Friday, February 17, 2017

Zealandia! A New Continent!

Scientists Dub Zealandia the World's Newest Continent

By Pam Wright
Feb 17 2017 12:00 AM EST
Story Highlights
Scientists confirmed that another continent exists in the South Pacific.
Zealandia, coined by Geophysicist Bruce Luyendyk, is home to New Zealand and several other islands.
The world now has a new continent, according to a study released online Thursday by The Geological Society of America.
Named Zealandia, the continent now joins the other seven continents: Africa, Asia, Antarctica, Australia, Europe, North America and South America. A word of caution, however, before assuming we now have eight continents. Geologists might still say we still have only seven continents as many consider Europe and Asia to be one continent, known as Eurasia.
Previously, Australia and New Zealand were thought to share the continent called Australasia. However, the recent 10-year research project conducted by 11 researchers determined that they are, in fact, on separate continents.
New Zealand now calls a 1.8 million square mile land mass known as Zealandia home. This new continent also includes New Caledonia, along with several other territories and island groups.
The notion that a separate continent was in this area is not new, and geophysicist Bruce Luyendyk first coined the term Zealandia back in 1995.
"This is not a sudden discovery but a gradual realization; as recently as 10 years ago we would not have had the accumulated data or confidence in interpretation to write this paper," the authors wrote for the March/April 2017 issue of GSA Today, a Geological Society of America journal.
The researchers used recent and detailed satellite-based elevation, along with gravity maps of the ancient seafloor, to show that Zealandia is part of one unified region, a criterium necessary in determining whether a land mass is a continent.
The release of the study comes just a week after scientists found a 3-billion-year-old "lost continent" beneath the Indian Ocean.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Green Comet Close Call!

Green Comet Makes Close Earth Flyby

Green-glowing 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova will make an unusually close pass by Earth on Saturday. Watch it boogie across the morning sky this week!
Green Comet ... Incoming!
Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova glows green from fluorescing carbon gas in this photo made on February 4th. The streaks are stars, which made long trails during the time exposure as the photographer tracked the comet.
Hisayoshi Kato
Green means "go," and you won't get any argument from 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova. This pedal-to-the-metal comet will zoom past Earth at 51,000 mph, making its closest pass around 8 UT (3 a.m. EST) on Saturday morning, February 11th.
While it won't be coming in for a landing, 45P/H-M-P will miss the planet by just 7.7 million miles or about 32 times the Earth-Moon distance. Because of its proximity, we'll see this frenetic fuzzball barrel across more than 2 hours of R.A. and nearly 20° of declination in the next five days.
The comet poses no threat, but the waxing Moon might. Back in late December and January, when 45P/H-M-P huddled nearer the sun, it quickly grew into a bright, compact ball of aqua haze with a long skinny tail, resembling an onion yanked from your garden. Now outbound from the Sun, it's quickly losing its mojo — the comet is currently tailless, large, and diffuse.

 For the whole story go to: