09/20/2014

Discussing Weekend Rain Chances...

The last weekend of summer is here and it will sure feel like it! Southerly breezes bring along a bit of humidity and highs in the mid 80's. If you have any outdoor plans today, it looks mainly dry but a sneaky shower is possible in a couple spots. Clouds spill in during the evening hours as a cold front drives into the Ohio Valley...

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It will run out of gas by the time it gets here meaning showers and storms are only possible for some. Many spots will miss out on the rain, and this is the only chance we have for the next week. Let’s take a look at future radar to get a rough idea of the exact timing. A handful of weakening storms will enter Southern Indiana around 10-12 pm. They will slide southeast and fade way as we get closer to sunrise...

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Clouds and showers will be possible Sunday morning as the cold front slides through. It will be drier and brighter by the afternoon as the rain exits and sunrise returns. Cooler air moves back in for the official start to the fall season. Dress for a chilly morning on Monday as lows dip into the 50’s and 40’s. Despite a good deal of sun, highs will only make it into the 60’s and low 70’s by the afternoon.

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Enjoy the weekend!

 

-Rick DeLuca

Rick

 

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09/19/2014

Image Of The Day: The Black Dragonfish

Idiacanthus atlanticus, more commonly known as the black dragonfish, belongs to the Stomiidae family. They are found circumglobally in southern subtropical and temperate oceans between latitudes 25°S and 60°S, at depths down to 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). As with many deep sea creatures, these bioluminescent fish have photophores that can produce light. Length can be  up to 53 centimetres (21 in) for the female, but only 5 centimetres (2.0 in) for the male.

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Image Courtesy: Wiki

Another difference between males and females (aside from size) is that they look remarkably different from each other. Females have barbels on their chin and fang-like teeth. Males do not have either one of those features, and they also lack a functional digestive system! Due to a lack of nutrition, male black dragonfish only live long enough to mate.

 

-Rick DeLuca

Rick

 

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Weather Blog: Megalodon Is A Mega Shark

From Jude Redfield...

    I saw this photo on twitter today submitted by Earth Pics. Megalodon is a giant shark that once existed. (Some debate that a few still exist today)  This is a drawing of what it would look like if you encountered one.  Read below for the top 10 facts about this creature and watch the Discovery channel video below of what they say might prove it is still out there.

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1. Megalodon's teeth were about 7 inches long...

Megalodon didn't earn its name ("giant tooth") for nothing. The teeth of this prehistoric shark were over half a foot long, serrated, and heart-shaped (by comparison, the biggest teeth of a Great White Shark are only about three inches long). You have to go back 65 million years--to none other than Tyrannosaurus Rex--to find a creature with consistently bigger choppers, though the canines of some saber-toothed cats also measured up.

2. ...and were once described as "tongue stones."

Because sharks are constantly shedding their teeth--thousands and thousands over the course of a lifetime--Megalodon teeth have been found all over the world, from antiquity to modern times. It was only in the 17th century that a court physician named Nicholas Steno identified peasants' prized "tongue stones" as shark teeth; for this reason, some experts describe Steno as the world's first paleontologist!

3. Megalodon had the most powerful bite of any creature that ever lived.

In 2008, a joint research team from Australia and the U.S. used computer simulations to calculate Megalodon's biting power. The results can only be described as terrifying: whereas a modern Great White Shark chomps with about 1.8 tons of force (and a lion with a wimpy 600 pounds or so), Megalodon chowed down on its prey with a force of between 10.8 and 18.2 tons--enough to crush the skull of a prehistoric whale as easily as a grape.

4. Megalodon may have grown to a length of over 60 feet...

Since Megalodon is known from thousands of teeth but only a few scattered bones, its exact size has been a matter of debate. Over the past century, paleontologists have come up with estimates (based mainly on tooth size and analogy with modern Great White Sharks) ranging from 40 to 100 feet, but the consensus today is that adults were 55 to 60 feet long and weighed as much as 100 tons--and some superannuated individuals may have been even bigger. (See 10 Things Megalodon Could Swallow Whole)

5. ...which made it much bigger than prehistoric reptiles like Liopleurodon.

The ocean's natural buoyancy allows "top predators" to grow to massive sizes, but none were more massive than Megalodon. The giant aquatic reptiles of the Mesozoic Era, like Liopleurodon and Kronosaurus, "only" attained weights of 30 or 40 tons, and a modern Great White Shark can only aspire to a relatively puny 3 tons. The only marine animal to outclass Megalodon is the blue whale, individuals of which have been known to weigh well over 100 tons.

6. Megalodon lunched on giant whales...

Although the bigger-than-Megalodon blue whale is technically a carnivore, it feeds mostly on tiny krill. Megalodon had a diet more befitting an apex predator, feasting on the prehistoric whales that swam the earth's oceans during the Pliocene and Miocene epochs, but also chowing down on dolphins, squids, fish, and even giant turtles (whose shells, as tough as they were, couldn't hold up against 10 tons of biting force). Megalodon may even have attacked the giant whale Leviathan; see Megalodon vs. Leviathan - Who Wins? for an analysis of this epic battle.

7. ...and may have disabled them by biting off their fins.

According to at least one analysis, Megalodon's hunting style differed from that of modern Great White Sharks. Whereas Great Whites dive straight toward their prey's soft tissue (say, a carelessly exposed underbelly), Megalodon's teeth were suited to biting through tough cartilage, and there's some evidence that it may have first sheared off its victim's fins (rendering it unable to swim away) before lunging in for the final kill.

8. Megalodon's closest living relative is the Great White Shark.

Technically, Megalodon is known as Carcharodon megalodon--meaning it's a species (Megalodon) of a larger genus (Carcharodon). Also technically, the modern Great White Shark is known as Carcharodon carcharias, meaning it belongs to the same genus as Megalodon. However, not all paleontologists agree with this identification, claiming that Megalodon and the Great White arrived at their striking similarities via the process of convergent evolution.

9. Megalodon fossils have been found all over the world.

Unlike some marine predators of prehistoric times--which were restricted to the coastlines or inland rivers and lakes of certain continents--Megalodon had a truly global distribution, terrorizing whales in warm-water oceans all over the world. Apparently, the only thing keeping adult Megalodons from venturing too far toward solid land was their enormous size, which would have beached them as helplessly as 16th-century Spanish galleons.

10. No one knows why Megalodon went extinct.

So Megalodon was huge, relentless, and the apex predator of the Pliocene and Miocene epochs. What went wrong? Well, there's no lack of theories: Megalodon may have been doomed by global cooling (which culminated in the last Ice Age), or by the gradual disappearance of the giant whales that constituted the bulk of its diet. (By the way, some people think Megalodons still lurk in the ocean's depths, as detailed in the Discovery Channel special Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives, but there's absolutely no reputable evidence to support this. See this review for more about this made-up "documentary.")

 

**WATCH VIDEO LINK BELOW**

Discovery Channels Possible Evidence Megalodon Still Exists

 

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09/18/2014

Amazing Image: The Rainbow Eucalyptus...

Eucalyptus deglupta is a tall tree, commonly known as the rainbow eucalyptus, Mindanao gum, or rainbow gum. It is the only Eucalyptus species found naturally in the Northern Hemisphere. Its natural distribution spans New Britain, New Guinea, Ceram, Sulawesi, and Mindanao...

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Image Courtesy: Wiki

The unique multi-hued bark is the most distinctive feature of the tree. Patches of outer bark are shed annually at different times, showing a bright green inner bark. This then darkens and matures to give blue, purple, orange and then maroon tones...

Video Courtesy: johankoss1

In the present day this tree is grown widely around the world in tree plantations, mainly for pulpwood used in making white paper! Interesting, right?

 

-Rick DeLuca

Rick

 

https://www.facebook.com/RickDeLucaWeather

 

09/17/2014

Image Of The Day: Volcanic Lightning...

A lightning bolt is nature's way of balancing charge distribution. We commonly observe this phenoma during thunderstorms, but it can also occur during volcanic eruptions!  

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Image Courtesy: Oliver Spalt

Electrical charges are generated when rock fragments, ash, and ice particles in a volcanic plume collide. Regular thunderstorms are fueled by moisture-rich environments, but due to the massive amounts of solid material, volcanic activity creates dirty thunderstorms!

The video below is truly one of a kind. Capturing a volcanic eruption is impressive, however, this video takes it to another level by adding lightning AND a vortex into the mix! 

 

Video Courtesy: CenterStudyVolcanoes

 

-Rick DeLuca

 

Rick

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VIDEO: The Jellyfish Flames in Space!

Astronauts have recently completed a series of tests on flames in the presence of zero gravity onboard the International Space Station.  Here are their surprising findings...

 

Jellyfish Flame on the International Space Station presented by Science at NASA.

We all know that fire is inanimate, but anyone staring into a flame could be excused for thinking otherwise: Fire dances and swirls. It reproduces, consumes matter, and produces waste.  It needs oxygen to survive.  In short, fire is uncannily lifelike.

Nowhere is this more true than onboard a spaceship.  Unlike flames on Earth, which have a tear-drop shape caused by buoyant air rising in a gravitational field, flames in space curl themselves into tiny balls.  Untethered by gravity, they flit around as if they have minds of their own.  More than one astronaut conducting experiments for researchers on Earth below has been struck by the way flameballs roam their test chambers in a lifelike search for oxygen and fuel.
 
Biologists confirm that fire is not alive.  Nevertheless, on August 21st, astronaut Reid Wiseman on the International Space Station witnessed some of the best mimicry yet.  "It was a jellyfish of fire," he tweeted to Earth along with a video. Wiseman was running an experiment called FLEX-2, short for Flame Extinguishment Experiment 2.
 
The goal of the research is to learn how fires burn in microgravity and, moreover, how to put them out.  It's a basic safety issue: If fire ever breaks out onboard a spacecraft, astronauts need to be able to control it.
 
Understanding the physics of flameballs is crucial to zero-G firefighting.  "Combustion in microgravity is both strange and wonderful," says Forman Williams, the Principal Investigator of FLEX-2 from the University of California, San Diego.
 
"The 'jellyfish' phenomenon Wiseman witnessed is a great example." He points out some of the key elements of the video: "Near the beginning we see two needles dispensing a droplet mixture of heptane and iso-octane between two igniters. The fuel is ignited, then the lights go out so we can see what happens next."
 
"The flame forms a blue spherical shell 15-20 milimeters in diameter around the fuel.  Inside that spherical flame we see some bright yellow hot spots. Those are made of soot." Heptane produces a lot of soot as it burns, he explains.  Consisting mainly of carbon with a sprinkling of hydrogen, soot burns hot, around 2000 degrees Kelvin, and glows brightly as a result.
 
"Several globules of burning soot can be seen inside the sphere," he continues.  "At one point, a blob of soot punctures the flame-sphere and exits.  The soot that exits fades away as it burns out."
 
There is also an S-shaped object inside the sphere.  "That is another soot structure," he says.  The 'jellyfish phase' is closely linked to the production of soot.  Combustion products from the spherical flame drift back down onto the fuel droplet.
 
Because sooty material deposited on the droplet is not perfectly homogeneous, "we can get a disruptive burning event," says Forman.
 
In other words, soot on the surface of the fuel droplet catches fire, resulting in a lopsided explosion.  Remarkably, none of this is new to Forman, who has been researching combustion physics since the beginning of the Space Age.  "We first saw these disruptive burning events in labs and microgravity drop towers more than 40 years ago," he says.
 
"The space station is great because the orbiting lab allows us to study them in great detail."  "Tom Avedisian at Cornell is leading this particular study," Forman says.  "We're learning about droplet burning rates, the soot production process, and how soot agglomerates inside the flame."
 
At the end of Wiseman's video, the soot ignites in a final explosion.  That’s how the fire put itself out.  "It was a warp-drive finish," says Wiseman.
 
For more information about strange physics on the space station, stay tuned to science.nasa.gov. 
 
Video and Information Courtesy NASA
 

Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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Weather Blog: Spider Nests That Will Give You The Creeps

From Jude Redfield..

    Time for some wild Wednesday videos.  I saw a tiny nest of spiders in my backyard yesterday and it peaked my interest. Here are few videos I think you might enjoy or maybe they will make you itch like crazy?!?! A couple photos below show the very poisonous Black Widow and Brown Recluse nests.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Widow Nest Below

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Brown Recluse Nest Below

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09/16/2014

NASA Selects American Companies to Return Astronaut Launches to US

Today, with the selection of Boeing and SpaceX to be the first American companies to launch our astronauts to the International Space Station, NASA has set the stage for what promises to be the most ambitious and exciting chapter in the history of human space flight.

From day one, the Obama Administration has made it clear that the greatest nation on Earth should not be dependent on other nations to get into space. Thanks to the leadership of President Obama and the hard work of our NASA and industry teams, today we are one step closer to launching our astronauts from U.S. soil on American spacecraft and ending the nation’s sole reliance on Russia by 2017. Turning over low-Earth orbit transportation to private industry also will allow NASA to focus on an even more ambitious mission – sending humans to Mars.

731265main_space_x2_launch_full_fullSpace Exploration Technologies' Falcon 9 rocket lifts off Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 10:10 a.m. EST on Friday, March 1, 2013, carrying a Dragon capsule filled with cargo. The SpaceX Dragon capsule is making its third trip to the International Space Station, following a demonstration flight in May 2012 and the first resupply mission in October 2012. The SpaceX-2 mission is the second of 12 SpaceX flights contracted by NASA to resupply the orbiting laboratory.

We have already fulfilled part of the President’s vision. For the past two years, two companies, SpaceX and Orbital Sciences, have been making regular cargo deliveries to the International Space Station. The contracts we are announcing today are designed to complete the NASA certification for human space transportation systems capable of carrying people into orbit. Once certification is complete, NASA plans to use these systems to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station and return them safely to Earth. Again, this will fulfill the commitment President Obama made to return human spaceflight launches to U.S. soil and end our sole reliance on the Russians.

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As a former space shuttle commander, I know that the goal of every mission is to do something different from the flights that have gone before. Alan Shepard earned the title first American in space, John Glenn the first American to orbit Earth. And with all due respect to the late Michael Jackson, Neil and Buzz were the first moonwalkers.

Today, we don’t know who is going to get to command the first mission to carry humans into low-Earth orbit on a spacecraft built by an American private company, but we know it will be a seminal moment in NASA history and a major achievement for our nation. We now know, however, who will build it.

The Boeing Company (Boeing) and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) have each presented to us designs that will allow us to fly crews to the International Space Station in just a few years. Respectively, the vehicles are Boeing’s CST-100 and SpaceX’s Dragon. The total potential contract value is $4.2 billion for Boeing and $2.6 billion for SpaceX. The spacecraft will launch from Kennedy Space Center – Cape Canaveral complex.

Spacex-toppermanualNASA astronaut Rex Walheim checks out the Dragon spacecraft at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, Calif. SpaceX.

Our specialist teams have watched the development of these new spacecraft during earlier development phases, and are confident they will meet the demands of these important missions. We also are confident they will be safe for NASA astronauts – to achieve NASA certification in 2017, they must meet the same rigorous safety standards we had for the Space Shuttle Program.

It was not an easy choice, but it is the best choice for NASA and the nation. We received numerous proposals from companies throughout the aerospace industry. Highly qualified, American companies – united in their desire to return human spaceflight launches to U.S. soil – competed to serve this nation and end our reliance on Russia. I applaud them all for their innovations, their hard work and their patriotism.

The partnership with Boeing and SpaceX promises to give more people in America and around the world the opportunity to experience the wonder and exhilaration of spaceflight – to realize the dream of leaving Earth for even a short time to float above our planet Earth in microgravity and to see the stars and the majestic tapestry of the Milky Way unobstructed by the artificial lights and dust of our atmosphere. Space travelers also will be able to imagine and realize new benefits that can be brought back to Earth.

Boeing-787-DreamlinerThe fuel efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner commenced service in 2010

While Boeing and SpaceX handle the task of taking our astronauts to the space station, the scientists on Earth and astronauts on the orbiting ISS National Laboratory will continue the groundbreaking research that has been taking place there for almost 14 years now without interruption. They will be able to add to that portfolio with an expanded crew made possible by the arrival of these new spacecraft.

As research takes place in Earth orbit and the companies refine these new space transportation systems, we at NASA will be working just as diligently readying our new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), and our multi-purpose crew vehicle, Orion, for missions in the next decade that will carry people far from our local space neighborhood.

Just yesterday, off the coast of California, I witnessed the successful recovery test of the Orion engineering test article – the next generation spacecraft that is being readied for its December flight test and its eventual use for journeys to an asteroid and to Mars. With the help of the U.S. Navy, the Orion mockup was put through a full ocean recovery dress rehearsal. Following its first flight (EFT-1), Orion will splashdown in the Pacific Ocean – the first time in more than 40 years that it has been necessary to recover a human spacecraft from the ocean.

Last week, at Kennedy Space Center, we rolled the Orion crew module for EFT-1 out of the Neil Armstrong O&C Building to the Hypergolic Processing Facility for fueling in preparation for its maiden test flight in December. Just two days later at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, we cut the ribbon on the new 170 foot high Vertical Assembly Center, the state of the art tooling facility that will weld together the massive core stage of the SLS – the rocket that will launch Orion and our astronauts farther into space than any human has gone before. From Michoud, I traveled to the Stennis Space Center to view progress on the historic B-2 Test Stand that is being prepared to test the core stage of SLS and its configuration of four RS-25 engines.

We will launch SLS and Orion from Kennedy Space Center. They will test the systems needed to get to Mars – with missions to an asteroid and areas beyond the moon such as Lagrange points, where space observatories will be operating within our reach in the 2020s as we conduct the first deep space mission with astronauts since the Apollo moon landings.

We’ll conduct missions that will each set their own impressive roster of firsts. First crew to visit and take samples of an asteroid, first crew to fly beyond the orbit of the moon, perhaps the first crew to grow its own food in space — all of which will set us up for humanity’s next giant leap: the first crew to touch down and take steps on the surface of Mars.

Entrance_to_SpaceX_headquartersSpace X headquarters, located in Hawethorne California.

The partnership we are announcing today for development of our commercial crew vehicles would not be possible without the hard work of hundreds of individuals dedicated to America’s spirit of exploration and innovation. I especially want to commend the President and Congress for providing support for this new way of doing business. By combining private sector ingenuity with a bipartisan national commitment, and the unmatched expertise of NASA, we are not only better able to stretch the boundaries of the possible, we are strengthening our economy and creating good jobs for our people. As President Obama has said, “We will not only extend humanity’s reach in space — we will strengthen America’s leadership here on Earth.”

Our destiny is set. Our course is laid out before us. And we are following it. We hope the American people will be inspired to join us on this next great, ambitious leg of humanity’s journey farther into our solar system than ever before.

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NASA's 

Information provided by NASA

 

Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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09/14/2014

Dangerous Hurricane Odile Poised to Strike Baja of California!

Dangerous Hurricane Odile is closing in on southern tip of the Baja of California.  

Satrad tropics

Hurrican Warnings have been posted all along the southern half of the Mexican Peninsula.  

The storm is currently located about 70 miles south of Cabo San Lucas and is a Category 3 storm packing sustained winds of 125 mph.  

Movement is towards the North-Northwest at 16 mph.  On it's current coarse, it will make landfall very near the resort town over the next four or five hours. 

Tropics track

After that, the Hurricane Odile is expected to hug the west coast of the Baja while slowly weakening over the next several days.  

Eventually, some of the moisture associated with the tropical cyclone could make its way into parts of the US.  

Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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Video Of The Day: Large Waterspout In Tarragona, Spain...

Wow! Check out this video taken earlier today of a massive waterspout in Tarragona, Spain...

 

Video Courtesy: Nature Reporter

 

-Rick DeLuca

 

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