natural wonders

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Summer teevee sucks, so here’s something for you to do tonight (Monday), Tuesday night, and Wednesday night.

If you spot clear skies any evening this week, don’t miss your chance to witness a stunning close encounter of the two brightest star-like objects in the sky.

Venus and Jupiter—both dazzling star-like objects—will appear to huddle close together in the sunset skies this week. This will be the planets’ nearest approach in over a decade.

::snip::

While limited in their scientific interest, historically Venus and Jupiter conjunctions may be a possible answer to the Star of Bethlehem legend. In the years 2 and 3 B.C. there was a similar series of three stunningly close pairings between the planets that would have caught the eye of ancient astronomers.

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The green chunk of ice will make its closest approach to Earth this evening, and won’t be back for another 8,000 years, according to the Mirror.

::snip::

It should be viewable in Orion’s belt, appearing as a small, fuzzy spot. Although viewable with the naked eye, it is recommended that viewers use binoculars to look at the comet, and to do so in an area with as little light pollution as possible.

while you’re outside, you may as well look for the winter hexagon and winter triangle, too.

Featured in the winter hexagon/triangle is Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky!

Don’t be fooled by Jupiter, which rises later and is north of Sirius. It’s not a star…

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Astronomers say a bright blob at the edge of Saturn’s rings may be evidence that a new moon is forming. (NASA / JPL-Caltech / Space Science Institute)

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Clearest explanation of this I’ve seen, so far:

Cosmic inflation: ‘Spectacular’ discovery hailed

Researchers believe they have found the signal left in the sky by the super-rapid expansion of space that must have occurred just fractions of a second after everything came into being.

It takes the form of a distinctive twist in the oldest light detectable with telescopes.

Gravitational waves from inflation put a distinctive twist pattern in the polarisation of the CMB

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I’m just sitting her unwinding and saw this: NASA gets an AMAZING image of a solar flare. (In my browser the image opens up inside the window, but can be magnified by clicking on it.)

This made me wonder how big that flare is in comparison to the size of the earth, so I looked up this comparison of sizes of planets in our solar system to the sun, and the sun to other stars. You may have already seen this. It’s been on the tubes for a while.

That reminded me of one night I was curious about how far the moon is from the earth, with both drawn to scale. Two good links, here: 1 2.

I’ve been busy getting ready to move home, so am a bit behind on posts and messages. Will try to catch up, later. Hope ya’all are doing well.

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we are at our brightest in the afternoon, and dimmest in the evening.

Not what you’re expecting…

(been busy. sorry.)

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Ahem.

Bring it on.

Which means “present cogent arguments that global warming weirding ISN’T anthropogenic, and I’ll do the best I can to either rebut your FACT BASED theory, or I’ll reconsider my position.

Republicans in Congress who reject the science behind climate change could soon be reduced to political fossils, with new polling on Wednesday suggesting three-quarters of young voters find such views “ignorant, out of touch or crazy”.

Make a “faith-based” argument, i.e. one based on conspiracy theories and not facts, and I reserve the right to ignore you with a simple statement that you have no facts to back up your position.

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NASA Releases Images of Earth by Distant Spacecraft

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50 Years of Tough Questions and ‘Thank You, Mr. President’

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Well my basic hypothesis was that trees improve people’s health. And if that’s true, then killing 100 million of them in 10 years should have an effect. So if we take away these 100 million trees, does the health of humans suffer? We found that it does.

Researchers have shown this in other ways in the past. There’s been some famous research showing that people recover faster from surgery and take fewer drugs if their hospital room has a view of trees. Other research — including some of my own — has shown that mothers with more trees around their homes are less likely to have underweight babies. It’s been shown that if you put people in a natural environment, it can reduce their blood pressure, heart rate and other measures of stress. Obviously we also know that trees can improve air quality. And that’s why I looked at these two causes of death. I didn’t look at pancreatic cancer or something like that. I looked at cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease because both can be affected by air quality and stress.

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

Sorry for the drive-by post, but I’ll be mostly out of commission for at least another week, and thought it better to post this than keep it to myself.

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