Wednesday, August 31, 2016
On Sept. 1, the moon will pass in front of the sun, creating a brilliant ring of sunlight visible from areas around the southern Indian Ocean.
When the moon creates a ring of sunlight during an eclipse instead of completely blocking the solar disk, it's known as an annular eclipse or "ring of fire" eclipse. And although the Sept. 1 event won't be a total eclipse of the sun (or of the heart), it will still be a stunning sight leading up to another annular eclipse in February 2017 and the total solar eclipse in August 2017.
The best place to view the Sept. 1 annular eclipse will be southern Africa.
Have aliens from a distant planet contacted us? Despite the hype from some journalists, the answer is almost certainly no. In a post for the SETI Institute, astronomer Seth Shostak explains what we know about the alleged "signal" from a star system 94 light-years away: "The chance that this is truly a signal from extraterrestrials is not terribly promising, and the discoverers themselves apparently doubt that they’ve found ET. Nonetheless, one should check out all reasonable possibilities, given the importance of the subject."
Interesting article via SETI:http://www.seti.org/seti-institute/a-seti-signal
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
A study by researchers at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior has found that a healthy diet, regular physical activity and a normal body mass index can reduce the incidence of protein build-ups that are associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
The study found that each one of several lifestyle factors — a healthy body mass index, physical activity and a Mediterranean diet — were linked to lower levels of plaques and tangles on the brain scans.
“The study reinforces the importance of living a healthy life to prevent Alzheimer’s, even before the development of clinically significant dementia. This work lends key insight not only into the ability of patients to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, but also physicians’ ability to detect and image these changes.”
Source & further reading:http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/diet-and-exercise-can-reduce-protein-build-ups-linked-to-alzheimers-ucla-study-shows
On the night of August 12/2016, this bright Perseid meteor flashed above volcanic Sunset Crater National Monument, Arizona, US, planet Earth. Streaking along the summer Milky Way, its initial color is likely due to the shower meteor's characteristically high speed. Entering at 60 kilometers per second, Perseid meteors are capable of exciting green emission from oxygen atoms while passing through the tenuous atmosphere at high altitudes.
Also characteristic of bright meteors, this Perseid left a visibly glowing persistent train. Its evolution is seen over a three minute sequence (left to right) spanning the bottom of the frame.
Image & info via APOD
Image Credit & Copyright: Jeremy Perez
Monday, August 29, 2016
Juno, the spacecraft on a mission to Jupiter, orbited closer to the giant planet than any man-made object before it, in a record-breaking approach on Saturday 27th August.
The Nasa creation, which was launched five years ago, made the close approach to Jupiter by soaring around 2,600 miles above the planet.
As it cruised by at a speed of 130,000 mph, Juno was expected to capture astonishing images and plenty of scientific data, say mission controllers at Nasa.
It is not a coincidence that planets line up. That's because all of the planets orbit the Sun in (nearly) a single sheet called the plane of the ecliptic. When viewed from inside that plane -- as Earth dwellers are likely to do -- the planets all appear confined to a single band. It is a coincidence, though, when several of the brightest planets all appear in nearly the same direction.
Such a coincidence was captured just last week. Featured below, six planets and Earth's Moon were all imaged together last week, just before sunset, from Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia. A second band is visible across the top of this tall image -- the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy.
Image & info via APODhttp://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap160816.html
Image Credit & Copyright: Alex Cherney (Terrastro, TWAN)