A strengthening weather disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico was expected to intensify into Tropical or Subtropical Storm Nestor Friday before making landfall over the Florida Panhandle, bringing strong winds, storm surge flooding, heavy rainfall, and even the chance of tornadoes, according to the National Hurricane Center.
As of 11 a.m. ET, the system had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph, the hurricane center said.
After hitting the Panhandle, the system was then expected to track northeast through the weekend, pounding a swath from Georgia through the Carolinas with heavy rainfall and gusty winds.
Gale-force winds are possible along portions of the Atlantic coast of the southeastern United States by Saturday.
A risk of severe weather, including tornadoes, is also expected along parts of the Florida Gulf Coast late Friday and across northern and central Florida, southeast Georgia and the coastal Carolinas on Saturday, the Weather Channel said.
A cluster or line of strong to severe thunderstorms will likely push into northern Florida on Saturday morning, according to Weather Underground meteorologist Bob Henson. Tornadoes would be possible within this area, as well as in other thunderstorms and squall lines forming just to the east and northeast of Nestor as the storm tracks inland.
The system, labeled Potential Tropical Cyclone 16, was located early Friday about 395 miles southwest of Panama City, Florida, and was moving to the northeast at 22 mph.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, of Florida, warned on Twitter of the possibility of heavy rain and isolated tornadoes and called on residents to prepare for the chance of flooding and power outages.
A tropical storm warning was in effect from the Mississippi and Alabama border to Yankeetown, Florida, about 90 miles north of Tampa, and from Grand Isle, Louisiana to the mouth of the Pearl River.
A storm surge warning was also in effect from Indian Pass to Clearwater Beach, Florida. “A storm surge warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation from rising water moving inland from the coastline,” the hurricane center said.
High schools from Alabama to the eastern Florida Panhandle canceled or postponed football games scheduled for Friday night, and officials in Panama City tried to assure residents that the storm wouldn’t be a repeat of Category 5 Hurricane Michael last year.
The National Hurricane Center has begun issuing advisories on what is expected to be the season’s next tropical system. Tropical Storm or Subtropical Storm Nestor will form in the Gulf of Mexico later today, bringing rain and wind to Florida this weekend. MORE: http://www.myfoxhurricane.com
Imagine our planet as it was for the first 4.55 billion years of its existence. Fires, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, asteroid strikes, hurricanes and many other natural disasters were ubiquitous, as was biological activity throughout our entire measured history. Most of the environmental changes that occurred were gradual and isolated; only in a few instances — often correlated with mass extinctions — were the changes global, immediate, and catastrophic.
But with the arrival of human beings, Earth’s natural environment has another element to contend with: the changes wrought upon it by our species. For tens of thousands of years, the largest wars were merely regional skermishes; the largest problems with waste led only to isolated disease outbreaks. But our numbers and technological capabilities have grown, and with it, a waste management problem. You might think a great solution would be to send our worst garbage into the Sun, but we’ll never make it happen. Here’s why.
The very first launch of the Falcon Heavy, on February 6, 2018, was a tremendous success. The rocket… [+]
At present, there are a little more than 7 billion humans on the planet, and the previous century saw us at last become a spacefaring civilization, where we’ve broken the gravitational bonds that have kept us shackled to Earth. We’ve extracted valuable and rare minerals and elements, synthesized new chemical compounds, developed nuclear technologies, and produced new technologies that far exceed even the wildest dreams of our distant ancestors.
Although these new technologies have transformed our world and improved our quality of life, there are negative side-effects that have come along for the ride. We now have the capacity to cause widespread damage and destruction to our environment in a variety of ways, from deforestation to atmospheric pollution to ocean acidification and more. With time and care, the Earth will begin self-regulating as soon as we stop exacerbating these problems. But other problems just aren’t going to get better on their own on any reasonable timescale.
Nuclear weapon test Mike (yield 10.4 Mt) on Enewetak Atoll. The test was part of the Operation Ivy.… [+]
National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office
Some of what we’ve produced here on Earth isn’t merely a problem to be reckoned with over the short-term, but poses a danger that will not significantly lessen with time. Our most dangerous, long-term pollutants include nuclear by-products and waste, hazardous chemicals and biohazards, plastics that off-gas and don’t biodegrade, and could wreak havoc on a significant fraction of the living beings on Earth if they got into the environment in the wrong way.
You might think that the “worst of the worst” of these offenders should be packed onto a rocket, launched into space, and sent on a collision course with the Sun, where at last they won’t plague Earth anymore. (Yes, that was similar to the plot of Superman IV.) From a physics point of view, it’s possible to do so.
But should we do it? That’s another story entirely, and it begins with considering how gravitation works on Earth and in our Solar System.
The Mercury-bound MESSENGER spacecraft captured several stunning images of Earth during a gravity… [+]
NASA / Messenger mission
Human beings evolved on Earth, grew to prominence on this world, and developed extraordinary technologies that our corner of the cosmos had never seen before. We all have long dreamed of exploring the Universe beyond our home, but only in the past few decades have we managed to escape the gravitational bonds of Earth. The gravitational pull exerted by our massive planet is only dependent on our distance from Earth’s center, which causes spacetime to curve and causes all objects on or near it — including humans — to constantly accelerate “downwards.”
There’s a certain amount of energy keeping any massive object bound to Earth: gravitational potential energy. However, if we move fast enough (i.e., impart enough kinetic energy) to an object, it can cross two important thresholds.
The threshold of a stable orbital speed to never collide with Earth: about 7.9 km/s (17,700 mph).
The threshold of escaping from Earth’s gravity entirely: 11.2 km/s (25,000 mph).
It takes a speed of 7.9 km/s to achieve “C” (stable orbit), while it takes a speed of 11.2 km/s for… [+]
Brian Brondel under a c.c.a.-s.a.-3.0 license
For comparison, a human at the equator of our planet, where Earth’s rotation is maximized, is moving only at about 0.47 km/s (1,000 mph), leading to the conclusion that we’re in no danger of escaping unless there’s some tremendous intervention that changes the situation.
Luckily, we’ve developed just such an intervention: rocketry. To get a rocket into Earth’s orbit, we require at least the amount of energy it would take to accelerate that rocket to the necessary threshold speed we mentioned earlier. Humanity has been doing this since the 1950s, and once we’ve escaped from Earth, there was so much more to see occurring on larger scales.
Earth isn’t stationary, but orbits the Sun at approximately 30 km/s (67,000 mph), meaning that even if you escape from Earth, you’ll still find yourself not only gravitationally bound to the Sun, but in a stable elliptical orbit around it.
The Dove satellites, launched from the ISS, are designed for Earth imaging and have numbered… [+]
This is a key point: you might think that here on Earth, we’re bound by Earth’s gravity and that’s the dominant factor as far as gravitation is concerned. Quite to the contrary, the gravitational pull of the Sun far exceeds the gravitational pull of Earth! The only reason we don’t notice it is because you, me, and the entire planet Earth are in free-fall with respect to the Sun, and so we’re all accelerated by it at the same relative rate.
If we were in space and managed to escape from Earth’s gravity, we’d still find ourselves moving at approximately 30 km/s with respect to the Sun, and at an approximate distance of 150 million km (93 million miles) from our parent star. If we wanted to escape from the Solar System, we’d have to gain about another 12 km/s of speed to reach escape velocity, something that a few of our spacecraft (Pioneer 10 and 11, Voyager 1 and 2, and New Horizons) have already achieved.
The escape speed from the Sun at Earth’s distance is 42 km/s, and we already move at 30 km/s just by… [+]
Wikimedia Commons user Cmglee
But if we wanted to go in the opposite direction, and launch a spacecraft payload into the Sun, we’d have a big challenge at hand: we’d have to lose enough kinetic energy that a stable elliptical orbit around our Sun would transition to an orbit that came close enough to the Sun to collide with it. There are only two ways to accomplish this:
Bring enough fuel with you so that you can decelerate your payload sufficiently (i.e., have it lose as much of its relative speed with respect to the Sun as possible), and then watch your payload gravitationally free-fall into the Sun.
Configure enough fly-bys with the innermost planets of our Solar System — Earth, Venus and/or Mercury — so that the orbiting payload gets de-boosted (as opposed to the positive boosts that spacecraft like Pioneer, Voyager, and New Horizons received from gravitationally interacting with the outer planets) and eventually comes close enough to the Sun that it gets devoured.
The idea of a gravitational slingshot, or gravity assist, is to have a spacecraft approach a planet… [+]
Wikimedia Commons user Zeimusu
The first option, in reality, requires so much fuel that it’s practically impossible with current (chemical rocket) technology. If you loaded up a rocket with a massive payload, like you might expect for all the hazardous waste you want to fire into the Sun, you’d have to load it up with a lot of rocket fuel, in orbit, to decelerate it sufficiently so that it’d fall into the Sun. To launch both that payload and the additional fuel requires a rocket that’s larger, more powerful and more massive than any we’ve ever built on Earth by a large margin.
Instead, we can use the gravity assist technique to either add or remove kinetic energy from a payload. If you approach a large mass (like a planet) from behind, fly in front of it, and get gravitationally slingshotted behind the planet, the spacecraft loses energy while the planet gains energy. If you go the opposite way, though, approaching the planet from ahead, flying behind it and getting gravitationally slingshotted back in front again, your spacecraft gains energy while removing it from the orbiting planet.
The Messenger mission took seven years and a total of six gravity assists and five deep-space… [+]
Two decades ago, we successfully used this gravitational slingshot method to successfully send an orbiter to rendezvous and continuously image the planet Mercury: the Messenger mission. It enabled us to construct the first all-planet mosaic of our Solar System’s innermost world. More recently, we’ve used the same technique to launch the Parker Solar Probe into a highly elliptical orbit that will take it to within just a few solar radii of the Sun.
A carefully calculated set of future trajectories is all that’s required to reach the Sun, so long as you orient your payload with the correct initial velocity. It’s difficult to do, but not impossible, and the Parker Solar Probe is perhaps the poster child for how we would, from Earth, successfully launch a rocket payload into the Sun.
Keeping all this in mind, then, you might conclude that it’s technologically feasible to launch our garbage — including hazardous waste like poisonous chemicals, biohazards, and even radioactive waste — but it’s something we’ll almost certainly never do.
Why not? There are currently three barriers to the idea:
The possibility of a launch failure. If your payload is radioactive or hazardous and you have an explosion on launch or during a fly-by with Earth, all of that waste will be uncontrollably distributed across Earth.
Energetically, it costs less to shoot your payload out of the Solar System (from a positive gravity assist with planets like Jupiter) than it does to shoot your payload into the Sun.
And finally, even if we chose to do it, the cost to send our garbage into the Sun is prohibitively expensive at present.
This time-series photograph of the uncrewed Antares rocket launch in 2014 shows a catastrophic… [+]
The most successful and reliable space launch system of all time is the Soyuz rocket, which has a 97% success rate after more than 1,000 launches. Yet a 2% or 3% failure rate, when you apply that to a rocket loaded up with all the dangerous waste you want launched off of your planet, leads to the catastrophic possibility of having that waste spread into the oceans, atmosphere, into populated areas, drinking water, etc. This scenario doesn’t end well for humanity; the risk is too high.
Considering that the United States alone is storing about 60,000 tons of high-level nuclear waste, it would take approximately 8,600 Soyuz rockets to remove this waste from the Earth. Even if we could reduce the launch failure rate to an unprecedented 0.1%, it would cost approximately a trillion dollars and, with an estimated 9 launch failures to look forward to, would lead to over 60,000 pounds of hazardous waste being randomly redistributed across the Earth.
Unless we’re willing to pay an unprecedented cost and accept the near-certainty of catastrophic environmental pollution, we have to leave the idea of shooting our garbage into the Sun to the realm of science fiction and future hopeful technologies like space elevators. It’s undeniable that we’ve made quite the mess on planet Earth. Now, it’s up to us to figure out our own way out of it.
How to Stop Water Polution. In case you’re wondering what water polution has to do with a new continent discoevered in the Pacific Ocean, here’s the answer to this mystery. This new continent is an island that consists solely of garbage and plastic waste. Some countries are ready to announce an ecological disaster. Let’s see if there’s something we can all do to save the planet. TIMESTAMPS The popularity of plastic 0:26 Garbage islands 1:47 The Great Pacific Garbage Patch 2:30 Problems connected with the plastic pollution of the ocean 4:39 Bali ecological disaster 7:31 Several ways to solve problem 8:26#newcontinent#garbageisland#ecologicalproblem Music: Butchers – Silent Partner https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/… SUMMARY -2 million plastic bags a minute are thrown away. As for bubble wrap, the amount produced in just one year would be enough to cover our planet around the equator. 500 billion plastic cups are used and disposed of annually. -There are 3 huge garbage islands in the world: in the central North Pacific Ocean, in the Indian Ocean, and in the Atlantic Ocean. -The size of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is currently more than 600,000 square miles. According to the journal Scientific Reports, there are more than 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic that have accumulated in this area. -Plastic objects in the ocean kill animals or get stuck in their bodies. Some types of plastic are toxic. In addition, plastic has the ability to absorb such poisonous substances as mercury. Birds often choke to death after trying to swallow a bright object that has caught their eye. -Indonesian authorities have recently declared a “garbage emergency.” More than 100 tons of waste brought ashore every day to beaches from Seminyak and Jimbaran to Kuta. -To solve the problem, people can find a way to remove the garbage that is already in the ocean. Another way out is to decrease pollution or stop it completely. Subscribe to Bright Side : https://goo.gl/rQTJZz —————————————————————————————- Our Social Media: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brightside/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brightgram/ 5-Minute Crafts Youtube: https://www.goo.gl/8JVmuC —————————————————————————————- For more videos and articles visit: http://www.brightside.me/
Want to see the Northern Lights AND the Milky Way? Those in the northern U.S. states–and even in cities including New York and Boston–could have some extraordinary luck this weekend. The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center is predicting a G1 or G2 Geomagnetic Storm for both Saturday and Sunday nights.
Where to see the northern lights this weekend
The aurora borealis are possible overhead in the U.S. states of Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Maine according to abc57. Although they’re not nearly as well placed, cities including Omaha, Des Moines, Chicago, Milwaukee, South Bend, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Grand Rapids, Detroit, Columbus, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, New York City and Boston could also get a glimpse of a “forest fire” layer of green above the northern horizon.
How to see the Milky Way
Even if the northern lights don’t materialize, or take their time, this weekend is a fine time to look for the Milky Way while you wait. The rules for finding the Milky Way are pretty simple. Just wait for a New Moon in summer and go to where people are not. That scenario happens for the final time of 2019 this weekend. It’s a last chance for galaxy-gazers and night-scape photographers to gawp at our home galaxy.
While the Milky Way will be visible to the south, the northern lights will–as the name suggests–be in the north (with a little luck).
This weekend is perfect for seeing both because there’s a New Moon. Technically it’s a “Supermoon New Moon” because it’s relatively close to Earth. However, its only relevance is that there will be no bright moonlight in the sky. The New Moon occurs on Friday, August 30, but for a good few days after there is no significant moonlight.
This is the tail-end of late August’s “stargazing window,” (when the moon is down), but as a bonus, if you get to your observing location around sunset on Saturday, Sunday or Monday, you may see a beautifully slim crescent moon setting in the western sky soon after the Sun.
The ideal time to look at the Milky Way is when it’s arching overhead. That occurs in the northern hemisphere from around 10 p.m. through until about 1 a.m. Before that, and after that, it will be at an angle and closer to the horizon, which makes it more difficult to appreciate. However, true darkness is limited at this time of year, so for best results have a look around 11 p.m. to midnight.
For the northern lights, the prediction for this weekend is more general, and there are no specific times to look. It will be best to be outside after dark, and for as long as possible.
Wherever you plan to go, do check the weather forecast, as well as the space weather forecast. You need clear skies to see anything at all.
Where to see the Milky Way and the northern lights
Anywhere with an inky-black dark sky. Unfortunately, the combined light of billions of stars can easily be smudged-out by artificial light pollution. However, don’t ever use light pollution as an excuse. You just need to make a little effort, which will be well rewarded if the the skies are clear.
As a rule of thumb, anywhere about 40 miles from a significant town or city (or other major source of light pollution) will be ideal. However, just as important for you to see the bright core of the Milky Way is to look for a location that has no sources of light pollution to the south. It’s above the southern horizon that the Milky Way will impress most. Thankfully, there are a number of websites to help you choose a place to view from:
IDA’s Find a Dark Sky Place (the International Dark Sky Association’s network of Dark Sky Parks across the world)
Beware the ‘Supermoon New Moon’
Although a visit to a south-facing coastal location may be tempting for a view of the Milky Way over the ocean (a reliably dark place, and great for interesting photographic compositions), note that the Supermoon New Moon will cause “king” tides this weekend. So be sure to study tide times for wherever on our planet you go, and tread carefully.
How to see the Milky Way and the northern lights
You need to give your eyes a little time to adjust to darkness. Although you may get a “wow” moment when you step out of the car having driven to a dark sky site, and see the Milky Way above you, it’s still worth switching-off all lights and simply standing in the dark for 20 minutes. After that time your eyes will have adjusted to the dark and will let more light in. Ditto for a subdued display of the northern lights. However, beware the smartphone; even a quick peek at a planetarium app will destroy your night vision. The Milky Way will be gradually revealed to you, but it can be quickly snatched away.
I’m an experienced science, technology and travel journalist interested in space exploration, moon-gazing, exploring the night sky, solar and lunar eclipses, astro-travel, wildlife conservation and nature. I’m the editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com and the author of “A Stargazing Program for Beginners: A Pocket Field Guide” (Springer, 2015), as well as many eclipse-chasing guides.
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