Did you just uncover an interesting tidbit of knowledge related to current science? Tell us.
Courtesy NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute During the Apollo lunar missions in the late 60s and early 70s, many of the astronauts remarked at how small Earth seemed from the Moon. On this anniversary of his first steps on the lunar surface, I wonder what Neil Armstrong would have thought of this remarkable photograph taken yesterday by the Cassini spacecraft? In the center of a field of stars sits planet Earth and the Moon taken from more than 898,000,000 miles away!
Courtesy Engbretson, Eric / U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceI confess, muskies freak me out. They're scary looking. And now I read that a guy caught a 46-inch albino muskie. No way am I going in that lake!!! You can read about, and see photos of, this rare catch here.
Courtesy Public domain via WikipediaKapil Bhagat, a graphic artist living in Mumbai, India, created a series of clever, minimal graphics honoring historic scientists and their discoveries for India's National Science Day. I especially like the one for Einstein. National Science Day is celebrated in the India each year on February 28. Go here to check out some of his very cool artwork on Tumblr.
Courtesy Mark RyanThe skies over Minneapolis cleared yesterday just in time to see last night's supermoon. So-called supermoons occur when the Moon is at the closet point (perigee) in its elliptical orbit around Earth during a full moon phase. The Moon at that position can be up to 14% closer and 30% brighter than a full moon at apogee (at its farthest point in Earth orbit). In astronomy circles, supermoons are known as "perigee full moons", and aren't really as rare as recent media reports have been making last night's event out to be. A supermoon occurs about once every 14 full moons in a full moon cycle. The last supermoon was just last month (but this month's was the biggest of the year). The next supermoon will be in August of 2014, and one of the largest supermoons in a long time to come will take place in November of 2016. The shot seen was taken last night from the bridge on the west side of Lake of the Isles. The top of the Uptown Theater's marquee tower can be seen beneath the lunar disk.
Courtesy Mark RyanAccording to the World Wildlife Federation there are now literally more tigers in captivity in the United States than exist in the wild. That's about 5000 captive tigers versus 3200 wild ones. You might think, well sure, that's not surprising, there are a lot of zoos in America. But tigers held in zoos aren't even included in the estimate. The WWF is referring to tigers as exotic pets, held in American backyards, urban apartments, sideshows, truck stops and private breeding farms.
The "Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act HR 1998" is new legislation introduced on May 15, 2013. The bill would prohibit private possession and breeding of not only tigers but also lions, cheetahs, cougars, leopards and other large, dangerous cats that could threaten public safety. The bill would not affect public zoos or wildlife sanctuaries, and would allow current private owners to keep their cats provided they register them with the US Department of Agriculture.
I love these kinds of videos! These images and data gleaned in 2012 from satellites orbiting the Earth are both fantastic and beautiful. Enjoy!
NASA's Visualization Explorer page
The massive tornado that tore through Moore, Oklahoma today is estimated to have been between 1 to 2 miles wide (!) and stayed on the ground for about 40 minutes. As of this writing it's been designated as an EF4 category storm, but that could change. The damage is hugely extensive and the total loss of life and property won't be determined for a several days to come as workers dig through the rubble and debris. The above time-lapse video shows how the twister started fairly small then quickly grew into a super-destructive force of nature with wind speeds estimated - so far - to have been upwards to 200 miles per hour. The same region around Oklahoma City was ravaged by an EF5 tornado back in May of 1999. A local meteorologist called today's tornado "the worst tornado in the history of the world." The devastation seen in the aftermath of today's monster tornado lends some credence to that statement but time will tell.
Go to Smithsonian.com to put this deadly storm in perspective.