All kinds of good science news this week.
First, late night Dec. 13 and early morning Dec. 14, there will be a “dazzling Geminid meteor shower” that is “expected to be the best display of so-called ‘shooting stars’ of the year.” The Geminid meteor shower occurs every year, and they are a source of mystery to scientists. Meteor showers come about when “Earth passes through a stream of small space rocks,” but astronomers can’t figure out where Geminid picks up its rocks. December’s Geminid Meteor Shower Mystifies Scientists
In other astronomy news, North Americans will be able to enjoy a total lunar eclipse on Dec. 20.–the only one this year. Actually, the eclipse will be visible to parts of four different continents. For more information, read Meteor Shower and Total Lunar Eclipse to Wow Skywatchers This Month
I mentioned this one in an earlier blog post but it seems significant enough to mention again. A recent report stated that scientists have been able to create baby mice from two male mice, by using stem cell technology. This may lead to preventing extinction and in the future, same-sex human couples may be able to procreate. The scientists, led by Dr. Richard R. Berhringer at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Texas, said, “Our study exploits iPS cell technologies to combine the alleles from two males to generate male and female progeny, i.e. a new form of mammalian reproduction.” Reproductive scientists create mice from 2 fathers
In 2019, the Oyster Creek nuclear reactor in New Jersey will be shut down–10 years earlier than expected. The owner of Oyster Creek, Exelon Nuclear, has been negotiating with the current governor, Chris Christie, but the plant is becoming too expensive to run. Oyster Creek Reactor to Close by 2019
Lastly, here’s the first of an occasional series by Jeff Vervoort, an associate professor of Washington State University who is conducting a field study in Antarctica. The first challenge is to try “to understand what is buried under thousands of feet of ice at the core of the Antarctic continent.” In the meantime, he’s getting used to the massiveness of Antartica. According to him, “This is an awe-inspiring place.” For First-Timer, an Icy Challenge