How to watch this week’s rare “ring of fire” solar eclipse

The moon moves in front of the sun in a rare “ring of fire” solar eclipse as seen from Tanjung Piai, Malaysia on December 26, 2019.SADIQ ASYRAF / AFP / GETTY IMAGES

How to watch this week’s rare “ring of fire” solar eclipse

Last month’s “super flower blood moon” lunar eclipse was hardly the only exciting celestial event of the season. This week brings an even bigger spectacle — a rare “ring of fire” solar eclipse.

Thursday morning, June 10, makes the new moon, which will eclipse the sun at 6:53 a.m. ET. To see it, look to the east. 

On June 10, skywatchers all over the world will be able to view the eclipse.

What is an annular solar eclipse? 

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes directly between the Earth and the sun, completely blocking the sun’s light. During an annular solar eclipse, the moon does not completely cover the sun as it passes, leaving a glowing ring of sunlight visible.

An annular eclipse can only occur under specific conditions, NASA says. The moon must be in its first lunar phase, and it must also be farther away from Earth in its elliptical orbit, appearing smaller in the sky than it usually would. 

Because the moon appears smaller under these circumstances, it cannot fully block out the sun, forming what’s called a “ring of fire” or “ring of light.” 

“As the pair rises higher in the sky, the silhouette of the Moon will gradually shift off the sun to the lower left, allowing more of the Sun to show until the eclipse ends,” NASA said. 

How to watch the annular solar eclipse

The narrow path of the eclipse will be completely visible in parts of Canada, Greenland, the Arctic Ocean and Siberia. It will be partially visible for much of the rest of northeastern North America, Greenland, Northern Europe and northern Asia. 

From the Washington, D.C. area, the moon will block about 80% of the left side of the sun as they rise together in the east-northeast at 5:42 a.m. The sun will appear as a crescent during this time, NASA says. 

“From any one point along this annular solar eclipse path, the middle or annular or ‘ring of fire’ stage of the eclipse lasts a maximum of 3 minutes 51 seconds,” according to EarthSky

The event will conclude around 6:29 a.m. ET. 

It is essential to wear special solar eclipse glasses to protect your eyes while viewing the celestial phenomenon. Looking directly at the sun is dangerous and can damage your eyes.

This is just one of two solar eclipses in 2021. A total solar eclipse will be visible on December 4. 

And don’t worry if you miss it — you can just catch up with a livestream instead. 

NASA releases stunning new pic of Milky Way’s ‘downtown’

NASA releases stunning new pic of Milky Way’s ‘downtown’

This false-color X-ray and radio frequency image made available by NASA on Friday, May 28, 2021 shows threads of superheated gas and magnetic fields at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. X-rays detected by the NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory are in orange, green, blue and purple, and radio data from the MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa are shown in lilac and gray. The plane of the galazy is horizontal, in the center of this vertical image. Astronomer Daniel Wang of the University of Massachusetts Amherst said Friday he spent a year working on this, while stuck at home during the pandemic. (NASA/CXC/UMass/Q.D. Wang, NRF/SARAO/MeerKAT via AP)
This false-color X-ray and radio frequency image made available by NASA on Friday, May 28, 2021 shows threads of superheated gas and magnetic fields at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. X-rays detected by the NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory are in orange, green, blue and purple, and radio data from the MeerKAT radio telescope in South Africa are shown in lilac and gray. The plane of the galazy is horizontal, in the center of this vertical image. Astronomer Daniel Wang of the University of Massachusetts Amherst said Friday he spent a year working on this, while stuck at home during the pandemic. (NASA/CXC/UMass/Q.D. Wang, NRF/SARAO/MeerKAT via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA has released a stunning new picture of our galaxy’s violent, super-energized “downtown.”

It’s a composite of 370 observations over the past two decades by the orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory, depicting billions of stars and countless black holes in the center, or heart, of the Milky Way. A radio telescope in South Africa also contributed to the image, for contrast.

Astronomer Daniel Wang of the University of Massachusetts Amherst said Friday he spent a year working on this while stuck at home during the pandemic.

‘Ring of fire’ solar eclipse will be visible in North America on June 10

‘Ring of fire’ solar eclipse will be visible in North America on June 10

  • The full eclipse will last for roughly an hour and 40 minutes. No part of the U.S. will see the full eclipse.
  • The most ideally situated metropolitan areas to view the partial eclipse at sunrise are Toronto, Philadelphia and New York.
  • Solar eclipse glasses must be worn at all times during an annular or partial solar eclipse to avoid the threat of blindness.
The moon appears to cover the sun during an annular eclipse of the sun on May 20, 2012 as seen from Chaco Culture National Historical Park in Nageezi, Ariz.STAN HONDA, AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The moon blocked out the sun for part of the Earth on Dec. 14, plunging southern Argentina and Chile into darkness.

Just two weeks after a lunar eclipse, skywatchers are in for another treat in June: A “ring of fire” annular solar eclipse will be visible in parts of North America on June 10. 

The path of the eclipse starts at sunrise in Ontario, Canada (on the north side of Lake Superior), then circles across the northern reaches of the globe, EarthSky’s Bruce McClure said. “Midway along the path, the greatest eclipse occurs at local noon in northern Greenland and then swings by the Earth’s North Pole, and finally ends at sunset over northeastern Siberia,” he said.

The full eclipse will last for roughly an hour and 40 minutes. No part of the U.S. will see the full eclipse.

While the U.S. will miss out on the “ring of fire” part of the eclipse, folks who live along the East Coast and in the Upper Midwest will get a chance to see a partial solar eclipse just after sunrise.

How to see the ‘Super Flower Blood Moon,’ 1st lunar eclipse of this decade

In a once in a lifetime event, the night sky on Wednesday will be both the brightest and darkest ever seen.

This week’s full moon will be the second supermoon of the season, appearing brighter and larger than usual. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the “Flower Blood Moon” will be roughly 222,000 miles away from the Earth early Wednesday morning.

May’s full moon is known as the “Flower Moon,” and because a total lunar eclipse — also known as a “blood moon” as it gives the moon a reddish hue — is also set to happen at the same time, it’s being called the “Super Flower Blood Moon.”https://d-15986500134082916044.ampproject.net/2105072136000/frame.html

The moon will be at its brightest and largest at 4:14 a.m. PT, according to astronomers.

PHOTO: The full moon, known as the 'Super Pink Moon', rises over the skyline of New York City, seen from West Orange, in New Jersey, April 26, 2021. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters, FILE)
PHOTO: The full moon, known as the ‘Super Pink Moon’, rises over the skyline of New York City, seen from West Orange, in New Jersey, April 26, 2021. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters, FILE)

With the moon this close to the planet, stargazers in certain parts of the world will get to see an impressive sight.

MORE: Pink moon is 1st supermoon of 2021: When to see it

People who live in western North America, western South America, eastern Asia, and Oceania, will have the best view of the “Flower Blood Moon,” according to astronomers.

“In the U.S., those who are located east of the Mississippi will experience a partial lunar eclipse before the moon sets below the horizon, and those along the East Coast won’t see much of anything, unfortunately,” the Farmer’s Almanac said.

PHOTO: A total lunar eclipse, known as the 'super blood wolf moon,' rises over San Francisco, Jan. 20, 2019. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE)
PHOTO: A total lunar eclipse, known as the ‘super blood wolf moon,’ rises over San Francisco, Jan. 20, 2019. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE)

MORE: Supermoon seen from around the world

This will mark the first lunar eclipse of the decade. The last one was recorded on Jan. 21, 2019.

A partial lunar eclipse is also scheduled for Nov. 19, according to astronomers.

New research suggests depression impacts emotional responses to autobiographical memories

New research suggests depression impacts emotional responses to autobiographical memories

New research from the journal Cognitive Behaviour Therapy points to a cognitive bias that might be involved in the maintenance of negative mood among people with depression. When compared to healthy controls, individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD) reported less happiness when recalling positive memories but more sadness when recalling bad memories.

by Beth Ellwood via PsyPost

Beck’s cognitive model of depression — one of the most prominent theories of depression — proposes that people with depression show a bias toward the processing of negative information about themselves over positive information about themselves.

Study authors Dahyeon Kim and K. Lira Yoon sought to build on a previous study that showed that people with elevated depressive symptoms differed in their emotional responses to personal memories compared to healthy individuals. For healthy subjects, the intensity of their positive feelings when remembering pleasant memories outdid the intensity of their negative feelings when remembering unpleasant memories. For individuals with depressive symptoms, the intensity of their emotional responses was the same whether they were remembering happy or unhappy memories from their personal histories.

In other words, healthy subjects’ emotional responses to memories faded more strongly for unpleasant (vs. pleasant) memories, while this was not true for those with depressive symptomology.

Kim and Yoon were motivated to re-explore this effect among a clinical sample. The researchers conducted interviews among 30 individuals with MDD and 46 control participants. During the interviews, subjects were asked to recall three events from their past: their happiest, saddest, and most anxious moments. After describing each memory, the participants answered two key questions. For the happy memory, they were asked to rate how happy they were when the event originally took place, and then how happy they are now reflecting on it. Similarly, for the sad memory, they rated how sad they were then and now. For the anxious memory, they rated how nervous they felt then and now.

Notably, the two groups did not differ in the intensity of their emotions experienced at the time of the event — this was true whether it was a happy, sad, or anxious memory. This finding implies that the two groups were recalling events of comparable emotional intensity. Nevertheless, in line with previous findings, ratings of happiness “now” were significantly lower among the MDD group compared to the control group. This was true even after controlling for how much time had passed since the event.

In short, the MDD group experienced less happiness when reflecting on happy memories and more sadness when reflecting on sad memories compared to the control group. The same effect was not found when it came to the anxious memories, suggesting that this differential fading of emotional responses to memories was specific to sad memories.

“Given their negative schemas (Beck, 2002), the saddest autobiographical memories (AMs) may align with the current worldview of individuals with MDD,” Kim and Yoon discuss. “Thus, these AMs may seem more relevant, resulting in more intense emotional responses in the MDD group. In contrast, the happiest AMs may contradict their current negative worldview, impeding the experience of more intense happiness in individuals with MDD.”

Kim and Yoon point out that previous studies have shown that recalling positive memories does not improve low mood among individuals with depression. The authors say that their findings offer insight into this effect. “Applied to treatment,” they say, “restructuring positive AMs, with the goal of increasing the happiness experienced from the recall, may be beneficial.”

The study, “Emotional response to autobiographical memories in depression: less happiness to positive and more sadness to negative memories”, was authored by Dahyeon Kim and K. Lira Yoon.

As NASA’s Voyager 1 Surveys Interstellar Space, Its Density Measurements Are Making Waves

By Jet Propulsion Laboratory 

An illustration depicting one of NASA’s twin Voyager spacecraft. Both Voyagers have entered interstellar space, or the space outside our Sun’s heliosphere. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

As NASA’s Voyager 1 Surveys Interstellar Space, Its Density Measurements Are Making Waves

In the sparse collection of atoms that fills interstellar space, Voyager 1 has measured a long-lasting series of waves where it previously only detected sporadic bursts.

Until recently, every spacecraft in history had made all of its measurements inside our heliosphere, the magnetic bubble inflated by our Sun. But on August 25, 2012, NASA’s Voyager 1 changed that. As it crossed the heliosphere’s boundary, it became the first human-made object to enter – and measure – interstellar space. Now eight years into its interstellar journey, a close listen of Voyager 1’s data is yielding new insights into what that frontier is like.

If our heliosphere is a ship sailing interstellar waters, Voyager 1 is a life raft just dropped from the deck, determined to survey the currents. For now, any rough waters it feels are mostly from our heliosphere’s wake. But farther out, it will sense the stirrings from sources deeper in the cosmos. Eventually, our heliosphere’s presence will fade from its measurements completely.

This graphic from October 20218 shows the position of the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes relative to the heliosphere, a protective bubble created by the Sun that extends well past the orbit of Pluto. Voyager 1 crossed the heliopause, or the edge of the heliosphere, in 2012. Voyager 2 is still in the heliosheath, or the outermost part of the heliosphere. (NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft entered interstellar space in November 2018.) Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“We have some ideas about how far Voyager will need to get to start seeing more pure interstellar waters, so to speak,” said Stella Ocker, a Ph.D. student at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and the newest member of the Voyager team. “But we’re not entirely sure when we’ll reach that point.”

Ocker’s new study, published on Monday in Nature Astronomy, reports what may be the first continuous measurement of the density of material in interstellar space. “This detection offers us a new way to measure the density of interstellar space and opens up a new pathway for us to explore the structure of the very nearby interstellar medium,” Ocker said.
NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft captured these sounds of interstellar space. Voyager 1’s plasma wave instrument detected the vibrations of dense interstellar plasma, or ionized gas, from October to November 2012 and April to May 2013. Credit: NASA/JPL-CaltechLoading videohttps://www.youtube.com/embed/0dSlb3as9J0

When one pictures the stuff between the stars – astronomers call it the “interstellar medium,” a spread-out soup of particles and radiation – one might reimagine a calm, silent, serene environment. That would be a mistake.

“I have used the phrase ‘the quiescent interstellar medium’ – but you can find lots of places that are not particularly quiescent,” said Jim Cordes, space physicist at Cornell and co-author of the paper.

Like the ocean, the interstellar medium is full of turbulent waves. The largest come from our galaxy’s rotation, as space smears against itself and sets forth undulations tens of light-years across. Smaller (though still gigantic) waves rush from supernova blasts, stretching billions of miles from crest to crest. The smallest ripples are usually from our own Sun, as solar eruptions send shockwaves through space that permeate our heliosphere’s lining.

These crashing waves reveal clues about the density of the interstellar medium – a value that affects our understanding of the shape of our heliosphere, how stars form, and even our own location in the galaxy. As these waves reverberate through space, they vibrate the electrons around them, which ring out at characteristic frequencies depending on how crammed together they are. The higher the pitch of that ringing, the higher the electron density. Voyager 1’s Plasma Wave Subsystem – which includes two “bunny ear” antennas sticking out 30 feet (10 meters) behind the spacecraft – was designed to hear that ringing.

An illustration of NASA’s Voyager spacecraft showing the antennas used by the Plasma Wave Subsystem and other instruments. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

In November 2012, three months after exiting the heliosphere, Voyager 1 heard interstellar sounds for the first time (see video above). Six months later, another “whistle” appeared – this time louder and even higher pitched. The interstellar medium appeared to be getting thicker, and quickly.

These momentary whistles continue at irregular intervals in Voyager’s data today. They’re an excellent way to study the interstellar medium’s density, but it does take some patience.

“They’ve only been seen about once a year, so relying on these kinds of fortuitous events meant that our map of the density of interstellar space was kind of sparse,” Ocker said.

Ocker set out to find a running measure of interstellar medium density to fill in the gaps – one that doesn’t depend on the occasional shockwaves propagating out from the Sun. After filtering through Voyager 1’s data, looking for weak but consistent signals, she found a promising candidate. It started to pick up in mid-2017, right around the time of another whistle.

“It’s virtually a single tone,” said Ocker. “And over time, we do hear it change – but the way the frequency moves around tells us how the density is changing.”

Weak but nearly continuous plasma oscillation events – visible as a thin red line in this graphic/tk – connect stronger events in Voyager 1’s Plasma Wave Subsystem data. The image alternates between graphs showing only the strong signals (blue background) and the filtered data showing weaker signals. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Stella Ocker

Ocker calls the new signal a plasma wave emission, and it, too, appeared to track the density of interstellar space. When the abrupt whistles appeared in the data, the tone of the emission rises and falls with them. The signal also resembles one observed in Earth’s upper atmosphere that’s known to track with the electron density there.

“This is really exciting, because we are able to regularly sample the density over a very long stretch of space, the longest stretch of space that we have so far,” said Ocker. “This provides us with the most complete map of the density and the interstellar medium as seen by Voyager.”

Based on the signal, electron density around Voyager 1 started rising in 2013 and reached its current levels about mid-2015, a roughly 40-fold increase in density. The spacecraft appears to be in a similar density range, with some fluctuations, through the entire dataset they analyzed which ended in early 2020.

Ocker and her colleagues are currently trying to develop a physical model of how the plasma wave emission is produced that will be key to interpreting it. In the meantime, Voyager 1’s Plasma Wave Subsystem keeps sending back data farther and farther from home, where every new discovery has the potential to make us reimagining our home in the cosmos.

For more on this research, read In the Emptiness of Space 14 Billion Miles Away, Voyager I Detects “Hum” From Plasma Waves.

Reference: “Persistent plasma waves in interstellar space detected by Voyager 1” by Stella Koch Ocker, James M. Cordes, Shami Chatterjee, Donald A. Gurnett, William S. Kurth and Steven R. Spangler, 10 May 2021, Nature Astronomy.
DOI: 10.1038/s41550-021-01363-7

The Voyager spacecraft were built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which continues to operate both. JPL is a division of Caltech in Pasadena. The Voyager missions are a part of the NASA Heliophysics System Observatory, sponsored by the Heliophysics Division of the Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

Ancient Australian Aboriginal Memory Tool Superior to ‘Memory Palace’ Learning

The students who used the Aboriginal method of remembering had a significantly improved retention of facts compared to the control and the “memory palace” group (2.8x).

An ancient Aboriginal memorization technique has been proven to be superior to the ancient Greek “memory palace” technique for recalling and retaining factual information.

Australian scientists have compared an ancient Greek technique of memorising data to an even older technique from Aboriginal culture, using students in a rural medical school.

The study found that students using a technique called memory palace in which students memorised facts by placing them into a memory blueprint of the childhood home, allowing them to revisit certain rooms to recapture that data. Another group of students were taught a technique developed by Australian Aboriginal people over more than 50,000 years of living in a custodial relationship with the Australian land.

The students who used the Aboriginal method of remembering had a significantly improved retention of facts compared to the control and the “memory palace” group.

The study led by Dr David Reser, from the Monash University School of Rural Health and Dr Tyson Yunkaporta, from Deakin University’s NIKERI Institute, has just been published in PLOS One.

Medical students, and doctors, need to retain large amounts of information from anatomy to diseases and medications.

Because one of the main stressors for medical students is the amount of information they have to rote learn, we decided to see if we can teach them alternate, and better, ways to memorise data,” Dr Reser said.

The memory palace technique dates back to the early Greeks and was further utilised by Jesuit priests. Handwritten books were scarce and valuable, and one reading would have to last a person’s lifetime, so ways to remember the contents were developed.

In Aboriginal culture, which relies on oral history, important facts like navigation, food sources, tool use and inter and intra tribal political relationships are important for survival. Aboriginal methods of memorising also used the idea of attaching facts to the landscape, but with added stories which describe the facts and the placement to facilitate recall.

Working with Dr Yunkaporta, formerly at the Monash School of Rural Health, the research team randomly divided 76 medical students attending Monash’s Churchill Campus, in rural Victoria, into three groups.

The students were given 30 minutes of training in the memory palace, Aboriginal techniques, or were in a control group who watched a video rather than undergo training. The students were then asked to memorize 20 common butterfly names (to dissociate from medical curriculum).

They were then tested on their recalls at 10 minutes and then 30 minutes after using their assigned techniques to memorize the list.

The researchers found the students who used the Aboriginal technique for remembering ie a narrative plus locations from around the campus were almost three times more likely to correctly remember the entire list than they were prior to training (odds ratio: 2.8). The students using the memory palace technique were about twice as likely to get a perfect score after training (2.1), while the control group improved by about 50% (1.5) over their pre-training performance.

Importantly a qualitative survey found the students using the Aboriginal technique found it more enjoyable, “both as a way to remember facts but also as a way to learn more about Aboriginal culture,” Dr Reser said.

Dr Reser said the Monash School of Rural Health is considering incorporating these memory tools into the medical curriculum once teaching returns to a post-COVID normal. “This year we hope to offer this to students as a way to not only facilitate their learning but to reduce the stress associated with a course that requires a lot of rote learning,”he said.