Environmental News Network

  • New data on distant galaxy numbers
    There may be far fewer galaxies further out in the Universe then might be expected, suggests a new study based on simulations conducted using the Blue Waters supercomputer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, with resulting data transferred to SDSC Cloud at the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego, for future analysis. The study, published this week in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, shows the first results from the Renaissance Simulations, a suite of extremely high-resolution adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) calculations of high redshift galaxy formation. Moreover, these simulations show hundreds of well-resolved galaxies, allowing researchers to make several novel and verifiable predictions ahead of the October 2018 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), a new space observatory that succeeds the Hubble Space Telescope. 
  • Can we grow plants in space?
    A Purdue University study shows that targeting plants with red and blue LEDs provides energy-efficient lighting in contained environments, a finding that could advance the development of crop-growth modules for space exploration.
  • Extremely high coastal erosion in northern Alaska
    In a new study published today, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey found that the remote northern Alaska coast has some of the highest shoreline erosion rates in the world.Analyzing over half a century of shoreline change data, scientists found the pattern is extremely variable with most of the coast retreating at rates of more than 1 meter a year.  “Coastal erosion along the Arctic coast of Alaska is threatening Native Alaskan villages, sensitive ecosystems, energy and defense related infrastructure, and large tracts of Native Alaskan, State, and Federally managed land,” said Suzette Kimball, acting director of the USGS.
  • Researcher Discovers Groundwater Modeling Breakthrough
    A University of Wyoming professor has made a discovery that answers a nearly 100-year-old question about water movement, with implications for agriculture, hydrology, climate science and other fields.
  • Where the Wild Things Aren't: Cats Avoid Places Coyotes Roam
    Domestic cats might be determined hunters, but they stick mostly to residential areas instead of venturing into parks and protected areas where coyotes roam. That’s the key finding from a North Carolina State University analysis of more than 2,100 sites – the first large-scale study of free-ranging cats in the U.S. published in the Journal of Mammalogy.Why is it important to know where 74 million pet cats spend their time away from home?
  • The super sense you didn't know you had
    An experiment originally designed to test the visual abilities of octopuses and cuttlefish has given University of Bristol researchers an unprecedented insight into the human ability to perceive polarized light – the super sense that most of us don’t even know we have. We are all familiar with colour and brightness, but there is a third property of light, the ‘polarization’, which tells us the orientation in which the light waves are oscillating. Dr Shelby Temple, a Research Associate from the Ecology of Vision Group in Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences and one of the study’s lead authors said: “Imagine a skipping rope represents a light wave travelling through space.  If you move the rope from side to side, the wave you make is horizontally polarized.  If you shake the rope up and down you create a vertically polarized wave. Generally, light is a mixture of polarizations, but sometimes – for example in parts of the sky, on your computer screen and in reflections from water or glass – a large percentage of the waves are oscillating in the same orientation and the light is strongly polarized.”
  • Today's Extra Second Explained
    The day will officially be a bit longer than usual on Tuesday, June 30, 2015, because an extra second, or "leap" second, will be added. "Earth's rotation is gradually slowing down a bit, so leap seconds are a way to account for that," said Daniel MacMillan of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Strictly speaking, a day lasts 86,400 seconds. That is the case, according to the time standard that people use in their daily lives - Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC. UTC is "atomic time" - the duration of one second is based on extremely predictable electromagnetic transitions in atoms of cesium. These transitions are so reliable that the cesium clock is accurate to one second in 1,400,000 years.

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