NASA Daily News Summary
For Release: Jan. 20, 2000
Media Advisory m00-013


No News Releases Today

Video File for Jan. 20, 2000


Video File for Jan. 20, 2000

Item 1 - Pacific Decadal Heating - JPL

Item 2 - Lunar Eclipse - GSFC

Item 3 - SeaWifS - Skies over the Great Lakes (GSFC) (replay)


If NASA issues any news releases later today, we will e-mail
summaries and Internet URLs to this list.

Index of 2000 NASA News Releases:

Index of 1999 NASA News Releases:


Item 1 - Pacific Decadal Heating: The beginning of La Mama?
Oceanographers think they're seeing the start of something big. The Pacific
Decadal Oscillation and Ocean Circulation Phenomenon will have broader, deeper
and longer lasting effects than the smaller El Nino/La Nina did.  The
Topex/Poseidon spacecraft, seen in the following animation, is mapping these
abnormally high and low sea surface heights.
TRT - :37
Video Courtesy NASA

Item 1a - Topex/Poseidon data animation
Historic data from the NASA-French Topex/Poseidon satellite shows the El Nino/La
Nina phenomena that dominated the Pacific from Dec. 1996 through June 1999. Sea
surface height is shown relative to normal (green) height and reveals cooler
water (blue and purple) and warmer water (red and white).
TRT - :33
Video Courtesy NASA

Item 1b - Latest Topex/Poseidon image
Sea surface height is shown relative to normal (green) and reveals cooler water
(blue and purple). The giant horseshoe of warmer water (red and white)
dominating the western and mid-latitude Pacific has higher than normal sea
surface heights between 8-24 cm. For the past year, warmer waters have been
expanding slowly and are now beginning to dominate the north Pacific.
TRT - :21

Item 1c - Interview excerpts:
Dr. William Patzert
NASA Jet Propulsion Lab
TRT - 5:00

Center Contact: Diane Ainsworth 818/354-0850

Item 2 - Lunar Eclipse preview
Synopsis:   Nature's first spectacular astronomical event of the New Year, a
total lunar eclipse, will occur on the evening of January 20.  A total lunar
eclipse occurs when the sun, earth and moon align so that the earth's shadow is
cast onto the moon.  This stunning event will be North America's first total
eclipse in more than three years.  Weather permitting, observers will be able to
view all stages of the eclipse.  If there are clear skies, "totality" will be
particularly dramatic in North America, where the moon will be a fiery-red ball,
seen in a crisp winter sky.  The eclipse will also be visible from central and
South America, Hawaii, and most of Africa and Europe.

Item 2a - Total lunar eclipse moon animation - a total eclipse of the moon can
only take place at full moon, and only if the entire moon passes through the
earth's shadow. These events are quite striking for the vibrant range of colors
the moon can take on during totality.
TRT - :17

Item 2b - Total lunar eclipse earth/moon animation -  the beginning phase of the
eclipse will begin shortly after 9:00 p.m. est.  The real action begins at 10:01
p.m. est, when a partial eclipse starts to occur.  Totality starts at 11:05 p.m.
est and ends at 12:22 a.m., the morning of January 21.  After the total phase
ends, it is followed by a second partial eclipse,  which will end at
approximately 1:25 a.m. est, January 21.
TRT - :17

Item 2c - Total lunar eclipse sequence - During a total lunar eclipse, the earth
blocks all direct sunlight from the moon.  A total lunar eclipse occurs when the
sun, earth and moon align so that the earth's shadow is cast onto the moon.
These sequences show a previous total lunar eclipse from November 29, 1993.
(2 sequences)
TRT - :41

Item 2d - "Totality" still image - this beautiful still image was captured
during the "totality phase" of the total lunar eclipse on November 29, 1993.  If
the earth had no atmosphere, then the moon would be completely black during a
total eclipse. Instead, the moon can take on a range of colors from dark brown
and red to bright orange and yellow.  The exact appearance depends on how much
dust and clouds are present in earth's atmosphere.
TRT - :10

Item 2e - Interview Excerpts
Dr. Fred Espenak
NASA astronomer
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
TRT - 2:00

Center Contact:         Deanna Corridon  -- 301/286-0041
Headquarters Contact:   Dave Steitz -- 202/358-1730
Video Courtesy NASA

Item 3 - Clouds Cover Great Lakes
Synopsis:  Many residents near the Great Lakes are familiar with the term "lake
effect snow".   Seen from space, this phenomenon looks like a thick white
blanket pulled over the surface of the water.  NASA's Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-
View  satellite, or SeaWiFS, collected the first of these images on April 13,
1999,  the second on December 21, 1999. These images were enhanced and rendered
at the Scientific and Visualization Studio (SVS) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight
Center, Greenbelt, MD.

Item 3a - Lake-Effect Clouds Cover Great Lakes
As the visualization begins, the skies over the Great Lakes are clear. Then, as
clouds thicken, notice how they appear to be pushed slightly off center, towards
the eastern edge of the lakes.   Here's what's happening: as cold, dry air blows
off the high plains of Canada, it rushes over the lakes and soaks up moisture.
That moisture condenses into clouds, which builds up and trails out like wool
from a carding brush. The thin stripes of blue peeking out from the western
edges of the lakes show the zone where those dry winds have not yet soaked up
enough moisture to coalesce into clouds.  Past the eastern borders of each lake,
you'll see jumbled and tangled clouds above the ground. Over many of these
areas, snow is falling as the now lake-saturated air gives up its moisture,
yielding more human scale phenomena below: people pushing ice scrapers, traffic
crawling behind plows, and happy kids on careening sleds.
TRT - :30

Video courtesy NASA
Center Contact: Deanna Corridon  301/286/0041
HQ Contact: Dave Steitz 202/358-1730


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