Chilean people against neo-Pinochetist government repression


This 2 October 2919 video says about itself:

Thousands Around the World Reject Sebastian Piñera Government

Crowds gather outside of their local Chilean embassies in numerous international cities in rejection of the governance of President Sebastián Piñera and the repressive tactics of the Chilean state as protests continue.

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Spacecraft helps finding beached whales


This 10 February 2017 video says about itself:

New Zealand volunteers formed a human chain in the water at a remote beach on Friday as they raced to save dozens of whales after more than 400 of the creatures beached themselves.

From the British Antarctic Survey:

Stranded whales detected from space

October 17, 2019

A new technique for analysing satellite images may help scientists detect and count stranded whales from space. Researchers tested a new detection method using Very High Resolution (VHR) satellite images from Maxar Technologies of the biggest mass stranding of baleen whales yet recorded. It is hoped that in the future the technique will lead to real-time information as stranding events happen.

The study, published this week in the journal PLoS ONE by scientists from British Antarctic Survey and four Chilean research institutes, could revolutionise how stranded whales, that are dead in the water or beached, are detected in remote places.

In 2015, over 340 whales, most of them sei whales, were involved in a mass-stranding in a remote region of Chilean Patagonia. The stranding was not discovered for several weeks owing to the remoteness of the region. Aerial and boat surveys assessed the extent of the mortality several months after discovery.

The researchers studied satellite images covering thousands of kilometres of coastline, which provided an early insight into the extent of the mortality. They could identify the shape, size and colour of the whales, especially after several weeks when the animals turned pink and orange as they decomposed. A greater number of whales were counted in the images captured soon after the stranding event than from the local surveys.

Many coastal nations have mammal stranding networks recognising that this is a crucial means to monitor the health of the local environment, especially for providing first notice of potential marine contamination and harmful algal blooms.

Author and whale biologist Dr Jennifer Jackson at British Antarctic Survey says:

“The causes of marine mammal strandings are poorly understood and therefore information gathered helps understand how these events may be influenced by overall health, diet, environmental pollution, regional oceanography, social structures and climate change.

“As this new technology develops, we hope it will become a useful tool for obtaining real-time information. This will allow local authorities to intervene earlier and possibly help with conservation efforts.”

Lead author, remote sensing specialist Dr Peter Fretwell at British Antarctic Survey says:

“This is an exciting development in monitoring whales from space. Now we have a higher resolution ‘window’ on our planet, satellite imagery may be a fast and cost-effective alternative to aerial surveys allowing us to assess the extent of mass whale stranding events, especially in remote and inaccessible areas.”

Total solar eclipse, 2 July 2019


This 9 July 2018 video says about itself:

2019 Total Solar Eclipse – Where, When and How to View

On July 2, 2019, ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile will be covered in darkness by a total solar eclipse. Learn about the event from the latest ESOCast episode.

By Lisa Grossman, 5:00am, June 30, 2019:

How the 2019 eclipse will differ from 2017’s — and what that means for science

Chasing the moon’s shadow is never easy

Two years ago, scientists towed telescopes and other equipment into fields and up mountains across the United States for a celestial spectacle: the 2017 Great American Eclipse.

Now, they’re at it again. On July 2, the next total solar eclipse will be visible shortly before sunset from the Pacific Ocean and parts of Chile and Argentina.

Eclipse watchers hope to study some of the same solar mysteries as last time, including the nature of our star’s magnetic field and how heat moves through the sun’s wispy outer atmosphere, known as the corona (SN Online: 8/11/17). But every eclipse is different, and this year’s event offers its own unique opportunities and challenges.

“There are all sorts of outside things you have to be lucky about” in watching an eclipse, says astronomer Jay Pasachoff of Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., who will be viewing his 35th total solar eclipse from the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in northern Chile. Here are some of the challenges, and potential rewards, facing astronomers.

1. The sun is in a period of low solar activity.

One of the main reasons, scientifically speaking, to observe a total solar eclipse is to catch a glimpse of the corona, whose wisps and tendrils of plasma are visible only when the sun’s bright disk is blocked. This region could hold the key to predicting the sun’s volatile outbursts, including giant burps of plasma called coronal mass ejections that can wreak havoc with satellites and power grids if they hit Earth (SN Online: 4/9/12). But the corona is one of the least well-understood parts of our nearest star.

One of the main reasons, scientifically speaking, to observe a total solar eclipse is to catch a glimpse of the corona, whose wisps and tendrils of plasma are visible only when the sun’s bright disk is blocked. This region could hold the key to predicting the sun’s volatile outbursts, including giant burps of plasma called coronal mass ejections that can wreak havoc with satellites and power grids if they hit Earth (SN Online: 4/9/12). But the corona is one of the least well-understood parts of our nearest star.

Scientists are getting ever closer to measuring the corona’s magnetic field. In 2017, solar physicist Jenna Samra of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and her colleagues spotted a particular wavelength of infrared light in the corona for the first time (SN Online: 5/29/18). This wavelength, emitted by iron molecules that have lost several electrons to the corona’s extreme heat, is particularly sensitive to magnetic fields. Future observatories that focus on it could reveal more about coronal magnetism.

This year, Samra’s team will be looking again, in hopes of confirming that 2017 detection. She plans to fly an aircraft in the shadow of the sun with a special spectrometer aimed out the window. Over the last two years, she and her colleagues have improved the instrument’s sensitivity by a factor of 20, meaning the corona will look 20 times as bright as it did in 2017.

“We want to understand which of our emission lines are useful for future measurements of the magnetic field,” she says.

2. Less of the total eclipse will cross land.

Most of 2017’s total eclipse was visible from land, covering about 4,600 kilometers from near Salem, Ore., to Charleston, S.C. That gave scientists a comparatively long time in the dark — about an hour and a half from coast to coast. Comparing the corona’s appearance from west to east let researchers measure how the corona changed over that period.

This year, the path of totality covers a chunk of the southern Pacific Ocean and a narrower swath of land, roughly 2,000 kilometers from western Chile to eastern Argentina. A partial eclipse will visible across other parts of the two countries as well as Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and parts of Brazil, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

2019 solar eclipse

The moon is also closer to Earth this time. So the spot with the longest duration of totality will see four minutes and 32 seconds of darkness, but unfortunately, that spot is in the middle of the southern Pacific Ocean. (In 2017, the same period was about two and a half minutes.)

Back in Chile, scientists can expect about two and a half minutes of totality. Because totality will happen a few hours before sunset, around 4:39 p.m. local time, many researchers are heading as far west in the country as possible to catch the maximum amount of obscured daylight.

Some groups still hope to get a longer stretch of corona watching time. Solar physicist Shadia Habbal of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu is leading a team that will spread out over three sites, one at Cerro Tololo in Chile and two in Argentina, giving the team a total of about seven minutes in totality.

Other scientists are turning to the air. Astronomer Glenn Schneider of Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona in Tucson will chase the moon’s shadow in an airplane for nearly eight minutes of totality near Easter Island. And an hour later, totality will reach Pasachoff at Cerro Tololo, giving the pair roughly the same total amount of time in totality as they got in 2017.

With all those sets of observations, “we’ll be able to see what might be changing and measure velocities of things in the solar corona,” Pasachoff says.

3. The sun will be low in the sky.

That sunset eclipse might be beautiful to view. But it makes the science more difficult. By the time totality begins, the sun will be just 13 degrees above the horizon. Scientists will have to look through more of the Earth’s atmosphere to see the corona, leading to blurrier images.

Pasachoff expects the blur to be bad enough that he’s not bothering with one measurement he did in 2017. Then, his team looked for rapid oscillations in a particular wavelength of light to measure the corona’s temperature, and test why it’s so much hotter than the solar surface (SN Online: 8/20/17).

“We’re not working on that question this time,” he says. “We’ll do it next time.”

4. Observatories offer good viewing spots, but the telescopes themselves are largely useless.

The path of the eclipse’s totality crossing over South America has another big advantage: It will pass right over several of the world’s most powerful observatories, built on sites chosen partly for the clear, dry mountain weather. Those conditions improve chances of seeing totality and not getting clouded out.

But none of the telescopes at Cerro Tololo or the European Southern Observatory’s La Silla site will actually be able to aim at the eclipse. Designed to collect as much light as possible from the night sky, they could catch fire if they observed the sun directly.

“You think, the eclipse is passing over these big observatories, they already have big telescopes in place, we can just use them!” Bryans says. “Turns out the only real advantage from the observatories is the nice location.”

Misogynistic Chilean bishop resigns


This 14 June 2019 video says about itself:

Chile bishop resigns after suggesting there is a reason the Last Supper had no women

A Chilean auxiliary bishop appointed by Pope Francis less than a month ago has resigned, just weeks after he made controversial comments about the lack of women in attendance at the Last Supper.

Carlos Eugenio Irarrazaval was appointed by the pope in an effort to rebuild the church’s credibility following a pervasive sex abuse scandal that exposed hundreds of allegations now being investigated by Chilean criminal prosecutors.

The archdiocese of Santiago did not specify the reasons for Irarrazaval’s departure in its statement, but said the pope had accepted the bishop’s resignation “in favour of unity and for the good of the church”.

The bishop’s short tenure began with a television interview in May, in which he said there were no women seated at the table at the Last Supper and that “we have to respect that”.

“Jesus Christ made decisions and they were not ideological … and we want to be faithful to Jesus Christ”, he said in reference to the lack of women in attendance. He also said that perhaps women “like to be in the back room”.

According to the Bible, the Last Supper was Jesus’ last meal with his disciples before his crucifixion, depicted in many famous works of art.

The comments sparked a backlash among women’s groups and critics of the church in Chile at a time when confidence in church leadership in the once staunchly Catholic nation has plummeted. Pope Francis earlier this year accepted the resignation of Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati as archbishop of Santiago, the highest-ranking member of the Catholic church in Chile, after he was caught up in the country’s sex abuse scandal.

The church’s credibility has been harmed in much of the world by abuse scandals in countries including Ireland, Chile, Australia, France, the United States and Poland.

In Chile, prosecutors say they are investigating more than 150 cases of sexual abuse or cover-up involving more than 200 victims.

Irarrazaval will continue to serve the church as a pastor in Santiago, according to the Archdiocese of Santiago. Irarrazaval could not be immediately reached for comment.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Chilean auxiliary bishop quickly gone after insulting women

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the auxiliary bishop of the Chilean capital Santiago. Carlos Irarrázaval had only been in his job for 24 days, but soon got into trouble.

In a TV interview, the auxiliary bishop had said that there were no women at the Last Supper of Jesus and his apostles, and therefore there was no role for them in the church. It was supposedly a “non-ideological” choice by Jesus. The auxiliary bishop also said that women may “like to stay in the back room”. He had previously caused controversy by his remark that people should let bygones be bygones with regard to a major abuse scandal in the Chilean church.

Women’s organizations and critics of the Catholic Church responded indignantly to the comments by Irarrázaval. He now says he will leave to preserve the peace and unity of the Archdiocese of Santiago.

Irarrázaval had especially been appointed by the pope in an attempt to restore peace to the Chilean Catholic community, which was shocked last year by the news of large-scale abuse by priests. The Chilean Public Prosecution Service is conducting criminal investigations into more than 150 clerics who allegedly abused children or concealed such crimes.

‘Pope Francis not doing enough against sexual abuse’


This 28 October 2018 video says about itself:

A child sex abuse scandal shakes the core of Chile’s Catholic Church

When Pope Francis visited Chile in 2017 he received a lukewarm reception. Once one of the most Catholic countries in Latin America, perception of the church in Chile has been challenged by revelations of widespread sexual abuse dating back decades.

There are hundreds, possibly thousands of victims. And prosecutors say the cover-up of the abuse reaches the highest level of the Chilean church.

The Pope is now taking action against members of the clergy in Chile. And he even invited three abuse survivors to Rome to speak and give their advice.

Correspondent Joel Richards brings us their story from Santiago.

There are daily developments in this case in Chile. Despite the Pope’s intervention a poll claims more than 83% of Chileans think the local Catholic Church is dishonest.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The criticism of [Pope Francis I‘s] approach to the abuse scandal grows. Pope Francis has underestimated that subject for too long, so think, eg, victims of abuse. They want the pope to be open about the role of high level clergymen, including his predecessors, in covering up the abuse.