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NASA's drought-predicting satellite is almost ready to begin work - engadget.com

blogger-avatarby Daniel Cooper | @danielwcooper




According to environmentalist Lester Brown, droughts are going to be increasingly prevalent over the next few years. At the same time that he was making these claims, however, NASA was activating a spacecraft that it's hoped will do something about that. The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite is designed to orbit the Earth, measuring global moisture levels in soil.

With that data, the agency expects to predict what regions are at the highest risk of both droughts and flooding. ...more

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Get Ready for the Fireballs of October - Universe Today

by DAVID DICKINSON


A recent fireball captured over the UK on October 4th, 2014. Credit: the UK Meteor Observation Network.

On October 31st 2005, trick-or-treaters across the central U.S. eastern seaboard were treated to a brilliant fireball, a celestial spectacle that frequently graces October skies.

Mid- to late October is fireball season, a time when several key meteor showers experience a broad peak. We’re already seeing an uptick in fireball activity as monitored by numerous all-sky cameras this month, including NASA’s systempositioned across the United States. Three lesser known but fascinating showers are the chief culprits.

The main meteor shower on tap for the month of October is the Orionids. This shower radiates from the Club of the constellation Orion, and is the product of that most famous...  Read More

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In case you missed it - Pics of The Blood Moon! AFP, NASA

AFP 



'Blood moon' awes sky watchers in Americas and Asia

A "blood moon" lunar eclipse is seen in Tokyo on October 8, 2014 (AFP Photo/Yoshikazu Tsun 

Stargazers in the Americas and Asia were treated to a lunar eclipse Wednesday, a celestial show that bathed the moon in a reddish tint to create a "blood moon."

During the total lunar eclipse, light beams into Earth's shadow, filling it with a coppery glow that gives it a red hue.

The early phase of the eclipse began at 0800 GMT, or 4:00 am, on the east coast of the United States.

NASA provided live footage via telescope of the eclipse, showing a black shadow creeping across the moon in a crawl that took about an hour. ...more

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More images: 











...more

Even more Stunning Photos of the Hunter's Moon Eclipse - these from UniverseToday.com







Find the three above and more here.

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Blood moon returns: Another total lunar eclipse will color the moon blood red - Christian Science Monitor

The second blood moon of 2014 is approaching. The first appeared April 14-15, and this week's is the second in a 'tetrad,' or series of four.

By Miriam Kramer, Space.com



Skywatchers across much of the world will have the chance to see the moon glowing with an eerie red pallor during a pre-Halloween total lunar eclipse next week.

The "blood moon" total lunar eclipse will rise during the full moon of Oct. 8 just before sunrise in North America, but red might not be the only color people see during the total eclipse. Weather permitting, it's possible that some sharp-eyed observers might be able to see some blue in the moon's glow. The event will be  the second of four consecutive total lunar eclipses in 2014 and 2015, according to NASA officials.

...  Read More

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We Are Star Dust - Mario Livio

Mario Livio Headshot Mario Livio 
Astrophysicist, Space Telescope Science Institute



Humans have always been fascinated with the heavens. Our distant ancestors understood that Mother Earth was receiving its daylight warmth from the majestic Sun, and its pale, nocturnal light from the Moon. In addition, there were those twinkling point sources of light that the ancients connected by imaginary lines to form mythical constellations. A few "stars" were observed to wander across the sky and they were dubbed "planets" (meaning "wandering stars") by the ancient Greeks.

Not surprisingly, the stars have been the subject of many poems. Perhaps none is more romantic than John Keats's "Bright Star." This may have been Keats' last poem before his untimely death in 1821, at age 25. In that poem, which Keats transcribed into a volume of ...  Read More

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What If Giant Space-Based Solar Panels Could Beam Unlimited Power To The Earth? - Business Insider

Business Insider 




Photo by NASA

Sea levels are rising, glaciers are melting, and extreme weather is becoming the norm. The negative effects of man-made climate change are here to stay — and they're getting worse.

One of the major culprits is atmospheric carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels like oil and coal. Luckily for the Earth, the world's supply of fossil fuels is limited. And for the past several decades, researchers have been looking for renewable energy resources to provide power to everyone without poisoning the Earth.

...  Read More

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NASA launches Mars 'flying saucer' on Earth - AP

Associated Press



After several weather delays, NASA on Saturday launched a helium balloon carrying a saucer-shaped vehicle high in Earth's atmosphere to test technology that could be used to land on Mars.

 

Since the twin Viking spacecraft landed on the red planet in 1976, NASA has relied on the same parachute design to slow landers and rovers after piercing through the thin Martian atmosphere.

The $150 million experimental flight tests a novel vehicle and a giant parachute designed to deliver heavier spacecraft and eventually astronauts.

Viewers around the world with an Internet connection followed portions of the mission in real time thanks to cameras on board the vehicle that beamed back low-resolution footage.

...  Read More

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NASA Is Building a Tiny Mothership to Pioneer Distant Lunar Oceans - The Atlantic

The Atlantic 





Suppose you’re a planetary scientist. You operate an unmanned spacecraft, surveying a distant moon in our solar system. Years of funding, engineering work, and long-distance space travel have all come together, and at last this machine—to which you have devoted so much of your life—is in place. And it’s just made an incredible discovery.

Maybe it’s a new kind of crater. Or an odd, unexpected mineral. Or the holy grail: liquid water.

It’s thrilling news—years of your career, vindicated! Now you have to wait. And lobby. And hope for the funding to come through. And wait for the next craft to get there.

...  Read More

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Great Chart on What to See in the 2014 Night Sky - Space.com



...more

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Join the Discussion! Neil deGrasse Tyson Makes Us Feel Inadequate on This Week’s ‘Cosmos’ - Wire

The Atlantic Wire 





Add your ideas, insights, theories to these!

This week, 'Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey taught us about comets by offering a lesson on the men who, tangentially and directly, figured out what they are. The stars (so to speak) of the show are Isaac Newton, Edmond Halley (of Halley's comet), Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke. And, as always, the wonderful host, Neil deGrasse Tyson. 

Why do we know the names of mass murderers, but not scientists?

Danielle: ...  Read More

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