RAYS IN THE ATMOSPHERE: Spaceweather.com's high-altitude balloon
program has just released another six months of radiation data. They
show that cosmic rays in Earth's atmosphere are intensifying,
continuing a trend that began more than a year ago. Visit Spaceweather.com to learn why and to find out about the down-to-Earth consequences of cosmic radiation.
QUANTUM PHYSICS SATELLITE: Did you know? Earlier this month, China
launched a quantum physics satellite designed to beam un-hackable
messages to Earth and test exotic theories such as quantum
teleportation. An amazing photo featured on today's edition of
Spaceweather.com shows the quantum satellite at work. Check it out.
aches and pains? Critters in the Cretaceous would have been sympathetic.
A new study reveals that painful arthritis plagued a duck-billed
dinosaur. Scientists impressively diagnosed the animal’s condition
without a house call by examining its 70 million-year old bones.
The technology we use
for health diagnoses are becoming so sophisticated, some people are prompted to
bypass doctors and do it themselves. Meet a man who had his genome
sequenced and then had all 70 gigabytes delivered directly to him so that he
could gauge his genetic health.
who are trying to improve cognitive function using a battery and a few
wires. Find out the possible risks and benefits of DIY brain
Anne - Recent graduate, University of Manchester, studies
injuries and diseases in dinosaurs.
Zimmer - Science writer, author. National correspondent
for STAT, an online magazine that reports on the frontiers of science and
medicine. His weekly column “Matter,” appears in the New York Times.
Source - Space Weather News for Aug. 27, 2016: http://spaceweather.com
CONJUNCTION: This weekend, Jupiter and Venus are having a spectacular
conjunction in the sunset sky. Separated by only a fraction of a
degree, the two brightest planets almost look like they're going to
touch. This heavenly meeting is easy to see from the southern
hemisphere, but much more challenging from the north.
VS. TWILIGHT: A G1-class geomagnetic storm on Aug. 23-34 has sparked
late summer auroras around the Arctic Circle, mixing twilight-blue with
aurora-green. It's a palette of rare beauty, which you can only see at
this time of year. Visit Spaceweather.com for photos and updates about the ongoing storm.
SPACE WEATHER BALLOON OVER THE ANDES: Over the past three days,
SpaceWeather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have
launched multiple space weather balloons from sites spanning 3
countries, two continents, and more than 10,000 miles. It's a giant
radiation experiment to measure how well Earth's atmosphere protects us
from cosmic rays. A highlight so far comes from Chile, where a balloon
was launched near the South Atlantic Anomaly. Radiation measurements
have not yet been reduced, but photography of the space weather payload
soaring more than 120,000 feet over the Andes is spectacular.
ENCORE: You’re a private person. But as long as you’re
on-line and have skin and hair, you’re shedding little bits of data and DNA
everywhere you go. Find out how that personal information – whether or not it’s
used against you – is no longer solely your own. Are your private thoughts
A security expert shares stories of ingenious
computer hacking … a forensic scientist develops tools to create a mug shot
based on a snippet of DNA … and from the frontiers of neuroscience: mind reading
may no longer be the stuff of sketchy psychics.
LIGHTNING OVER CHINA: While photographing the Perseid meteor shower on
Aug. 13th, a sky watcher in China captured rare images of a "gigantic
jet" leaping out of a thundercloud. The luminous purple and red
structure stretched its tentacles almost to the edge of space before
vanishing in full view of dozens of onlookers.
When astronaut Gene
Cernan stepped off the moon in 1972, he didn’t think he’d be the last human
ever to touch its surface. But no one’s been back. Hear astronaut
Cernan’s reaction to being the last man on the moon, the reasons why President
Kennedy launched the Apollo program, and why Americans haven’t returned.
Now other countries –
and companies – are vying for a bigger piece of the space pie. Find out who –
or what – will be visiting and even profiting. Will the moon become an
important place to make money?
Plus, the moon landing
was a great step for “a man,” and “men not machines” make space history.
But what about women? More than a dozen were qualified for space flight
in the early 1960s. Hear from one of these original “Mercury 13,” and
find out why NASA grounded them.
Gene Cernan – Retired American naval officer, former NASA
Logsdon – Professor
emeritus, Space Policy Institute, George Washington University
ENCORE: There are
few enduring truths, but one is that no one gets out of life alive. What’s less
certain is what comes next. Does everything stop with death, or are we
transported to another plane of existence? First-hand accounts of people who
claim to have visited heaven are offered as proof of an afterlife. Now the
author of one bestseller admits that his story was fabricated.
We’ll look at the
genre of “heaven tourism” to see if it has anything to say about the possible
existence of the hereafter, and why the idea of an afterlife seriously
influences how we live our lives on Earth.
Also, a neurologist
describes what is going on in the brain during near-death and other out-of-body
It’s Skeptic Check,
our monthly look at critical thinking … but don’t take our word for it!
METEOR OUTBURST: Do you love the Perseid meteor shower? This year, you
will love it even more. Forecasters say the 2016 Perseids should be
twice as active as usual, filling the sky with 200+ meteors per hour on
peak nights between Aug. 11th and 13th. This is happening because
Earth is heading for an unusually rich stream of debris from parent
SUN IS SWALLOWING A COMET: One of the brightest sungrazing comets of
the last 20 years is plunging toward the sun and vaporizing furiously.
The icy visitor from the outer solar system may only have hours left to
AURORAS: As expected, a high-speed stream of solar wind (with a CME
embedded in the flow) hit Earth's magnetic field during the late hours
of Aug. 2nd. The resulting G1-class geomagnetic storm sparked bright
auroras across countries in Europe as well as several northern-tier US
states. The show might not be over. NOAA forecasters estimate a 55%
chance of similar storms on August 3rd as Earth continues to feel the
effects of the solar wind.
Source - Space Weather News for July 31, 2016: http://spaceweather.com GEOMAGNETIC
STORM WARNING: NOAA forecasters estimate a 65% chance of geomagnetic
storms on Aug. 2nd when a CME is expected to strike Earth's magnetic
field. A solar wind stream following close on the heels of the CME
could boost storm levels to G2 (moderately strong). High latitude sky
watchers should be alert for auroras.
The military is a
dangerous calling. But technology can help out, so researchers are
constantly trying to make soldiers safer. Writer Mary Roach investigates
how scientists studying so-called human factors are protecting troops from such
aggressive foes as heat, noise, and fatigue. She also learns how bad
odors were once considered a secret weapon.
And while soldiers
have long used camouflage to help them blend in, insects may be the
original masters of disguise. A discovery in fossilized amber shows that
a variety of bugs employed D.I.Y. camouflaging tricks 100 million years ago.
But where is the
defense race headed? The top-secret branch of the Pentagon whose job is
to make tomorrow happen today has some ideas. A reporter shares DARPA’s
plan for augmented super-soldiers.
Plus, do we always
need a technological boost to stay safe? Find out how your innate
chemical defense system protects you. It’s an adrenaline rush!
ROCKET DISINTEGRATES OVER THE USA: The body of an experimental Long
March 7 rocket (a type of rocket expected to play a key role in the
construction of a future Chinese space station) disintegrated in the
atmosphere above the western USA last night. The glowing trail was
spotted from Utah, Nevada, and much of California.
PERSEID METEOR SHOWER IS BEGINNING: Earth is entering the outskirts of
a broad stream of debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle, source of the annual
Perseid meteor shower. Forecasters don't expect the shower to peak
until Aug.11-13, but already NASA cameras are detecting Perseid
fireballs streaking across the night sky as the shower slowly
In space, no one can hear you
scream, but, using the right instruments, scientists can pick up all types of
cosmic vibrations – the sort we can turn into sound. After a decade of
listening, LIGO, a billion-dollar physics experiment, has detected gravitational
waves caused by the collision of massive black holes, a brief shaking of
spacetime that can be translated into a short squeal.
We listen to the chirp of black
holes crashing into each other and wonder: could the universe contain more than
individual sounds, but have actual musical structure?
A theoretical physicist and jazz
saxophonist updates the ancient philosophical concept of the Music of the
Spheres to probe the most vexing questions confronting modern cosmology.
Find out how the evolution of the universe resembles an improvisational
jazz piece, and the musical inspiration John Coltrane drew from Albert