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Saturday evening stargazers were treated to one of the trippiest natural phenomenons Earth has to offer: a naked eye-visible aurora borealis. The "northern lights," as they are often called, originate with our sun. Solar storms that occur there emit streams of charged particles which help to trigger the unusual light show once they reach Earth. SEE ALSO: The mystery of panda's fur color is finally solved The magnetic fields emanating from our north and south poles pull the charged particles down into our upper (and sometimes lower) atmosphere, where some of them collide with the neutral particles that reside there. The result of this collision is a beautiful glowing sky, though it's usually visible only at higher latitudes. In the Northern Hemisphere it's an "aurora borealis" and in the Southern Hemisphere it's an "aurora australis." Saturday evening's aurora borealis extended further south than is normal for these events, which meant it was visible in the northern U.S., Canada, and parts of Europe. It was the result of the sun spitting out a large burst of plasma on May 23, an event referred to as a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). The internet expressed its thanks for the cosmic light show in the only way it knows how: social media shares enhanced by stunning photography. WOW! Northern Lights seen tonight from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Photo credit: Chris Cook. #Aurora #NorthernLights pic.twitter.com/H5FgEuoyVx — Mark Tarello (@mark_tarello) May 28, 2017 2 quick pics from tonight from the backyard near Chatsworth ON. #northernlights #aurora #greycounty #ShareYourWeather #Auroraborealis pic.twitter.com/K8fLBhKEGQ — Shelley Jackson (@sjacksondesign) May 28, 2017 An amazing show in the sky, near #Calgary, 3:30am#yyc#Aurora #Auroraborealis #northernlights #Canada #Canada150 pic.twitter.com/lrV0Jv3zSR — Dena Barmas (@denabarmas) May 28, 2017 What an awesome night, got the see the #NorthernLights just outside of #Omaha on the NE/IA border near Honey Creek, IA #newx, #iawx #aurora pic.twitter.com/7Y65PfJfpJ — Brad Williams Photo (@bradwphoto) May 28, 2017 Directly overhead in the Big Dipper, naked eye visible. ?corona? #northernlights #aurora #solarstorm #northerniowa pic.twitter.com/nC1HSCw97s — Diana Hayungs (@diana_hayungs) May 28, 2017 The #NorthernLights can be seen in #Finland200 days a year from August to April. #MondayMotivationpic.twitter.com/FgktyaZfK1 — Tom Hall ☘ (@TomHall) May 22, 2017 Quick edit from tonight's #aurora show. Just W of Bismarck, ND @TamithaSkov @_SpaceWeather_ @AuroraMAX @NorthDakota @spann #northernlights pic.twitter.com/c4ttb70it5 — Zachary Hargrove (@Zargrove) May 28, 2017 Just as the #northernlights peaked tonight, clouds moved in in Maine. Would have been awesome. @TamithaSkov @Aurora_Alerts @NorthLightAlert pic.twitter.com/P0cenkGfVe — Barbie West (@12truewest) May 28, 2017 Epic #aurora show overnight over #LakeHuron seen just hours ago from #SaugeenShores, Ontario // 05-20-2017 4:09AM @stormhour #northernlights pic.twitter.com/pjQIIq0OD4 — Scott Rock (@scottrockphoto) May 20, 2017 The #northernlights really put on a show tonight in Menahga, MN! pic.twitter.com/uGYhBw8K8J — Dani☽ (@danijpeterson) May 28, 2017 I could go on and on. There are so many beautiful photos, videos, and GIFs to look at this morning. Find more on Twitter under the #auroraborealis and #northernlights hashtags. With additional reporting by Miriam Kramer. WATCH: Coating yourself in fish scales could be the answer to burn recovery
By Ian Simpson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The reluctance of U.S. federal regulators to require operators of nuclear reactors to spend $5 billion to enhance the security of spent fuel rods stored underground threatens the country with a potential catastrophe, scientists warned on Friday. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission greatly underestimated the risk and potential contamination of a nuclear waste fire triggered by a quake or a planned attack, experts writing in the journal "Science" said. In 2014, the NRC found the chance of a disaster caused by leaving radioactive waste in storage pools was too remote to warrant the cost of moving it to safer dry casks.
According to Hawking, “with climate change, overdue asteroid strikes, epidemics and population growth, our own planet is increasingly precarious”. You first have to appreciate that this is mainly a population issue. While estimates of the carrying capacity of Earth vary widely, most people would accept we are causing serious damage.
"The town is unrecognisable, the streets are empty and most shops are closed," says Antonella Calopardo, a local resident. Italian authorities are taking no chances to protect the leaders of the world's seven richest democracies, who have gathered in Taormina to discuss the thorny issues of climate change, trade and worldwide security threats. Locals going in and out of the jet-set town that once played host to the likes of Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway and Elizabeth Taylor are forced to wait at airport-style checkpoints to be scanned, their cars and scooters methodically searched.
Construction began in Chile on Friday on the European Extremely Large Telescope, which when completed will be the world's largest optical telescope, some five times larger than the top observing instruments in use today. The size of the ELT has the potential to transform our understanding of the universe, say its backers, with its main mirror that will measure some 39 meters (43 yards) across. Located on a 3,000 meter-high mountain in the middle of the Atacama desert, it is due to begin operating in 2024.
Initial results of the Hospital Microbiome Project, published today (May 24) in the journal Science Translational Medicine, provide an unprecedented map of the microbial communities that inhabit a hospital — on the patients, the staff and the surfaces. "We are mapping a new world in the hospital so that we can understand the trade routes, if you will, of microbes moving in that space," said study senior author Jack Gilbert, director of the Microbiome Center at the University of Chicago. The map of the hospital, the Center for Care and Discovery at the University of Chicago Medicine, is not a typical two-dimensional projection of a physical space, Gilbert said.
Humans have excellent olfaction and can smell more than a trillion odors. “People are sometimes taught that because humans developed such a good visual system, we lost a sense of smell as a trade-off,” Rutgers University neurobiologist John McGann says. The myth of poor human olfaction is centuries old.
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