Connect with us

Technology

Draconid meteor shower peaks this week with around five shooting stars every hour

Published

on

draconid meteor shower peaks this week with around five shooting stars every hour

The Draconid meteor shower will reach its peak this week, with an estimated five shooting stars visible in the night sky every hour by Wednesday evening. 

The annual ‘show’ happens as the Earth passes through debris left behind by icy comet Giacobini-Zinner as it broke up when its orbit brought it closer to the Sun.

Tiny meteors made from the fragments of the comet burn up as the enter the Earth’s atmosphere – streaking across the night sky as ‘shooting stars’.

Unlike most meteor showers, the Draconids are best viewed in the evening, just after nightfall, and can vary from a few per hour to hundreds – this week will likely see just a handful of meteors streak across the sky every hour on Wednesday evening. 

The display will be most visible in the Northern Hemisphere and is best viewed shortly after dusk, in clear skies and away from sources of light pollution. 

Unlike other meteor showers, the Draconids are best viewed in the evening just after sunset and the meteors fly in all directions of the sky. Finding an area with clear, cloud free skies and low light pollution is recommended

Unlike other meteor showers, the Draconids are best viewed in the evening just after sunset and the meteors fly in all directions of the sky. Finding an area with clear, cloud free skies and low light pollution is recommended 

The Draconid meteor shower, pictured here in 2011 over Spain, will continue to be visible this year from across the US and the UK tonight and will continue on until Thursday

The Draconid meteor shower, pictured here in 2011 over Spain, will continue to be visible this year from across the US and the UK tonight and will continue on until Thursday

Weather will be the biggest hindrance to a good view of the showers – a cloudy sky will reduce the visibility significantly.

According to the UK Met Office, the forecast for Wednesday evening, when the shower reaches its peak, is variable – with some scattered showers and cloud cover. 

Comet Giacobini–Zinner lays down fresh pieces of debris every 6.6 years as it passes on its orbit through the inner solar system, and the meteors come when Earth passes through this regularly topped up debris field. 

‘Most years, we pass through gaps between filaments, maybe just grazing one or two as we go by,’ explained Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office.

‘Occasionally, though, we hit one nearly head on — and the fireworks begin.’

As the meteors made of ice and dust enter our atmosphere, they begin to burn up — putting on a light show for viewers but meaning that most never reach the ground. 

The shower takes its name from the constellation of Draco, from where in the night sky they seem to originate.

If you want to trace the radiant point of the shower – it can be spotted lying above the Big Dipper and Polaris, the North Star, however the meteors spread everywhere.

The Draconids are best viewed from the Northern Hemisphere in the early evening — just a few hours after dusk  – 18:00 in the UK, 18:30 in the US.

To get the best possible view find a place with clear skies and far from sources of light pollution like big cities.

The best places to see meteors — and many other astronomical phenomena — are so called ‘dark sky preserves’, which include the UK’s Brecon Beacons and Exmoor and Galloway Forest national parks.

The light show is made by tiny meteors — fragments of an icy comet, pictured, that breaks up as its orbit brings it close to the Sun — burning up as they enter Earth's atmosphere

The light show is made by tiny meteors — fragments of an icy comet, pictured, that breaks up as its orbit brings it close to the Sun — burning up as they enter Earth’s atmosphere

Astronomers advise lying on your back and using your eyes – no telescopes or binoculars – to watch a shower, as you want to see as much of the sky as possible.  

NASA also recommends giving your eyes time to adjust to the dark – so going outside half an hour before the shower is due to start.

‘Try to stay off of your phone too, as looking at devices with bright screens will negatively affect your night vision and hence reduce the number of meteors you see,’ the space agency wrote in a blog.

The size of the Draconid shower is dependant on the nature of the Earth’s passage through the comet’s debris-filled wake.

The shower takes its name from the constellation of Draco, from where in the night sky they seem to originate, which can be spotted lying above the Big Dipper and Polaris, the North Star

The shower takes its name from the constellation of Draco, from where in the night sky they seem to originate, which can be spotted lying above the Big Dipper and Polaris, the North Star

Greater levels of activity occur when traversing denser parts of the stream, astronomers say, and lower levels when passing lighter parts of the field.

This year no more than between five and ten meteors are expected per hour. 

Thousands of meteors were seen each hour from the Draconids in 1933 and 1946, for example, a spectacle that astronomers placed among the most impressive meteor storms of the 20th Century.

Normally, however, the Draconids put on a relatively modest display in comparison to other periodic meteor showers. 

‘The most important thing you need to know about the Draconids is that they are kind of an all-or-nothing meteor shower,’ Dr Cooke added.

‘They either produce spectacular outbursts or meteor storms, or you would never know they were there.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Technology

SpaceX aims to build a Starlink mega constellation around MARS

Published

on

By

spacex aims to build a starlink mega constellation around mars

Elon Musk has an ambitious plan to build a city of one million people on Mars and believes SpaceX’s Starlink satellites will play a key role in the mission.

The company’s president and COO Gwynee Shotwell recently shared details with TIMEmagazine about bringing this technology to the Red Planet.

‘Once we take people to Mars, they are going to need a capability to communicate,’ says Shotwell.

‘In fact, I think it will be even more critical to have a constellation like Starlink around Mars.’

Not only will the satellites beam internet to those living on Mars, but the team will act as a bridge for the planet to communicate with Earth.

Although SpaceX has its sights set on Mars, Shotwell said they are not giving up one Earth – it is to give ‘humanity another shot in case there were to be some horrible event’ on our planet.

Scroll down for videos 

Elon Musk has an ambitious plan to build a city of one million people on Mars (pictured) and believes SpaceX’s Starlink satellites will play a key role in the mission

Elon Musk has an ambitious plan to build a city of one million people on Mars (pictured) and believes SpaceX’s Starlink satellites will play a key role in the mission

‘Elon founded this company with the entire purpose of building a space transportation capability that would allow humans to move to other planets,’ Shotwell says in the interview.

‘I remember when I was interviewing with Elon in 2002 and he had such an ambitious goal, it sounded absolutely insane at the time.’

‘Now almost 20 years later, it doesn’t actually sound that insane. Well at least not to the insiders.’

Musk has had his heart set on colonizing Mars for many years and is not shy about how he plans to make it happen.

This past January, he was aiming to put a million people on the Red Planet by 2050. He planned for three flights a day – or 1,000 flights a year – with 100 people on each one.

And in 2017, the tech tycoon had the idea to send two cargo ships to Mars in 2022, followed by four other vessels – two with cargo and two with human settlers in 2024.

‘I want you to understand that we are not giving up on Earth when we talk about building capability to move humanity to other planets,’ Shotwell explains in the interview.

‘It’s not giving up on Earth, it’s actually just giving humanity another shot in case there were to be some horrible event.’

Along with Starlink, SpaceX’s Starship rocket is also a key player in humans becoming an inter-planetary species.

Not only will the satellites beam internet to those living on Mars, but the team will act as a bridge for the planet to communicate with Earth (pictured is a concept image of the Starlink constellation around Earth)

Not only will the satellites beam internet to those living on Mars, but the team will act as a bridge for the planet to communicate with Earth (pictured is a concept image of the Starlink constellation around Earth)

Musk has had his heart set on colonizing Mars for many years and is not shy about how he plans to make it happen. This past January, he was aiming to put a million people on the Red Planet by 2050. He planned for three flights a day - or 1,000 flights a year - with 100 people on each one

Musk has had his heart set on colonizing Mars for many years and is not shy about how he plans to make it happen. This past January, he was aiming to put a million people on the Red Planet by 2050. He planned for three flights a day – or 1,000 flights a year – with 100 people on each one

Musk shared the craft’s progress during the virtual Humans to Mars Summit last month, saying the rocket ‘is making progresses,’ but also raised concerns about building a base on the planet.

Musk suggested constructing a self-sustaining city will be ‘difficult’ and there will be a number of dangers settlers may face while developing the galactic civilization.

‘I want to emphasize, this is a very hard and dangerous and difficult thing,’ Musk said.

Along with Starlink, SpaceX’s Starship rocket is also a key player in humans becoming an inter-planetary species

Along with Starlink, SpaceX’s Starship rocket is also a key player in humans becoming an inter-planetary species

‘Not for the faint of heart. Good chance you’ll die. And it’s going to be tough, tough going, but it’ll be pretty glorious if it works out.’

Although Musk has painted a picture of humans on Mars, he has stated in the past that he himself may never make it due to SpaceX’s lack of progress.

‘We’ve got to improve our rate of innovation or, based on past trends, I am definitely going to be dead before Mars,’ Musk said during a discussion in March.

ELON MUSK’S SPACEX SET TO BRING BROADBAND INTERNET TO THE WORLD WITH ITS STARLINK CONSTELLATION OF SATELLITES

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has launched the fifth batch of its ‘Starlink’ space internet satellites – taking the total to 300.

They form a constellation of thousands of satellites, designed to provide low-cost broadband internet service from low Earth orbit.

The constellation, informally known as Starlink, and under development at SpaceX’s facilities in Redmond, Washington.

Its goal is to beam superfast internet into your home from space.

While satellite internet has been around for a while, it has suffered from high latency and unreliable connections.

Starlink is different. SpaceX says putting a ‘constellation’ of satellites in low earth orbit would provide high-speed, cable-like internet all over the world.

The billionaire’s company wants to create the global system to help it generate more cash.

Musk has previously said the venture could give three billion people who currently do not have access to the internet a cheap way of getting online.

It could also help fund a future city on Mars.

Helping humanity reach the red planet is one of Musk’s long-stated aims and was what inspired him to start SpaceX.

The company recently filed plans with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch 4,425 satellites into orbit above the Earth – three times as many that are currently in operation.

‘Once fully deployed, the SpaceX system will pass over virtually all parts of the Earth’s surface and therefore, in principle, have the ability to provide ubiquitous global service,’ the firm said.

‘Every point on the Earth’s surface will see, at all times, a SpaceX satellite.’

The network will provide internet access to the US and the rest of the world, it added.

It is expected to take more than five years and $9.8 billion (£7.1bn) of investment, although satellite internet has proved an expensive market in the past and analysts expect the final bill will be higher.

Musk compared the project to ‘rebuilding the internet in space’, as it would reduce reliance on the existing network of undersea fibre-optic cables which criss-cross the planet.

In the US, the FCC welcomed the scheme as a way to provide internet connections to more people.

Advertisement

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

Continue Reading

Technology

New ‘super-white’ paint reflects 95.5% of light off buildings and may replace air conditioners

Published

on

By

new super white paint reflects 95 5 of light off buildings and may replace air conditioners

Scientists say they have created a new super-white paint that reflects 95.5 percent of the sunlight that hits it. 

The new acrylic, developed at Perdue University, remains significantly cooler than the surrounding temperature in both daytime and at night. 

The team designed the paint with calcium carbonate fillers to minimize the amount of ultraviolet light the paint absorbs, instead of standard titanium dioxide particles. 

Researchers say and could be used to keep buildings cooler naturally, helping to lessen climate change caused by air-conditioning and other cooling technology.

Scroll down for video

A new super-white paint developed at Purdue university (right) reflects 95.5 percent of sunlight and remains cooler than the surrounding temperature both at night and when the sun is at its peak

A new super-white paint developed at Purdue university (right) reflects 95.5 percent of sunlight and remains cooler than the surrounding temperature both at night and when the sun is at its peak

A new super-white paint developed at Purdue university (right) reflects 95.5 percent of sunlight and remains cooler than the surrounding temperature both at night and when the sun is at its peak

To develop a commercially viable paint that cools passively, Xiulin Ruan, a professor at Purdue’s School of Mechanical Engineering used calcium carbonate fillers to minimize the amount of ultraviolet light the paint absorbs.

During testing, the new acrylic remained 10 degrees C below the surrounding temperature at night and at least 1.7 degrees C lower when the sun was at its peak.

Other ‘heat-rejecting’ white paints only reflect about 80 to 90 percent of visible light and can’t achieve lower-than-ambient temperatures.   

The calcium carbonate-based acrylic outperformed commercial paint when examined under infrared, according to a study published this month in Cell Reports Physical Science.  

The new acrylic could be used to keep buildings cool naturally. 'This paint may even be used to combat climate change since it rejects sunlight and radiates heat into space,' says Xiulin Ruan (left), professor at Purdue's School of Mechanical Engineering

The new acrylic could be used to keep buildings cool naturally. 'This paint may even be used to combat climate change since it rejects sunlight and radiates heat into space,' says Xiulin Ruan (left), professor at Purdue's School of Mechanical Engineering

The new acrylic could be used to keep buildings cool naturally. ‘This paint may even be used to combat climate change since it rejects sunlight and radiates heat into space,’ says Xiulin Ruan (left), professor at Purdue’s School of Mechanical Engineering

‘Our paint is compatible with the manufacturing process of commercial paint, and the cost may be comparable or even lower,’ says Ruan. ‘The key is to ensure the reliability of the paint so that it is viable in long-term outdoor applications.’

Ruan says the paint has many applications, including preventing outdoor telecommunications equipment from overheating.

‘This paint may even be used to combat climate change since it rejects sunlight and radiates heat into space,’ Ruan said in a statement.

The calcium carbonate-based acrylic outperformed other ' heat-rejecting' white paints when examined under infrared, and was the only one to achieve lower-than-ambient temperatures

The calcium carbonate-based acrylic outperformed other ' heat-rejecting' white paints when examined under infrared, and was the only one to achieve lower-than-ambient temperatures

The calcium carbonate-based acrylic outperformed other ‘ heat-rejecting’ white paints when examined under infrared, and was the only one to achieve lower-than-ambient temperatures

His team will continue testing the substance to gauge its resistance to dust, water, detergent and other substances.

Other researchers eager to claim the ‘whitest white’ have looked at polar bear fur and the wings of the Cyphochilus beetle.

Across the board, competition to create vibrant unique colors is intense.

Chemical engineer Walter Liew is serving a 15 years sentence for stealing Dupont’s recipe for an exclusive titanium white process.

T-Mobile has sued small businesses for using magenta, which it claims it has a trademark on, and art supply manufacturer Daniel Smith bought the last remaining stock of Quinacridone gold in 2001.

In 2014, artist Anish Kapoor arranged an exclusive license to use Vantablack, then considered the ‘blackest black’ paint on the market.

Other artists criticized Kapoor for monopolizing the inky hue and painter Stuart Semple developed ‘Pinkest Pink’ and ‘Blackest Black,’ welcoming anyone but Kapoor to buy them.

In 2019, researchers from MIT covered a $2 million diamond with what they claimed was the 'blackest black' known to man

In 2019, researchers from MIT covered a $2 million diamond with what they claimed was the 'blackest black' known to man

In 2019, researchers from MIT covered a $2 million diamond with what they claimed was the ‘blackest black’ known to man

‘I’ve been calling out sh—y elitist behavior of color criminals because nobody should be able to own colour!’ he told Fad magazine.

In April, Semple announced he had created ‘the whitest white’ paint, which reflects up to 99.6 percent of visible light. 

He’s still refining White 2.0, but promises he’ll make it available to anyone who’s not a ‘color criminal.’   

Last year, scientists from MIT announced they had developed the ‘blackest material ever made.’

It absorbs 99.995 percent of light, compared to Vantablack, the previous ‘blackest black,’ which absorbs 99.965 percent of light.

To demonstrate the unnamed substance’s opacity, researchers covered a $2 million diamond with it, transforming the precious gem into a flat, black void. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

Continue Reading

Technology

African crocodiles lived in Mediterranean 6 million years ago

Published

on

By

african crocodiles lived in mediterranean 6 million years ago

Ancient crocodiles from Africa swam across the Mediterranean to live in Spanish coastal waters, a new study claims. 

Scientists have described fossils of two crocs measuring about 10 feet (3 metres) in length that likely dispersed across the Mediterranean Basin multiple times and colonised both Spain and Italy around five million years ago.

Analysis of their cranial bones, isolated teeth and osteoderms – bone plaque on the skin – suggests that they belong to the species crocodylus checchiai, from ancient Libya and Kenya in Africa. 

Their remains were excavated in Venta del Moro near Valencia, Spain between 1995 and 2006 but are only now described in the Journal of Paleontology  

Fossils at this Valencian site are the first belonging to the crocodylus genus ever found in the Iberian Peninsula – the landmass consisting of Spain and Portugal. 

They ‘unequivocally’ support the theory that crocodylus dispersed from Africa to Europe during the late Miocene period about six million years ago, according to the palaeontologists.   

A crocodile next to a mastodon of the genus Anancus and primitive horses of the genus Hipparion in a similar environment to what could have been Valencia six million years ago

A crocodile next to a mastodon of the genus Anancus and primitive horses of the genus Hipparion in a similar environment to what could have been Valencia six million years ago

‘Our comparisons indicate that this material clearly does not belong to diplocynodon or tomistoma – the only two other crocodylians described so far for the European late Miocene period,’ said Angel Hernández Luján at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and his team. 

‘It is likely that this late Miocene species, originally described from Libya and later identified also in Kenya, could have dispersed across the Mediterranean Basin multiple times and colonised the southern areas of Mediterranean Europe.

‘What is most certain is that it would have also inhabited the coasts of Murcia and Andalusia, although we cannot rule out that it would also have become dispersed along the coast of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. 

Millions of years ago, several species of crocodiles of different genera and characteristics inhabited Europe and sometimes even coexisted. 

But it was thought unlikely that crocodiles of the genus crocodylus, which is of African origin, had ever lived in the Mediterranean basin.  

Artist's impression of the extinct species crocodylus checchiai, which is known to originate in Africa, although remains have been identified in Europe

Artist’s impression of the extinct species crocodylus checchiai, which is known to originate in Africa, although remains have been identified in Europe

The details fossils of two crocodiles discovered in the Valencian Venta del Moro site in Spain - excavated by researchers from the University of Valencia between 1995 and 2006

The details fossils of two crocodiles discovered in the Valencian Venta del Moro site in Spain – excavated by researchers from the University of Valencia between 1995 and 2006

Not only do the remains discovered in the study disprove this, but the discovery of two partial individuals instead of one could indicate that a whole population was present in this area.

During their ‘colonisation’, the reptiles spread in the southern areas of the Med, as suggested by Italian areas where the fossils have also previously been found – in Gargano, Tuscany and Scontrone – over the last few decades. 

European localities with late Miocene crocodilians, including Venta del Moro, were at the time close to the northern Mediterranean coast and were therefore easily accessible from the seawater.

Photos and line drawings of crocodylian skull remains from Venta del Moro. Analysis of the cranial bones, isolated teeth and osteoderms (bone plaque on the skin) suggests that they could belong to the crocodylus checchiai species

Photos and line drawings of crocodylian skull remains from Venta del Moro. Analysis of the cranial bones, isolated teeth and osteoderms (bone plaque on the skin) suggests that they could belong to the crocodylus checchiai species

This idea would be supported by the behaviour of modern crocodiles, which are good swimmers and can even reach 19 miles per hour (32 km per hour) in the water. 

An example of this is the current saltwater crocodile (crocodylus porosus), which can make significant forays into the open sea to colonise other islands or other continents between Oceania and South-East Asia. 

‘You only have to look at how easily it moves in the open sea to be seen in the waters of the Solomon Islands or even in French Polynesia,’ says the palaeontologist.

More images from the research paper. Images one to four show the right suprangular (jaw bone) five to 12 show teeth, 13 to 16 show joints, 17 to 20 vertebrae and 21 to 22 osteoderm - scaly deposits

More images from the research paper. Images one to four show the right suprangular (jaw bone) five to 12 show teeth, 13 to 16 show joints, 17 to 20 vertebrae and 21 to 22 osteoderm – scaly deposits 

 Because of its anatomical similarity to American crocodiles, the extinct species crocodylus checchiai could be the ancestor of the modern saltwater species

This suggests that crocodiles were able to cross the Atlantic Ocean during the Miocene period, which would explain the appearance of the genus in America.

Therefore, in the case of the specimens found in Venta del Moro, swimming from the African to the European continent ‘must not have meant a great effort for them before they reached the peninsula,’ the researcher concludes.    

Researchers admitted the remains of the two specimens are too fragmented for a convulsive identification as being of the crocodylus checchiai species. 

But the morphology of the Venta del Moro crocodile ‘remains is congruent with the crocodylus genus,’ the researchers state. 

WHAT WAS THE TIMELINE OF CROCODILE EVOLUTION? 

250,000,000 BC -Xilousuchus

Three feet long. 5-10lbs. Lived in the swamps of eastern Asia. Ate small animals. Ridge of fan-like ‘sails’ on their back. Split off into pre-historic crocodiles and early dinosaurs. 

228,000,000 BC – Phytosaur

Alive during the early Jurassic period. Most related to crocodilians. Herbivores. Looked much like modern day crocodiles – except their nostrils were located on the top of their head rather than the tops of their snout.

200,000,000 BC – Erpetosuchus

Bipedal. Didn’t resemble modern crocodiles in behaviour or body shape except the shape of their head. 

110,000,000 BC – Sarcosuchus 

Middle Cretaceous period. 40ft long. 10-15 tons. Ate dinosaurs and fish. Lived in the rivers of Africa. Odd protrusion on it’s snout. Looked and behaved like it’s modern decedents, but it was twice as long and about 10 times as heavy. 

100,000 BC – Stomatosuchus 

36 ft. long. ten tons. Ate plankton and krill with its high pelican-like jaw. 

80,000,000 BC – Beinosuchus

Greek for terrible crocodile. Lived in the rivers of North America. About 33 ft long and 10 tons. They had a 6ft. long skull. Fed on fish, shell fish, and land creatures. Evidence in fossils suggests that they attacked large North American tyrannosaurs.

70,000,000 BC – Champsosaurus  

Five ft long, 25-50 pounds, ate fish, and lived in the rivers of North America and western Europe. Long narrow profile and a tooth studded snout. Survived the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event that killed off three-quarters of the plant and animal species on Earth – including the dinosaurs.

65,000,000 BC – Cretaceous-Paleogene Extinction Event

Non-avian dinosaurs were wiped out and more than half the world’s species were obliterated. This mass extinction paved the way for the rise of mammals and the appearance of humans. 

55,000,000 BC – Crocodylidae (Modern day crocodile)

The modern day crocodile – including the saltwater, Nile, and American variants – spread throughout the world. Though it looks prehistoric, it is a highly evolved and complex organism that is a successful predator.

23,000,00 BC – Quinkana

Nine feet long, 500 pounds. Consumed red meat in woodlands. Long curved teeth and long legs, unlike modern croc’s short legs. These crocodiles continuously get smaller because of environmental changes.

4,200,000 BC – Crocodylus thorbjarnarsoni

This is a very close relative of the modern day crocodile. Large skull and small raised rim in front of the eyes. Likely prayed on early humans. Lived in the Turkana basin in Kenya. Could be the largest known true crocodile.

Advertisement

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 DiazHub.