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Leonid meteor shower 2017: Here's how to see this weekend's celestial spectacle

If you're looking for a shooting star so you can make your wish come true, this weekend may just be your lucky opportunity.

The Leonid meteor shower will peak this weekend, providing ideal viewing conditions for millions across the United States. With clear skies predicted by meteorologists in many parts of the country, even amateur stargazers should be able to catch a glimpse of the cosmic spectacle.

>> Read more trending news

Experts say 10 to 25 shooting stars will be visible per hour in areas with clear skies this Friday evening and Saturday morning, according to the Smithsonian. Even for the unlucky, such a high number gives anyone decent odds of sighting one of the meteors.

For those hoping to view the shower this weekend, here's everything you need to know:

What is the Leonid meteor shower?

The Leonid meteors are connected to the comet Tempel-Tuttle, according to David Samuhel, senior meteorologist and astronomy blogger at AccuWeather.

"It makes fairly frequent passes through the inner solar system," he said. "This lays out fresh debris in the path of the Earth's orbit every 33 years."

The Earth actually passes through the debris of the comet, making the falling particles visible as they burn up in the atmosphere. Thanks to clear skies and the absence of moonlight, this year's display should give stargazers a decent show.

Where will the meteor shower be most visible?

First of all, stargazers should get as far away from city lights as possible to avoid light pollution. There's no specific spot in the sky to look. But the shooting stars get their name from the Leo constellation, as their paths in the sky can be traced back to those stars.

Peak time for viewing is from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. ET Saturday.

People living throughout the Southeast, the Northern Plains and California are in luck, as meteorologists are predicting clear skies, ideal for viewing the shower.

Those who reside in the Northeast, the Great Lakes region, the central Plains or the Pacific Northwest, however, may have to travel to other areas if they want to spot a falling star.

"A large storm system will be moving from the Plains into the Great Lakes, and cloudy skies are forecast to dominate much of the eastern half of the nation," meteorologist Kyle Elliot said, according to Accuweather. "Rain and thunderstorms will put an even bigger damper on viewing conditions in many of these areas."

The shower will actually be most visible, with the highest rates of visible meteors, in East Asia.

How intense can a Leonid shower get?

While this weekend's display is sure to impress, it's actually considered a light meteor shower, as opposed to a meteor storm. The last Leonid meteor storm took place in 2002. During storms, thousands of meteors can be spotted in an hour.

In 1833, stargazers reported as many as 72,000 shooting stars per hour, according to National Geographic. In 1966, a group of hunters reported seeing 40 to 50 streaks per second over the duration of 15 minutes.

Scientists currently predict the next major outburst won't take place until 2099. But calculations suggest the comet will be returning closer to Earth in 2031 and 2064, meaning more intense storms may be seen sooner. Smaller showers, such as the one occurring this weekend, happen on a regular basis.

So, while you may get another shot at seeing Leonid's shooting stars, this weekend promises to be a great chance for many.

Breathtaking NASA time lapse shows how much Earth has changed over 20 years

This fall marks 20 years since NASA satellites started to continuously observe life on Earth.

>> Read more trending news

To commemorate the monumental discoveries over the years, NASA is sharing stories and videos about how much views from up above have taught us about life on our home planet and the search for life elsewhere.

A new time-lapse animation, shown below, captures 20 years’ worth of the planet’s changing land and ocean life as seen from the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of view Sensor, which launched in 1997.

“These are incredibly evocative visualizations of our living planet,” Gene Carl Feldman, an oceanographer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said in a NASA news release last week. “That’s the Earth. That is it breathing every single day, changing with the seasons, responding to the sun, to the changing winds, ocean currents and temperatures."

>> Related: 15,000 scientists warn it will soon be 'too late' to save Earth

Over the past 20 years, NASA scientists have monitored the health of crops, forests and fisheries around the globe and have learned more about the long-term changes across continents and ocean basins, the agency wrote in the news release.

NASA to launch JPSS-1 weather satellite Saturday morning

NASA, in partnership with the NOAA, will launch a satellite Saturday that will help improve weather forecasts.

>> Read more trending news

The satellite launch was scheduled for earlier this week, but was postponed twice, once because of high winds and once because of technical difficulties.

The launch for the JPSS-1 satellite is scheduled at 4:47 a.m. Saturday, according to NASA.

>> Related: NASA postpones JPSS-1 weather satellite launch

A live stream of the launch will be available on NASA’s website starting at 4:15 a.m.

The satellites will help improve NOAA forecasts for the three to seven day time frame. The data collected from the JPSS is fed into the numerical forecast models to help improve them. The satellites will also collect atmospheric measurements, ground conditions and ocean conditions like vegetation, hurricane intensity and atmospheric moisture. 

The JPSS-1 will be launch from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California pending proper flight conditions. The launch was originally scheduled for Tuesday.

>> Related: NASA scrubs launch of JPSS-1 weather satellite again

This satellite is a polar orbiting satellite, which means it will orbit the earth from the one pole to the other passing the equator 14 times a day. Full coverage of the planet will then be provided twice a day.

JPSS-2 is planned to launch in 2021, and JPSS-3 and JPSS-4 are anticipated to launch in 2026 and 2031.

NASA postpones JPSS-1 weather satellite launch

NASA, in partnership with the NOAA, scrubbed Tuesday’s launch of a weather satellite that will help improve weather forecasts due to a last-minute technical problem.

JPSS-1 is the first of a few polar orbiting satellites to launch from the Joint Polar Satellite System.

>> Read more trending news 

The satellites will help improve NOAA forecasts for the three- to seven-day time frame. The data collected from the JPSS is fed into the numerical forecast models to help improve them. The satellites will also collect atmospheric measurements, ground conditions and ocean conditions like vegetation, hurricane intensity, and atmospheric moisture.

The JPSS-1 was scheduled to be launched around 4:47 a.m. EST from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California. The launch has been postponed until Wednesday.

This satellite is a polar orbiting satellite, which means it will orbit the earth from the one pole to the other passing the equator 14 times a day. Full coverage of the planet will be provided then twice a day.

NASA astronaut Dick Gordon dies at 88

Astronaut Richard “Dick” Gordon, who served as command module pilot on Apollo 12, the second lunar landing mission, died Monday, NASA officials confirmed Tuesday. He was 88.

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Gordon served in the U.S. Navy and became in astronaut in 1963, according to NASA.

“Dick Gordon is an American hero, and a true renaissance man by any measure,” Curt Brown, chairman of the Orlando-based Astronaut Scholarship Foundation and an astronaut and veteran of six space flights, said in a news release Tuesday. “He was an American naval officer and aviator, chemist, test pilot, NASA astronaut, professional football executive, oil and gas executive and generous contributor to worthy causes. He was in a category all his own.”

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, citing family and friends, said Gordon died at his home in California.

According to NASA, Gordon spent more than 316 hours in space on two missions.

“He was the pilot for the three-day Gemini 11 mission in 1966 and performed two spacewalks,” agency officials said. “At the time of the flight, Gemini 11 set the world altitude record of 850 miles.”

Gordon was born Oct. 5, 1929, in Seattle. He graduated with a degree in chemistry from the University of Washington in 1951, according to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. He received his wings as a naval aviator in 1953 and was later assigned to an all-weather fighter squadron at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida.

He served as a test pilot and an instructor before he was chosen in 1963 to become one of 14 astronauts to create Group 3.

“Four astronauts died in training accidents before any left the atmosphere,” according to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. “The surviving 10 astronauts flew in the Apollo program.”

Gordon had more than 4,500 flying hours with the U.S. Navy under his belt before he piloted his first space flight, Gemini 11, in September 1966. He served as command module pilot for the Apollo 12 mission three years later.

“In all, Gordon spent 13 days in space, and his expeditions were portrayed by actor Tom Verica in the 1998 HBO miniseries, ‘From the Earth to the Moon,’” according to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. “Gordon, a voracious reader and chemist, also published several technical papers for the Navy and NASA before retiring from both in 1972 at the rank of captain.”

Gordon is survived by six children, two stepchildren and five grandchildren.

Scripps Florida scientists find 'functional cure' for HIV

In findings that could point to a better treatment for HIV infections, Scripps Florida scientists say they’ve found a new way to manage the virus.

Scripps Associate Professor Susana Valente says she successfully tested a drug that promises a “functional cure” for HIV: The infection isn’t gone, but the virus lies dormant.

>> Read more trending news

The results of a study led by Valente were published in October in the journal Cell Reports. Valente and researchers from Scripps Florida, the University of North Carolina and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research used a natural compound known as didehydro-Cortistatin A, or dCA. It stops the spread of HIV by inhibiting the protein Tat.

“It is really the proof of concept for a functional cure,” Valente said.

Read the full story on MyPalmBeachPost.com

Study: Marijuana addiction in adults related to anxiety disorder

New research from Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, suggests anxiety may be a major risk factor of problematic marijuana use in early adulthood.

>> Read more trending news

The research, published last month in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, involved 1,229 participants enrolled in the Great Smoky Mountains Study, a 20-year cohort study that followed participants between 1993 and 2015.

The Great Smoky Mountain Study is part of a collaborative effort between Duke University and the North Carolina State Division of Developmental Disabilities, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

One of its primary goals is to estimate the number of youth with emotional and behavioral disorders and the persistence of those disorders over time, according to the study website.

>> Related: Why more US teens are suffering from severe anxiety than ever before — and how parents can help

To study risk factors for problematic cannabis use, researchers examined the Great Smoky Mountains participants annually from ages 9 and 16 years and then again at ages 19, 21, 26 and 30 years and logged patterns of problematic cannabis use.

Problematic cannabis use refers to the daily consumption of marijuana or a habit that meets diagnostic guidelines for addiction, meaning cannabis use disorder.

The researchers split the participants’ cannabis use into the patterns described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5.

Patterns of problematic use, according to the DSM-5:

  • Non-problematic use in adolescence (19-21) and early adulthood (26-30)
  • Limited problematic use in late adolescence only and persistent problematic use in late adolescence and early adulthood
  • Delayed problematic use in early adulthood only

Using pairwise associations to identify risk profiles associated with patterns of problematic cannabis use in early adulthood, the researchers also examined multiple risk factors, such as psychiatric disorders; other substance use; education’ challenging social factors, such as low socioeconomic status and family issues; and additional demographics.

What the researchers found

More than three quarters, 76.3 percent, of the participants in the study did not develop problematic use of cannabis during their late adolescence or early adulthood.

>> Related: Doctors address illness linked to chronic marijuana use

But one quarter of the participants did develop problematic use of cannabis, and researchers found they had distinctive risk profiles. 

This group was divided into the three pattern categories: persistent problematic cannabis use, limited problematic cannabis use and delayed problematic cannabis use.

Persistent problematic use

For persistent users -- those with the most problematic use of marijuana, sometimes beginning as early as age 9 -- the problems continued into early adulthood.

>> Related: Northern Michigan University offers marijuana studies degree

What’s most important, Sherika Hill — adjunct faculty associate at Duke University School of Medicine and lead author of the study — told Medical News Today, is that 27 percent of persistent users reported anxiety disorders as children and 23 percent reported anxiety disorders as older teens or during college years, up to age 21.

This group also had the highest levels of psychiatric disorders.

“This suggests,” Hill said, “that a focus on mental health and well-being could go a long way to prevent the most problematic use.”

Limited problematic use

The group with limited problematic use surprisingly reported the most childhood family instability and dysfunction of the three -- factors usually linked with a higher level of drug use, the researchers found.

>> Related: Need relief from chronic pain? Marijuana may not help after all, studies say

But limited users tended to have more cannabis use issues as preteens, teens and early adolescents and fell off the habit as they got older.

Delayed problematic use

And lastly, most of the participants in the group of delayed users with little to no cannabis use in adolescence and early adulthood but problematic use between age 26 and 30 experienced bullying and mistreatment as children.

Why did childhood bullying and mistreatment not lead to earlier problematic cannabis use? The researchers don’t really know. 

Hill told Medical News Today about the motivation behind the new study is that most of the current policies and interventions on cannabis use are aimed at early adolescents.

“We have to start thinking about how we are going to address problematic use that may arise in a growing population of older users. Given that more states may be moving towards legalization of cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes, this study raises attention about what we anticipate will be the fastest growing demographic of users — adults.”

Read the full study at jaacap.com

Just 1 percent of women know of this common ovarian cancer symptom, study says

Ovarian cancer is one of the most common cancers among women. However, many are unaware of the red flags, according to a new report.

>> Read more trending news

Target Ovarian Cancer, a cancer charity in Europe, recently conducted an experiment to determine how the disease has affected women in recent years. 

To do so, they interviewed nearly 1,400 women of the general population in the United Kingdom to measure awareness of ovarian cancer. They then surveyed about 500 practicing general practitioners across the U.K. to measure awareness and their experience with ovarian cancer.

Lastly, they handed out questionnaires to about 400 U.K. women with ovarian cancer. It focused on their symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

>> Related: Sugar can fuel cancerous cells, study says

After analyzing the results, they found that ovarian cancer affects about 7,300 women in the U.K., and 11 women die every day from the disease.

Despite the statistics, not many know about the warnings signs. 

Just 1 percent know that “increased urinary urgency” is one of the four main symptoms of ovarian cancer, and only 21 percent are able to name bloating as a symptom.

Furthermore, 30 percent of women incorrectly believe cervical screenings also detect ovarian cancer.

>> Related: Why are more black women dying of breast cancer compared to white women?

As for doctors, 45 percent of them wrongly think symptoms are only present in the later stages of the disease, and about 43 percent of women visit their general practitioner three times or more before being referred for a diagnostic tests. 

“The findings ... show what is working when it comes to diagnosing and treating ovarian cancer in England, but they also show where more remains to be done,” the authors concluded in the study

To heighten awareness, researchers recommend general practitioners complete accredited training on ovarian cancer. They also hope to highlight the Be Clear on Cancer campaign, which aims to educate women on the symptoms and the importance of visiting the doctor. 

Want to learn more about the results? Take a look at the full report here

New earthquake simulations show how the 'big one' could shake the Pacific Northwest

Fifty new simulations of "the big one” show how a magnitude 9.0 earthquake from the Cascadia Subduction Zone could play out.

>> Watch the news report here

The Cascadia Subduction Zone is a fault that sits along the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, and two plates colliding could eventually slip, triggering a massive earthquake that could shake the Northwest

More coverage on KIRO7.com:

>> SLIDESHOW: Geologic illustrations explain the Cascadia subduction

>> SLIDESHOW: How the 'big one' could play out

>> How to build a 7-day disaster emergency survival kit on a budget

>> Washington state's largest quake drill ever to test readiness for ‘the big one' 

>> Mexico's strongest earthquake in a century recorded at Mt. Rainier

>> 5 things to help you easily understand 'the big one' 

A University of Washington research project ran simulations using different combinations for three key factors: the epicenter of the earthquake, how far inland the earthquake will rupture and which sections of the fault will generate the strongest shaking.

The results show that the location at which the earthquake starts matters most, and the scenarios can drastically change depending on where the earthquake hits. 

One animation shows a scenario that’s bad for Seattle, in which an earthquake begins off the southern Oregon coast and the fault line breaks north, with seismic waves building up along the way. By contrast, a better scenario for Seattle would actually be an earthquake that begins closer – off the Olympic Peninsula – where the fault line breaks away from the city. 

But make no mistake, the magnitude 9.0 scenarios are bad, and models show the ground shaking for 100 seconds. That’s four times longer than it shook during the 2001 Nisqually quake, which, at magnitude 6.8, did plenty of damage and rattled many nerves.

>> Read more trending news 

"We know a magnitude 9.0 earthquake occurred in Cascadia in the year 1700, but we didn't have any seismometers or recording instruments at the time," said Erin Wirth, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington.

Wirth said scenarios show the level of shaking could be 10 times different depending on where the earthquake begins and the direction in which the fault line ruptures.

Past models have looked at one or two scenarios, but this is the first study with 50 scenarios. The point is to show the wide range of possibilities of a magnitude 9.0 earthquake. The next steps for researchers is to take this information and model the impacts on tsumamis, landslides and tall buildings in Seattle.

They hope that information will help planners and emergency managers prepare for "the big one."

People can actually sweat blood, study finds

Sweating isn’t unusual, but sweating blood is. Yet, it’s quite possible to perspire blood, according to a new report.

>> Read more trending news

Researchers from Italy recently published a case study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, detailing the case of a 21-year-old woman who checked herself in a medical ward for sweating blood.

According to the study, she had been bleeding from her face and palms for three years without a known cause. The bleeding would occur while she was asleep and during times of physical activity, and it would last for one to five minutes.

The woman had no open cuts or wounds, and her condition often worsened during times of stress. Her episodes were so persistent that she became socially isolated due to embarrassment. 

When the doctors tested and treated her for major depressive disorder and panic disorder, results came back normal and the bleeding persisted. 

Doctors eventually diagnosed her with hematohidrosis, which is also known as “blood sweat.” It’s an uncommon disease where blood seeps through intact skin just like sweat. 

Although scientists have proposed several causes of hematohidrosis, including systemic diseases like vicarious menses and coagulopathies, these hypotheses have “not yet been proven,” the study said. 

To treat the patient, they prescribed her with propranolol, a beta-blocker used to to regulate blood pressure and heart rate.

While it didn’t stop the bleeding completely, it “led to marked reduction,” the authors wrote. 

Want to learn more about the findings? Take a look at the full case study here.

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