Sunday, September 14, 2014

Big Picture Science for Monday 15 September 2014 - Skeptic Check: Is It True?

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Big Picture Science - Skeptic Check: Is It True?

We often hear fantastic scientific claims that would change everything if true. Such as the report that algae is growing on the outside of the International Space Station or that engineers have built a rocket that requires no propellant to accelerate. We examine news stories that seem too sensational to be valid, yet just might be – including whether a killer asteroid has Earth’s name on it.

Plus, a journalist investigates why people hold on to their beliefs even when the evidence is stacked hard against them – from skepticism about climate change to Holocaust denial. And, why professional skeptics are just as enamored with their beliefs as anyone else.

Guests:

Permalink: http://radio.seti.org/episodes/Skeptic_Check_Is_It_True_

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Jellyfish Flames on the ISS


Source - NASA Science News for September 11, 2014

Astronauts onboard the International Space Station report seeing flames that behave like jellyfish. Today's story features must-see video of the microgravity phenomenon.

The complete article can be found here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/10sep_jellyfish/

A companion video is posted below and can also be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bE13FREpFVo&feature=youtu.be



License: Standard YouTube License

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Earth-Directed X-flare


Source - Space Weather News for Sept. 10, 2014: http://spaceweather.com

X-FLARE:  Active sunspot AR2158 erupted on Sept. 10th, producing a strong X1.6-class solar flare.  Because the sunspot is directly facing Earth, this is a geoeffective event.  HF radio blackouts and other communications disturbances have already been observed on the day-lit side of Earth. 

Stay tuned to http://spaceweather.com for more information and updates about the possibility of an Earth-directed CME and geomagnetic storms in the days ahead.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Long-duration Solar Flare


Source - Space Weather News for Sept. 9, 2014: http://spaceweather.com

This morning (Sept. 9th at 00:30 UT) the magnetic canopy of sunspot AR2158 erupted, producing a long-duration solar flare and a bright CME.  The CME, which billowed away from the sun at nearly 1,000 km/s,  has an Earth-directed component.  A glancing blow is possible during the late hours of Sept. 11/early hours of Sept. 12.  High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras when the storm cloud arrives. 

Check http://spaceweather.com for more information and updates.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Big Picture Science for 09/08/14 - A Sudden Change in Planets

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Big Picture Science - A Sudden Change in Planets

A planet is a planet is a planet. Unless it’s Pluto – then it’s a dwarf planet. But even then it’s a planet, according to experts. So what was behind the unpopular re-classification of Pluto by astronomers, and were they justified?

As the New Horizons spacecraft closes in on this small body, one planetary scientist says that this dwarf planet could be more typical of planets than Mars, Mercury, and Saturn. And that our solar system has not 8 or even 9 planets, but 900.

Also, meet a type of planet that’s surprisingly commonplace, although we don’t have one in our solar system: super Earths. Could they harbor life?

And the DAWN mission continues its visit to the two most massive residents of the asteroid belt: Vesta and Ceres. Discover what these proto-planets may reveal to us about the early solar system.

Guests:
  • Alan Stern – Planetary scientist, Southwest Research Institute, Principal Investigator of the New Horizons mission
  • Marc RaymanDAWN Mission chief engineer and mission director
  • David Stevenson – Professor of planetary science at CalTech
  • Rebekah Dawson – Astronomer, postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley
  • David Eicher – Editor-in-chief, Astronomy Magazine

Permalink: http://radio.seti.org/episodes/A_Sudden_Change_in_Planets

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Rosetta Comet is Darker than Charcoal


Source - NASA Science News for September 5, 2014

A NASA instrument onboard Europe's Rosetta spacecraft has shown that the core of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is unusually dark--darker than charcoal-black--when viewed at ultraviolet wavelengths.

The complete article can be found here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/05sep_rosetta/

Mystery in the Ozone Layer


Source - NASA Science News for September 5, 2014

Almost 30 years after the Montreal Protocol put the brakes on ozone-depleting chemicals, one compound remains stubbornly and mysteriously abundant in the atmosphere. NASA scientists are tracking down the source and studying its effect on the ozone layer.

The complete article can be found here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/05sep_ozonelayer/

A companion video is posted below and can also be viewed at: http://youtu.be/rq9EAHyHtu8



License: Standard YouTube License

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Near-Earth asteroid flyby this weekend


Source - Space Weather News for Sept. 4, 2014: http://spaceweather.com

ASTEROID FLYBY:  On Sunday, Sept. 7th, a house-sized asteroid  named "2014 RC" will fly through the Earth-Moon system approximately 40,000 km from our planet. At closest approach,  the space rock will be almost inside the orbit of Earth's geosynchronous satellites.  Amateur astronomers, especially those in the southern hemisphere, may be able to observe the flyby.

Check http://spaceweather.com for more information.

AURORA WATCH: On Sept. 6th, a day before the asteroid flyby, a  CME is expected to deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field, setting the stage for a nice display of high-latitude auroras.  Geomagnetic storm alerts are available from http://spaceweathertext.com (text) and http://spaceweatherphone.com (voice).

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Big Picture Science for 09/01/14 - Welcome to our Labor-atory

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Big Picture Science - Welcome to our Labor-atory

ENCORE: Hi ho, hi ho … it’s out with work we go! As you relax this holiday weekend, step into our labor-atory and imagine a world with no work allowed. Soft robots help us with tasks at home and at the office, while driverless cars allow us to catch ZZZZs in the front seat.

Plus, the Internet of Everything interconnects all your devices, from your toaster to your roaster to … you. So there’s no need to ever get off the couch. But is a machine-ruled world a true utopia?

And, the invention that got us into our 24/7 rat race: Edison’s electric light.

Guests:

This encore podcast was first released on August 26, 2013

Permalink: http://radio.seti.org/episodes/Welcome_to_Our_Labor_atory

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.

Aurora season begins, NLC season ends


Source - Space Weather News for Aug. 31, 2014: http://spaceweather.com

Aurora season is now fully underway around the Arctic circle.  With the end of northern summer approaching, dancing green lights are beaming through the deepening polar twilight on a regular basis. Unlike lower latitudes, the Arctic does not require a full-fledged geomagnetic storm for aurora sightings. 

Check the latest images on the front page of http://spaceweather.com

Meanwhile, another polar phenomenon is on the wane: noctilucent clouds (NLCs).  Data from NASA's AIM spacecraft suggest that the northern summer season for NLCs ended on or about August 26th.  The "noctilucent daisy" shown on http://spaceweather.com will probably remain blank until November, when NLC activity shifts to the southern hemisphere.  NLCs are a summertime phenomenon and they switch back and forth between the hemispheres accordingly.  Stay tuned for more electric blue ... in a few months.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Evidence for Supernovas Near Earth


Source - NASA Science News for August 26, 2014

A NASA sounding rocket has confirmed that the solar system is inside an ancient supernova remnant. Life on Earth survived despite the nearby blasts.

The complete article can be found here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/26aug_localbubble/

A companion video is posted below and can also be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPxgBPKwYc0&feature=youtu.be



License: Standard YouTube License

Candidate Comet Landing Sites Identified


Source - NASA Science News for August 26, 2014

The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission has chosen five candidate landing sites on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for its Philae lander. Philae's descent to the comet's nucleus, scheduled for this November, will be the first such landing ever attempted.

The complete article can be found here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/26aug_rosetta/

Monday, August 25, 2014

New Horizons Crosses the Orbit of Neptune


Source - NASA Science News for August 25, 2014

NASA’s Pluto-bound New Horizons spacecraft has traversed the orbit of Neptune. This is its last major crossing en route to becoming the first probe to make a close encounter with distant Pluto on July 14, 2015.

The complete article can be found here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/25aug_newhorizons/

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Big Picture Science for 08/25/14 - ZZZZZs Please

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Big Picture Science - ZZZZZs Please

ENCORE: We’ve all hit the snooze button when the alarm goes off, but why do we crave sleep in the first place? We explore the evolutionary origins of sleep … the study of narcolepsy in dogs … and could novel drugs and technologies cut down on our need for those zzzzs.

Plus, ditch your dream journal: a brain scanner may let you record – and play back – your dreams.

And, branch out with the latest development in artificial light: bioluminescent trees. How gene tinkering may make your houseplants both grow and glow.

Guests:
  • Emmanuel Mignot – Professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and director of the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, Stanford University
  • Kyle Taylor – Molecular biologist at Glowing Plant
  • Jerry Siegel – Neuroscientist and professor of psychiatry, the University of California, Los Angeles
  • Jack Gallant – Professor of psychology and neuroscience, University of California, Berkeley

This encore podcast was first released on May 27, 2013

Permalink: http://radio.seti.org/episodes/ZZZZZs_Please

You can listen to this and other episodes at http://radio.seti.org/, and be sure to check out Blog Picture Science, the companion blog to the radio show.

Magnificent M-class Eruption on Aug. 24th


Source - Space Weather News for August 24, 2014: http://spaceweather.com

MAGNIFICENT SOLAR FLARE: A visually beautiful solar flare erupted from the east limb of the sun today.  Extreme UV radiation briefly ionized the upper layers of Earth's atmosphere; otherwise, our planet was not in the line of fire.  The responsible sunspot will turn toward Earth in the days ahead, boosting chances for geoeffective solar activity as the week unfolds. 

Visit http://spaceweather.com for photos and more information.