Environment

El Valle Astronomers Host Dixon Star Party Saturday

Capella, left center, and the Pleiades, right, bathed in the Northern Lights. Imaged Oct. 11, 2015 with a Canon EOS Rebel T2i DSLR in Karasjok, Norway. Courtesy/NOP
 
By DAVID GRIGGS, Secretary
El Valle Astronomers

El Valle Astronomers will host a Star Party Saturday, Nov. 14. Meet in front of the Dixon Coop Market 4:55 p.m., and President Lee Mesibov will lead the procession up the hill to the Dixon Ballfield.

In the evening twilight, we will be observing details on the waxing crescent Moon. As twilight fades away, you can make out the last stars of summery Sagittarius to its left. Uranus (magnitude


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Scenes From Today’s Signing Ceremony Establishing Manhattan Project National Historical Park

From left, Los Alamos County Council Chair Kristin Henderson, former Councilor Fran Berting, Los Alamos Historical Society Executive Director Heather McClenahan, Dr. Ben Neal, second from right, and at far right, Bandelier Superintendent Jason Lott join U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and seated, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz at this morning’s signing ceremony, in Washington, D.C., to officially establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. Courtesy/NPS

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell


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Kiwanis Club Sponsors Storytelling At Nature Center 6 p.m. Today

Gathered around the campfire to listen and imagine. Courtesy/PEEC

PEEC News:

Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) is bringing two great storytellers to the Los Alamos Nature Center at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10 to light up one’s imagination.

Gather under the planetarium stars to enjoy nature-inspired storytelling. With master storytellers Teralene (Terry) Foxx and Kimberly Gotches as guides, children and adults will embark on an adventure to meet all kinds of animals, learn about stars, and even go fishing.

This program is free thanks to a generous sponsorship from the Kiwanis


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PEEC Workshop Saturday: The New Age Of Birding

Courtesy/PEEC

Do you enjoy watching birds? Would you like to know how to integrate new technology to further your birding efforts?

Expert birders Bob Walker and Dave Yeamans are leading a workshop 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14 at the Los Alamos Nature Center to explore how technology is transforming birding. This workshop is for all levels of birders and focuses on using digital tools.

Technology is quickly changing how we connect with nature. In many ways, the digital age is making it easier to view, identify, and document birds and other wild animals. That is if we know how to use our digital


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Interior, Energy Departments To Sign Agreement Establishing Manhattan Project National Historical Park

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz

DEPT. OF INTERIOR News:

WAHINGTON, D.C. – Tuesday, Nov. 10, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) at the Department of the Interior South Building Auditorium, to establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

The park will have three locations: Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Tenn. and Hanford, Wash. National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis will attend the ceremony along with Senators Martin Heinrich, Lamar Alexander and Maria Cantwell, who


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Looking For Deliberate Radio Signals From KIC 8462852

Allen Telescope Array. Courtesy/Seth Shostak, SETI Institute

SCIENCE News:

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.— Could there be intelligent life in the star system KIC 8462852? A recent analysis of data collected by the Kepler space telescope has shown that this star, informally known as Tabby’s Star, evidences a periodic dimming of 20 percent and more. 

While several natural explanations for this strong change in luminosity have been proposed, one possibility is that a technologically adept civilization has built megastructures in orbit around star, causing the dimming. 

One example


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Super Strypi Fails In First Minute Of Launch

The Super Strypi launch vehicle blasted off from a rail launch platform at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii at 5:45 p.m. (HST). Courtesy/U.S. Air Force/University of Hawaii/Spaceflight Now
 
 
By ROGER SNODGRASS
Los Alamos Daily Post
  • New Mexico CubeSat team weighs another shot

The maiden flight of the Super Strypi launch vehicle stumbled out of control in the first stage of a low-earth-orbit mission Tuesday night.

Lost in delayed glimpses of the disintegrating rocket were the pieces of a doomed payload, 13 small satellites. The main payload of six small CubeSats


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Advanced Reactor Development To Strengthen Nuclear Power’s Role In Combating Climate Change

DOE News:
 
WASHINGTON  The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) made two announcements today at the White House Summit on Nuclear Energy that will bolster our nation’s commitment to nuclear power as a clean energy solution for combating climate change.
 
One of the efforts by DOE will accelerate the development of advanced designs for nuclear reactors through the Office of Nuclear Energy’s Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN).
 
Additionally, DOE’s Loan Programs Office will issue a supplement to the agency’s existing Advanced Nuclear Energy Projects

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Air Quality Meeting In Four Corners Region

NMED News:
 
SANTA FE  The Four Corners Air Quality Group will meet Monday, Nov. 9 and Tuesday, Nov. 10 at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., to report upon and discuss regional air quality issues.
 
The States of New Mexico and Colorado, with their partners, sponsor the Four Corners Air Quality Group to support the ongoing effort of managing air quality in the Four Corners area. 
 
Ozone standards, which were recently revised by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA); EPA’s recently released Clean Power Plan; and

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Preservation Of 5,900 Acre Double E Ranch Celebrated At WNMU In Silver City

 
NMONR News:
 
SANTA FE  The New Mexico Office of Natural Resources Trustee and the United States Department of the Interior completed a cooperative natural resource damage assessment associated with natural resources in New Mexico, which had been injured, destroyed, or lost as a result of the release of hazardous substances into the environment.
 
They solicited a broad range of ideas for potential restoration projects from local, state, and federal agencies; nonprofit organizations; stakeholder groups; and private citizens.
 
The Double E Ranch

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Chromium Project Notice Of Proposed Floodplain Action Public Comment Period Closes Nov. 20

DEEM News:
 
The Department of Energy Environmental Management Los Alamos Field Office has prepared a Draft Environmental Assessment for the Chromium Plume Control Interim Measure and Plume-Center Characterization at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
 
The proposed action may include well pad and access road installation and maintenance, piezometer placement, and pipeline placement in the 100-year floodplain in Mortandad and Sandia canyons on LANL.
 
The objectives of the proposed actions are to control migration of the chromium plume and to further characterize

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Access To Los Alamos Reservoir And Surrounding Area Closed Nov. 9, 2015 Through June 30, 2016

The access road leading up to the reservoir shows flood damage. Courtesy/LAC

COUNTY News:

Pedestrian and motor vehicle access to the Los Alamos Reservoir will be restricted Monday, Nov. 9, and continue through June 2016. 

Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities awarded a contract to CBKN Dirtworks, Inc. to restore the reservoir after several flood events filled it with sediment and compromised the access road.

Department officials warn that construction crews with heavy equipment will be utilizing the single dirt road leading up to the Los Alamos Canyon Dam and Reservoir


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New Mexico, Colorado Lawmakers To Introduce Mining Reform Legislation In Response To Gold King Mine Blowout

U.S. SENATE News:

  • Bill will ensure mining companies pay royalties to help prevent future disasters

Today, at 10 a.m., U.S. Senators Tom Udall, D-N.M., Martin Heinrich, D-N.M. and Michael Bennet, D-Colo. and U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M. will hold a press conference call to unveil legislation to reform the nation’s antiquated hardrock mining laws.

The senators are introducing the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2015, which will ensure mining companies pay royalties for the privilege of extracting public resources from public lands so that taxpayers aren’t on the hook


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NNMCAB Holds Special Meeting Nov. 12

NNMCAB News:
 
The Northern New Mexico Citizens’ Advisory Board (NNMCAB) is one of eight Site-Specific Advisory Boards established to involve local citizens in the Department of Energy’s (DOE) environmental clean-up decision process at its nuclear facilities.
 
Members of the public are encouraged to attend NNMCAB meetings and provide their unique perspective on environmental issues.
 
The NNMCAB will hold a Special Meeting to learn about proposed changes to the 2005 Order on Consent, 1-4:30 p.m., Nov. 12, at the Cities of Gold

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Sea Monsters Planetarium Movie & Talk Nov. 13

 
PEEC News:

Watch 82 million-year-old animals come to life at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13 in the Los Alamos Nature Center Planetarium.

 
Local paleontologist Ralph Chapman will give a special presentation to set the stage for the film Sea Monsters, A Prehistoric Adventure. Take a journey back in time to see some of the most bizarre, ferocious and fascinating creatures ever to inhabit the sea.
 
Unexpected discoveries gave paleontologists vital information for creating this film about a time when the middle of North America was an inland

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At The Centre Of The Tuning Fork

This galaxy is known as Mrk 820. Courtesy/ESA/Hubble & NASA and N. Gorin (STScI) Acknowledgement.Judy Schmidt (www.geckzilla.com/)

SCIENCE News:

This galaxy is known as Mrk 820 and is classified as a lenticular galaxy — type S0 on the Hubble Tuning Fork.

The Hubble Tuning Fork is used to classify galaxies according to their morphology. Elliptical galaxies look like smooth blobs in the sky and lie on the handle of the fork. They are arranged along the handle based on how elliptical they are, with the more spherical galaxies furthest from the tines of the fork, and the more egg-shaped ones closest


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Los Alamos Scientist Part Of NASA’s Select Few Hunting For Meteorites In Antarctica

LANL scientist Nina Lanza at the summit of Hvannadalsnukur, the highest mountain in Iceland, practicing glacier travel techniques similar to those needed for Antarctic fieldwork. Courtesy/LANL

LANL News:

Nina Lanza, of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Space and Remote Sensing group, was selected as one of eight members for the 2015-2016 field campaign of the Antarctica Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) program, which is supported by NASA.

“These meteorites can help us understand the formation and evolution of our solar system,” Lanza said. “They come from planets, their moons and asteroids.


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Public Comment Period On Chromium Project Draft Environmental Assessment Extended To Nov. 13, 2015

LANL News:

The Department of Energy Environmental Management Los Alamos Field Office (EM-LA) has prepared a Draft Environmental Assessment for the Chromium Plume Control Interim Measure and Plume-Center Characterization at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

This document describes the potential environmental impacts associated with the proposed actions in Mortandad Canyon. The objectives of the proposed actions are to control migration of the chromium plume and to further characterize and study the chromium plume in the groundwater beneath Mortandad Canyon.

The public comment period


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From Earth To The Universe Playing At Planetarium This Weekend

From Earth to the Universe movie poster. Courtesy/PEEC

PEEC News:

Enjoy stunning imagery from space as part of a full-dome feature film, From Earth to the Universe, playing in the Los Alamos Nature Center Planetarium at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 7-8.

This full-dome feature film takes passengers on a voyage through space and time. Along the way, adventurers will visit birthplaces and burial grounds of stars and explore beyond the Milky Way.

Tickets may be purchased by phone or at the Los Alamos Nature Center and are $6 for adults and $4 for children. This movie is not recommended for children


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LANL: High-energy Physics Detector MicroBooNE Sees First Accelerator-born Neutrinos

An accelerator-born neutrino candidate, spotted with the MicroBooNE detector. Courtesy/Fermilab

LANL News:

  • Los Alamos collaboration on target, beamline, aids detection of “ghost particles”

MicroBooNE, a neutrino detector saw its first neutrinos, known as the ghost particles, Oct. 15 in a multi-laboratory experiment at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, near Chicago.

“This is a great day for MicroBooNE, and it brings us closer to addressing the question of sterile neutrinos and short-baseline neutrino oscillations,” said Los Alamos National Laboratory staff member Richard


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