From a solar eclipse to the Leonids meteor shower, 2017 has been loaded with celestial viewings. This past weekend we witnessed the first and last supermoon of the year and here are the best supermoon photos from around the globe.
As Southern California firefighters continue their struggle to contain fires throughout Los Angeles and surrounding counties on Wednesday, commuters found themselves driving next to raging fires that now are threatening the Westwood, Brentwood and Bel-Air neighborhoods of West L.A. According to the
Los Angeles Times, the Bel-Air fire, which shut down the 405 freeway in both directions, began in the hills of Brentwood and traveled up the Santa Monica Mountains into the Bel-Air neighborhood. SEE ALSO: California's worst fire season just got even more terrifying Described as a "fast moving, 6-acre wildfire" by the
Times, the fire has prompted evacuations in the gated community of Bel-Air with several homes now burning. Officials have also closed the 405 freeway in both directions, as the fire rages in the hills along the Getty Center exit. The Getty Museum, a gem containing historic works of art, is threatened by the flames. Today was scariest morning commute of my life: #gettycenter #skirballfire pic.twitter.com/aECWhnJ26I — Rick Patrick (@70sspacepunk) December 6, 2017 The 405 Freeway Getty Center fire pic.twitter.com/8asimBuCtr — ooysterr (@ooysterr) December 6, 2017 As a new wildfire breaks out in Los Angeles, this time in Bel-Air, 100+ firefighters are already on the scene. The 405 is closed near Getty Center. https://t.co/BvVwpZKmq1 pic.twitter.com/eHsfcjByP7 — Los Angeles Times (@latimes) December 6, 2017 Update #BrushFire; 6:20AM; NB 405 FY x Mulholland Dr; #BelAir/HolmbyHills; EVACUATION INFO: ... https://t.co/YbLVcoItlW — LAFD (@LAFD) December 6, 2017 #BREAKING: The 405 Freeway is SHUT DOWN in BOTH directions between the 101 Freeway and the 10 Freeway due to fire. — CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) December 6, 2017 The strong, desiccating Santa Ana winds have created ideal conditions for wildfires, by compressing hot air in the L.A. basin, and prompting the spread of embers well ahead of any fires that crop up. The winds are also helping to cause fires to exhibit extreme fire behavior, making them difficult to impossible to control. West Los Angeles neighborhoods are connected by the Santa Monica Mountains, known to hikers and Angelenos as the "backbone." That interconnectivity is what has prompted officials to warn residents of Mandeville Canyon and other areas in Brentwood to prepare for evacuation. The Skirball Museum and a number of schools along Mulholland Drive — which divides the city from the valley — could be threatened along with the Getty. Bel Air Estates..east side of the 405..Fire burns out of control in the Sepulveda Pass - 6:35am PST @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/0DiEtdDl7c — Rick Dickert (@RICKatFOX) December 6, 2017 The Bel-Air fire is now 50 acres and is causing massive gridlock along the 405, one of L.A.'s most congested areas https://t.co/BvVwpZKmq1 pic.twitter.com/6bAKmTpsUY — Los Angeles Times (@latimes) December 6, 2017 Burnt out remains of homes in the Bel-Air section of LA, destroyed by wildfires in 1961 during the dry season.Image: Ralph Crane/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty ImagesMeanwhile, the Los Angeles Fire Department is also fighting the Creek Fire in the Sylmar and surrounding areas of L.A. County. As of 10:30 p.m. ET Tuesday night, the fire remained zero percent contained, according to the L.A. Fire Department. A far larger blaze is still burning further northwest, with at least 65,000 acres having gone up in flames near Ventura.
UPDATE Dec. 6 10:45 a.m. PT: Local media reports that Rupert Murdoch's $30 million home and vineyard has been affected by the blaze. WATCH: The science behind the fast-moving wildfires that are devastating California
The decision by MSNBC this week to cut loose a contributor over a bad-faith misinterpretation of an eight-year-old tweet represents a new escalation of the culture wars, inspired by the same alt-right troll who advanced the conspiracy theory known “Pizzagate.”
LANGHORNE, Pa. (AP) — In a story Dec. 5 about a tattooed mall Santa Claus, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Cherry Hill Programs runs the Oxford Valley Mall. Cherry Hill Programs runs the mall's Santa photo operation.
Just a few years ago, it seemed safe to assume that Silvio Berlusconi's political career was over. The billionaire businessman was forced to resign as Italy's prime minister in 2011 over his management of the country's debt crisis and revelations of risqué parties involving actresses and models. Meanwhile, Italian politics moved on under a center-left government and a rising, upstart Five Star populist movement.
Russia has been given the ultimate Olympic red card, forced to sit out the 2018 Winter Games. The humiliating punishment comes just four years after their athletes won more medals than any other country in Sochi – a feat aided by systematic Russian doping and manipulation of drug-testing samples. The fact that the lumbering International Olympic Committee finally decided to take action has been hailed in the West as a gutsy if overdue move, and a coming-of-age moment for the global anti-doping movement.
When NASA builds something, they build it to last. Voyager 1, which was launched way back in late 1977, has been cruising through space now for over 40 years, and it's still impressing astronomers. The spacecraft, which is currently over 13 billion miles from Earth, moving at a speed of over 38,000 miles per hour, was recently asked to do something it hasn't done in over 37 years, and it somehow managed to actually pull it off.
In order to continue communicating with its handlers here on Earth, Voyager 1 needed a slight adjustment. NASA knew it needed to tweak its orientation in order to allow the craft to send and receive information, but that's much easier said than done, especially when the thrusters required to make that adjustment haven't even been woken up in nearly four decades. Still, NASA had to at least try, and Voyager 1 was one indeed up for the challenge.
"These thrusters fire in tiny pulses, or 'puffs,' lasting mere milliseconds, to subtly rotate the spacecraft so that its antenna points at our planet," NASA explained in a post on its website. "Now, the Voyager team is able to use a set of four backup thrusters, dormant since 1980."
The thrusters which were used for this maneuver aren't the ones the craft typically uses to tweak its position. Those "attitude control thrusters" have been used regularly, but NASA realized that after four decades they simply weren't working as well as they used to. With that hardware in an unreliable state, they had to come up with a solution, and decided that attempting to wake up a set of older thrusters which hadn't been used since Voyager 1 was still making its way around some of our nearby planets.
In order to pull off this seemingly miraculous feat, the team had to dig through a huge archive of old Voyager data for the information they needed to test the feasibility of firing up the thrusters. After studying the code, which was written in "an outdated assembler language," the team decided it was worth a shot, and gave the thrusters a wake-up call.
After waiting over 19 hours for the signals to travel between NASA's antennas and the spacecraft, the team was elated to discover that they worked just as intended. “The Voyager team got more excited each time with each milestone in the thruster test," Todd Barber of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory explains. "The mood was one of relief, joy and incredulity after witnessing these well-rested thrusters pick up the baton as if no time had passed at all."
A “Take Me Home” button recently patented by engineers to be integrated into astronauts’ space suits will allow anyone who becomes separated from their Space Station a la Gravity to automatically propel themselves back to safety. The new technology, reportedly being developed at Draper Labs, has to be able to pinpoint a “precise location” in a particularly challenging environment: in outer space, there is no GPS. “Giving astronauts a sense of direction and orientation in space is a challenge because there is no gravity and no easy way to determine which way is up and down,” Kevin Duda, an engineer at Draper, said in the company’s press release last week.
Tata gives hand signals for his men to drop to the rainforest floor as the searing whine of a chainsaw fades, their mission to save a critically endangered piece of paradise in the Philippines suddenly on hold. Former para-military leader Efren "Tata" Balladares has been leading the other flip flop-wearing environmental crusaders up and down the steep mountains of Palawan island for the past 15 hours in the hunt for illegal loggers.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declared a state of emergency in the city Tuesday as several wildfires continued to rage across the region. Blazes in Santa Clarita, Santa Ana and Ventura County claimed tens of thousands of acres between them and filled the southern Californian skies with smoke — so much smoke in fact, they left trails visible from space. SEE ALSO: Surreal scenes of devastation across Southern California from unrelenting wildfires NASA's striking satellite image, above, gives a good feel for the scope of the smoke, as did pictures posted by meteorologists on Twitter Tuesday. Incredible amount of smoke being picked up on satellite right now from the wildfires in Southern California. #ThomasFire #RyeFire #CreekFire pic.twitter.com/vEH3vkm7IJ — Drew Tuma (@DrewTumaABC7) December 5, 2017 Continuing to monitor the #fires in SoCal, Suomi NPP satellite captured the power outages last night in #SantaBarbara and #Oxnard. @VCFD #ThomasFire More imagery: https://t.co/eRJpPpx698 pic.twitter.com/CFogVw2JAG — NOAA Satellites (@NOAASatellites) December 5, 2017 The skies won't be clearing any time soon, either. The National Weather Service is warning of continued gusty, dry Santa Ana winds through Friday, which could help fuel more flames. One meteorologist on Twitter described the situation as a "wildfire siege." Unofficial burn map of current #Thomasfire #Creekfire and #Ryefire. Weaker but still gusty #SantaAnawinds expected Wednesday before stronger winds return later Wednesday evening into Thursday. #CAwx #LAWeather #LAwind pic.twitter.com/qmuyeXASIh — NWS Los Angeles (@NWSLosAngeles) December 5, 2017 Thick smoke is seen streaming from several fires, including the #CreekFire, in southern California in this @NASAEarth satellite view from this afternoon. Take a look: https://t.co/xXJl4Vx6mr pic.twitter.com/uz3dlB4FQv — NASA (@NASA) December 5, 2017 That’s our NWS Incident Meteorologist painting the weather picture for the next 36-48 hrs. Winds increase again Wed night-Thu. #ThomasFire #CAwx pic.twitter.com/HnNa6f0KTh — Eric Boldt (@wxreport) December 6, 2017 The Thomas Fire in Ventura alone has burned at least 50,000 acres and forced over 27,000 people to evacuate. About 150,000 were affected by evacuation orders of some kind in Los Angeles, according to CNN. The Creek Fire was burning in the hills just to the north downtown LA. These fires come at the tail end of what is the worst wildfire season in California history, after fires destroyed thousands of homes and businesses and killed more than 40 people in northern California in October.
Science editor Andrew Freedman contributed reporting. WATCH: California wildfire victims returning to their destroyed homes is absolutely heart-wrenching
When Elon Musk first suggested that he wanted to solve LA's traffic problems with a series of underground highways, most of us thought he'd spent a few too many late nights huffing rocket fuel. When he started digging a hole in the parking lot of SpaceX's LA headquarters, I honestly believed he was prepping a nuclear bunker for the coming war.
But six months later, Musk's Boring Company appears to have made real progress on its first test tunnel, which means we have to start taking Musk's plans seriously. And if you look at this newly-published map of Musk's proposed tunnel routes, you can see that he does intend to change LA's infrastructure forever.
The Boring Company recently published a map on its website outlining where the tunnel network would initially go. The ambition of the project is clear: Musk is basically proposing to dig an entirely new subway system from scratch. The longest tunnel runs around 40 miles from the Sherman Oaks neighbourhood, through downtown, and ending at the Long Beach Airport. The main artery roughly traces the path of the 405 highway, with occasional branches going off to points of interest like Santa Monica.
The main north-south artery is complemented by a roughly east-west tunnel, connecting LAX with Dodger Stadium. SpaceX's headquarters is neatly at the center of this in Hawthorne.
Musk plans on digging a 6.5-mile proof of concept tunnel -- the part outlined in red -- and using that to test all his systems before trying to dig out the rest of the tunnel network. Unlike conventional highway tunnels, Musk proposes that high-speed "sleds" carry cars through the underground system, rather than having cars drive themselves.
A wave of Democratic senators called for their colleague Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., to resign. Senators Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Kamala Harris of California, Patty Murray of Washington and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin were the first to say Franken should step aside in what appeared to be a coordinated release late Wednesday morning.
LANGHORNE, Pa. (AP) — A beloved Santa with "naughty" tattooed on one arm and "nice" tattooed on the other has been asked to tone down his typically goofy poses at a suburban Philadelphia mall, leaving some fans miffed.
WASHINGTON (AP) — With a bill like a duck but teeth like a croc's, a swanlike neck and killer claws, a new dinosaur species uncovered by scientists looks like something Dr. Seuss could have dreamed up.
These iconic locales are some of the more than 13,000 archaeological and historical sites on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the southeastern United States that rising sea levels will endanger this century, researchers in the new study said. Global warming may lead sea levels to rise by about 3.3 feet (1 meter) in the next century and by 16.4 feet (5 m) or more in the centuries afterward, according to research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and others.
The White House treated a guilty plea from former national security advisor Michael Flynn last week like the beginning of the end of a special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Here's why
Police in New Jersey say a woman was drunk when she continued driving with a mass transit sign sticking out of the roof of her car. The 52-year-old was pulled over Saturday on Route 46 in South Hackensack ...
On his farm just outside Chelsea, Michigan, he found an enormous rib bone. When paleontologists from the University of Michigan came to investigate, they found the skull and bones of an ancient, enormous mammoth. Recently, the paleontologists returned to the site to see if they could uncover more bones.
President Trump may have just dramatically slashed the size of two national monuments in Utah, but America's 59 national parks — as well as over 270 other national park sites — cannot be unilaterally downsized by Trump or any other president. The legal reason is simple and inarguable: "National parks can only be established by Congress, and everyone agrees they can only be undone, if at all, by Congress," Holly Doremus, a natural resources law expert at University of California, Berkeley, told
Mashable in an email. SEE ALSO: Photos of the majestic public lands Trump just opened to drilling and hunting National monuments — like Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante — are a different story. Combined, Trump reduced both protected lands by nearly 2 million acres combined. Bears Ears was reduced in size by
over 80 percent. Unlike national parks or other national park sites — places like national rivers, national preserves, and national seashores — national monuments are established by the president, who wields the unilateral power to protect places of historic or scientific interest from resource extraction and development. This presidential power is granted by the 1906 Antiquities Act and was first employed by the conservation-minded president Theodore Roosevelt to establish Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, also in 1906. But while presidents can establish a national monument, it's doubtful —
though still arguable — they can change monument boundaries, like Congress can. Because the Trump administration just did this, they have now entered murky legal territory. "Congress can certainly undo a national monument designation," said Doremus. "It is disputed whether the president can unilaterally do so. Most natural resource scholars think not." Theodore Roosevelt used the Antiquities Act to protect Devil's Tower National Monument in 1906.Image: national park serviceA review of the matter, published earlier this year by two natural resource lawyers in
The Virginia Law Review, supports this belief. They argue that only Congress has the power to "downsize" a national monument, just like only Congress can nix or dissolve a national monument. They write: Still, no president has ever cut the boundaries of a national monument to such an extreme degree and then been challenged in court. The authors add: Until this gets settled, it's possible the Trump administration will alter or downsize other national monuments. In a once-secret memo given to the president in August, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended that four national monuments be downsized and six others altered. National monuments like Bears Ears are not protected on a president's whim: They are typically reviewed for years and seek public input to confirm their natural and cultural significance, as President Obama articulated in December 2016: "Following years of public input and various proposals to protect both of these areas, including legislation and a proposal from tribal governments in and around Utah, these monuments will protect places that a wide range of stakeholders all agree are worthy of protection." WATCH: A floating 'island of trash' has surfaced in the Caribbean
More than a thousand firefighters were struggling to contain a wind-whipped brush fire in southern California on Tuesday that has left at least one person dead, sent thousands fleeing, and was choking the area with thick black smoke. The Ventura County Fire Department said more than 27,000 people had been told to evacuate as the fast-moving fire in the coastal county north of Los Angeles grew to 45,000 acres (18,200 hectares). California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency over the area, announcing: "This fire is very dangerous and spreading rapidly.
But a deceptively vulnerable-looking fish is not only right at home in the very deepest ocean environment on Earth — where few creatures can survive — it's also one of the region's top predators. Dubbed the Mariana snailfish, it swims in the Mariana Trench near Guam, at a depth of about 26,200 feet (8,000 meters). The snailfish's small, pink and scaleless body hardly seems capable of surviving in such a punishing environment, but this fish is full of surprises, researchers reported in a new study.
The moon and International Space Station are two of the brightest objects in the night sky, so whenever they team up, it's bound to be spectacular. On Dec. 2, the Space Station passed over the face of the moon, showing off its pretty silhouette against the craters of Earth's only natural satellite. SEE ALSO: The supermoon ain't all it's cracked up to be The station passed over Manchester Township, York County, Pennsylvania as a NASA photographer captured a timelapse of the orbiting space laboratory crossing over the moon's face from Earth's perspective. A timelapse of the Space Station crossing over the moon.Image: NASA/Joel KowskyAt the moment, the station plays host to six crewmembers from the U.S., Russia, and Europe, as they speed around the planet at more than 17,000 miles per hour. The moon reached its full phase the day after these photos were taken, marking the only so-called "supermoon" of 2017, meaning that the moon was at its closest point in orbit during full phase. People around the world caught sight of the cosmic event, taking photos of the larger than usual moon rising above cities around the globe. The supermoon above Naypyitaw, Myanmar.Image: Aung Shine Oo/AP/REX/Shutterstock The supermoon above London.Image: Vickie Flores/LNP/REX/Shutterstock The supermoon in Larnaca, Cyprus.Image: KATIA CHRISTODOULOU/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock The supermoon and a plane.Image: NASA/Bill Ingalls The supermoon above Washington, D.C.Image: NASA/Bill IngallsNASA astronauts Joe Acaba, Mark Vande Hei, and Randy Bresnik, Russian cosmonauts Alexander Misurkin and Sergey Ryanzansky, and European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli are all living onboard the station today. The orbiting laboratory has been occupied by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts since 2000. The station's living space is about the size of a six-bedroom house, according to NASA. WATCH: Astronauts finally brought a fidget spinner to space