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On this week’s episode of StarTalk All-Stars, veteran host Seth Shostak and co-host Eugene Mirman invite guest Ken Caldeira, climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, for a serious discussion about climate change.

With Ken in the house, strap in for sharp discussion on all aspects of climate change. Hear how the U.S. has played a big leadership role in the development of climate-friendly infrastructure around the world, at least until now. Explore the consequences of rising sea levels for the near term and far in the future. You’ll also discover how the future of climate science lies not in studying the problem of climate change, but in the experimentation and discovery of solutions to fix it.

However, this being StarTalk, it’s not all science and no fun. Eugene offers ideas on different ways to use coal, oil and gas, for example… a hand cream, and that he’s rather ok with Florida might succumbing to the rising sea levels of the future.

Ken reveals how many trees it would take to reverse the damage already done by the destruction of the rain forests. (Hint…it’s quite a lot.)

More info: http://buff.ly/2kntICf

Listen here: http://buff.ly/2l5vYee

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Happy New Year from the CAMS team! Software engineer Ian Webster worked with Peter Jenniskens to create this visualization tool of CAMS data. You can display all showers that were identified in the March 2013 release, including the sporadic background! Use cursor to change viewing perspective. See the visual here: http://buff.ly/2i4MkBE

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No wrong side of Earth for Meteor Camera Network

On October 1, the third station of a new 48-camera, video-surveillance network in the United Arab Emirates has come online to help map meteor showers. The network complements the existing 80-camera Cameras for Allsky Meteor Surveillance (CAMS) network twelve time zones later in California.

"Some meteor showers last only for hours," says SETI Institute meteor astronomer Peter Jenniskens. "Now, we can catch those even when California is on the wrong side of Earth."

The new network was established by astronomer Mohammad Odeh of the International Astronomical Center in Abu Dhabi, with support from the United Arab Emirates Space Agency. Data are transmitted to the SETI Institute, where Jenniskens calculates the meteor trajectories as part of an ongoing NASA-sponsored meteor shower survey.

"The new network is performing well," says Odeh. "It captured 67 meteors in the first night of observations."

Read more at: http://buff.ly/2fit1m8

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Did Early Earth Spin On Its Side?

New theoretical modeling of the ancient history of the Earth and the Moon suggests that the giant collision that spawned our natural satellite may have left Earth spinning very fast, and with its spin axis highly tilted.

Computer simulations of what followed the collision, sometimes referred to as the “big whack,” show that, following this event, and as the young Moon’s orbit was getting bigger, the Earth lost much of its spin as well gained a nearly upright orientation with respect to the ecliptic. The simulations give new insight into the question of whether planets with big moons are more likely to have moderate climates and life.

“Despite smart people working on this problem for fifty years, we’re still discovering surprisingly basic things about the earliest history of our world,” says Matija Cuk a scientist at the SETI Institute and lead researcher for the simulations. “It’s quite humbling.”

Read more: http://buff.ly/2f3QOKA
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CAMS News: October 5 - outburst of October Camelopardalids

The dust trail of an unknown long-period comet wandered in Earth's path on October 5. The outburst of October Camelopardalids (IAU code "OCT") peaked at around 14:45 UT. CAMS California recorded 9 meteors from a compact radiant between 8:45 and 13:15 UT, while the the new network in the United Arab Emirates on the other side of Earth detected 3 between 14:48 and 19:15 UT. Carl Johannink reports that a first look of CAMS BeNeLux data also shows four OCT. Geocentric radiants cluster on the border of the constellations Camelopardalis and Draco.

More info: http://buff.ly/2e8PNSM

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CAMS Update: Mohammad Odeh and Steve Rau report that station UACN3 of the CAMS United Arab Emirates network is now online. The partially clouded night of October 1 produced 67 good meteor orbits. The network is now officially in operation. In a next phase, plan is to add three more stations to double the coverage area to include the skies over the western part of the United Arab Emirates.

Read more: http://buff.ly/2dWVS3h
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Perseid Meteor Shower This Week May Develop Outburst - August 11th and 12th

This Thursday and Friday, there will be one of the best annual meteor showers you and your family can watch – the Perseids. And some experts are even predicting that there might be a meteor “outburst” this year – where the number of shooting stars increases beyond the usual rates.

This is a complicated year for watching the Perseid meteor shower, because the evening sky has a roughly half-lit-up moon in it, making it more difficult to catch the faint “shooting stars.” So if you can wait until the Moon sets (between midnight and 1 am), you should have better viewing in the pre-dawn darkness. That’s great advice for people on vacation or camping trips (and for insomniacs,) but probably not useful for those who have to get up for work! (If you are watching before midnight, one suggestion is to get into a moon shadow – a place where something blocks your view of the Moon and it’s easier to scan the sky.)

The best night is the evening of Thursday, Aug. 11 and morning of Friday, Aug. 12th, although there could be significantly more meteors in the sky on the night before and the night after, too. Meteors or “shooting stars” (which have nothing to do with stars) are pieces of cosmic dust and dirt hitting the Earth’s atmosphere at high speed and making a flash of light as they burn up. These flashes could happen anywhere in the sky, so it’s best to view the shower from a dark, wide-open place.

See our full article for more info and viewing suggestions: http://buff.ly/2b2mtKz

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Outburst of July gamma Draconids

Peter Jenniskens reports that the CAMS meteor shower survey stations in the Netherlands noticed unusually strong activity from the normally weak July gamma Draconids meteor shower (IAU shower number 184) in the night of July 27/28. About half of all 126 single-station detected meteors that night, typically about +2 magnitude bright, radiated from this shower's radiant (see plot above), as did 5 out of 9 multi-station meteors. Confirmation comes from the Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar, sensitive to mainly fainter +7 magnitude meteors. This radar, too, detected a 2-hour wide outburst centered on 0h UT, July 28. The outburst is significant as it might announce the approach of the parent body comet to the Sun. So far, this comet has not been discovered yet.

Read More: http://buff.ly/2aMYbTq
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Can we avoid the same fate as the dinosaurs? http://buff.ly/2arI7Fw
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#AsteroidDay: Elite Team to Consider New Approaches to Asteroid Danger

The NASA Frontier Development Lab (FDL) is bringing together a team of postgraduate researchers in data analytics and planetary science and challenging them to think outside the box on the threat of asteroid impacts. The initiative is under the aegis of experts from the space agency and the SETI Institute, with deep-learning expertise contributed by NVIDIA and Autodesk.

Asteroids that collide with Earth are one cosmic danger that it’s now possible to mitigate. In 2013, NASA's Asteroid Grand Challenge charged participants with identifying all possible asteroid threats, and determining what to do about them. As part of the ongoing challenge, NASA engaged Trillium Technologies to devise a workshop to radically accelerate the development of new analytic tools to aid mitigation of a potential impact. Trillium co-founder and Director, James Parr, describes the concept:

“Grand challenges, such as detecting and characterizing the potentially hazardous asteroids we can’t see, demand ingenious new applications of emerging technologies. With FDL, we aimed to create a platform combining emerging talent in machine learning and planetary science to find genuinely new methodologies for planetary defense.”

Read more: http://buff.ly/296mh8Z
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