AGU: Pluto’s Icy Heart Makes Winds Blow

Four images from NASA’s New Horizons’ Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) were combined with color data from the Ralph instrument to create this global view of Pluto. Courtesy/NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

AGU News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A “beating heart” of frozen nitrogen controls Pluto’s winds and may give rise to features on its surface, according to a new study. 

Pluto’s famous heart-shaped structure, named Tombaugh Regio, quickly became famous after NASA’s New Horizons mission captured footage of the dwarf planet in Read More

Palindrome Day: Geeks Celebrate 02/02/2020


Today marks Palindrome Day, the first time in more than 900 years that the date is palindromic no matter the date format. It’s also the 33rd day of the year with 333 days left.

A Palindrome Day happens when the day’s date can be read the same way backward and forward. The dates are similar to word palindromes in that they are symmetrical.

At just after 2 a.m., it was 02:02:20 on 02/02/2020. This is the only time such a date will occur this century.

The previous palindrome date in all formats came 909 years ago on 11/11/1111. The next will come in 101 years on 12/12/2121 and after that there will Read More

Benson: Gus, The Glow-In-The-Dark Gopher

Chair, Pajarito Group of the Sierra Club

Sunday, Feb. 2, demarcates the point in the calendar halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox.

In simpler times, (prior to anthropogenic green-house gases causing climate change with the resulting predictability of drought, fires, floods, and species extinction, but the rarely predictable weather) on this day—Groundhog Day—it would be up to the groundhog to partner with his shadow to determine the weather for the next six weeks.

Here in New Mexico, as many of you already know, we do not have groundhogs. Rather we have gophers. Read More

AGU: Why We Can No Longer Ignore Consecutive Disasters

AGU News:

In recent decades, a striking number of countries have suffered from consecutive disasters: events whose impacts overlap both spatially and temporally, while recovery is still under way.

The risk of consecutive disasters will increase due to growing exposure, the interconnectedness of human society and the increased frequency and intensity of non‐tectonic hazard.

This paper provides an overview of the different types of consecutive disasters, their causes and impacts. The impacts can be distinctly different from disasters occurring in isolation (both spatially and temporally) Read More

World Futures: Ruling Humanity Or Is It Mankind – Part One

Los Alamos World Futures Institute

When I completed my series on education, “mi esposa” asked me to offer my solution for education and its improvement.

A tough question to ponder, I noted that in the United States there are roughly 55 million K-12 students in a population of 330 million people. In June 2019, the estimated world population, per the U.S. Census Bureau was 7,597,130,400 people, or rounding down it was about 7.5 billion.

If you divide 7.5 billion by 330 million and multiple by 55 million you get 1.25 billion, the number of potential K-12 students on Planet Earth.

Personally, Read More

Journey To Pluto & Beyond At Nature Center Planetarium Friday

Astronomer Dan Reisenfeld discusses the discoveries of the New Horizons mission at Pluto and beyond at 7 p.m. Friday in the Los Alamos Nature Center planetarium on Canyon Road. Courtesy/PEEC

PEEC News:

Journey to Pluto and beyond with the New Horizons spacecraft this Friday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. in the Los Alamos Nature Center planetarium. Launched in 2006, the NASA New Horizons spacecraft executed a close fly-by of Pluto in 2016, making it the first spacecraft to ever encounter this distant Dwarf Planet. Astronomer Dan Reisenfeld will be the pilot for the evening and will take the audience on a journey Read More

Citizen Scientists Discover New Aurora Type Named ‘The Dunes’ Helping Understand Mysterious Layer Of Earth’s Atmosphere

Auroral dunes photographed Oct 7, 2018 near Ruovesi, Finland. Photo by Rami Valonen

AGU News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new type of aurora called “the dunes” discovered by aurora chasers in Finland is helping scientists better understand a mysterious layer of Earth’s atmosphere.

The aurora – nighttime light displays in the atmosphere near Earth’s poles – take on various shapes and forms. They often appear as rippling curtains of green, red, or purple light. But in October 2018, amateur auroral photographers in Finland discovered a new auroral form they dubbed “the dunes”.

The dunes appear as thin Read More

CIR: Jeff Bingaman On ‘Impeaching A President’

Sen. Jeff Bingaman

CIR News:

During a luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 3 at Hotel Santa Fe, retired U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) will react and respond to the Senate trial of President Trump by offering key reflections on his experience in the January 1999 trial of President Bill Clinton. 

Interviewed by Amb. Vicki Huddleston, Sen. Bingaman will provide a behind-the-scenes look at an impeachment trial, reviewing the oft-cited trial rules set by the US Senate in 1999 for such a trial, and the role that evidence, including witnesses and partisanship played in President Clinton’s eventual Read More

LANL: Acetone + Light Creates Green Jet Fuel Additive

Starting with acetone derived from plants, scientists at Los Alamos are converting this simple molecule into jet fuel using a novel process that uses light. This has the potential to be blended with regular jet fuel to offer a greener option. Courtesy/LANL

LANL News:

Take biomass-derived acetone—common nail polish remover—use light to upgrade it to higher-mass hydrocarbons, and, voila, you have a domestically generated product that can be blended with conventional jet fuel to fly while providing environmental benefits, creating domestic jobs, securing the nation’s global leadership Read More

PEEC: Explore Milky Way History; Other Galaxies Friday

Explore how our understanding of the Milky Way’s place in the universe has evolved over time at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24 at the Los Alamos Nature Center’s planetarium with Paul Arendt. Courtesy/PEEC

PEEC News:

Explore how understanding of the Milky Way’s place in the universe has evolved over time at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24 in the Los Alamos Nature Center’s planetarium.

Paul Arendt will explore the history of the Milky Way and then discuss the methods used to discover our home galaxy’s satellite neighbors. He also will look at ultra-diffuse galaxies and the recent controversies involving a few of Read More