Atlantic Sat Image

Atlantic Sat Image
Clouds over Atlantic

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Thin Blue Line

Do you know the difference between our earth and say... the moon, or a dead planet?

The answer: A thin blue line.

That is the layer of gas around 10 - 12 miles up that holds our atmosphere in place. That's about the distance from Miami Beach west to MIA international.  Next time you drive that stretch of road it will hit you how thin this layer of life can be.

This picture shows the curvature of the earth with the sun at the horizon. With the atmosphere back lit by the sun, it clearly shows the Thin Blue Line.

This is how NASA describes it:

THE THIN BLUE LINE: Earth’s thin atmosphere is all that stands between life on Earth and the cold, dark void of space. Our planet's atmosphere has no clearly defined upper boundary but gradually thins out into space. The layers of the atmosphere have different characteristics, such as protective ozone in the stratosphere, and weather in the lowermost layer. 

Gravity keeps this layer in place. It is here that clouds form, our weather happens, and we live. Our atmosphere nurtures us and protects us from the sun's radiation.

So if you know that this is all that separates us from oblivion, wouldn't you take care of it?  Wouldn't you make sure it was healthy?

In the past our atmosphere has made the planet hotter and colder and even changed the mixture of gases.

This could all happen again.

We were and still are at its mercy.  So why would we want to gamble and add anything that could make it hiccup?

Mother nature will recoup from whatever "hiccup" happens. we may not.

So the question of climate change and global warming is always asked. Is it natural our man-made? 

My father raised me with this little saying, "There are so many things you can't control, only worry about the ones you can."

I base my opinion on this : If our climate is changing due to an earthly natural cycle then there is nothing we can do but try to adapt. If its a man made effect... then we can change. We can stop whatever is aggravating our atmosphere.

We have brilliant scientific minds that can lead the way, but we as a society need to make the change... no we need to demand it. If not for our sake, then for that of our children.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

NASA discovers a new Solar System

Imagine if you will  a brand new solar system, but this one is minuscule by our standards.

This new solar system is made up of three planets in total and can be found about 210 light years away from Earth. It is in the constellation known as Lyra. The new system is known as Kepler-37. The three planets in it go by the names of Kepler-37b, Kepler-37c, and Kepler-37d. (How original!)

First Planet:
The smallest planet in this system, is Kepler-37b. It is slightly larger than our moon, smaller than Mercury, and about one-third the size of our Earth.

The planets orbit a sun in the same class as ours... but that's where the similarities end.

For example, experts at NASA say the Kepler-37b has a rocky make-up, but does not have an atmosphere and probably does not harbor life like we know it. It orbits its sun once every 13 days.

NASA says, the estimated surface temperature of this smoldering planet, is more than 800 degrees Fahrenheit (700 degrees Kelvin), and it would be hot enough to melt the zinc in a penny.

The other two:
Kepler-37c is the next planet about the size of Venus, while Kepler-37d is farthest away from its sun and about twice the size of the earth. They both orbit every 21 days and 40 days, respectively.

This line up compares an artist's concept of the planets in the Kepler-37 system to the Moon and planets in our own solar system.

This brand new system was discovered by scientists utilizing  NASA's Kepler Space telescope. It is tasked with finding planets like ours. Planets found in or near the "habitable zone,". This is an area in a planetary system where water could be found.

The Kepler space telescope, simultaneously and continuously measures the brightness of more than 150,000 stars every 30 minutes. 

The search is on-going.

Friday, February 8, 2013

One-two Winter Storm punch!

If the storm impacting the Northeast on Friday, had done so in the middle of summer, it would be classified as a tropical storm at the least.

It is one huge area of low pressure spinning just offshore New York and Massachusetts.
  • Top coastal winds may be as strong as a hurricane.
  • Choppy seas will be the norm through the weekend
  • Heavy rain at the beach will turn to snow and accumulations could go as high as 3 feet.

Plenty of winter storm and Blizzard warnings are in effect for much of the Northeast. Hundreds of flights are cancelled. And power outages can be expected overnight.

This Big Blizzard will be a one-two punch. First the actual dumping of snow, the second will be the clean up which could take days throughout many areas.

Speaking of a one-two punch... This is the second huge storm to impact the Northeast in less than one year. Just last summer they were hit by Super Storm "Sandy".  We hope the best for them.