How To Watch The Ursid Meteor Shower, The Last Shooting Star Bonanza Of 2014

Skywatchers will have another shot at seeing shooting stars in 2014, thanks to the Ursid meteor shower.

The Ursid shower, which seems to originate in the constellation Ursa Minor, has been active since Wednesday and is expected to peak overnight on Monday, Dec. 22 through Tuesday, Dec. 23.

The best viewing hours for skywatchers in the Northern Hemisphere are between midnight and dawn local time.

Ursid meteors active around December solstice

— EarthSky (@earthskyscience) December 19, 2014

The Ursids won’t be quite as spectacular as the Geminid shower that came earlier this month. But the show should be worth watching, with as many as 10 to 15 meteors per hour anticipated at the shower’s peak.

No special equipment is needed to see the meteors. Just bundle up, and find a suitable location from which to watch.

“Get to a dark spot, get comfortable, bring extra blankets to stay warm, and let your eyes adjust to the dark sky,” NASA recommends. “A cozy lounge chair makes for a great seat, as does simply lying on your back on a blanket, eyes scanning the whole sky.”

The Ursid —> Read More Here

Scrap Tire Playgrounds Lighten Landfills, But Raise Cancer Fears

crumb rubber

The fire burned for nine months, billowing toxic black smoke thousands of feet above its Appalachian valley source and across five states. It would take 20 years and $12 million to clean up the remains of the tire heap.

At the time of the 1983 Rhinehart, Virginia, tire fire, about 90 percent of America’s discarded tires went to landfills. There, they would take up massive amounts of space, occasionally ignite, and collect water that created fertile breeding grounds for disease-transmitting mosquitoes. Today, in part because of actions sparked by the Virginia disaster and many smaller tire fires, more than 90 percent of the nation’s approximately 230 million tires scrapped each year are put to use — burned as fuel, incorporated into asphalt roads and, increasingly, shredded into components of products such as synthetic turf sports fields and children’s playgrounds.

Industry leaders tout this as a win-win for businesses and the planet. But others say we’ve simply swapped one bad set of environmental health risks for another. And these critics highlight moves by industry and government to promote lucrative landfill diversions, such as ground-up tires — so-called crumb rubber — despite acknowledging hazards.

Meanwhile, the —> Read More Here

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