Category Archives: Science & Health

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“A step out of and beyond nature”: Picturing the Moon | Picture This: Library of Congress Prints & Photos

July 22, 2021 by Barbara Orbach Natanson

The following is a guest post by Micah Messenheimer, Curator of Photography, Prints & Photographs Division.

Phase of the moon taken March 1851. Photo by John Adams Whipple, 1851 March, printed 1853. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.22196

This week’s anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing provides a perfect opportunity to explore our holdings of lunar photography in the Prints & Photographs Division.

From the medium’s beginnings, the moon fascinated photographers as both a subject of scientific inquiry and as poetic muse. Early efforts to photograph the moon were often met with failure due to the low sensitivity of available materials.

Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre attempted photographs in his eponymous process around 1838 that were described as “fuzzy and low in details,” by his advocate, François Arago. Successful photographs of the moon using the daguerreotype process would not be made until over a dozen years later, when the celebrated Boston portrait photographer John Adams Whipple sought the assistance of Harvard astronomer William Cranch Bond and his son, George Phillips Bond.

Using the college observatory’s Great Refractor telescope, they captured the sphere in its waxing gibbous phase on March 14, 1851.

Source: “A step out of and beyond nature”: Picturing the Moon | Picture This: Library of Congress Prints & Photos

Scientists Just ‘Looked’ Inside Mars. Here’s What They Found | WIRED

InSight and Perseverance have sent back unprecedented data on everything from marsquakes to the Red Planet’s inner layers.

By Katrina Miller Matt Simon, Science, 07.22.2021 02:00 PM

Illustration: Nicolas Sarter/IPGP

While humans have been struggling to control the Covid-19 pandemic, baking in record heat, and trying to figure out how not to run out of water, our spacecraft on Mars have been enjoying a rather more tranquil existence.

(Not needing to breathe helps.) Parked on the Martian surface, the InSight lander is listening for marsquakes, while the Perseverance rover is rolling around in search of life.

This week, scientists are dropping an Olympus Mons of findings from the two brave robots. In three papers published today in the journal Science—each authored by dozens of scientists from around the world—researchers detail the clever ways they used InSight’s seismometer to peer deep into the Red Planet, giving them an unprecedented understanding of its crust, mantle, and core.

It’s the first time scientists have mapped the interior of a planet other than Earth. And yesterday, another group of scientists held a press conference to announce early research results from Perseverance, and the next steps the rover will take to explore the surface of Jezero Crater, once a lake that could have been home to ancient microbial life.

Source: Scientists Just ‘Looked’ Inside Mars. Here’s What They Found | WIRED

Monarch butterflies are beloved—and declining for this sad reason | Popular Science

Scientists trawled thousands of volunteer surveys over 25 years to understand what imperils the insects.

By Kate Baggaley | Updated Jul 21, 2021 12:00 PM

From article…

For the past three decades, monarch butterflies have been dwindling.

The iconic bugs face a number of threats in North America, from weed killers to climate change, but it hasn’t been clear which one has been the most damaging. A new study, however, indicates that the butterflies are especially sensitive to weather conditions in their spring and summer breeding grounds.

Scientists analyzed data from more than 18,000 monarch counts from across the United States, Mexico, and Canada spanning 25 years. They found that over the past 15 years, climate had an influence on the eastern monarch population that was nearly seven times that of other variables such as herbicide use.

Source: Monarch butterflies are beloved—and declining for this sad reason | Popular Science

Why Is the Eastern Monarch Butterfly Disappearing? Is There Something We Can Do About It? | SCITECHDAILY

A Spartan-led research team has uncovered an answer — at least for the most recent population decline — with a huge assist from volunteers.

By Michigan State University, July 19, 2021

From article…

Michigan State University ecologists led an international research partnership of professional and volunteer scientists to reveal new insights into what’s driving the already-dwindling population of eastern monarch butterflies even lower.

Between 2004 and 2018, changing climate at the monarch’s spring and summer breeding grounds has had the most significant impact on this declining population.

In fact, the effects of climate change have been nearly seven times more significant than other contributors, such as habitat loss. The team published its report today (July 19, 2021) in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

“What we do is develop models to understand why monarchs are declining and what’s happening to biodiversity in general,” said Erin Zylstra, the study’s lead author. Zylstra is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Integrative Biology and the Ecology, Evolution and Behavior Program, both in MSU’s College of Natural Science.

Source: Why Is the Eastern Monarch Butterfly Disappearing? Is There Something We Can Do About It?

Climate change and the Moon are teaming up to create record floods on Earth | Salon.com

The Moon’s orbit is “wobbling” — and that plus climate change will wreak havoc on the ground

By Matthew Rozsa, Published July 18, 2021 10:00AM (EDT)

Coastal village during a storm, UK. (Getty images/Peter Cade)

At the time of this writing, at least 120 people have been confirmed dead because of severe flooding in Western Europe.

It is tragically likely that, when this story is over, the number will be significantly higher. A German weather service (DWD) spokesman told CNN that in some areas there has not been this much rainfall in 100 years.

These extreme weather events are inextricably linked to climate change, politicians and experts have noted.

But there is another culprit, one above, that is also affecting the weather: a “wobble” in the orbit of the Moon. Indeed, only days before the flooding, a study in the journal Nature Climate Change by scientists from NASA and the University of Hawaii warned that the Earth may experience record flooding in the mid-2030s because of changes in the Moon’s orbit.

Source: Climate change and the Moon are teaming up to create record floods on Earth | Salon.com