Great Telescopes For Sky Watching

Powered by Blogger.

The Cosmos News Latest Videos

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Magnitude 5.9 earthquake hits Japan's Honshu island: USGS

by tap taru  |  in Japan at  10:59 PM

 A 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit Japan's Honshu island on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, shaking Fukushima where crippled nuclear power plants are located, but local media said there was no tsunami warning. 

USGS said the quake's epicenter was located 42 miles (68 km) east-northeast of Iwaki on Honshu. It was measured at a depth of 22.9 miles (37 km). 

A spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power, which owns the nuclear plants, said no irregularities have been found at its Fukushkma Daiichi or Daini plants. 

The national broadcaster NHK said there was no tsunami warning, and there were no immediate reports of casualties or serious damage.

The quake also jolted Fukushima's neighboring areas on Japan's pacific coast.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Hungry Squirrel pack kills and eat dog at Park in Russia

by tap taru  |  in Nature at  2:26 PM


Squirrels have bitten to death a stray dog which was barking at them in a Russian park, local media report.
Passers-by were too late to stop the attack by the black squirrels in a village in the far east, which reportedly lasted about a minute.
They are said to have scampered off at the sight of humans, some carrying pieces of flesh.
A pine cone shortage may have led the squirrels to seek other food sources, although scientists are sceptical.
The attack was reported in parkland in the centre of Lazo, a village in the Maritime Territory, and was witnessed by three local people. 
A "big" stray dog was nosing about the trees and barking at squirrels hiding in branches overhead when a number of them suddenly descended and attacked, reports say.
"They literally gutted the dog," local journalist Anastasia Trubitsina told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.
"When they saw the men, they scattered in different directions, taking pieces of their kill away with them."
Mikhail Tiyunov, a scientist in the region, said it was the first he had ever heard of such an attack.
While squirrels without sources of protein might attack birds' nests, he said, the idea of them chewing a dog to death was "absurd".
"If it really happened, things must be pretty bad in our forests," he added.
Komosmolskaya Pravda notes that in a previous incident this autumn chipmunks terrorised cats in a part of the territory. 
A Lazo man who called himself only Mikhalich said there had been "no pine cones at all" in the local forests this year.
"The little beasts are agitated because they have nothing to eat," he added.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Accident Occurred At Ukraine Zaporizhzhya Power Plant

by tap taru  |  in Nuklear Crysis at  10:29 PM


Ukraine's energy authorities said on Wednesday that an accident at a nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhya in the south-east of the country posed no danger and the plant would return to normal operations on Dec. 5.
"There is no threat ... there are no problems with the reactors," Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn, who took up his post in a new government only on Tuesday, told a briefing.
Demchyshyn, said the accident which happened on Friday in one of the six blocs at Zaporizhzhya, Europe's largest nuclear powerplant, had been caused by a short circuit in the power outlet system and was "in no way" linked to power production.
In Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency said it had no immediate comment on the report.
Under an international convention, adopted after the April 1986 Chernobyl accident in what was then Soviet Ukraine, a country must notify the IAEA of any nuclear accident that can have an impact on other countries.
The explosion and fire at the Chernobyl power plant, the world's worst nuclear accident, was caused by human error and a series of blasts sent a cloud of radioactive dust billowing across northern and western Europe.
Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, have estimated the death toll at only a few thousand as a result of the explosion while the environmental group Greenpeace says the accident will eventually cause up to 93,000 extra cancer deaths worldwide.
Interfax news agency said a 1,000-megawatt reactor was housed in the bloc at Zaporizhzhya where last Friday's accident occurred.
Demchyshyn said the affected bloc had been provisionally disconnected from the electro-energy system though its reactor continued to work normally.
"Its power output is not being used. I think that the problem will be resolved by Friday," he said.
The accident has had a slight impact on Ukraine's energy system, but Demchyshyn said he would ask the major industrial consumers to impose a 'voluntary restriction' in energy consumption.
Ukraine produced more than 60 million tonnes of coal last year, making it self-sufficient in electricity and coal.

Separatist fighting in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions since June has halted production at 66 coal mines, however, leaving Ukrainian power plants without enough raw materials.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Handbook of Ritual Power:Ancient Egyptian codex finally deciphered

by tap taru  |  in History at  3:22 PM

A pair of Australian researchers, Malcolm Choat with Macquarie University and Iain Gardner with the University of Sydney, has after many decades of effort by others, succeeded in deciphering an ancient Egyptian codex. In meeting with members of the press, they revealed that the codex is actually a handbook of a practitioner of rituals and for that reason have published the converted text as "Egyptian Handbook of Ritual Power."

No one knows where the codex was found, but most scholars who have studied it believe it was written by someone in pre-Islamic Upper Egypt approximately 1,300 years ago. An antiques dealer came across it in the late 70's or early 80's who subsequently sold it to Macquarie University in 1981. Since that time, various researchers have attempted to read the  but none were successful until now. The 20 parchment pages of text were written in Coptic, the researchers note, and offer 27 spells and multiple invocations and drawings. It appears likely, the team reports, that the two types of subjects meant that they were once separate documents that were later combined in the codex.

The researchers found love spells, a means for casting out evil spirits and even ideas on how to treat ailments, such as one known as black jaundice. They also found multiple references to Jesus and Sethians—religious groups that identified with Adam and Eve's third son, and others that identified with a previously unknown character referred to as Baktiotha—a god-like figure. Because of the mix of subjects in the invocations, the two researchers suggest the document was likely a representative of a transition period for the people of that time. They also suggest that the person who wrote or used the text was likely not a priest or monk (there was a large number of Christians living in the area during that time) but more likely was a scholarly type, using the codex as a means of helping people achieve desires or goals. Some examples, included spells to help a person do better in business, or to help them get along with others. One spell could be used to assist one person in subjugating another.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Strong Magnitude 6.8 Earthquake hits Nagano Japan Nov,22

by tap taru  |  in Earthquake at  10:14 PM


Breaking: 6.8 earthquake, 16km NNE of Omachi, Japan. Nov 22 22:08 at epicenter (16m ago, 14km Nagano, depth 10km).

 A strong earthquake shook central Japan's Nagano region on Saturday night, injuring several people and collapsing a building in area village, the country's Kyodo News Agency reported, citing firefighters.Reports of the intensity of the quake, centered in the Nagano area at 10:08 p.m., differed. The Japan Meteorological Agency reported it was a 6.8 magnitude temblor; the U.S. Geological Survey said it was magnitude 6.2.The Nagano fire department said several people were injured, Kyodo News Agency reported.

 Details about the injuries weren't immediately available.About 30 kilometers west of Nagano, a building had collapsed in the village of Hakuba, a firefighter told the news agency.No electric facilities, including nuclear power plants, were damaged, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. said via Twitter Saturday.

The USGS's online ShakeMap estimated strong shaking would have been felt near the epicenter, with a potential for light damage.

Aftershocks followed the main quake Saturday night, including one measured at magnitude 4.1, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

In Hakubamura village several houses collapsed and some of residents trapped inside..rescue efforts continue 

Updates coming soon...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Dark Winter:30-Year Cold Spell will Strikes Earth

by tap taru  |  in Climate Change at  12:35 AM

With nasty cold fronts thrusting an icy and early winter across the continental U.S. — along with last winter described by USA Today as "one of the snowiest, coldest, most miserable on record" — climatologist John L. Casey thinks the weather pattern is here to stay for decades to come.

In fact, Casey, a former space shuttle engineer and NASA consultant, is out with the  provocative book "Dark Winter: How the Sun Is Causing a 30-Year Cold Spell," which warns that a radical shift in global climate is underway, and that Al Gore and other environmentalists have it completely wrong. 

The earth, he says, is cooling, and cooling fast. 

And unless the scientific community and political leaders act soon, cold, dark days are ahead. 

Casey says the evidence is clear that the earth is rapidly growing colder because of diminished solar activity. 

He says trends indicate we could be headed for colder temperatures similar to those seen in the late 1700s and early 1800s when the sun went into a "solar minimum" — a phenomenon with significantly reduced solar activity, including solar flares and sunspots. 

If he's right, that would be very bad news. 

"Dark Winter" posits that a 30-year period of cold has already begun. Frigid temperatures and the food shortages that inevitably result could lead to riots and chaos. 

Casey tells Newsmax, "All you have to do is trust natural cycles and follow the facts, and that leads you to the inevitable conclusion that the sun controls the climate, and that a new cold era has begun."

Casey is president of the Space and Science Research Corp., an Orlando, Fla., climate research firm. 

His new book debunks global warming orthodoxy. For more than a decade, he reports, the planet's oceans have been cooling. And since 2007, the atmospheric temperature has been cooling as well.

"The data is pretty solid," Casey says. "If you look at the 100-year global temperature chart, you look at the steep drop-off we've had since 2007. It's the steepest drop in global temperatures in the last hundred years."

So how can the media and scientific elites make a case for global warming when it's actually cooling? 

Casey suggests climate-change theorists have simply wedded themselves to the wrong theory — namely, that global temperatures respond to the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Any scientist suggesting otherwise is castigated as a heretic, though there are other prominent scientists who support Casey.

Noted Russian astrophysicist Habibullo I. Abdussamatov has argued that a new mini-ice age has begun, though Casey doesn't go that far. 

He does agree with Abdussamatov that the real driver of global climate is solar activity, namely sunspots. These correspond to shifts in global temperature with a greater than 90 percent accuracy, he says. 

The environmental left focuses instead on ever-rising greenhouse emissions, suggesting nature is just taking a bit of a breather before the upward march in temperatures ineluctably resumes. 

"There are two fundamental flaws with that," Casey says. "No. 1, the greenhouse-gas theory, and the global climate models that they produced, never permitted a pause. As long as CO2 levels were going up, the only thing that could happen was global temperatures could go up. That has not happened. 

"No. 2, there could absolutely be no cooling, much less a pause. And yet we've been cooling for 11 years now." 

The recent polar vortex that sent temperatures across the Midwest plunging to sub-zero records is not an aberration, Casey says. 

If "Dark Winter" is right, that means the nation is busily preparing for the wrong calamity. 

"We don't have 10 years," Casey warns. "We've squandered during President Obama's administration eight years ... and we didn't have eight years to squander." 

The worst of the cooling cycle, Casey predicts, will hit in the late 2020s and the early 2030s. 

Food riots will break out, demand for heating oil will spike, and the failure of the corn crop will put the squeeze on ethanol. 

He even predicts the United States will ban agricultural exports to feed its own citizens. 

When Casey developed his theories in 2007, he emerged with several predictions.

Rising temperatures would begin to reverse themselves within three years. The sun would enter a phase of reduced activity he called "solar hibernation." And oceanic and atmospheric temperatures would enter a long decline.

So far, all of Casey's predictions have come true. He says, "My theory tells you when it will be cold ... and it is the cold that kills." 

Casey also suggests that a long-term cold spell will have dire effects on the earth's geology. 

As air and ocean temperatures cool, the earth's crust begins changing, leading to more volcanic activity and earthquakes. Casey notes that the worst earthquake to strike the continental U.S. in modern times was in 1812 in New Madrid, Missouri — during the last great solar minimum.

The climate changes also will affect human activity and may be a prelude to revolutionary politics. He says the French Revolution took place at the beginning of the last solar minimum in 1789. 

"It could be one of the reasons Putin is so eager to get Ukraine," Casey says. "For many decades before Ukraine became independent, it was the primary source of wheat for the Soviet Union during cold weather times. Putin must have the wheat of Ukraine for the new cold era."

Casey has a worried look as he talks about the revelations in "Dark Winter."

"There is no human on earth, much less here in the U.S., who has experienced the depth and duration of cold we're about to experience — it's that serious," he says.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

ESA:European spacecraft Philae lands on comet 67P, with a bounce

by tap taru  |  at  1:47 PM

A mobile laboratory the size of a washing machine made history Wednesday when it completed a slow-motion descent to the surface of a comet 311 million miles from Earth.

But scientists fear it didn't stick the landing.

The European Space Agency's Philae spacecraft initially landed close to its target site on the comet and beamed back its position to the Rosetta orbiter. ESA engineers headquartered in Darmstadt, Germany, received the first signal that the lander had made it to the surface after a long and agonizing wait.

Scientists had slammed spacecraft into comets before, but had never gently landed on one. The ESA team conceived the risky Rosetta mission in the late 1980s to learn more about comets that formed from the same mix of gas, dust and other ingredients that would form the sun, Earth and other planets.

The Rosetta orbiter was launched in 2004 with the Philae lander strapped to its side. Together, they flew around the inner solar system on a looping trajectory that took them past Earth three times, past Mars once, and through the asteroid belt twice. After nearly 4 billion miles and 10 years of space travel, including an unprecedented three-year hibernation, they finally met up with their target, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, in August.

Since then, the spacecraft and the comet have been moving through space together, barreling toward the sun at 34,400 mph. They will make their closest approach in August 2015, then fly back beyond the orbit of Jupiter.

Rosetta has become a signature mission for ESA, with half a million people tracking the landing online. NASA considered a similar mission years ago, but it was deemed too ambitious at a time when the space agency's budgets were being slashed, said Claudia Alexander of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the agency's head liaison for the Rosetta mission.

It took Philae seven hours to drop 14 miles from the orbiter to the 2.5-mile-wide hulk of dust and ice.

"We are on the comet!" Stephan Ulamec, the Philae lander manager at ESA, announced to an auditorium filled with cheering scientists and engineers.

Just hours after Philae touched down, scientists reported that its landing had been more gentle than expected and that the craft had settled onto a soft terrain of powder 1.5 inches deep. Philae also sent back stunning images of its new, icy home, which were captured less than 2 miles above the comet's surface.

But the initial enthusiasm was soon tempered by the realization that two harpoons designed to tether Philae to 67P failed to deploy. Without the harpoons, the lander could tumble around the comet, whose gravity is only 1/60,000th as strong as that on Earth.

ESA officials said the data sent back by Philae suggest it had already started to bounce.

"One way to interpret that is that the lander touched down and then recoiled up," said Karl Battams, who studies comets at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and traveled to Darmstadt for the landing.

He added that although Philae weighs 220 pounds on Earth, on the surface of the mountain-sized comet it weighs just one gram — about as much as a penny cut in half.

ESA engineers are analyzing the data for any clues that can tell them exactly what happened.

"It's complicated to land on a comet," Ulamec said. "It's also, as it appears, very complicated to understand what has happened during this landing. Maybe today, we didn't just land once, we even landed twice."

Even before the lander was deployed from Rosetta, ESA engineers knew there could be some technological hiccups. Last-minute tests revealed that they could not activate a jet atop the lander that was supposed to help keep it on the comet immediately after touchdown.

Officials decided to proceed with the landing anyway because Philae had two other ways to help it stick to the comet — the two harpoons and a set of six-inch ice drills on the lander's feet that were designed to screw it into the surface.

Then it turned out the harpoons didn't activate either.

It does seem that the ice drills worked properly, but it is not clear how effective they will be at keeping the lander in place, said Mark Hofstadter, a planetary scientist at JPL and the deputy principal investigator for the MIRO instrument on the Rosetta orbiter, which studies the comet's nucleus and surrounding coma.

"Those ice screws were there in case we landed on something really hard, like exposed rock or a sheet of ice," Hofstadter said. "They won't help you much if you land in a pile of sand or dust."

Despite these setbacks, scientists around the world were overjoyed by the achievement.

"This is a great, great day," said Jean-Jacques Dordain, director general of the European Space Agency.

Jim Green, planetary science director for NASA, called the mission audacious and exciting: "How unbelievable to be able to dare to land on a comet, to take that step that we have all wanted from a scientific perspective."

Scientists said measurements taken by Rosetta and Philae will broaden not just their knowledge of 67P, but of other comets as well.

"Rosetta will help us understand all the remote telescope observations we have of hundreds of other comets, which are different from one another," said Michael Combi, a comet scientist at the University of Michigan. "What we learn about this one comet will give us the real ground truth so we can calibrate past and future observations of other types of comets."

In its three-month stint escorting the comet, Rosetta's instruments have mapped 67P's gravity fields and examined the areas from which its gas jets appear to spring. They've also determined the precise mix of molecules in the gas cloud around its nucleus.

With the Philae lander, scientists hope to get even more up close and personal with the comet — taking its temperature, sampling its dust and sending back panoramic views of its inky black landscape.

Although the Philae aspect of the Rosetta mission has captured the public's imagination, measurements collected by the lander were expected to make up just 20% of the total science data.

Even before the landing difficulties, Philae's expected tenure on the comet surface was unknown. It has enough battery power to conduct experiments on 67P for about 60 hours. After that, it must get power from solar panels on its boxy body.

But nobody knows whether the gas and dust emitted by the comet will interfere with the solar panels' ability to collect sunlight.

"This mission is just getting started," Hofstadter said. "And regardless of what happens, we have a healthy orbiter ready to operate for the next year and a half in close proximity to a comet."


The Cosmos News Astronomy&Space Videos

LATEST NEWS VIDEOS

Proudly Powered by Blogger.