The Juno mission to Jupiter brings new data!

Juno mission to Jupiter delivers first science results last week. The photo below is from the JunoCam, a visible-light camera, about a NASA spacecraft.


This is a report from the Southwest Research Institute. In summary NASA’s Juno mission has been in orbit around Jupiter since July 2016, passing within 3,000 miles of the equatorial cloudtops. The mission was led by Dr. Scott Bolton.

King of the planets even more exotic than expected. “What we’ve learned so far is earth-shattering. Or should I say, Jupiter-shattering,” said Bolton, Juno’s principal investigator. “Discoveries about its core, composition, magnetosphere, and poles are as stunning as the photographs the mission is generating.”

The solar-powered spacecraft’s eight scientific instruments are designed to study Jupiter’s interior structure, atmosphere, and magnetosphere. Two instruments developed and led by SwRI are working in concert to study Jupiter’s auroras, the greatest light show in the solar system. The Jovian Auroral Distributions Experiment (JADE) is a set of sensors detecting the electrons and ions associated with Jupiter’s auroras. The Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVS) examines the auroras in UV light to study Jupiter’s upper atmosphere and the particles that collide with it. Scientists expected to find similarities to Earth’s auroras, but Jovian auroral processes are proving puzzling.

“Although many of the observations have terrestrial analogs, it appears that different processes are at work creating the auroras,” said SwRI’s Dr. Phil Valek, JADE instrument lead. “With JADE we’ve observed plasmas upwelling from the upper atmosphere to help populate Jupiter’s magnetosphere. However, the energetic particles associated with Jovian auroras are very different from those that power the most intense auroral emissions at Earth.”

Also surprising, Jupiter’s signature bands disappear near its poles. JunoCam images show a chaotic scene of swirling storms up to the size of Mars towering above a bluish backdrop. Since the first observations of these belts and zones many decades ago, scientists have wondered how far beneath the gas giant’s swirling façade these features persist. Juno’s microwave sounding instrument reveals that topical weather phenomena extend deep below the cloudtops, to pressures of 100 bars, 100 times Earth’s air pressure at sea level.


Spotlight on a writer who makes a difference– M.J. Neary!

Let me introduce you to a lovely lady, M.J. Neary who is on my blog for the simple reason that she is Good People.  Yes, that category exists on my blog.  Her birthplace is Russia, but now living in New England, USA, spoils her to Irish-Ukrainian American husband and tiger-moms  (her words) their son.  She’s immersed in democracy to such an extent that she publishes articles on all-things-that-matter for the current administration. M.J. Neary is proud to retain both worlds and with her broad knowledge, pens historical romance.

Where can we find this lovely lady? Connecticut where M.J. affectionately calls Disconnecticut. She confesses that she didn’t invent the word.  With events such as golf outings put on by the snooty crowd, a city such as Stamford doesn’t have the strongly Irish vibe of the past  Neary says young people want Irish rock with bands such as Drop Kick Murphys or Flogging Molly, although some of the younger kids learn Irish dancing.

Let’s get to Molly.  M.J. Neary played the part of Molly in a Wild Geese theater production of BLOOMSDAY. M.J. has also appeared at The Cell in New York City where she performed a 10-minute fragment of the play, THE LAST FENIAN.  The Cell is a marvelous venue. Below are photos of M.J. Neary with Phil Gardiner and one other Ifrom BLOOMSDAY.




Edutainment for kids– Harry Potter camp

Doesn’t every working parent love it when their kids enjoy day care– particularly when it’s during a school break? Kudos to my town’s Woodbridge Community Center for putting on Harry Potter camp for kids eight to ten!  At “Hogwarts” kids will transition from muggles (non-magical folks) to wizards! Each “student” will be taught traditional methods of dueling with ancient spells.  Spells are known as defense against the dark arts.  Also included– mind reading (Divination) and Quidditch!

You remember how the first book began– Harry lived under the stairs.

Harry Potter

Rolling out for Better Biking

Maribel Mateo and her brother Tony Garcia are youth organizers tackling bike safety in Santa Ana.  While watching clusters of kids navigating traffic and street crossings on Edinger, Mateo pointed out that many people in her hometown of Santa Ana can’t afford cars, her family included. To get around, they take the bus, bicycle or both. She talked about Bike to Work Month, which is May. It’s also the same month for the Ride of Silence, a global campaign for safer streets that memorializes cyclists killed by motor vehicles.

bike safety
Photo courtesy of the Orange County Register

While gathering the information for the grant application, the KidWorks team documented that from January 2011 through this past May, on the 1.7 miles they studied, there were at least a dozen bicycle crashes, most involving cars.

Weeks after their study, Priscilla Vallejo was killed July 13 while riding her bike to school. The 13-year-old died after being hit by a truck in a crosswalk at South Center Street and West Edinger Avenue.

Lynnete Guzman, community engagement coordinator for KidWorks, joined Mateo and Gatica on the sidewalk off Edinger. Traffic noise nearly drowned out their conversation.

As she usually does on her 2.5-mile commute to work, Guzman rode there on her bike. “Why fight over a parking spot?” asked Guzman, who helped the teenagers with the application. Gatica explained he arrived by skateboard because his bicycle is busted after another cyclist hit him.

Mateo said the multimillion-dollar grant will help alleviate some of the dangers. The improvements will take several years to implement.

To celebrate getting the grant, the KidWorks crew went to Knott’s Berry Farm. Still, they continue their work by pushing what’s called “active transportation,” moving by human power. Their latest effort was leading a night bike ride with, yes, plenty of lights.

Both brother and sister already plan careers as civil engineers. Their goal? To help make a safer world.

I follow the blog of Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune who writes about lead in Flint, Michigan’s drinking water.

Starting today, the City of Flint is also supposed to begin replacing water service lines for residents at highest risk of lead poisoning. And with both political parties holding presidential debates in Michigan this week (the Republicans today in Detroit and the Democrats in Flint itself on Sunday), we can hope that what happened in Flint will get some additional national attention.

Flint water

Congrats to winner of my Deadly Alliance contests!

Writers need readers otherwise writing wouldn’t be an art form! To show appreciation and connect, I have contests now and then. Thank you to all those who entered the Show it off Saturday Blog and Coffee Brew Contest, both at Coffee Time Romance.  The staff picked the winners, and prizes were items in the book.  The purse jewelry key finder (shown below) represented heroine Amy’s lost purse.  Some items within the purse were part of the package.  Kathy Osborn won a Swiss army knife, a black leather fringe tassel from Lulu;  Debra Guyette,  Jennifer Beck, and Colleen Conklin won key finders.  I sent everyone penlights (shown below), chocolates, and flower pens.

purse jewelry key finder-- little purse


Would you like to be a Goat Nanny?

Do you enjoy volunteering with animals? The job of Goat Nanny looks like fun, and you get to dress them in small goat-sized sweaters that need to be worn on the regular basis to ensure they stay warm. The Sierra Club says extra attention helps them grow up to be big and strong and also produce delicious cheeses.  Somebody’s gotta cuddle goats.


Photo by iStockphoto/ NikiTaxidisPhotography

My husband knows an anvil collector

We all know people who collect stamps, beanie babies, figurines, and other collections in display cases.  My husband knows a guy with an ongoing anvil collection, and his interest has to do with a great-great-great grandfather who was a blacksmith.   An anvil is a heavy iron block with a smooth, flat top and pointed end.  Before the advent of welding, metal workers used anvils as forging tools.  This friend rents a storage unit for his anvils.


Endangered! Who me?

This information is courtesy of the Sierra Club.  This  Ethiopian wolf pup was photographed by a remote camera in Bale Mountains National Park by Will Burrard-Lucas.

Ethiopian wolf endangered

When an Ethiopian wolf is hungry, it goes looking for its principal prey, the big-headed mole rat. The canid has a number of strategies for catching the rats. It can use its long, narrow nose—nearly half the length of its head—to scoop them from their burrows. Or it can enlist the help of the friendly neighborhood gelada monkeys. The clever predator hides amid herds of geladas, and unsuspecting rats darting from burrow to burrow are snatched up by a wolf among primates. (In return, wolves refrain from picking off baby geladas, which aren’t much bigger than the rats.)

Ethiopian wolves are solitary hunters, but come nightfall the pack huddle together to sleep. On cold nights, they prepare communal beds made of dead scrub uprooted by big-headed mole rats.

For all its cunning, though, the coyote-size critter cannot outwit humans. As its rodent-rich highland habitat is reduced by subsistence farming and livestock grazing, so goes this species of wolf, one of the world’s most endangered canids. Rabies outbreaks spread by domestic dogs in 2003-04 and 2008 devastated the population, and now fewer than 500 remain. Vaccination efforts may be the wolf’s only hope.