North Carolina Science Now

The Iconic Earthrise Photo that Almost Never Happened

Have you ever had one of those days when almost nothing goes the way you planned and you just want to get away from it all? 

I know, Southwest Airlines has an advertising campaign centered around that same theme, but nevertheless, you know the feeling. 

It turns out, 1968 was an entire year like that. The Vietnam war was raging, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated, and there were riots in many American cities. 

On the Edge: Life on North Carolina's Reefs

Most people associate reef systems with tropical islands and warm, shallow waters. 

However, those are coral reefs—reefs made of living creatures.

Believe it or not, there are two unique reef systems off the North Carolina coast. They are made of rock but they are still reefs, and while they aren't made of ocean life, they are covered with it. 

The first system is found primarily on the edge of the continental shelf, about 75 miles offshore. There are smaller systems rising periodically from the ocean floor about 40 miles off the coast as well. 

Lake Mattamuskeet: From Formation, to World's Largest Pumping Plant

Lake Mattamuskeet is North Carolina’s largest natural lake at 40,000 acres. 

Not surprisingly, the lake is a big draw for hunters, fishermen, bird watchers and others looking for wildlife and outdoor-dependent recreation. The lake is surrounded by an additional estimated 10,000 acres of marsh, timber and cropland which together make up the Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge. 

Understanding a Solar Eclipse: Then and Now

Thanks to scientific observations with telescopes, satellites and mathematical calculations, we not only understand what happens during a solar eclipse but we can also predict when they will occur and where they will be seen well into the future. 

That hasn’t always been the case. 

Take, for example, the origin of the word eclipse. It’s derived from the ancient Greek word ekleipsis, meaning "abandonment." You get the idea. The folks back then thought the Sun had just turned off. It had, in effect, abandoned the Earth. 

A Deadly Day at Sea: The Fateful Battle of the Atlantic

To understand the Battle of the Atlantic, you need to go back one day before the actual armed conflict. 

On July 14, 1942, a convoy of 19 merchant ships and five military escort ships set sail from Hampton Roads, Virginia. The convoy was named KS-520, with the “KS” indicating they were moving south along the coast heading to Key West, Florida. 

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