Attention, space geeks: Have you heard about Jupiter getting really close to Earth tonight?
A dinosaur-loving Red Deer-area boy found a 60 million-year-old fossilized shark tooth — right in his own front yard.
Max Maurizio, 7, was exploring gravel near his house on an acreage southeast of Red Deer on Monday, when he spotted something that didn’t look like other rocks. It was sharp at one end and about an inch and a half long.
“He came running into the house saying, ‘I found a tooth! I found a tooth!” recalled his mom, Carly Maurizio.
At first, Max’s parents assumed it came from one of their cats. But Carly carefully examined it and decided, “‘it looks pretty old…”
Intrigued by Max’s discovery, his dad, Claudio Maurizio, emailed a photo of the tooth to the world-renowned Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller.
On Tuesday, an emailed response arrived from the museum. The photo had been passed on to Dr. Don Brinkman, an expert on fossil fish and turtles.
Brinkman believes the fossilized tooth very likely belonged to the genus Scapanorhynchus — a type of extinct ancient shark with an elongated snout, whose closest living relative is the goblin shark.
“That is an interesting find,” stated Brinkman in the email.
Scapanorhynchus reached a length of about three metres and was a fully marine animal, “so it is a little unusual getting it in the Red Deer area. However, I have seen a tooth of this genus from exposures of the Horseshoe Canyon Formation in the Tolman Bridge area,” east of Trochu, wrote Brinkman.
He noted rocks around Red Deer are from the Paskapoo Formation and are about 60 million years old.
From 100 million to 66 million years ago, the Prairies were covered by a warm inland sea. Scientists believe this Western Interior Seaway extended 3,000 km, from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, was 1,000 km wide and 700 metres deep.
The ancient water body contained a wide array of life, including sharks, bony fish, marine reptiles, birds, snails, ammonites and other mollusks.
The Maurizio family appreciates the information the museum provided on the tooth.
Max is particularly thrilled by his find and wants to become a paleontologist someday, said Carly.
Claudio noted his son is always noticing things that other people don’t. Once, before heading on a nature walk with his grandfather in Ontario, Max predicted he would find a bone — and sure enough, he did discover a small piece of wild animal bone, recalled his father.
Since Max has always been fascinated by dinosaurs, the whole family, including younger brother Meyer, regularly camp at Drumheller and visit the museum at least once a year, said Carly.
“Even when we go on little hikes or regular walks, Max is always looking down at the ground, looking for fossils… It’s quite remarkable that they can be found literally anywhere, even in your own yard,” she added.
Attention, space geeks: Have you heard about Jupiter getting really close to Earth tonight?
Well, not really close. The giant gas planet, the largest in our solar system, will still be orbiting 590 million kilometres away. But that’s 375 million kilometres closer than when it’s at its apogee, which is the space geek word for when it’s farthest away.
Jupiter is viewable like a distant star for much of the year, but it will be especially bright and detailed in the night sky on Sept. 26-27 because it’s closer than it’s been to Earth since 1963 — yup, in nearly six decades.
We asked Marley Leacock, an astronomer and science educator with Vancouver’s H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, a few questions about how best to watch tonight’s rare space spectacle.
“Jupiter is in the sky pretty much all night,” says Leacock. “It rises in the east at around 7 p.m. and sets at about 7 a.m. tomorrow. The best time to view would be when it is highest in the sky, around 1 a.m. on Sept. 27.”
“Jupiter’s visibility has to do with where Jupiter is, but also where Earth and the Sun are,” explains Leacock.
The first reason is that “Jupiter will be in ‘opposition.’ This means that Jupiter will be directly opposite the Sun from our perspective, putting Earth right in the middle of them. When the sun sets in the west, Jupiter will rise directly opposite in the east. Opposition happens about every 13 months.
“The second factor that makes Jupiter so bright is that it is also approaching perigee. Perigee refers to when Jupiter and Earth are the closest to each other in their orbits. Perigee happens about once every 12 months, and the distance between the planets will change due to them being on two different orbits. This perigee, the two planets happen to be in the perfect place to get the smallest distance.
“The combination of opposition and a close perigee makes the planet appear brighter in our skies.”
“Not at all,” says Leacock. “Jupiter is usually visible 10 months out of the year, switching between early morning and late at night. After the opposition, it will start to be in the sky for shorter amounts of time as the months go on. By the beginning of November, it is already high in the nighttime sky by the time the sun sets, and it sets four hours before sunrise.”
By the end of March, it won’t be visible at all. But it will reappear by about the end of May 2023. The next opposition is in early November of next year.
“Luckily, Jupiter is very bright and easy to spot even in a light-polluted city (like Vancouver),” explains Leacock. “It appears as a very bright star in the sky. I always say to try to get somewhere dark anyways, just to see the stars that appear. An ideal location would be somewhere with high elevation with a clear view of the horizon, especially if you want to see the rise and set.”
Leacock says typical binoculars will help magnify the planet, but it will still appear star-like. Those with higher magnification might allow you to see it in more detail and possibly even spot its Galilean moons.
True space geeks will want a telescope, though, as “most telescopes with a 60-90 mm aperture will give you a view of the cloud belts and the Galilean moons,” says Leacock.
More good news about tonight’s sky-watching event: The forecast is for perfectly clear skies above Vancouver overnight. Happy viewing.
More news, fewer ads, faster load time: Get unlimited, ad-lite access to the Vancouver Sun, the Province, National Post and 13 other Canadian news sites for just $14/month or $140/year. Subscribe now through the Vancouver Sun or The Province.
Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press
Published Monday, September 26, 2022 5:58PM EDT
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) – Hurricane Ian is prompting NASA to move its moon rocket off the launch pad and into shelter, adding weeks of delay to the lunar-orbiting test flight.
Mission managers decided Monday to return the rocket to its Kennedy Space Center hangar. The four-mile trip will begin late Monday night and could take as long as 12 hours.
The space center remained on the fringes of the hurricane’s cone of uncertainty. With the latest forecast showing no improvement, managers decided to play it safe. NASA already had delayed this week’s planned launch attempt because of the approaching storm.
NASA isn’t speculating when the next launch attempt might be, but it could be off until November. Managers will assess their options once the 322-foot (98-meter) Space Launch System rocket is safely back in the hangar.
A pair of launch attempts were thwarted by hydrogen fuel leaks and other technical trouble.
The $4.1 billion test flight will kick off NASA’s return to the moon since the Apollo moonshots of the 1960s and 1970s. No one will be inside the crew capsule for the debut launch. Astronauts will strap in for the second mission in 2024, leading to a two-person moon landing in 2025.
Meanwhile, NASA and SpaceX are still targeting an Oct. 3 launch of a crew from the U.S., Russia and Japan to the International Space Station. But managers acknowledged that the flight could be delayed as Kennedy braces for the hurricane and its aftermath.
You may have noticed a bright “star” in the eastern sky after sunset, but that’s no star: it’s the mighty planet Jupiter, and it’s almost at its peak brightness.
Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, is reaching opposition, an event that occurs when a celestial object rises in the east as the sun sets in the west, putting both the sun and the object on opposite sides of Earth.
But what also makes this special is that the planet will be the closest it has been to Earth in 59 years, meaning it will also be brighter than usual.
The reason planets vary in their distance from Earth is because their orbits aren’t perfectly circular, but rather slightly elliptical.
While Jupiter’s opposition happens roughly every 13 months, it’s not common for it to coincide with its closest approach, making this a particularly special treat.
At its farthest, Jupiter can be as far as 966 million kilometres away, but on Monday, it will be about 591 million kilometres from Earth. The last time it was this close was in October 1963. And it won’t be this close again until 2129.
You can find the planet in the east after sunset. It’s hard to miss, even from a light-polluted city, as it is the brightest object in the sky.
As the night progresses, it rises higher into the sky, eventually appearing in the southeast around 11 p.m. ET. on Monday.
You don’t need a telescope or binoculars to see it, but if you do have a pair of binoculars or a telescope, you can have some fun over the coming days.
One of the special things about Jupiter is its four brightest moons: Callisto, Io, Ganymede and Europa. They orbit Jupiter in a timescale visible from Earth night after night, and even hour after hour — if you’re patient.
If you do have a telescope, you can view the moons — and the amazing cloud bands of the gaseous planet, which make for a stunning sight. Also, according to Sky & Telescope magazine, the Great Red Spot will begin its transit — or its crossing — at 8:44 p.m. ET Monday. You can find local times using the publication’s online app or find its app and others like it for your cellphone or tablet.
Saturn will also be visible in the sky. It currently lies in the south around 10 p.m. ET, but it’s more difficult to spot as it’s not as bright as Jupiter.
You can find several free apps available for download on Android phones and iPhones — such as Stellarium, Star Walk and Sky View — that will help you identify what you see in the night sky, including planets and where to find them.
Are Election Signs Worth the Environmental Destruction and Inequity They Cause?
5 tips for those moving to Hawaii
NBA media days – The best quotes from around the league as teams kick off the 2022-23 season – ESPN
NASA Will Crash A Spacecraft Into An Asteroid For Science! – Forbes
Auger-Aliassime stuns Djokovic to help Team World win Laver Cup for 1st time – CBC Sports
Using artificial sweeteners may raise the risk of heart disease, study shows – Prestige Online Malaysia
Feds lift border vaccine requirements, mandatory masks on planes and trains
Opinion | Can the next generation change politics? – The Washington Post