Many are asking: what is that brilliant object shining in the west after sunset now? It’s the beautiful “evening star,” really the planet Venus. It’s the second planet outward from our sun and always the third-brightest object in Earth’s sky, after the sun and moon. Venus is so bright that it sometimes casts a shadow on dark, moonless night. Venus is always bright … but it’s particularly noticeable now because it’s at its brightest on December 6, 2013. It is near what astronomers call its greatest illuminated extent or greatest brilliancy.
Using the powerful eye of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, scientists have found faint signatures of water in the atmospheres of five distant planets.
Abrupt climate change is not only imminent, it's already here. The rapid dwindling of summer Arctic sea ice has outpaced all scientific projections, which will have impacts on everything from atmospheric circulation to global shipping. And plants, animals and other species are already struggling to keep up with rapid climate shifts, increasing the risk of mass extinction that would rival the end of the dinosaurs. So warns a new report from the U.S. National Research Council.