Typhoon Wutip: Floods in Thailand Kill 23, China Hunts for 58 Missing Fishermen Published: Oct 1, 2013, 8:42 AM EDT Associated PressTrucks make their way along highway No. 1 linking north and south Vietnam through a flooded portion of the Ky Anh district of Vietnam’s central Ha Tinh province on September 30, 2013. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) HANOI, Vietnam — Chinese airplanes and boats scoured parts of the South China Sea on Tuesday looking for nearly 60 people missing after a tropical storm sank three fishing boats.In central Vietnam, people repaired homes and dragged away trees that were uprooted when Wutip slammed into the coastline late Monday. Two men were killed when a radio station antenna tower fell on them, Vietnam’s disaster agency said. Another man was killed when a wall collapsed. Close to 100,000 homes were damaged.Chinese authorities say Wutip, which means butterfly in Cantonese, sank three Chinese fishing vessels Sunday in the South China Sea.(MORE: Tropical Update)Play VideoHurricane Forecast for Rest of Season On Monday, 14 people were rescued, leaving 58 still believed to be missing, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. It said 22 boats and four airplanes were combing the area for survivors.Wutip was the strongest storm to hit Vietnam this year. It had weakened from a typhoon by the time it hit land with sustained winds of 117 kilometers (73 miles) per hour, Vietnam’s weather center said.The most powerful Asian storm this year was Super Typhoon Usagi, which caused at least 33 deaths in the Philippines and China in September.As Wutip’s effects moved into Thailand, Thai authorities said Tuesday that floods have killed more than 20 people and affected areas across the country over the past two weeks, though experts say there is little risk of a repeat of the devastation that occurred during record floods two years ago.Thirty-two out of 77 provinces have experienced flooding since mid-September and 23 people have been killed, the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department said in a report, adding that 25 provinces still have flooding.It said more than 2.8 million people were affected by the floodwaters and 15,254 had been evacuated from their homes.(PHOTOS: The Most Incredible Meteorological Images of September)Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi said Thailand was not at risk from the remnants of Tropical Storm Wutip, which reached the northeast on Tuesday. However, he said the country should be ready for other storms.
In 2011, Thailand suffered its worst flooding in half a century. More than 800 people were killed and 6 million hectares (14.8 million acres) of agricultural, industrial and residential lands were devastated. Many of the country’s industrial estates, which export electronic parts, auto parts and hard disk drives, were swamped, as were large parts of Bangkok.Authorities have downplayed concerns of a repeat.”Thanks to the dredging of the canals and the weather, at this point there is nothing to panic about,” Bangkok Gov. Sukhumbhand Paribatra tweeted Monday night. „Currently the water level in the Chao Phraya River is still low, so there’s nothing to worry.”Experts also say it is unlikely the capital will see major flooding this year.”It is not worrisome as the situation is very different from 2011,” said Seree Supratid, the director of a climate and disaster center at Bangkok’s Rangsit University.MORE ON WEATHER.COM: Usagi Slams Philippines and Southeast Asia1 / 150A pedicab driver wades through a flooded street in Manila on Sept. 23, 2013. Monsoon rains worsened by Typhoon Usagi pounded the Philippines for the third day on Sept. 23. (Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images)
Climber Finds Treasure Chest of Jewels in the Alps By Stephanie Valera Published: Oct 1, 2013, 9:04 AM EDT weather.com
4 bodies inside jet that crashed in S. Calif.View galleryInvestigators use a tarp to cover part of the crash site of a twin-engine Cessna Citation 525A aircraft after it was extracted from inside a collapsed hangar which it slammed into and burst into flames, after it touched down last night, in Santa Monica, California, September 30, 2013. At least three people, including a wealthy California construction executive, were believed killed in the fiery crash-landing of a small jet at Santa Monica airport after a flight from Idaho’s Sun Valley resort area, officials said on Monday. (REUTERS/David McNew)JUSTIN PRITCHARD 2 hours ago SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — Four bodies were found inside the burned wreckage of a private jet that crashed into a hangar while landing during the weekend, a coroner’s official said Tuesday.A crew was working to remove the remains from the aircraft at Santa Monica Airport, said Betsy Magdaleno, an investigator with the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.The twin-engine Cessna 525A crashed shortly before sunset Sunday as it arrived from Hailey, Idaho.Mark Benjamin, CEO of Santa Monica-based Morley Construction, and his son, Luke Benjamin, a senior project manager with the company, were believed to be aboard the aircraft, Vice President Charles Muttillo told The Associated Press.The pilot did not report any mechanical trouble before landing.”There was no communication with the pilot indicting there’s a problem with the aircraft at any time during the flight,” Van McKenny, lead investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, said Monday.Cranes had to be brought in to lift the wrecked building off the plane before efforts could begin to retrieve remains and the cockpit voice recorder.The investigation and release of information were very likely to be slowed by the federal government shutdown that began late Monday for the West Coast.Investigators were to gather all evidence that could not be preserved from the active accident scene and then stop their work, NTSB spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said shortly before the shutdown went into effect.There would be no news conferences or other public communications, Nantel said, as the federal agency focuses solely on identifying major safety issues.Mark Benjamin spent time in the Sun Valley area of Idaho since his youth and served on the board of directors of the Idaho Conservation League, according to the executive director of the organization, Rick Johnson. He described Benjamin as „an extraordinary, thoughtful businessperson who brought a lot of passion and energy to our organization.”Johnson said Benjamin typically piloted a plane between the two states but did not know if he was at the controls Sunday.McKenny said that after touching down, the pilot „veered off the right side of the runway and then as he continued down, the turn got sharper and sharper.”The plane crashed into a row of five connected hangars about 400 feet from the end of the5,000-foot runway, where it caught fire.One hangar collapsed, its steel trusses crossing over the plane and the sheet metal shell wrapping around it, McKenny said. Two other hangars received minor damage.Fire crews responded quickly because their station was almost directly behind the accident site. Still, „this was an unsurvivable crash,” Santa Monica Fire Department Capt. John Nevandro said Sunday night.Santa Monica Airport’s single runway sits amid residential neighborhoods of this city of more than 90,000 on the Pacific Ocean. The city and nearby residents have expressed fears that certain types of jets with fast landing speeds could overshoot the runway and crash into homes.______Follow Justin Pritchard at https://twitter.com/lalanewsman
NASA Finds Most Crowded Galaxy Ever Seenby Elizabeth Howell, SPACE.com Contributor 6 hours agoView galleryM60-UCD1 (inset) is the densest galaxy found to date. It is near the much larger galaxy NGC 4649 and … Astronomers using NASA’s flagship space telescopes have spotted what appears to be densest nearby galaxy ever seen, with stars packed so tightly that they are likely 25 times closer to each other than the stars in our own Milky Way galaxy.The super-crowded galaxy is called M60-UCD1 and is located about 54 million light-years away from Earth and the sun. It weighs a whopping 200 million times more than the sun, packing half of this mass within 80 light-years of its center, scientists said. Such crowded conditions make M60-UCD1 a type of ultra-compact dwarf galaxy.Scientists discovered the galaxy using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, making follow-up observations using the space agency’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ground-based optical telescopes, such as the Keck Observatory in Hawaii.Inside the galaxy’s heart is a bright source of X-rays that came to light in images from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. The X-rays may be coming from a giant black hole that’s about 10 million times the mass of the sun, astronomers say. And if the X-rays are indeed coming from such a massive black hole, it would mean M60-UCD1 is likely left over from a galaxy that was 50 to 200 times larger.”Large black holes are not found in star clusters, so if the X-ray source is in fact due to a massive black hole, it was likely produced by collisions between the galaxy and one or more nearby galaxies,” a NASA statement read. „The mass of the galaxy and the sun-like abundances of elements also favor the idea that the galaxy is the remnant of a much larger galaxy.”M60-UCD1’s growth would have been stunted for billions of years after the collision, astronomers added. In fact, they estimate the dense galaxy has been around for more than 10 billion years.The research is detailed in the Sept. 20 edition of Astrophysical Journal Letters.Follow Elizabeth Howell @howellspace. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on SPACE.com.
The Most Surprising Consequences of a Government Shutdown
By ABC News | ABC News Blogs – 7 hours agoThe Most Surprising Consequences of a Government Shutdown (ABC News)Won’t shut down:The skies, however, will continue to be safe as air traffic controllers will still work through a shutdown.NASA–Will shut down:97 percent of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration will be furloughed during a shutdown.Won’t shut down:The exception to the rule will be astronauts in space, who keep working shutdown or no shutdown. And so will mission control, which supports them.Arctic, Antarctic and Polar Research is Safe. Other Science Research? Not So Much.—Will shut down:The National Science Foundation will reduce its workforce from roughly 2,000 to just 30.Won’t shut down:Among those who can keep working during a shutdown are the scientists stationed in the Arctic and Antarctic and other Polar Programs staff who will „maintain communications with individuals ‘on the ice’ to assist in responding to emergency situations that might arise.”Life on Capitol Hill—Will shut down:Life gets a little more inconvenient for Congressional staffers today. The House gift shop, barber shop, dry cleaning, dining room, shoe shine, and wellness center will all be closed. Only one entrance to each House office building will be open, staff and guide-led tours are cancelled, and the Capitol Visitors Center will be closed to tourists.Won’t shut down:Most of Capitol Hill will keep working through a shutdown. After all, they’re needed to pass a new bill to fund the government. Each congressional office determines who is essential and who isn’t.The Essential vs. the Non-Essential—Will shut down:The entire federal government will divide between „essential” or excepted employees and „non-essential” or non-excepted employees, who will be furloughed starting today.Won’t shut down:Essential (exempted) employees can stay on the job through a government shutdown, but they’re not allowed to talk to furloughed employees. According to a State Department shutdown memo „Excepted personnel should not communicate with non-excepted employees.”Hang on to Your Smart Phones—Will shut down:Some Federal employees may have their smart phones pried from their hands today. That’s because IT managers at federal agencies can choose to recall devices from furloughed employees (who can’t use them anyway). Most IT functions in the federal government aren’t considered essential, so if an employee needs help when their iPhone stops working during a government shutdown, they may be out of luck.Won’t Shut Down:Many federal employees will simply keep their smart phones, though they aren’t supposed to work if they’re furloughed.Diplomacy Takes a Front Seat-Mostly–Will shut down:Two key functions will be on hold until Congress approves new funding: foreign military aid and payments to non-governmental organizations. That only affects payments that were scheduled to be made while the government is closed, however. Payments that are in process before the shutdown will go through.Won’t shut down:Most of the State Department will keep running, using reserve funds in the event of a shut down, including visa and passport applications.
Sour food, shattered glass: Cleaning Kenya’s mallView gallery JASON STRAZIUSO 2 hours agoNAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The sour odor of rotting food overwhelms the senses. Shattered glass crunches underfoot. And evidence of looting is ever-present, including in Westgate Mall’s chandelier-filled casino.Shop owners on Tuesday boarded up stores and removed merchandise even as Kenyan, U.S. and European investigators moved through the mall’s rubble in search of answers to the four-day terrorist attack. A soldier inside said that two bodies had been found Tuesday, one likely a soldier. The other was burned so badly it was too difficult to say, he said.Those cleaning up their shops wondered: Can the mall reopen? If so, when?A mall official told The Associated Press that such questions won’t be answered until the Kenyan government gives back control of the mall to its owners, a legal hold-up that may take months to resolve as the forensic investigation to find bodies and reconstruct events continues.An Associated Press reporter on Tuesday spent about two hours inside Westgate, the site of a terrorist siege that killed at least 67 people. Kenya’s government says five attackers are dead — perhaps under the mall’s rubble — but officials acknowledge that some of the attackers may have changed clothes and walked out with fleeing, frightened shoppers.View gallery.”Writing reading „Clear. 12:57” is drawn on the wall next to holes in the shattered window of the Mil …The mall walk-through showed vast destruction where the mall caught fire and where it collapsed, but also SWAT-like tactics during the rush to rescue those inside when the grenades and bullets began flying. Many workers wore masks to cut the stench. Surgical gloves littered the floor, and foreign and Kenyan investigators, some wearing white moon suits, worked through the rubble.AP also saw evidence of looting, thefts that many in the mall blame on Kenyan security forces: Cash registers yanked open and the money taken, jewels from display cases gone. Dozens of empty beer bottles — apparently enjoyed by security forces — prompted one restaurant employee to ask: „How do you expect them to kill someone if they are totally drunk?” and then wonder if maybe it was a post-siege celebration.Carrying flashlights through the dark gaming area, Millionaires casino management walked carefully into the back room, where they found their main safe with several holes and gouges from bullets on it. The door remained closed, and those trying to open it would have been disappointed if they had succeeded. It was empty.”Look, they tried to get into the vault,” said a manager who squatted beside the green safe and pointing at the bullet scars. „The other day when we came in and took the money out, this wasn’t here.”In the main gaming room, the door to the casino cage — where winning gamblers cash in their chips — had been kicked open. The money drawers were empty. The blackjack and roulette wheels were unscathed. A TV had been shot up.View gallery.”The remains of the cashiers registers in the Nakumatt supermarket in the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, K …Dr. Sunil Sachdevas, who has a dentist’s office on the mall’s top floor, said he is looking for a place to relocate. He said he bought terrorism insurance in 2010 but he has no policy for loss of income. Mall management asked him to reconsider.”We told them that we would think about it, but we just can’t. Our own patients have said they would not feel safe coming to us here, and the building is not going to be ready for months,” Sachdevas said.Al-Shabab says it attacked the mall to force Kenya to withdraw its troops from Somalia. The insurgent group once controlled much of the Horn of Africa nation and most of the capital, Mogadishu, but has since been pushed back by African Union forces to the country’s south.The group said it will carry out more terror attacks unless Kenya withdraws. Unbowed, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed on Tuesday to keep Kenyan troops in Somalia until that country is stabilized and his deputy called members of al-Shabab „primitive and backward barbarians.””If their desire is for Kenya to pull out from Somalia, my friends all they need to do is what they should have done 20 years ago, which is to put their house in order and Kenya will come back to Kenya,” Kenyatta said at an interfaith prayer service.View gallery.”Empty shelves lie behind the shattered window of a jewellery shop in the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, K …Kenyatta said a commission of inquiry would be formed to study security lapses from the attack.Just outside the mall’s front entrance, bloody stretchers and three-burned out cars still stood.In the pet store, fish floated in their tanks, dead. A mattress lay on the floor in one corner, apparently where a soldier had carried it out of the Nakumatt store to catch some rest.Inside Nakumatt, the destroyed department and grocery store, Snickers bars had caught fire and burned. A rack of fingernail polish had melted like wax candles. Coke cans burst open from the heat. The cash registers were charred, the drawers open and empty.There was also evidence of an attempt at an organized rescue effort. Outside Millionaires Casino, written in black marker on the wall, was: „Clear 1259,” an apparent reference to 12:59 p.m. on Sept. 21, less than an hour after the attack began. Next door, at an Apple reseller not yet open was: „Clear 12 57.” It was an indication that the area had been cleared at 12:57 one day by security forces.View gallery.”A man cleans up next to the bullet-scarred window of the Artcaffe restaurant and coffee shop at the …At the mall’s front entrance, near a life-size elephant, investigators were in a huddle, talking.A restaurant employee leaned against the metal railing where people once sat in the fresh air to eat Spanish tapas.”It will never be the way it was,” he said.___Associated Press writers Rukmini Callimachi and Tom Odula contributed to this report.
View galleryThe carcass of a rhino is seen after it was killed for its horn by poachers at the Kruger National Park By Jon Herskovitz JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The number of rhinos killed by poachers has hit a new annual record in South Africa, raising worries of a downward population spiral in a country that is home to almost all of Africa’s rhinos.As of the end of September, 704 rhinos had been killed by poachers in South Africa, exceeding the annual record of 668 set in 2012, according to data provided by the Environmental Affairs ministry on Tuesday.If the trend keeps at its current pace, more than 1,000 rhinos would be killed in 2014, putting the species on the brink of a population decline that the ministry has said could lead to the end of wild rhinos in about a decade.The greatest threat to the estimated 22,000 rhinos in South Africa comes from those trying to cash in on the black market value of their horn, which sells at prices higher than gold.Many of the poachers come from neighbouring Mozambique and sell the horn to crime syndicates to feed rapidly rising demand in Southeast Asia, where the horn is thought by some to cure cancer and tame hangovers.”We need people to be ashamed of this. The fact that our rhinos are killed is because there is a market out there. There are people who are coming to steal our heritage,” said Fundisile Mketeni, a top biodiversity official at the ministry.He said a baby boom among rhino stocks is softening the blow, while the ministry has mounted a global campaign to shut the doors for illegal exports to places such as Vietnam, China and Thailand, which are the main consumers of the contraband.ARMS RACE–Most of the killings are taking place in the flagship Kruger National Park, which borders Mozambique. The park covers an area about the size of Israel and has been the focus of an arms race between poachers and rangers.The park service has been turning its rangers into soldiers, using drones to patrol airspace and sending out crack units by helicopter once suspected poachers have been sighted.”The poaching syndicates are determined to carry on with their nefarious acts, using the poverty that is prevalent in Mozambique and South Africa to recruit poachers,” said Ike Phaahla, a spokesman with South African National Parks.Up until about 2010, only a handful of rhinos were poached but the number shot up when rumours circulated at about that time that a Vietnamese minister’s relative was cured of cancer by the horn. There is no basis in science to support the claim.In traditional Chinese medicine, the horn was used to treat maladies from rheumatism to devil possession. Now, many newly rich Vietnamese consume it after a hard night of partying.Rhino horn, once seen as a treatment only for royalty, is being swallowed by a small segment of the Vietnamese population who can afford prices of about $65,000 a kilogram, conservation groups say.Due to the high costs, much of the so-called rhino horn sold at pharmacies in major cities is fake, with buffalo horn the main substitute.”There is a small group who have the money for rhino horn. We need to get out scientific evidence to show the people of Vietnam that it doesn’t work,” Vo Tuan Nhan, vice chairman of the Vietnamese parliament’s science and environment committee, told a seminar in Johannesburg last month.
The future of a potential „comet of the century” is still uncertain, with just under two months to go before the icy w
met of the Ce …”data-uuid=”ca14ecc1-7ea2-38a8-be5e-4c43661474c9″>
akes its closest approach to the sun.With just two months to go before Comet ISON skims within about three-quarters of a million miles (1 million kilometers) above the sun’s surface, it’s still uncertain whether the comet will evolve into a stunningly bright object that will put on a memorable show in December, or turn out to be nothing more than a dim fuzz ball.The comet was masked by the glare of the sun for much of the summer and began to emerge into darker skies in mid-August. [Photos of Comet ISON: A Potentially Great Comet]Because the comet’s brightening had seemed to stall during the first half of this year, there was hope that once it reappeared, it would look significantly brighter. It was, indeed, brighter, yet not as bright as many had hoped. In fact, the comet was running about two magnitudes — or six times fainter — than forecasts had originally suggested.Sizzle or fizzle?
This new information has spawned two camps anticipating ISON’s future performance: those who think ISON will be a major disappointment and those who are still holding on to the hope that ISON will become a bright naked-eye spectacle.
Astronomer Bruce Gary was the first to photograph ISON after it emerged from the glare of the rising sun on Aug. 12, and belongs to the first camp. According to Gary’s calculations, the comet might not get much brighter than fifth or sixth magnitude, which is near the threshold of naked-eye visibility.
„I’ve begun to lose interest in this comet, which may never become visible to the unaided eye,” Gary said. „I wonder why someone ever suggested that it could become the ‘comet of the century.'”
On the other hand, astronomer Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C. has issued a more sanguine outlook.
„Certainly, we would love it to be a couple of magnitudes brighter right now, but it’s doing just fine,” Battams said. „I’d say it’s still on course to become a very eye-catching object.”
Earlier in September, based on a consensus of visual observations made by reputable observers, Comet ISON appeared as bright as 13th magnitude — still more than 600 times fainter than the dimmest star that can be perceived with the naked eye.
Through large telescopes, the comet’s head (called a coma) appeared about 1/30 the apparent size of the moon. [Comet ISON’s Path Through the Inner Solar System (Video)]
Over the last few weeks, the comet has nearly doubled in brightness to about magnitude 12.
Denis Buczynski, secretary of the British Astronomical Association’s comet section, photographed ISON in a somewhat hazy sky on the morning of Sept. 26.
„ISON seems to show some evidence of gas tail/streamers in my images north of the head,” Buczynski wrote in a description. „The comet is beginning to look quite active now.”
The view from Mars
More time and more observations will be needed to get a better handle on exactly how bright Comet ISON will get. Some of those observations will truly be out of this world: Scientists will observe the comet from Earth, and rovers on Mars and spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet will have a great view of the celestial showcase.
On Tuesday, (Oct. 1), the comet will pass just 6.5 million miles (10.5 million km) above the Martian surface.
Researchers aren’t sure whether Mars rover Curiosity will be able to capture images of the comet from the surface of Mars — that will depend on how bright ISON is as it makes its closest pass to the Red Planet.
According to astronomer Carey Lisse of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Maryland, the best bet for observation will be NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The MRO satellite is equipped with a powerful half-meter (1.5 feet) telescope named HiRISE that is capable of detecting ISON’s fuzzy coma and tail. HiRISE will be turned toward the comet on Oct 1 and 2.
In addition, an unprecedented 16 other NASA spacecraft observe the comet as it heads sunward. The astronauts on board the International Space Station will be watching, too.
Finally revving up?
Buczynski’s observations may also suggest that ISON is in the process of crossing the so-called „frost line,” where heat from the sun starts to vaporize the frozen water of the comet.
Up to 90 percent of the volatile material in a typical comet are water ice. Carbon dioxide and other gases are likely behind the relatively little brightening of Comet ISON. But if ISON crosses the frost line in the coming days, „the whole comet could erupt in geysers of gas,” Lisse said.
Moment of truth-The moment of truth will come on the U.S.’ Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28), when the comet will graze the sun’s surface.Don’t forget: ISON is, after all, a chunk of material that has spent thousands of years in the depths of deep space, where temperatures barely hover above absolute zero (minus 459.7 degrees Fahrenheit or minus 273.2 degrees Celsius). For eons, the comet has been „soaking up the cold,” so to speak. But on Nov. 28, ISON will be moving through the sun’s outer atmosphere, where it will be subjected to temperatures in excess of 1 million degrees F (555,538 degrees C). This extreme heat could cause the comet’s 3-mile-wide (4.8 km) nucleus to break apart into several pieces — much like what could happen when you pour hot tea into a cold cup.All hope for the comet is not lost, however. The fracturing process could release a fresh stream of dust into space that could translate into a spectacularly long and bright tail in early December. It could also cause the comet’s brightness to suddenly spike.But it is still possible that the comet could disintegrate.Comet Lovejoy did just that in December 2011, but only after it passed the sun. Lovejoy eventually evolved into a celestial showpiece, and disappeared a few weeks later. ISON could also disintegrate before it reaches the sun, but at least one expert does not think that will happen.Astronomer John Bortle, a highly reputable comet observer, thinks „ISON appears likely to survive the in-bound leg of its journey all the way to the sun.””It will probably brighten more slowly than all the early hype led the public to believe,” Bortle said. „Nevertheless, Comet ISON should very briefly become exceptionally bright, at least rivaling the planet Venus in the hours preceding its closest approach to the sun.”In the coming days and weeks, we’ll likely have a better idea of what Comet ISON. Stay tuned to SPACE.com for future updates.Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York’s Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for Natural History magazine, the Farmer’s Almanac and other publications, and he is also an on-camera meteorologist for News 12 Westchester, N.Y. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on SPACE.com.
2nd Phase of Gulf Oil Spill Trial ResumesView gallery9 photos Gerald Herbert September 29, 2013 6:00 PM Top kill. Junk shot. Cofferdam. Top hat. Capping stack. Those terms, obscure industry jargon before BP’s massive 2010 oil spill, became familiar buzzwords as the company scrambled to find a way to plug its blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico.More than three years later, the methods that BP employed during its 86-day struggle to stop the gusher will be the focus of a trial resuming Monday in the high-stakes litigation spawned by the nation’s worst offshore oil spill.Reporting by Michael Kunzelman, the Associated Press.
Jaw-Dropping Milky Way Galaxy View Wins Astronomy Photographer of the Yearby Elizabeth Howell, SPACE.com Contributor 7 hours agoView gallery The central regions of the Milky Way Galaxy, 26,000 light years away, appear as a tangle of dust and An Australian space photographer has won top spot in a global space photography competition, with a spectacular „star-riddled” photo of the Milky Way galaxy, a jaw-dropping image beat out more than 1,200 other entrants in this year’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest by the U.K.’s Royal Observatory Greenwich and National Maritime Museum.Mark Gee’s photo shows the galaxy stretching across the sky at Cape Palliser, New Zealand – accompanied by a beam from a lighthouse. In fact, his camera gear was at the top of the lighthouse when he decided to take this shot, requiring him to climb 250-plus steps to reach the equipment and bring it back to the location he wanted. You can see Gee’s spectacular image and more winning entries in SPACE.com’s 2013 Astronomy Photography of the Year gallery, courtesy of the Royal Observatory Greenwich.”By the time I got back, the sky was beginning to get lighter with sunrise two hours away,” Gee wrote in his contest entry on Flickr. „I took a wide pano made up of 20 individual images to get this shot. Stitching it together was a challenge, but the result was worth it!””I love the tranquil combination of sea and sky in this beautiful image, along with the comforting human element of the cliff-top lighthouse,” stated Marek Kukula, a competition judge as well as the Royal Observatory’s public astronomer. „This view from the shores of New Zealand makes me think of the long voyages the Maori’s ancestors made into unchartered oceans, guided by the stars. We’re in a similar situation today, as we set out to explore the universe.”Pictures of the northern lights (by Norway’s Fredrik Broms), a total solar eclipse (China’s Man-To Hui) and the transit of Venus (Britain’s Sam Cornwell) were among other photos the judges singled out for attention.The top photos in the contest are on display at the Royal Observatory Greenwich (near London) until February. The winners will also be published in a book commemorating the competition. The space photography contest, now in its fifth year, is run by both the observatory and BBC Sky at Night Magazine.The Royal Observatory Greenwich will display the winning space photos in a free exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in London. The exhibition opened on Sept. 19 and runs through Feb. 23, 2014. For more information on the exhibition, visit: http://www.rmg.co.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/astronomy-photographer-of-the-year/exhibition/Follow Elizabeth Howell @howellspace. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on SPACE.com.
NASA’s New Moon Probe Begins Final Leg of Lunar Trekby Miriam Kramer, Staff Writer 5 hours agoView gallery Artist’s concept of NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft in orbit NASA’s newest lunar probe is gearing up to begin the final phase of its month-long trek to the moon.The space agency’s LADEE moon dust spacecraft is in its third and final orbit around Earth before moving to the moon, and everything is looking good. The lunar probe launched into space on Sept. 6 to begin its circuitous route to the moon.LADEE’s second burn, designed to take it into a high elliptical orbit, was so „perfect” that the third maneuver planned to take the probe into an even higher orbit will not be necessary, NASA officials wrote in a mission update on Sept. 27. The loveseat-sized probe will make its final close flyby of Earth Tuesday (Oct. 1).After its last close approach, „LADEE will travel to the point at which it will be captured around the moon using an initial Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI-1) burn of the onboard main engine,” Butler Hine, LADEE project manager, wrote. „After that, LADEE will be in lunar orbit.”LADEE’s name is pronounced „laddie” and is short for the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer. Since the probe began orbiting Earth, scientists on the ground have successfully tested the spacecraft’s three science instruments and laser communications experiment. The spacecraft’s antenna that will be used to send information to the ground is also functioning well. LADEE is expected to transfer into lunar orbit on Oct. 6.The healthy instruments will be responsible for investigating some long-standing mysteries about the moon’s thin atmosphere and strange dust when it is expected to enter the into moon’s orbit on Oct. 6.The thin atmosphere of the moon represents the most common known kind of atmosphere in the solar system, NASA scientists have said. By understanding the composition of the moon’s atmosphere, researchers might be able to more accurately classify the atmospheres of large asteroids, many moon and even small planets like Mercury.LADEE is also designed to look into a strange glow Apollo astronauts saw on the horizon of the moon before sunrise. The glow may have been created by small dust particles lofted high into the lunar atmosphere, and data collected by LADEE could help scientists nail down an answer to that moon conundrumFThe $280 million LADEE mission launched to the moon atop the first flight of a Minotaur V rocket booster on Sept. 6 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. Once in orbit around the moon, LADEE is expected to perform 100 days of science.ollow Miriam Kramer @mirikramer and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on SPACE.com.
Tornado hits Washington State
View gallery10 photo Ted S. Warren 13 hours agoA rare tornado damaged industrial buildings south of Seattle as an unseasonable September storm dumped record amounts of rain and temporarily knocked out power for thousands in the Pacific Northwest.The tornado at 7:20 a.m. Monday hit the industrial area of Frederickson, tearing a hole in the roof of the Northwest Door factory, blowing out car windows at a nearby Boeing factory, and damaging a building where sections of a downtown Seattle tunnel project were being assembled. (AP)
25 Awesome Places Closed By the Government ShutdownBy Becky Kellogg Published: Oct 1, 2013, 1:12 PM EDT weather.com Mount Rushmore – South Dakota
Colorado Rock Slide Kills 5 Hikers P. Solomon Banda Published: Oct 1, 2013, 8:33 AM EDT Associated PressClimber Makes SHOCKING Find