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'Starman' Tesla Roadster just had its first close encounter with Mars – The Weather Network

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SpaceX reported a long-awaited encounter on Wednesday. Flying through space in his Tesla Roadster, their famous Starman made his first close pass by the planet Mars.

On February 6, 2018, in a now-famous rocket test, SpaceX’s new Falcon Heavy booster blasted off for the first time. Perched atop the rocket, acting as a stand-in for the usual ‘dummy’ weight used during these tests, was Elon Musk’s very own red Tesla Roadster. Sitting in the driver seat of the car, wearing a fully-functional SpaceX spacesuit, was a mannequin nicknamed Starman.

This image snapped by cameras attached to the Tesla Roadster shows Starman in space after the Falcon Heavy Launch on February 8, 2018, with Earth in the background. Credit: SpaceX

In an ultimate test of the launch, the second stage of the rocket fired its engine for as long as possible, putting Starman into a path around the Sun that would take it out farther than the orbit of Mars.

Although SpaceX reported in November of 2018, roughly 8 months after the launch, that this rather unique ‘road trip’ had taken Starman and the Roadster beyond Mars’ orbit, their timing was off. Mars wasn’t there to greet them at that time. Instead, the planet was far ahead of them in its orbit. The launch would have had to occur in either spring of 2016 or the summer of 2020 for a more ‘direct’ flight.

As it is, the pair had to make an extra pass around the Sun before they could have their actual first ‘close encounter’ with Mars.

On October 7, 2020, Starman and his Tesla roadster came to within 0.05 astronomical units of Mars, or roughly 7.5 million kilometres. At that distance, if Starman was still capable of snapping pictures, the Red Planet would appear as just a tiny orange disk against the backdrop of space.

Starman-near-Mars-OrbitSimulator-TonyDunnThis simulation of Starman’s orbit shows that it is very close to Mars, when viewed from directly above. However, the roadster and its passenger are very high above Mars at this time (inset). Credit: Tony Dunn/OrbitSimulator.org/Scott Sutherland

Based on an orbit simulation of Starman produced by amateur astronomer Tony Dunn, its next similar close encounter with Mars should be in April of 2035.

That’s a long time to wait. By that time, though, we may actually have humans on Mars to greet its flyby!

Sources: SpaceX | Orbit Simulator

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B.C. Halloween forecast: Frightfully chilly under a spooky full moon – Vancouver Sun

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While the weather is expected to be frightfully cold in much of B.C. this Halloween, those who venture outdoors may be in for a treat.

A rare full “blue” moon is expected Saturday night, the second full moon this month.

The last time trick-or-treaters went out under a full moon in B.C. was in 2001, but the last Halloween full moon in all time zones was in 1944, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

© Gideon Knight_Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Young Grand title young winner Featuring: The moon and the crow. Photo by CB2/ZOB /Gideon Knight/Wildlife Photograp

As for the weather, if you’re in Metro Vancouver it’s likely going to be clear and sunny during the day with a high of 11 C, and then partly cloudy at night with a low of 5 C, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Elsewhere in B.C., the Prince George and Williams Lake areas should see a mix of sun and cloud with a high of around 4 or 5 C and an overnight low of 2 C, while in the Okanagan it will likely be overcast and 10 C, dipping down to 4 C overnight with a slight chance of showers.

In the northern region of Dease Lake, the forecast looks for sunny during the day and freezing at night, plunging to minus 7 C overnight.

In the central B.C. region, some communities may have snow Saturday. The agency is forecasting a good chance of flurries in Smithers during the day but showers overnight.

ticrawford@postmedia.com

More to come …

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Elusive and extremely rare catshark captured in amazing video – CNET

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This short-tail catshark (Parmaturus bigus), seen at the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia, is a rare sight.


Schmidt Ocean video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Great whites might be the jumbo stars of the shark world, but there are some equally fascinating members on the other side of the size spectrum. The crew of the research vessel Falkor experienced the wonders of the deep when it spotted “one of the rarest species of sharks in the world” during a recent Schmidt Ocean Institute mission.

Shark expert Will White with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia’s national science research agency, identified the short-tail catshark Parmaturus bigus from footage captured during an exploration of the Great Barrier Reef on Oct. 17. Falkor’s remotely operated submersible SuBastian got a good look at the big-eyed creature. 

Though you can chill out and enjoy the hours of underwater footage and scientific commentary, the shark appears a little over two hours into this video. “It’s a shark!” the scientists comment as they zoom in.

Researchers have collected only one specimen of Parmaturus bigus, which is held in the Australian National Fish Collection. The one spotted lounging on the sand was a male estimated to be around 20 inches (50 cm) long. The remotely operated vehicle was able to follow it as it swam off.

Even better, the ocean researchers discovered they had filmed another specimen during a dive back in May but hadn’t identified it at the time. The team also found footage of an egg case from the short-tail catshark, giving scientists a wealth of new information about the species and its habitat.

“Through the efforts of the Falkor team, we now have three more records of one of the world’s rarest sharks,” Schmidt Ocean said in a statement Monday, including “the first footage of a living specimen.”

Schmidt Ocean expeditions have gifted us some extraordinary views of the marvels of the deep in recent years, from a stunningly bizarre siphonophore to a wild “benthic tornado.” The catshark fits in beautifully with this impressive track record of discovery.

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'One of the rarest species of shark in the world' captured in amazing video – CNET

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This short-tail catshark (Parmaturus bigus), seen at the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia, is a rare sight.


Schmidt Ocean video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Great whites might be the jumbo stars of the shark world, but there are some equally fascinating members on the other side of the size spectrum. The crew of the research vessel Falkor experienced the wonders of the deep when it spotted “one of the rarest species of sharks in the world” during a recent Schmidt Ocean Institute mission.

Shark expert Will White with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia’s national science research agency, identified the short-tail catshark Parmaturus bigus from footage captured during an exploration of the Great Barrier Reef on Oct. 17. Falkor’s remotely operated submersible SuBastian got a good look at the big-eyed creature. 

Though you can chill out and enjoy the hours of underwater footage and scientific commentary, the shark appears a little over two hours into this video. “It’s a shark!” the scientists comment as they zoom in.

Researchers have collected only one specimen of Parmaturus bigus, which is held in the Australian National Fish Collection. The one spotted lounging on the sand was a male estimated to be around 20 inches (50 cm) long. The remotely operated vehicle was able to follow it as it swam off.

Even better, the ocean researchers discovered they had filmed another specimen during a dive back in May but hadn’t identified it at the time. The team also found footage of an egg case from the short-tail catshark, giving scientists a wealth of new information about the species and its habitat.

“Through the efforts of the Falkor team, we now have three more records of one of the world’s rarest sharks,” Schmidt Ocean said in a statement Monday, including “the first footage of a living specimen.”

Schmidt Ocean expeditions have gifted us some extraordinary views of the marvels of the deep in recent years, from a stunningly bizarre siphonophore to a wild “benthic tornado.” The catshark fits in beautifully with this impressive track record of discovery.

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