Tag Archives | Environment

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…

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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…

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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…

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“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…

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“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…

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“Will Comet ISON fizzle … or sizzle?”

Comet C/2012 S1 Oct04 2012

Science at Nasa has a great assessment of the potential for Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) to become the ‘Comet of the Century’.  Worth watching. Just remember – “comets are like cats: they have tails, and do whatever they want to do.” But as the Science at Nasa assessment notes “Comet ISON is probably at least twice as more…

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“comets are like cats: they have tails, and do whatever they want to do”

Comet C/2012 S1 Oct04 2012

In the BBC’s science news preview of 2013, reporter Jason Palmer highlights a couple of astronomical events worth keeping an eye out for. In mid-February we will get another reminder we live in a (potentially) violent cosmos – asteroid 2012 DA14 will make a harmless but attention-grabbing pass near the Earth, at a distance just a tenth more…

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“the looming legal row, which is due to commence on 9 January, could become a defining event for Northern Ireland…”

Well, perhaps.  At the very least it might provide the basis for some actual politics, for a while…  ANYhoo…  The Observer’s Jamie Doward with a reminder of the upcoming legal battle over planning permission for the Bushmills Dunnes development – a 18-hole golf course, clubhouse, golf academy, 120-room hotel and 75 golf lodges complex, plus associated car more…

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Further Up Yonder

Stunning views of the Earth accompany this seasonal message from the crew of the International Space Station.

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“In Saturn’s Shadow” – redux

Saturn In Shadow by Cassini

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.  But, with the help of Cassini, Saturn does provide some wondrous images.  [Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute].  From the image’s associated text NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has delivered a glorious view of Saturn, more…

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Titan’s Nile River Valley

Cassini Titan River Valley sideways

Fascinating image from Nasa’s Cassini probe at Saturn, where we’ve previously watched the weather on Titan.  [Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI.]  North is to the right in this view. From the JPLnews press release “Titan is the only place we’ve found besides Earth that has a liquid in continuous movement on its surface,” said Steve Wall, the more…

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Black Marble Earth

Nasa: Black Marble Earth

As the BBC’s Spaceman, Jonathan Amos, notes This [above] spectacular night-time view of Earth is called Black Marble. It has been assembled from a series of cloud-free images acquired by one of the most capable satellites in the sky today – the Suomi spacecraft. Here is the associated, wondrous, video from Nasa Explorer This view of Earth more…

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“The new A32 Cherrymount link road near Enniskillen will eventually be built on top of the crannog…”

Fermanagh Crannog 2012: bone comb with incised decoration

The BBC reports, as do other news outlets, the Northern Ireland Environment Minister’s press release on “the first substantial, scientific excavation of a crannog in Northern Ireland”.  A “huge treasure trove of artefacts” was uncovered – potentially of “international importance” – and the crannog was occupied from at least AD 900 to AD 1600.  The ministerial press release also more…

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“Sometimes you have to go up really high to understand how small you are.”

Stunning images of record-breaking skydiver, Felix Baumgartner, as he completes his last checklist, steps out of the capsule, and falls to earth.  From a height of 128,097ft (24.2 miles; 39km).  You can also see the flatspin that almost scuppered the attempt to break the sound barrier. The voice on CAPsuleCOMmunications is that of retired US Air more…

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National Trust: “However, not everyone agrees with the scientific view…”

The BBC report that the National Trust have amended the controversial exhibition at the new Giants’ Causeway interpretive centre following their announced review of the materials in the display.  But have they fully addressed the problem?  Not quite. Here’s how the revised controversial section of the transcript now reads Today there is a clear understanding among scientists that more…

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“We stared at this patch of sky for about 22 days…”

Hubble 2012 eXtreme Deep Field

As the BBC’s spaceman, Jonathan Amos, notes, the Hubble Space Telescope team have released an updated version of their stunning Ultra Deep Field image – the eXtreme Deep Field (XDF) – and they have seen further than ever.  [Image credit: NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch (University of California, Santa Cruz), R. Bouwens (Leiden University), and the more…

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Jupiter swallows an asteroid – redux

As Space Weather notes Around the world, amateur astronomers have been scanning the cloudtops of Jupiter for signs of debris from an explosion witnessed by Dan Peterson and George Hall on Sept. 10th. So far the cloud layer is blank. “Several observers have now obtained excellent images on the second and third rotations after the more…

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“Thrust is engaged, and we are now climbing away from Vesta atop a blue-green pillar of xenon ions”

Dawn image of Vesta 17 July 2011

Having arrived at the 530km-wide giant asteroid Vesta in July 2011, in May this year Nasa’s Dawn Mission scientists published some of their findings.  Now Dawn’s ready to head out on the next leg of its journey – Destination [the even larger protoplanet (dwarf planet)] Ceres, ETA 2015. From the JPL press release “Thrust is engaged, and we are now more…

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“This is an area on Mount Sharp where Curiosity will go”

Curiosity on Mars: Mount Sharp geology

More wondrous images from Nasa’s mobile Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), the 900kg rover Curiosity, now safely on the Martian surface in Gale Crater.  And it’s only warming up its instruments.  Here’s a panaroma of the landing site and the prime mission target, Mount Sharp. Focusing in on Mount Sharp… [Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS] But the images that have more…

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Curiosity drops in on Mars – in Hi-res

Nasa’s mobile Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), the 900kg rover Curiosity, may have started roving on the surface of Mars, but there’s still room for more stunning video of its descent. In high-resolution.  Audio from mission control can also be heard, counting down the critical events.  Video from JPL News This movie from NASA’s Curiosity rover more…

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