Science

The Winter Triangle

Feb 11, 2020
Celestron Sky Portal App

 

In the past I have talked about the Summer Triangle consisting of three bright stars in the summer sky namely, Deneb, Altair, and Vega. Did you know that there is also a Winter Triangle formed by the three stars, Sirius, Betelgeuse, and Procyon?

Betelgeuse Is Dimming

Feb 5, 2020
Blaine Dickey

 

 


No supernova has been observed in our Milky Way galaxy since the invention of the telescope in 1608. That may be about to change. 

 

J. Willard Marriot Library


Mark Loewen is a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Utah and the Natural History Museum of Utah.

 

Allosaurus jimmadseni had a different skull architecture than the more popular Allosaurus fragilis."

An Allo-what now?

“So Allosaurus is your standard meat eating dinosaur, with a head full of eighty sharp teeth, it’s got three sharp claws on long arms.  Looks a lot like T-rex,” Loewen said.

Venus Near the Young Moon and Neptune

Jan 30, 2020
Brocken Inaglory/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en


Venus has been a prominent bright object in the southwestern skies just after sunset for the past few weeks. 

 

Venus is the third brightest night time object after the Sun and Moon.  

 

Auriga And The Kids

Jan 30, 2020
Sidney Hall

 

 


Back in November, I reported on the rising in the east of the constellation Auriga, a prominent winter constellation that can be seen in the evenings in the Northern Hemisphere. Auriga is a hexagon shaped constellation located just above the easy to spot constellation Orion.  

 

Watch For Orion In January Skies

Jan 14, 2020
Blaine Dickey

 


 

Orion the Hunter is the brightest of the constellations and perhaps the best known. In Greek mythology, Orion is described with his dog Sirius and was known for roaming the underworld holding a bronze club. 

First Flyby Of The Sun Made By NASA Parker Probe

Jan 7, 2020
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Conceptual Image Lab/Adriana Manrique Gutierrez

 


The NASA Parker Solar Probe recently made its first flyby of our Sun. It came within 24 million miles of the Sun’s surface. Try to imagine what it would be like to be that close to the Sun.

New Utah Wildlife Crossings in the Works for 2020

Jan 3, 2020
Utah DWR

During the winter, animals like deer and elk are on the move— migrating to more favorable habitats. Unfortunately, migration routes often cross roads and highways, leading to conflict with humans. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources plans to build more wildlife crossings this year to mitigate these conflicts.

Sirius: Brightest Night Time Star

Jan 2, 2020
Sirius and Pup in the night sky.
NASA, ESA, H. Bond (STScI), and M. Barstow (University of Leicester)

 

 


Of the thousands of stars humans can see at night with our eyes alone, Sirius is the brightest star we can see. 

Sirius is also known as the Dog Star.  It lies at a distance of only 8.6 light years in the constellation Canis Major or the Big Dog. Sirius is the fifth closest star to the Earth and brighter than all of them. 

Moon and Venus Show in Evening Sky

Jan 2, 2020
The Moon and Venus in the night sky.
Abhay Kushwaha, flicker.com

 

 

As the Moon orbits the Earth, the Moon moves eastward away from the Sun in the sky and we see a little more of the sunlit side of the moon each night.  A few days after new moon, the Moon appears as a thin crescent in the western sky just after sunset.   

 

After her daughter asked for a Barbie, University of Utah forest ecologist Nalini Nadkarni decided to re-fashion the iconic dolls as a scientist-explorer in rubber boots rather than high heels. Nadkarni said Barbie-maker Mattel wasn't interested in the idea then, so she decided to redo dolls herself. Last year, Mattel began working to create a new line of scientist Barbies and Nadkarni joined a team of female scientists advising the company.

Sun Reaches Record Sunspot Low

Dec 23, 2019
A picture of the Sun with no sunspots.
Tom Westre

Over the past 300 years, astronomers have learned that the Sun goes through periods of high and low solar activity averaging about 11 years from solar minimum to solar maximum. During this period the Sun produces cooler, darker areas on the surface called sunspots which can be the size of the Earth or much larger. 

A Solstice Vingette on 'Wild About Utah'

Dec 20, 2019
The sun rising over a snowy landscape with pine trees
pixabay.com

 


In the frigid dark of long winter nights, we tell stories—stories of thievery, heroism, and light. Raven, Maui, and Koo-loó-pe, the hummingbird. They are all said to have taken back the sun from too much darkness for their people, and their deeds remain the whispered subjects around campfires that lead up to the winter solstice. I’d like to tell a story of my own about our calendar’s longest, darkest night and our relationship with it.

 

Climate Change And Birds on 'Wild About Utah'

Dec 12, 2019
Irene K-s / Pixabay

On December 14th, I will join several others for an exciting day of counting bird species and numbers in our lovely, snowy valley. The numbers will be entered on a database that will be shared globally.

The 82 Moons Of Saturn

Dec 9, 2019
NASA

On a good clear dark night using a large amateur telescope you should be able to see the six brightest moons of Saturn, namely Titan, Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Rhea and Dione. The other 76 moons are much fainter.

ZooMIN

If a scientist makes a discovery while doing research, they will usually write an academic paper and submit it to a scientific journal. If the paper makes it through peer review, it’s published. For many scientists, the onus to communicate their discovery ends there. But more researchers are thinking that's not enough.

Pixabay

Preliminary results from a new survey suggest that the majority of people think interruptions from technology are harmful to their family. Technoference occurs when technology interferes with human interactions and relationships.

Sky and Telescope

As the month of November ends the planets Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon will put on a spectacular show in the southwestern evening sky just after sunset. 

Apollo 12 NASA

November 24 was the 50th anniversary of the landing of Apollo 12, NASA’s 2nd moon-landing.  Apollo 12 landed on the moons Ocean of Storms.   The Lunar Module lander was flown by Pete Conrad and Alan Bean.  The command module pilot Richard Gordon, orbited the moon taking photographs. 

Not All Birds Fly South For The Winter

Nov 25, 2019
PublicDomainImages / Pixaby

Most of our songbirds have taken their songs and headed south. Even robins and meadowlarks have ceased their lovely melodies that carried well into the fall months. But there are a few noteworthy choristers that have remained - Townsend solitaires and N. American dippers. 

DESI Collaboration; Legacy Surveys; NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

 

The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, known as DESI, was made to sensitively measure pockets of dark energy and gauge their distances from the earth. This began when post doctoral researchers like Sarah Eftekharzadeh at the University of Utah decided photos of the galaxy weren’t enough. 

Early This Sunday Morning Is The Leonid Meteor Shower

Nov 15, 2019
Celestron Sky Portal

The Leonid Meteor shower will occur in the early morning hours of Sunday, November 17, 2019. Every 33 years this shower produces an extraordinary display. On November 17, 1966 many thousands of meteors showered down from the sky. It was estimated that the meteors fell that night at a rate of 25,000 per hour. Unfortunately, while my dad and brother were enjoying this spectacle in the sky, I was sound asleep in my bed.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources / Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

Salt Lake City, the northern Wasatch Front, and the Uinta Basin all had high concentrations of ground-level ozone this year. When it occurs in the upper atmosphere, ozone is good for organisms because it blocks harmful UV rays. But when it occurs at ground level, ozone harms plants and animals by burning the tissues they use to breathe. 

Jeff Meldrum is Professor of Anatomy and Anthropology at Idaho State University. He is author of “Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science.” He is a leading expert on Bigfoot or Sasquatch, or the term he prefers: “Relict Hominoid.” He says “...[I]t is one matter to address the theoretical possibility of a relict species of hominoid in North America, and the obligate shift in paradigm to accommodate it, but there must also be something substantial to place within that revised framework.

https://www.cs.utah.edu/birth-of-the-internet/


When was the last time you thought about a time before internet? It wasn’t that long ago, only 50 years since the first message was sent between computers at the University of Califonia, Los Angeles and the Stanford Research Institute.

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