HIGH SOLAR ACTIVITY: Big sunspot AR2422 is crackling with M-class solar
flares and it has an unstable magnetic field that harbors energy for
even stronger eruptions. NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of
powerful X-class solar flares during the next 24 hours.
Encore: We all have worries. But as trained observers,
scientists learn things that can affect us all. So what troubles them should
also trouble us. From viral pandemics to the limits of empirical knowledge,
find out what science scenarios give researchers insomnia.
But also, we discover which scary scenarios that
preoccupy the public don’t worry the scientists at all. Despite the rumors, you
needn’t fear that the Large Hadron Collider will produce black holes that could
swallow the Earth.
It’s Skeptic Check, our monthly look at critical
thinking … but don’t take our word for it!
This weekend's full Moon is a "supermoon," the biggest and brightest of
the year, and it is about to be eclipsed. On Sunday evening, Sept
27th, sky watchers in North America will see the swollen lunar orb
glide through the shadow of Earth, turning it a beautiful shade of
sunset red. The same eclipse will be visible from South America,
Europe, Africa and parts of Asia during the early hours of Sept. 28th.
The Coca-Cola Space Science Center is broadcasting the event live at http://www.ccssc.org/webcast.html .
Face it – your mug is not entirely
yours. It’s routinely uploaded to social media pages and captured on CCTV
cameras with – and without – your consent. Sophisticated facial
recognition technology can identify you and even make links to your personal
data. There are few places where you’re safe from scrutiny.
Find out how a computer analyzes the
geometry of a face and why even identical twins don’t fool its discerning
gaze. Proponents say that biometrics are powerful tools to stop crime,
but the lack of regulation concerns privacy groups. Do you want to be
identified – and your habits tracked – whenever you step outside?
Plus, astronomy meets
forensics. How analyzing photos and paintings using weather records, sky
charts, and phases of the moon help solve intriguing mysteries, including the
history of an iconic V.J. Day photo.
Donald Olson – Physicist,
astronomer, Texas State University
Marios Savvides – Computer engineer, Director, CyLab Biometrics Center,
Carnegie Mellon University
Alvaro Bedoya – Executive director, Center on Privacy and Technology,
DOUBLE SOLAR ECLIPSE: Yesterday, a NASA spacecraft witnessed a rare
double eclipse. The Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed Earth and
the Moon passing in front of the sun at the same time. Photos are
highlighted on today's edition of http://spaceweather.com.
AURORA SEASON BEGINS: For reasons researchers still don't fully
understand, auroras love equinoxes. At this time of year even gentle
gusts of solar wind can spark a nice display of Northern or Southern
Lights. Such an event is about to occur. A stream of solar wind is
expected to hit Earth's magnetic field on Sept. 14-15. Aurora alerts are available from http://spaceweathertext.com (text) and http://spaceweatherphone.com (voice).
ENCORE: Imagine not knowing where you are – and no one
else knowing either. Today, that’s pretty unlikely. Digital devices pinpoint
our location within a few feet, so it’s hard to get lost anymore. But we can
still get stranded.
A reporter onboard an Antarctic ship that was
stuck for weeks in sea ice describes his experience, and contrasts that with a
stranding a hundred years prior in which explorers ate their dogs to survive.
Plus, the Plan B that keeps astronauts from
floating away forever … how animals and plants hitch rides on open sea to
populate new lands … and the rise of the mapping technology that has made
hiding a thing of the past.
GEOMAGNETIC STORM: A stream of solar wind hit Earth's magnetic field on
Sept. 11th, sparking one of the strongest geomagnetic storms of the year
and auroras in multiple US states. This continues a trend of relatively
high geomagnetic activity that began on Sept. 7th. High-latitude sky
watchers could see more auroras tonight. Visit http://spaceweather.com for more information and updates.
DAY GEOMAGNETIC STORM: A G2-class geomagnetic storm is in progress on
Sept. 7th as Earth moves through a stream of fast moving solar wind.
Sky watchers in Alaska witnessed bright auroras before daybreak on
Monday, and they might see them again after nightfall. High-latitude
observers everywhere should be alert for Northern Lights.
ENCORE: Picture a cockroach skittering across your
kitchen. Eeww! Now imagine it served as an entrée at your local restaurant.
There’s good reason these diminutive arthropods give us the willies – but they
may also be the key to protein-rich meals of the future. Get ready for cricket
casserole, as our relationship to bugs is about to change.
Also, share in one man’s panic attack when he is
swarmed by grasshoppers. And the evolutionary reason insects revolt us, but
also why the cicada’s buzz and the beetle’s click may have inspired humans to
Plus, the history of urban pests: why roaches
love to hide out between your floorboards. And Molly adopts a boxful of
Today is the anniversary of an historic solar storm, the Carrington
Event. On Sept. 2, 1859, a CME struck Earth's magnetic field with such
power that telegraph stations caught fire and people in Cuba read their
morning newspapers by the red light of the aurora borealis. If a similar
storm struck our planet today, it might cause trillions of dollars of
damage to society's high-tech infrastructure. Could the Carrington Event
happen again? It almost did just a few years ago.