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August features two supermoons this year, including a blue moon.
NASA says that the full sturgeon moon rises in the east just 30 minutes after sunset on the first day of the month.
It will reach its peak at 2:32 p.m. ET, according to The Farmers’ Almanac.
It is named the sturgeon moon for the time of year when the large fish were abundant in the Great Lakes. This moon was also called the green corn moon.
By Aug. 16, the moon will have gone through a crescent phase.
The moon on Aug. 30 is blue, referring to the second full moon in any month.
The blue sturgeon moon will peak at 9:36 p.m. ET and is expected to be the biggest of the year, per The Almanac.
Because it takes 29.5 days to complete the cycle from full to new and back to full, most months will only see one. However, occasionally, there will be two in a month.
That is the reason for the phrase: “once in a blue moon.”
We see a blue moon every three years on average, with the next set for May 2026.
A supermoon occurs when the moon’s orbit is closest to the Earth at the same time that the moon is full.
An eruption of the Shishaldin Volcano in Alaska has “gradually declined,” according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory.
However, low-level ash emissions below 10,000 feet above sea level continue and a significant ash plume was produced Tuesday morning, reaching a height of around 30,000 feet.
The plume has since detached, but remained visible between 60-280 miles away from the volcano.
The National Weather Service issued a SIGMET for the cloud. SIGMETs are brief descriptions of the development and occurrence or expected occurrence in time and space of specified en-route weather phenomena which may affect the safety of all aircraft operations, according to the agency.
The aviation alert and Volcano Alert Levels have been reduced.
The volcano, located in the Aleutian Islands, is situated about 700 miles southwest of Anchorage, and it sits near the middle of Unimak Island.
Unimak Island has about 65 residents northeast of the volcano in the community of False Pass.
Shishaldin Volcano began erupting on July 11, with strongly elevated surface temperatures reported at the summit.
A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter flew by eruptive activity the next day.
Notably, an explosion on Friday produced an ash cloud that reached up to 7.5 miles and moved southward over the Pacific, with a second smaller explosion later that day.
The volcano, one of the most active in the Aleutian arc, is a symmetric cone with a base diameter of 10 miles.
The 660-foot-tall funnel-shaped crater often emits steam and occasional ash.
There have been at least 26 confirmed eruptions at Shishaldin Volcano since 1824.
While most are small, the observatory said a 1999 eruption produced an ash cloud that reached 8.5 miles.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
An unusual fossil found in China suggests that some early mammals may have preyed on dinosaur, according to new research.
The fossil — which is reported to have dated back to around 125 million years ago — was found in China’s Liaoning Province in 2012, the Canadian Museum of Nature said in a release.
It comes from an area of fossil beds dubbed “China’s Dinosaur Pompeii,” referring to the fossils of animals and dinosaurs in the area that had been buried suddenly by mudslides and debris following volcanic eruptions.
The existence of such volcanic material in the study’s fossil was confirmed, the museum wrote, after analysis from Canadian Museum of Nature mineralogist Dr. Aaron Lussier.
Lussier was one of the authors of the study published Tuesday in the journal Scientific Reports that presented the Canadian and Chinese scientists’ findings.
“The two animals are locked in mortal combat, intimately intertwined, and it’s among the first evidence to show actual predatory behavior by a mammal on a dinosaur,” Dr. Jordan Mallon, palaeobiologist with the Canadian Museum of Nature and fellow co-author, said in a statement.
The dinosaur in the fossil is identified as a species of a plant-eating Psittacosaurus, which lived in Asia during the Early Cretaceous — or around 105 to 125 million years ago. Psittacosaurus was an early relative of the horned dinosaur lineage, with a parrot-like beak.
The mammal was apparently a badger-like animal called Repenomamus robustus, which was among the largest mammals during that period. It had short limbs, a long tail, a curvy body and shearing teeth.
Before the discovery of this fossil, palaeontologists knew that Repenomamus preyed on dinosaurs including Psittacosaurus because of fossilized baby bones of the herbivore found in the mammal’s stomach, the museum said.
“The co-existence of these two animals is not new, but what’s new to science through this amazing fossil is the predatory behavior it shows,” Mallon noted.
The fossil was reported to be in the care of co-author Dr. Gang Han, from the Hainan Vocational University of Science and Technology, who brought it to the attention of Canadian Museum of Nature palaeobiologist Xiao-Chun Wu.
The museum highlighted that researchers had ruled out that the mammal was scavenging a dead dinosaur, because the dinosaur bones have no tooth marks and the position of the Repenomamus suggests it was also the aggressor.
The research team speculated that the volcanically derived deposits from the fossil beds in China will continue to yield new evidence of interactions among species.
“The fossil’s presence challenges the view that dinosaurs had few threats from their mammal contemporaries during the Cretaceous, when dinosaurs were the dominant animals,” the museum wrote.
The study authors acknowledged to The Associated Press that there have been some fossil forgeries known from this part of the world, which Mallon told the agency was a concern when they started their research.
However, after doing their own preparations of the skeletons and analyzing the rock samples, he said they were confident that the fossil was genuine, and would welcome other scientists to study the fossil as well.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
The dazzling Perseid meteor shower – one of the biggest meteor showers of the year – is back from July through late August.
The shower is forecast to peak from August 12 to 13, when the moon will be 10% full, according to the American Meteor Society.
The society notes that normal rates seen from rural locations range from 50 to 75 shower members per hour at maximum.
The Perseids occur when Earth crosses through the stream of debris of the comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle and its meteors – most of which are pea-sized – create bright “shooting stars” as they burn up in the planet’s atmosphere.
The meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus, or the shower’s “radiant,” but can be seen streaking across the sky anywhere at a speed of 37 miles per second.
The shower is also known for its fireballs, which can last longer than an average meteor streak.
Swift-Tuttle orbits between the sun and beyond the orbit of Pluto once every 133 years.
Every year, the Earth passes near the path of the comet.
The comet itself won’t be visible to Earth again until 2125.
NASA says there is no chance the planet will soon run into the comet.
The Hubble Space Telescope has found a swarm of boulders that were potentially shaken off the asteroid Dimorphos following NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test experiment last September.
The 37 boulders range in size from three feet to 22 feet across, based on Hubble photometry.
NASA says the space rocks are drifting away from the asteroid at little more than a half-mile per hour.
The total mass in the detected boulders is about 0.1% the mass of Dimorphos.
“This is a spectacular observation – much better than I expected. We see a cloud of boulders carrying mass and energy away from the impact target. The numbers, sizes and shapes of the boulders are consistent with them having been knocked off the surface of Dimorphos by the impact,” David Jewitt, a planetary scientist of the University of California at Los Angeles, said in a statement. “This tells us for the first time what happens when you hit an asteroid and see material coming out up to the largest sizes. The boulders are some of the faintest things ever imaged inside our solar system.”
The boulders are most likely not pieces of the diminutive asteroid caused by the impact, and they were already littered across the asteroid’s surface as evident in the last picture taken by the spacecraft before its collision.
Jewitt, who has been using Hubble to track changes in the asteroid following the DART impact, estimates that the impact shook off 2% of the boulders on the asteroid’s surface.
He said that the boulder observations by the observatory also give an estimate for the size of the DART impact crater, noting that the “boulders could have been excavated from a circle of about 160 feet across (the width of a football field) on the surface of Dimorphos.”
The agency says that Dimorphos may have formed from material shed into space by the larger asteroid Didymos.
It’s not clear how the boulders were lifted off the asteroid’s surface, although they could be part of an ejecta plume that was photographed by Hubble. A seismic wave from the impact also may have shaken the surface rubble loose.
“If we follow the boulders in future Hubble observations, then we may have enough data to pin down the boulders’ precise trajectories. And then we’ll see in which directions they were launched from the surface,” said Jewitt.
He said that this opens up a new dimension for studying the aftermath of the experiment using the European Space Agency’s upcoming Hera spacecraft.
Hera, which is expected to arrive at the binary asteroid in late 2026, will perform a detailed post-impact survey of the targeted asteroid and eventually determine the size of the crater made by the spacecraft.
“The boulder cloud will still be dispersing when Hera arrives,” Jewitt explained. “It’s like a very slowly expanding swarm of bees that eventually will spread along the binary pair’s orbit around the Sun.”
DART intentionally impacted Dimorphos on September 26, 2022, slightly changing the trajectory of its orbit around the larger asteroid Didymos.