fm96.com

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China's sample-return Moon mission touches down – BBC News

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.css-1ecljvk-StyledFigureCopyrightposition:absolute;bottom:0;right:0;background:#3F3F42;color:#EEEEEE;padding:0.25rem 0.5rem;text-transform:uppercase;CNSA

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.css-14iz86j-BoldTextfont-weight:bold;China has successfully put another probe on the Moon.

Its robotic .css-yidnqd-InlineLink:linkcolor:#3F3F42;.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visitedcolor:#696969;.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visitedfont-weight:bolder;border-bottom:1px solid #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focusborder-bottom-color:currentcolor;border-bottom-width:2px;color:#B80000;@supports (text-underline-offset:0.25em).css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visitedborder-bottom:none;-webkit-text-decoration:underline #BABABA;text-decoration:underline #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:1px;text-decoration-thickness:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-underline-offset:0.25em;.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focus-webkit-text-decoration-color:currentcolor;text-decoration-color:currentcolor;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:2px;text-decoration-thickness:2px;color:#B80000;Chang’e-5 mission touched down a short while ago with the aim of collecting samples of rock and dust to bring back to Earth.

The venture has targeted Mons Rümker, a high volcanic complex in a nearside region known as Oceanus Procellarum.

The lander is expected to spend the next couple of days examining its surroundings and gathering up surface materials.

It has a number of instruments to facilitate this, including a camera, spectrometer, radar, a scoop and a drill.

The intention is to package about 2kg of “soil”, or regolith, to send up to an orbiting vehicle that can then transport the samples to Earth.

It’s 44 years since this was last achieved. That was the Soviet Luna 24 mission, which picked up just under 200g.

Unlike the launch of the mission a week ago, the landing was not covered live by Chinese TV channels.

Only after the touchdown was confirmed did they break into their programming to relay the news.

Images taken on the descent were quickly released with the final frame showing one of the probe’s legs casting a shadow on to the dusty lunar surface.

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The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

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Moon graphic

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Presentational white space

The 8.2-tonne Chang’e-5 spacecraft “stack” was launched from the Wenchang spaceport in southern China on 24 November (local time). It arrived above the Moon at the weekend and then set about circularising its orbit before splitting in two.

One half – a service vehicle and return module – stayed in orbit, while a lander-ascender segment was prepared for a touchdown attempt.

Chinese authorities say this lander-ascender element put down on the Moon’s surface at about 15:15 GMT (23:15 China Standard Time), after a 15-minute automated descent, controlled by the thrust of a 7,500-newton engine.

It follows China’s two previous Moon landings – Chang’e-3 in 2013 and Chang’e-4 last year. Both of these earlier missions incorporated a static lander and small rover.

A total of just under 400kg of rock and soil were retrieved by American Apollo astronauts and the Soviets’ robotic Luna programme – the vast majority of these materials coming back with the crewed missions.

But all these samples were very old – more than three billion years in age. The Mons Rümker materials, on the other hand, promise to be no more than 1.2 or 1.3 billion years old. And this should provide additional insights on the geological history of the Moon.

The samples will also allow scientists to more precisely calibrate the “chronometer” they use to age surfaces on the inner Solar System planets.

This is done by counting craters (the more craters, the older the surface), but it depends on having some definitive dating at a number of locations, and the Apollo and Soviet samples were key to this. Chang’e-5 would offer a further data point.

Reports from China suggest the effort to retrieve surface samples may last no longer than a couple of days. Any retrieved materials will be blasted back into orbit on the ascent portion of the landing mechanism, and then transferred across to the service vehicle and placed in the return module.

The orbiter will shepherd the return module to the Earth’s vicinity, jettisoning it to make an atmospheric entry and landing in the Siziwang Banner grasslands of the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia. This is where China’s astronauts also return to Earth.

“Chang’e-5 is a very complex mission,” commented Dr James Carpenter, exploration science coordinator for human and robotic exploration at the European Space Agency.

“I think it’s extremely impressive what they’re trying to do. And what I think is fascinating is you see this very systematic, step by step approach to increasing their exploration capabilities – from the early Chang’e missions to this latest one.”

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Jonathan.Amos-INTERNET@bbc.co.uk and follow me on Twitter: @BBCAmos

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Alphabet"s UK subsidiary DeepMind makes breakthrough protein shape discovery – Proactive Investors USA & Canada

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DeepMind, a London-based subsidiary of Google’s owner Alphabet Inc, has been praised by the global scientific community after solving a 50-year-old challenge in biology. 

Its artificial intelligence system AlphaFold has figured out what shapes proteins fold into, the so-called ‘folding problem’. 

It is a major scientific breakthrough because it allows to better understand what a protein does and how it works, since its shape is closely correlated with its function. 

Proteins are the ‘building blocks of life’ because they underpin the biological processes in every living thing. 

There are currently around 200mln known proteins and another 30mln is found every year.  

Each of them has their own shape and it is often expensive and time-consuming to find their 3D composition, so we know only a fraction of the millions known to science. 

Proteins are made of amino acids, which make the protein to fold when they interact, meaning there are nearly infinite possibilities for shapes. 

AlphaFold was trained on the sequences and structures of 100,000+ proteins mapped out by scientists around the world and can now predict a protein’s shape based on the sequence of amino acids. 

As a result, scientists worldwide will have extra help in finding solutions, such as developing treatments for diseases or finding enzymes that break down industrial waste, because of the key role of proteins.  

The system was officially recognised as a solution to the issue by the biennial Critical Assessment of protein Structure Prediction, a community created in 1994 by scientists that were looking to solve the protein folding problem. 

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Farrell calls for consideration of city bylaw to stop street harassment in Calgary – Calgary Herald

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Article content continued

Some other Canadian cities have rules to deal with street harassment. In London, Ont., you can be fined for using “abusive or insulting language” in a public space.

Street harassment takes many forms, from unwanted sexual comments to whistling to flashing or groping, and it’s based on someone’s perceived gender or sexual identity. It’s a point of focus for gender equity advocates, as an example of how control tactics make people feel unsafe in public spaces.

Sagesse executive director Andrea Silverstone said Monday that street harassment can’t be dismissed as one-off comments or isolated incidents.

“It’s a structured pattern of behaviour that occurs in society that makes certain people feel unsafe,” she said. “Whether they’re women or 2SLGBTQ individuals or visible minorities feeling unsafe on the street.”

Jake Stika, executive director of Next Gen Men, said street harassment is a symptom of how boys absorb the message that being a man is about power and dominance, and they start defining their interactions that way.

Street harassment, he explains, is overwhelmingly perpetuated by men, but men are also key to stopping it.

“It’s not a women’s issue. Women are impacted by it … but what we need to do as guys is take this up as our issue,” he said. “We’re the problem, but we’re also the solution.”

Stika’s organization works to redefine manhood and masculinity with youth and community programs as part of working “upstream” to stop gender-based violence and improve men’s health and relationships.

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