BIG HOLE IN THE SUN'S ATMOSPHERE: A large, canyon-shaped hole has
opened in the sun's atmosphere, and it is spewing a stream of solar
wind toward Earth. Polar geomagnetic storms are likely when the
fast-moving stream arrives, probably on Feb 1st. Visit today's edition
of Spaceweather.com for more information.
SUNSET SKY SHOW: For
the next two nights, watch the southwestern sky at sunset. Mars, Venus
and the crescent Moon are converging for a beautiful gathering in the
evening twilight. Visit Spaceweather.com for sky maps and photos.
SURPRISE: Barely visible only 24 hours ago, a new sunspot group big
enough to swallow Earth is bubbling up through the solar surface. So
far the active region poses no threat for strong solar flares, but this
could change if its rapid growth continues. Visit today's edition of
Spaceweather.com to view a movie of sunspot genesis, and to learn how
this development fits in with the recent "crash" of the sunspot cycle.
AURORA WATCH: A hole in the sun's atmosphere is spewing a stream of
solar wind toward Earth. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for
auroras when the stream arrives on Jan. 27-28. Monitor the realtimeaurora gallery for sightings.
She’s among the most famous missing persons in history. On
the eightieth anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance, mystery still
shrouds her fate. What happened during the last leg of her
Theories abound. Perhaps she ran out of fuel, and plunged
into the ocean … or was captured by the Japanese. A non-profit
international organization, TIGHAR, suggests she was a castaway, and offers up
a new analysis of bones found on a Pacific atoll during the time of the Second
World War. Their researchers will return to this possible landing spot to seek
more clues this summer.
We consider these theories and weigh the new evidence
surrounding Earhart’s puzzling last flight. Also, why are we uncomfortable
with open-ended mysteries?
Andrew McKenna – Researcher with TIGHAR (The International Group for Historic
CLOUDS AT AVIATION ALTITUDES: A new study published in the
peer-reviewed journal Space Weather reports the discovery of radiation
"clouds" at aviation altitudes. When airplanes fly through these
clouds, dose rates of cosmic radiation normally absorbed by air
travelers can double or more.
AURORA ALERT: A large crescent-shaped hole in the sun's atmosphere is
facing Earth, and it is spewing a stream of high-speed solar wind. NOAA
forecasters say there is a 70% chance of polar geomagnetic storms when
the solar wind arrives, probably on Jan. 18th. Sky watchers around the
Arctic Circle can expect bright auroras in the nights ahead.
The record of the
rocks is not just the history of Earth; it’s your history too. Geologists
can learn about events going back billions of years that influenced – and even
made possible – our present-day existence and shaped our society.
If the last Ice Age
had been a bit warmer, the rivers and lakes of the Midwest would have been much
farther north and the U.S. might still be a small country of 13 states.
If some Mediterranean islands hadn’t twisted a bit, no roads would have led to
Geology is big
history, and the story is on-going. Human activity is changing the planet
too, and has introduced its own geologic era, the Anthropocene. Will
Earthlings of a hundred million years from now dig up our plastic refuse and
study it the way we study dinosaur bones?
Plus, the dodo had the
bad luck to inhabit a small island and couldn’t adapt to human predators.
But guess what? It wasn’t as dumb as you think.
VANISH: So far this year, the sun has been blank more than 90% of the
time. Only one very tiny sunspot observed for a few hours on Jan. 3rd
interrupted a string of spotless days from New Year's through Jan.
11th. To find a similar sequence of blank suns, we have to go back to
May of 2010, almost 7 years ago. What does this mean? Visit today's
edition of Spaceweather.com for the full story.
CONTINUES: No sunspots? No problem. Observers around the Arctic Circle
are still observing magnificent auroras. A new apparition is possible
on Jan. 12th or 13th when a narrow stream of solar wind is expected to
brush against Earth's magnetic field. NOAA forecasters estimate a 35%
chance of polar geomagnetic storms. Monitor the realtime aurora gallery
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.
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?
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, Georgetown Law
This encore podcast was first released on September 21, 2015
The light bulb needs changing. Edison’s incandescent bulb, virtually
unaltered for more than a century, is now being eclipsed by the LED. The
creative applications for these small and efficient devices are endless: on
tape, on wallpaper, even in contact lenses. They will set the world
aglow. But is a brighter world a better one?
the many ingenious applications for LEDs and the brilliance of the 19th century
scientist, James Clerk Maxwell, who first discovered just what light is.
But both biologists and astronomers are alarmed by the disappearance of
dark. Find out how light pollution is making us and other animals
sick and – when was the last time you saw a starry night?
Ian Ferguson – Engineer, dean of the College of Engineering and Computing,
Missouri University of Science and Technology
Jay Neitz – Professor, department of ophthalmology, University of
Martin Hendry – Professor, gravitational astrophysics and cosmology,
University of Glasgow