I have been reminiscing a lot lately, one does that as one ages. I think back when there were books and newspapers in paper form, carburated hot rods that one could tune up themselves, and when we spent a lot of time outside before the advent of electronic devices. Children would be playing out in the yards while the parents sat on their porches talking to the neighbors who would be passing by. We had three TV stations to watch in black and white. The skies over head were free of man made satellites looking down on the earth. Meteorologists gathered their data from land based stations to present daily weather reports. TV stations ran from 6am to midnight then turned off with the star spangled banner and a test pattern.
Today the United States Strategic Command tracks a total of 17,852 artificial objects in orbit above the Earth, including 1,419 operational satellites. (graphic to the left) As of July 2013, more than 170 million debris smaller than 1/2 inch, about 670,000 debris around an inch, and around 29,000 larger debris were estimated to be in orbit. Collisions with debris have become a hazard to spacecraft; they cause damage akin to sandblasting, especially to solar panels and optics like telescopes or star trackers that cannot be covered with a ballistic Whipple shield (unless it is transparent). All of this in less than 50 years.
Dry weather and plenty of sunshine will settle into the region today. A low pressure system will provide a good chance for showers and thunderstorms late Tuesday into Tuesday night. A few storms may become severe over Southern Lower Michigan, but model runs this morning are showing severe levels less likely. Hot and humid conditions will then build for the end of the week, with the heat index reaching near 100 degrees Friday and Saturday.
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