omet Lulin: A must see for comet watchers
An odd celestial voyager will visit the solar system next week—a green comet that seems to fly backwards. Comet Lulin, named for the Taiwan observatory that discovered it, is on track to approach to within 38 million miles of Earth on Feb. 23. Through binoculars or a small telescope, observers can see its green tinge, caused by sunlight illuminating two of its components, cyanogen and diatomic carbon. Rare among comets, Lulin circles the sun clockwise—the opposite direction of the planets—and because of an optical illusion, its tail will appear to be in front of its nucleus. “If you are interested in comets,” said NASA astronomer Stephen Edberg, “make sure you see it.”
Firefighter meets woman he saved 40 years ago
A Boston firefighter and the woman he rescued from a devastating blaze as a baby 40 years ago have been reunited. William Carroll, now 71, crawled through the flames on his stomach to rescue Evangeline Harper, then an infant. A photograph of the white firefighter emerging from the burning building, giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a black child, became a symbol of hope during an era of racial upheaval. Only when Harper tracked Carroll down, though, did they finally reconnect, in an emotional meeting last week. “Thank you so much,” she said. “Thank you for remembering me,” he responded.
Beavers return to Detroit River after 75 years
Beavers have returned to the Detroit River for the first time in at least 75 years. Workers at Detroit Edison recently discovered a beaver lodge in an intake canal on the city’s east riverfront, and cameras have caught its furry inhabitants on film. John Hartig of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service credited efforts to clean up the river and noted that other species— among them bald eagles, sturgeon, peregrine falcons, and whitefish—also have been coming back to the area. “It’s part of that larger story of ecological recovery. If it’s cleaner for them, it’s cleaner for us, too.”
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