May 23, 2013
Devastating Oklahoma Storms Captured By Satellites – The Daily Orbit
Who had their eye on the storm the whole time?
Where is wild weather raging on in the universe?
What galactic romance is forming a new world?
And something for all the Trekkies out there on the Daily Orbit!
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.
The tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma on Monday left incomprehensible devastation in its wake. But it also left behind imagery and data from a NASA and NOAA operated satellite system that is helping researchers determine how the storm system was generated. NASA’s Aqua satellite and NOAA’S GOES-13 provided imagery before, during and after the F-4 storm that had 166-200 mph winds. GOES-13 provided new images every 15 minutes tracking the storm’s movement and showing it’s beginning as seen near the bottom of a line of clouds resembling an exclamation point. The tornado, which touched down just outside Oklahoma City, claimed 24 lives, and we hope that one day technology can provide for earlier warnings. Our hearts go out to the people in Oklahoma.
And wild weather is on the radar for elsewhere in the universe. A transition from spring to summer in Titan’s northern hemisphere could bring waves and hurricanes for Saturn’s largest moon. Titan has been dark since the arrival of the Cassini spacecraft in 2004 but the sun is creeping in with the promise of summer; it takes seven Earth years for season’s to change on Titan. Models show that as summer approaches, winds may increase up to 2 mph generating waves up to half a foot. Also, warming in the Northern hemisphere could bring hurricanes from methane vapor from Titan’s vast seas. One Titan forecaster said “if you think being a weather forecaster on Earth is difficult, it can be even more challenging on Titan!” So no excuses now Earthling weathermen!
Love a good boy-meets-girl story? Me too, I’m a sucker for that stuff. But I’m an even bigger sucker for galaxy-meets-galaxy. Telescopes have spotted two galaxies far, far away merging, intertwined, and furiously making new stars. Ahh…little star babies. And eventually the two galactic love-birds will settle down to form an elliptical galaxy. Although mergers are common, this particular one is unusual because of the massive amount of gas and star formation. This formation goes against the current model suggesting that the biggest galaxies arise from minor acquisitions of smaller galaxies. And that’s the way our galaxy may have become an elliptical galaxy bunch!
And this week we celebrate the 81st Anniversary of Amelia Earhart’s transatlantic flight. On May 20, 1932 Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, flying from Newfoundland to Ireland. Five years later Earhart would attempt her round-the-world flight, never to be seen again.
And carbon emissions are on the run! New research says that a typical pair of running shoes is responsible for 30 pounds of CO2 emissions. What doesn’t create a carbon emission?! But it’s not in the running, but in the making of the shoes. Two-thirds of attributed emissions come from powering manufacturing plants of shoes largely located in China that use coal for electricity. The remaining 1/3 arises from the acquisition of raw materials. They say this research could help designers identify ways to improve designs and even reduce the carbon footprint. That’s it I’m boycotting my running shoes! Guess, that means I can’t go for a run anymore!
Ok Trekkies, get excited! As if the latest installment of Star Trek wasn’t enough, Scanadu is making a real-life Tricorder!!! For those of you who live under a rock and don’t know what that is, it’s a device from Star Trek meant to measure vital signs. Scanadu’s non-fictional version called “Scout” uses an optical sensor held up to your forehead or temple, and delivers information about blood pressure, stress levels, respiratory rate and temperature directly to your smartphone. The company, based out of NASA’s Ames Research Center, started an Indiegogo campaign to help make their Tricorder commercially available. And it’s getting street cred from the company’s NASA roots and for borrowing technology from the Curiosity Rover. Talk about a Trekkie Thrill!
And that’s all for your Daily Orbit! See you tomorrow!