Yellowstone Park officials were thrilled when the Ear Spring geyser suddenly came to life on September 15, 2018. Visitors fortunate enough to be in the area, watched in awe as the hot pool’s largest eruption since 1957, caused sprays of steaming 200 degree Fahrenheit (93 degree Celsius) water to leap as high as 30 feet (9 meters) in the air. However, the joy turned to shock when employees discovered that in addition to the expected rocks and dirt, the geyser had also ejected human-generated trash.
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SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has been pledging to send tourists to space ever since he started the company in 2002. On September 17, 2018, the visionary came one step closer to fulfilling his promise by signing up his first passenger – Japanese billionaire and entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa. If all goes according to plan, in 2023, Maezawa will become the first passenger and private astronaut to travel to the Moon. He will also join the elite group of just 24 humans who have been fortunate enough to see Earth’s satellite up close.
Approximately 4.6 billion years ago, our solar system was a cloud of dust and gas known as the solar nebula. As gravity caused the material to collapse in on itself, it spun faster and faster and eventually flattened into a disk. Researchers believe that most of the material accumulated in the center, to form the sun, while the rest clumped together, creating protoplanets – balls of gas, dust, and rocks, about the size of Mercury or Mars. Over the years, some of the protoplanets collided to form our eight planets, while the rest continue to whirl around the sun as asteroids or rocky debris. However, the one thing scientists are not sure is the process by which the planets came together. Now, a 4.565 billion-year-old space rock, the oldest igneous meteorite ever discovered, may provide clues to this age-old mystery.
There are numerous meteor showers throughout the year. However, few are as popular, or as reliable, as the Perseids. The celestial show, which occurs when Earth passes through the path of Comet Swift-Tuttle, usually starts in mid-July and continues until the last week of August. This year, the best time to view the event will be between August 11 to 13, when our planet traverses through the densest comet dust and the meteors are the brightest and most frequent.
Stargazers, get ready to witness the longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st Century. On July 27, our moon will transform into a red orb for 1 hour, 42 minutes, and 57 seconds! The entire event, from the moment Earth’s shadow starts to fall upon the moon’s edge to the time when the bright full moon emerges, will take almost 4 hours. In comparison, this century’s shortest total lunar eclipse, which occurred on April 4, 2015, lasted a mere 4 minutes and 48 seconds, with a total duration of 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Depending on where you live, today — Thursday, June 21 — is the first day of summer or winter. Also known as the June solstice, it is the day when the North Pole is most inclined towards the sun, allowing residents of the Northern Hemisphere to enjoy the longest day of the year. Conversely, those living in the Southern Hemisphere will experience the shortest day of 2018.
Guatemala’s Volcán de Fuego — Spanish for fire volcano — came alive on Sunday, June 3, billowing gas, fire and ash more than 15,000 feet in the air. The volcano’s most violent eruption since 1974 caused widespread chaos and destruction. The initial death toll of 110 increased to over 300 on June 17 after officials, citing dangerous conditions, abandoned the search for the 200 residents who have been missing since the deadly incident. In contrast, Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, which has destroyed over 700 structures since it began erupting on May 3, has yet to result in any casualties. Experts say the reason Volcán de Fuego is deadlier than Kilauea has to do with the formation of the two volcanoes.
The quest to discover life outside of Earth has spanned decades and a multitude of galaxies. However, while breakthroughs like the discovery of liquid water on Mars and “Earth-like” exoplanets have raised hopes about the existence of alien life, the distance has made it hard to prove. Now, scientists believe the extraterrestrial life we have been seeking for so long may be on the planet closest to us — Venus.