• The Top 5 coldest places in the universe

    Photo: CBS TVPhoto: CBS TV

    Yes, it’s downright cold, even for the hardiest of souls. There’s no doubt that most of Canada has been suffering through some bitterly frigid weather over the past few weeks.

    But if you think we’ve got it cold here, this is nothing compared to what can be encountered across the cosmos.

    Here are some the coldest places scientists have ever studied.

    5. ANTARCTICA: -94.7 C

    Photo: Wikimedia/CommonsPhoto: Wikimedia/Commons

    Just to put things into perspective, the coldest air temperature ever recorded on our planet Earth is -89.2 C at Russia’s Vostok Station in Antarctica on July 21, 1983. However, even this record might have unofficially been broken in August 2010, when a NASA Earth observation satellite recorded that east Antarctica one day hit a mind-numbing temperature of -94.7 C. But this won’t make it into the Guinness Book of World Records because the measurements weren’t made with thermometers.

    4. PLUTO: -229 C

    Photo: Space.comPhoto: Space.com

    When looking at our neighbouring worlds in the solar system, the planets farthest from our sun sport some of the

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  • NASA scientists are jumping for joy this week, having been given the green light in next year’s budget from the White House to go ahead with developing a robotic mission to Jupiter’s mysterious moon Europa.

    Similar in size to Earth’s Moon, Europa is thought to harbour a global-wide, salty ocean beneath an ice shell that is up to 100 km thick. NASA’s Galileo spacecraft, which orbited the gas giant Jupiter and its moons nearly twenty years ago, made the discovery using radar echoes. Since then, the ice-cracked moon has been one of the primary targets in the solar system in their search for life beyond Earth.

    The mission NASA plans to launch in the early 2020s is called the Europa Clipper and is a sophisticated spacecraft that will circle Jupiter for three years, barnstorming the moon at least 45 times. Hopes are that on-board instruments will be able to get details of the orb’s surface with a resolution down to less than a meter across.

    One of the main surface features the Clipper

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  • As the number of cases in the United States continues to increase at an alarming rate, new cases of measles in Canada feed worries that the outbreak will get worse and spread.

    The four new cases identified in Toronto – two toddlers and two adults – appear to be all unconnected, and where they acquired measles remains a mystery. These cases come on the heels of 102 new registered cases in 14 US states being reported, following up on over 600 cases seen last year in the US.

    The current outbreak started in California’s Disneyland, when an unvaccinated family who had measles entered the park and has alarmingly spread across the continent. Measles was officially eradicated in the year 2000, but now with the new cases seen in Toronto, it means that the disease is making its rounds within the city.

    Health officials on both sides of the border are trying desperately to prevent a full-blown outbreak by asking people to take a look at their vaccination histories and make sure they are up to

    Read More »from Thanks in part to anti-vaccination advocates, measles is making a comeback
  • The hits seem keep on coming, as parts of Ontario and Quebec are digging out from another round of snow that now has its sights set on the Maritimes.

    Winter storm warnings were lifted for southern Ontario Monday afternoon, but not before huge amounts of snow had been dumped on the Golden Horseshoe. The city of Toronto received about 22 cm, while as much as 30 cm fell in Oakville, just west of Toronto. Coupled with high wind gusts, all that blowing snow cut down visibility on the roads, effectively shutting down parts of some highways, and causing school bus cancelations and school closures today.

    Already the Ontario Provincial Police are reporting well over 100 collisions and the CAA servicing Ontario have received a whopping 3000-plus calls in a just the past half-day or so with wait times of nearly three hours. Meanwhile, Pearson Airport has reported over 120 flights were cancelled Monday with many more delays throughout the day of course.

    Doing battle with all this mess is over

    Read More »from Massive snowstorm that pounded southern Ontario, Quebec sets its sights on Atlantic Canada
  • Hidden infections may shorten our lifespans

    Photo: ThinkstockPhoto: Thinkstock
    Could mild and even undetected infections reduce our lifespan? New research published in the journal Science is suggesting the possibility that mild illnesses throughout ones life, even those that may not produce any symptoms whatsoever, could speed up the aging process in the long run.

    Scientists at Lund University in Sweden looked at malaria-infected migratory birds and found that their illnesses shortened their telomeres—the caps at the ends of their chromosomes that protect their DNA from damage.

    Telomere lengths decrease naturally as we age and when they shorten to a certain length, the cells will no longer be able to divide and aging and disease follow. So the longer the telomeres can keep their lengths intact the greater the chance of living longer.

    However it seems, in at least the great reed warblers, mildly-infected individuals had their telomeres shorten much faster than healthy individuals. Even those infected birds that appeared to function normally in their daily lives,

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  • Eastern and Atlantic Canada, get ready for round two with Old Man Winter. While not as strong as the blizzard that hit at the start of the week, a second winter storm promises to bring windy and slippery conditions across much of the Maritimes to end the week.

    Special weather statements have been issued across Atlantic Canada in advance of two systems approaching the region. Ontario and Quebec are already seeing one system moving in from the west, bringing with it 5 to 15 cm of blowing snow and even mixing with ice along the Lake Erie shoreline. However, northeastern Ontario and north of the St. Lawrence could see closer to 15 cm or more of the white stuff. This system will eventually track into the Maritimes on Friday.

    “The Alberta Clipper bringing snow to Ontario and Quebec today [Thursday] will continue east to impact Atlantic Canada Friday into Saturday,” said Dayna Vettese, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

    “This storm system will not be as powerful as the so called

    Read More »from As Eastern Canada shovels out, another wintery mess is on the way
  • This week, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft snapped the best pictures yet of Ceres, the largest object in the Asteroid Belt and one of the last unexplored places in our solar system.

    The historic image was taken about 237,000 kilometers away from Ceres, as the probe prepares to become the first human-made spacecraft to visit a dwarf planet. The resolution of pictures we are seeing has already surpassed those by the Hubble Space Telescope by 30 per cent. That’s because the Hubble telescope is a whopping 241 million kilometres away.

    "We are already seeing areas and details on Ceres popping out that had not been seen before," said Carol Raymond, deputy principal investigator of the Dawn mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "For instance, there are several dark features in the southern hemisphere that might be craters within a region that is darker overall."

    But the best is yet to come, because Dawn is scheduled to enter orbit around Ceres on March 6 and will get views of the alien surface

    Read More »from NASA probe approaches Ceres as we explore the last corners of our solar system in 2015
  • Canada’s Atlantic Provinces are being battered by the first blizzard of 2015 thanks to a major nor’easter swirling up the East Coast. But forecasters warn there may be more to come.

    While the massive storm only side-swiped New York City, the same system has hit with full force across much of New England and forced blizzard warnings in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. This has led to cancelled flights and closed schools and businesses across much of the region today.

    “To give you an idea how bad it has been, a few hours ago, Fredericton had zero visibility in heavy snow with winds gusting to 83 km/h,” said Brett Anderson, chief meteorologist at accuweather.com said in an interview with Yahoo Canada News.

    “The combination of wind and temperature is making it feel as low as 30 below right now. Most definitely an all-out blizzard!”

    The storm is currently located just east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts and will weaken tonight as it continues to track to the northeast.

    In

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