Science

Thursday, December 27, 2018

North Coast Night Lights: The Changing Milky Way

Posted By on Thu, Dec 27, 2018 at 10:58 AM

On Feb. 21, 2018, the Galactic Core (I think of it in capitals) rose at 02:57AM, appearing just a little south of east. By 05:00 when I photographed it, it was 18º above the horizon, and the dawn would soon chase it away. The streaks of light in this self portrait are from my light as I walked up the hill during the exposure. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • On Feb. 21, 2018, the Galactic Core (I think of it in capitals) rose at 02:57AM, appearing just a little south of east. By 05:00 when I photographed it, it was 18º above the horizon, and the dawn would soon chase it away. The streaks of light in this self portrait are from my light as I walked up the hill during the exposure.
I think many people take the night sky for granted, not realizing all that is happening in our view. It’s the night sky, what is there to think about, right? When the weather is clear, it is full of stars, there is a moon, which is probably full or else it’s a crescent, and maybe the Milky Way. Oh, and some of those stars could be planets. And, hey look, isn’t that the Big Dipper? But as I have been photographing and observing the heavens, my own appreciation has grown.


Admittedly, I’m no authority on the subject of astronomy. But my nighttime photographs do serve as studies of the sky. And, though, while taking them my thoughts are mostly on the aesthetics of the shot, examining the images I’ve taken over the last year does reveal to me some of the ways our night sky changes through the months and seasons.

In particular, the portion of the Milky Way that we can see shifts dramatically through the year as Earth’s night side — our window to the stars — changes its angle of view night by night in our journey around the sun.
By mid-May, catching the Milky Way’s core is no longer an early morning activity. Its position above the horizon a little after 10 p.m.is similar to where it was in February at 5 a.m. This photograph is from somewhere on Monument Road outside of Rio Dell with model Morgan Crowl, May 14, 2018. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • By mid-May, catching the Milky Way’s core is no longer an early morning activity. Its position above the horizon a little after 10 p.m.is similar to where it was in February at 5 a.m. This photograph is from somewhere on Monument Road outside of Rio Dell with model Morgan Crowl, May 14, 2018.


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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Mysterious Light in the Sky and Smoke Trail Likely a Meteor

Posted By on Wed, Dec 19, 2018 at 8:11 PM

Residents across California watched what may have been a meteor streak across the sky on Wednesday night. - PHOTO BY STEVE HENCZ
  • Photo by Steve Hencz
  • Residents across California watched what may have been a meteor streak across the sky on Wednesday night.
A mysterious light and what appeared be smoke trailing behind it blazed across the sky around 5:40 p.m. Residents of the North Coast as well as people in Reno, the Bay Area and beyond spotted the bright light followed by a curvy tail of smoke. Several sent us photos and video.

Many at first thought this was the Delta IV rocket Launch that had been scheduled at 5:44 p.m. but it had been cancelled due to a hydrogen leak. News organizations and scientists scrambled to explain what had happened.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

A Gift of Glasses: Three Eureka Men See the World in a New Hue (Video)

Posted By on Wed, Dec 12, 2018 at 12:43 PM

Aaron Cole smiles as he watches Eric Boardman, Eric Headstrom and Brendan Hartsell experience color as they never have before. - SAM ARMANINO
  • Sam Armanino
  • Aaron Cole smiles as he watches Eric Boardman, Eric Headstrom and Brendan Hartsell experience color as they never have before.
When Brendan Hartsell put on the red-tinted EnChroma glasses for the first time, he didn’t say a word. He simply looked around — first down at the green bushes nearest to him then at a pair of blue and pink balloons tied to a sign. A nervous grinned spread over his face.

Hartsell was one of three Eureka residents who gathered at Cole Family Eye Care on Tuesday to try out and take home the specially engineered lenses which allow people whose eyes overlap the hues of red and green to see clearer, more vibrant colors

“Any immediate responses?” optometrist Aaron Cole asked after the group donned the glasses in front of him as they appeared to be taking in all of the new shades of the world. 
What a colorblind person sees with the glasses and without. - ENCHROMA
  • EnChroma
  • What a colorblind person sees with the glasses and without.

Seeing the difference - Sam Armanino from Sam Armanino on Vimeo.


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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Things are About to Get Wet Outside

Posted By on Tue, Nov 20, 2018 at 12:45 PM

rainreturns.png
After a mild beginning to the fall season, things are about to get wet. Really, really wet. And, maybe, a bit loud as well.

The National Weather Service is predicting the first storm system will hit late tonight and continue into the morning hours with the possibility of coastal thunderstorms Wednesday afternoon into Thanksgiving morning.

According to the Eureka office’s hydrologic outlook, the region will potentially see “heavy rainfall and strong south winds" Thursday afternoon into Friday, with amount totals of 2 to 4 inches likely.

“River flooding is not expected,” the outlook states. “However, heavy rainfall may cause small streams and low-lying urban areas to flood.”

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

SECOND UPDATE: Warning Issued on Dungeness Crab After Testing Shows Toxin

Posted By on Thu, Oct 25, 2018 at 10:21 AM

As crab season nears, domoic acid raises its ugly head. - C. JUHASZ/CDFW WEBSITE
  • C. Juhasz/CDFW website
  • As crab season nears, domoic acid raises its ugly head.
SECOND UPDATE:
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has “enacted a delay” of the recreational Dungeness crab season for areas stretching from Patrick’s Point to the Oregon border due to “unhealthy levels” of domoic acid.

UPDATE: The California Department of Public health is now warning the public against eating Dungeness crab caught from Patrick’s Point near Trinidad to the Oregon border due to elevated levels of domoic acid.

“Dangerous levels of domoic acid have been detected in the body meat and internal organs of Dungeness crab from this region,” the release states. “Cooking crabs neither decreases nor destroys the toxin.”

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, or OEHHA, in consultation with CDPH, is now recommending a delay in the opening of the recreational crab season in these areas. The season was slated to begin Nov. 5.

PREVIOUS:

The most recent round of domoic acid testing in Dungeness crab shows a few “hot spots” of elevated test levels, including samplings off Trinidad and George Reef in Del Norte County.

California Department of Public Health results of the six samples taken at those locations between late September and early this month show elevated levels were found in varying degrees. One location in the Bay Area, Bodega Bay, also showed higher domoic acid levels while San Francisco, Half Moon Bay, Monterey and Morro Bay sectors tested clear.

Domoic acid, as most of us will remember, all but destroyed the 2015 season. This year’s recreational season is currently slated to start Nov. 3 with the commercial season opening on Nov. 15.


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Sunday, October 7, 2018

SpaceX's Falcon 9 Rocket Spotted in North Coast Skies

Posted By on Sun, Oct 7, 2018 at 8:49 PM

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket as seen from the North Coast. - SUBMITTED
  • submitted
  • SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket as seen from the North Coast.

Three readers reported seeing an unusual light in the southern skies. Most likely this is related to the SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket which launched around 7:30 p.m. Pacific time.

According to Ars Technica:

After it separated from the second stage, the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket arrested its forward movement, and began falling back toward Earth. It, too, found success in landing at a new site north of Los Angeles. This marked the first time a Falcon 9 rocket had landed on the West Coast, and was SpaceX’s 30th landing of a first stage overall.

The National Weather Service's webcam set up in Kneeland also caught a glimpse of the rocket:

We’d love to see any photos that you managed to get. Please upload them in the comment section.

Editor's note: This story first appeared on www.kymkemp.com and is reposted here with permission.
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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Flash Flood Watch Issued for Mendocino Complex Burn Scar

Posted By on Wed, Oct 3, 2018 at 2:08 PM

NWS
  • NWS

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch, in effect until 7 p.m., for areas impacted by the Mendocino Complex fire.

According to the NWS, scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms could produce “intense rainfall that may cause debris flows and flash flooding in these areas."

In Mendocino County, Cold Creek along State Route 20 is most at risk. For a detail hazard map, visit here. The Mendocino Complex, the largest wildfire in California history with more than 400,000 acres burned, was contained last month.

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Thursday, September 6, 2018

UPDATE: Delta Fire Explodes in Size: Closure of I-5 Impacting SR 299

Posted By on Thu, Sep 6, 2018 at 12:19 PM

Delta Fire closes down a stretch of I-5. - CHP
  • CHP
  • Delta Fire closes down a stretch of I-5.
UPDATE:
CHP in Redding posted on Facebook that there is currently no estimated time for Interstate 5 to reopen, reiterating that the agency understands the importance of the roadway but public safety is its No. 1 priority.

“At this time, we do not have an estimated time of opening. There are several debris in the roadway which have to be removed, bridges to inspect, guardrail to repair, signs to inspect,” the post states. “Please know we are trying our hardest. We want to ensure it is safe to open before it is opened to traffic.”

PREVIOUSLY:
The rapidly growing Delta Fire reportedly began yesterday just before 1 p.m. as three separate fires near the Vollmers exit on Interstate 5 at the north end of Shasta Lake. The fires combined into an inferno that burned quickly over a large area – 15,294 acres as of this morning.

With a 45-mile stretch of Interstate 5 shut down on the northbound side from Fawndale Road north of Redding and southbound at Mott Road, north of Dunsmuir, due to the blaze, Caltrans is cautioning drivers to expect heavier than normal traffic on State Route 299 between Weaverville and Redding.

For up-to-date traffic information, visit http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov.

InciWeb reports that fire behavior was extreme “with rapid rates of spread up to one mile per hour…observed. The fire front was up to three miles wide on the northern side with approximately 300-foot flame lengths.”

Jefferson Public Radio report that residents in the area are posting photos of a pyrocumulus cloud — also known as a fire cloud — which can create a turbulent atmosphere inside that results in a self-generated thunderstorm. A similar phenomenon occurred in the Carr Fire, which would go on to spawn a massive fire whirl that killed a firefighter and caused a swath of damage with winds up to 165 miles and a base the size of three-football fields.


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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

North Coast Night Lights: Beach Bonfire, Meteor and Milky Way

Posted By on Wed, Aug 22, 2018 at 1:09 PM

Looking south from Tepona Point on the night of Aug. 11, 2018.
  • Looking south from Tepona Point on the night of Aug. 11, 2018.
The Perseid meteor shower has come and gone, peaking last weekend on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 11 and 12. On the night of the 11th, my brother and I set out to Tepona Point, along Scenic Drive south of Trinidad, hopeful of capturing some of the terrestrial beauty of the North Coast beneath Perseid meteors and the celestial wonders of our night sky. Mars, Saturn and Jupiter were with us above, and arcing across everything was the Milky Way.

We were treated early to a gorgeous night, though it had been mostly overcast during the week prior. At night, the steep stairs and slim trail out to the tip of the point felt extremely narrow, particularly with darkness falling away on either side to the crashing surf far below. It would be a terrible time for an earthquake, I thought as we negotiated the narrows. When we finally stood at the tip of the jutting outcrop of Tepona Point, the Pacific Ocean pounded on the rocks on three sides of us.

The waves rolled and broke as they normally would, but in the photograph the ocean appears completely smooth. The 30-second exposure I used allowed the wave motion to average out to the silky surface you see here, another instance of the camera seeing the world differently in low light from the way we see it. Our eyes could only dimly see the waves below, lively with the incoming tide.


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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Report Finds Firefighter Killed in Carr Fire Tornado; Smoke Impacts Continue

Posted By on Thu, Aug 16, 2018 at 12:21 PM

Aftermath of the Carr Fire "fire whirl." - CALFIRE/NWS
  • Calfire/NWS
  • Aftermath of the Carr Fire "fire whirl."
With wildfires continuing to scorch the West, the resulting smoke is continuing to have an impact on air quality in Humboldt County that ranges from good to unhealthy depending on the area.

The deadly Carr Fire to the east has burned nearly 215,000 acres and killed at least eight people, including a Redding firefighter who a recent report says died after becoming engulfed in a tornado of fire, according to multiple media reports.

A San Francisco Chronicle story detailing Calfire’s report on Jeremiah “Jeremy” Stoke’s death states the 37 year old was overcome by a massive fire whirl with winds up to 165 miles and a base the size of three-football fields.


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