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China Plans to Launch an 'Artificial Moon' to Light Up the Night Skies

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China Plans to Launch an 'Artificial Moon' to Light Up the Night Skies
Moonlit skies over the Chinese city of Chengdu may soon get a boost from a second moon. City officials recently announced plans to build an artificial moon, launching it to hang over Sichuan province's capital city by 2020, Chinese news site People's Daily Online (PDO) reported. The illuminated orb is intended to complement the light of Earth's existing moon, and will be eight times brighter than the natural satellite, Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co. Ltd. (CASC) — the primary contractor for the Chinese space program — told PDO. [Photos: Mysterious Objects Spotted on the Moon] In fact, light from the artificial moon is expected to save the city money by doing away with the need for streetlights, Chunfeng added. The new moon will be capable of illuminating an area of up to 50 miles (80 kilometers) in diameter, accordi…

Metal object that fell from sky in Hanford identified

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Metal object that fell from sky in Hanford identified
Folks in Hanford have some answers for what fell out of the sky last Saturday. Kings County sheriff's deputies were called out to the area of 8th and Houston avenues on Oct. 13. The owner of a walnut orchard found a metal object in his orchard. Detectives eventually reached out to Vandenberg Air Force Base and learned the object was likely to be a fuel tank from a communications satellite owned by Iridium. According to Iridium, the tank was identified coming from Iridium satellite No. 70. That satellite was launched into space sometime in late 1997 or early 1998. It is the first piece recovered from an Iridium satellite re-entering Earth's atmosphere and will be closely examined.
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Two Bright Meteors over South America, Sonic Boom Reported A bright fireball streaked through the night sky over Argentina on October 15, 2018, illuminating both sky and ground. Another meteor was recorded over South America on October 16. This time over Ceara in Brazil. Residents of Argentina’s southern cities of Misiones and Corrientes reported a strange phenomenon at 00:38 UTC on October 15 (21:38 LT, October 14). “A strong explosion shook houses in all the neighborhoods, central colonies and Concepcion de la Sierra,” the police station in Concepcion de la Sierra and Apostles said in a statement. “There was a light in the sky that turned night into a day.” The event was captured by a drone recording the Plaza Libertad at the time. The video shows the urban center suddenly illuminated. Although it might look like the light was a result of lightning, there were no storms recorded over the region at the time and the cloud cover was scarce. The second fireball was registered in CearĂ¡ in…

The Physicist and Philosopher - 10.15.18 The Expanding Earth

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The Physicist and Philosopher - The Expanding Earth 10/15/18

From Harvey to Michael: How America's year of major hurricanes unfolded

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From Harvey to Michael: How America's year of major hurricanes unfoldedThe past year has been marked by storms of record ferocity, apocalyptic damage and thousands of deaths
Just two years after Hurricane Matthew forced her to flee her home temporarily, Adrienne Kennedy has again had to pack her bags and leave. Hurricane Florence, which drenched the Carolinas last month, punched holes in Kennedy’s roof, causing it to collapse. “You do get kind of hopeless,” said Kennedy, who is renting a place 30 miles away. It may take a year to return safely home to Lumberton, North Carolina. “I was born and raised there. I don’t see myself living anywhere else. You have to be proactive. But it’s all up in the air,” she said. Kennedy, who has turned into a local organizer for climate resilience and disaster recovery, is far from the only person to suffer repeated hurricanes. Remnants of Hurricane Michael, which roared over Florida’s panhandle and other states last week, hit those still recoverin…

This speculative SpaceX timeline reveals roughly when, where, and how Elon Musk plans to colonize Mars

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This speculative SpaceX timeline reveals roughly when, where, and how Elon Musk plans to colonize Mars
Elon Musk is hell-bent on colonizing Mars. That's the spirit with which he founded SpaceX, his rocket company, in 2002. Musk was frustrated that NASA wasn't doing more to get people to the red planet — and concerned a backup plan for humanity wasn't being developed (for when Earth becomes an uninhabitable wasteland). Since then, SpaceX has developed several impressive aerospace systems: Falcon 1, SpaceX's first orbital rocket; Grasshopper, a small self-landing test rocket; Falcon 9, a reusable orbital-class launcher; Dragon, a spaceship for cargo and soon NASA astronauts; and Falcon Heavy, a super-heavy-lift launcher. But Mars is a cold, unforgiving, and almost airless rock located some 140 million miles from Earth. Astounding ingenuity is required to land even a small spacecraft there today, let alone a giant spaceship full of people and cargo in the future. That'…

Complete Analysis of Snow Extent Over North America and Eurasia Below Normal

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Complete Analysis of Snow Extent Over North America and Eurasia Below Normal
For the past few weeks, snow cover has been increasing across the northern hemisphere, as it is usual for autumn. Snow cover extent over North America has been rapidly increasing, thanks to a specific weather pattern. On the other side, over Eurasia, we currently have below normal snow extent. Ensemble forecast does indicate a possible change in the near future.


In the first two weeks of October, there was a very specific weather pattern across the northern hemisphere. We had ridging over the Bering Sea and the Arctic, which caused a cross-polar flow from the Arctic down into North America. That has helped increase the snow cover over the continent. On the other side of the world in Siberia, the same pattern had the opposite effect and has contributed to slower snow cover advance.

October 1st-13th 500mb anomaly from NCEP reanalysis. Produced by Andrej Flis (@Recretos) Looking at the NCEP snow cover analysis, we …

In a posthumous message, Dr. Stephen Hawking says science under threat

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In a posthumous message, Dr. Stephen Hawking says science under threat
LONDON – Stephen Hawking spoke from beyond the grave Monday to warn the world that science and education are under threat around the world. The words of the scientist, who died in March at 76, were broadcast at a London launch event for his final book "Brief Answers To The Big Questions." Hawking warned that education and science are "in danger now more than ever before." He cited the election of U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain's 2016 vote to leave the European Union as part of "a global revolt against experts and that includes scientists." Acknowledging that science had yet to overcome major challenges for the world — including climate change, overpopulation, species extinction, deforestation and the degradation of the oceans — the physicist still urged young people "to look up at the stars and not down at your feet." "Try to make sense of what you see, and w…

Huge Planets Have Been Detected Orbiting a Bafflingly Young Star

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Huge Planets Have Been Detected Orbiting a Bafflingly Young Star
A small star at the tender age of just 2 million years has revealed itself to be quite the precocious little cosmic object.
Astronomers have discovered it has not one, but four planets in the protoplanetary disc of dust and gas that surrounds it - and they are all gargantuan, with the biggest coming in at 11 times the mass of Jupiter, and the smallest about the mass of Saturn. Moreover, their orbits are incredibly distant. The outermost is more than 1,000 times the distance from the star than the innermost. That's the most extreme range of orbits ever observed in a planetary system; Pluto, for context, is only around 102 times the distance from the Sun as Mercury. The star is named CI Tau, located around 500 light-years away in a star-forming region of the constellation of Taurus, and it's been a bit of a brain teaser since 2016. That's when the first of its planets - the largest of the four, the super-Jupite…