Published online 28 June 2006 | Nature | doi:10.1038/news060626-6


Science on the solstice 20:00-23:59

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28 June 2006, 20:00 UT, Norman, Oklahoma

Samuel Mbainayel, a meteorologist in Chad's civil service, takes his wife and daughter to the local health centre for immunizations. When he gets back, he returns to the literature review he is doing for a paper on how variability in rainfall in the Soudano-Sahelian zone of west Africa might be affected by interactions between land surface and the atmosphere, which will form part of the master's thesis he's over in America to work on.

35°13' N 97°26' W; 15:00 local time

28 June 2006, 20:45 UT, Ondrejov, Czech Republic

It's not a good night for the automated observatories in the Czech Republic as they scan the skies for fireballs — haze and clouds are affecting the view. The only trails observed were caused by planes and the passage of the International Space Station. Fireball researcher Pavel Spurny instead spends the evening analysing the trajectory of a meteor spotted over the remote Nullarbor Plain in southwest Australia on 8 March, captured on disk by Sporny's collaborators at the Western Australian Museum in Perth.

49°54' N 14°46' E; 22:45 local time

28 June 2006, 20:46 UT, Berkeley, California

At the Space Sciences Laboratory, David Anderson and his colleagues are writing software. When it is finished, it will allow users of the SETI@home website to see in real time where on the celestial sphere the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico is pointing. Watchers on the net will be able to see whether the SETI receiver is on and what frequency its recording at.

37°52' N 122°14' W; 13:46 local time

28 June 2006, '21:30 UT, Miami, Florida

The National Hurricane Center issues a tropical weather outlook. No tropical storm is expected to form in the next 24 hours, but forecasters are keeping an eye on a small disturbance located 400 km northeast of the Bahamas.

25°45' N 80°23' W; 17:30 local time

28 June 2006, 21:35 UT, Bar Harbor, Maine

The Jackson Laboratory freezes its 3,052,986th mouse embryo. There are now 2,612 strains of mice cryopreserved in the labs vaults. Also passing through the cryopreservation service today: 1 fresh sperm order, 1,597 two-cell embryos frozen in 38 straws, 40 embryo transfers and 3,084 oocytes. One order was shipped.

44°22' N 68°12' W; 17:35 local time

28 June 2006, 22:15 UT, Cape Canaveral, Florida

After several delays, a Boeing Delta 2 rocket finally launches with its military cargo: the Microsatellite Technology Experiment. The duo of tiny satellites will be used to test technologies for future space missions.

28°28' N 80°32' W; 18:15 local time

28 June 2006, 23:00 UT, Greenbelt, Maryland

This afternoon, NASA's Swift satellite sent back to Earth observations of the X-ray afterglow of gamma-ray burst GRB 060614 — a puzzling event originating from a relatively nearby galaxy. Scientists at the Goddard Space Flight Center and Pennsylvania State University, working with colleagues in Italy and Britain, are now looking at the data to see what can be learned. This, says project leader Neil Gehrels, is the most exciting part of the research: the first peek at new observations.

38°59' N 76°50'W; 19:00 local time

28 June 2006, 23:04 UT, Malargue Argentina

At the Pierre Auger Observatory, after hours of careful calibration, researchers begin to take their nightly data. Eighteen telescopes spread across the Pampa amarilla of western Argentina begin the hunt for the glow of cosmic rays from far beyond the Galaxy. The wind is a little high, but the skies are clear — and the night will be the longest that the team will have all year.

35°28' S 69°35' W; 20:04 local time

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