1987 posts categorized "Science"

10/17/2017

NASA: When Neutron Stars Collide!

 

Doomed neutron stars whirl toward their demise in this animation. Gravitational waves (pale arcs) bleed away orbital energy, causing the stars to move closer together and merge. As the stars collide, some of the debris blasts away in particle jets moving at nearly the speed of light, producing a brief burst of gamma rays (magenta). In addition to the ultra-fast jets powering the gamma-rays, the merger also generates slower moving debris. An outflow driven by accretion onto the merger remnant emits rapidly fading ultraviolet light (violet). A dense cloud of hot debris stripped from the neutron stars just before the collision produces visible and infrared light (blue-white through red). The UV, optical and near-infrared glow is collectively referred to as a kilonova. Later, once the remnants of the jet directed toward us had expanded into our line of sight, X-rays (blue) were detected. This animation represents phenomena observed up to nine days after GW170817.

Animation and information courtesy NASA

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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09/25/2017

ISS Set To Make A HIGH ALTITUDE Crossing Over Our Sky TONIGHT!

The International Space Station (ISS) will be making a HIGH ALTITUDE pass over our sky this evening.

At a blazing speed of 17,000 mph, it will cross our sky in about 6 minutes total time.  

 

Z iss crossing

 

You will be able to view it rise over the SW horizon at approximately 8:34 PM EDT this (Tuesday) evening.  The ISS will appear as a very bright point of light as it moves across the sky before exiting the NE horizon at approximately 8:40 AM EDT.

Unlike many ISS crossings, this one will take it very high in the sky, almost directly overhead in fact, rising to about 83° altitude at around at around 8:37 PM.

6a0148c78b79ee970c017c370e8365970bLong Exposure Photograph of the ISS Credit: Mark Humpage

See an amazing time-lapse video taken from the ISS here.

For information on how to photograph the ISS: http://www.universetoday.com/93588/a-beginners-guide-to-photographing-the-international-space-station-iss/#ixzz2Lll4JR00

6a0148c78b79ee970c017c370e8401970b

You can track is progress live here on isstracker.com.

Outside of a few passing clouds, viewing looks to be very good.  Enjoy! 

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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09/24/2017

Fall Heat Streak Expected to Reach a Week! When to expect 40's...

Our fall heat streak continued with 5 days at or above the 90 degree mark now!

Gfx

The heat wasn't a local either.  90's were recorded as far north as Des Moines, Chicago and Pittsburgh.  

Temps

Our streak of 90's is expected to continue for a few more days reaching 7, possibly 8 days by Wednesday, which would be the longest such streak of the year btw.  

Temp trend

Finally, the passage of a cool front late Wednesday looks to usher in some MUCH cooler conditions for the end of the week with highs only in the 70's and lows dropping down into the 40's for much of the area over the weekend!  

At temps

Jude has a full update on how cool it will get first thing on WDRB in the Morning.

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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09/23/2017

Fall Heat Wave Continues... Maria Update.

It was just another typical summer day today... oh wait, that's right it's fall.  

Our high reached 90 degrees this afternoon marking the 4th straight 90° day and we weren't alone.  90's were widespread across the East-Central US with Chicago recording their warmest reading of the summer at 95 degrees!

Temps

We can thank the development of a large, slow moving, upper ridge of high pressure for all the warmth recently.   This high and an upper low out west have formed a "blocking pattern" that is currently preventing the normal progression of systems across the US.  It is also this block pattern that is currently keeping Maria off shore from the US East Coast.  At least for now.  

Satrad

The latest model data suggests that the category 3 storm will continue moving north over the next few days while slowly weakening.  

After approaching the North Carolina Outer Banks early in the week, the storm is expected to make a turn out to sea.  

Tropics track

For us, it will be a heat repeat with more 90's through Tuesday or possibly Wednesday.

Temp trend

We'll likely end up with about 7 possibly 8 days in a row of 90's before we see a cold front arriving with the return of normal fall temps in the 70's.  

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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09/20/2017

NASA Image of the Day: Maria and Jose Menace the Caribbean and North Atlantic

Less than two weeks after Irma blasted through several Caribbean islands and Florida, another major hurricane is battering the region. Category 5 Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Dominica on the night of September 18 and was headed for landfall on the heavily populated island of Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. At the same time, a weakening Hurricane Jose approached the New England coast as it transitioned into a nor'easter-like extratropical storm.

Atlantic_goe_2017262Satellite data acquired September 19, 2017

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Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite 13 (GOES-13 or GOES East) acquired the data for these images at 1:15 p.m. local time (17:15 Universal Time) on September 19, 2017. Data from the high-resolution visible channel (band 1) is overlaid on a MODIS blue marble. The satellite is operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), while NASA helps develop and launch the GOES series of satellites.

Hurricane Maria evolved from a category 1 storm to a category 5 storm in less than 18 hours on September 18, just before it blew straight across Dominica (population 72,000). At the time of landfall, sustained winds were reported to be 160 miles (260 kilometers) per hour, with a central barometric pressure of 924 millibars. It is the fifth time on record that Dominica has taken a direct hit from a hurricane.

Early reports described roofs being blown off of many buildings, and most communications have been cut off by the storm. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit described the damage to his nation as “mind boggling.” According to preliminary reports, the neighboring islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique did not appear to be hit as hard, though damage was still extensive.

Maria_goe_2017262acquired September 19, 2017

Several meteorologists noted that Maria had a very small, tight eye—sometimes called a “pinhole eye”—that was about 10 miles (16 kilometers) in diameter. Such tightly formed storms have been observed to spin faster. The storm briefly weakened to category 4 after crossing Dominica but then re-intensified to category 5.

At 4 p.m. Atlantic Standard Time on September 19, the U.S. National Hurricane Center reported that Maria was 85 miles (135 kilometers) southwest of St. Croix and 185 miles (300 kilometers) southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Hurricane hunters reported sustained winds of 165 miles (265 kilometers) per hour, and the storm was moving west-northwest. Hurricane-force winds extended for 25 miles (55 kilometers) from the center and tropical storm conditions extended 140 miles (220 kilometers).

Maria was expected to pass over the Virgin Islands overnight and to make landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20 as a category 4 or 5 storm with a storm surge of 6 to 9 feet. Forecasters described it as a “potentially catastrophic” hurricane.

Jose_goe_2017262acquired September 19, 2017

 Meanwhile, Hurricane Jose approached the New England coast on the evening of September 19, bringing high surf, strong coastal currents, and tropical storm force winds. The hurricane has been meandering in the Atlantic since September 6. Heavy rain is being forecast for Long Island and southern Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

At 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on September 19, the Hurricane Center reported that Jose was 270 miles (435 kilometers) east-northeast of Cape Hatteras and 285 miles (460 kilometers) south-southwest of Nantucket. Sustained winds reached 75 miles (120 kilometers) per hour, and the storm was moving north-northeast. Hurricane-force winds extended for 60 miles (95 kilometers) from the center and tropical storm conditions extended 310 miles (500 kilometers).

Visit the U.S. National Hurricane Center web site for official forecasts and advisories. You can also find more coverage on the NASA Hurricane Page.

Images and information courtesy NASA

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09/19/2017

Category 5 Maria Bearing Down USVI and Puerto Rico!

Category 5 Hurricane Maria continues to strengthen in the Eastern Caribbean as it begins to bear down on the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. 

Satrad tropics

As of the 5 pm update, the storm was located about 80 miles southeast of the island of St. Croix and about 175 miles southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico.  

Pressure had fallen to 916 mb and highest sustained winds had reached 165 mph making this a very dangerous category 5 storm!

Tropics track

The current forecast track from the National Hurricane Center takes the eye of the storm south of St. Thomas and very near St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands late this evening and overnight.  

By morning the storm is expected to slam into Puerto Rico as a category 5 hurricane making this one of the strongest, if not the strongest, hurricane every to make landfall on the Caribbean Island.  

Tropics track2

The only other cat-5 to visit the US territory occurred on September 13, 1928 when the "San Felipe II" hurricane ravaged the island on a path that could be very similar to this storm some 89 years ago!

5_2Credit: Sheila Murphy, USGS. Public domain

"San Felipe" made landfall in Southeast Puerto Rico in the vicinity of Guayama-Arroyo at around 2 PM AST September 13th with officially estimated sustained winds of 160 mph and a measured pressure in Arroyo of 27.50 in/hg or 931 millibars (It is not known if this pressure was actually measured in the eye). For the next eight to ten hours the eye of the hurricane crossed Puerto Rico from southeast to northwest without losing much strength, still with category 5 intensity when it left the northwest side of the island in the vicinity of Aguadilla at around 10-11 PM AST September 13th. The wind report from San Juan was of sustained 160 mph at around 1 PM AST before the instrument was destroyed by the winds. Stronger winds were probably felt after the instrument was destroyed, these were the highest sustained winds ever reported in Puerto Rico.
 
The strength of Maria currently matches if not exceeds that of the San Felipe hurricane and some additional strengthening is possible overnight.  Anyway you look at it, this will be a VERY BAD storm for both St. Croix and Puerto Rico with a 6-9 foot storm surge expected and rainfall that could reach up to 25 inches!

Tropics track3

From there, the Maria could have an impact on portions of the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands.  

It's too soon to say for sure whether the US East Coast will be spared.  

Thoughts and prayers are with our friends in the Caribbean tonight. 

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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09/18/2017

Maria Strengthens into a Cat-4! Update on track and who could be impacted...

Folks in the Caribbean are without a doubt experiencing a very unpleasant case of deja vu.  

Less than two weeks after taking a hit by a Category 4 storm in Irma, parts of the same region are getting it again from an equally strong storm with Hurricane Warnings posted for the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. 

Tropics

As of 5 pm ET, Hurricane Maria has obtained category 4 status with sustained with of up to 130 mph and a central pressure that has fallen to 950 mb.  

The storm is currently located about 50 miles east-southeast of Dominica on the southern end of the Leeward Islands. 

Maria is currently tracking towards the WNW at about 9 mph and is expected to continue to intensify over the next day or two. 

Tropics track2

The current forecast track from the National Hurricane Center takes Maria through the Virgin Islands tomorrow and into Puerto Rico as a Cat-4 on Wednesday before lifting it towards the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Tropics track

From there portions of the Bahamas will be at risk and while it's too soon to say whether this storm will have a direct impact on the US mainland, it is a possibility.  

For those that have interests in the region, be sure to stay tuned! 

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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09/17/2017

Trouble Brewing in the Tropics, AGAIN!

The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season has already been a bad one and could get much worse.  

Tropics

We are currently focused on a pair of hurricanes in Jose and Maria and both could have some impact on the US.  

Tropics track

The latest update on Jose shows the storm maintaining category 1 status with sustained winds of 90 mph as it moves to the north. 

Tropics track2

The latest National Hurricane Center forecast keeps Jose on a northward course before turning it towards the east as it gradually weakens into a tropical storm.  

While most of the data says it stays off the US Coast, the cone of uncertainty scrapes parts of New England and a few forecast models try to bring onshore late in the week.  

Even if it comes close, it should be a fairly weak storm.  

Now onto a potentially bigger problem.  Hurricane Maria is quickly gaining strength as it approaches the Caribbean.  

Tropics track3

It is now a category one hurricane with sustained winds of 85 mph and a central pressure that is dropping.  The storm is moving towards the west-northwest and, like Irma, will impact some of the Leeward Islands over the next 24 hours and could become a very strong hurricane.  

Tropics track5

It is currently forecasted to maintain a west-northwest track while strengthening into a Cat-4 possibly impacting, again like Irma, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rick and the Dominican Republic before approaching the Bahamas.  

Tropics track4

From there it could turn towards the US Southeast in about a week.  Let's hope not.  

We'll be watching it closely.  

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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09/16/2017

A Sizzling Finish to September!

Yesterday's high of 84° marked the first time in ten days that our high cracked the 80 degree mark... which is quite remarkable considering we still average in the 80's this time of the year.  Today, it truly felt like summer again as temps soared into the upper 80's, the warmest we've seen in about two weeks.  

Almanac

 We weren't the on ly ones enjoying the late season warmth.  Temps were well up into the 80's all across the Eastern US with highs cracking the 90 degree mark for places like St. Louis, Springfield and Tulsa.  

Region temps

 The reason for the warm is because of the development of an area of upper high pressure currently located over the Ohio/Mississippi River Valleys.

Gfs_uv250_v2_noram_2

 Going forward, this upper ridge (high pressure aloft) is expected to strengthen in response to a deep trough that looks to develop over the Western US over the next week ahead.  

Gfs_uv250_v2_noram_24

 This will allow temps to remain quite warm over the Eastern US with the Euro forecasting reading to remain some 5 to 10 degrees above normal during the period.

Eps_t850a_c_noram_23

There is good agreement between all medium range models on this idea of a very warm week ahead and has prompted the folks at the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) to issue an 80% chance for above normal temps across the Ohio Valley/Great Lakes during the next week to week and a half. 

610temp_new

 Looking further out, the Euro shows the upper ridging remaining in place through the remainder of the month as temps remain well above normal during the period.

Eps_t850a_c_noram_43

 CPC agrees with this assessment with a 60% for above normal temps in the 8 to 14 day range which brings September to a close.  

814temp_new

So what do I think? 

Well, I'm glad I haven't shut my pool down just yet!  Although I was certainly tempted to last week when we were suffering with the cool rains and clouds with highs struggling in the 60's.  It does appear that we are set for a nice run of warm weather to round out September and possibly into October as well.  So despite change to the "astronomical" season later this week (Fall officially begins on Friday), it looks like we'll get to enjoy an extended summer this year.  

So how warm will it get?

While 80's will be very easy to achieve over the next couple of week, a few 90's can't be ruled out with this type of a pattern this time of the year.   

Enjoy!

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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09/13/2017

NASA: Two Cyclones Stir Up Asian Waters!

Talimdoksuri_vir_2017256Satellite image acquired Septermber 13, 2017

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In early September 2017, three hurricanes churned in the Atlantic Basin. A week later, the Northwest Pacific Basin was dealing with multiple typhoons.

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on Suomi NPP captured this image of a pair of storms—Talim and Doksuri—at 2:06 p.m. local time (6:06 Universal Time) on September 13, 2017.

At that time, Typhoon Talim had maximum sustained winds of 90 knots (104 miles or 167 kilometers per hour) and was strengthening as it moved north along the coast of China. Forecasters expected the storm to turn northeast putting it on a track to strike the island of Kyushu, Japan, on September 16.

Meanwhile, tropical storm Doksuri, which had maximum sustained winds of 45 knots (52 miles or 83 kilometers per hour), was moving east-northeast and was expected to strengthen and pass near the Chinese island of Hainan before making landfall in northern Vietnam on September 15.

Image and Information Courtesy NASA

WDRB Meteorologist Jeremy Kappell

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