Videos: From Space, Lightning Looks Like Creepy White Blobs

Standing on the ground, we’re used to seeing the bolts and flashes of lightning during epic thunderstorms. But how would it look like from space? These three Vine videos from orbiting NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman provide a glimpse.

As you can see in these videos he uploaded to his Twitter account a few days ago, flashes and pools of light appear in this lightning storm over Kansas that he spotted from the International Space Station. Check out more below the jump. (…)
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© Elizabeth Howell for Universe Today, 2014. |
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Severe Drought Leaves One of Sao Paulo’s Biggest Reservoirs Nearly Dry

This story originally appeared on Climate Central.

Drought is taking its toll on the water system that quenches the thirst of Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo, to such a degree that it is visible to orbiting satellites.

Sao Paulo is facing water rationing as the worst drought to hit the region in decades reduces reservoirs to muddy waters surrounded by cracked earth.

The Cantareira Reservoir System provides about half of the overall water to the city’s 20 million residents. But a series of months with below average rainfall have seen water levels plummet. NASA Landsat 8 images published by the NASA Earth Observatory show the precipitous decline of the Jaguari Reservoir, one of a handful that make up the system, from mid-August last year to early August this year.

Since the images were acquired, the water levels have only dropped further. As of Thursday, Sabesp, Sao Paulo’s water utility, reported that the Cantareira system was operating at only 3 percent of its capacity. That’s essentially considered “dead water,” which Sabesp has only been able to tap after building an extra 2 miles of pipeline to the reservoir’s center.

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Stinky! Rosetta’s Comet Smells Like Rotten Eggs And Ammonia

A view of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Sept. 26, 2014 from the orbiting Rosetta spacecraft. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

A view of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Sept. 26, 2014 from the orbiting Rosetta spacecraft. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

While you can’t smell in space — there is no medium to carry the molecules, the same reason you can’t hear things — you can certainly detect what molecules are emanating from comets and other solar system bodies. A new analysis of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by the orbiting Rosetta spacecraft thus found a rather pungent chemistry combination.

The spacecraft detected hydrogen sulphide (the smell of rotten eggs), ammonia and formaldehyde with traces of hydrogen cyanide and methanol. But compared to the amounts of water and carbon monixide 67P has, these molecule concentrations are quite miniscule.

(…)
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