Follow this lightning storm halfway across the US to the East Coast

❝ Watch a huge lightning storm move across the eastern USA. The huge storm caused much damage and unfortunately some loss of life for people in its path.

❝ Seen from space, the lightning is seen as momentary flashes in the featured time-lapse video recorded last month by the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) aboard the GOES-16 satellite. The outline of North America is most evident during the day, while the bright lightning strikes are most evident at night

The video shows that much of the lightning occurred at the leading edge of the huge tail of the swirling storm. Because lightning frequently precedes a storm’s most violent impact, lightning data from GLM holds promise to help reduce the harm to humans from future storms.

Thanks, UrsaRodinia

Couple of quick iPhotos


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1st walk, this morning, I grab a quick snap of this bunny out front. Didn’t even notice the bull snake till I went to crop and edit. Don’t see many out towards the road. We figure he’s new. Then…


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Ready to step out the door for another walk after our morning coffee break, look who’s cruising by the doorstep! Damned near came in the dog door. Still looking for a place to settle, I guess.

NASA Satellite Camera records Flashes of Light From Earth


Click to enlarge — Sun glints off stmospheric ice crystals – circled in red

❝ One million miles from Earth, a NASA camera is capturing unexpected flashes of light reflecting off our planet. The homeward-facing instrument on NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory, or DSCOVR, launched in 2015, caught hundreds of these flashes over the span of a year. As keen observers from outside NASA wrote in, questioning the source of these lights, scientists deciphered the tiny cause to the big reflections: high-altitude, horizontally oriented ice crystals…

Investigating the flashes, Alexander Marshak and his colleagues found that similar reflections from our pale blue dot caught the attention of astronomer Carl Sagan in 1993. Sagan was looking at images taken by the Galileo spacecraft, which launched in 1989 to study Jupiter and its moons. During one if its gravitational-assist swings around Earth, Galileo turned its instruments on this planet and collected data. Sagan and his colleagues used that to test a key question: Whether spacecraft could detect signatures of life from afar…

But when the scientists took another took a look at the Galileo images, they saw something Sagan and his colleagues apparently missed — bright flashes of light over land as well as over water. And those flashes appeared in the EPIC images as well. As the contact listed on the website that posts all EPIC images, Marshak started getting emails from people curious about what the flashes were.

❝ Instead, he and his colleagues Tamas Varnai of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and Alexander Kostinski of Michigan Technological University, thought of water elsewhere in the Earth system: ice particles high in the atmosphere. The scientists conducted a series of experiments, detailed in a new paper published in Geophysical Research Letters, to confirm the cause of the distant flashes…

Another feature of the EPIC data helped confirm that the flashes were from a high altitude, not simply water on the ground…”The source of the flashes is definitely not on the ground. It’s definitely ice, and most likely solar reflection off of horizontally oriented particles,” Marshak said.

Gotta love science. Though, I imagine any of the flavors of conspiracy nutball might have explanations more titillating than high altitude ice crystals.

Photos of a hurricane on Saturn from the Cassini Spacecraft

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has survived an unprecedented trip between Saturn and its rings, and has amazing pictures to show for it.

Flight controllers regained contact with Cassini on Thursday, a day after it became the first craft to cross this hazardous region. The rings are made up of countless icy particles, any of which could have smacked Cassini. The spacecraft’s big dish antenna served as a shield as it hurtled through the narrow gap, temporarily cutting off communications….

Twenty-one more crossings are planned — about one a week — before Cassini’s fatal plunge in mid-September. The next one is Tuesday (2nd May). Some of those passages will bring Cassini even closer to the planet as well as the innermost D ring. The gap between the rings and the top of Saturn’s atmosphere is between 1,200 and 1,500 miles across (1,900 to 2,400 kilometers).

Watch for it. Stay in touch with NASA.

Yum!


Click to enlargeSteve Chao/Al Jazeera

Once the most iconic symbol of animals threatened with extinction, pandas were taken off the endangered list in 2016 by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Surveys suggest the wild population has increased to more than 1800. But China continues to give them the highest level of protection.

Thanks, Tom