Last Saturday, Singapore welcomed young athletes from around the world in a ceremony opening the inaugural Youth Olympic Games. This is the first ever Summer Youth Olympics, an event designed to be celebrated in the same tradition of the Olympic Games – the major difference being that the competitors are all between 14 and 18 years of age. This year, 3,500 athletes from more than 200 countries are competing in 184 events in 26 sports.
Collected here are some photographs of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games, which will run until its closing ceremony on August 26th.
At midnight on Sunday, August 8th, a temporary lake caused by a recent landslide broke loose above the town of Zhouqu, in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, China. The outflow slid down the valley as a wall of mud, wiping out houses and muli-story buildings, and killing at least 1,248 residents – with 500 or so still reported as missing. More than 10,000 soldiers and rescuers arrived soon to comb through the mountains of mud that buried several parts of Zhouqu County. Engineers also worked to blast the debris that had passed through the town to partially block the Bailong River, causing further flooding.
Collected here are images of the landslide-affected area of northwestern China, part of a series of disasters in Asia caused by recent heavy rains.
The Perseids is the name of a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle. The Perseids are so-called because the point they appear to come from, called the radiant, lies in the constellation Perseus. The name derives in part from the word Perseides, a term found in Greek mythology referring to the descendants of Perseus. The stream of debris is called the Perseid cloud and stretches along the orbit of the comet Swift-Tuttle. The cloud consists of particles ejected by the comet as it travels on its 130-year orbit. Most of the dust in the cloud today is around a thousand years old. However, there is also a relatively young filament of dust in the stream that was pulled off the comet in 1862. The rate of meteors originating from this filament is much higher than for the older part of the stream.
The Perseid meteor shower has been observed for about 2000 years, with the earliest information on this meteor shower coming from the Far East. Some Catholics refer to the Perseids as the “tears of St. Lawrence”, since 10 August is the date of that saint’s martyrdom.
The shower is visible from mid-July each year, with the peak in activity being between August 9 and 14, depending on the particular location of the stream. During the peak, the rate of meteors reaches 60 or more per hour. They can be seen all across the sky, but because of the path of Swift-Tuttle’s orbit, Perseids are primarily visible in the northern hemisphere. As with all meteor showers, the rate is greatest in the pre-dawn hours, since the side of the Earth nearest to turning into the sun scoops up more meteors as the Earth moves through space. In 2009, the estimated peak Zenithal Hourly Rate was 173, but fainter meteors were washed out by a waning gibbous moon.
This year 2010, the Perseid peak activity is expected over the night of Thursday 12th to Friday 13th 2010. And with no moonlight to speak of (the Moon is new on August 10th), conditions should be very favorable, weather permitting.
We’ve made a colletion of the nice Perseid meteor showers pictures shot in August every year. Enjoy!