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The harvest moon: A visual guide to full moons – USA TODAY

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The harvest moon – the full, orange moon that reliably appears every autumn – has been a blessing for pre-Industrial Age farmers harvesting crops and an inspiration for songwriters from the Tin Pan Alley era to Neil Young

Harvest moons are full moons that occur every year closest to the autumnal equinox, or beginning of fall, usually Sept. 22 or 23. This year’s harvest moon arrives Sept. 20 and will appear exactly opposite the sun at 7:54 p.m. EDT.

It’s called the harvest moon because the moon rises about the same time every evening for a few nights in a row in the Northern Hemisphere. It provides ample moonlight in the early evening for farmers harvesting summer crops.

The phenomenon occurs because of the moon’s position in the northern part of the sky during this time of year. In the Northern Hemisphere, the farther north an object is from the equator, the longer it’s visible across the sky.

In China, they celebrate the harvest moon with mooncake pastries and lanterns at their Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, because they believed the moon was at its brightest and fullest size.

Throughout history, different cultures have celebrated full moons because they were a way to signal changes in seasons, since the moon’s orbit around the Earth is a fairly consistent way to measure time passing without the use of calendars.

The moon takes about 30 days to revolve around the Earth, which is called a lunar cycle. Each lunar cycle is divided into eight moon phases based on the moon’s position relative to the sun. 

Another way to measure time was by identifying the year’s solstices and equinoxes, which signal the beginning of seasons because of the Earth’s orbit around the sun. 

The spring, or vernal, equinox happens around March 20 or 21 and, like the autumnal equinox, is when the day and night are of equal length. But the days will continue to get longer because more light is shed on Earth up until the summer solstice.

The summer solstice happens around June 20 or 21 and has the most daytime of the year, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. After that, the days will become shorter until the winter solstice on Dec. 21 or 22, when there’s the least daylight of any other day. 

The etymology behind the word “lunatic,” a synonym for mentally ill, comes from the Latin root of luna, which means the moon. People as far back as 400 B.C. were noticing that peoples’ mental states were affected by the lunar cycle.

The gravitational force of the moon causes many visible changes on Earth, from affecting the ocean’s tides, animals’ migration habits, and humans’ ability to sleep. And full moons have been heralded through time to be the most impactful.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac, a reference book that’s been published since the 18th century, named the different full moons from names used by Native American, colonial American and European sources, so their meanings derive from characteristics of the Northern Hemisphere. 

 And in Christianity, if the moon appears before the spring equinox, it’s known as the lenten moon marking the last full moon of winter. If it appears after the equinox, it’s known as the paschal moon to mark the first full moon of spring.

Aside from the traditional names given to full moons based on the calendar, other types of special moons can occur and have names that denote them.

Because the moon completes its final cycle around 11 days before the Earth’s orbit finishes, every two-and-a-half years, a blue moon occurs. It used to be known as an extra full moon existing within a season, since each of the four seasons has three. Now, it’s more commonly used to describe a month that contains two full moons.

Another special kind of moon is called a supermoon. This happens when the full moon happens to fall at perigee – its closest point to Earth in its orbit. Perigee is when the moon is 225,744 miles from Earth and appears bigger and brighter than a normal full moon.

When the moon reaches apogee, it’s at its farthest from Earth with a distance of 251,966 miles. If a full moon occurs while the moon is at apogee, it is called a micromoon.

A blood moon occurs during a total lunar eclipse, which is when the Earth lines up exactly between the moon and the sun. The moon appears red because the sun is completely obscured by the earth, so the only light that reaches the moon is from Earth’s atmosphere. It can have a red tint because it’s reflecting the light from sunsets and sunrises happening on Earth.

PHOTOS The Associated Press, AFP

Published
10:09 am UTC Sep. 18, 2021

Updated
12:55 pm UTC Sep. 18, 2021

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Guilt, grief and anxiety as young people fear for climate’s future

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Overwhelmed, sad, guilty are some of the emotions young people say they feel when they think of  Climate Change and their concerns world leaders will fail to tackle it.

Broadly referred to as climate anxiety, research has stacked up to measure its prevalence ahead of the U.N. talks in Glasgow, which begin at the end of the month to thrash out how to put the 2015 Paris Agreement on curbing climate change into effect.

One of the biggest studies to date, funded by Avaaz, an online campaign network, and led by Britain’s University of Bath, surveyed 10,000 young people aged 16-25 years in 10 countries. It published its results in September.

It found around three quarters of those surveyed considered the future frightening, while a lack of action by governments and industry left 45% experiencing climate anxiety and distress that affected their daily lives and functioning.

Elouise Mayall, an ecology student at Britain’s University of East Anglia and member of the UK Youth Climate Coalition, told Reuters she had felt guilty and overwhelmed.

“What I’d be left with is maybe the sense of shame, like, ‘how dare you still want lovely things when the world is ending and you don’t even know if you’re going to have a safe world to grow old in’.”

She spoke of conflicting emotions.

“You might have sadness, there might be fear, there might be a kind of overwhelm,” she said. “And maybe even sometimes a quite like wild optimism.”

Caroline Hickman, a psychotherapist and lecturer at the University of Bath and one of the co-authors of the research published in September, is working to help young people manage climate-related emotions.

“They’re growing up with the grief and the fear and the anxiety about the future,” she told Reuters.

“SENSE OF MEANING”

London-based psychiatrist Alastair Santhouse sees climate change, as well as COVID-19, as potentially adding to the burden, especially for those pre-disposed to  anxiety .

For now, climate anxiety alone does not normally require psychiatric help. Painful as it is, it can be positive, provided it does not get out of control.

“Some anxiety about climate change is motivating. It’s just a question of how much anxiety is motivating and how much is unacceptable,” said Santhouse, author of a book that tackles how health services struggle to cope with complex mental issues.

“The worry is that as climate change sets in, there will be a more clear cut mental health impact,” he added.

Among some of the world’s communities that are already the most vulnerable, extreme weather events can also cause problems such as post traumatic stress disorder.

Leading climate campaigner Greta Thunberg, 18, has experienced severe climate anxiety.

“It’s a quite natural response, because, as you see, as the world is today, that no one seems to care about what’s happening, I think it’s only human to feel that way,” she said.

For now, however, she is hopeful because she is doing everything she possibly can.

“When you take action, you also get a sense of meaning that something is happening. If you want to get rid of that anxiety, you can take action against it,” she said.

 

(Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Editing by Alison Williams)

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Rocket failure mars U.S. hypersonic weapon test as others succeed

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The Pentagon ‘s hypersonic weapon programs suffered a setback on Thursday when a booster rocket carrying a hypersonic weapon failed, people briefed on the test result said.

The test was intended to validate aspects of one of the Pentagon’s hypersonic glide vehicles in development, two of the people said.

Hypersonic glide vehicles are launched from a rocket in the upper atmosphere before gliding to a target at speeds of more than five times the speed of sound, or about 3,853 miles (6,200 kilometers) per hour.

In a separate series of tests conducted on Wednesday, the U.S. Navy and Army tested hypersonic weapon component prototypes. That test successfully “demonstrated advanced hypersonic technologies, capabilities, and prototype systems in a realistic operating environment,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

The United States and its global rivals have quickened their pace to build hypersonic weapons – the next generation of arms that rob adversaries of reaction time and traditional defeat mechanisms.

U.S. President Joe Biden expressed concern on Wednesday about Chinese hypersonic missiles, days after a media report that Beijing had tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic glide weapon.

Glide bodies are different from their air-breathing hypersonic weapon cousins which use scramjet engine technology and the vehicle’s high speed to forcibly compress incoming air before combustion to enable sustained flight at hypersonic speeds. An air-breathing hypersonic weapon was successfully tested in September.

Companies such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies are working to develop the hypersonic weapon capability for the United States.

(Reporting by Mike Stone and Idrees Ali in Washington; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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Patagonian fossils show Jurassic dinosaur had the herd mentality | Saltwire – SaltWire Network

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By Will Dunham

(Reuters) – A vast trove of fossils unearthed in Argentina’s southern Patagonia region is offering the oldest-known evidence that some dinosaurs thrived in a complex and well-organized herd structure, with adults caring for the young and sharing a communal nesting ground.

Scientists said on Thursday the fossils include more than 100 dinosaur eggs and the bones of about 80 juveniles and adults of a Jurassic Period plant-eating species called Mussaurus patagonicus, including 20 remarkably complete skeletons. The animals experienced a mass-death event, probably caused by a drought, and their bodies were subsequently buried by wind-blown dust, the researchers said.

“It is a pretty dramatic scene from 193 million years ago that was frozen in time,” said paleontologist Diego Pol of the Egidio Feruglio Paleontological Museum in Trelew, Argentina, who led the research published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Mussaurus, which grew to about 20 feet (6 meters) long and about 1.5 tons, possessed a long neck and tail, with a small head. It was bipedal as an adult but newborns were quadrupedal. Mussaurus lived early in the Jurassic, the second of three periods comprising the age of dinosaurs. It was a relatively large beast for its time – much bigger than contemporaneous meat-eating dinosaurs. Dinosaurs became true giants later in the Jurassic.

“The site is one of a kind,” Pol said. “It preserves a dinosaur nesting ground including delicate and tiny dinosaur skeletons as well as eggs with embryos inside. The specimens we have found showed that herd behavior was present in long-necked dinosaurs since their early history. These were social animals, and we think this may be an important factor to explain their success.”

The animals were found to have been grouped by age at the time of their deaths, with hatchlings and eggs in one area while skeletons of juveniles were clustered nearby. The eggs were arranged in layers within trenches. Adults were found alone or in pairs.

This phenomenon, called “age segregation,” signals a complex social structure, the researchers said, including adults that foraged for meals and cared for the young. The researchers suspect that members of the herd returned to the same spot during successive seasons to form breeding colonies.

“The young were staying with the adults at least until they reached adulthood. It could be that they stayed in the same herd after reaching adulthood, but we don’t have information to corroborate that hypothesis,” said paleontologist and study co-author Vincent Fernandez of the Natural History Museum in London.

Herd behavior also can protect young and vulnerable individuals from attack by predators.

“It’s a strategy for the survival of a species,” Fernandez said.

The oldest previous evidence for dinosaur herd behavior was from about 150 million years ago.

The nesting ground was situated on the dry margins of a lake featuring ferns and conifers in a warm but seasonal climate. The eggs are about the size of a chicken’s, and the skeleton of a hatchling fits in the palm of a human hand. The adults got as heavy as a hippo.

A scanning method called high-resolution X-ray computed tomography confirmed that the embryos inside the eggs indeed were of Mussaurus.

Mussaurus was a type of dinosaur called a sauropodomorph, which represented the first great success story among herbivorous dinosaurs. Sauropodomorphs were an evolutionary forerunner to a group called sauropods known for long necks and tails and four pillar-like legs.

The largest land animals in Earth’s history were the sauropod successors of sauropodomorphs, as exemplified by a later denizen of Patagonia called Argentinosaurus that reached perhaps 118 feet (36 meters) in length and upwards of 70 tons.

(Reporting by Will Dunham in Washington, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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