GEOMAGNETIC STORM: An interplanetary shock wave (possibly a CME) hit
Earth's magnetic field during the late hours of May 31st, sparking a
polar geomagnetic storm. At the time of this alert, a G1-class storm is
underway and solar wind conditions favor high-latitude auroras.
NASA is tracking a large near-Earth asteroid as it passes by the Earth-Moon system on May 31st. Amateur astronomers in the northern hemisphere may be able to see the space rock for themselves during the 1st week of June.
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.
– Professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and director of the
Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, Stanford University
CME STRIKE: As expected, a CME hit Earth's magnetic field on May 24th
around 1800 UT. It was just a glancing blow. Nevertheless, the impact
could spark polar geomagnetic storms in the hours ahead. High-latitude
sky watchers should be alert for auroras shining through the bright
moonlight on May 24-25.
SIGNIFICANT EXPLOSION: A solar radiation storm is in progress on May
22nd following an M5-class solar flare on the sun's western limb. The
explosion not only accelerated a hailstorm of protons toward our planet,
but also produced a magnificent CME, which might deliver a glancing
blow to Earth's magnetic field in the days ahead.
It’s a record we didn’t want to break. The carbon dioxide
concentration in the atmosphere has hit the 400 parts-per-million mark, a
level at which some scientists say is a point of no return for stopping
climate change. A few days later, a leading newspaper prints an op-ed
essay that claims CO2 is getting a bad rap: it’s actually good for the planet. The more the better.
Skeptic Phil Plait rebuts the CO2-is-awesome idea while a
paleontologist paints a picture of what Earth was like when the
notorious gas last ruled the planet. Note: humans weren’t around.
Plus, our skit says NO to O2 … and a claim that climate
change skeptics have borrowed from the Creationists’ playbook in
challenging the teaching of established science in schools.
Solar activity is high. During a 24 hour period straddling May 13th and 14th, the sun unleashed three X-class solar flares. These are the strongest flares of the year so far, and they signal a significant increase in solar activity. The source of the flares, a large sunspot on the sun's eastern limb, appears poised to erupt again as it turns toward Earth.
X-FLARE: A sunspot hiding behind the sun's eastern limb erupted on May 13th at 02:17
UT, producing the strongest solar flare of the year so far (X1.7). The
blast site will turn toward Earth in a few days. This will give
forecasters a better view of the active region and allow them to gauge
its potential for more explosions. Visit http://spaceweather.com for updates and images of today's X-flare.
ANNULAR ECLIPSE: On May 10th,
the South Pacific sun will turn into a ring of fire as the Moon passes
directly in front of the solar disk, producing an annular solar eclipse.
At maximum, more than 95% of the sun's diameter will be covered over
parts of Australia, eastern Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
Please check http://spaceweather.com for more information, including a live webcast from Cape York, Australia, which begins on May 9th at approximately 5 PM EDT.
Source: Reel NASA - http://www.youtube.com/user/ReelNASA "Astronaut Karen Nyberg, a flight engineer of the International Space Station Expedition 36 and 37 crew, is launching to space May 28, 2013. In this brief message, Karen shares some of the benefits of ISS research and how science and experiments being conducted in space help life on Earth. Research and development in the areas of medicine, Earth observation imagery and materials sciences not only help advance space exploration, but also help our day-to-day lives on our home planet."
Can plants adapt to the novelty of climate change? Researchers seeking
to answer this question have sent genetically engineered plants to the
ISS for exposure to extreme conditions. To report their stress, the
plants have learned to glow in the dark.
Not all conversation is appropriate for the dinner table – and that
includes, strangely enough, the subject of eating. Yet what happens
during the time that food enters our mouth and its grand exit is a model
of efficiency and adaptation.
Author Mary Roach takes us on a tour of the alimentary canal, while a
researcher describes his invention of an artificial stomach. Plus, a
psychologist on why we find certain foods and smells disgusting.
you don’t eat them but they could wiggle their way within nonetheless:
STRONG FLARE: For the second time in three days, an active region just
over the sun's east limb has exploded, producing a strong solar flare
and CME. The blast on May 3rd registered M5--not quite an X-flare, but
still strong considering that the edge of the sun partially eclipsed the
explosion as seen from Earth. Solar rotation is turning the active
region toward Earth, and it should emerge later this weekend. Visit http://spaceweather.com for updates.