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24 Jun 2008
Bouncing baby stars considered identical twins were oddly born 500,000 years apart, a new study finds.
The newly discovered star pair is located in the Orion nebula, a nearby "maternity ward" bustling with stellar-birth activity and located 1,500 light-years from Earth. One light year is the distance light will travel in a year, or about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion kilometers).
The astronomers who discovered the binary found that the stars show identical masses and compositions, elevating the pair to identical twin status. However, their relative brightness and other physical features differ, suggesting one star in Par 1802 formed earlier than the other.
Until now, astrophysicists had assumed binary stars form at about the same time. And so the discovery of these not-so-similar twin stars, detailed in the June 19 issue of the journal Nature, puts a new wrinkle in star formation theories.
24 Jun 2008
WASHINGTON - Exactly 20 years after warning America about global warming, a top NASA scientist said the situation has gotten so bad that the world's only hope is drastic action.
James Hansen told Congress on Monday that the world has long passed the "dangerous level" for greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and needs to get back to 1988 levels. He said Earth's atmosphere can only stay this loaded with man-made carbon dioxide for a couple more decades without changes such as mass extinction, ecosystem collapse and dramatic sea level rises.
"We're toast if we don't get on a very different path," Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute of Space Sciences who is sometimes called the godfather of global warming science, told The Associated Press. "This is the last chance."
Hansen brought global warming home to the public in June 1988 during a Washington heat wave, telling a Senate hearing that global warming was already here. To mark the anniversary, he testified before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming where he was called a prophet, and addressed a luncheon at the National Press Club where he was called a hero by former Sen. Tim Wirth, D-Colo., who headed the 1988 hearing.
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23 Jun 2008
MANILA, Philippines--(UPDATE) Typhoon Frank (international code name: Fengshen) has maintained its strength and its eye was located 90 kilometers southeast of Metro Manila (13.9°N 121.5°E) in the latest bulletin issued by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the state weather bureau.
In its 5 a.m. update, Pagasa said Frank was forecast to move north northwest at 15 kilometers per hour and had maximum winds of 120 kph and gustiness of up to 150 kph.
By Monday morning, Frank is expected to be 70 kilometers northwest of Baguio City and 260 kilometers west southwest of Basco, Batanes by Tuesday. By Wednesday, it is expected to be 330 kilometers northwest of Basco, Batanes.
Fireman and members of a rescue group help an elderly woman out of the Jaro
river near Iloilo city, central Philippines June 21, 2008. Typhoon Fengshen killed
at least 17 people in floods and landslides in the Philippines and left a ferry adrift
with over 700 passengers and crew on Saturday. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
LIST OF AFFECTED AREAS
Typhoon death toll set to rise after ferry capsize
A group of 28 ferry passengers and crew washed ashore after drifting at sea for more than a day from the site where a typhoon capsized their ship and left most of the hundreds aboard missing and presumed dead, officials said Monday.
Manila's DZBB radio said the survivors, 20 male passengers, four women and four crewmen, drifted at sea for more than 24 hours wearing their lifejackets, reaching Mulanay township in eastern Quezon province late Sunday. Coast guard chief Vice Adm. Wilfredo Tamayo announced early Monday that they had been found, raising the total number of survivors to 38. All were discovered after making it to land.
Tamayo said rescuers may have to bore a hole in the ship to allow divers access to area where many aboard the ferry were believed to have been trapped.
The MV Princess of the Stars lies capsized in the water off Sibuyan island,
central Philippines, before sinking. The ferry was carrying 740 people when
it went down in heavy seas on Saturday. Credits: Philippine Navy. AP
Typhoon death toll reaches 229 in Philippines
The past weekend marked one of the darkest dates in the Philippines' natural disaster-battering history, with reports of floods, landslides, flooded streets and a sunken ship with over 700 passengers on board. The country's Red Cross and disaster relief authorities on Sunday night announced that at least 229 people have been killed, 700 others missing as typhoon "Fengshen" ripped through the archipelago since Friday afternoon.
Meanwhile, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) on Sunday morning reported that floods, storm surge, and landslides have affected 366,444 people, of which, 70,717 are in evacuation centers. According to the disaster relief agency, 229 people were confirmed dead in typhoon-caused accidents. Electricity, telephone lines and mobile phone signals were cut off in many parts of the archipelagic state, including capital Metro Manila. The storm has stranded 5,095 passengers, 288 rolling cargo, 90 trucks, 59 passenger buses, 48 small vehicles, and eight sea vessels, the NDCC said.
Packing sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour and gusts of up to 150 kilometers per hour, the typhoon entered the Philippines from the eastern Samar island on Friday. It shifted course Sunday to the northwest and battered Manila at dawn, dumping heavy rain on the capital.
Residents wade through knee-deep floodwaters after a Typhoon Fengshen pelted
Metro Manila with torrential rain and high winds June 22, 2008.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
20 Jun 2008
Flooding in China's southern provinces have killed 176 since June 6.
SANSHUI, China - China has evacuated more than 70,000 people near the epicenter of last month's devastating earthquake to avoid further casualties from landslides and other disasters during the country's deadly annual flood season. Rain and floods, concentrated in China's heavily industrialized south, have killed at least 176 people and left 52 missing, as authorities struggle to shelter millions made homeless by the 7.9 magnitude quake that struck southwest Sichuan province on May 12.
Authorities in Aba prefecture had moved 72,000 people living in "highly dangerous terrain" in Wenchuan county, the epicenter of the quake, to safer areas ahead of downpours on Wednesday night, Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.
Flooding in China includes the town of Zhaoqing. MN Chan / Getty Images
18 Jun 2008
Sometimes you just can't believe your eyes. This week is one of those times.
On Wednesday night, June 18th, step outside at sunset and look around. You'll see a giant form rising in the east. At first glance it looks like the full Moon. It has craters and seas and the face of a man, but this "moon" is strangely inflated. It's huge!
You've just experienced the Moon Illusion.
There's no better time to see it. The full Moon of June 18th is a "solstice moon", coming only two days before the beginning of northern summer. This is significant because the sun and full Moon are like kids on a see-saw; when one is high, the other is low. This week's high solstice sun gives us a low, horizon-hugging Moon and a strong Moon Illusion.
Sky watchers have known for thousands of years that low-hanging moons look unnaturally big. At first, astronomers thought the atmosphere must be magnifying the Moon near the horizon, but cameras showed that is not the case. Moons on film are the same size regardless of elevation: example. Apparently, only human beings see giant moons.
The full moon rising over Manchester, Maryland. Credit: Edmund E. Kasaitis.
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