Jul 29, 2018


Beautiful photos! Full moon eclipse and Mars

Earth flew between the sun and Mars this week, so, during yesterday’s total lunar eclipse, the moon and Mars were close. Photos from the EarthSky community here.

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Peter Lowenstein in Mutare, Zimbabwe, wrote: “Conditions were very good for observing the eclipse and yielded many of the usual Blood Moon photographs. However, when photographing the approaching umbra just before it had completely encroached on the moon, a beautiful vivid blue ozone fringe which lasted for just a few minutes appeared. The attached animation, which consists of 21 still photographs taken between 9:13 and 9:22 p.m. local time using highlight instead of shadow detail exposures, presents a rare and unusual view of this lunar eclipse phenomenon which usually just imparts a pale bluish tinge to the last directly illuminated portion of the moon (as is shown in the conventional picture taken at about the same time).” Read more about the ozone fringe seen during lunar eclipses.

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Helio C. Vital in Saquarema, Brazil, saw the eclipse at moonrise, when the moon was still low in the sky. He wrote: “The moon was very low during totality (9 degrees above the horizon only at U3)! I first spotted the moon some 25 minutes after its rise as I had predicted. Such delay was due to the fact it was thousand of times dimmer than the usual full moon when it crossed the horizon. The moon was many times darker than Mars when I first glanced it, only 5 degrees above the horizon at 17:48 (UTC-3h). It was a therefore a dark eclipse not due to recent major volcanic eruptions, but due to the fact the moon crossed the center of Earth`s shadow where the shadow is very dark. What a nice show the totally eclipsed moon and Mars in opposition (only 7 degrees apart) put on over Saquarema! Nikon CoolPix P900 camera using its Moon Mode.”

Bottom line: Photos of the total lunar eclipse of July 27, 2018 – longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century – from the EarthSky community. During this eclipse, the planet Mars was near the moon and brighter than it had been since 2003.

Evidence detected of lake beneath the surface of Mars

A lake of liquid water has been detected by radar beneath the southern polar ice cap of Mars, according to a new study by Italian researchers from the Italian Space Agency, published Wednesday in the journal Science.

Evidence was gathered by the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding instrument, also known as MARSIS, on the European Space Agency's Mars Express spacecraft.
Between May 2012 and December 2015, MARSIS was used to survey the Planum Australe region, which is in the southern ice cap of Mars. It sent radar pulses through the surface and polar ice caps and measured how the radio waves reflected back to Mars Express.

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Previously, there has been some suggestions [sic] about water on Mars, like droplets of water condensing on the Phoenix lander or as the possible cause of recurring slope lineae, which are seasonal dark streaks on Martian slopes. But there hasn't been evidence of stable bodies of water until now, the researchers said. However, the presence of liquid water at the base of Martian polar caps was first hypothesized in a study 31 years ago.

Life on the Moon? New study argued life could have existed on the lunar surface

Although life does not presently exist on the Moon, new research suggests that there was a window of time in which it could have supported life.

A paper written by astrobiologists from Washington State University and the University of London theorizes that conditions on the surface of the Moon could have supported "simple life-forms" right after the Moon was formed 4 billion years ago, and during the lunar volcanic activity that occurred 3.5 billion years ago.

Both periods had intense amounts of volatile gases, most notably water vapor, coming from its interior — this, researchers say, could have been supportive of life, assuming the vapor turned to liquid water that got trapped on the lunar surface.

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Schulze-Makuch and Crawford do not make the claim that life did exist on the Moon, but say if it did, it may have started in a similar way to how it happened on Earth.

Mystery emerges as day turned to night over several areas in Central Russia

Residents all around Central Russia were terrified as the day inexplicably turned into night for more than three hours time on last Friday and many people started to believe that aliens are going to invade the planet. In the meantime, a section of conspiracy theorists argued that the Kremlin has tested a secret military weapon which caused the eerie phenomenon.

It should be noted that an area bigger than the British Isles was plunged into darkness as a gigantic black cloud appeared in the sky. Until now, Moscow's defence and meteorological officials have failed to give a convincing explanation behind this phenomenon which mainly affected Arctic districts in the Yakutia region. Interestingly, all Arctic districts faced a sudden temperature fall

Many experts believe that the strange incident could be the result of the dust from a meteorite strike, or a secret nuclear weapon test carried out by the Russian government. However, there are no reports of meteorites, eclipses or weapons tests recorded in the affected area.

New 'Amazing Dragon' Dinosaur Upends What We Thought We Knew About Sauropods

Scientists have discovered a new dinosaur in one of the spots where such a find was considered highly unlikely—northern China. Not only were dinosaurs thought to have never existed in this part of the world, but this specimen of long-necked, gigantic herbivore dates back 15 million years before others like it were thought to exist.

The discovery was made in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and dates back to around 174 million years ago. The Chinese and British scientists who made the discovery claim in their paper that they've found "the earliest neosauropod," a family of dinosaurs that include famed giants like the Brontosaurus and Diplodocus.

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“We were surprised to find a close relative of Diplodocus in East Asia 174 million years ago. It’s commonly thought that sauropods did not disperse there until 200 million years ago and many of their giant descendants, reached this region much later, if at all," says Paul Upchurch, a co-author and professor from University College London, in a press statement.

Why Do Crows Have Sex with the Dead?

When crows encounter dead crows, sometimes, they make alarm calls or gather other birds to the scene, holding a “funeral” for the dead. Other times, they have sex with the corpse. Kaeli Swift, a PhD. candidate at the University of Washington discovered crow necrophilia by accident, and decided to study why.

According to The Atlantic, Swift got dozens of crow bodies from Seattle’s natural history museum, and recruited a friend to taxidermy the birds. She drove around Seattle, waiting for crows to leave their nests before placing a dead bird on the sidewalk to test reactions of hundreds of crows to corpses of their kin.

Most frequently, birds made alarm calls from a distance, or dive-bombed the bodies, treating them as danger signs. But 24 percent of birds would peck, pull, tough or drag the corpses, and four percent of the encounters went full on necrophilia. “In the most dramatic examples, a crow would approach the dead crow while alarm calling, copulate with it, be joined in the sexual frenzy by its presumed mate, and then rip it into absolute shreds,” Swift told The Atlantic.

New Hybrid Whale-Dolphin Discovered Off Hawaii

Last year, a team of scientists spotted what they believed was a hybrid animal off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii. A new report from Cascadia Research Collective confirms they did and the new sea creature is the result of a whale and a dolphin mating, the team’s head researcher told CBS News.

What the researchers discovered was a hybrid of a melon-headed whale and a rough-toothed dolphin. In an interview with local newspaper The Garden Island, the head of the project said the discovery is their “most unusual finding.” “We had the photos and suspected it was a hybrid from morphological characteristics intermediate between species,” Robin Baird said.

During their two-week project, scientists were able to get a biopsy sample from the creature and study its genetics. They were able to confirm that the animal was a hybrid. “Based on the genetics, the father was a rough-toothed dolphin and the mother a melon-headed whale,” Baird told CBS News via email.

Why I’d never do a TED talk (and it’s not just because they’re named after a man)

TED makes some pretty big claims: according to its website, its aim is to “foster the spread of great ideas, [by providing] a platform for thinkers, visionaries and teachers … Core to this goal is a belief that there is no greater force for changing the world than a powerful idea.” It’s difficult to know how it will change the world when style appears to be given a hundred times more thought than content. I imagine speakers rehearsing before the audition, checking hand gestures in the mirror in front of a bemused cat. Why do they all seem to perform identical gesticulations?

Those invited to be potential TED talkers are required to attend several auditions, and, if they are one of the chosen few, a number of rehearsals before they are deemed ready. I know one speaker who flew from London to New York just to audition to do TED, paying his own flight for the sheer privilege of performing a live advertorial and hopefully flogging a few books. The talks are so rehearsed that even the well-placed pauses and casual hair flicks look hideously false. TED-bots strut around the stage, posing, delivering well-crafted smiles and frowns. It’s like amateur dramatics for would-be intellectuals.

Many of the speakers state the blatantly obvious on a loop, sounding as though they have discovered the theory of relativity all over again. The pretentious gestures, rehearsed pauses and speech traits single them out from other public speakers. They appear to have learned the art of making the simplest ideas appear complex.

Google Translate Is Doing Something Incredibly Sinister And It Looks Like We're All Doomed

We all know our AI is infested with demons by now, right? Whether it's Alexa giggling like a serial killer and talking to the dead, or Google predicting your death down to the day, it seems humans have got used to our creepy supernatural robot overlords pretty quickly. But despite – or maybe because of – our flamethrower-less reactions to the obvious warning signs, the spooky messages from the online ouija board have only gotten worse – and the latest is no exception.

The bad news: the world is ending. Sorry about that.

The worse news: we had to find out from Google Translate.

Necromancers of the Internet (OK, Redditors) noticed a glitch recently where typing "dog" 19 times into Google's translation software and switching the input language to Maori reveals the following bone-chilling prophecy:

"Doomsday Clock is three minutes at twelve. We are experiencing characters and a dramatic developments in the world, which indicate that we are increasingly approaching the end times and Jesus' return."

Episcopal Church says all same-sex couples can now marry in their home churches

The Episcopal Church removed restrictions on same-sex marriage Friday, making it so all couples can wed where they worship.

While they are already permitted across much of the Episcopal Church, the bishops in Middle Tennessee and seven other U.S. dioceses had not permitted religious wedding ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples in their regions of the church. The decision made Friday by the denomination's governing body overrides those local decisions.

The General Convention, which wrapped up its triennial meeting in Austin, Texas, on Friday, passed a resolution with overwhelming support that makes it so all couples can marry in their local congregations. They now do so under the direction of their priest, instead of their bishop.

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Under the resolution passed Friday, clergy still can decline to bless or solemnize any marriage. But if the couples live in a diocese where the bishop theologically objects to same-sex marriages, that bishop will tap, if necessary, another willing one to provide pastoral support to all involved.

Pa. Supreme Court: Release redacted report that names more than 300 'predator priests'

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Friday ordered the release of a redacted copy of a highly anticipated grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse, one the court said identifies more than 300 “predator priests” but would conceal the names of a handful of clergy members who contend it is inaccurate or unfairly maligns their reputations.

The order by the seven-member high court provided a temporary victory for about two dozen current and former clergy members who have waged a furious legal fight to prevent their names from being publicly disclosed. The high court’s decision will allow them to remain unidentified for weeks, if not months, while the justices weigh their arguments.

Some critics said that even a slight delay in publicly identifying any of the accused priests could enable them to escape criticism because public interest will wane.

In their 31-page order, the justices agreed that the case — and complaints by clergy implicated in the investigation — raises due-process issues. In doing so, they signaled frustration with both the Attorney General’s Office, which led the two-year inquiry, as well as Judge Norman A. Krumenacker III, who supervised the grand jury’s work and has said the full, unredacted report should be made public.

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