Giant isopods are typically found in the cold, deep waters of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. They have uniramous thoracic legs arranged in seven pairs, the first of which is modified into maxillipeds to manipulate and bring food to the four sets of jaws. A newly released video shows these creatures feasting on the corpse of an alligator, without having any issues breaking through its scaly skin. “They have this amazing ability to gorge themselves, store that energy and then basically not have another meal for months to years afterwards,” said Craig McClain of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. Read more for the video and additional information.
Google Maps is known for its “ichnographic,” or flattened out plan, where all buildings and their features appear perfectly perpendicular to a single, aerial viewpoint, thus enabling users to grasp a city’s entire layout, relative to its environs and the cardinal directions. Today, creating these maps aren’t too difficult, but Leonardo da Vinci managed to make one of Imola, Italy way back in 1502. Read more for a video showing how he did it.
SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy is currently the world’s most powerful operational rocket, and today, it launched its first commercial mission from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center in a key demonstration for CEO Elon Musk who hopes to land lucrative military launch contracts in the future. The booster carried Arabsat-6A, a 13,000-pound Saudi telecommunications satellite designed to provide television, internet and mobile phone service to the Middle East, Africa and Europe, into orbit. Read more for the launch and to see the three boosters land back on Earth.
NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover, which landed in 2012, came equipped with eclipse glasses, or to be more specific, solar filters on its Mast Camera (Mastcam) that enable it to stare directly at the Sun. These past few weeks Curiosity has used these filters and transmitted some amazing imagery of solar eclipses caused by Phobos and Deimos, Mars’ two moons. Phobos, which is as wide as 16 miles across, was photographed on March 26, 2019, while Deimos, which is as wide as 10 miles across, was captured on March 17, 2019. Read more for two videos and additional information.
Using a global network of telescopes, known as the “Event Horizon Telescope”, an international scientific team on Wednesday revealed a milestone in astrophysics – the first-ever real photo of a black hole – in an achievement that confirmed a pillar of science put forth by Albert Einstein more than 100-years-ago. The image you see above was made possible using data collected in April 2017 from eight radio telescopes in six locations that created a planet-sized observational dish. Their observations strongly validated the theory of general relativity proposed in 1915 by Einstein, which is used to explain the laws of gravity and their relation to other natural forces. Read more for two videos and additional information.
Photo credit: Lights Over Lapland
For those who either live in northern Norway or have been watching a webcam, some bizarre dancing blue lights may have appeared in the sky this past week, and it’s not extraterrestrial. NASA was conducting The Auroral Zone Upwelling Rocket Experiment (AZURE), with the first one having being launched and seven more planned, that aims to study the patterns of solar winds. What caused the light show? The rocket released harmless gases into the atmosphere, or trimethylaluminum and a mixture of barium and strontium to be more specific, for researchers to study the paths of particles in the Earth’s ionosphere. Read more for two videos and additional information.
Solar wind, a stream of charged particles released from the upper atmosphere of the Sun, is nothing new, but sometimes, they can get a bit crazy. How so? Well, as the underlying plasma grows hotter, it becomes denser, and erupts from the sun as lava lamp-inspired dark blobs capable of swallowing entire planets for minutes or hours at a time. They’re officially called “periodic density structures,” but have earned the nickname “the blobs” from astronomers, and rightfully so. “They look like the blobs in a lava lamp. Only they are hundreds of times larger than the Earth,” said Nicholeen Viall, a research astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center to Live Science. Read more for a video and additional information.
The Weather Channel is back at it again, and their latest immersive mixed reality video is definitely no slouch. This segment, hosted by meteorologist Jen Carfagno, begins with a virtual recreation of Charleston, South Carolina in the year 2100. You see the city’s flooded streets, a billboard advertising the 2086 elections, and then the remains of the city. You’re then transported to Jakobshavn Glacier in Greenland way back in 1851. Read more for the video and additional information.
Astronomers announced that they will be releasing the first-ever photo of a black hole, which are collapsed stars with gravity so strong that even light cannot escape their grasp, on Wednesday. What will you see? Possibly a dark mass surrounded by a ring of bright light to mark the event horizon, or the edge of a black hole where light can’t escape. The images are coming from the Event Horizon Telescope, a collection of telescopes in Chile, Hawaii, Arizona, Mexico, Spain and at the South Pole, designed specifically to peer at black holes. Read more for a video and additional information.
Johannesburg-based photographer Cory Schmitz managed to capture a rare Saturn occultation, or to be more specific, an event that occurs when one object is hidden by another object that passes between it and the observer. Missed this one? Well, you’re in luck, as the Moon will pass in front of Saturn for every lunar month in 2019. “The raw view through my planetary imaging telescope from South Africa of the Saturn conjunction and occultation by Earth’s moon,” said Cory. Read more for the video and additional information.