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Australia’s ‘Rain Bomb’ Lands As Thunderstorms Put Out Dozens Of Fires In Drought-Stricken Region

More than a month’s worth of rain has already fallen over parts of Australia!

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Photo Credit: New York Post

Elias Marat, The Mind Unleashed

Australia is beginning to receive its first significant rainfall in months as a low-pressure system sweeps in from the east bringing a much-needed respite to parched and fire-ravaged regions across the country.

On Thursday morning, downpours already began extinguishing 32 fires across the hard-hit state of New South Wales (NSW) with the number of blazes dropping from 120 to 88, the Daily Mail reports.

Communities in NSW and Victoria are both expected to see a healthy weekend of rain from Thursday into the weekend with forecasters saying that heavy downpours and thunderstorms in the region are likely.

The Bureau of Meteorology said that it expects anywhere from over an inch (30mm) to over 3 inches of rain through the weekend in eastern Australia.

According to Sky News, a month’s worth of rain fell over Melbourne in only a few hours.

Earlier this week, the NSW Rural Fire Service tweeted that the rainfall would be “all of our Christmas, birthday, engagement, anniversary, wedding and graduation presents rolled into one.

NSW Rural Fire Service Inspector Ben Shepherd said:

It’s the most positive forecast the RFS has had in months and will give crews a chance to regroup and work on containment lines.

However, due to an extended drought period this weekend’s rain is unlikely to put out all of the fires which authorities have warned could continue raging thru March.

The bureau also warned that while the rain can help with the fires the risk of other calamities has increased. Bureau meteorologist Sarah Scully said Wednesday:

“Hopefully some of this heavy rainfall will fall over fire sites and help control or even extinguish fires.

But it’s a bit of a double-edged sword because heavy rainfall and gusty thunderstorms bring the potential for flash flooding, particularly in the burnt-out areas of NSW and Victoria which are now vulnerable to landslips and trees coming down.”

The rain could also bring a new calamity to the country by washing toxic ash into waterways potentially leading to mass fish deaths and contaminating the drinking water supplies for millions of people.

Prof Stuart Khan, an environmental engineer and water expert at the University of New South Wales, told the Guardian:

We are in a vulnerable position with all that ash sitting on a catchment that’s unstable and prone to erosion that could include landslides and trees being dislodged.

We’re not expecting extreme rainfall, but if any places do and they’re areas that have been burned, then we’d expect ash and soil running into waterways.

Since the fire crisis broke out in September, at least 28 people have been killed and countless others forced to evacuate—sometimes more than once—as the unprecedented wave of bushfires swept across the country. The fires have consumed upwards of 25.5 million acres (10.3 million hectares) of land, an area equal to the size of South Korea.

Over 2,000 homes have also been destroyed during the crisis with more than half being destroyed by the nightmarish blaze since January 1.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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A Rare ‘Strawberry Full Moon Eclipse’ Is Happening On Friday: What You Need To Know

We are in for a major spectacle this Friday as we’ll be treated to June’s full “Strawberry Moon” in all of its glory.

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Photo Credit: The Mind Unleashed

(TMU) – North America and most of the Western Hemisphere is in store for a major spectacle this Friday as we’ll be treated to June’s full “Strawberry Moon” in all of its glory.

And for much of the world, the June Full Moon will also coincide with a dazzling kick-off of the second eclipse season of year, with a penumbral lunar eclipse lasting over 3 hours.

NASA reports that the full moon will become visible on June 5 at 3:12 p.m. EDT, or 8:12 p.m. for people in the U.K.

“The Moon will appear full for about three days around this time, from early Thursday morning into early Sunday morning,” the space agency’s website explains.

The strawberry moon’s name isn’t derived from any expected color of the moon, but instead comes from Indigenous northeastern North Americans’ name for the relatively short strawberry growing season. The name is recognized by most Algonquin tribes and was passed along to colonial settlers.

Other names for the full moon include the rose moon, flower moon, planting moon, hot moon, honey moon, and mead moon.

“Mead is a drink created by fermenting honey mixed with water, sometimes with fruits, spices, grains, or hops,” NASA continued. The agency explained:

“The tradition of calling the first month of marriage the ‘honeymoon’ dates back to at least the 1500’s and may be tied to this full Moon, either because of the custom of marrying in June or because the ‘Honey Moon’ is the ‘sweetest’ Moon of the year.

“Some writings suggest that the time around the Summer solstice at the end of June was when honey was ripe and ready to be harvested from hives or from the wild, which made this the ‘sweetest’ Moon.”

The June full moon also has a long and celebrated significance for Hindus and Buddhists.

“June was traditionally the month of marriages, and is even named after the Roman goddess of marriage, Juno. Following marriage comes the ‘honeymoon,’ which may be tied to this full Moon’s name!,” the Old Farmer’s Almanac explained:

However, while the moon will be shining brilliantly in North America, people in other parts of the world will be treated to an entirely different lunar display – a penumbral lunar eclipse that will render the moon “dark and silvery,” reports LiveScience.

The penumbral lunar eclipse is different than a partial or total lunar eclipse. In this case, the Earth will be placed between the Sun and the moon, forming a line that is not entirely straight. As a result, the Earth will be blocking sunlight from reaching the moon’s surface and will form a somewhat pale shadow called the penumbra.

According to Universe Todaymost of Europe, Brazil, and western Africa and will see the eclipse underway when the moon rises Friday night, while the remainder of Africa and most of Asia will see the entirety of the eclipse. Northeast Asia, New Zealand, and Australia will witness the eclipse toward dawn when the moon is setting. Sadly, North America and South America will miss out on this eclipse.

Credit: NASA
Credit: NASA

The eclipse will last three hours, 18 minutes and 13 seconds. In total, however, it will take 19 hours for it to complete its cycle.

Astrophysicist Dr. David Gozzard of the University of Western Australia International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research told the Daily Mail that Aussies will be able to see the eclipsed full moon without any need for binoculars or a telescope, explaining:

“Because it’s going to last about three hours that means it’s going to be peaking around twilight, so around dawn, when the sun is getting up.

“The full moon is going to be quite high in the sky so it’ll be reasonably obvious. Anywhere you can get out and see the sky and see the moon will be a good place to see it from, as long as you can get a reasonably unobstructed view to the west.”

Other lunar eclipses due to occur this year will happen in July and November, both of which will also be penumbral ones.

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An Asteroid The Size Of A Football Stadium Is Flying Toward The Earth This Week: NASA

NASA is keeping watch on a humongous asteroid that is quickly approaching Earth every day.

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Photo Credit: Times Now

(TMU) – NASA is keeping watch on a humongous asteroid that is quickly approaching Earth every day. The NASA website’s Asteroid Watch Widget shows the next five asteroids and comets that are expected to make relatively close approaches to earth in the next few days.

Among these is a large comet that is expected to be 1,100 feet wide (335 meters), approximately the size of a football stadium or the Wilshire Grand Center skyscraper in Los Angeles and larger than New York’s Empire State Building.

The asteroid, which is named 2002 NN4, is expected to come closest to our planet on Saturday, June 6th, according to NASA. The space rock is categorized as an Aten-class Asteroid, but is also classified by the space agency as a Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) and Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA), reports Tech Times.

Scientists are making it clear that any possibility of a collision here on Earth is EXTREMELY remote – in fact, its closest approach will be a distant 3,160,000 miles (over 5 million km.) away from home base.

While the asteroid is considered somewhat small in relation to the much larger rocks shooting across our galaxy, the 2002 NN4 is also 90% larger than the four others listed. These include three others about the size of a plane and another size of a house that are approaching the Earth. The closest one is expected to come within 1,830,000 miles of Earth today.

Researchers say that the asteroid completes its orbit around the sun every 0.82 years, or 300 days.

Scientists predict numerous “close approaches” of the asteroid to the Earth in the future. While only 30 close approaches are forecast at the moment, 2002 NN4 will return to our neighbourhood in nine years, on June 29 – so if you want to wave at this distant traveller, Saturday will be your only chance for some time.

Space.com has also reported that small asteroids pass by our planet on a monthly basis. One such small asteroid, 2020 HS7, safely passes near Earth several times each month, NASA Planetary Defence Officer Lindley Johnson said in an April 28 statement.

“It poses no threat to our planet, and even if it were on a collision path with Earth it is small enough that it would be disintegrated by our Earth’s atmosphere,” the planetary defence official added.

Yet 2020 HS7 was still came startlingly close to the planet, coming a mere 26,550 miles (42,735 km) within the Earth’s center and only 750 miles (1,200 km) from the closest satellite in geostationary orbit, which is one of the more distant satellite rings surrounding Earth. The space rock passed well below the satellite, however, leaving it unscathed.

The flybys are a good display of our planetary defence apparatus in action. Space authorities like NASA and the European Space Agency identify the asteroids in our galactic “neighbourhood” beginning with the largest, while tracking their orbital trajectory. As scientists compile more and more data on these space rocks, they are able to plot their orbits more accurately and calculate the probability – or lack thereof – of any impact with our planet.

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Swarm Of Earthquakes In Yellowstone Renews Fears Of Supervolcano Eruption

A swarm of earthquakes has caused renewed concern over the area’s underground supervolcano.

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Swarm Of Earthquakes In Yellowstone Renews Fears Of Supervolcano Eruption
Photo Credit: The Mind Unleashed

(TMU) – The US Geological Survey says it is monitoring the area near Yellowstone National Park where a swarm of earthquakes has caused renewed concern over the area’s underground supervolcano. Although statistically unlikely, a supervolcano eruption would release the equivalent of 1,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs and wreak unprecedented destruction.

The area, West Yellowstone in Montana, reported around eleven earthquakes on Friday and a total of 34 in the last month. Though considered low-magnitude quakes, the tremors extended three miles underground.

According to Yellowstone National Park’s website:

“Yellowstone is one of the most seismically active areas in the United States….Approximately 700 to 3,000 earthquakes occur each year in the Yellowstone area; most are not felt. They result from the extensive network of faults associated with the volcano and surrounding tectonic features.”

Situated in northwest Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park brings in millions of annual tourists, who marvel at the geysers, steam vents, and bubbling eddies of exothermally heated water.

Park officials say that earthquakes there are caused by volcanic fluids entering shallow rock fractures.

Yellowstone sits atop one of only two supervolcanos in the US. Contained within three overlapping calderas that represent past eruptions from hundreds of thousands and even millions of years ago, scientists say the Yellowstone volcano is roughly 34 by 45 miles wide and only three miles below the surface. Its last eruption was 640,000 years ago when it is estimated to have dumped over 2,000 times the amount of ash as the Mount St. Helens eruption.

Swarms of earthquakes are not unusual in the area. In 2018, the park recorded a swarm of 153 quakes. The US Geological Survey says the odds are only one in 730,000 that the Yellowstone supervolcano will erupt this year.

However, the supervolcano eruption threat has become a predictable meme in recent years, usually resurfacing during earthquakes swarms. The reason is that if the supervolcano did go off, it would definitely be a game-changer. A BBC feature on supervolcanos described the aftermath: “The sky will darken, black rain will fall, and the Earth will be plunged into the equivalent of a nuclear winter.

Volcanists insist there is no imminent threat of a supervolcano eruption at the moment but larger earthquakes and hydrothermal blasts could present a real danger to tourists. Over the years, over 300 people have died at Yellowstone, in accidents ranging from driving off of 800-foot cliffs to unknowingly diving into 200-degree boiling water and succumbing to the fumes emitted by hydrothermal vents.

In 2016, a 23-year-old man fell off a boardwalk overlooking the Norris Geyser Basin and was incinerated in the high-temperature, acidic geyser below.

So while this summer’s tourists probably don’t have to worry about the earthquakes representing the eruption of the supervolcano, Yellowstone National Park visitors should bring a healthy respect for the powers of nature.

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A Penumbral Lunar Eclipse Is Happening During The Full Moon This June

On June 5th and 6th, the Strawberry Full Moon will also pass through the faint outer shadow of the Earth, known as a penumbral lunar eclipse.

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Penumbral Lunar bbc
Photo Credit: Truth Theory

(TMU) – On June 5th and 6th, the Strawberry Full Moon will pass through the faint outer shadow of the Earth, known as a penumbral lunar eclipse, the second of four penumbral lunar eclipses this year. Weather permitting, those of you in Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa and the South Eastern areas of South America might notice the Moon turn slightly darker, or seem less bright, during the maximum phase of the eclipse. A penumbral lunar eclipse can be subtle and sometimes difficult to distinguish from a normal full moon.

While June’s Strawberry Full Moon eclipse may be visible from start to finish from some areas – a total of 3 hours 18 minutes – other areas will only experience the Moon rise or set during the eclipse. Check the time of the Full Moon eclipse in your city or town by clicking here, and set that time aside to watch the event. Unfortunately, for North America and most of South America, this event will be happening below their horizon.

Image Credit: www.timeanddate.com

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth aligns between the Full Moon and the Sun, blocking the Sun’s rays from reaching the Full Moon.

A total eclipse occurs when Earths umbra – the central, dark part of its shadow – obscures all of the Moon’s surface. During a partial eclipse only a part of the Moon’s surface is obscured by Earth’s umbra. A penumbral lunar eclipse happens when Earth’s faint penumbral, outer shadow falls on the Moon, like the one we already experienced on January 10th and are what the remaining three lunar eclipses will be this year on June 5th, July 5th and November 31st.

The early Indigenous people of North America kept track of the seasons and lunar months by naming them according to events during that time. June’s Full Moon is either the last full moon of spring, or the first of the summer, and is called the “Strawberry Moon”. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the name originated with Algonquin tribes in eastern North America – and was used as a signal to gather the ripening wild strawberries. Colonial Americans adopted some of the indigenous moon names and applied them to their own calendar system – which is still used today.

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