January 9, 2013

Asteroid Will Be Making A Close Appearance Tonight – The Daily Orbit

What’s sliding eerily close by our planet today?

Kepler keeps ‘em coming – planets that is.

And the USA is HOT! But literally which isn’t all that good.

All that and more coming up, on the Daily Orbit!

Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.

Apophis, the ancient Egyptian mythological demon, is making its way past our mortal Earth. Well, I really mean the asteroid named after Apophis. But it’s still pretty scary. The asteroid, the size of 3 football fields, will be passing a mere 30,000 km from Earth – our moon is 365,000 km away. Previously astronomers had predicted that the asteroid Apophis had a 1 in 45 chance of impacting with Earth in 2029, but prediction models have since eliminated these concerns. The Slooh Space Camera will cover its near approach today, and you can start watching the show at 7pm eastern, 4pm pacific on slooh.com. So check it out! I won’t miss Apophis!

And we have 461 candidates for the classification of “planet.” It feels almost like a graduation. After completing new data analysis from the Kepler space observatory, NASA says they identified 461 new planet candidates, including four that closely mirror the size and distance from their sun as Earth. They have divided the potential planets into 5 different sizes – Earth-size, Super Earth-size, Neptune-size, Jupiter-size, and Larger (that being 15 times the size of Earth). I love how technical the sizing classifications are. The researchers say “it is no longer a question of will we find a true Earth analogue, but a question of when.” Well, can we get to it? I’m pretty excited about that!

H-O-T-T-O-G-O…the USA is hot to go…woop woop hot to go! That’s a little cheer we did in grade school but the U.S.’s hotness ain’t nothing to cheer about. According to NOAA, a mild winter and a long, sweltering summer with widespread drought made 2012 the warmest year on record. The average temperature rose to 55.32 degrees Fahrenheit in 2012, one degree warmer than the previous record set in 1998 and 3.2 degrees warmer than the 20th century average. The year also saw 11 U.S. weather disasters that exceeded $1 billion in losses each. One researcher warned that “these records don’t occur like this in an unchanging climate and they are costing many billions of dollars.” I feel guilty now for enjoying the milder temperatures.

Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you. As happy as I am to report that adult cancer deaths in the US have declined modestly over the past decade, I am equally saddened to say that incidence rates for children and teenagers have risen slightly since 1992. This news comes from a report compiled by some of the country’s top cancer organizations. Although adult rates have declined, they say they haven’t declined enough, partly because all the ways for early cancer detection are not being taken advantage of. The president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition said, “this is such incremental improvement, when you look at decades of investments, the cost of treatments, the number of researchers and journals, and then at the number of people who die…well, we are clearly doing something wrong.”

And a new study says that obese mothers are more likely to put their fussy child in front the old tube in order to soothe them. The researchers were looking to better understand the increasing number of obese children and the lack of physical activity for them. They are concerned that placing the child in front of the TV may limit the mom’s responsiveness. The researchers hope to design intervention strategies based on the study that will help teach moms how to properly soothe their babies. Wonder if these researchers have ever had to deal with a crying baby. That might change their story.

Well that’s does it for today’s Daily Orbit. Don’t forget to check out the Slooh space camera later to see Apophis passing by Earth!

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