Monday, January 26, 2015

Aurora Surprise Prompts Rocket Launch


Source - Space Weather News for Jan. 26, 2014: http://spaceweather.com

AURORA ROCKETS: A geomagnetic storm erupted during the early hours of Jan. 26th, sparking a surprise display of bright auroras around the Arctic Circle. Scientists took the opportunity to launch four sounding rockets from Alaska's Poker Flat Research Range to study the effect of solar storms on the upper atmosphere.  Pictures of the colorful launch are available on today's edition of http://spaceweather.com.

DON'T FORGET THE ASTEROID FLYBY:  A mountain-sized space rock is approaching Earth for a harmless but eye-catching close encounter on Monday night, Jan. 26-27. The incoming asteroid, named 2004 BL86, will be just 740,000 miles away (3.1 times farther from us than the Moon) and visible in ordinary binoculars.   More information and observing tips are available on http://spaceweather.com.

GEOMAGNETIC STORM ALERTS:  Did you miss last night's unexpected geomagnetic storm? Subscribers to our Space Weather Alert Service were notified while the event was underway.  If you would like to join the group of people who never miss a geomagnetic storm, you may sign up for the alerts at http://spaceweathertext.com (text) or http://spaceweatherphone.com (voice).

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Big Picture Science for Monday 25 January 2015 - Skeptic Check: Mummy Dearest

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Big Picture Science - Skeptic Check: Mummy Dearest

ENCORE: Shh …mummy’s the word! We don’t want to provoke the curse of King Tut. Except that there are many curses associated with this fossilized pharaoh – from evil spirits to alien malevolence. So it’s hard to know which one we’d face.

We’ll unravel secrets about the famous young pharaoh, including the bizarre events that transpired after the discovery of his tomb in the Valley of the Kings, and learn what modern imaging reveals about life 3,000 years ago.

Plus, we dispel myths about how to make a mummy, while learning the origin of that notorious mummy curse. Also, discover why superstitions have survival value.

Guests:

This encore podcast was first released on June 24, 2013

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

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.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bright Asteroid Flyby


Source - Space Weather News for Jan. 21, 2015: http://spaceweather.com

Early next week, a large asteroid named 2004 BL86 will fly past the Earth-Moon system.  There's no danger of a collision, but NASA radars will be monitoring the mountain-sized space rock as it passes by only 745,000 miles away. Amateur astronomers can watch the flyby, too. Glowing like a 9th magnitude star, 2004 BL86 will be an easy target for backyard telescopes on the night of closest approach, Jan. 26-27

 Check http://spaceweather.com for observing tips and more information.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Big Picture Science for Monday 19 January 2015 - Big Questions Somewhat Answered

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Big Picture Science - Big Questions Somewhat Answered

Here are questions that give a cosmologist – and maybe even you – insomnia: What happened after the Big Bang? What is dark matter? Will dark energy tear the universe apart?

Let us help you catch those zzzzs. We’re going to provide answers to the biggest cosmic puzzlers of our time. Somewhat. Each question is the focus of new experiments that are either underway or in the queue.

Hear the latest results in the search for gravitational waves that would be evidence for cosmic inflation, as well as the hunt for dark matter and dark energy. And because these questions are bigger than big, we’ve enlisted cosmologist Sean Carroll as our guide to what these experiments might reveal and what it all means.

Guests:
  • Sean Carroll – Cosmologist, California Institute of Technology
  • Jamie Bock – Experimental cosmologist at the California Institute of Technology and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a member of the BICEP team
  • Brendan Crill – Cosmologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and member of the Planck collaboration
  • Jeff Filippini – Post-doctoral Fellow, California Institute of Technology, assistant professor of physics at the University of Illinois and member of the Spider team
  • Neil Gehrels – Astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, project scientist for WFIRST

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

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.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Big Picture Science for Monday 12 January 2015 - How to Talk to Aliens

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Big Picture Science - How to Talk to Aliens

“Dear E.T. …” So far, so good. But now what? Writing is never easy, but what if your task was to craft a message to aliens living elsewhere in the universe, and your prose would represent all humankind? Got writer’s block yet?

What to say to the aliens was the focus of a recent conference in which participants shifted their attentions away from listening for extraterrestrial signals to transmitting some. In this show, we report on the “Communicating Across the Cosmos” conference held at the SETI Institute in December 2014.

Find out what scientists think we should say. Also, how archeology could help us craft messages to an unfamiliar culture. Plus, why journalists might be well-suited to writing the message. And, a response to Stephen Hawking’s warning that attempting to contact aliens is too dangerous.

Guests:
  • Douglas Vakoch – Director of interstellar message composition, SETI Institute
  • Paul Wason – Archaeologist, anthropologist and vice president for the life sciences and genetics program at the Templeton Foundation
  • Al Harrison – Emeritus professor of psychology, University of California, Davis
  • Morris Jones – Journalist and space analyst in Sydney, Australia
  • Shari Wells-Jensen – Professor of English, Bowling Green State University

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

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.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Magnetic Storm on Comet Lovejoy?


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

MAGNETIC STORM ON A COMET? Everyone knows about geomagnetic storms on Earth.  But did you know that comets can have them, too?  Right now, a type of magnetic storm may be in progress in the tail of bright Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2), causing "plasma blobs" and "disconnection events" visible in amateur telescopes.  Visit http://spaceweather.com for images and more information.

GEOMAGNETIC STORM ALERTS:  A strong geomagnetic storm on Jan. 7th took forecasters by surprise. Subscribers to our Space Weather Alert Service were notified while the storm was in progress. 

If you would like to join the group of people who never miss a geomagnetic storm, you may sign up for the alerts at 
http://spaceweathertext.com (text) or http://spaceweatherphone.com (voice).

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Hubble: Pillars of Creation are also Pillars of Destruction


NASA Science News for Jan. 7, 2015

Recently, Hubble revisited the famous "Pillars of Creation," providing astronomers with a sharper and wider view of the iconic star forming region. The image hints that the Pillars of Creation might also be "pillars of destruction."

The complete article can be found here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2015/07jan_pillarsofcreation/

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Surprise Geomagnetic Storm


Source - Space Weather News for Jan. 7, 2015: http://spaceweather.com

GEOMAGNETIC STORM: A surprise geomagnetic storm erupted during the early hours of January 7th, sparking bright auroras around both of Earth's poles.  The storm may have been sparked by the arrival of a CME originally expected to miss our planet. 

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

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Big Picture Science for Monday 05 January 2015 - Meet Your Replacements

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Big Picture Science - Meet Your Replacements

ENCORE: There’s no one like you. At least, not yet. But in some visions of the future, androids can do just about everything, computers will hook directly into your brain, and genetic human-hybrids with exotic traits will be walking the streets. So could humans become an endangered species?

Be prepared to meet the new-and-improved you. But how much human would actually remain in the humanoids of the future?

Plus, tips for preventing our own extinction in the face of inevitable natural catastrophes.

Guests:

This encore podcast was first released on July 1, 2013

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

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, January 02, 2015

Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes, More Common Than Previously Thought?


Source - NASA Science News for Dec. 31, 2014

New research shows that terrestrial gamma-ray flashes arise from an unexpected diversity of thunderstorms storms and may be more common than previously thought.

The complete article can be found here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/31dec_tgfs/

Good News on Forests and Carbon Dioxide


Source - NASA Science News for Dec. 31, 2014

A new NASA-led study shows that tropical forests may be absorbing far more carbon dioxide than many scientists thought, in response to rising atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas.

The complete article can be found here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/31dec_forests/

Satellite with Extraordinary Antenna to Study Soil Moisture


Source - NASA Science News for Dec. 31, 2014

Launching in January 2015, NASA's Soil Moisture Mapping satellite (SMAP) will track water in the soil. Data gathered using the satellite's unusual antenna with help forecast weather, floods, drought, crop yield and landslides - all from outer space.

The complete article can be found here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/31dec_smap/

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Dawn Spacecraft Begins Approach to Dwarf Planet Ceres


Source - NASA Science News for Dec. 30, 2014

NASA's ion-propelled Dawn spacecraft has begun its approach to Ceres, a Texas-sized dwarf planet never before visited by a spacecraft.

The complete article can be found here: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/30dec_dawn/

Monday, December 29, 2014

Geomagnetic Storm and Naked-eye Comet


Source - Space Weather News for Dec. 29, 2014: http://spaceweather.com

GEOMAGNETIC STORM:  The year is ending with an outbreak of auroras.  Sky watchers around the Arctic Circle are seeing bright Northern Lights as Earth enters a stream of high-speed solar wind, causing G1-class storm conditions on Dec. 29th.

Visit http://spaceweather.com for images and updates.

BRIGHTENING COMET:  The "Christmas Comet" C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) has continued to brighten, and now observers around the world are reporting seeing it with the unaided eye from dark-sky sites.  Comet Lovejoy is a fine target for backyard telescopes, as shown on today's edition of  http://spaceweather.com

AURORA ALERTS are available from http://spaceweathertext.com (text) and http://spaceweatherphone.com (voice).

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Big Picture Science for Monday 29 December 2014 - Skeptic Check: Got a Sweet Truth?

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Big Picture Science - Skeptic Check: Got a Sweet Truth?

ENCORE: The sweet stuff is getting sour press. Some researchers say sugar is toxic. A new study seems to support that idea: mice fed the human equivalent of an extra three sodas a day become infertile or die. But should cupcakes be regulated like alcohol?

Hear both sides of the debate. Another researcher says that animal studies are misleading, and that for good health, you should count calories, not candy and carbs.

Plus, an investigative reporter exposes the tricks that giant food companies employ to keep you hooked on sugar, salt, and fat.

Also, a listener corrects our pronunciation of Neil Armstrong’s birthplace in the Sounds Abound episode.

It’s Skeptic Check … but don’t take our word for it!

Guests:

This encore podcast was first released on August 19, 2013

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

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.