NASA launching probe for deep dive into sun’s atmosphere

Published: Wednesday, May 31, 2017 @ 3:30 PM

This photo taken from the Skylab space station on December 19, 1973, shows one of the most spectacular solar flares ever recorded. Solar flares are sudden outbursts of energy originating on the sun’s surface and projecting far into its atmosphere. NASA’s newest solar mission, called the Parker Solar mission, launches next summer and will study solar winds, magnetic fields, energized particles and plasma.
SSPL via Getty Images
This photo taken from the Skylab space station on December 19, 1973, shows one of the most spectacular solar flares ever recorded. Solar flares are sudden outbursts of energy originating on the sun’s surface and projecting far into its atmosphere. NASA’s newest solar mission, called the Parker Solar mission, launches next summer and will study solar winds, magnetic fields, energized particles and plasma.(SSPL via Getty Images)

 

 

NASA is launching a probe to one of the most hostile environments imaginable: the sun.

It’s the first time a spacecraft will fly directly into the sun’s atmosphere, or corona, where it will encounter temperatures of almost 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and brutal radiation levels.

>> Read more trending news

The “mission will revolutionize our understanding of the sun … ultimately providing humanity with the closest-ever observation of a star,” NASA said in a news release about the Parker Solar Probe mission.

Researchers want to know more about how energy and heat move in the sun’s atmosphere. They also want to explore how and why solar winds and particles accelerate. 

The probe will carry four instruments designed to study solar winds, plasma, magnetic fields and energetic particles when it launches sometime between July and August 2018.

Solar winds affect Earth in several ways, including the planet’s magnetic fields and what’s known as space weather.

>> Related: Jupiter revealed: NASA mission finds swirling storms at poles, weird magnetic fields

Space weather can disrupt satellites, changing their orbits, interfering with electronics and shortening their life spans.

But even more than that, solar winds essentially blow through most of the solar system, and in order to travel beyond Earth, scientists need to have a clear understanding of how they work.

A better understanding of the sun will also help researchers in understanding stars in other worlds and faraway galaxies.

 

 

Charles Barkley says he’s ‘nervous’ about Alabama special election, Roy Moore

Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 @ 11:33 AM

BIRMINGHAM, AL - DECEMBER 11:  NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley speaks during a get out the vote campaign rally for democratic Senatorial candidate Doug Jones on December 11, 2017 in Birmingham, Alabama. Jones is facing off against Republican Roy Moore in tomorrow's special election for the U.S. Senate.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
BIRMINGHAM, AL - DECEMBER 11: NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley speaks during a get out the vote campaign rally for democratic Senatorial candidate Doug Jones on December 11, 2017 in Birmingham, Alabama. Jones is facing off against Republican Roy Moore in tomorrow's special election for the U.S. Senate. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Alabama native and former NBA player Charles Barkley says he is nervous about Tuesday’s special election to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat in the state.

Speaking to CNN Monday, Barkley indicated he was worried about the outcome of the race, between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican nominee Roy Moore. Barkley is supporting Jones.

“I got to say, I can’t believe we’re in this situation where the people of Alabama are going to turn a blind eye to all the accusations, all the rhetoric, all the racist B.S.,” the NBA Hall of Famer said.

>> Read more trending news

Referring to Moore, Barkley later said that, on paper, there was no chance Moore would get elected.

“If somebody actually sent me a movie script and showed me these two candidates, there’s no way that you say -- there’s no way that candidate can get elected. With all the ... accusations, all the times he’s gotten let go, fired, kicked off benches. Some of the things he’s said. There’s no way that person would win an election.”

What You Need To Know About Roy Moore

Moore has been accused of pursuing sexual relationships with a number of teenage girls years ago. Many of the women who have come forward said they were minors at the time and that Moore was in his 30s. Moore has denied the allegations.

Yahoo! Sports reported that, earlier Monday, Barkley was at a Birmingham, Alabama, rally in support of Jones and was to-the-point about the election.

“At some point, we’ve got to stop looking like idiots to the nation,” Barkley said. “I love Alabama, but we’ve got to draw a line in the sand.”

Barkley told AL.com he will do his part to ensure a win for Jones.

"It can’t be Roy Moore,” he said. “To me it’s silliness that this guy's trying to win.”

“I’m going to do all I can,” he added. “I don’t want this guy representing my state.”

Polls for Tuesday’s election close at 7 p.m.

5 things to watch in Alabama's U.S. Senate election

Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 @ 1:56 AM

Alabama voters head to the polls Tuesday to decide the race for U.S. Senate between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones, and the outcome is being closely watched across the nation.

>> Who is Judge Roy Moore?

No Democrat has been elected to the U.S. Senate from Alabama since 1992, and President Donald Trump won the state by nearly 30 percentage points. But allegations that Moore pursued sexual relationships with teenage girls when he was in his 30s have rocked the race. He’s denied the claims.

>> Who is Doug Jones, Democrat facing Roy Moore in Alabama Senate race?

Jones, a former federal prosecutor, has highlighted his opponent’s outspoken conservative views in his bid to energize the state’s Democratic base and flip suburban voters who typically vote for the GOP. Polls show a tight race, though special elections like the one Tuesday are notoriously hard to predict.

>> Read more trending news

Moore is deeply popular with the state’s evangelical voters, a powerful voting bloc that has enthusiastically supported him in past statewide votes. In the closing weeks of the race, he’s had scattered appearances in rural churches while largely relying on supporters to defend him.

What You Need To Know About Roy Moore

Here are five things to watch with Tuesday’s vote to succeed Jeff Sessions, whose seat became open when Trump tapped him to become U.S. attorney general:

>> Trump tweets support for Roy Moore in Alabama Senate race

1. It’s a big deal. Republicans now control 52 seats in the U.S. Senate, including the one held by Luther Strange, who was appointed to fill Sessions’ seat and was soundly defeated by Moore in September. A Democratic win would mean that Republicans could only afford one “no” vote to pass a Senate measure on party lines, since Vice President Mike Pence would break a 50-50 tie. Some Republicans fear a Moore victory could be equally unsettling for the party. Moore has repeatedly called for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to step down, and he in turn has withheld his support and funding for the former judge’s campaign. And Democrats would look to tie Moore to a host of GOP candidates seeking office in the midterm elections in 2018, highlighting not only accusations that he’s a sexual predator but also his history of controversial statements.

>> WaPo: Another Roy Moore accuser comes forward with evidence of relationship

2. The bombshell allegations. Allegations against Moore of sexual misconduct involving teenagers while a prosecutor in Etowah County, Alabama, from 1977 to 1982 have threatened to upend the race. Moore has denied the allegations while claiming media outlets and Washington status quo enforcers are trying to derail his campaign. The women have stuck by their stories, and several said they are willing to testify under oath. They have left GOP voters who are concerned by the allegations in a quandary, debating between supporting a candidate accused of being a sexual predator or sending a Democrat to Washington. Some could also stay home on Tuesday or write in a candidate.

Roy Moore Accuser Details Alleged Sexual Assault When She Was 16

3. Alabama’s rural base. The state’s rural Republican base holds outsized sway in Alabama, where grass-roots Republicans have helped ensure that no Democrat has been elected to major statewide office since 2006. But Moore’s margins as a statewide candidate show he has underperformed other Republicans. In 2012, he narrowly won a vote for Supreme Court chief justice even as Mitt Romney carried the state by 22 percentage points. And in his 9-point victory over Strange in the primary, Moore struggled in the affluent, conservative suburbs in Birmingham and Huntsville. Moore has tried to shore up his base by crisscrossing rural areas he hopes to carry by overwhelming victories, and his advisers expect enthusiastic turnout to mark the difference in Tuesday’s vote.

4. The key to a Democratic victory. Jones must rely on a two-pronged strategy to flip the seat. He needs Alabama’s black population – a predominantly Democratic voting bloc that accounts for about 27 percent of the state – to turn out in droves. Jones, who is white, has leaned on African-American supporters, including New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, to energize black voters in populous areas like Birmingham in the closing days of the race. He has also wooed voters in Republican-leaning suburbs in the outskirts of Birmingham, Huntsville and Mobile in hopes of convincing them to vote across party lines – or not cast a ballot at all. Some suburban voters who have never cast Democratic ballots say they’ve proudly posted Jones signs in their yards.

5. How the election will affect the 2018 elections in other states. For example, although Georgia and Alabama are vastly different states, Peach State strategists are closely watching their neighbor for clues about next year’s elections in Georgia. Like in Alabama, Democrats in Georgia hope to flip independent voters in affluent suburbs who have fled to the GOP. And Republicans in both states see a path to victory through maximizing their advantage in rural areas. U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, was among the black leaders enlisted to help Jones’ campaign across the state line. And Stacey Evans, a Democratic candidate for governor, has already made clear she intends to weaponize Moore’s campaign. She called on her GOP rivals to disavow Moore’s candidacy. None did so.

Who is Doug Jones, Democrat facing Roy Moore in Alabama Senate race?

Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 @ 4:22 AM

What You Need To Know: Doug Jones

After sexual misconduct allegations surfaced against Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore in the weeks leading up to Tuesday's special election in Alabama, critics began lining up behind Democrat Doug Jones in the closely watched race.

>> 5 things to watch in Alabama's U.S. Senate election

Here's what we know about Jones, a 63-year-old former federal prosecutor from Birmingham:

>> Who is Judge Roy Moore?

1. He became the U.S. attorney for Alabama's Northern District in 1997. President Bill Clinton appointed him to the post, which Jones held until 2001, according to NBC News.

2. Jones prosecuted two Ku Klux Klan members behind the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that killed four black girls in Alabama. In the early 2000s, Bobby Frank Cherry and Thomas Blanton were sentenced to life in prison in the case, according to NBC News.

3. He was involved in prosecuting Eric Rudolph, who bombed a Birmingham abortion clinic in 1998. That attack killed an off-duty officer. Rudolph also was behind the deadly 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta.

>> Read more trending news 

4. He has spoken in support of Moore's accusers. “Those brave women are entirely credible; they’re telling the truth,” Jones said, according to Newsweek. “Moore will be an embarrassment to the people and businesses of Alabama, and if he makes it to Senate, he’ll continue to divide our country.”

5. He is against repealing the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Jones also told AL.com that he supports a woman's right to choose to have an abortion but added: "The law for decades has been that late-term procedures are generally restricted except in the case of medical necessity. That's what I support." Read more here.

What You Need To Know About Roy Moore

Anthony Bourdain, Tom Colicchio slam Mario Batali amid allegations

Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 @ 10:59 AM

Anthony Bourdain has blasted chef Mario Batali after Batali was accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct.
Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for Turner/Getty Images for Turner
Anthony Bourdain has blasted chef Mario Batali after Batali was accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct.(Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for Turner/Getty Images for Turner)

It doesn’t seem that the sexual misconduct allegations brought against celebrity chef Mario Batali were that shocking to some of his colleagues.

In an article published in Eater New York Monday, four women detailed their alleged experiences with sexual misconduct against the “The Chew” star. One chef said that 10 years ago, Batali groped her with his bare hands after spilling wine on her shirt, while another woman said that he inappropriately grabbed her from behind and held her against his own body.

>> Read more trending news

Following the allegations, fellow celebrity chefs including Anthony Bourdain and Tom Colicchio slammed Batali and seemed to insinuate that they knew about the allegations ahead of time.

Related: Chef Mario Batali leaves ‘The Chew’ amid sexual harassment allegations

“No. Trust me. Monday is really gonna suck,” Bourdain wrote on Twitter Sunday. He later followed up, writing, “It’s where you stand when the people you care about and admire do awful things that matters. Keeping head down and hoping it goes away? No.”

When the story broke early Monday, Bourdain took to Twitter again, tweeting, “It’s Batali. And it’s bad.”

“Top Chef” star Colicchio retweeted Bourdain’s tweet about Batali adding, “And no one should be surprised.”

Following the allegations, Batali released a statement to Eater, saying in part, “I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt. Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted. That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused to my peers, employees, customers, friends and family.”

What You Need To Know About Mario Batali