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'Ring of fire' solar eclipse thrills skywatchers in Africa, Asia – RFI

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Issued on: 21/06/2020 – 09:28

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Nairobi (AFP)

Skywatchers along a narrow band from west Africa to the Arabian Peninsula, India and the Far East witnessed Sunday a dramatic “ring of fire” solar eclipse.

So-called annular eclipses occur when the Moon — passing between Earth and the Sun — is not quite close enough to our planet to completely obscure sunlight, leaving a thin ring of the solar disc visible.

They happen every year or two, and can only been seen from a narrow pathway across the planet.

Sunday’s eclipse arrived on the northern hemisphere’s longest day of the year — the summer solstice — when Earth’s north pole is tilted most directly towards the Sun.

The “ring of fire” was first visible in northeastern Republic of Congo from 5:56 local time (04:56 GMT) just a few minutes after sunrise.

This is the point of maximum duration, with the blackout lasting 1 minute and 22 seconds.

Arcing eastward across Africa and Asia, it reached “maximum eclipse” — with a perfect solar halo around the Moon — over Uttarakhand, India near the Sino-Indian border at 12:10 local time (0640 GMT).

More spectacular, but less long-lived: the exact alignment of the Earth, Moon and Sun was visible for only 38 seconds.

In Nairobi, east Africa, observers saw only a partial eclipse as clouds blocked the sky for several seconds at the exact moment the Moon should have almost hidden the Sun.

Despite some disappointment Susan Murbana told AFP: “It was very exciting because I think I’m so obsessed with eclipses.

“Today has been very kind to us in terms of the clouds. And we’ve been able to see most of it,” said Murbana who set up the Travelling Telescope educational programme with her husband Chu.

Without the coronavirus pandemic, they would have organised a trip to Lake Magadi in southern Kenya where the skies are generally clearer than over the capital.

“With the pandemic situation, we’re not able to have crowds… and get kids to look through or do stuff,” she said but still managed to share the event on social media.

“We had around 50 people joining us via Zoom and then we have so many people via our Facebook live.”

The annular eclipse is visible from only about two percent of Earth’s surface, Florent Delefie, an astronomer at the Paris Observatory, told AFP.

“It’s a bit like switching from a 500-watt to a 30-watt light bulb,” he added. “It’s a cold light and you don’t see as well.”

– Animals get spooked –

Animals can get spooked — birds will sometimes go back to sleep, and cows will return to the barn.

The full eclipse was visible at successive locations over a period of nearly four hours, and one of the last places to see the partially hidden Sun was Taiwan.

People hundreds of kilometres (miles) on either side of the centreline across 14 countries could also see light drain from the day but not the “ring of fire”.

Weather conditions are critical for viewing.

A solar eclipse always occurs about two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse, when the Moon moves into Earth’s shadow. Lunar eclipses are visible from about half of the Earth’s surface.

There will be a second solar eclipse in 2020 on December 14 over South America. Because the Moon will be a bit closer to Earth, it will block out the Sun’s light entirely.

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Newfoundland and Labrador premier tries to allay border fears – The Telegram

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ST. JOHN’S, N.L. —

Peter Jackson

Local Journalism Iniative Reporter

peter.jackson@thetelegram.com

@pjackson_nl

As controversy continues to swirl around the prospect of opening Canada’s domestic borders, Newfoundland and Labrador’s premier and health minister are striving to allay fears.

On Wednesday, the premier fielded questions about a date that was tossed out last month around the same time the province announced it was joining an Atlantic bubble.

The opening of Atlantic regional borders, which allows permanent residents of all four provinces to travel freely without self-isolating, took effect July 3.

But Dwight Ball said a proposed opening of all provincial borders on July 17 has not been part of recent discussions.

“We know that around the province right now there’s considerable fear in opening up those borders,” he said this week. “We recognize from a Newfoundland and Labrador perspective that the areas that will line up and have more travellers come into our province would be from provinces like Alberta, provinces like Ontario.”

However, he said there has been talk lately about when, or even if, that may happen.

“First and foremost, I can assure people in Newfoundland and Labrador, it will be the safety of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that will be the priority and will be what will influence the decision made by all of us before we ease any more travel restrictions.”

Ban not total

Ball also touched on a common misconception about travel into and out of the province since a travel ban was implemented on May 15. At least 8,000 exemptions have been granted to non-residents, for a variety of reasons. That doesn’t include the fact that residents are free to travel outside the province and return again.

“Keep in mind we have a lot of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that leave the province and go visit families in Alberta and Ontario and other places,” he said. “They can leave. There’s no restriction on leaving. The restriction is when they come back.”

Any person arriving from outside the Atlantic bubble, including those who’ve passed through the region from elsewhere, are still required to self-isolate for 14 days.

The premier also clarified that five new cases in P.E.I. last weekend stemmed from a U.S. citizen who had arrived legally in Halifax and was picked up by family members from P.E.I. The island province turned him back at its border, so he returned to self-isolate in Halifax. Another P.E.I. resident was confirmed positive on Thursday, stemming from the same cluster.

“I think the officials within all of the Maritime provinces — New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and P.E.I. — will clearly say and articulate that what happened with this traveller was not at all connected to the Atlantic bubble,” Ball said.

New Brunswick also reported one new case on Thursday, stemming from travel.

Air travel

Meanwhile, a nursing professor at Memorial University had some thoughts this week on the safety of flying with strangers as airlines start filling planes again.

The issue made headlines last weekend when a Halifax man decided to walk off a plane rather than fly in close quarters with passengers from outside the Atlantic bubble.

“I have mixed feelings about airplanes, and I travel a lot,” Donna Moralejo, who specializes in infection control, said in an interview.

Moralejo said the air in a plane is actually safer than most households because of built-in filtration systems. But surface contacts must be avoided, and close proximity means masks are essential.

“It’s probably not as unsafe as it sounds, given the airflow, but it’s less than ideal, especially on longer flights,” she said.

Peter Jackson is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering health for The Telegram.

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4 thriller objects spotted in deep room, compared with nearly anything at any time seen – haveeruonline

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Astronomers are baffled about 4 objects that were noticed in deep room by a enormous radio telescopes, stories mentioned.

LiveScience.com documented on Thursday that the highly circular objects that appear vibrant alongside the edges had been found when astronomers reviewed archival info from radio telescopes in Australia and India.

Appear UP IN THE SKY: COMET IS VISIBLE 

Kristine Spekkens, an astronomer from the Royal Military services College or university of Canada and Queen’s College, told the science internet site that the objects look to be a little something not nevertheless probed.

“It could also be that these are an extension of earlier known course of objects that we have not been in a position to discover,” she claimed. Researchers have referred to the objects as ORCs, or “odd radio circles.”

The Australian astronomers in the study noted that the objects ended up uncovered though functioning on the Evolutionary Map of the Universe Pilot, an all-sky continuum study, working with a square kilometer array pathfinder telescope.

The objects ended up described as circular, “edge-brightened discs.” They do not “correspond to any recognized style of object.” Two of them are reasonably close together, which could point out some relation. Two also attribute “an optical galaxy in the vicinity of the center of the radio emission.”

“We speculate that they could represent a spherical shock wave from an more-galactic transient occasion, or the outflow, or a remnant, from a radio galaxy considered finish-on,” the experts wrote.

The scholarly papers ended up posted on Arxiv.org.

The paper lists a several possible explanations but dismisses them. They theorized that it could be a supernova remnant, galactic planetary nebula or a deal with-on star-forming galaxy or ring galaxy.

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The face-on star-forming galaxy principle, for case in point, was dashed, in part, owing to the “lack of measurable optical emission” in comparison to the radio emission.

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Astronomers just spotted something in space that they can't explain – BGR – BGR

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  • Astronomers have spotted a new class of radio objects in space that has never been documented before. 
  • The researchers ruled out most possible explanations but a few remain, including that the signals are the leftover remnants of some cosmic event.
  • In a new research paper, the scientists offer their best guesses, but can’t say for certain what they saw.

When astronomers used high-powered telescopes to peer deep into space they never know what they might find, but generally speaking, they know what they’re looking at once they see it. Finding a totally new class of unidentified object is rare, but that’s just what researchers using the Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder telescope found while scanning the skies for radio signatures.

The team of scientists found four strange objects that they describe as “circular edge-brightened discs” which don’t correspond to any known object in the records. The team has named them ORCs, short for “odd radio circles,” and they’re eager to learn more about them.

As LiveScience reports, the researchers were quickly able to dismiss some possible explanations, such as newborn galaxies, nebulas, or supernovas. They even considered whether the strange objects might just be imaging artifacts, but were able to also rule that out. They’re a real mystery, but the researchers have other theories they can neither prove nor disprove at this point. One such explanation is that the rings are what remains of some massive explosive event far away in space.

What makes ORCs so hard to pin an explanation on is the fact that while they are visible in radio wavelengths they can’t be seen using visible light or even infrared. They appear to be purely radio signals, but their uniform shape suggests that the signal may be radiating out from a central point, supporting the idea that the circles are cosmic shockwaves spreading into space.

Still, even if that theory holds water, researchers still don’t know what caused them, how old they are, or what might happen to them in the future. They’re believed to be extragalactic, meaning that they’re not located within the Milky Way, but the team can’t say for certain how far away these strange signals are.

“We have discovered, to the best of our knowledge, a new class of radio-astronomical object, consisting of a circular disc, which in some cases is limb-brightened, and sometimes contains a galaxy at its center. None of the known types of radio object seems able to explain it,” the researchers write. “We, therefore, consider it likely that the ORCs represent a new type of object found in radioastronomy images. The edge-brightening in some ORCs suggests that this circular image may represent a spherical object, which in turn suggests a spherical wave from some transient event.”

It’s all pretty exciting, but we may have to wait a while before astronomers figure out exactly what they’re looking at.

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech.

Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of
reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.

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