A Timeline of Earth’s Average Temperature #climatechange

From XKCD:

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Aurora Borealis from SPACE #HiDef #ISS #beauty

The current election climate in the U.S. has gotten me all annoyed and depressed. Sometimes it’s worthwhile to take a step back and appreciate the beauty in our planet. THANK YOU International Space Station for capturing this Ultra-High Definition time lapse of an Aurora Borealis from space. More details here. Enjoy!

Fairy Circles have been found in Australia! #cool #weirdscience

This is just cool! Smithsonian Mag does a good job summarizing:

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The highly regular spacing of fairy circles in Australia becomes visible in dense vegetation. The grasses in the foreground of the image are patchy as they are rebounding from fire. (Brad Howe, Heliwest Group)

Mysterious Fairy Circles Have Been Found in Western Australia
Once thought to exist only in Namibia, circles spotted 6,200 miles away are helping sort out how these odd features form

smithsonian.com
March 14, 2016
In certain spots, the Namibian plain looks like a scene from a Dr. Seuss book—large, regularly spaced circles dot an otherwise grassy landscape, the red dirt glaring like a beacon against the pale tufts of grass. Guesses about how these bizarre formations came to be range from the practical to the fanciful: underground gas, termites, radiation, dragons and giants.

Whimsically dubbed fairy circles, the strange shapes had only been spotted in Namibia—until now. This week scientists report their appearance roughly 6,200 miles away in the desolate outback of Western Australia. The discovery is already helping scientists tease through the mystery behind these natural patterns.

Scientists from many fields have previously tackled the perplexing question using mathematics, biology, ecology and entomology. Recently the debate has homed in on two theories: Either termites killed rings of plants by munching on their roots, or the grass self-organized to best take advantage of resources in the harsh desert landscape.

The discovery of fairy circles in Australia, described this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, now has the team leaning strongly towards the answer of self-organization.

“Water is limited, and because water is limited it cannot sustain a continuous vegetation coverage,” explains lead author Stephan Getzin at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ in Germany. So “we have gaps and other patterns like labyrinths and stripes or even spots.”

Continue reading

#Spacewalk ends early for British Astronaut Tim Peak

As the first astronaut from the European Space Agency (representing Britain), Tim Peak’s spacewalk had to end early due to a leak in his helmet. From the Guardian:

Britain’s first European Space Agency astronaut began his maiden spacewalk shortly before 1pm on Friday as the orbiting station soared 250 miles above Australia. By the time he returned inside, he had circled the planet at least three times and witnessed six stunning sunsets or sunrises.

Emerging from the Quest airlock into the darkness of Earth’s shadow, Peake joined Nasa’s Tim Kopra for more than four hours of challenging work. Under the direction of ground staff in Houston, the astronauts overcame snagged tethers, a brief carbon dioxide scare, and a torn glove before the day was done.

But there was one glitch the astronauts could not solve on the fly. A water leak into Kopra’s helmet forced Nasa controllers to abort the spacewalk two hours early. The men were ordered inside, having completed their main task, but leaving others undone. The incident echoed a more serious situation in July 2013 when European astronaut Luca Parmitano had a sudden rush of water leak into his helmet.

Luckily, the astronauts made it safely back to the ISS, and Astronaut Tim Peake is in good spirits:

The moment was hardly lost on him. As Tim Peake clambered out of theInternational Space Station he nodded to the union flag emblazoned on his shoulder. To wear the patch was, he said, “a huge privilege, and a proud moment”.

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A shot of Tim Peake outside the International Space Station with the Earth in the background, taken from Tim Kopra’s helmet camera. Photograph: NASA

 

Watch the Chilean volcano send shockwaves through the atmosphere #VolcanOMG

When Chile’s Calbuco volcano blew its lid on Wednesday afternoon, the eruption sent shockwaves rippling through the Earth’s upper atmosphere, like a rock thrown into a pond.  More info on Mashable. Nature is COOL and terrifying!

Tomorrow is Earth Day! Celebrate by sharing #NoPlaceLikeHome pictures with @NASA

[tweet https://twitter.com/NASA/status/590534712256499712]

There are (so far) 1,800 known planets beyond our solar system, but among all of them, there’s no place like Earth. This Earth Day, April 22, NASA is asking you to share pictures and video of your favorite places on Earth using social media – and tag them #NoPlaceLikeHome.

More info here at NASA.gov.