Wednesday, August 16, 2017

New Predictions for the Solar Eclipse


Source - Space Weather News for August 16, 2017: http://spaceweather.com

NEW PREDICTIONS FOR THE SOLAR ECLIPSE: Next Monday, Aug. 21st, the Moon will pass directly in front of the sun producing an historic solar eclipse over the USA.  Millions of people inside the path of totality will catch a glimpse of the sun's gossamer outer atmosphere, the corona. In centuries past, the appearance of the corona was unpredictable from one eclipse to the next. But now researchers have developed supercomputer codes to forecast its shape.

New predictions for the "Great American Solar Eclipse" are highlighted on today's edition of Spaceweather.com

 













Above: NASA-supported researchers at Predictive Science Inc. have just issued a physics-based model of the sun's corona as it will appear during the Great American Solar Eclipse. [more

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Big Picture Science for August 14, 2017 - On Thin Ice













Big Picture Science - On Thin Ice

Water is essential for life – that we know.  But the honeycomb lattice that forms when you chill it to zero degrees Celsius is also inexorably intertwined with life.

Ice is more than a repository for water that would otherwise raise sea levels.  It’s part of Earth’s cooling system, a barrier preventing decaying organic matter from releasing methane gas, and a vault entombing ancient bacteria and other microbes.

From the Arctic to the Antarctic, global ice is disappearing.  Find out what’s at stake as atmospheric CO2 threatens frozen H2O.

Guests:
  • Peter Wadhams - Emeritus Professor of Ocean Physics at Cambridge University in the U.K. and the author of A Farewell to Ice: A Report from the Arctic
  • Eric Rignot - Earth systems scientist, University of California, Irving, senior research scientist, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • ├ůsmund Asdal - Biologist, Nordic Genetic Resource Center, coordinator for operations and management of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Svalbard, Norway
  • John Priscu - Polar biologist, Montana State University

Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/thin-ice

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

Friday, August 11, 2017

Watch Out for Perseid Fireballs this Weekend


Source - Space Weather News for August 11, 2017: http://spaceweather.com

PERSEID FIREBALLS: The Perseid meteor shower, which peaks this weekend (Aug. 12-13), produces more fireballs than any other known annual meteor shower. (Fireballs are meteors brighter than Jupiter or Venus.) This characteristic of the Perseids is important because in 2017 the shower peaks under the light of a bright gibbous Moon. Perseid fireballs should be visible in spite of lunar interference, producing a pleasing display for anyone outdoors before sunrise on Saturday and Sunday.

Visit Spaceweather.com for observing tips.

Perseid Fireball - Taken by Piotr Majewski on August 12, 2016 @ Grodztwo, Poland 












 

Monday, August 07, 2017

Big Picture Science for August 07, 2017 - Skeptic Check: Busting Myths with Adam Savage













Big Picture Science - Skeptic Check: Busting Myths with Adam Savage

ENCORE: Can an opera singer’s voice really shatter glass?  Can you give your car a rocket-assisted boost, and survive the test drive?  How do you protect yourself from a shark attack?  Those are among the many intriguing questions and urban legends tested by the MythBusters team in front of the camera.

Now that the series has ended after a 16 year run, co-host Adam Savage tells us how it all began, how he and Jamie Hyneman walked the line between science and entertainment, and why he considers himself a scientist but not a “skeptic.”

Also, he reveals the location of the episode, “Duct Tape Island.”

Guests:
  • Adam Savage - Former co-host and executive producer of MythBusters

This encore podcast was first released on 5/23/2016

Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/skeptic-check-busting-myths-adam-savage

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

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Big Picture Science for July 31, 2017 - Caught in a Traps













Big Picture Science - Caught in a Traps

ENCORE: “Locked and loaded” is how one scientist recently described the San Andreas fault.  Find out when this famous west-coast rift might cause “the big one;” also, the state of early earthquake warning systems.
Plus, another sign of our planet’s unceasing turmoil: volcanos!  Could the eruption that produced the Deccan Traps, and not a rock from space, have been the nail in the coffin for the dinosaurs?  One seismologist shares new evidence about some suspicious timing.

And, the man who was the first to take the temperature of lava, established the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, and essentially pioneered the field of volcanology a century ago is nearly lost to history.  A scientist rescues fellow volcanologist Thomas Jagger from obscurity. 
 
Guests:

This encore podcast was first released on 5/30/2016

Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/caught-traps

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

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Space Lightning over Hawaii


Source - Space Weather News for July 26, 2017: http://spaceweather.com

SPACE LIGHTNING OVER HAWAII: This week, automated cameras atop a dormant volcano in Hawaii captured rare footage of Gigantic Jets leaping up from a powerful thunderstorm. The strange-looking bolts reached toward the edge of space, delivering a surge of electricity to the top of Earth's atmosphere. These unusual forms of "space lightning" could become more common in the years ahead as declining solar activity allows more ionizing cosmic rays to penetrate Earth's atmosphere. Learn more on today's edition of Spaceweather.com.


Gigantic Jet Lightning Near Hawaii























Taken by Frankie Lucena on July 24, 2017 @ Mauna Kea Observator
Image Source URL -  http://spaceweathergallery.com/indiv_upload.php?upload_id=137164

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Big Picture Science for July 24, 2017 - What Goes Around












Big Picture Science - What Goes Around

It’s not just tin cans and newspapers.  One man says that, from a technical standpoint, everything can be recycled – cigarette butts, yoga mats, dirty diapers.  Even radioactive waste.  You name it, we can recycle it.  But we choose not to.  Find out why we don’t, and how we could do more.

Plus, a solar-powered device that pulls water from the air – even desert air.

And, something upon which life depends that seems dirt cheap, but can’t be replenished: soil.  What happens when we pave over this living resource?

Guests:
  • Tom Szaky - CEO and founder of Terracycle.
  • Eugene Kapustin - Graduate student, Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley.
  • Etienne Schneider - Deputy Prime Minister and Economic Minister, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
  • Pete Worden - Chairman of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation and former Director, NASA Ames Research Center.
  • Paul Bogard - Assistant professor of English, James Madison University, author of, “The Ground Beneath Us: From the Oldest Cities to the Last Wilderness, What Dirt Tells Us About Who We Are.”  His op-ed about lawns, “Beyond Blades of Grass,” appeared in the June 16, 2017 New York Times.

Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/what-goes-around

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

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Big Picture Science for July 17, 2017 - Eclipsing All Other Shows












Big Picture Science - Eclipsing All Other Shows

They say that the experience of watching a total eclipse is so profound, you’re not the same afterward.  If life-changing events are your thing and you’re in the lower 48 states on August 21st, let us help you make the most of viewing the Great American Solar Eclipse.

Learn the basics of where to be and what to bring, even on short notice. No eclipse glasses?  Find out why a kitchen colander is an excellent Plan B.

Also, the strange behavior of animals and private jet pilots during an eclipse.  The latter is making the FAA sweat.

Plus, how 1878 eclipse fever inspired Thomas Edison and astronomer Maria Mitchell, and what was at stake for them scientifically.  And today, with astronauts able to view the Sun from space, what new science can we still learn by eclipse expeditions on Earth?

And, NASA turns up the heat on solar studies with a probe to within a hair’s breadth of the Sun.

Guests:

Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/eclipsing-all-other-shows

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

CME Strike Sparks Geomagnetic Storms


Source - Space Weather News for July 16, 2017: http://spaceweather.com

CME STRIKE SPARKS GEOMAGNETIC STORMS: Geomagnetic storms are underway on July 16th following a CME strike at 0545 UT. Auroras have been sighted in New Zealand as well as US states such as Washington and Wyoming. G1-class storms happening now could intensity to G2-class in the hours ahead as Earth moves into the CME's magnetized wake.

Visit Spaceweather.com for images and updates



















Above: Auroras over Hoopers Inlet, Otago, New Zealand, on July 16, 2017. 
Photo credit: Ian Griffin

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Solar Activity Intensifies as Huge Sunspot Grows


Source - Space Weather News for July 9, 2017: http://spaceweather.com

SOLAR ACTIVITY INTENSIFIES: Sunspot AR2665, which emerged just as few days ago, has mushroomed into a behemoth nearly as wide as the planet Jupiter. On July 9th the fast-growing sunspot produced an M-class solar flare and a short-lived shortwave radio blackout over east Asia and Australia. Stronger flares and Earth-directed CMEs may be in the offing as AR2665 turns toward our planet in the days ahead.

Visit Spaceweather.com for images, movies and updates.

Big Picture Science for July 10, 2017 - Frogs' Pants












Big Picture Science - Frogs' Pants

It’s one of the most bizarre biological experiments ever. In the 18th century, a scientist fitted a pair of tailor-made briefs on a male frog to determine the animal’s contribution to reproduction.  The process of gestation was a mystery and scientists had some odd-ball theories.

Today, a 5th grader can tell you how babies are made, but we still don’t know exactly what life is.  In our quest to understand, we’re still at the frogs’ pants stage.

Find out why conception took centuries to figure out.  Also, why the 1970s Viking experiments, specifically designed to detect life on Mars, couldn’t give us a definitive answer.  Plus, can knowing where life isn’t help define what it is?  Take a tour of the world’s barren places.

Guests:

Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/frogs-pants

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

Friday, July 07, 2017

A Big Sunspot is Turning Toward Earth


Source - Space Weather News for July 7, 2017: http://spaceweather.com

BIG SUNSPOT TURNS TOWARD EARTH: A new and large sunspot is rapidly growing on the solar disk, temporarily arresting the sun's plunge into Solar Minimum. Stretching more than 70,000 km from end to end, the active region numbered AR2665 has more than doubled in size in 24 hours. This makes it an easy target for backyard solar telescopes. So far the growing sunspot has not produced any strong flares, but this could change if its rapid growth continues apace and destabilizes the sunspot's magnetic field.

Visit Spaceweather.com for movies and updates.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Big Picture Science for July 03, 2017 - Skeptic Check: Rational Lampoon












Big Picture Science - Skeptic Check: Rational Lampoon

Two heads may be better than one.  But what about three or more?  A new study shows that chimpanzees excel at complex tasks when they work in groups, and their accumulated knowledge can even be passed from one generation to the next.

But group-think also can be maladaptive.  When humans rely on knowledge that they assume other people possess, they can become less than rational.

Find out why one cognitive scientist says that individual thinking is a myth.  Most of your decisions are made in groups, and most derive from emotion, not rationality.

Also, why we know far less than we think we do.  For example, most people will say they understand how an everyday object like a zipper works, but draw a blank when asked to explain it.

Plus, why we have a biological drive to categorize people as “us” or “them,” and how we can override it.

Guests:

Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/skeptic-check-rational-lampoon

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

Thursday, June 29, 2017

NASA Creates Artificial 'Space Clouds'


Source - Space Weather News for June 29, 2017: http://spaceweather.com

NASA CREATES ARTIFICIAL 'SPACE CLOUDS': A rocket launched before sunrise on June 29th from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility produced an amazing display of colorful 'space clouds' over the east coast of the USA.  Onlookers described their "erupting colors" as "vivid", "spellbinding", and "brilliantly apparent" as the vaporous forms spread across the early morning sky. To learn more about the clouds, and why NASA made them, visit today's edition of Spaceweather.com

THE SOLAR ECLIPSE BALLOON NETWORK: The Great American Solar Eclipse is less than two months away. Where will you be on Aug. 21, 2017, when the Moon completely covers the sun? Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus plan to observe the eclipse from the stratosphere, photographing the Moon's shadow and collecting unique cosmic ray data high above any obscuring clouds.  We'll do it using space weather balloons launched from multiple sites along the path of totality. Learn more about how you can support or even join the Solar Eclipse Balloon Network.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Skeptic Check: How Low Can You Go?













Big Picture Science - Skeptic Check: How Low Can You Go?

ENCORE
: Baby, it’s cold outside… but you still might want to be there.  Some people claim that chilly temperatures are good for your health, and proponents of cryotherapy suggest you have a blast – of sub-zero air – to stave off wrinkles and perhaps halt aging altogether.

Meanwhile the field of cryonics offers the ultimate benefit by suggesting that you put future plans – and your body – on ice when you die.  That way you might be revived when the technology to do so is developed.

So, will a chill wind blow you some good?  Possibly, as scientists are discovering that the body can endure colder temperatures than previously thought.  We examine the science of extreme cold and claims of its salubrious benefits.

It’s our monthly look at critical thinking, Skeptic Check … but don’t take our word for it!

Guests:

This encore podcast was first released on 03/28/2017

Download podcast at - http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/skeptic-check-how-low-can-you-go

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