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Showing posts from May 8, 2016

The Mercury Transit of the Sun on Monday is a Science Smorgasbord

Mercury's rare passage across the face of the sun on Monday, May 9, should be an exciting event for skywatchers and scientists alike. The planet's pass across Earth's nearest star may provide information about its thin atmosphere, assist in the hunt for worlds around other stars, and help NASA hone some of its instruments. As seen from Earth, Mercury appears to cross the disk of the sun — an event known as a transit — only about 13 times per century.


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Mercury Transit: The History and Science of This Rare Celestial Event

The event, which astronomers call a transit of Mercury, will occur only 14 times during the 21st century. As seen from Earth, only transits of Mercury and Venus are possible, because these are the only planets that lie between Earth and the sun. Transits of Mercury and Venus hold an interesting place in astronomical history, mostly because of the slightly different times when the events occur as seen from different locations on the surface of the Earth.


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Mercury poised for rare 'transit' across sun's face on Monday

By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - Stargazers will have a rare opportunity on Monday to witness Mercury fly directly across the face of the sun, a sight that unfolds once every 10 years or so, as Earth and its smaller neighboring planet come into perfect alignment. The best vantage points to observe the celestial event, known to astronomers as a transit, are eastern North America, South America, Western Europe and Africa, assuming clouds are not obscuring the sun. In those regions, the entire transit will occur during daylight hours, according to Sky and Telescope magazine.

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U.S. traders reject GMO crops that lack global approval

Across the U.S. Farm Belt, top grain handlers have banned genetically modified crops that are not approved in all major overseas markets, shaking up a decades-old system that used the world's biggest exporting country as a launchpad for new seeds from companies like Monsanto Co. Bold yellow signs from global trader Bunge Ltd are posted at U.S. grain elevators barring 19 varieties of GMO corn and soybeans that lack approval in important markets. CHS Inc, the country's largest farm cooperative, wants companies to keep seeds with new biotech traits off the market until they have full approval from major foreign buyers, Gary Anderson, a senior vice president for CHS, told Reuters. The U.S. farm sector is trying to avoid a repeat of the turmoil that occurred in 2013 and 2014, when China turned away boatloads of U.S. corn containing a Syngenta AG trait called Viptera that it had not approved.


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'Boaty McBoatface' Vessel Named for David Attenborough

A research vessel meant to ply the polar seas has been graced with the name Sir David Attenborough, just days before the famed naturalist turns 90, U.K. Science Minister Jo Johnson announced today (May 6). In March, the U.K.'s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) put out a call for the public to submit and vote for names for their forthcoming polar research vessel, which received funding of 200 million British pounds (about $289 million) from the U.K. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in April 2014.


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