Comet ISON 2013 — Dates, Times, Path, Updates, And Pictures

November 14, 2013 in Space

Comet ISON is nearly here — the potentially incredible comet should soon be visible to the naked eye, reaching perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) on November 28. Once perihelion occurs — if the comet survives — it should brighten significantly, and become visible in both the evening sky after sunset, and in the morning sky before sunrise.

The best dates to watch will likely be right in the middle of December, probably between the 10th and the 15th — though there’s a real possibility that Comet ISON will remain visible throughout all of December and also early January. The comet will probably be easier to spot in the evenings, but it should be visible both before sunrise and after sunset. With regard to where to find Comet ISON in the sky in December — when watching before sunrise, you’ll want to look to the East, and when watching after sunset, you’ll want to look to the West/North-West.

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Tamu Massif — Undersea Volcano The Size Of The British Isles Discovered In The Pacific, One Of The Largest Known Volcanoes In The Solar System

September 9, 2013 in Geology & Climate

Tamu Massif — a volcano the size of the British Isles — was recently discovered by researchers from the University of Houston. The enormous volcano is not only the largest yet discovered on the Earth, but is also one of the largest volcanoes in the whole of the known solar system — in the same size-range as the giant volcanoes of Mars.

The country-sized undersea volcano is located about 1,000 miles east of Japan, and compromises the largest feature of Shatsky Rise — an underwater mountain range that formed sometime between 130-145 million years ago, as a result of the eruption of several large underwater volcanoes.

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3-D Structure Of The Genome Determines How Genes Are Expressed, Research Finds

August 4, 2013 in Animals & Insects, Humans, Plants

The three-dimensional structure of the genome determines how genes are expressed, new research from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the University of Washington has found.

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For the new research, the genome’s 3D structure was analyzed in detail and at high resolution, which yielded new insight into how/why some genes are expressed and others aren’t. Some background — there’s somewhere around three meters worth of DNA tightly folded within the nucleus of every one of the human body’s cells. Depending on the ‘folding’, some genes are ‘expressed’, while others aren’t.
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Dance Of The Planets May 2013 — What Is It? Where And When To Watch Venus, Jupiter, And Mercury

May 21, 2013 in Space

The “Dance of the Planets” — what is it? The dance of the planets is the term popularly used for the astronomical event where Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury, are each within the same roughly 5° circle in the sky — and over a period of days change and rotate positions with each other — dancing.

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Overfishing Causing Jellyfish Population Boom, Research Finds

May 16, 2013 in Animals & Insects, Humans

Jellyfish populations around the world have been increasing in recent years, and several very large jellyfish blooms have been reported since the early 2000s. The cause of these, and the general population increase, has remained somewhat unclear until now though. Is it simply observation bias? Cyclic population change? Warming waters? Changing currents?

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But now, thanks to new research from the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), the causes have become clear. The primary cause is overfishing, and with it the decline of many ecologically important species. Many significant predators of jellyfish, such as tuna and sea turtles, have seen their numbers plummet in recent years as a result of overfishing. And with their decline, jellyfish have begun to see their populations grow. But perhaps far more important than that decline, though, is the overfishing of small pelagic fish, such as sardines and herring, which are the main competitors of jellyfish.

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