#AceNewsReport – Feb.03: Astronomers have just peered into the atmosphere of one of the most extreme exoplanets ever discovered.
#AceNewsDesk says in the past, astronomers often assumed that the atmospheres of exoplanets exist as a uniform layer and try to understand it as such,” says astronomer Jens Hoeijmakers of Lund University in Sweden: The research has been published in Nature Astronomy.
Although it’s absolutely not habitable (at least as we understand it), the exoplanet WASP-189b is the first in which scientists have been able to probe distinct atmospheric layers, each with their own chemical compositions and characteristics.
“But our results demonstrate that even the atmospheres of intensely irradiated giant gas planets have complex three-dimensional structures.”
WASP-189b is a member of one of the most intriguing subsets of exoplanets: hot Jupiters. These extreme worlds are gas giants – like Jupiter – but on insanely close orbits with their host stars, whizzing around in less than 10 days. Naturally, their temperatures are therefore scorching.
In addition, we don’t know why they are like that. According to our current models of planetary formation, a gas giant can’t form that close to its star, because the gravity, radiation, and intense stellar winds ought to keep the gas from clumping together; yet, of the nearly 5,000 exoplanets confirmed to date, over 300 could be hot Jupiters. Learning more about these hell-worlds should thus reveal more about the dynamics of planetary systems.
WASP-189b, about 322 light-years away, is among the most extreme (although it’s not quite the most). It’s about 1.6 times the size of Jupiter, and orbits its star on a breakneck 2.7-day period. That star is young and hot, which means surface temperatures of WASP-189b reach up to 3,200 degrees Celsius (5,792 degrees Fahrenheit) on its day side, making the planet hotter than some stars.
It’s also one of the brightest transiting exoplanets known; that is, it passes between us and its star. In turn, that makes it very attractive for atmospheric studies.
“We measured the light coming from the planet’s host star and passing through the planet’s atmosphere,” explains astronomer Bibiana Prinothof Lund University, who led the research.
“The gases in its atmosphere absorb some of the starlight, similar to ozone absorbing some of the sunlight in Earth’s atmosphere, and thereby leave their characteristic ‘fingerprint’. With the help of HARPS [High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher aboard ESO’s La Silla Observatory] we were able to identify the corresponding substances.”
Interestingly, the researchers also found traces of titanium oxide, which has never been conclusively detected in an exoplanetary atmosphere before, the researchers said. Titanium oxide is found rarely in nature on Earth, but on WASP-189b, its presence could be helping shape the atmosphere.
“Its detection could therefore indicate a layer in the atmosphere of WASP-189b that interacts with the stellar irradiation similarly to how the ozone layer does on Earth.”
There was another big clue that the team was observing layers in the exoplanet’s atmosphere, too. Elements in space are detected spectrally; that is, we split the light detected by our instruments into the full spectrum, and look for brighter or darker lines. These indicate that something is either amplifying or absorbing those wavelengths, what we call emission or absorption lines.
Absorption lines can then be traced to specific elements that we know absorb those wavelengths. But the absorption lines from WASP-189b were not quite where the researchers expected them to be.
“We believe that strong winds and other processes could generate these alterations,” Prinoth said.
“And because the fingerprints of different gases were altered in different ways, we think that this indicates that they exist in different layers – similarly to how the fingerprints of water vapor and ozone on Earth would appear differently altered from a distance, because they mostly occur in different atmospheric layers.”
Obviously we won’t be traveling to WASP-189b anytime soon. Even if we were, life as we know it would be mega-kaput before we even landed; however, the research still has relevance to the search for life. It represents a new milestone in probing exoplanetary atmospheres, which is where we are most likely to spot the signs of alien life.
“I am often asked if I think my research is relevant to the search for life elsewhere in the Universe. My answer is always yes. This type of study is a first step in this search,” Prinoth said.
#AceNewsReport – Jan.15: Some places had record-high temperatures, and we saw record droughts, floods and fires around the globe.
#AceNewsDesk says according to global warming report Earth’s global average surface temperature in 2021 tied with 2018 as the sixth warmest on record, according to independent analyses done by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Continuing the planet’s long-term warming trend, global temperatures in 2021 were 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.85 degrees Celsius) above the average for NASA’s baseline period, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. NASA uses the period from 1951-1980 as a baseline to see how global temperature changes over time.
Collectively, the past eight years are the warmest years since modern recordkeeping began in 1880. This annual temperature data makes up the global temperature record – which tells scientists the planet is warming.
According to NASA’s temperature record, Earth in 2021 was about 1.9 degrees Fahrenheit (or about 1.1 degrees Celsius) warmer than the late 19th century average, the start of the industrial revolution.
“Science leaves no room for doubt: Climate change is the existential threat of our time,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Eight of the top 10 warmest years on our planet occurred in the last decade, an indisputable fact that underscores the need for bold action to safeguard the future of our country – and all of humanity. NASA’s scientific research about how Earth is changing and getting warmer will guide communities throughout the world, helping humanity confront climate and mitigate its devastating effects.”
Weather stations, ships, and ocean buoys around the globe record the temperature at Earth’s surface throughout the year. These ground-based measurements of surface temperature are validated with satellite data from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. Scientists analyze these measurements using computer algorithms to deal with uncertainties in the data and quality control to calculate the global average surface temperature difference for every year. NASA compares that global mean temperature to its baseline period of 1951-1980. That baseline includes climate patterns and unusually hot or cold years due to other factors, ensuring that it encompasses natural variations in Earth’s temperature.
Many factors affect the average temperature any given year, such as La Nina and El Nino climate patterns in the tropical Pacific. For example, 2021 was a La Nina year and NASA scientists estimate that it may have cooled global temperatures by about 0.06 degrees Fahrenheit (0.03 degrees Celsius) from what the average would have been.
A separate, independent analysis by NOAA also concluded that the global surface temperature for 2021 was the sixth highest since record keeping began in 1880. NOAA scientists use much of the same raw temperature data in their analysis and have a different baseline period (1901-2000) and methodology.
“The complexity of the various analyses doesn’t matter because the signals are so strong,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of GISS, NASA’s leading center for climate modeling and climate change research. “The trends are all the same because the trends are so large.”
GISS is a NASA laboratory managed by the Earth Sciences Division of the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The laboratory is affiliated with Columbia University’s Earth Institute and School of Engineering and Applied Science in New York.
For more information about NASA’s Earth science missions, visit:
#AceNewsReport – Jan.15: For a period, some researchers suspected that insects may be less affected, or at least more adaptable, than mammals, birds and other groups of creatures: With their large, elastic populations and their defiance of previous mass extinction events, surely insects will do better than most in the teeth of the climate emergency?
#AceNewsDesk says according to a Guardian News Report: How the speed of climate change is unbalancing the insect world: Sadly not. At 3.2C of warming, which many scientists still fear the world will get close to by the end of this century (although a flurry of promises at #COP26 have brought the expected temperature increase down to 2.4C), half of all insect species will lose more than half of their current habitable range By Oliver Milman
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This is about double the proportion of vertebrates and higher even than for plants, which lack wings or legs to quickly relocate themselves. This huge contraction in livable space is being heaped on to the existing woes faced by insects from habitat loss and pesticide use. “The insects that are still hanging in there are going to get hit by climate change as well,” says Rachel Warren, a biologist at the University of East Anglia, who in 2018 published research into what combinations of temperature, rainfall and other climatic conditions each species can tolerate.
Some insects, such as dragonflies, are nimble enough to cope with the creeping change. Unfortunately, most are not. Butterflies and moths are also often quite mobile, but in different stages of their life cycle they rely on certain terrestrial conditions and particular plant foods, and so many are still vulnerable. Pollinators such as bees and flies can generally move only short distances, exacerbating an emerging food security crisis where farmers will struggle to grow certain foods not just due to a lack of pollination but because, beyond an increase of 3C or so, vast swaths of land simply becomes unsuitable for many crops. The area available to grow abundant coffee and chocolate, for example, is expected to shrivel as tropical regions surge to temperatures unseen in human history.
The climate crisis interlocks with so many other maladies – poverty, racism, social unrest, inequality, the crushing of wildlife – that it can be easy to overlook how it has viciously ensnared insects. The problem also feels more intractable. “Climate change is tricky because it’s hard to combat,” says Matt Forister, a professor of biology at the University of Nevada. “Pesticides are relatively straightforward by comparison but climate change can alter the water table, affect the predators, affect the plants. It’s multifaceted.”
Insects are under fire from the poles to the tropics. The Arctic bumblebee, Bombus polaris, is found in the northern extremities of Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia and Russia. It is able to survive near-freezing temperatures due to dense hair that traps heat and its ability to use conical flowers, like the Arctic poppy, to magnify the sun’s rays to warm itself up. Rocketing temperatures in the Arctic, however, mean the bee is likely to become extinct by 2050. Species of alpine butterflies, dependent on just one or two high-altitude plants, are also facing severe declines as their environment transforms around them.
Further south, in the UK, glowworm numbers have collapsed by three-quarters since 2001, research has found, with the climate crisis considered the primary culprit. The larvae of the insects feed on snails that thrive in damp conditions, but a string of hot and dry summers has left the glowworms critically short of prey.
These sort of losses in Europe have challenged previous assumptions that insects in temperate climates would be able to cope with a few degrees of extra heat, unlike the mass of species crowded at the world’s tropics that are already at the upper limits of their temperature tolerance. A team of researchers from Sweden and Spain have pointed out that the vast majority of insects in temperate zones are inactive during cold periods. When just the warmer, active, months of insects’ lives were considered by the scientists, they found that species in temperate areas are also starting to bump into the ceiling of livable temperature. As Frank Johansson, an academic at Sweden’s Uppsala University, glumly puts it: “Insects in temperate zones might be as threatened by climate change as those in the tropics.”
Bumblebees, those large, furry insects permanently sewn into their winter coats, are at the pointy end of this rising heat. A study by the University of Ottawa in 2020 found that bumblebee populations in North America have nearly halved, with those across Europe declining by 17%.
Some scientists have warned that the correlation shown in this research has yet to prove causation, but there is a broad acceptance that changes in temperature and rainfall could overwhelm insects already facing a barrage of threats. In 2019, for example, scientists revealed the happy news that nine new bee species had been discovered in the south Pacific island of Fiji, only to then immediately note that many of them face climate-related extinction due to their warming mountaintop habitats. “In the future, climate change is going to be the nail in the coffin for quite a lot of creatures which are already in much reduced numbers,” says Dave Goulson, a University of Sussex ecologist. “They’ll simply be unable to cope with a 2C rise in temperature and all the extreme weather events that are likely to go with that.”
Even the Amazon rainforest, that humming trove of insect life, is seeing complex relationships torn asunder. The increasing incidence of the El Niño phenomenon, coupled with human interventions such as deforestation, are spurring more intense drought and wildfires. Researchers were shocked to find this changing regime causing a population collapse among the humble dung beetles, which are key distributors of nutrients and seeds and important indicator species of the health of an ecosystem. Counts of beetles before and after an El Niño event in 2016 found that insect numbers had been cut by more than half within the studied forests. The climate crisis is making the Amazon drier, more brittle and more prone to fires, while also stripping away the unheralded dung beetles that help regenerate burned forests. “I thought the beetles would be more resilient to drought than they were,” says Filipe França, the Brazilian scientist who led the research. “If climate change continues we’ll not only see less biodiverse forests but also make them less able to recover after further disturbances.”
Insects are so interlaced with the environment that they acutely feel any jolt to the regular rhythms of life. Spring is being pushed earlier and earlier in the year, unsettling the established life cycle of insects. In the UK, moths and butterflies are emerging from their cocoons up to six days earlier a decade on average, while in parts of the US, springtime conditions that trigger insect activity occur as much as 20 days earlier than they did 70 years ago. Most plant and animal species rely on the buildup of heat in spring to set in motion flowering, breeding and hatching of insect eggs. The reshuffling of the season’s start risks throwing delicately poised interactions off-kilter, such as birds setting off on migration early only to find a food source isn’t quite ready for them yet.
British scientists who looked at half a century of UK data found that aphids are now emerging a month earlier than they once did, due to rising temperatures, while birds are laying eggs a week earlier. The aphids aren’t necessarily growing in number, despite their elongated season, but their earlier appearances means they are targeting plants that are younger and more vulnerable.
“There’s good evidence here in the UK that under climate change things are warming up early, so we’ve got all these bees coming out early but not the flowers, because obviously the day length isn’t changing,” says Simon Potts, a bee expert at the University of Reading. “We’re getting this decoupling between pollinators and the plants and that’s starting to mess up all these very delicate, very sophisticated food webs.”
For some insects, a warmer Britain is a welcome development. In recent years, insects such as the violet carpenter bee and the camel cricket have crossed the Channel and established themselves, while some native butterflies, such as the marbled white, are hauling themselves out of population declines with a climate-assisted march northward to cooler climes. Flowers such as wild orchids are heading north, too.
These adaptive techniques will mean little when climate breakdown warps the properties of the plants themselves, diminishing them as a food source wherever insects can find them. Scientists have found that CO2 can reduce the nutritional value of plants, providing insects with a meal of empty calories lacking elements such as zinc and sodium. A study site in the prairies of Kansas found that grasshopper numbers there are dropping by around 2% a year, and researchers felt confident enough to rule out pesticide use or habitat loss as the likely cause. Instead, they concluded that the grasshoppers were suffering starvation via the climate emergency.
Not only is climate breakdown potentially causing insects to be malnourished; it also appears to be altering the scent of plants. Pollinators searching for food will note the colour and number of flowers as well as the plant’s scent, with bees able to recall a fragrance and associate it with certain plants and their nectar content. Scientists who measured the fragrance molecules emitted by rosemary in shrubland near Marseille, in France, discovered that a different scent was given off by plants that were stressed, which deterred domesticated bees. As the climate crisis stresses more plants by subjecting them to drought and soaring heat, insects may find them not only a bland meal but also unappealing to even approach.
This alteration in plants may be, for insects at least, the most far-reaching symptom of climate breakdown.
Not all insects are doomed in a warming world, however. As with all realignments, there are winners and losers, and our attention is more easily captured by thoughts of hordes of marauding insects unshackled by global heating than by a handful of scientists fretting about a declining desert moth. In 2020, east Africa suffered its worst plague of locusts in decades. The previous year, the Horn of Africa had been pounded by rainfall, up to 400% above average levels, aiding the reproduction of locusts. Increased heat is also thought to boost locust numbers, with both factors heavily influenced by climate breakdown. Farmers in Kenya watched on helplessly as the sky darkened with locusts that descended to decimate their corn and sorghum. Separate, massive swarms then broke out in western and central India, chewing up land at a rate not seen in a generation.
A hotter world is likely to bring an array of insect pests and pathogens to attack potatoes, soya beans, wheat, and other crops. A group of American researchers calculated that yields of the three most important grain crops – wheat, rice, and corn – lost to insects will increase by as much as 25% per degree Celsius of warming, with countries in temperate areas hit the hardest. Crop pests also tend to thrive in simplified environments that have been stripped of their predators – another legacy of monocultural farming practices.
In the American suburbs, we will see more emerald ash borers, the brilliantly green beetles native to Asia that were introduced to the US after a few of them clung to some wooden packaging that made its way to Detroit. The rapacious beetles have killed off hundreds of million of ash trees across North America and are now establishing themselves in eastern Europe. Milder winters mean the pests will be able to spread farther north, causing further devastation.
Even the domestic environment will see a new influx of unwanted insects, with populations of houseflies more than doubling by 2080, according to one estimate, due to changes in temperature, humidity and rainfall. But while houseflies can cause illness through the transfer of waste on to food, at least they aren’t major vectors of deadly conditions.
It is worrisome, therefore, that there’s an expansion under way of mosquitoes.
Freezing temperatures tend to kill mosquito eggs. This means that a heated-up planet is allowing the insects to conquer new territories, helping trigger outbreaks of dengue in France and Croatia, chikungunya in Italy and malaria in Greece in the past decade. These incursions are likely to be vanguards; the Mediterranean region is already a partly tropical region, and as heat and moisture continue to build, the central swath of Europe and even the southern regions of the UK will be within striking range of a fearsome cadre of newcomers. “If it gets warmer we could get West Nile. Malaria could come back, too,” says Simon Leather, a British entomologist. “We could see a real change in terms of human health problems.”
Mosquitoes are clearly, by the number of people killed, the most deadly animal on Earth to humans; but in our eagerness to vanquish them, we often deploy weapons with high levels of collateral damage. The chemical compound DDT was developed for widespread anti-mosquito use – before mosquitoes developed resistance and the chemical’s pernicious impact on other wildlife led to its ban. A more recent replacement, an organophosphate called naled, is now sprayed on mosquito habitat despite evidence that it is toxic to bees, fish and other creatures. But if our fears of a seething invasion of heat-loving insects were to be embodied by one animal, it would probably be the Asian giant hornet.
You might have heard it referred to as a “murder” hornet. The bulky, thumb-sized hornet has the demeanour of a cartoonish supervillain, with its tiger-striped abdomen, large burnt orange-coloured face, teardrop eyes like a demonic Spider-Man and a pair of vicious mandibles. Despite a flurry of public concern to the contrary, murder hornets do not murder people; they kill honeybees. The hornets loiter outside bee hives and gruesomely decapitate emerging worker bees, dismembering the unfortunate victims and feeding the body parts to their larvae.
This carnage can go on until a hive is completely annihilated, the crime scene marked by thousands of scattered corpses. In some places, bees do fight back. Bees in the hornets’ native range have evolved a defensive tactic whereby a mob of bees will hurl themselves at a hornet that enters the hive, covering the invader in a ball-like mass and then vibrating their flight muscles to generate so much heat, up to 47C, that the hornet is roasted alive. Honeybees in Europe and North America, however, are unused to the hornet and are essentially helpless in face of the slaughter.
As its name suggests, the Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia) is native to the forests and mountain foothills of east and south-east Asia. It is commonly mixed up with its cousin, the Asian hornet (Vespa velutina), which has found its way to Europe and dismembered so many honeybees in the UK and France that bee-keepers have fretted over the viability of colonies already under stress from varroa mites and pesticides. Vespa mandarinia, meanwhile, has launched an assault on the western coast of North America, most likely hitching a ride over on cargo shipping.
Three confirmed specimens were discovered by surprised Canadian authorities on Vancouver Island in August 2019, then another hornet was found further south, close to the US border. By December, the species was spotted again, this time in the US, about 12 miles further south in the state of Washington. One beekeeper, stung a few times by irate hornets, set the entire colony on fire to destroy it. Another fresh hornet queen, found 15 miles south-west of the next nearest find, suggested either a repeated influx from overseas or a vigorous dispersal by the hornets.
By May 2020, with the hornet appearing to have gained a decent foothold on the west coast, the situation had attracted the attention of the New York Times, which ran a story headlined “‘Murder Hornets’ in the US: The Rush to Stop the Asian Giant Hornet.” Climate change could help turbocharge the pace of the hornet’s advance, similar to the astonishing travels of the Asian hornet in France, where it has moved at nearly 50 miles a year since arriving in the early 00s and is now found in the Alps.
It’s natural to get squeamish over the idea of a squadron of murderous hornets or the idea that those ever-durable cockroaches will march on despite the surging heat. The genuinely scary part of all this, though, is climate breakdown itself, an existential threat we have brought upon ourselves and all other living creatures that we still, despite decades of increasingly frantic warnings, move too sluggishly to avert.
But as we’ve reacted so grudgingly and ponderously to the menace of flooding, storms and droughts that can spark civil unrest and even wars, what hope is there that the plight of insects will spur us on? A more realistic goal is a concerted effort to restore complex, connected insect-friendly habitat and ensure that it remains largely toxin free, in the hope that this will at least parcel out a little time and space from the onslaught of the climate crisis. Although climate breakdown can often feel like a drawn-out, almost imperceptible rearrangement that far-off generations will have to deal with, it is also punctuated with lacerating reminders that it’s already well under way.
This is an edited extract from The Insect Crisis: the fall of the tiny empires that run the world, published on 20 January by Atlantic
#AceNewsReport – Dec.05: NASA has its eye on Asteroid 4660 Nereus because it’s well over 492 foot long and will come within 4.6 million miles (7.4 million km) of Earth. That puts it in the “potentially hazardous” category.
#AceDailyNews says that NASA says ‘concerning’ asteroid as big as a football field will break into Earth’s orbit in days: The huge 1082 foot (330 metre) space rock, which is as big as a football field, is heading our way and should skim past us on December 11, The Sun reports.
#AceNewsReport – Dec.04: During a total solar eclipse, the Sun, Moon, and Earth line up so that the Sun is blocked when viewed from within the Moon’s shadow on Earth.
#AceDailyNews NASA Report: On Dec. 4, 2021 Total Solar Eclipse The only place where this total solar eclipse can be seen is Antarctica.
A solar eclipse happens when the Moon moves between the Sun and Earth, casting a shadow on Earth, fully or partially blocking the Sun’s light in some areas. For a total solar eclipse to take place, the Sun, Moon, and Earth must be in a direct line. People located in the center of the Moon’s shadow when it hits Earth will see a total eclipse. The sky becomes very dark, as if it were dawn or dusk. Weather permitting, people in the path of a total solar eclipse can see the Sun’s corona, the outer atmosphere, which is otherwise usually obscured by the bright face of the Sun.
In some places, while viewers won’t get to see the total solar eclipse, they’ll instead experience a partial solar eclipse. This happens when the Sun, Moon, and Earth are not exactly lined up. The Sun will appear to have a dark shadow on only part of its surface. Viewers in parts of Saint Helena, Namibia, Lesotho, South Africa, South Georgia and Sandwich Islands, Crozet Islands, Falkland Islands, Chile, New Zealand, and Australia will see a partial solar eclipse on Dec. 4.
In many of these locations, the eclipse will occur before, during, and after sunrise or sunset. This means that viewers will need to get a clear view of the horizon during sunrise or sunset in order to see the eclipse.
To see more details about exactly where this eclipse will occur, as well as more in-depth scientific information, please visit this page.
Download this fact sheet to learn more about eclipses, eclipse safety, and fun eclipse activities:
Weather permitting, a view of the total solar eclipse from Union Glacier, Antarctica, will be streamed on YouTube and on nasa.gov/live. This stream is courtesy of Theo Boris and Christian Lockwood of the JM Pasachoff Antarctic Expedition.
The stream starts at 1:30 a.m. EST. Totality begins at 2:44 a.m. EST. The stream ends at 3:37 a.m. EST.
How to Safely Watch a Total or Partial Solar Eclipse It is never safe to look directly at the Sun, even if the Sun is partly or mostly obscured. When viewing a partial solar eclipse, you must wear solar viewing or eclipse glasses throughout the entire eclipse if you want to face the Sun. Solar viewing or eclipses glasses are NOT regular sunglasses; regular sunglasses are not safe for viewing the Sun.
If you are in the path of a total solar eclipse, you can take off your solar viewing or eclipse glasses only when the Moon is completely blocking the Sun. To learn when you can safely remove your glasses, see this page.
If you don’t have solar viewing or eclipse glasses, you can use an alternate indirect method, such as a pinhole projector. Pinhole projectors shouldn’t be used to look directly at the Sun, but instead to project sunlight onto a surface. Read a how-to guide for creating a pinhole viewer.
In October 2023, an annular solar eclipse will cross North America. Then, just six months later, in April 2024, a total solar eclipse will cross the continent. These events provide a unique opportunity for people in the United States to experience an eclipse.
Eclipse del 4 de diciembre de 2021
El sábado 4 de diciembre de 2021, algunos habitantes del hemisferio sur tendrán la oportunidad de experimentar un eclipse de Sol total o parcial.
Durante un eclipse solar total, el Sol, la Luna y la Tierra se alinean de modo que el Sol queda bloqueado cuando es visto desde el interior de la sombra de la Luna sobre la Tierra.
Un eclipse solar ocurre cuando la Luna se sitúa entre el Sol y la Tierra, proyectando una sombra sobre la Tierra y bloqueando total o parcialmente la luz del Sol en algunas zonas. Para que se produzca un eclipse solar total, el Sol, la Luna y la Tierra deben alineados. Los habitantes en la zona ubicada en el centro de la sombra de la Luna cuando esta cae sobre la Tierra verán un eclipse total. El cielo se volverá muy oscuro, como si fuera el amanecer o el anochecer. Si las condiciones meteorológicas lo permiten, las personas situadas en el recorrido de un eclipse solar total pueden ver la corona del Sol, o su atmósfera exterior, que de otro modo suele estar oscurecida por la cara brillante del Sol.
El único lugar donde se podrá ver este eclipse solar total es la Antártida.
En algunos lugares, aunque los observadores no verán el eclipse solar total, podrán experimentar un eclipse solar parcial. Esto ocurre cuando el Sol, la Luna y la Tierra no están exactamente alineados. El Sol parecerá tener una sombra oscura solo en una parte de su superficie. Los observadores en algunas zonas de Santa Elena, Namibia, Lesoto, Sudáfrica, Islas Georgias del Sur y Sandwich del Sur, islas Crozet, islas Malvinas, Chile, Nueva Zelanda y Australia verán un eclipse solar parcial el 4 de diciembre.
En muchos de estos lugares, el eclipse ocurrirá antes, durante y después del amanecer o el atardecer. Esto significa que los observadores deberán tener una vista despejada del horizonte durante el amanecer o el atardecer para poder ver el eclipse.
Para ver más detalles sobre dónde ocurrirá exactamente este eclipse, así como información científica más detallada (en inglés), visita esta página.
Descarga esta hoja informativa para obtener más información acerca de los eclipses, cómo protegerse durante un eclipse y actividades divertidas para el eclipse:
Transmisión en vivo
Si las condiciones meteorológicas lo permiten, se transmitirá una vista del eclipse solar total desde el glaciar Unión, en la Antártida, a través de YouTube y en nasa.gov/live. Esta transmisión es cortesía de Theo Boris y Christian Lockwood de la Expedición Antártica JM Pasachoff.
La transmisión comienza a la 1:30 a.m., hora del este de EE.UU. La totalidad comienza a las 2:44 a.m., hora del este de EE.UU. La transmisión termina a las 3:37 a.m., hora del este de EE.UU.
Cómo observar un eclipse solar total o parcial de forma segura
Nunca es seguro mirar directamente al Sol, incluso si el Sol está total o parcialmente oscurecido. Al observar un eclipse solar parcial, debes usar lentes solares o lentes para ver eclipses durante todo el eclipse si deseas ver el Sol de frente. Los lentes solares o para eclipses NO son gafas comunes; las gafas de sol comunes no son seguras para ver el Sol.
Si estás en el recorrido de un eclipse solar total, puedes quitarte los lentes solares o para eclipses solamente cuando la Luna esté bloqueando completamente al Sol. Para saber cuándo puedes quitarte los lentes de forma segura, visita esta página.
#AceNewsReport – Nov.28: The moon, Earth’s natural satellite, is riddled with craters from celestial objects crash landing on its surface …..
#AceDailyNews says a chip off the old block in this case the Moon maybe tailing the earth on its orbit around the Sun: When viewed in infrared, the asteroid had silicates and mineral characteristics like the moon, reports Jeff Hecht for Sky & Telescope. Researchers report the first detailed observations of a quasisatellite this month in Communications Earth & Environment.
Researchers suspect the fragment may have been debris from a cratering event on the lunar surface
The 165-foot-long asteroid, also known as 2016 HO3, was discovered in 2016 when researchers spotted it with the Pan-STARRS PS1 telescope at the Haleakalā Observatory in Hawai’i, reports Robin George Andrews for the New York Times. The instrument specializes in detecting asteroids. However, scientists were still unsure about Kamoʻoalewa’s origin.
Kamoʻoalewa, which means wobbling object in Hawaiian, is one of Earth’s five known quasisatellites. As quasisatellites orbit the sun, they stick close to Earth but never circle our planet as they weave in and out of its own path around the sun, reports Passant Rabie for Inverse. Kamoʻoalewa swings between 9 million miles—about 38 times further than the moon—and at most, 25 million miles away from Earth, per the New York Times. Not much is known about mysterious quasisatellites because of their small dimensions, distance, and ability to conceal themselves in the shadows. Kamoʻoalewa is the first quasisatellite to move within observing range of large telescopes, Sky and Telescope reports.
“An object in a quasisatellite orbit is interesting because it’s very difficult to get into this kind of orbit — it’s not the kind of orbit that an object from the asteroid belt could easily find itself caught in,” says Richard Binzel, a planetary scientist at MIT who was not involved in the study, to Maria Temming for Science News. Because its orbit is nearly identical to Earth’s, researchers suspect Kamoʻoalewa may have come from within the Earth-moon system, Binzel adds.https://www.youtube.com/embed/SbbAnVU4rmY
Researchers began to unravel Kamoʻoalewa’s origin in 2017 after it was illuminated by the sun. Astronomers gazed at the asteroid with two telescopes in Arizona: the Large Binocular Telescope and the Lowell Discovery Telescope. They used the brief period when the sun shined its light on the space rock to identify what its is made of. The research team collected additional data in 2019 and in the spring of 2021, Inverse reports.
Light reflected off the asteroid revealed that the rock consists of silicates and minerals. There is also evidence of space weathering events, such as micrometeorite bombardment and solar wind particles, per Inverse. Kamo’oalewa reflects sunlight at long and red wavelengths, similar to grains of silicate rock brought back to Earth from the Apollo missions, Science News reports, which supports the hypothesis that the quasisatellite may actually be a chunk of the moon. The object’s slow orbit and size are also consistent with the moon origin hypothesis, Sky and Telescope reports.
“To me, the leading hypothesis is that it’s an ejected fragment from the moon, from a cratering event,” Binzel comments to Science News.
More evidence is needed to confirm if Kamo’oalewa is a chip off the ol’ moon—and we may find out soon. The Chinese National Space Administration is already planning to collect and return samples from Kamo’oalewa on a mission set to launch in 2024 and arrive in 2025, per Sky and Telescope.
“There’s so many different groups of asteroids in the solar system,” first author of the study Benjamin Sharkey, a graduate student at the University of Arizona, tells Inverse. “What’s really cool about this one is the fact that this is such a rarely studied type of asteroid — quasi satellites.”
#AceDailyNews says that researching the formation of these multicellular organisms, Ratcliff used a strain of snowflake yeast with budding “daughters” that tend to cling to their parents, allowing the creation of small clumps of connected yeast cellsVNGNvving…..This is the coolest paper we’ve ever written,” evolutionary biologist and lead author Will Ratcliff of Georgia Tech told Michael Greshko of National Geographic– Ben Panko – Oct.1, 2021 5:47 p.m.In
Ratcliff has devoted the last decade working with yeast to better understand multicellular life. Some single-celled organisms such as yeast reproduce through the process of budding, in which a cell grows a small copy of itself protruding from its surface. That copy typically splits off from its parent cell when it reaches maturity, creating two independent, single-celled organisms.
Well, this has been a long-awaited day- the first paper on our multicellularity Long Term Evolution Experiment (LTEE) is on the BioRxiv. Ever wonder how simple multicellular organisms evolve to become larger and more complex over thousands of gens? 1/35https://t.co/0TahpNRuD7pic.twitter.com/doxsTdri6i— Will Ratcliff (@wc_ratcliff) August 5, 2021
While multicellular life comprises the most visible organisms on this planet today, it’s worth keeping in mind that for much of life’s existence on Earth, single-celled organisms were the only game in town, reports Veronique Greenwood of Quanta. It was only about 2 billion years after the first life on Earth is suspected to have formed that the first evidence of multicellular organisms exists in fossil records.
What motivated the evolution of single-celled organisms into multicellular organisms is still hotly debated, with some scientists suspecting that cells that clumped together could have better avoided being consumed by unicellular predators or more efficiently found resources.
In researching the formation of these multicellular organisms, Ratcliff used a strain of snowflake yeast with budding “daughters” that tend to cling to their parents, allowing the creation of small clumps of connected yeast cells. However, these clumps appeared to reach a maximum size when they grew to a few hundred cells in number.
To figure out why the yeast stopped growing, Ratcliff and his collaborators recalled that the early Earth had little oxygen compared to the modern day. After a few years of running experiments with several different mutations of yeast in varying levels of oxygen, the scientists noticed that the strains that consumed no oxygen started to grow into clumps large enough to be visible to the naked eye. It appeared that yeast clumps consuming oxygen would intentionally limit their size, likely so the cells inside the clump could have access to the rich energy source provided by the gas.
Remarkably, the large yeast structures become firm like gelatin as a result of their cellular structures becoming entangled with each other.
Inspired by a famous, decades-long experiment observing colonies of E. coli bacteria growing, the scientists behind the experiment hope to continue allowing the yeast in this study to evolve and observe how it changes.
“Not a lot of people want to do a 30-year-long evolutionary experiment,” Ratcliff told Greshko. “But I think the payoff here is huge.”
#AceNewsReport – Aug.18: As of early spring, wildfires have been surging through the taiga forest in Siberia. The region hardest hit was the Republic of Sakha in northeastern Russia. Also known as Yakutia, the area had 250 fires burning across 2,210 miles of land on July 5. By mid-July, residents of Yakutsk, the capitol of Sakha, were breathing in smoke from over 300 separate wildfires, as reported by the Siberian Times.
#AceDailyNews says that nearly 10-Million Acres of Land Are Burning in Siberia: Russia has seen an increasing severity of wildfires in recent years due to rising summer temperatures and a historic drought
Currently, almost 10 million acres are currently burning, with one fire alone scorching an area as wide as 2.5 million acres, reports Ann M. Simmons for the Wall Street Journal. The fires are burning so intensely that vast swaths of smoke blocked sunlight. For the first time in recorded history, smoke from the fires in Siberia have drifted thousands of miles away to reach the North Pole, reports Oliver Carroll for the Independent.
The Siberian wildfires are more substantial than this season’s blazes in Greece, Turkey, the United States, and Canada combined. Local residents from Yakutia have been under a state of emergency for weeks as smoke continued to smother cities, even those that are thousands of miles away, reports the Moscow Times.
Climate Change and Increasing Temperatures
In recent years, summer temperatures in Russia have seen record highs in the triple digits—despite being one of the coldest places on Earth. Many experts suspect it’s a result of human-driven climate change. The increasing hot weather melted permafrost and, as a result, fueled the numerous fires, report Daria Litvinova and Vladimir Isachenkov for the Associated Press. Per the Moscow Times, a warming climate combined with a 150-year drought and high winds created the best conditions to turn the taiga forest into fire fuel.
Temperatures over the year range between -44 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit in Yakutsk. This past summer, after arid and extremely hot weather patterns, the Sakha-Yakutia region reached 102 degrees Fahrenheit, setting records for several consecutive days, per the Associated Press.
The inferno’s intensity has closed airports, roads and prompted evacuations. The smoke’s cover is so vast that NASA estimated it measured 2,000 miles from east to west and 2,500 miles from north to south. The smokes’ haze was also spotted 1,200 miles away in Mongolia’s capitol as well as 1,864 miles to the North Pole, reports NPR’sSharon Pruitt-Young. Satellite images taken by NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite show the smokes’ reach in color detail.A thick blanket of smoke from forest fires ascends over Russia on August 6, 2021. The image was taken with NASA’s MODIS imager aboard the Aqua satellite.
Uncontrolled Forest Fires
In Russia, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology only keeps track of forest fires that threaten populated areas and omits any fires on grassland plains or farmland, per the Post. Authorities are not required to extinguish fires in regions far away from settlements, also called control zones, per the Moscow Times. Fires located far away from populations are allowed to burn if the damage is not considered worth the costs of containing the fire.
Locals and environmentalists have argued that the inaction allows authorities to downplay the urgency of the fires.
“For years, officials and opinion leaders have been saying that fires are normal, that the taiga is always burning, and there is no need to make an issue out of this. People are used to it,” says Alexei Yaroshenko, a forestry expert at Greenpeace Russia, an environmental nonprofit organization, to Robyn Dixon for the Washington Post.
News and media stations also rarely report on the events, so many fires go unreported, and locals often do not know the extent of some fires.
Yaroshenko told the Post that fires are left to burn if they are too dangerous to fight or because of lack of funding to support firefighters, so the majority of the forests to the far north are left unprotected.
Firefighters are battling the blazes with very little equipment, and planes are used only rarely. Reinforcements have been sent from other areas, but it is still not enough, so many locals have volunteered to help, reports Patrick Reevell for ABC News.
“I have lived 40 years, and I don’t remember such fires,” Afanasy Yefremov, a teacher from Yakutsk, tells ABC News. “Everywhere is burning, and there aren’t enough people.”
There are various other reasons as to why the fires exploded to this magnitude. Some fires are sparked naturally by lightning strikes, but officials estimate that over 70% are caused by human activates like smoking and campfires, the Associated Press reports. Forest authorities do control fire burns to clear areas for new plant growth and to reduce fire fuel, but they are often poorly managed and sometimes burn out of control.
Other reasons for the increased fires range from both illegal and legal logging and monitoring difficulties. Forests in Siberia are so extensive that spotting fires can be difficult, per the Associated Press.
What Happens Next?
Siberian wildfires naturally occur as part of an annual cycle, but climate officials see this year’s blazes as a sign of more enormous fire risks in the future. Especially with the amount of carbon released during these wildfires on an already warming planet, writes the Post. Last year when wildfires rolled through Siberia, an estimated 450 million tons of carbon dioxide was released into the atmosphere. This year, the combined wildfires released more than 505 million tons of CO2, and the fire season is still not over, Live Science’s Tom Metcalfe reports.
According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Russia can expect to face extreme weather events—like intense heatwaves, wildfires, and floods—as global warming intensifies, reports the Moscow Times. Russia, in general, is warming 2.5 times faster than the rest of the planet. This statistic is alarming because 65 percent of Russia is covered in permafrost, which holds large amounts of carbon and methane. As permafrost melts, stored greenhouse gases are released, which in turn warms the planet, leading to more permafrost melt, per the Moscow Times. Even if global carbon emissions fall drastically, a third of Siberian permafrost will melt by the end of the century, the Post reports.
#AceNewsReport – June.15: This companion is likely surrounded by a disk of material that cloaks the giant star, causing the blinking pattern witnessed by astronomers:
Giant blinking star spotted near center of Milky Way galaxy: Known as VVV-WIT-08, the star dimmed so much that it almost disappeared from view as astronomers observed it over time.
It’s not uncommon for a star’s brightness factor to change. Some stars pulsate, or one star within a stellar pair, called a binary, can be eclipsed by another. But it is incredibly rare for a star to grow faint and brighten again, or blink.
The center of our galaxy is a dense region that includes a supermassive black hole, superclusters of stars, streams of gas and magnetic filaments.
“It’s amazing that we just observed a dark, large and elongated object pass between us and the distant star, and we can only speculate what its origin is,” said Sergey Koposov, study coauthor and reader in observational astronomy at the University of Edinburgh, in a statement.
At first, the researchers speculated that an unknown dark object passed in front of the giant star, but that would only be possible if there were a large number of these objects in the galaxy, which is unlikely.
A study of other such unique star systems including giant stars that dim and brighten, or showcase this blinking pattern, helped the researchers determine that a new class of blinking giant stars may exist and need to be investigated. So far, it appears there are around six such systems.
The star system in this study was found using the VISTA Variables in the Via Lactea, or VVV survey. This project, utilizing the VISTA telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile, has observed 1 billion stars for almost a decade to see how they vary in brightness.
“Occasionally we find variable stars that don’t fit into any established category, which we call ‘what-is-this?’, or ‘WIT’ objects,” said Philip Lucas, VISTA project lead and professor at the University of Hertfordshire, in a statement. “We really don’t know how these blinking giants came to be. It’s exciting to see such discoveries from VVV after so many years planning and gathering the data.”
The star’s dimming was also observed using the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment, or OGLE, a sky survey run by the University of Warsaw. The data sets from both surveys showed that the star dimmed equally in both infrared and visible light.
Astronomers will continue to search for more of these giant blinking star systems to learn more about them.
“There are certainly more to be found, but the challenge now is in figuring out what the hidden companions are, and how they came to be surrounded by discs, despite orbiting so far from the giant star,” said Leigh Smith, discovery lead and research associate in the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy, in a statement. “In doing so, we might learn something new about how these kinds of systems evolve.”