Topic: Indian Ocean
Pasadena, CA – Near Earth Asteroids, or NEAs, pass by our home planet all the time. But an SUV-size asteroid set the record this past weekend for coming closer to Earth than any other known NEA: It passed 1,830 miles (2,950 kilometers) above the southern Indian Ocean on Sunday, August 15th at 11:08pm CT (Saturday, August 15th at 9:08pm PDT).
At roughly 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters) across, asteroid 2020 QG is very small by asteroid standards: If it had actually been on an impact trajectory, it would likely have become a fireball as it broke up in Earth’s atmosphere, which happens several times a year.
Pasadena, CA – NASA says that a speck of light will streak across the sky, getting brighter and faster on April 13th, 2029. At one point it will travel more than the width of the full Moon within a minute and it will get as bright as the stars in the Little Dipper.
But it won’t be a satellite or an airplane – it will be a 1,100-foot-wide (340-meter-wide) near-Earth asteroid called 99942 Apophis that will cruise harmlessly by Earth, about 19,000 miles (31,000 kilometers) above the surface. That’s within the distance that some of our spacecraft that orbit Earth.
The international asteroid research community couldn’t be more excited.
Washington, D.C. – NASA says that after its capture on April 19th, 2019 at 4:28am CDT, the Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft was bolted into place on the International Space Station’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 6:31am At the time of installation, Cygnus was flying 255 miles above the Indian Ocean just south of Singapore.
Cygnus will remain at the space station until July 23rd, when the spacecraft will depart the station, deploy NanoRacks customer CubeSats, then have an extended mission of nine months before it will dispose of several tons of trash during a fiery reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.
Washington, D.C. – A boulder-sized asteroid designated 2018 LA was discovered Saturday morning, June 2nd, 2018 and was determined to be on a collision course with Earth, with impact just hours away.
Because it was very faint, the asteroid was estimated to be only about 6 feet (2 meters) across, which is small enough that it was expected to safely disintegrate in Earth’s atmosphere. Saturday’s asteroid was first discovered by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey, located near Tucson and operated by the University of Arizona.
Written by Alan Buis
Pasadena, CA – A new multi-institutional study of the temporary slowdown in the global average surface temperature warming trend observed between 1998 and 2013 concludes the phenomenon represented a redistribution of energy within the Earth system, with Earth’s ocean absorbing the extra heat.
The phenomenon was referred to by some as the “global warming hiatus.” Global average surface temperature, measured by satellites and direct observations, is considered a key indicator of climate change.
Written by Alan Buis
Pasadena, CA – A new NASA study of ocean temperature measurements shows that in recent years, extra heat from greenhouse gases has been trapped in the waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans. Researchers say this shifting pattern of ocean heat accounts for the slowdown in the global surface temperature trend observed during the past decade.
Researchers Veronica Nieves, Josh Willis and Bill Patzert of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, found a specific layer of the Indian and Pacific oceans between 300 and 1,000 feet (100 and 300 meters) below the surface has been accumulating more heat than previously recognized.
Chikungunya Virus Disease Spread by Bites
Nashville, TN – The Tennessee Department of Health is reminding vacation and business travelers about the importance of protecting themselves from mosquitoes that may transmit chikungunya virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue.
The first confirmed case of chikungunya virus disease in Tennessee occurred in 2014; since then 42 additional cases have been documented, all involving travel outside the state.
Nashville, TN – The Tennessee Department of Health is investigating the first potential cases of chikungunya in the state. Multiple people from Tennessee recently traveled to the Caribbean, where the illness is now a widespread epidemic with over 100,000 suspected cases.
Some of the recent travelers from Tennessee now have symptoms of the illness.
Pasadena, CA – By analyzing the distinctive cracks lining the icy face of Europa, NASA scientists found evidence that this moon of Jupiter likely spun around a tilted axis at some point.
Europa’s tilt could influence calculations of how much of the moon’s history is recorded in its frozen shell, how much heat is generated by tides in its ocean, and even how long the ocean has been liquid.
Written by Dauna Coulter
Pasadena, CA – For the first half of this year’s winter, the big news was warm temperatures and lack of snow. Ski resorts were covered in bare dirt, while January temperatures in southern California topped July highs.
Then, out of the blue, Europe got clobbered: Over the past two weeks, temperatures in Eastern Europe have nose-dived to -30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit). Blizzards and the bone-chilling cold have resulted in the deaths of over 550 people so far, with rooftop-high snow drifts trapping tens of thousands of villagers in their homes and cutting off access to entire towns. It has even snowed as far south as North Africa.
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