Complete lunar eclipse begins, the longest of this century
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A blood moon rises over Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, July 27, 2018. Skywatchers around much of the world are looking forward to a complete lunar eclipse that will be the longest this century. The so-called blood moon Friday, when it turns a deep red, will be visible at different times in Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe and South America when the sun, Earth and moon line up perfectly, casting Earths shadow on the moon. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Skywatchers around much of the world have begun watching a complete lunar eclipse that is the longest of this century.
The so-called "blood moon," when it turns a deep red, is visible at different times in Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe and South America when the sun, Earth and moon line up perfectly, casting Earth's shadow on the moon.
The total eclipse lasts 1 hour and 43 minutes, with the entire event lasting closer to four hours.
Across Africa, people turned to the sky, watching the reddish shadow slide up the moon's surface. In Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, hundreds of people hurried to mosques for special prayers often observed during lunar eclipses while clerics on loudspeakers urged them along.
In Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, people at an open-air restaurant admired a rare clear view during the rainy season, comparing a live NASA webcast to what they saw above. Then clouds rolled in.
"Dem yelebesech chereka," some murmured — Amharic for "blood moon."
"The reason that the moon turns red is because atmospheric scattering causes red light to pass through the atmosphere and the composition of the atmosphere can change if volcanic eruptions or forest fires occur," said Tom Kerss, an astronomer with the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
"And the density of dust increasing in the atmosphere can cause the moon to appear a particularly deep red, and indeed it has the same effect on our sunsets and sunrises."
In a special treat, Mars is also at its closest approach to Earth this week since 2003, making it appear bigger and brighter.
Excited skywatchers on social media shared photos of the bright planet just to the right of the moon.
North America missed out on Friday's lunar eclipse but can look forward to the next one on Jan. 21, 2019, according to NASA.
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July 27, 2018
Thursday, and the company is hoping its sleek VSS Unity spaceplane will get to the edge of space for the first time.</p><p>"At a basic level, this flight will aim to fly higher and faster," the company said in a statement.</p><p>Virgin Galactic also plans to "start simulating the commercial weight distribution in the spaceship represented by our future passengers," the company said.</p><p>Company founder Richard Branson had promised to start taking tourists — about 800 people have paid $250,000 for tickets — to the edge of space by the end of the year. But this test flight over California's Mojave Desert will carry only a pilot and co-pilot, according to Virgin Galactic.</p><p>"We plan to burn the rocket motor for longer than we ever have in flight before, but not to its full duration. At the end stages of the rocket burn in the thin air of the mesosphere and with the speeds that we expect to achieve, additional altitude is added rapidly," the company stated. "That results in new and important data points."</p><p>"If all goes to plan our pilots will experience an extended period of micro-gravity as SpaceShipTwo coasts to apogee, although they will remain securely strapped in throughout," Virgin Galactic said. "They should also have some pretty spectacular views which we look forward to sharing as soon as possible post flight."</p><p>In July, during its third test flight, the spaceplane reached an altitude of 170,800 feet (32.3 miles), more than halfway to the goal of reaching the edge of space.</p><p>Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin also intend to take space tourists up on brief suborbital flights for a substantial fee.</p><p>It's not clear if VSS Unity, which is normally launched from mothership WhiteKnightTwo, will be ready in time to hit Branson's goal of carrying paid customers by the end of December.</p><p>It wouldn't be the first time the entrepreneur got ahead of himself. After establishing Virgin Galactic in 2004 he said it would be ready for passengers by 2007.</p><p>This time around the company is at least hedging its bets.</p><p>"Whether we complete all our objectives during the next flight or need to wait a little longer, we remain committed to completing the final stages of this extraordinary flight test program as quickly, but more importantly as safely, as possible," Virgin Galactic said in a statement.</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>There’s a new fastest animal on Earth and it’s … an ant.</p><p>Sorry if we disappointed you, but believe it or not this little — and somewhat terrifying — guy has taken out the new record. And he’s found in Australia.</p><p>Known as the Dracula ant, its jaws snaps shut 5000 times quicker than the blink of an eye.</p><p>The speedy critter uses a snapping mechanism to quickly slide its mandibles across each other, similar to a finger snap.</p><p>It sucks the blood of its larvae for food, hence the name, and uses its snap jaw to eat other bugs or to defend itself.</p><p>The Dracula ant is one of at least six lineages of ants that have evolved with power-amplified jaws adapted for high-speed movements.</p><p>Scientists recorded footage of the jaws going from zero to 320km/h in 0.000015 seconds, making it the fastest known animal movement.</p><p>The speed can determine whether it catches food or gets eaten by a predator.</p><p>In a study, published today, scientists said the fastest animal movements incorporate latches and springs into their appendages to overcome muscle power limits.</p><p>“We also discovered that snap-jaw mandible shape is specialized for bending, consistent with their use as a flexible spring,” they said.</p><p>“These results extend our understanding of animal speed and demonstrate how small changes in shape can result in dramatic differences in performance.”</p><p>This particular species is restricted to Australia, tropical Africa and South-East Asia.</p><p>Because of their cryptic habits, they are rare to collect.</p><p>Researchers, led by the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, said they wanted to better understand a gap in the knowledge of animal performance, with detailed information about snap-jaw mechanisms lacking.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>New report says the Titanic was discovered during a top secret mission.</p><p>The man who was behind the mission that discovered the Titanic on the North Atlantic Ocean floor in 1985 has revealed what led to the stunning find.</p><p>Incredibly, the discovery of the doomed ship began as a top secret mission to trick the then Soviet Union into believing US military were hunting sunken liner while they were also looking for two missing nuclear submarines, an explorer claimed.</p><p>Robert Ballard, a former US naval intelligence officer and oceanographer, wanted to search for the Titanic in 1982.</p><p>Mr. Ballard was reportedly in the process of developing his own remote-control underwater vehicle, but was cash-strapped and needed more funding, according to CBS News in the US.</p><p>So he asked the Navy’s Deputy Chief of Operations Ronald Thunman.</p><p>“He said, ‘All my life I’ve wanted to go find the Titanic,’” Mr. Thunman said.</p><p>“I said, ‘Come on, this is a serious, top secret operation. Find the Titanic? That’s crazy!’”</p><p>Mr. Thunman agreed to fund the Titanic expedition on one condition — that Mr. Ballard use the money and the time to also locate two nuclear submarines that went missing in the Atlantic in the 1960s.</p><p>“It was very top secret,” Mr. Ballard recalled.</p><p>The USS Thresher sank in April 1963 during deep-diving tests more than 300 kilometers off the coast of Boston. All 129 crew died.</p><p>Five years later, 99 crewmen died when their submarine, the USS Scorpion, mysteriously disappeared near the Azores, a Portuguese archipelago.</p><p>“So, it was a deal — you’ll let me do what I want to do, if I do what you want to do,” Mr. Ballard told CBS.</p><p>Mr. Ballard also spoke of the somber moment he and his team found the ocean liner’s wreckage.</p><p>“We realized we were dancing on someone’s grave, and we were embarrassed,” Mr. Ballard said.</p><p>“The mood, it was like someone took a wall switch and went click.</p><p>“And we became sober, calm, respectful, and we made a promise to never take anything from that ship, and to treat it with great respect.”</p><p>The Titanic sank to the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean after hitting an iceberg on April 15, 1912. Of the 2200 on board, 1500 people died, including John Jacob Astor, who was one of the richest men in America at the time.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>Living in space didn’t alter an astronaut’s levels of B-cell immunity — the white blood cells that create antibodies to fight off infections. B-cell levels need to be maintained in order to help astronauts fight off disease-causing viruses and bacteria.</p><p>The research will help to inform health decisions — such as when vaccines should be administered — for future astronauts embarking on longer missions through space and, hopefully, eventual missions to Mars.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
round the globe, often with disastrous consequences for the people facing such extremes, according to a study published Wednesday that offered new evidence of climate change’s impacts in the here and now.</p><p>Extreme rainfall, and the extreme lack of it, affects untold numbers of people, taxing economies, disrupting food production, creating unrest and prompting migrations. So, factors that push regions of the world to exceptional levels of flooding and drought can shape the fate of nations.</p><p>“Climate change will likely continue to alter the occurrence of record-breaking wet and dry months in the future,” the study predicts, “with severe consequences for agricultural production and food security.”</p><p>Jascha Lehmann, a scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and the lead author of the study, compared extreme weather events to a high roll of a die. “On average, one out of six times you get a six,” he said. “But by injecting huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, humankind has loaded the dice. In many regions, we throw sixes much more often with severe impacts for society and the environment.”</p><p>While much climate research relies on complex models to make projections, this new work interprets already-observed monthly rainfall data from 50,000 weather stations around the world. “That’s not to say models are not good,” Dr. Lehmann said in an interview, but his observational data “fits what we expect from physics and what models also show.”</p><p>Climate models have long predicted that because of the greenhouse gases human activity has pumped into the atmosphere and the warming that results, the world’s wet regions are likely to grow wetter. Warmer air causes greater evaporation from oceans and waterways, and warmer air can hold more moisture.</p><p>Regions that tend to be dry, by contrast, are expected to grow even more parched as higher temperatures dry the soil and air. “Climate change drives both wet and dry extremes,” Dr. Lehmann said.</p><p>To conduct the study, which appears in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, Dr. Lehmann’s team searched the databases of an authoritative repository of rainfall measurement, the Global Precipitation Climatology Center in Germany. Given natural weather variability, some extreme weather events were to be expected, so the researchers tried to determine how many events would have occurred without the influence of global warming.</p><p>The researchers determined that one-third of the record-dry months recorded in the African regions under study would not have occurred without the influence of climate change.</p><p>The report said that climate change made last year’s drought in the northern Great Plains of the United States and a pounding six-day monsoon in northeast Bangladesh far more likely. Out of 146 research findings in the series of papers, only about 30 percent did not find a substantial link between an extreme event and climate change.</p><p>Stephanie C. Herring, a climate scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and an author of the report, said that, over the years, the attribution work has helped to establish the present-day effects of climate change.</p><p>“We’re taking out that factor of ‘climate change might impact us someday,’ ” she said. “Climate change is impacting us now.”</p><p>The message of the studies is “painfully clear,” said Heidi Cullen, a climate scientist with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. “Burning fossil fuels is making our weather worse right now,” with greater likelihood of deadly heat waves, wildfires, droughts and floods, she said. “And the more we burn coal, oil and gas, the worse it will get.”</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>Say "cheese!" NASA’s InSight Mars Lander has snapped its first selfie from the surface of the Red Planet.</p><p>Using a camera on its robotic arm, the probe took a selfie that is actually a “mosaic” comprised of 11 images. The selfie was taken on Dec. 6.</p><p>The InSight mission, which is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will provide scientists with a wealth of data. By studying Mars’ deep interior, the mission is expected to provide valuable information on the formation of rocky worlds, including Earth.</p><p>"The near-absence of rocks, hills and holes means it'll be extremely safe for our instruments," said InSight's Principal Investigator Bruce Banerdt of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, in the statement. "This might seem like a pretty plain piece of ground if it weren't on Mars, but we're glad to see that."</p><p>The Mars InSight Lander reached the Red Planet on Nov. 26 after an epic journey of more than 300-million miles that lasted six months. Sensors on the Lander recently captured the first-ever “sounds” of Martian wind.</p><p>The United States is the only country to successfully operate a spacecraft on the Martian surface. InSight represents NASA's ninth attempt to put a spacecraft on Mars; only one effort failed.</p><p>Mars looms ever larger in America’s space future.</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>
tream climate science — and embraced Earth-warming fossil fuels — in the second week of the United Nations climate conference in Poland. Those contrarian views emerged even as U.S. government scientists on Tuesday reported that humanity’s actions are driving up temperatures rapidly, with devastating impacts for the Arctic and the rest of the globe.</p><p>Negotiations continued this week among diplomats from 200 nations in the industrial city of Katowice, trying to reach an agreement in which countries commit to greater reductions of greenhouse gases. The U.S. is party to those talks behind closed doors, even as Trump and his representatives question the scientific consensus on global warming.</p><p>America further divorced itself from most other nations on Monday, when it held a panel at the climate talks promoting the long-term burning of coal and natural gas. U.S. officials argued that the carbon fuels are necessary because renewable sources will not provide enough electric power in the short run.</p><p>•Temperatures in the Arctic are increasing at twice the rate of the rest of the globe.</p><p>•Sheet ice continues to decline in Greenland and the rest of the Arctic, where it is thinner and covers less area than in the past.</p><p>•Caribou population dipped, in a two-decade decline that has cut herds nearly in half.</p><p>The impacts might be easy to ignore if they were confined to the Arctic. But the warming of air in the north has disrupted the high-atmosphere jet stream that guides weather systems in the Northern Hemisphere. The result has been “wavier” and slower weather patterns — exacerbating drought, heat waves and wildfires across western North America, while bringing unseasonably cold weather to the Southeast, the report card says.</p><p>“There is less reflectivity from the Arctic, so the planet gets warmer and sea levels rise,” said Rafe Pomerance, chairman of Arctic 21, a network of groups focused on the Arctic and climate change. “The Arctic is shouting that something needs to be done…. But, at the same time, you see the U.S., in particular, lacking direction and political will.”</p><p>The World Wildlife Fund also pointed to the Arctic report as a call to action.</p><p>“Warming temperatures are thawing permafrost and shrinking Arctic sea ice,” Margaret Williams, the WWF's managing director for U.S. Arctic programs, said in a statement. “As leaders meet this week at the U.N. climate talks in Poland, we urge them to run, not crawl, towards reducing emissions and accelerating a clean energy transition. Our Earth, and all species that call it home, depend on it.”</p><p>The climate conference in Katowice continues through Friday. After a week of technical reports, diplomats this week are trying to get the world’s nations to ramp up commitments they made during the 2015 Paris climate summit to reduce greenhouse gases. Much of the debate centers on how stringent oversight and transparency should be, with China and some developing nations saying they do not want to give up too much information about their internal affairs.</p><p>Despite the Trump administration's skepticism of climate change, the U.S. delegation could still push for greater commitments, and transparency, from other governments, according to some experts at the climate talks.</p><p>Pomerance, who participated in climate talks for the State Department in the 1990s, said there is no way to know what kind of progress is being made behind closed doors. “These negotiations tend to use up all the time that is allotted to them,” Pomerance said. “There are still three days to go. That is a lot of time.”</p><p>James Rainey is a reporter for NBC News, based in Los Angeles.</p>
e fossil of the modern epoch may be the leftovers.</p><p>It’s one thing to eat chicken every day. It’s something else to have that on your permanent record, as in the geological record, the remnants of our time that archaeologists or aliens of the future will sift through to determine who we were and how we shaped our world.</p><p>There are about 23 billion chickens on Earth at any given time, at least ten times more than any other bird, forty times the number of sparrows. The second most numerous bird on the planet, at an estimated population of 1.5 billion, is a small creature called the red-billed quelea, sometimes known in its home of sub-Saharan Africa as a feathered locust.</p><p>“We have changed the actual biology of the chicken,” she said.</p><p>The modern broiler chicken, with an average life until slaughter of a scant five to nine weeks, by various estimates, has five times the mass of its ancestor. It has a genetic mutation that makes it eat insatiably so that it gains weight rapidly. It is subject to numerous bone ailments because it has been bred to grow so quickly. And because of its diet — heavy on grains and low on back yard seeds and bugs — its bones have a distinct chemical signature.</p><p>The broiler is also completely dependent on and designed for an industrial system of meat production. It can only live supported by human technology. Eggs are artificially incubated and chicks grow in climate controlled sheds of up to 50,000 chickens, the scientists write. </p><p>The chickens are transported to slaughterhouses at no older than nine weeks (broilers at some farm animal sanctuaries live four years or more) “where most waste products (feathers, manure, blood etc.) are recycled via anaerobic digestion, incineration and rendering into edible byproducts, all technology dependent.” Chicken potpie anyone?</p><p>There is, of course a question about how well all the leftover chicken bones, from the 65 billion or so chickens consumed each year, will be preserved in the fossil record. Bird bones don’t fossilize well. But many chicken bones go to landfills, where they become mummified as much as fossilized. And there are so, so, so many bones.</p><p>The big issue, of course, is what all these chicken bones say about us. </p><p>The essay did not take a position on this question, leaving it up to the reader. “Some people would say this is an amazing technological innovation,” Dr. Bennett said.</p><p>Indeed, Tom Super, a spokesman for the National Chicken Council, an industry group, said that the production of chickens, in the U.S. at least, is a great success “in terms of efficiency, the welfare of the birds and responsibly producing more meat with fewer resources.”</p><p>On the other side, Lori Gruen, a philosophy professor at Wesleyan University and advocate for animal welfare, said that it was “hard to see this human caused transmogrification that purposely disables these birds from birth as something to be proud of.”</p><p>But the single most identifiable and significant biological remnant, these scientists argue, the lasting sign of how we changed the living world, will be the broiler chicken, in its numbers and strangeness. </p>
ritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes. </p><p>Reflecting on the secrecy of the mission, oceanographer and Naval Reserve commanding officer Robert Ballard told the outlet that the goal was to recover the Scorpion, which disappeared beneath the Atlantic in the 1960s along with the Thresher.</p><p>"And so I said, 'Well, let's tell the world I am going after the Titanic,'" Ballard told CBS.</p><p>In 1982, three years before the Titanic’s eventual discovery, Ballard was working on a remotely-operated underwater vehicle, the outlet said.</p><p>However, because he reportedly lacked the necessary grant money, he turned to the Navy for assistance.</p><p>"He said, 'All my life I've wanted to go find the Titanic.' And I was taken aback by that," Deputy Chief of Naval Operations Ronald Thunman told CBS. "I said, 'Come on, this is a serious, top secret operation. Find the Titanic? That's crazy!'"</p><p>Thunman reportedly acquiesced but had one condition: with the money, Ballard also had to locate the two submarines.</p><p>"So, it was a deal – you'll let me do what I want to do, if I do what you want to do," Ballard told CBS of the agreement.</p><p>The Scorpion aspect of the expedition reportedly required more time than anticipated, leaving Ballard with less than two weeks to focus on the Titanic. But the process wound up being beneficial.</p><p>"I learned something from mapping the Scorpion that taught me how to find the Titanic: look for its trail of debris," Ballard told the outlet.</p><p>Ballard reportedly managed to locate the ship in eight days, leaving him just a few more to record what was found.</p><p>And what had at first been an exciting moment, quickly changed, he recalled.</p><p>"We realized we were dancing on someone's grave, and we were embarrassed. The mood, it was like someone took a wall switch and went click. And we became sober, calm, respectful, and we made a promise to never take anything from that ship, and to treat it with great respect."</p><p>This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.</p>