Earth Flyby of BepiColombo

What it would look like to approach planet Earth? Such an event was recorded visually in great detail by ESA’s and JAXA’s robotic BepiColombo spacecraft last month as it swung back past Earth on its journey in to the planet Mercury. Earth can be seen rotating on approach as it comes out from behind the spacecraft’s high-gain antenna in this nearly 10-hour time-lapse video. The Earth is so bright that no background stars are visible. Launched in 2018, the robotic BepiColombo used the gravity of Earth to adjust its course, the first of nine planetary flybys over the next seven years — but the only one involving Earth. Scheduled to enter orbit in 2025, BepiColombo will take images and data of the surface and magnetic field of Mercury in an effort to better understand the early evolution of our Solar System and its innermost planet. via NASA

Wikipedia article of the day for May 4, 2020

Wikipedia article of the day is Lactarius torminosus. Check it out: Summary: Lactarius torminosus, the woolly milkcap, is a large agaric fungus. First described scientifically by Jacob Christian Schäffer in 1774, it is a common species, found in North Africa, northern Asia, Europe, and North America. It grows on the roots of various trees, most commonly birch in mixed forests. The cap of the L. torminosus mushroom, up to 10 cm (3.9 in) wide, is convex with a central depression. A blend of pink and ochre hues, the cap sometimes has concentric zones of alternating lighter and darker shades. On the underside are narrow flesh-colored gills, crowded closely together. The cylindrical stem is a pale flesh color with a delicately downy surface, up to 8 cm (3.1 in) long and 0.6–2 cm (0.2–0.8 in) thick. When cut or injured, the mushroom oozes a bitter white latex. The species is highly irritating to the digestive system when eaten raw, but is valued for its peppery flavor in Russia and Finland after being cooked to destroy its toxins.

Picture of the day for May 4, 2020

Wikipedia picture of the day on May 4, 2020: Today is the National Bird Day in the United States. This individual, a Eurasian tree sparrow (Passer montanus malaccensis), is an adult male from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In the North America, a population of about 15,000 birds has become established around St. Louis and neighboring parts of Illinois and southeastern Iowa. These sparrows are descended from 12 birds imported from Germany and released in late April 1870 as part of a project to enhance the native North American avifauna. The American population is sometimes referred to as the “German sparrow”, to distinguish it from both the native American tree sparrow species and the much more widespread “English” house sparrow. Click here to visit the photographer’s gallery. Click here to view more pictures of P. montanus.