WIND, INCOMING: A canyon-shaped hole in the sun's atmosphere is spewing
a stream of solar wind toward Earth. Polar geomagnetic storms could
begin as early as Feb. 28th when the leading edge of the stream reaches
our planet. NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% chance of G1-class storms
on March 1st when Earth is fully enveloped by the fast-moving solar
wind. More information @ Spaceweather.com
SUNSET PLANETS: When
the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look west. The skinny
crescent Moon is approaching Venus for a side-by-side gathering on Feb.
Obesity, diabetes, heart disease … maybe even Alzheimer’s.
Could these modern scourges have a common denominator? Some people
believe they do: sugar.
But is this accusation warranted? We talk with a
journalist who has spent two decades reporting on nutrition science, and while
he says there’s still not definitive proof that sugar makes us sick, he can
make a strong case for it.
Also, how a half-century ago the sugar industry secretly paid
Harvard scientists to shift the culprit for heart disease from their product to
dietary fat. We hear how the companies borrowed from the playbook of Big
OF FIRE" SOLAR ECLIPSE: Something strange is about to happen to
sunbeams in the southern hemisphere. On Sunday, Feb. 26th, the Moon
will pass directly in front of the sun, covering as much as 99% of the
solar disk. This will turn the sun into a "ring of fire" over parts of
South America and Africa. Crescent-shaped sunbeams and thin rings of
light will dance across the ground of more than a dozen countries.
WIND ADVISORY: Earth is about to enter a stream of solar wind flowing
from a hole in the sun's atmosphere. NOAA forecasters estimate a 60%
chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Feb. 23rd as the solar wind speed
quickens to 550 km/s or more. Arctic sky watchers should be alert for
auroras on Thursday and Friday nights. Updates and sightings @
AURORA ROCKET LAUNCH: On Feb. 22nd, researchers
from Dartmouth College launched a rocket directly into auroras dancing
above Alaska. See the launch and find out why they did it on today's
edition of Spaceweather.com.
GASH IN THE SUN'S ATMOSPHERE: An unusually wide and sinuous hole has
opened in the sun's atmosphere, and it is stretching like a gash across
the sun's southern hemisphere. A roughly fan-shaped stream of solar
wind flowing from the hole is gently buffeting Earth's magnetic field,
and it could keep polar magnetic fields in an unsettled state for the
rest of February. Long range forecasts suggest the month could end
with a moderately strong (G2-class) geomagnetic storm. This is all good
news for Arctic sky watchers, who can expect regular episodes of
Northern Lights in the nights ahead.
ENCORE: Congratulations, you have a big brain.
Evolution was good to Homo sapiens. But make some room on
the dais. Research shows that other animals, such as crows, may not look
smart, but can solve complex problems.
Meanwhile human engineers are busily
developing cogitating machines. Intelligent entities abound – but
are they all capable of actual thought?
Hear how crows fashion tools from new
materials and can recognize you by sight. Also, how an IBM computer may
one day outthink the engineers who designed it.
Plus, scientists who simulated a rat
brain in a computer, neuron-by-neuron, look ahead to modeling the human
brain. And, what brain disorders teach us about the brain and our sense
POLAR STRATOSPHERIC CLOUDS: Around the Arctic Circle, veteran sky
watchers are reporting a remarkable outbreak of polar stratospheric
clouds (PSCs). Floating high above Earth's surface in the normally
transparent stratosphere, PSCs have filled the sky with brilliant
colors that rival the aurora borealis. Some longtime residents of
northern Sweden say it's the best display they've ever seen, continuing
a trend in recent years of intensifying PSC activity.
edition of Spaceweather.com to view photos of the outbreak and to learn
more about these must-see wonders of the Arctic.
Above: Polar stratospheric clouds over Kiruna, Sweden, photographed by Mia Stålnacke on Feb. 13, 2017.
Browse the photo gallery for more sightings
Meet your new relatives. The fossilized bones of Homo naledi
are unique for their sheer number, but they may also be fill a special slot in
our ancestry: the first of our genus Homo. Sporting modern
hands and feet but only a tiny brain, this creature may link us and our
anthropologists hail the discovery as that of a new hominid species. Not
all their colleagues agree. Find out what’s at stake in the debate.
the scientist who helped retrieve the fossils describes her perilous crawl
through a cave with only ten inches of elbow room. And a radical theory
about what these old bones might mean: could they be from a burial two million
Marina Elliott – Paleoanthropologist, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
Carl Ward – Biological
anthropologist, University of Missouri
John Hawks - Anthropologist,
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Tim White - Anthropologist,
University of California, Berkeley
This encore podcast was first released on 11/02/2015
Source - Space Weather News for Feb. 8, 2017:http://spaceweather.com LUNAR
ECLIPSE THIS FRIDAY NIGHT: The full Moon will lose some of its usual
luster on Friday night as a dusky shadow creeps across the lunar disk.
It's a penumbral lunar eclipse, visible from parts of every continent
except Australia. The uneven dimming of the Moon will be easy to see if
you know when to look.
Visit today's edition of Spaceweather.com for
observing tips and more information
COMET APPROACHES EARTH: This week, a small green comet named
"45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova" (45P for short) is approaching Earth for
one of the closest comet flybys of the Space Age. On the nights around
Feb. 11th, Comet 45P will be an easy target for binoculars and small
telescopes, revealing itself in eyepieces as an emerald colored
fuzzball. Visit today's edition of Spaceweather.com for sky maps and to
find out what makes this little comet so green.
Einstein thought that
quantum mechanics might be the end of physics, and most scientists felt sure it
would never be useful. Today, everything from cell phones to LED lighting
is completely dependent on the weird behavior described by quantum mechanics.
But the story
continues. Quantum computers may be millions of times faster than your
laptop, and applying them to big data could be transformational for biology and
health. Quantum entanglement – “spooky” action at a distance – may not
allow faster-than-light communication, but could be important in other
ways. And there’s even the suggestion that quantum mechanics defines the
difference between life and death.
It’s weird and exotic. But it’s how the universe works.
Lloyd – Professor of
Mechanical Engineering and Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of