(TMU) – The newly-discovered comet Neowise has been thrilling star-gazers for the past week as it makes its journey across the Earths’ skies throughout the month of July.
The icy space rock, which was first discovered NASA’s Neowise satellite back in March, has already been captured in countless fabulous images by photographers across the world as it shines brightly while making its journey back from the sun.
And because it’s so close to our planet, the rare comet can be seen with the naked eye, although binoculars or a quality camera with a zoom lens can capture even better images of it. For this reason, the comet Neowise is being described as the “best in decades.” In fact, once it leaves our skies it won’t be visible for nearly 7,000 years, reports Science Alert.
But even the best astrophotographer can’t capture images as dazzling as recent video filmed by the astronauts on board the International Space Station.
Last week, a team of astronauts at the ISS led by recently-arrived astronaut Bob Behnken were able to capture hundreds of long-exposure images of the comet.
The 550 images were then blended together by UK-based artist Seán Doran, who processed and interpolated the photos to fill in the frames and fused them together for an astonishing 4K-resolution timelapse video.
In the video, the icy comet Neowise can be seen flying past our planet with a brilliantly massive dust trail behind it. While the comet appears to be headed on a trajectory toward Earth, there is absolutely no danger that it will smack into our planet.
The scene is later blinded by the sun’s overexposure, but the 7-minute, 4K video remains an amazing piece of art from Doran, whose work has also been featured at the Natural History Museum in London.
Doran has years of experience producing these kinds of videos, because regular time-lapses tend to be far too fast to appreciate “how beautiful the Earth appears when viewed from space,” he told CBS News.
Bright blue noctilucent clouds, a form of “space cloud” that forms when sunlight bounces from ice particles in the upper atmosphere, can also be seen in the video.
Neowise is the first major comet to streak through Earth’s skies in 2020 after two other much-hyped comets, Comet ATLAS and Comet SWAN, turned out to be duds. The fizzling-out of the icy space rocks is a common phenomenon since comets are inherently fragile bodies that tend to fall apart as they come closer to the Sun.
Night sky, just before dawn from @Space_Station.
Stars, cities, spaceships, and a comet! pic.twitter.com/fCKjrfayC1
— Bob Behnken (@AstroBehnken) July 9, 2020
“About once a decade you get [a comet] that is really bright, [with] naked eye visibility,” Paul Delaney, an astronomy professor at York University, told Global News. “That’s surprisingly what NEOWISE has become. We weren’t expecting it.”
Neowise will come closest to Earth on July 22 at a remote distance of roughly 64 million miles, when the beautiful comet will hopefully sustain the present level of intense brightness. At that time, astronomy buffs hope that the comet will have risen higher in the sky.
Stargazers can track the comet through TheSkyLive to find out where the the comet will be at a given time.
Astronaut Behnken hopes that the striking images he captured can remind us Earthlings to take care of our precious planet, which remains the only starship that humanity can rely on for the foreseeable future.
Speaking to The New York Times’ podcast The Daily last week, Behnken said:
“It was just an awesome sight to be able to see and something that we try to capture in the few moments that we do have to look out the window.”
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.