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The spectacular aurora borealis, or the “northern lights,” over Canada is sighted from the space station near the highest point of its orbital path. The station’s main solar arrays are seen in the left foreground.NASA The aurora borealis adds a bit of flair to our home planet in this image taken from the International Space Station on Sept. 15, 2017. This phenomenon happens because the Sun bathes Earth in a steady stream of energetic particles, magnetic fields and radiation that can stimulate our atmosphere and light up the night sky. When this happens in the Southern Hemisphere, it is called aurora australis.
See how you can help track auroras around the world with the Aurorasaurus project. All you need is a cell phone or laptop.
Image Credit: NASA
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NASA / Jasmin Moghbeli While aboard the International Space Station on Oct. 26, NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli captured the city lights of the northeastern United States and major urban areas including Long Island, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Washington, D.C. At the time of this photograph, the orbital lab was 262 miles above Maine. In 24 hours, the space station makes 16 orbits of Earth, traveling through 16 sunrises and sunsets. To find out where the ISS is and when you can see it in your area, check out the Spot the Station site.
Image Credit: NASA/Jasmin Moghbeli
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This animation shows global sea level data collected by the Surface Water and Ocean Topography satellite from July 26 to Aug. 16. Red and orange indicate higher-than-average ocean heights, while blue represents lower-than-average heights. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech Data on sea surface heights around the world from the international Surface Water and Ocean Topography mission yields a mesmerizing view of the planet’s ocean.
The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite is sending down tantalizing views of Earth’s water, including a global composite of sea surface heights. The satellite collected the data visualized above during SWOT’s first full 21-day science orbit, which it completed between July 26 and Aug. 16.
SWOT is measuring the height of nearly all water on Earth’s surface, providing one of the most detailed, comprehensive views yet of the planet’s oceans and freshwater lakes and rivers. The satellite is a collaboration between NASA and the French space agency, CNES (Centre National d’Études Spatiales).
The animation shows sea surface height anomalies around the world: Red and orange indicate ocean heights that were higher than the global mean sea surface height, while blue represents heights lower than the mean. Sea level differences can highlight ocean currents, like the Gulf Stream coming off the U.S. East Coast or the Kuroshio current off the east coast of Japan. Sea surface height can also indicate regions of relatively warmer water – like the eastern part of the equatorial Pacific Ocean during an El Niño – because water expands as it warms.
The SWOT science team made the measurements using the groundbreaking Ka-band Radar Interferometer (KaRIn) instrument. With two antennas spread 33 feet (10 meters) apart on a boom, KaRIn produces a pair of data swaths (tracks visible in the animation) as it circles the globe, bouncing radar pulses off the water’s surface to collect surface-height measurements.
“The detail that SWOT is sending back on sea levels around the world is incredible,” said Parag Vaze, SWOT project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “The data will advance research into the effects of climate change and help communities around the world better prepare for a warming world.”
More About the Mission
Launched on Dec. 16, 2022, from Vandenberg Space Force Base in central California, SWOT is now in its operations phase, collecting data that will be used for research and other purposes.
SWOT was jointly developed by NASA and CNES, with contributions from CSA (Canadian Space Agency) and the UK Space Agency. JPL, which is managed for the agency by Caltech in Pasadena, California, leads the U.S. component of the project. For the flight system payload, NASA provided the KaRIn instrument, a GPS science receiver, a laser retroreflector, a two-beam microwave radiometer, and NASA instrument operations. CNES provided the Doppler Orbitography and Radioposition Integrated by Satellite (DORIS) system, the dual frequency Poseidon altimeter (developed by Thales Alenia Space), the KaRIn radio-frequency subsystem (together with Thales Alenia Space and with support from the UK Space Agency), the satellite platform, and ground operations. CSA provided the KaRIn high-power transmitter assembly. NASA provided the launch vehicle and the agency’s Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy Space Center, managed the associated launch services.
To learn more about SWOT, visit:
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Last Updated Oct 30, 2023 Related Terms
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Sea turtle hatchlings emerge from their eggs at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.NASA Humans aren’t the only living creatures using NASA’s Kennedy Space Center as their launchpad to the future. This year, a record number of sea turtle hatchlings got their start in nests built on the undisturbed beaches of the Florida spaceport.
Biologists counted 13,935 sea turtle nests along Kennedy’s shoreline during the 2023 nesting season, 639 more nests than 2022 and the most found on center in a single year since record-keeping began in 1984. All of those sea turtle nests belong to species identified by the U.S. National Park Service as endangered or threatened, including the green (Chelonia mydas) and loggerhead (Caretta caretta).
“All our effort to protect Kennedy’s habitat is bearing fruit,” said NASA Environmental Protection Specialist Jeff Collins. “Kennedy’s use of turtle-friendly lighting and having a properly maintained dune helps to keep our beach dark and that really makes a difference to sea turtle nesting success.”
NASA partners to preserve the turtles and other fauna and flora at the spaceport with the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore, which share a boundary with Kennedy. Working together, biologists found more than 8,800 nests at Kennedy this year were made by greens, with loggerheads creating almost 5,100.
Sea turtle hatchlings make their way from their nests to the Atlantic Ocean at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. “Kennedy’s sea turtle nests usually make up around 10% of the number Florida Fish and Wildlife reports in any given year,” said United States Fish and Wildlife Service Biologist Michael Legare. “Brevard, the Florida county where Kennedy is located, is particularly important to the future of loggerheads. That county and five others nearby – Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, and Broward – usually report around 80% of all loggerhead nests yearly in the Sunshine State.”
Florida normally sees between 40,000 to 84,000 sea turtle nests built annually, according to state Fish and Wildlife data.
From the beginning of March through the end of October, the sand on Kennedy’s beaches is marked with the tracks of adult sea turtles as they emerge from the sea and make their way to where they lay their eggs. If all goes well, much smaller sand tracks follow months later when the hatchlings leave their nests and head to the sea, assuming they have the proper guidance to get there.
“Giving the sea turtles, especially the hatchlings, nothing but the moon and stars to shine their path to the ocean is one big way humans can help them,” Collins said. “Any other light can disorient them enough to where they’ll never find the ocean, making them easy prey while leading them away from the food and water they need to survive.”
Sea turtle hatchlings make their way from their nests to the Atlantic Ocean at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA That is why closing window blinds or removing artificial beach lights are also important for shoreline buildings. “If the lights have to stay, then it’s essential that the bulbs be dimmed or replaced with amber or low wave-length lighting. Such simple things can make the difference between life and death for the turtles,” Legare said.
This year’s count includes 26 leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) nests and one Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii) nest, one of the world’s most endangered sea turtle species. There were no hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) nests discovered this season at Kennedy. Like the Kemp’s ridley, the endangered hawksbill has been documented at Kennedy in the past, but both species are a rare sight on the spaceport’s beaches.
The leatherback, the largest of the sea turtle species that regularly nests at Kennedy, is normally among the first to lay their eggs in March. If any Kemp’s ridley or hawksbills come on shore to build their nests, that usually starts a month or so after the leatherbacks. Greens and loggerheads, the more common sea turtle species at Kennedy, often start nesting in late spring and continue through the summer months into fall.
The number of eggs in each nest and how many of them hatch successfully aren’t tracked by state biologists, but on average, greens lay around 110 per nest, with loggerheads (100) and leatherbacks (80) close behind. Hawksbills lay around 160 eggs per nest on average, while Kemp’s ridley average around 100 per nest.
Sea turtle hatchlings make their way from their nests to the Atlantic Ocean at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA It generally takes around two months for the sea turtle babies to emerge from their nest once the eggs are inside, but that can vary depending on the species. Sand temperature also plays a big role in determining the sex of the new turtles. Cooler temperatures produce more males and warmer temperatures bring more females.
Florida Fish and Wildlife data shows about one of every 1,000 baby turtles makes it to adulthood.
“The continued success of sea turtle nests at Kennedy shows that it is possible to explore space while maintaining the ecosystem,” Collins said. “As the spaceport’s launch cadence grows, we will continue our efforts to preserve that balance into the future.”
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NASA has recently stated that much more "data" is needed in the study of UAP. Everyone wants data, but do we really lack good data when it comes to this phenomenon?
For 80 years, the United States military has encountered UAP, once known as UFOs. There is a long history of encounters, as well as the deliberate suppression of evidence.
Richard Dolan has uncovered a case that had been buried in the database of the National UFO Reporting Center concerning the U.S. Coast Guard in the year 1973.
It involved an incredible UFO encounter in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and the confiscation of photographs by "Men in Black," and the intimidation of the witnesses.
Date and Location: The incident took place in the summer of 1973, somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The exact coordinates and specific location remain undisclosed, adding to the mystery surrounding the event.
Initial Encounter: The incident began when the crew of a U.S. Coast Guard vessel reportedly observed an unusual object in the sky. Witnesses described these objects as hovering and maneuvering in ways that defied conventional aircraft capabilities. It emitted strange lights and exhibited erratic movements, leaving the crew perplexed and concerned.
Photographic Evidence: In a bold attempt to document the inexplicable phenomenon, several members of the Coast Guard crew managed to capture photographs of the unidentified object. These photographs were intended to serve as crucial visual evidence of the encounter.
The Intervention of "Men in Black": One of the most remarkable aspects of this incident was the alleged intervention of mysterious individuals commonly referred to as "Men in Black." These individuals, who often appear in UFO-related accounts, are believed by some to be government agents tasked with concealing or discrediting UFO-related evidence. In this case, "Men in Black" purportedly boarded the Coast Guard vessel and confiscated the photographic evidence, along with any other records or documentation related to the incident.
Intimidation of Witnesses: The crew members who had witnessed and attempted to document the UAP encounter reported feeling threatened and intimidated by the "Men in Black." These individuals allegedly warned the witnesses not to discuss the incident with anyone and conveyed a sense of secrecy and urgency.
Secrecy and Cover-Up: The incident, like many other UAP encounters involving military personnel, was shrouded in secrecy. Details of the event were allegedly classified or suppressed, making it difficult for researchers and the public to access comprehensive information.
Witness report: The UFO would come down hovering above us. We could see what I would describe as portholes. I rotated as it hovered. The lights changed color. Then it would go up in a second becoming very small. Then it seemed to show off, as if it knew we were watching it. It would accelerate across the sky in a split second while doing right angles.
Many photos of this craft were taken with telephoto lens. I remember I couldn't wait to see the photos after they were developed. I never saw them.
When we were relieved from Ocean Station Duty, we headed back to Governor's Island, Yankee Pier, where was our home port. We were not expecting the reception that we received. As we were docking, I saw quite a few "Men In Black" waiting to board our ship. Usually after docking, if you did not have duty, we were granted liberty of usually 72 hours. No one was allowed to leave the ship. We were all interrogated one by one by these "Men In Black". We were told to sign an affidavit, stating we saw nothing. We were warned that if we mention this to anyone, we would be gone.
We were told not to go to any news media, and try and tell this story. If we did, we would be prosecuted by the government.
So, what becomes evident is that we do indeed possess a trove of data on these occurrences; it's simply shrouded in secrecy, concealed from the public eye.
The NUFORC Case referenced here is at: https://nuforc.org/sighting/?id=76914
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