CREATES ARTIFICIAL 'SPACE CLOUDS': A rocket launched before sunrise on
June 29th from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility produced an amazing
display of colorful 'space clouds' over the east coast of the USA.
Onlookers described their "erupting colors" as "vivid", "spellbinding",
and "brilliantly apparent" as the vaporous forms spread across the
early morning sky. To learn more about the clouds, and why NASA made
them, visit today's edition of Spaceweather.com
ECLIPSE BALLOON NETWORK: The Great American Solar Eclipse is less than
two months away. Where will you be on Aug. 21, 2017, when the Moon
completely covers the sun? Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth
to Sky Calculus plan to observe the eclipse from the stratosphere,
photographing the Moon's shadow and collecting unique cosmic ray data
high above any obscuring clouds. We'll do it using space weather
balloons launched from multiple sites along the path of totality. Learn
more about how you can support or even join the Solar Eclipse Balloon
Big Picture Science - Skeptic Check: How Low Can You Go? ENCORE: Baby, it’s cold outside… but you still might
want to be there. Some people claim that chilly temperatures are good for
your health, and proponents of cryotherapy suggest you have a blast – of
sub-zero air – to stave off wrinkles and perhaps halt aging altogether.
Meanwhile the field of cryonics
offers the ultimate benefit by suggesting that you put future plans – and your
body – on ice when you die. That way you might be revived when the
technology to do so is developed.
So, will a chill wind blow you some
good? Possibly, as scientists are discovering that the body can endure
colder temperatures than previously thought. We examine the science of
extreme cold and claims of its salubrious benefits.
It’s our monthly look at critical
thinking, Skeptic Check … but don’t take our word for it!
RADIATION UPDATE: For years, Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth
to Sky Calculus have been using space weather balloons to monitor
cosmic rays in the atmosphere above California. We previously reported
that dose rates have been increasing over the Golden State, more than
13% since March 2015. Now we know the same thing is happening over New
England--only more so. Balloons recently launched from the Atlantic
Coast of the USA have detected even stronger and more rapidly
intensifying levels of cosmic radiation. What's causing this
SIERRA SNOWPACK SEEN FROM THE STRATOSPHERE: A
space weather balloon launched on June 23rd has captured remarkable
spherical images of California's historic snowpack from the
stratosphere. They show Sierra Nevada mountains laden with widespread
snow despite an early summer heat wave that has sent temperatures
shooting above 110 F at the base of the range.
Click on the image below
to explore the scene as an interactive 360-degree image--or visit the
Earth to Sky Calculus Facebook page.
SPRITES OVER EUROPE: We all know what comes out of the bottom of a
thunderstorm: lightning. But do you know what comes out of the top? On
June 20th, an amateur astronomer photographed incredible
jellyfish-shaped 'sprites' flickering above a storm system in Austria.
Such upper atmospheric lightning is a form of space weather that is
being seen and photographed by increasing numbers of sky watchers.
Visit today's edition of Spaceweather.com for observing tips and more information about this phenomenon.
Get ready for
compassionate computers that feel your pain, share your joy, and generally get
where you’re coming from. Computers that can tell by your voice whether
you’re pumped up or feeling down, or sense changes in heart rate, skin, or
muscle tension to determine your mood. Empathetic electronics that you
can relate to.
But wait a minute – we
don’t always relate to other humans. Our behavior can be
impulsive and even self-sabotaging – our emotions are often conflicted and
irrational. We cry when we’re happy. Frown when we’re
pensive. A suite of factors, much of them out of our control, govern how
we behave, from genes to hormones to childhood experience.
One study says that
all it takes for a defendant to receive a harsher sentence is a reduction in
the presiding judge’s blood sugar.
So grab a cookie, and
find out how the heck we can build computers that understand us anyway.
Rosalind Picard – Professor at the MIT Media Lab and co-founder
of the companies Affectiva and Empatica.
OF THE MISSING NOCTILUCENT CLOUDS: Every year in June, far-northern sky
watchers see electric-blue tendrils creeping over the western horizon
at sunset. These are noctilucent clouds (NLCs) formed by summertime
wisps of water vapor crystallizing around bits of meteor smoke at the
edge of space. Every year in June ... except this year. NLCs have
been mysteriously absent in June 2017, and researchers have just
figured out why. A 'heat wave' in the upper atmosphere has temporarily
wiped them out.
Visit today's edition of Spaceweather.com for the full
story and the prognosis for future NLCs.
HOLE IN THE SUN'S ATMOSPHERE: Spewing a stream of solar wind as fast as
700 km/s (1.6 million mph), a hole in the sun's atmosphere is turning
toward Earth. Forecasters expect the stream to reach our planet on June
15th or 16th with a 40% chance of minor G1-class geomagnetic storms
when it arrives. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for
auroras in the nights ahead, especially in the southern hemisphere
where deepening autumn darkness favors visibility.
ENCORE: No one knows what the future will
bring, but science fiction authors are willing to take a stab at imagining
it. We take our own stab at imagining them imagining it. Find out
why the genre of science fiction is more than a trippy ride through a bizarre,
hi-tech world, but a way to assess and vote on our possible shared
Also, an astronomer learns how
many rejection slips it takes before becoming a published science fiction
author …. what author Bruce Sterling wants to get off his chest … and what the
joke about the neutron walking into a bar to ask the price of beer has in
common with H.G. Wells, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Ridley Scott.
Oh, and the price of beer?
Bartender: “For you, no charge.”
Ed Finn - Director of the Center for
Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University
Fraknoi – Chair of the astronomy department at Foothill College.
His story, "The Cave in Arsia Mons", is in "Building
Red", here. His list of
astronomically correct science fiction is here.
ENCORE: You can’t pick your parents. But soon
you may be able to change the DNA they gave you. CRISPR technology is
poised to take DNA editing to new levels of precision and speed. Imagine
deleting genes from your body that you don’t like and inserting the ones you
want. The swap might not even require a fancy lab. Biohackers are
already tinkering with genes in their homes.
out how CRISPR technology might change everything when the genetic lottery is
no longer destiny.
a cardiologist identifies the troublesome genes that once gave us evolutionary
advantages but today are fueling obesity, depression and other modern illness.
Source - Space Weather News for June 1, 2017: http://spaceweather.com
SUNSPOT: On June 1st, a small but surprisingly active sunspot rotated
over the sun's eastern limb. In less than 24 hours, it has unleashed
nearly a dozen C-class solar flares and hurled a pair of CMEs into
space--an impressive display of fireworks. So far, none of the
explosions have targeted Earth, but this could change in the days ahead
as the active region rotates toward our planet.
for more information and updates.
CLOUDS: Noctilucent cloud season has begun. Sky watchers in northern
Europe are reporting tendrils of electric-blue creeping over the
horizon at sunset. These are noctilucent clouds (NLCs), seeded by
meteoroids at the edge of space. Typically, they appear in late May and
blossom in June and July. In recent years they have been sighted in the
USA as far south as Colorado and Utah.
Visit today's edition of
Spaceweather.com to learn more about NLCs and how to see them.