Fireball was a comet fragment burning up in Earth’s atmosphere

U of A scientists use fireball monitoring network to capture images of the meteor that lit up the skies over Western Canada

Fireball was a comet fragment burning up in Earth’s atmosphereWestern Canadians caught a glimpse of a bright flash overhead this week as a fireball lit up the sky on the morning of Feb. 22. Now, University of Alberta researchers have used Western Canada’s most advanced fireball network to capture images and trajectory of the fireball – revealing it to be a small piece of…

Energy channelled by space weather prefers the north: study

U of A physicists discover surprising new findings about how our planet’s magnetic field controls space weather as it shields us from solar wind

Energy channelled by space weather prefers the north: studyUniversity of Alberta physicists have discovered a surprising imbalance in how the Earth responds to space weather driven by the sun. Energy generated as the electrically charged particles in solar wind hit the Earth result in more electromagnetic energy heading towards the magnetic north pole than to the magnetic south pole. The sun bathes our…

Remarkable technology kept under wraps by U.S. military

The United States has been sitting on some stunning discoveries for years

Remarkable technology kept under wraps by U.S. militaryNo one ever took U.S. President Donald Trump for Star Trek’s Capt. Jean-Luc Picard. Nevertheless, his creation of the U.S. Space Force in December 2019 resembled the latter’s powerful command, “Engage!” The space race is on but what most people would find surprising is how far along that race is already. “The power of space…

Interpreting daytime skies

Sky watching isn’t as simple as looking at fluffy clouds

Interpreting daytime skiesWatching the night sky has always fascinated people but daytime skies can be just as interesting. In July, I travelled to Nunavut as a ship naturalist on an expedition to northern Canada. I had the rare opportunity to explore parts of Baffin Island and Ungava Bay that few get to see. While I saw wonderful…

Is alien life floating in the clouds of Venus?

There’s a good chance the global shift from skepticism to possibility about extraterrestrial life is about to extend even further

Is alien life floating in the clouds of Venus?Is there life on other planets? That question has intrigued man for generations. Most people used to scoff at the suggestion of the existence of UFOs and tales of little green men from Mars (or worse). Societal attitudes have shifted due to our increased fascination with Roswell/UFO sightings, Phoenix Lights, Lubbock Lights, and depictions of…

Astronomers capture rare cosmic ‘Jekyll and Hyde’

International team shares new image of stars switching between two alter egos

The strange behaviour of a duo of stars in a dense cluster called Terzan 5 located 19,000 light-years from Earth has caught the eye of an international team of astronomers. “We observed an exotic stellar binary system using both X-rays and radio waves,” said University of Alberta astrophysicist Craig Heinke. “Only 10 years ago, we knew…

Prolonged journeys in space help inform research into frailty

Astronauts and seniors with frailty have much in common and innovative research may help solve problems for both

Prolonged journeys in space help inform research into frailtyFor decades, researchers have studied the effects of reduced physical activity on astronauts during prolonged journeys to space. But what's surprising is one of the uses of that research. It turns out that understanding the effects of space travel on the body may be important to understanding what happens to us on Earth as we…

Into the great wide open: Nova Scotia’s space ambitions

A planned spaceport on the East Coast would launch eight satellite-carrying rockets annually by 2022

Into the great wide open: Nova Scotia’s space ambitionsOn some glittering summer’s day, this decade or maybe next, you might find me rusticating on the back deck of my ancestral home overlooking Nova Scotia’s great, grumbling Chedabucto Bay – as deep and dangerous as the firmament itself. There, I will hoist a late-afternoon drink, cast my eyes toward the town of Canso and…

The Avro Arrow’s demise was a high-tech tragedy

The made-in-Canada jet interceptor certainly had its problems. But the manner in which it was killed raised serious questions

The Avro Arrow’s demise was a high-tech tragedyOn Feb. 20, 1959, the Canadian government cancelled the Avro Arrow. Some people still refer to the day as Black Friday. Growing up in Ireland, my teenage awareness of Canada was limited. Other than occasional news snippets in my father’s weekly edition of Time magazine, Canada meant snow, the RCMP, Paul Anka and Yvon Durelle,…