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Courtesy NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using Suomi NPP VIIRS and DMSP OLS data provided courtesy of Chris Elvidge (NOAA National Geophysical Data Center)From NASA's Image of the Day:
Thanksgiving is a time for family, for feasting, and for gratitude in the United States. It is also a time when the nation’s transportation network is clogged with travelers. According to the American Automobile Association, an estimated 43.4 million Americans will travel 50 miles (80 kilometers) or more during Thanksgiving week, with the average round trip being 600 miles (1,000 kilometers). More than 90 percent of them will use cars or trucks, while the rest will ride planes or trains.
The United States has more roads—4.1 million miles (6.6 million kilometers)—than any other nation in the world, and roughly 40 percent more than second-ranked India. About 47,000 of those U.S. miles are part of the Interstate Highway System, established by President Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s. The country also has 127,000 miles (204,000 kilometers) of railroad tracks and about 25,000 miles (40,000 kilometers) of navigable rivers and canals (not including the Great Lakes).
The imprint of that transportation web becomes easier to see at night. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP (National Polar-orbiting Partnership) satellite acquired two nighttime images early on Oct. 1, 2013, for this natural-light, mosaic view of the continental United States. The VIIRS instrument uses a “day-night band” of wavelengths that is sensitive to low light levels and man made light sources. The images were collected just three days before the new moon, so reflected light from space and the atmosphere was relatively low. It was also a rare night when most of the nation was cloud-free.
Courtesy NASAA massive tropical cyclone has been battering the Philippines since yesterday. Known as Typhoon Haiyan (Cyclone Yolanda in the Philippines) the super storm is said to be about 3.5 times larger than Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans in 2005, with sustained wind speeds of 195 miles per hour and gusts up to 225 mph. That's one powerful typhoon! It reminds me of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. Reports on the number of deaths attributed to Typhoon Haiyan have been sketchy at best due to loss of communications in the area. Check out some of the amazing images at EarthSky.org.
This animated piece is a few years old but worth viewing. Here's more info from the Youtube page:
"Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto has created a beautiful, undeniably scary time-lapse map of the 2053 nuclear explosions which have taken place between 1945 and 1998, beginning with the Manhattan Project's "Trinity" test near Los Alamos and concluding with Pakistan's nuclear tests in May of 1998. This leaves out North Korea's two alleged nuclear tests in this past decade (the legitimacy of both of which is not 100% clear).
Each nation gets a blip and a flashing dot on the map whenever they detonate a nuclear weapon, with a running tally kept on the top and bottom bars of the screen. Hashimoto, who began the project in 2003, says that he created it with the goal of showing"the fear and folly of nuclear weapons." It starts really slow — if you want to see real action, skip ahead to 1962 or so — but the buildup becomes overwhelming.“
Courtesy Charlie Harry FrancisThanks to a Chinese scientist's work at synthesizing the luminescence protein from jellyfish, a UK food creator, named Charlie Harry Francis has developed an ice cream that glows in the dark. Francis markets home-made ice cream confections (and contraptions) under the aptly named Lick Me I'm Delicious. The very act of licking the ice cream agitates "calcium activated proteins" within the concoction that causes it to light up in a luminescent sort of way. But before you dash out to your favorite ice cream parlor, keep in mind that one scoop of the glorious glowing glop will set you back about $220!
Fascinating video showing magnetic solar filament bursting from the Sun's surface and its rippling after-effects. Here's more about it from NASA:
"A magnetic filament of solar material erupted on the sun in late September, breaking the quiet conditions in a spectacular fashion. The 200,000 mile long filament ripped through the sun's atmosphere, the corona, leaving behind what looks like a canyon of fire. The glowing canyon traces the channel where magnetic fields held the filament aloft before the explosion. Visualizers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. combined two days of satellite data to create a short movie of this gigantic event on the sun.
In reality, the sun is not made of fire, but of something called plasma: particles so hot that their electrons have boiled off, creating a charged gas that is interwoven with magnetic fields.
These images were captured on Sept. 29-30, 2013, by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, which constantly observes the sun in a variety of wavelengths.
Different wavelengths help capture different aspect of events in the corona. The red images shown in the movie help highlight plasma at temperatures of 90,000° F and are good for observing filaments as they form and erupt. The yellow images, showing temperatures at 1,000,000° F, are useful for observing material coursing along the sun's magnetic field lines, seen in the movie as an arcade of loops across the area of the eruption. The browner images at the beginning of the movie show material at temperatures of 1,800,000° F, and it is here where the canyon of fire imagery is most obvious. By comparing this with the other colors, one sees that the two swirling ribbons moving farther away from each other are, in fact, the footprints of the giant magnetic field loops, which are growing and expanding as the filament pulls them upward.“
Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSSAfter last week's disappointing news that no signs of current life have been found living on Mars, NASA scientists have just confirmed some pretty exciting news: the Mars rover, Curiosity, has found water on the Red Planet. Analysis of dirt and fine soil scooped up from the Rocknest site on the surface of Mars has revealed that it contains water. This is big news. Read here what NASA has to say about it.
Courtesy WSIA camera trap in Russia was set up to capture the movements of tigers. What researchers found one day was much different: three images showing a golden eagle taking down a deer running in the snow. You can read all about it here along with seeing enlarged versions of these fairly graphic images. The sika deer being attacked is estimated to be around 90 to 100 pounds. The linked story also goes into good detail about the grisly events that transpired at the scene (also captured on camera) after the eagle left.
It's lunchtime. I'm hungry. So is this giant centipede. This video shows it searching for a suitable meal. Bon appetit!
After 19 hours of work yesterday, the crippled cruise ship Costa Concordia was successfully tipped upright. You can read more about the science involved in the parbuckling process used to make it happen right here.