Research


First day of winter is upon us First day of winter is upon us
- December 23, 2018

The least amount of possible daylight hours occurs on the winter solstice. How fitting that on the longest night of the year, the moon will be shining brightly . While most people let the shortest day of the year pass unmarked, some choose to travel to Stonehenge to mark the occasion. A brilliant full moon rises at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2017. (more...)
Here’s why this year’s winter solstice is unique Here’s why this year’s winter solstice is unique
- December 22, 2018

Thus, while Santa Clarita may be experiencing the dead of winter in the northern hemisphere, it is the height of summer in the southern hemisphere. The word solstice is derived from the Latin "sol" meaning sun and "sistere" meaning to stand still. (more...)
Saturn's rings disappearing at 'worst-case-scenario' rate Saturn's rings disappearing at 'worst-case-scenario' rate
- December 22, 2018

It was so large and constant that some thought that the measurement must have somehow been an error. "We estimate that this "ring rain" drains the equivalent of an Olympic-sized swimming pool from Saturn's rings in half an hour". "From this alone, the entire ring system will be gone in 300 million years , but add to this the Cassini-spacecraft measured ring-material detected falling into Saturn's equator, and the rings have less than 100 million years to live", he added. (more...)
Residents reminded of changes to collections over Christmas period Residents reminded of changes to collections over Christmas period
- December 22, 2018

Customers are advised to check their bin hanger for details of any changes to their collection day. The average household throws away about 30% extra waste every Christmas so it's important that we make it easy to recycle as much of that as possible. (more...)
'Farout': Most Distant Known Object in Solar System Discovered 'Farout': Most Distant Known Object in Solar System Discovered
- December 21, 2018

The object was discovered in part of the team's ongoing search for distant objects in the solar system, including the aforementioned Planet Nine/X. Since the object is that large it should have enough gravity to attract dwarf planets . It will take more years for researchers to figure that one out. Farout resides about 3.5 times farther from the Sun than Pluto, the Solar System's biggest and best known dwarf body. (more...)
People gather at Newgrange to celebrate winter solstice People gather at Newgrange to celebrate winter solstice
- December 21, 2018

The Chinese refer to the Winter Solstice as Dongzhi Festival. It marks the transition period at which days begin getting longer in the Northern Hemisphere and shorter in the Southern Hemisphere, and ushers in the Winter season. So let's walk through what the winter solstice actually means. Wait. Why is the Earth tilted? Since the Earth is tilted on its axis, the arc the Sun moves through during the day will rise and fall across the year as the Earth's pole points either towards or ... (more...)
Mars InSight Deploys French-Made Quake Sensor On Red Planet Mars InSight Deploys French-Made Quake Sensor On Red Planet
- December 21, 2018

The phenomenon that has turned the crater into an all-year-round "winter wonderland", as the ESA put it on its website, is called "cold trap". It's a landmark with a 50-mile diameter and, as you can see, is filled to the brim with ice all year round. (more...)
Friday's winter solstice will feature full moon and meteor shower Friday's winter solstice will feature full moon and meteor shower
- December 21, 2018

For Jews, the winter solstice is called "Tekufat Tevet", which marks the start of winter. You can determine the exact time of the solstice according to your location, here. For those in the North of the Arctic Circle towards the North Pole, 21 December and the winter solstice marks results in a polar night as there will be no daylight on this day. (more...)
Japan to defy world by resuming commercial whale hunts Japan to defy world by resuming commercial whale hunts
- December 21, 2018

The country is withdrawing from IWC and, with that, it is expected to resume commercial whaling activities. However, another fisheries agency official said that Japan has no intention of withdrawing from the IWC. Kyodo quoted unnamed government sources as saying Japan would abandon its controversial, and expensive, expeditions to the Southern Ocean and instead permit whaling fleets to operate in its coastal waters and exclusive economic zone (EEZ). (more...)
NIC welcomes new waste strategy but says real action is now needed NIC welcomes new waste strategy but says real action is now needed
- December 20, 2018

Businesses and manufacturers in the United Kingdom will pay the full cost of recycling or disposing of their packaging waste, under a major strategy unveiled by the country's government today. The proposals only affect England as environmental policy is devolved to regional assemblies in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. And it will include a weekly collection of food waste from every household, as well as a potential return to free garden waste collections for households with gardens - ... (more...)
Meteor seen across the state on Wednesday night Meteor seen across the state on Wednesday night
- December 20, 2018

It's the fourth time the launch was postponed in the past two weeks. Astronomers say it wasn't a rocket launch but probably a meteor entering the atmosphere. "We will set up for a 24 hour recycle and the next launch attempt will be [Thursday] at 5:31p.m. PST", the aerospace company said in a tweet . ULA has carried out 27 launches for the National Reconnaissance Office over the past 12 years. (more...)
The Christmas Comet is coming our way! The Christmas Comet is coming our way!
- December 20, 2018

The " Christmas comet " appears in our sky once every five years as it orbits the sun. You will want binoculars or a telescope to see it effectively. Check TimeandDate.com to figure out the best time in your part of the world. Optimal viewing is out tonight with a clear sky, but there will be a bit of moon contamination as it is past half status. Comet 46P was originally chosen by the European Space Agency to land the Rosetta probe on its surface, but launch delays caused a new target to ... (more...)
Launch of next generation Global Positioning System satellite postponed for 1 day Launch of next generation Global Positioning System satellite postponed for 1 day
- December 19, 2018

On Tuesday, the Falcon 9's on-board computer encountered an error a few minutes before blast-off, and the launch was aborted. The satellite was meant to be deployed to medium Earth orbit - about 12,000 miles above sea level - approximately 1 hour and 56 minutes after liftoff. (more...)
Virgin Galactic flew an engagement ring to space Virgin Galactic flew an engagement ring to space
- December 19, 2018

The carrier airplane hauled the SpaceShipTwo passenger rocket plane to an altitude of about 45,000 feet (13.7 kms) and released it. Seconds later, SpaceShipTwo fired, catapulting it to more than 51 miles above Earth , high enough for the pilots to experience weightlessness and see the curvature of the planet. (more...)
SpaceX halts USA satellite launch for national security mission SpaceX halts USA satellite launch for national security mission
- December 19, 2018

That leaves the fourth, and final, launch attempt, that of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with the NROL-71 payload for the National Reconnaissance Office. At 8:53 a.m. EST (1353 GMT), even before going live with a planned webcast, Blue Origin stood down for the day. Update, Dec. 18 at 2:29 p.m. PT: Adds information about two more space mission delays. (more...)
Cosmic countdown: Days are numbered for Saturn’s iconic rings, says NASA Cosmic countdown: Days are numbered for Saturn’s iconic rings, says NASA
- December 19, 2018

The rings, the thinking at that point went, would likely be gone in a maximum of 300 million years or, in a worst case scenario, just 100 million. The current working theory is that Saturn acquired its handsome rings later in its lifespan of roughly four billion years and that its (relatively) new-found bling "only" showed up about 100 million years ago. (more...)
Ministers in final push to produce global climate deal rules Ministers in final push to produce global climate deal rules
- December 18, 2018

But sources close to the talks said differences remained stark on the issues of ambition, how the climate fight is funded and how best to measure and ensure the fairness of each nation's efforts to reduce emissions. Another contentious issue was the integrity of carbon markets, looking ahead to the day when the patchwork of distinct exchanges - in China, the Europe Union, parts of the United States - may be joined up in a global system. (more...)
Apple Engineer Makes HomePod Box 'Glitter Bomb' Trap to Fight Package Thieves Apple Engineer Makes HomePod Box 'Glitter Bomb' Trap to Fight Package Thieves
- December 18, 2018

In brief: Stealing an Amazon package off someone's front porch has become a popular crime, and while police are proactively trying to combat it, one YouTube channel is fighting back through the magic of glitter and fart spray. The thieves' reactions when they open the boxes are fantastic and mostly very amusing. Disguised as an Apple Home Pod package on the outside, the trap is much more high-tech on the inside. (more...)
Saturn’s iconic rings will disappear millions of years from now Saturn’s iconic rings will disappear millions of years from now
- December 18, 2018

NASA's estimates of the amount of material present in the rings, combined with data on how much of it is falling, points to the rings being completely gone within 300 million years. "If rings are temporary, perhaps we just missed out on seeing giant ring systems of Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune , which have only thin ringlets today", O'Donoghue said. (more...)
Farthest object in solar system 'Farout' discovered Farthest object in solar system 'Farout' discovered
- December 18, 2018

Farout is significantly farther than the now second most-distant object Eris , which is at about 96 AU. In terms of distance from Earth, it's about 120 astronomical units (AU) away. On November 10, 2018, images captured by astronomers Scott S. Sheppard, from the Carnegie Institution for Science, and David Tholen , from the University of Hawaii, using the Subaru Telescope atop Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano, were found to have an object that was moving against the backdrop of stars. (more...)
Deer Poacher Is Ordered to Repeatedly Watch Bambi in Missouri Jail Deer Poacher Is Ordered to Repeatedly Watch Bambi in Missouri Jail
- December 18, 2018

Lawrence County conservation agent Andy Barnes said the exact number of deer the suspects illegally hunted over the past several years was unknown, but felt comfortable saying that the number was upward of several hundred. An outlaw hunter will spend not only the next year or so behind bars , but also must face regular screenings of the Disney film Bambi . Toward the end of the film, hunters shoot Bambi as he flees, and he is later awakened by his father to a forest that is ablaze. (more...)
Large achievement of Virgin Galactic, straight from space in America Large achievement of Virgin Galactic, straight from space in America
- December 18, 2018

Australia's most prominent astronaut, Andy Thomas, has criticised Sir Richard Branson's plan to send paying travellers into space, describing it as, "go nowhere, dead-endtechnology". After that, it appears that the experience will be available to the public - for a hefty price of course. When Branson licensed the SpaceShipOne technology, he envisioned a fleet carrying paying passengers by 2007, launching them from a facility in southern New Mexico called Spaceport America . (more...)
New Zealand's Rocket Lab shoots 13 tiny cube satellites into orbit New Zealand's Rocket Lab shoots 13 tiny cube satellites into orbit
- December 17, 2018

By 56 minutes into the mission, the 13 satellites on board were individually deployed to their precise, designated orbits, a Rocket Lab statement said on Monday. Rocket Lab's ramp-up is going well so far. The mission is the small satellite launch company's second commercial flight and the first in partnership with USA space agency NASA. (more...)
New Virgin Galactic test flight could open door to future space tourism New Virgin Galactic test flight could open door to future space tourism
- December 17, 2018

The development also likely comes as welcome news to the prospective space tourists who have already invested heavily in tickets aboard the first official flights, whenever they get off the ground. At the start of the test flight, a special jet carrying the Virgin Space Ship Unity flew to an altitude near 13,100m before releasing the craft. After taking off at 7:11 am this morning and detaching from WhiteKnightTwo, its custom airliner mothership, pilots Mark "Forger" Stucky and Rick "CJ" ... (more...)
How to see the Christmas comet in the sky tonight How to see the Christmas comet in the sky tonight
- December 17, 2018

But while in some dark rural areas it will be visible to the naked eye, astronomers are recommending people use binoculars or telescopes to get the best view of it. "We want to give the general public a close up look at this comet in powerful telescopes". A couple of days later, it will have moved slightly to the northeast, but if you've already observed it, it should be much easier for you to find it again. (more...)
The brightest comet of the year will be visible this Sunday The brightest comet of the year will be visible this Sunday
- December 16, 2018

The campaign, led by the University of Maryland, has worldwide participation across the professional and amateur astronomical communities. The best time to view the comet and meteor shower is about 1 a.m. You'll need to look closely, but this is rare opportunity so it's worth trying to spot it! However, Rosetta's target was changed to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko , which the probe studied for roughly two years, between 2014 and 2016. (more...)
EPA announces new definition of waters protected under Clean Water Act EPA announces new definition of waters protected under Clean Water Act
- December 16, 2018

He added that the Obama-era definition of federal waters was "about power over farmers, developers, landowners". In the past two weeks, U.S. District Courts in SC and Washington issued decisions that dealt additional blows to the Trump Administration's efforts to unravel the 2015 Obama-era " waters of the United States " rule ("Obama Rule"). (more...)
View Passing Comet 46P/Wirtanen This Sunday View Passing Comet 46P/Wirtanen This Sunday
- December 16, 2018

This 120 second image of the comet was taken December 2 by an iTelescope 50 mm refractor located at an observatory near Mayhill, New Mexico. Not only do they occasionally grace our skies and put on a attractive display (I vividly remember as a child seeing Comet Khohoutek back in 1973), but they are also left-over remnants from the creation of the solar system - primordial chunks of dirt and ice left untouched and floating around in space for the past 4.6 billion years. (more...)
Nasa's Voyager 2 reaches interstellar space Nasa's Voyager 2 reaches interstellar space
- December 15, 2018

The same instrument on Voyager 1 stopped working in 1980. While both Voyager probes have entered interstellar space , they have not yet left the solar system , and are not expected to do so in the near future. Though the probe indicates that good science data was collected during the first solar encounter, and the data itself began downlinking to Earth on December 7. (more...)
Geminid Meteor Shower 2018: When and How to Watch Geminid Meteor Shower 2018: When and How to Watch
- December 15, 2018

Radiant and travelling about 35 kmph, the Geminid Meteor Shower's most radiant point tends to be around 2 am. But the morning isn't your only chance. Phaethon's nature is debated. The rocks in space that are about to collide with Earth's atmosphere are called meteoroids and the ones that do break through Earth's atmosphere are called meteors. (more...)