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Perseid meteor shower to light up Britain’s skies with shooting stars this week – Yahoo Canada Sports

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The Perseids are one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year (Getty)
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="One of the best meteor showers of the year will unleash up to 100 shooting stars an hour as it reaches its peak this week, astronomers have said.” data-reactid=”32″>One of the best meteor showers of the year will unleash up to 100 shooting stars an hour as it reaches its peak this week, astronomers have said.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="All through this week, the Perseid meteor shower will blaze across the sky as our planet flies through a cloud of dust from a comet.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”33″>All through this week, the Perseid meteor shower will blaze across the sky as our planet flies through a cloud of dust from a comet

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The shower will peak between the 11th and 13th August, according to Royal Museums Greenwich.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”34″>The shower will peak between the 11th and 13th August, according to Royal Museums Greenwich

You won’t need binoculars or a telescope to watch, astronomy experts say (weather permitting). 

Occurring yearly between July 17 and August 24, the meteors reach their peak on this week.

The event is one of the highpoints in the celestial calendar, occurring each year as the Earth ploughs through dusty debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read more: Lyrid meteor shower captured in time-lapse” data-reactid=”38″>Read more: Lyrid meteor shower captured in time-lapse

The meteors, mostly no bigger than a grain of sand, burn up as they hit the atmosphere at 36 miles per second to produce a shooting stream of light in the sky.

Peak temperatures can reach anywhere from 1,648 to 5,537 C as they speed across the sky.

The meteors are called Perseids because they seem to dart out of the constellation Perseus.

This very colorful Perseid fireball was photographed during the peak of the 2017 Perseid meteor shower in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico.This very colorful Perseid fireball was photographed during the peak of the 2017 Perseid meteor shower in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico.

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This colourful Perseid fireball was photographed during the Perseid meteor shower in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico (Getty)

To make the best of the Perseids, observers should avoid built-up areas and try to find an unobstructed view to the east, experts suggest.

Royal Museums Greenwich suggests that wannabe viewers should try to minimise the amount of light affecting their view.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read more: Scientists warn dangerous space rocks could be hiding in meteor shower” data-reactid=”64″>Read more: Scientists warn dangerous space rocks could be hiding in meteor shower

An astronomer at the Greenwhich Royal Observatory writes, “Reduce the amount of light pollution in your field of view. This could mean heading out to the countryside, a nearby park or even do something as simple as turning your back to street lamps if you are not able to go anywhere. 

“Give your eyes at least 15 minutes to adjust to the dark so that you can catch more of the fainter meteors – this does mean that you should not look at your phone!

“Meteors can appear in any part of the sky so the more sky you can see the better. Find an area with a clear view of the horizon and away from trees and buildings.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read more: Huge meteor explodes in the sky above Derby” data-reactid=”68″>Read more: Huge meteor explodes in the sky above Derby

The shooting stars are formed of debris from a comet, formed when pieces break off comets in the heat of the sun.

If the debris ends up in Earth’s atmosphere, it can slam into our atmosphere, creating shooting stars visible for the ground. 

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New NASA images show 'fresh ice' forming on Saturn’s moon – Yahoo Canada Sports

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In these detailed infrared images of Saturn's icy moon Enceladus, reddish areas indicate fresh ice that has been deposited on the surface. Image Credit: NASA

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In these detailed infrared images of Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus, reddish areas indicate fresh ice that has been deposited on the surface. (Nasa)
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Composite images captured by an orbiting Nasa spacecraft have offered hints that fresh ice is forming in several areas on Saturn’s mysterious moon Enceladus.” data-reactid=”32″>Composite images captured by an orbiting Nasa spacecraft have offered hints that fresh ice is forming in several areas on Saturn’s mysterious moon Enceladus.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="With Geyser-like plumes of ice erupting from the surface of the moon, scientists have suggested that life could lurk in its subsurface ocean.” data-reactid=”33″>With Geyser-like plumes of ice erupting from the surface of the moon, scientists have suggested that life could lurk in its subsurface ocean.

The data shows that fresh ice is forming not just near the plumes, but in other areas of the moon, which looks like a reflective, bright white snowball to the naked eye.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read more: Astronomers find closest black hole to Earth” data-reactid=”35″>Read more: Astronomers find closest black hole to Earth

Gabriel Tobie, VIMS scientist with the University of Nantes in France, said: “The infrared shows us that the surface of the south pole is young, which is not a surprise because we knew about the jets that blast icy material there.

“Now, thanks to these infrared eyes, you can go back in time and say that one large region in the northern hemisphere appears also young and was probably active not that long ago, in geologic timelines.”

Close-Up Of Saturn Against Black BackgroundClose-Up Of Saturn Against Black Background

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Nasa’s Cassini probe captured the data while orbiting Saturn. (Getty)

Enceladus’s ocean is likely heated and churned by hydrothermal vents like those on Earth’s ocean floors.

Some theories have suggested that such environments were where life first arose on Earth.

The researchers said that the same infrared features seen near the plumes also appear in the northern hemisphere.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read more: There might once have been life on the moon” data-reactid=”61″>Read more: There might once have been life on the moon

That tells scientists not only that the northern area is covered with fresh ice but that the same kind of geologic activity – a resurfacing of the landscape – has occurred in both hemispheres.

The resurfacing in the north may be due either to icy jets or to a more gradual movement of ice through fractures in the crust, from the subsurface ocean to the surface.

Managed by Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in southern California, Cassini was an orbiter that observed Saturn for more than 13 years before exhausting its fuel supply. 

The mission plunged it into the planet’s atmosphere in September 2017.

While it still orbited Saturn, Cassini sampled a plume of material erupting from Enceladus’s surface, and analysis of the material suggested an environment where life could flourish inside the moon.

Researchers led by Lucas Fifer of the University of Washington found that the plumes are chemically different from the ocean beneath – changed by their 800mph eruption into space.

It means that the surface of the moon could be much more hospitable to life than previously believed.

Fifer said: “Those high levels of carbon dioxide also imply a lower and more Earth-like pH level in the ocean of Enceladus than previous studies have shown. This bodes well for possible life.

“Although there are exceptions, most life on Earth functions best living in or consuming water with near-neutral pH, so similar conditions on Enceladus could be encouraging.”

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'Crazy year up north' as Arctic ice shrinks to near record-low – Al Jazeera English

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Ice in the Arctic Ocean melted to its second lowest level on record this year, scientists announced on Monday, in yet another sign of how global warming is rapidly transforming the polar region.

Satellites recorded this year’s sea ice minimum at 3.74 million square km on September 15, only the second time the ice has been measured below 4 million square km in 40 years of record keeping, according to researchers at the United States’s National Snow and Ice Data Center.

“It’s been a crazy year up north, with sea ice at a near-record low… heat waves in Siberia, and massive forest fires,” said Mark Serreze, director of the NSIDC.

“The year 2020 will stand as an exclamation point on the downward trend in Arctic sea ice extent. We are headed towards a seasonally ice-free Arctic Ocean, and this year is another nail in the coffin.”

This year’s melt is second only to 2012, when the ice shrank to 3.4 million square km following a late-season cyclonic storm.

Arctic sea ice reaches its low point in September and its high in March after the winter, and in the 1980s, the ice cover was about 2.7 million square km bigger than the current summer levels.

This year’s decline was especially fast between August 31 and September 5, because of pulses of warm air from a heat wave in Siberia, according to the NSIDC. The rate of ice loss during those six days was faster than during any other year on record.

Arctic Siberian town hit with record heatwave (2:53)

Temperatures in the Siberian Arctic were 8 to 10 degrees Celsius above normal for much of the year, and another team of scientists found in July that the Siberian heatwave would have been all but impossible without human-caused climate change.

Studies show that the warming of the Arctic and the melting of sea ice change weather further south, by altering the jet stream and other waves that move weather systems.

Intensifying warming

As the Arctic sea ice vanishes, it leaves patches of dark water open. Those dark waters absorb solar radiation rather than reflecting it back out of the atmosphere, a process that amplifies warming and helps to explain why Arctic temperatures have risen more than twice as fast as the rest of the world over the last 30 years.

The loss of sea ice also threatens Arctic wildlife, from polar bears and seals to plankton and algae, said Tom Foreman, a polar wildlife expert and Arctic guide.

“The numbers that we’re getting in terms of extent of sea ice decrease each year put us pretty much on red alert in terms of the level of worry that we have, our concern for the stability of this environment,” Foreman said.

The same warming that is opening summertime Arctic waters is also eating away at the ice sheets covering Arctic lands in Canada and Greenland. The faster those ice sheets melt into surrounding ocean, the faster sea levels will rise worldwide.

“The rapid disappearance of sea ice is a sobering indicator of how closely our planet is circling the drain,” Greenpeace Nordic Oceans campaigner Laura Meller said in a statement.

INSIDE STORY | Is the coronavirus pandemic a chance to tackle climate change? (24:56)

“Over the past decades we have lost two-thirds of the volume of the Arctic sea ice, and as the Arctic melts the ocean will absorb more heat and all of us will be more exposed to the devastating effects of climate breakdown,” she later told the AFP news agency from a ship on the edge of the sea ice.

“What we are seeing here in the Arctic is really the opening up of a new ocean on top of the world, which means that we need to be protecting the area.”

The 2015 landmark Paris climate deal enjoins nations to limit global temperature rises to “well below” two degrees Celsius through a rapid and sweeping reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

But emissions have continued to rise despite the deal, and several analyses have warned that without a thoroughly re-tooled global economy prioritising green growth, the pollutions savings due to the COVID-19 pandemic will have an insignificant mitigating effect on climate change.

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5:42 Chilean astronomers discover a unique planet – Prensa Latina

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Santiago de Chile, Sep 21 (Prensa Latina) Chilean astronomers discovered a planet classed as ‘the first Ultra Hot Neptune’, 260 light years from Earth, according to a study published on Monday in the Nature Astronomy journal.
That celestial body, classified as LTT 9779, reaches temperatures of up to 1,700 degrees Celsius and is an exoplanet located in the Neptune Desert, an area with low planetary density and that, having bodies like the planet Neptune, allow scientists to study planetary atmospheres.

The planet’s discoverers are James Jenkins, a scholar from the Department of Astronomy of the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Mathematics of the University of Chile, and Matias Diaz, a doctoral candidate in Astronomy at that center.

Both scientists studied the readings from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, in what was considered an ‘unlikely’ finding.

Jenkins explained that it is deemed an unlikely discovery because it is located in the Neptune Desert, where there are almost no planets and the existing ones have orbital periods of less than four days, and with masses and sizes similar to Neptune, which allows the investigation of its atmosphere.

He added that LTT 9779 has an atmosphere despite its closeness to the star it orbits and that it is very difficult to explain why this planet did not become a rock core, nor to find many more examples like this orbiting other stars as bright.

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