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Jul 21, 2008
Focus: Environment
Action Request: Other
Location: United States

Tell Congress to continue to oppose offshore drilling!

President Bush recently lifted the ban on drilling for oil in the Outer Continental Shelf. Now Congress is feeling the pressure to lift its own longstanding ban on offshore drilling and to press for more drilling in America's Arctic. This would be a mistake. New offshore drilling could pollute our oceans and permanently damage coastal ecosystems that span millions of acres -- without providing the desired relief at the gas pump. We need you to act today to prevent this shortsighted policy from taking effect.

Even the U.S. Department of Energy says that offshore drilling would likely save only pennies a gallon -- and take a decade or more to achieve. In the meantime, drilling would disrupt coastal habitats that are home to countless species. And an oil spill like the ones we saw before the ban was established could cause untold environmental damage and deal a massive economic blow to coastal tourism and fisheries.

Instead of opening the door to environmentally disastrous drilling, Congress should be taking steps to wean our nation off of oil by pressing for the development of clean, renewable energy alternatives and jobs and by enacting stronger energy efficiency requirements. Four-dollar-a-gallon gas is cause for real concern. But offshore drilling, with its significant environmental risks and virtually no long-term gain, is not the solution.

Now is the time to tell Congress to oppose lifting the ban against new offshore drilling!

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Posted: Jul 21, 2008 9:05pm
Aug 27, 2007
The Earth's shadow will creep across the moon's surface early Tuesday, slowly eclipsing it and turning it to shades of orange and red.

The total lunar eclipse, the second this year, will be visible in North and South America, especially in the West. People in the Pacific islands, eastern Asia, Australia and New Zealand also will be able to view it if skies are clear.

People in Europe, Africa or the Middle East, who had the best view of the last total lunar eclipse in March, won't see this one because the moon will have set when the partial eclipse begins at 4:51 a.m. EDT. The full eclipse will begin an hour later at 5:52 a.m. EDT.

An eclipse occurs when Earth passes between the sun and the moon, blocking the sun's light. It's rare because the moon is usually either above or below the plane of Earth's orbit.

Since the Earth is bigger than the moon, the process of the Earth's shadow taking a bigger and bigger "bite" out of the moon, totally eclipsing it before the shadow recedes, lasts about 3 1/2 hours, said Doug Duncan, director of the University of Colorado's Fiske Planetarium. The total eclipse phase, in which the moon has an orange or reddish glow, lasts about 1 1/2 hours.

The full eclipse will be visible across the United States, but East Coast viewers will only have about a half-hour to see it before the sun begins to rise and the moon sets. Skywatchers in the West will get the full show.

In eastern Asia, the moon will rise in various stages of eclipse.

During the full eclipse, the moon won't be completely dark because some light still reaches it around the edges of the Earth. The light is refracted as it passes through our atmosphere, scattering blue light — which is why the sky is blue — but sending reddish light onto the moon.

"When someone asks why is it (the moon) red, you can say because the sky is blue," Duncan said.

The next total lunar eclipse occurs Feb. 21, 2008, and will be visible from the Americas, Europe and Asia.
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Posted: Aug 27, 2007 8:08am
Aug 10, 2007

PERSEID METEOR SHOWER THIS WEEKEND!

50-80 meteors per hour by the night of August 12/13, 2007




The most famous of all meteor showers, this meteor shower gets the name "Perseids" because it appears to radiate from the constellation Perseus. It never fails to provide an impressive display and, due to its summertime appearance, it tends to provide the majority of meteors seen by non-astronomy enthusiasts.

An observer in the Northern Hemisphere can start seeing Perseid meteors as early as July 23, when one meteor every hour or so could be visible. During the next three weeks, there is a slow build-up. It is possible to spot five Perseids per hour at the beginning of August and perhaps 15 per hour by August 10. The Perseids rapidly increase to a peak of 50-80 meteors per hour by the night of August 12/13 and then rapidly decline to about 10 per hour by August 15. The last night meteors are likely to be seen from this meteor shower is August 22, when an observer might see a Perseid every hour or so.

For observers in the Southern Hemisphere, the Perseid radiant never climbs above the horizon, which will considerably reduce the number of Perseid meteors you are likely to see. Nevertheless, on the night of maximum, it is possible to see 10-15 meteors per hour coming up from the northern horizon.



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Posted: Aug 10, 2007 6:59am

 

 
 
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Liz McGee
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Dekalb, IL, USA
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