Spacecraft Sees Spectacular Solar Eclipse on Moon

Saturday, February 28, 2009

 0_61_eclipse_moon1

There was a solar eclipse earlier this month — but it wasn’t visible anywhere on Earth.

Rather, a Japanese space probe in orbit around the moon got spectacular high-definition video of the sun being blocked — by the Earth, producing an otherworldly “diamond-ring” eclipse.

It may be only the third time such an eclipse has been viewed by terrestrials, human or otherwise.

 

   0_61_eclipse_moon2    0_42_eclipse_moon_1969 

            [An American lunar lander got a blurry snapshot of a solar eclipse in 1967, 
            and two years later Apollo 12 astronauts got treated to the same thing on
            their way back from the  moon.]

The Kaguya, or Selene, probe was traveling from the dark to the light side of the moon on Feb. 9.

The sun rose over the moon’s surface, as usual, but on Feb. 9 it was just a thin ring surrounding darkness.

(The Earth’s disk is a bit smaller than the sun’s when viewed from the moon; on Earth, the moon just about covers the sun.)

In the video, only a small semi-circle is visible at first as the sun rises over the horizon.

The circle quickly expands, but before it’s complete the sun suddenly breaks forth from the lower right corner of the circle, filling the screen with light.

• Click here to watch the video.

• Click here for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) press release.

• Click here for a longer press release from NASA.

• Click here to visit FOXNews.com’s Space Center.

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Tomb of Real ‘Gladiator’ Found in Rome

Friday, October 17, 2008

Italian archaeologists have discovered the tomb of the ancient Roman hero said to have inspired the character played by Russell Crowe in the film “Gladiator.” 

Daniela Rossi, an archaeologist based in Rome, said the discovery of the monumental marble tomb of Marcus Nonius Macrinus, including a large inscription bearing his name, was “an exceptional find.”

She said it was “the most important ancient Roman monument to come to light for twenty or thirty years.”

The tomb is on the banks of the Tiber near the via Flaminia, north of Rome. Cristiano Ranieri, who led the archeological team at the site, said the tomb had long ago collapsed into the mud but its columns, roof and decorations were intact. Some parts of the tomb had slipped into the river, but had been recovered.

Marcus Nonius Macrinus, born in Brescia in northern Italy, was a general and consul who led military campaigns for Marcus Aurelius, the Roman emperor from 161 AD to 180 AD.

He became part of the Emperor’s inner circle and one of his favorites, serving as proconsul in Asia.

• Click here for more photos.

• Click here to read the rest of this story at the Times of London.

How a $2 toy ball saved a little girl’s life

By Kate Sikora
September 24, 2008 12:00am
SOURCE: The Daily Telegraph – AU 

The next time you play table tennis you may look at ping-pong balls differently…flagranny2

IT costs as little as $2 and until now has been considered little more than a toy, but a simple ping-pong ball is keeping liver transplant patient Mackenzie Argaet alive.

In a world first, a Sydney surgeon has used the radical method in a transplant operation, which has won him international accolades.

Dr Albert Shun, from The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, used the unorthodox approach when confronted with a medical problem while operating on the two-year-old.

Born with biliary artresia, Mackenzie, from Canberra, needed the life-saving operation earlier this year.

But after inserting a portion of the adult-size liver in the little girl, Dr Shun discovered it was too big and was placing pressure on her blood vessels which could have been fatal.

Having heard about the use of ping-pong balls in operations overseas, he decided to test their suitability in transplant surgery.

“I rang my wife and asked her to go to Big W and buy me some ping-pong balls,” he said.

“I was using a sponge as a back-up purpose but there was no way I could close her up the way it was.

“She is the first (transplant patient) in the world that the ping-pongs have been used for these purposes.”

In Mackenzie’s case, the ball keeps the liver off the arteries. Since Mackenzie’s operation, Dr Shun and his team have performed the procedure several times.

However, the ball has only remained in the patients for a few days to allow the swelling to reduce after the transplant.

Dr Shun said Mackenzie’s liver would grow around the ball without causing an infection.

“There shouldn’t be any complications. We are in a unique situation in Australia because we have a low donor rate so we have to be adaptable,” he said.

Unaware she has a foreign object inside her body, little Mackenzie is now running around like every toddler her age.

Her parents Letice Darswell and Guy Argaet are thrilled their daughter is well after she was so seriously ill from birth.

“We didn’t get told about the ping-pong until after the operation,” Ms Darswell said.

“It was a shock when (Dr Shun) came out of surgery.”

Biliary artresia is a rare gastro-intestinal disorder in newborns where the ducts that carry bile from the liver to the intestine are destroyed. Mackenzie’s liver became so scarred that she began to develop cirrhosis and needed a transplant.

“She is so normal now. She is a happy kid,” Ms Darswell said.

Yoda the Cat Astounds With Four Ears

Tuesday, August 19, 2008
By Sara Bonisteel
Fox News

How many years, (oops I mean “ears”) does that add to a cat’s life? …..flagranny2

The real Yoda, and the cat named Yoda.     AP/Fame Pictures

The real Yoda, and the cat named Yoda. AP/Fame Pictures

They say cats have nine lives, but this one has four ears.

A genetic abnormality gave Yoda, of Downers Grove, Ill., four ear flaps instead of two.

Ted and Valerie Rock first spied the little guy in 2006 at neighborhood bar on the South Side of Chicago before a Bears game. He was the last of a litter of eight put up for adoption by the bar’s owner.

“The people in the bar, because it was coming up on Halloween, were thinking it was a devil cat or had evil powers or something,” Ted Rock told FOXNews.com. 

But the Rocks, who had lost their cat of 20 years just 6 months prior, saw something special in the gray kitten and decided to take him home.

Their “Star Wars”-loving son thought to name the cat after the tiny Jedi master.

“I had named him Barfly,” Rock said. “But we kind of liked Yoda better, and Barfly lasted only about a day.”

The abnormality can cause hearing impairments, though Rock said several veterinarians have given Yoda a clean bill of health.

“He is perfectly normal, hears well, energetic, cute little cat,” Rock said. “Very friendly, very social.”

The only thing these retirees worry about is a possible catnapping of their curious pet.

“We always let the cats go outdoors, but this one was so unusual we decided we didn’t want to do that,” Rock said. “So we had him chipped, and we keep him inside.”

There his four-eared force is used to entertain the grandkids.

“They come over and he comes running to play with them,” Rock said.

Bigfoot Trackers Say They’ve Got a Body

Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Fox News

         Believe it – Real or not 
Bigfoot may have been found. Maybe. We’ll see.

Two Northern California men and two Georgians say they’ve got a body, a photo and DNA evidence pertaining to the elusive forest-dwelling man-ape — and that they’ll reveal all at a press conference in Palo Alto, Calif., on Friday.

“I think you’ll find that this is the real deal,” Robert Barrows of Redwood City, Calif., told the Bay City News local wire service.

Matthew Whitton, a cop in Clayton County, Ga., and his friend Rick Dyer, a former corrections officer, say they recently found the body in the woods of northern Georgia.

Veteran Bigfoot tracker Tom Biscardi said he’s examined the body, and that scientists will get their chance soon.

• Click here to read the rest of this story at KTVU.com.

Dancing Bears Filmed in Wild

Friday, April 04, 2008
By Jeanna Bryner

 Grizzly bears are getting their groove on, and new hidden cameras are giving scientists a window into the secret lives of these dancing bears.

This is no circus act. Between 2005 and 2007, Kate Kendall of the U.S. Geological Survey and her colleagues took video footage of black and grizzly bears doing what looks like the go-go at their favorite “rub trees.”

They also got film of bears lumbering beneath stretches of barbed wire used to snag hair samples. 

The research is part of a larger study to estimate the population size and distribution of bears in northwestern Montana using genetic analyses of the bears’ hair samples.

Scientists think bears shimmy their backs against trees in a kind of bump-and-grind to scratch hard-to-reach spots and to communicate their presence to other Ursus kin.

“It’s probably primarily a form of chemical communication,” Kendall said. “Often bears will sniff the trees before and after they rub on them.”

Post continues here as well as related stories [ Full Story ]

Six-Legged Octopus Discovered at English Aquarium

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

 

We’ve all heard of octopuses, but how about a hexapus?That’s what zookeepers at the Blackpool Sea Life Centre in northern England call their six-legged octopus, who was fished out of the Irish Sea off Wales last month.Henry the Hexapus, as he’s been dubbed, came about his reduced status as a result of a birth defect, not injury as is common among octopuses, squid and their cuttlefish cousins.

• Click here to visit FOXNews.com’s Natural Science Center.

“We’ve scoured the Internet and talked to lots of other aquariums and no one has ever heard of another case of a six-legged octopus,” supervisor Carey Duckhouse told Agence France-Presse.

Henry’s unusual configuration wasn’t noticed until a few days ago, when the hexagonal mollusk finally attached himself to the glass wall of his tank, astonishing staffers.

He’ll be going on display soon as part of a larger octopus exhibit entitled “Suckers,” according to the Times of London.

 Click here for the AFP story, and here for the Times of London feature.