Volcano erupts on sub-Antarctic Heard island

This video says about itself:

Rare video of Heard Island volcano Big Ben erupting

31 January 2016

Scientists on board the CSIRO research vessel Investigator have taken rare video footage of an eruption of the Big Ben volcano on remote sub-Antarctic Heard Island during an IMAS voyage to the Kerguelen Plateau.

Big Ben, which includes the 2,745 m tall Mawson Peak, the highest mountain on Australian territory north of Antarctica, is known to have erupted at least three other times since 2000.

But the remoteness of Heard Island and the neighbouring McDonald Islands, also an active volcano, means eruptions are rarely glimpsed by people and usually only recognised from sparse satellite images.

RV Investigator is circling the islands on the sub-Antarctic Kerguelen Plateau as part of an IMAS-led voyage to study the link between active volcanoes on the seafloor and the mobilisation of iron which enriches and supports life in the Southern Ocean.

Voyage Chief Scientist, IMAS’s Professor Mike Coffin, and PhD candidate Jodi Fox comment on the eruption.

Largest known solar system discovered

This video says about itself:

Largest solar system ever known: Planet orbits star 1trn km away

27 January 2016

A new study discovered that a planet previously thought to be a loner actually orbits a star 1 trillion kilometers away from it. It takes a million Earth years to orbit its sun, making it the largest solar system found to date.

The giant gas planet – identified only as 2MASS J2126−8140 by scientists – is 100 light years away from Earth. It’s around 12 to 15 times the mass of Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.

“We were very surprised to find such an object so far from its parent star,” said one of the study’s authors, Dr Simon Murphy of The Australian National University.

2MASS J2126−8140’s parent is a red dwarf star called TYC 9486-927-1. It’s so far away that it would take light a whole month to reach the planet.

“We can speculate they formed 10 million to 45 million years ago from a filament of gas that pushed them together in the same direction,” Murphy said.

Knowing the planet’s age allowed the scientists to estimate its size. Age is measured by the amount of lithium in a star’s atmosphere – the more lithium a star has, the younger it is.

From the BBC:

Astronomers discover largest solar system

7 hours ago

Astronomers have discovered the largest known solar system, consisting of a large planet that takes nearly a million years to orbit its star.

The gas giant is one trillion kilometres away, making its orbit 140 times wider than Pluto‘s path around our Sun.

Only a handful of extremely wide pairs of this kind have been found in recent years.

Details appear in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The planet, known as 2MASS J2126-8140, is between 12 and 15 times the mass of Jupiter.

“We were very surprised to find such a low-mass object so far from its parent star,” said Dr Simon Murphy from the Australian National University (ANU).

“There is no way it formed in the same way as our solar system did, from a large disc of dust and gas.”

This system is nearly three times the size of the previous widest star-planet pair.

The star and its planet were found by a survey of young stars and brown dwarfs in Earth’s neighbourhood.

Once team members discovered they were a similar distance from the Earth – about 100 light-years – they compared the motion of the two through space and realised they were moving together.

“We can speculate they formed 10 million to 45 million years ago from a filament of gas that pushed them together in the same direction,” Dr Murphy explained.

“They must not have lived their lives in a very dense environment. They are so tenuously bound together that any nearby star would have disrupted their orbit completely.”

Rare Bush stone-curlews in Canberra, Australia

This video from Australia says about itself:

Bush stone-curlew

25 December 2015

First chick in Canberra in 50 years – 2015 at Mulligans Flat

From the Canberra Times in Australia, 23 January 2015:

So rare and well camouflaged are Bush stone-curlews the best anyone can hope for is to maybe – just maybe – hear one imported into an animal sanctuary, calling at night.

Of 11 curlews brought into Canberra’s Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary last year and released, only five remain. The rest have either been taken by predators, or have left for other woodlands.

So imagine the excitement film footage of a pair of curlews mating has caused throughout Canberra’s conservation community?

The brief coupling has been put to music and posted on YouTube, and has given hope a fragile community of birds not seen in these parts for decades might actually raise a family.

This 21 January 2015 video is about the mating.

Humpback whale swims near Dutch coast

This video says about itself:

Megaptera novaeangliae

30 May 2013

Established in 1988, the Oceania Project is an independent, non-profit research organisation dedicated to the conservation and protection of Whales, Dolphins and the oceans. The first phase of a long-term study of the East Australian Humpback Whales has been the major work of the Oceania Project.

The East Australian Humpback Whales travel in an unending cycle of migration between their birthplace in the inter-reef lagoon of the Great Barrier Reef and their Antarctic feeding areas.

Their world is comprised of vast stretches of ocean where songs emitted by the Humpback Whales can be heard over great distances. Each year the whales sing a new song. Haunting melodies of radiant joy which fill the ocean along the East Coast of Australia.

When ecosystems across the planet are collapsing and species are becoming extinct at an accelerating rate, the East Australian Humpback Whales are making a remarkable recovery. They have become Australia’s national treasure and a symbol of hope for our imperilled environment.

We as the new generation of caretakers of the planet Earth have learnt from the mistakes of our elders and are helping nurture the Rebirth of a Species.

© The Oceania Project 2016 All Rights Reserved.

Translated from Waarneming.nl in the Netherlands:

Camperduin, January 16, 2016 – Around 12h50 almost certainly seen a humpback whale was seen off bird migration observation post Camperduin.

Almost certainly a humpback along bird migration observation post Camperduin, going north. Jumped three times out of the water. Twice seen by Daniel Paalvast, once by Gerben Mensink.

David Attenborough’s new TV program on Great Barrier Reef

This video from Australia is called GoPro HD: Scuba diving, Great Barrier Reef.

From the Sunday Express in Britain:

Sir David Attenborough, 89, plunges 1000ft below sea level for new documentary

HE MAY be turning 90-years-old next year, but age is nothing but a number to Sir David Attenborough.

By Kirsty McCormack

PUBLISHED: 10:49, Sun, Nov 22, 2015 | UPDATED: 11:03, Sun, Nov 22, 2015

The much-loved broadcaster and naturalist has set a new deep-sea diving record after plunging 1,000ft below sea level for a new documentary.

Almost 60 years after his first scuba dive at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Attenborough returned and managed to see parts of its flora and fauna which have never before been seen.

The father-of-two was armed with a cameraman and Triton submersible pilot as he filmed one of three documentaries, which are set to be shown on BBC One over Christmas.

Speaking of his latest experience, Attenborough told The Sunday Times: “There is no other one like [Triton], and it took me to a part of the reef which no human being has ever looked at before.”

After coming face-to-face with a 6ft grouper fish – which is not known to exist at such depths – Attenborough said he felt “fantastically privileged”.

“David was, as it were, conversing with the fish, which itself must have been surprised to see a sub for the first time,” said Attenborough‘s producer, Anthony Geffen.

“If he did have any worries or fears about going down to 300 metres, he did not show them. Anyway, curiosity always gets the better of him,” he added.

Attenborough made his first trip to the reef back in 1957 for a Zoo Quest programme. The footage was shot in black-and-white and Attenborough described it as “the most exciting natural history experience of my life”.

Wildlife art exhibited in London

Rainbow lorikeets, at the London exhibition

From the Natural History Museum in London, England:

See how artists and scientists view the natural world in 110 images from the Museum’s collection in the Images of Nature gallery.

Spanning 350 years, historic prints, watercolours and paintings hang alongside modern images created by scientists, imaging specialists, photographers and micro-CT scanners.

The gallery includes a temporary exhibition of themed artworks.

Our current exhibition is The Bauer Brothers: Masters of Scientific Illustration, on display until 26 February 2017. We will showcase a new selection of exquisite botanical and zoological watercolours by Franz and Ferdinand Bauer every four months.

Star specimens and exhibits:

  • some of the first scientific images of Australian wildlife, observed by Ferdinand Bauer on the voyage of HMS Investigator (1801-1805)
  • Franz Bauer‘s intricate illustrations of orchids and other exotic plants introduced to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
  • Roelandt Savery‘s famous dodo painting
  • a more scientifically accurate interpretation of the extinct bird by Julian Pender Hume
  • interactive screens, where you can explore a variety of artworks
  • a drawing wall, where you can contribute your own picture