Science

This Fall Is A Perfect Time To View Saturn

Sep 20, 2019

The night sky is full of wonderful nighttime observing objects.  From galaxies, nebula, star clusters, double stars, comets and planets.  The sky is a wonderful way to spend the evening with a telescope.

The focus of this best of Access Utah is science.  Tom William's guest for the day is Matthew LaPlante, associate professor of journalism at USU and host of Undisciplined, which airs Friday's at 2pm on UPR.  We hear excerpts from Access Utah interviews with Timothy Winegard, author of "The Mosquito," and Wayne Wurtsbaugh, Professor emeritus of watershed science, where we discuss the Great Salt Lake.

Before Trees, We Had Giant Mushrooms

Sep 12, 2019
Efraimstochter / Pixabay

Yes, trees are the answer. But they owe their magnificence to a less-known life form that has long intrigued me. Long before trees overtook the land, earth was covered by giant mushrooms 24-feet tall and three feet wide. 

Building The Thirty-Meter International Telescope

Sep 12, 2019

When I was younger, the largest telescope in the world was the 200 inch Hale Telescope located on Palomar Mountain in Southern California. At the time it was considered that a telescope with a 200 inch mirror was about the largest practical size that any telescope could be built. It was the largest telescope in the world for over 45 years.

An Eye-Witness Account Of The Perseid Meteor Shower

Sep 12, 2019
nps.gov

Last month I spoke about the Perseid Meteor Shower that was about to peak on the night of August 11 and the morning of August 12.

A new study looking at year-to-year snowpack in the western US found that back-to-back low snow years will be more frequent if the world continues along the business-as-usual emissions trajectory.

Each summer a familiar shape appears high in the eastern sky that is worth taking a look at. Three bright stars form a large easy to see V shape in the sky called the Summer Triangle. Each bright star of the Summer Triangle is also associated with a well-known constellation that is easy to recognize.

My recent investigation into the history of smallpox and measles provided strong evidence that the vaccines for these diseases are safe and effective; 93 to 97% effective in the case of the measles vaccine. However, some diseases are harder to prevent with vaccines.

Kristen Murphy / Deseret News

Dr. Mathieu Francoeur, a professor and mechanical engineer at the University of Utah, has created a tiny device that could increase the efficiency of all of our electronics. 

The Annual Perseid Meteor Shower is now underway and is predicted to reach its peak on the early morning of Tuesday, August 13. During the meteor shower an average of 60 meteors per hour can be seen. Many of them are bright, leaving trails across the sky. They can be seen radiating like spokes of a wheel from a central point in the constellation Perseus. Fireballs are often associated with this meteor shower.

'Wildflower Hunting' on Wild About Utah

Aug 2, 2019
Shalayne Smith-Needham

Sunrise at Tony Grove. It’s beauty comes from all directions at once and gives this place an air one can’t help but breathe deep.

Wikipedia

When you look up at a clear, dark night sky without any light pollution, you should be able to see as many as 2,000 or more stars.  That is a small portion of the 200 billion stars that make up our Milky Way Galaxy.  

Wikipedia

Our Milky Way galaxy contains at least 200 billion stars and is thought to be at least 100,000 lightyears in diameter.  For amateur astronomers, globular clusters are one of the most favorite objects to observe.  These are giant spherical collections of stars that orbit just outside our Milky Way galaxy.  

'The Colorado Plateau' on Wild About Utah

Jul 26, 2019
National Parks Service

If you have ever been to a museum you have witnessed historical items that may be hundreds, or thousands of years old.  When we look outdoors at the natural geology of our planet earth, we may be witnessing things that are hundreds of thousands, or even millions of years old.

Bureau of Land Management

As wildfires are becoming larger and more frequent across the nation, scientists are interested in the potential impacts smoke emissions may have on the atmosphere and air quality. 

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The one constant through all the years has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steam rollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of the past. It reminds us of all that was once good and that could be again.”

'The Unpredictability Of Water' on Wild About Utah

Jul 19, 2019
Pixabay

“There isn’t a mathematical formula to describe how water moves here. It’s just impossible to predict,” he told me. 

Bats are important parts of many ecosystems. Collectively they consume literal tons of flying insects, including the mosquitoes that spread diseases like West Nile, which was recently found in Moab. We have 18 species of bats across the state of Utah, but they may be under threat of a deadly disease.

_ChrisUK / Flickr

Utah State University’s Synthetic Spider Silk Laboratory is using CRISPR technology to edit the DNA of silkworms in order to increase the strength and elasticity of their silk. Their DNA will contain strands from silk spiders, who are known for their incredibly strong silk. 

Apollo 11 Moon Landing's 50th Anniversary

Jul 17, 2019
NASA

On July 20, 1969 two Americans, Commander Neil Armstrong and Lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle on the moon. Six hours later Armstrong was the first person to step onto the lunar surface. At that historic moment he spoke the famous words, “That’s one small step for man, One giant leap for mankind.” 

Gabriel Ugueto

If you have ever traveled to southeastern Utah, you may have noticed a greenish-colored rock formation sandwiched between the monumental red rocks. This green mudstone is part of the Morrison Formation, a distinct rock layer spread across the western United States. 

Total Eclipse Of The Moon

Jul 9, 2019

On January 20th of this year we experienced a total eclipse of the moon in Cache Valley. Unfortunately it was mostly cloudy and quite cold that evening so you may not have made the effort to look. But fortunately there were enough breaks in the clouds that some amateur astronomers including myself were able to take images of it.

'Living In Snake Country – Six Things To Consider' on Wild About Utah

Jul 5, 2019
Ana Meister / Pixabay

Summer is here.  People will be using the great outdoors more often, and that includes the many tourists who have discovered Utah’s beauty and diversity.  Caution is always needed when traveling in wild country, and today I refer to an article titled Living in Snake Country-Six Things to Consider written by Terry Messmer, Utah State University Extension wildlife specialist. 

NASA

When a person looks through my telescope at the moon, I often hear comments something like, wow that’s amazing or you have to come and see this! When you look at the moon with the naked eye about all you can see are some gray and white markings on the surface of the moon but little else. That experience completely changes when you look at the moon through a quality telescope.

Zach Gompert / iNaturalist

Utah State University biology professors wants to engage the community with a unique citizen science project aiming to explore interactions between insects and alfalfa plants. 

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