Thursday

The last full moon of the decade will occur tonight, at 12:12 am Eastern time on December 12. It's called the full "cold moon".

The Moon will appear full all night, first becoming visible in the east with a saffron-colored tinge as it climbs just above the horizon. The Moon rises at 4:35 pm in Washington, 5:18 pm in Atlanta, and at 5:08 pm in Oklahoma City.

That's also within 15 minutes of sunset for each city; full moons, since they're opposite the sun in our sky, always rise at sunset. Full moons appear fully illuminated to us Earth-dwellers since the side catching the sunlight is facing us. That means the Sun, Moon and Earth are all in a nearly perfect lineup.

The Moon will emerge into the sky at 99.9 percent illumination, peaking briefly at full brilliance at 12:12 am Eastern Thursday (9:12 pm Pacific). By moonset (which will occur shortly after sunrise Thursday morning), the Moon will be back down to 99.9 percent full. Its radiance will continue to dwindle, waning until the new moon occurs on Christmas night.

According to The Old Farmer's Almanac the full moon of December was named the full Cold Moon, as it is associated with cold winter nights in the Northern Hemisphere.

Saturn will appear less than two degrees away from Venus, a phenomenon called conjunction, or a planetary “kiss.” As morning twilight begins, Mercury will appear just above the horizon, followed by Mars. If you aren’t able to run outside to see the bright, full moon at midnight, it will still appear full through Friday morning, just before the peak of the Geminid meteor shower. The next full moon, the Wolf Moon, will be back January 10.

December Full Moon Names From Native American Tribes

Kaitvitjuitk (Inuit). Cold Moon (Celtic). Night Moon (Taos). Respect Moon (Hopi). Bitter Moon (Chinese). Peach Moon (Choctaw). Twelfth Moon (Dakotah). Big Winter Moon (Creek) Real Goose Moon (Kiowa). Cold Time Moon (Mohawk). Ashes Fire Moon (San Juan). Oak Moon (Medieval English). Big Bear’s Moon (Winnebago). Long Night Moon (Neo-Pagan). Popping Trees Moon (Arapaho). Running Wolves Moon (Cheyenne). Frost Fish Moon (Passamaquoddy). Cold Moon, Long Nights Moon (Algonquin). Snow Moon, Before Yule Moon (Cherokee). Oak Moon : Full, : Snow Moon Dark (Janic). Popping Tress Moon, Deer Horn Shedding Moon (Sioux).

Other moon names : Wolf Moon, Turning Moon, Heavy Snow Moon, Aerra Geola, Under Burn Moon, Big Winter Moon, Winter Maker Moon, Yellow Leaves Moon, Little Finger Moon, Mid-Winter Moon, Wintermonat, Small Spirits Moon.







VIDEO

Monday

The 18,000-year-old body of a near perfectly preserved puppy has left scientists puzzled.

Russian scientists discovered the body of the canine near Yakutsk, in eastern Siberia. Preserved by permafrost, the specimen's nose, fur and teeth are remarkably intact.

Using carbon dating on the creature's rib bone, experts from Sweden's Centre for Palaeogenetics were able to confirm that the specimen had been frozen for around 18,000 years, but extensive DNA tests have so far been unable to show whether the animal was a dog or a wolf.

Stanton told CNN that the period the puppy is from is "a very interesting time in terms of wolf and dog evolution."

"We don't know exactly when dogs were domesticated, but it may have been from about that time. We are interested in whether it is in fact a dog or a wolf, or perhaps it's something halfway between the two," he said.

Further tests might provide more insight into exactly when dogs were domesticated, Stanton said.


Modern dogs are thought to have been domesticated from wolves, but exactly when is unclear -- in 2017, a study published in the journal Nature Communications found that modern dogs were domesticated from a single population of wolves 20,000 to 40,000 years ago.

In contrast, a 2016 University of Oxford study, published in the journal Science, suggested that dogs were independently domesticated twice from gray wolves during the Paleolithic era, once in Asia and once in Europe.


Scientists from the Center for Palaeogenetics said on Twitter that genome analysis had revealed that the puppy was male. They said that, after conferring with their Russian colleagues, they would call the puppy Dogor -- meaning "friend" in Yakutian. The scientists plan to run more genome data tests on the creature to find out more about its origins.
Source




Sunday

A dog in South Africa has struck up an unlikely friendship with an abandoned baby giraffe that was rescued and taken to the local orphanage where he works as a guard dog.

Jazz the nine-day-old giraffe arrived at The Rhino Orphanage in Limpopo Province, South Africa, after a farmer discovered him struggling weak and dehydrated in the wild without a mother, and called the centre for help.

Resident watchdog Hunter, a young Belgian Malinois, quickly began to care for the newcomer, befriending his long-necked doppelganger.

Janie Van Heerden, a caretaker at the orphanage three hours North of Johannesburg, said that the animals bonded immediately, with Hunter snuggling into the giraffe's body as if it was another dog.

She said the baby giraffe is now doing much better after being given an IV to replace lost fluids as well as guzzling down the milk and even attempting to munch some leaves.

Sadly for Hunter his cuddle buddy Jazz, perhaps more comfortable than the Rhinos at the orphanage, may not be with him to stay as keepers intend to reintroduce him into his natural habitat when he's strong enough.


Speaking today Ms Heerden added: 'Possibly soon [the giraffe] will be able to go home [to the wild]'.

The exact location of the The Rhino Orphanage can not be given due to poachers.





VIDEO

Imagine driving through a wooded area with a wildfire raging all around you. The instinct, for most of us, would be to move as quickly as possible out of the flames and into safety.

But, as Toni Doherty drove through the brush fires around Port Macquarie, Australia, she discovered a heartbreaking sight that compelled her to hit the brakes and jump into action.

She’d seen a koala cross in front of her car, running toward a group of burning trees.

“It was terrifying to see him just come out of the flames and he looked so defenseless running along the road,” Doherty told Australia’s Nine News of the sight that spurred her to jump into action.

Doherty literally took the shirt off her back to wrap up the animal to protect him. Once she got him to safety, she doused him with water to try to minimize the burn damage. The rescue was caught on video, posted on social media and has since gone viral.

“I’ve never heard a koala before,” Doherty said. “I didn’t realize they could cry out. It was just so heart-rending and I knew I needed to get him out of there as quickly as possible.”


Doherty rushed the koala, which has since been named Lewis, to the local animal hospital. The Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie has been tending to Lewis, who received burns on his feet, chest, stomach, nose and other parts of his body.


At 14 years old, Lewis is an older koala and has a long road of recovery ahead of him. He has been bandaged, given antibiotics and is starting to regain his appetite, according to recent news updates, like this tweet from Australian journalist Lizzie Pearl. As you can see from Pearl’s video of him eating eucalyptus leaves, he is still very vulnerable.

Doherty decided to visit her new friend in the hospital to see how he was doing. Caretakers greeted her with hugs and thanks for her quick, heroic actions.

“You’re a legend,” one of the caretakers said as Doherty came into the hospital to visit Lewis. “Give us a hug.”
Source
VIDEO

As Australia experiences record-breaking drought and bushfires, koala populations have dwindled along with their habitat, leaving them “functionally extinct.”

The chairman of the Australian Koala Foundation, Deborah Tabart, estimates that over 1,000 koalas have been killed from the fires and that 80 percent of their habitat has been destroyed.

Recent bushfires, along with prolonged drought and deforestation has led to koalas becoming “functionally extinct” according to experts.

Functional extinction is when a population becomes so limited that they no longer play a significant role in their ecosystem and the population becomes no longer viable. While some individuals could produce, the limited number of koalas makes the long-term viability of the species unlikely and highly susceptible to disease.

Deforestation and bushfires destroy the main nutrient source of koalas, the eucalyptus tree. An adult koala will eat up to 2 pounds of eucalyptus leaves per day as its main staple of nutrients. While eucalyptus plants will grow back after a fire, it will take months, leaving no suitable food source for koalas and starvation a likely scenario for many.

Many are urging the Australian government to enact the Koala Protection Act, written in 2016 but never passed into law and molded after the Bald Eagle Protection Act in the U.S. The Koala Protection Act would work to protect habitats and trees vital to koalas as well as protect koalas from hunting.


Recent viral videos of Australians rescuing koalas has led to increased donation to support hospitalization and help for burned koalas.

The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital setup a Go Fund Me page seeking donations to help the hospital treat injured koalas. To date, they have raised $1.33 million, well over their $25,000 goal. This comes from over 30,000 donors.

Part of their effort is to install drinking stations for koalas in areas devastated by the fires. The funds will also be used for a “Koala Ark” as a refuge for burned koalas to live in a healthy habitat during rehabilitation.
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