Tag Archives | Environment

In case you missed the eclipse…

swap solar eclipse 2015_03_20

Or, like me, cloud cover obscured the solar eclipse of 20 March 2015.  Here’s probably the best view of this morning’s event, from ESA’s Sun-watching Proba-2 mini-satellite.  [Image credit: ESA/ROB] And via ESA on YouTube. As Europe enjoyed a partial solar eclipse on the morning of Friday 20 March 2015, ESA’s Sun-watching Proba-2 minisatellite had a ringside more…

Stargazing the 20 March 2015 Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse Belfast UK 2015 Mar 20

The BBC’s Stargazing Live returns tonight, 8pm BBC 2, with three consecutive nights of live programmes to coincide with the total solar eclipse on Friday 20 March 2015.  [It is an annual series! – Ed].  Stargazing Live is, yes.  Not necessarily total solar eclipses, though.  And this solar eclipse is the only one, total or otherwise, to be more…

Dawn over Ceres

Dawn at Ceres

On Friday afternoon [GMT], ahead of Ireland cricketers’ epic encounter with Zimbabwe, Nasa’s Dawn spacecraft became the first man-made object to go into orbit around a dwarf planet – Ceres, at 950km across, the largest object in the main asteroid belt. [Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA] From the associated text The slim crescent of Ceres smiles back as the more…

Motoring could become more expensive for NI motorists

Slugger has had a number of excellent articles this year on transport especially in Belfast with the new bus lanes etc. Largely un-noticed, however, has been one seemingly unimportant event which may have significant relevance for many of Northern Ireland’s drivers. Clearly the recent reduction in the price of fuel is welcomed by many / more…

#SluggerSoapbox: It’s the environment stupid…

Colum Delaney works for the RSPB in Northern Ireland. He makes the case that shrinking the Department of the Environment exacerbates exposure to large fines from the European Union Court of Justice. He argues that loping off a third of staff will prove to be a false economy in the long run.  For those of us working more…

@CaralNiChuilin on dealing with the past

Everyone is familiar with legacies of the development boom and bust, such as ghost estates or negative equity. A slightly less obvious legacy was raised in the Assembly yesterday when Carál Ní Chuilín answered a question on the preservation of archaeological collections recovered from sites being developed during the boom. Currently a working group is more…

Red Squirrels and Pine Martens in Fermanagh

Amid all the fevered discussion of recent days I thought something much lighter and fun was called for. From the BBC: Queens academic Dr. David Tosh has been trying to gain further information about the distribution of red and grey squirrels in Fermanagh with help from the Fermanagh Red Squirrel Group and the National Trust more…

Could fracking actually be environmentally good for us after all?

Could fracking be good for us? -Ben Webster in the Times yesterday (£) with an unexpected output from the IPCC… Shale gas can help the world to avoid dangerous climate change if it replaces coal in power stations, according to a United Nations report. Global emissions need to fall by at least 40 per cent more…

Lough Neagh Working Group: “This report may never see the light of day.”

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, having set up a inter-departmental Working Group by September last year, “to explore and pursue actively the potential for a cross-departmental approach to bring Lough Neagh back into public ownership”, the Northern Ireland Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill has lost the group’s report down the back of the more…

Time-lapse: Earth

As the Guardian’s GrrlScientist says, “Wow. Just wow.”  And, “Oh, I recommend “full screen” mode.” Indeed. Adds – If you watch closely you can see Ireland and the UK pass underneath at around 2mins 30secs in. Time-Lapse | Earth from Bruce W. Berry Jr on Vimeo. Video credits Music: “Manhatta” composed and performed by The more…

“Two European countries, Ireland and Norway, have already banned all eel fisheries.” – redux

Despite a brief flurry of activity by Sinn Féin in February this year, around the Northern Ireland Executive Minister with responsibility for regulating Eel Fisheries, Sinn Féin’s Carál Ní Chuilín’s sudden “refusal to support European proposals for a unilateral suspension of eel-fishing”, the Minister’s promised Assembly statement on the issue never materialised.  That’s possibly because, at that stage, the more…

A year of Curiosity

Curiosity view of Mars

One year ago, after “seven minutes of terror“, Nasa’s Mars Science Laboratory, the 900kg rover Curiosity, landed safely on the Red Planet and was soon taking a look around.   [Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems]  Full image and caption here. This scene combines seven images from the telephoto-lens camera on the right side of the Mast Camera more…

Three Years of SDO Data – Narrated

If you enjoyed the recent video from Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) – “Three years in three minutes” – but would have liked more of an explanation of what was going on with our own local star… here it is again!  This time, though, extended, and narrated by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center heliophysicist Alex Young. more…

“A major difference between the hurricanes is that the one on Saturn is much bigger…”

Cassini - Saturn north pole The Rose

As I mentioned previously, Saturn doesn’t get the love some of our other gas giants do.  [All hail our friend and lord, Jupiter!  Keeping Ogdy at bay… – Ed]  Indeed… [new link]  But, with the help of Cassini, Saturn does provide some wondrous images.   In some of its first sunlit images of Saturn’s north pole, Cassini has looked inside more…

Solar Dynamics Observatory: Three years in three minutes

What it says on the tin.  Three years after First Light, Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has released three stunning minutes of images compiled during its virtually unbroken coverage of the sun’s rise toward solar maximum.  Enjoy!  [Video from NasaExplorer on YouTube. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/SDO] As they note in the associated text During more…

A5 ruling: “They should not be left in any doubt about what may or may not occur…”

The Northern Ireland Department for Regional Development have 7 days to appeal the Belfast High Court ruling issued today quashing the decision to go ahead with the controversial A5 £330m dual carriageway project.  As the BBC reports Following the verdict, lawyers for the department sought to have the court order put on hold. They wanted time to meet a requirement more…

Comet 2013 A1: Rendezvous with Mars…

Comet 2013 A1 (Siding Spring) orbit

Here’s something to think about whilst waiting to see if Comet ISON will fizzle, or sizzle.  The latest Science at Nasa video looks at the trajectory, and consequences for Mars missions, of Comet 2013 A1 (Siding Spring).  Discovered as recently as 3 January this year, this Oort cloud object will pass “extraordinarily close” to the planet Mars on more…

“Two European countries, Ireland and Norway, have already banned all eel fisheries.”

But not in Northern Ireland.  [Partitionist! – Ed]  Indeed.  Here the regulation of eel fisheries is the responsibility of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure – and the current Minister, Sinn Féin’s Carál Ní Chuilín.  As is salmon fishing… There was a brief flurry of press statements last week as the NI DCAL Minister suddenly threatened more…

“Ireland has the potential to generate far more wind energy than we could consume domestically…”

Apparently, Ireland is to become Britain’s off-shore wind farm…  That seems to be the gist of the complaint from opponents to wind farms in the Irish Midlands, as reported in the Irish Times. Andrew Duncan, spokesman for the Lakelands Wind Information Group in Co Westmeath, said: “It seems to be an Irish solution to a British more…