Environment

Stellar Cocoons
8:45 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Observatory in Chile is Wesleyan Radio Astronomer's Answer to Hubble

The Atacama Large Millimeter Array in northern Chile has 66 antennae, seen here in June 2014.
A. Marinkovic Creative Commons

A Wesleyan astronomer has just returned from a conference in Tokyo, Japan, where she discussed research from the ALMA space telescope -- a radio observatory partly funded by the National Science Foundation -- which is just finishing construction.

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Science
7:58 am
Fri December 19, 2014

7 Miles Beneath The Sea's Surface: Who Goes There?

The research vessel Falkor in August 2013.
Courtesy of Mark Schrope

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 10:11 am

A ship full of marine scientists is floating over the deepest part of the world: the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench. They're sending down probes to study life in one of the most hostile environments on the planet.

This week the researchers are targeting the two deepest spots in the trench — the Sirena Deep and the Challenger Deep — which each extend down about 7 miles beneath the ocean's surface.

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Climate Change
7:45 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Arctic Is Warming Twice As Fast As World Average

A lone polar bear poses on a block of arctic sea ice in Russia's Franz Josef Land.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 12:36 pm

The latest word from scientists studying the Arctic is that the polar region is warming twice as fast as the average rise on the rest of the planet. And researchers say the trend isn't letting up. That's the latest from the 2014 Arctic Report Card — a compilation of recent research from more than 60 scientists in 13 countries. The report was released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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State Parks
11:59 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Architect Seeks Ideas for Waterford's Seaside

Victor Solanoy Creative Commons

Around 100 people attended a meeting in Waterford on Monday night to discuss ideas for a proposed new state park. 

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Environmental Law
11:57 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Strengthening Connecticut Environmental Law to Target First-Time Offenders

The state is inspecting gas stations more frequently, leading to more frequent environmental violations.
John Phelan Creative Commons

Should state regulators be more aggressive in punishing first time violators of environmental law? That's a question the Council on Environmental Quality hopes lawmakers wrestle with in the upcoming legislative session. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Sizzling Space Spectacular

Meredith Hughes is an assistant professor of Astronomy at Wesleyan University
Chion Wolf WNPR

When it comes to space, there’s a lot to be excited about. Telescopes are scanning the farthest reaches of our galaxy and we’re learning more than ever before about the origins of planets.

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State Parks
2:53 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

State Seeks Ideas for Waterford's Seaside

Seaside sits on prime coastal land.
Artondra Hall Creative Commons

The team that will work to develop a new state park at the former Seaside Regional Center in Waterford will be introduced on Monday evening.

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Continental Shelf
1:39 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Denmark Claims Part Of The Arctic, Including The North Pole

A map of the area Denmark is claiming.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 2:51 pm

Denmark, together with Greenland, today will claim around 350,000 square miles of the continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean, in an area around the North Pole that is slightly larger than the size of Texas and Oklahoma combined.

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Wildlife
5:39 pm
Sun December 14, 2014

More Than Just Cute, Sea Otters Are Superheroes Of The Marsh

This sea otter, about to eat a crab in the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, is cute, sure. But more importantly, it's indirectly combating some harmful effects of agricultural runoff and protecting the underwater ecosystem.
Rob Eby AP

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 11:28 am

On the roof of the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif., in a large plastic tank, a sea otter mother named Abby floats with her adopted pup, known as 671.

For up to nine months, Abby will raise her little adoptee, and when 671 is ready, she will be released into a protected inland salt marsh called Elkhorn Slough, just off Monterey Bay.

That's where 671 will set to work to preserve the estuary, says Tim Tinker, who tracks otters for the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Sky-Watching
11:24 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Geminid Meteor Showers Light Up Both Hemispheres

The Geminid meteor shower above Skopje, Macedonia, on Saturday.
Robert AtanasovskiI AFP/Getty Images

The annual Geminid meteor shower dazzled Earthlings around the world late Saturday and early Sunday.

Pieces of gravel and dust from a "rock comet" called 3200 Phaethon shot across the sky and lit up discussion boards from NASA.gov to Twitter — for those who could tear their eyes away long enough to type.

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Springfield
2:57 pm
Sat December 13, 2014

Officials Announce Full Build Out For Union Station

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 6:20 pm

A new financing plan was announced today to accelerate the redevelopment of Union Station in Springfield, Massachusetts

       City officials said a proposed addition of $3.2 million in local funds along with a previously announced $4.2 million grant from the state will allow the transit-focused elements of the project to be completed simultaneously with tenant-ready commercial space and additional parking.

     "It is a big achievement having all the money that is now needed to get this project done," said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

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Mayflower II
9:31 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Mayflower Replica Heads to Mystic Seaport for Restoration Work

The Mayflower II in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in a 2013 photo.
Robert Linsdell Creative Commons

The replica of the ship that brought the Pilgrims to America has set sail from Plymouth, Massachusetts, to another historic port in Connecticut where it will undergo a restoration. 

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Sunken Ships
2:36 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

NOAA Team Finds Shipwreck Of The 'Titanic Of The Golden Gate'

A sonar profile view of SS City of Rio de Janeiro above a painting of the steamer.
Coda Octopus (top) and painting of SS City of Rio De Janeiro NOAA (top); Mystic Seaport (bottom)

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 5:49 pm

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it has found the remains of a 19th century passenger steamer that sank near the present-day Golden Gate Bridge at the entrance to San Francisco Bay, killing 128 people, mostly immigrants from China and Japan.

Inbound from Hong Kong, the City of Rio de Janeiro, which came to be known as the "Titanic of the Golden Gate," went down in dense fog after hitting submerged rocks early on the morning of Feb. 22, 1901.

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United Nations
9:27 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Climate Sticking Point: Who Cuts And By How Much?

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers a speech Thursday at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru. A major sticking point remains over how to divide greenhouse emissions targets.
Rodrigo Abd AP

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 2:37 pm

U.N. talks on global warming are wrapping up in Peru, but a divide between rich and poor countries and how to divvy up targets to reduce greenhouse gases is a key sticking point that has remained unresolved.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has acknowledged that the issue is "hard fought and ... complex," but he says it is crucial that the targets be agreed on before next year's summit in Paris. The talks in Peru end today.

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Development
10:18 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Talks Imminent Over Union Station Future in New Haven

Union Station in New Haven
City of New Haven

Transportation officials and representatives from New Haven city government will sit down this week to discuss long-range plans for Union Station. 

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Climate Change
6:09 am
Tue December 9, 2014

How 3.6 Degrees Became a Global Warming Tipping Point

A team of scientists in 2012 from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, Rhode Island, explores the waters near the Helheim Glacier in Greenland before using an autonomous undersea vehicle to study glacial ice melt.
U.S. Navy

As the United Nations climate change talks in Lima enter into their second week, one measurement that's coming up a lot is 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. 

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New York City
10:18 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

New York City Council Will Weigh Ban On Horse-Drawn Carriages

A horse-drawn carriage operator waits for riders near Central Park in New York on October 20, 2014. Mayor Bill de Blasio is backing legislation that would ban such carriages in 2016.
JEWEL SAMAD AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 7:15 pm

Following up on a controversial campaign promise, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's bill to ban horse-drawn carriages reached the City Council on Monday, in a move to phase out the carriages that often give tours around Central Park.

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Curiosity Rover
10:17 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

NASA Photos Show New Signs Of A Lake On Mars

NASA says "cross-bedding" in the layers of this Martian rock is proof that water moved on Mars, leaving waves or ripples of loose sediment. The image is from a site at Mount Sharp that NASA calls "Whale Rock."
NASA

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 12:41 pm

Signs of water currents and sediments are seen in the latest photos NASA's Curiosity rover sent home from Mars, the space agency said Monday. The images suggest "ancient Mars maintained a climate that could have produced long-lasting lakes," NASA says.

In the huge Gale Crater where Curiosity has been exploring, the water and sediment flow might have been massive enough to build a mountain — the 3-mile-high Mount Sharp — NASA researchers say. But they acknowledge that they're still working to solve the mystery of how the mountain formed in a crater.

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Trains
2:40 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Officials Highlight Regional Rail Line in Massachusetts and Connecticut

Downtown Springfield, Massachusetts.
Expos1225 Creative Commons

Massachusetts and Connecticut officials are riding the rails on Monday to highlight upgrades in the so-called "knowledge corridor" through southern New England. 

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California
8:29 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Photos: Massive Fire Shuts Down Freeways In Los Angeles

An enormous fire engulfs an unfinished apartment complex early Monday in Los Angeles.
Courtesy of Eric Politzer

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 9:59 am

A huge apartment complex under construction near Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles was in flames early Monday, closing two major highways that intersect nearby.

More than 250 firefighters are responding, fire department spokesman David Orti told the Los Angeles Times.

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Unmanned Test, Take Two
7:14 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Orion Spacecraft Splashes Down After High-Orbit Test

The Orion spacecraft awaits its launch in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
NASA

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 1:00 pm

NASA's unmanned Orion spacecraft has successfully splashed down about 400 miles west of La Paz, Mexico, in the Pacific Ocean after a liftoff, two orbits and re-entry that lasted just under 4 1/2 hours.

Orion, which could one day take astronauts to Mars, made a "bull's-eye splashdown" at 11:29 a.m. ET, mission control said, after the spacecraft endured a searing 4,000-degree Fahrenheit re-entry and was carried to the ocean surface under four giant red-and-white parachutes.

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Rhode Island
2:48 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Battle With The Sea: In Westerly, Beach Town Still Shoring Up For Future Storms

Tom Retano's three-bedroom house in Misquamicut is temporarily elevated off its original foundation, as work to permanently elevate the house 15 feet above sea level began this summer.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 1:37 pm

Within four years, the town of Westerly experienced four major storms: the Great Flood of 2010, Hurricane Irene in 2011, Superstorm Sandy in 2012, and the February 2013 Nor’easter. Like many coastal cities and towns around the state, Westerly is also vulnerable to high tides that flood roads even without storms.

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Unmanned Test Orbit
9:35 am
Thu December 4, 2014

NASA Scrubs Launch Of Orion Spacecraft

NASA's Orion spaceship early Thursday in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Chris O'Meara AP

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 2:38 pm

Update at 9:35 a.m. ET

NASA's Orion spacecraft, which could one day send astronauts to Mars, is stuck on terra firma for at least another day after the space agency's mission control was unable to satisfactorily resolve a number of issues before a 9:45 a.m. ET launch window closed.

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Searching Space
3:14 am
Thu December 4, 2014

To Search For A New Supernova, Build A New Camera

A blast from the past: Using data from four telescopes, NASA created this image of the first documented sighting of a supernova, made by Chinese astronomers in 185 A.D.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/B. Williams

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 2:03 pm

The search for the massive star explosions called supernovae is about to get a big boost. Astronomers at Caltech in Pasadena are building a new camera that will let them survey the entire night sky in three nights.

The problem with looking for supernovae is you can't really be sure when and where to look for them. Most telescope cameras can only capture a small patch of sky at a time. But the new camera, to be mounted on a telescope at the Palomar Observatory, has a much larger field of view.

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Transportation
2:43 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Metro-North Says It Needs New Infrastructure to Meet Punctuality Goal

Metro-North Railroad workers repair a damaged section of track after a Bronx derailment in December 2013.
Patrick Cashin Metropolitan Transportation Authority

The president of Metro-North told Governor Dannel Malloy that the commuter rail line cannot reach its target of 95 percent on-time service, and that the best way to achieve the goal of punctuality is to continue to rebuild the rail system. 

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Bottles, Bottles, Everywhere
8:25 am
Tue December 2, 2014

"Washed Ashore" Exhibit at Mystic Aquarium Features Ocean Trash

An exhibition features ocean creatures sculpted from collected beach refuse.
Mystic Aquarium

A new exhibition at Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut is using trash from the ocean to create art. It's an effort to highlight the importance of recycling plastic.

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Orion
5:45 am
Tue December 2, 2014

NASA Prepares To Test New Spacecraft (That You've Likely Never Heard Of)

The Orion capsule is poised to make its first test flight Thursday. If all goes as planned, the unmanned vehicle will orbit Earth twice before splashing into the Pacific Ocean.
Kim Shiflett NASA

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 3:43 pm

NASA is about to launch a new spaceship into orbit, and Mallory Loe has never heard of it.

"I mean, technically, NASA doesn't have another spaceship, do they?" she asks incredulously during a visit to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

She's hardly the only one who doesn't know about this new spacecraft. In fact, none of a half-dozen tourists NPR interviewed in the museum's lobby was aware of the Orion spaceship.

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Emissions
3:12 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

EPA Proposes New Rules To Curb Ozone Levels

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy testifies at an oversight hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 23.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 1:49 pm

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency unveiled new rules today to reduce emission levels for smog-causing ozone, which is linked to asthma and other health problems.

The draft measure calls for lowering the threshold for ozone from 75 parts per billion to between 65 ppb and 70 ppb. The agency said it would take comments on an ozone level as low as 60 ppb.

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Turkey Snow
9:15 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Winter Storm Warning Issued for Thanksgiving Commute

The National Weather Service says parts of Connecticut could get 6-10 inches of heavy snow.
B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for northern Connecticut through southern New Hampshire that will snarl Thanksgiving travel plans for many on Wednesday.

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Long Island Sound
9:56 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Grants of $1.3 Million to Benefit Long Island Sound Environment

A tidal creek on Long Island Sound impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
UConn

Federal and state environmental officials say grants of more than $1.3 million have been awarded to local government and community groups in Connecticut and New York to improve the health of Long Island Sound. 

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