Japanese researchers build robotic tail to keep elderly upright

An elderly woman prays at a chapel of the San Rafael nursing home in Arecibo, Puerto Rico February 14, 2018. Picture taken February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Alvin Baez

Millions of years after the ancestors of humans evolved to lose their tails, a research team at Japan’s Keio University have built a robotic one they say could help unsteady elderly people keep their balance.

Dubbed Arque, the grey one-meter device mimics tails such as those of cheetahs and other animals used to keep their balance while running and climbing, according to the Keio team.

“The tail keeps balance like a pendulum,” said Junichi Nabeshima, a graduate student and researcher at the university’s Embodied Media Project, displaying the robotic tail attached to his waist with a harness.

“When a human tilts their body one way, the tail moves in the opposite direction.”

As Japan greys it is leading the industrial world in seeking ways to keep its aging population mobile and productive.

While other nations have turned to immigrant workers to replenish a shrinking workforce, less welcoming Japan has focused more on a technological solution.

The robotic tail, which uses four artificial muscles and compressed air to move in eight directions, will remain in the lab for now, however, as researchers look for ways to make it more flexible, Nabeshima said.

Apart from helping the elderly get around, the team are also looking at industrial applications for the artificial appendage, such as a balance aid for warehouse workers carrying heavy loads.

“I think it would be nice to incorporate this further developed prosthetic tail into daily life, when one seeks a little more help balancing,” Nabeshima said.

(Reporting by Megu Jones; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Robots to install telescopes to peer into cosmos from the moon

University of Colorado Boulder director of NASA/NLSI Lunar University Network for Astrophysics Research Jack Burns points out locations on a lunar globe at the Fiske Planetarium in Boulder, Colorado, U.S., June 24, 2019. REUTERS/Michael Ciaglo

By Joey Roulette

BOULDER, Colo. (Reuters) – As the United States races to put humans back on the moon for the first time in 50 years, a NASA-funded lab in Colorado aims to send robots there to deploy telescopes that will look far into our galaxy, remotely operated by orbiting astronauts.

The radio telescopes, to be planted on the far side of the moon, are among a plethora of projects underway by the U.S. space agency, private companies and other nations that will transform the moonscape in the coming decade.

“This is not your grandfather’s Apollo program that we’re looking at,” said Jack Burns, director of the Network for Exploration and Space Science at the University of Colorado, which is working on the telescope project.

“This is really a very different kind of program and very importantly it’s going to involve machines and humans working together,” Burns said in an interview at his lab on the Boulder campus.

Sometime in the coming decade, Burns’ team will send a rover aboard a lunar lander spacecraft to the far side of the moon. The rover will rumble across the craggy and rough surface – featuring a mountain taller than any on earth – to set up a network of radio telescopes with little help from humans. 

Astronauts will be able to control the rover’s single robotic arm from an orbital lunar outpost called Gateway, which an international consortium of space agencies is building. The platform will provide access to and from the moon’s surface and serve as a refueling station for deep space missions.

The goal is to give astronauts control of the rover “in a quicker fashion and more like doing some sort of video game,” said Ben Mellinkoff, a graduate student at the university. His project is telerobotics, or using artificial intelligence to give users better control over robotic movements from afar.

“It has a lot of potential, especially applied toward space exploration,” he says.

The rover, being built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., will plant the shoebox-sized telescopes on the moon’s regolith – the dust, soil and broken rock that covers its surface. Unfettered by the noisy radio interference and light that hinders Earth-bound space observations, the telescopes will peer into the cosmic void, looking back in time to the early formation of our solar system, Burns says.

University of Colorado Boulder PhD student Dan Prendergast participates in an experiment to test whether he operates a robot better in 2D or virtual reality at a lab in Boulder, Colorado, U.S., June 24, 2019. The team's findings may help determine what camera systems will be implemented on robots destined to perform tasks on the moon. REUTERS/Michael Ciaglo

University of Colorado Boulder PhD student Dan Prendergast participates in an experiment to test whether he operates a robot better in 2D or virtual reality at a lab in Boulder, Colorado, U.S., June 24, 2019. The team’s findings may help determine what camera systems will be implemented on robots destined to perform tasks on the moon. REUTERS/Michael Ciaglo

ROBOT PROTOTYPE

Working out of a small lab on the Boulder campus, Mellinkoff and two fellow graduate students have built a prototype of the robot named Armstrong (named for the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong). It is made from computer parts and powered by two modified portable cell phone chargers.

On a recent visit, Mellinkoff controlled the robotic arm using an X-box gaming controller, driving it toward an assortment of shoe-sized objects created with 3-D printing and resembling the radio telescopes to be planted on the moon.

“It’s really going to be a platform for us to start different science studies that we couldn’t do from the surface of Earth,” said Keith Tauscher, a physics graduate student.

Tauscher is working on a lunar orbiter designed to take advantage of the radio silence of the far side of the moon to discover when the first stars and black-holes formed during the formation of the universe. “The lab has dubbed this mission ‘the Dark Ages Polarimeter Pathfinder, or “DAPPER.’ ”

The work in Boulder and elsewhere underscores NASA’s plan to build a lasting presence on the moon, unlike the fleeting Apollo missions in the 1960s and ’70s.

Vice President Mike Pence in March announced an accelerated timeline to put humans on the moon in 2024 “by any means necessary,” cutting the agency’s previous 2028 goal in half and putting researchers and companies into overdrive in the new space race.

The Americans are not alone in their latest moon quest, unlike a half-century ago. In January, the China National Space Administration landed a spacecraft on the far side of the moon, with a long-term aim of building a base on the moon. India was scheduled to send a rover to the moon this month.

Another key difference between the Apollo program and the Artemis program, as NASA chief Jim Bridenstine named the new lunar initiative in May, is bringing in help from commercial partners such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. Those companies are working to slash the cost of rocket launches with a longer-term ambition of doing their own projects on the moon and eventually Mars.

“It’s a new way of operating in which the private sector is intimately entangled with NASA,” Burns said.

He predicts that in roughly 20 years, the moon will be dotted with inflatable hotels for deep-pocketed tourists and mining sites where robotic drills dig under the moon’s south pole for frozen water that can be synthesized into rocket fuel for missions back to Earth or further out to Mars.

 

(Reporting by Joey Roulette; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Dan Grebler)

Quakes show that moon, gradually shrinking, is tectonically active

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The moon may be dynamic and tectonically active like Earth – not the inert world some scientists had believed it to be – based on a new analysis disclosed on Monday of quakes measured by seismometers in operation on the moon from 1969 and 1977.

Researchers examining the seismic data gathered during NASA’s Apollo missions traced the location of some of the quakes to step-shaped cliffs called scarps on the lunar surface that formed relatively recently, in geological terms, due to the ongoing subtle shrinking of the moon as its hot interior cools.

“It means that the moon has somehow managed to remain tectonically active after 4.51 billion years,” said Smithsonian Institution planetary scientist Thomas Watters, who led the research published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Earth’s tectonic activity is driven by its hot interior. The moon, which orbits our planet at a distance of about 239,000 miles (385,000 km), has a diameter of about 2,160 miles (3,475 km), a bit more than a quarter of Earth’s diameter.

Images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter showed that the moon has delicately shriveled as its interior has cooled over the eons, akin to a plump grape transforming into a smaller raisin. As a result, it has acquired thousands of small surface wrinkles in the form of surface features called thrust fault scarps.

These faults push one part of the lunar crust up and over the adjoining part, said University of Maryland geologist and study co-author Nicholas Schmerr. They can reach up to about 330 feet (100 meters) tall and extend for many miles.

“This is exciting as it wasn’t clear if the moon had already gone through this period billions of years ago and was tectonically dead, or if it was still active in the present,” Schmerr said.

U.S. astronauts placed seismometers on the lunar surface during the Apollo 11, 12, 14, 15 and 16 missions, recording 28 shallow quakes up to almost 5 magnitude, which is moderate strength. Eight quakes occurred close to faults. Other events such as meteorite impacts can produce quakes, but those would produce different seismic signatures.

Boulder movements and disturbed soil near the scarps also indicated tectonic activity.

Watters said experts must be mindful that quakes may strike near these scarps when planning sites for future lunar exploration and a long-term human presence on the moon.

The moon is not the solar system’s only object shrinking with age. The innermost planet Mercury boasts numerous thrust faults.

(Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Cigar-shaped interstellar visitor ‘Oumuamua classified as comet

This artist’s impression shows the first interstellar asteroid, `Oumuamua as it passes through the solar system after its discovery in October 2017. European Southern Obervatory/M. Kornmesser/Handout via REUTERS

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The reddish cigar-shaped object called ‘Oumuamua spotted last year tumbling through space is a comet, scientists said on Wednesday, solving the mystery over how to classify the first interstellar object found passing through our solar system.

Astronomers said they closely examined the trajectory of ‘Oumuamua, which measures about a half-mile (800 meters) long, as it speeds through our cosmic neighborhood after being evicted somehow from a distant star system.

They found that it is deviating slightly from a path that would be explained purely by the Sun’s gravitational pull because of what apparently is a very small emission of gas from its surface, indicative of a comet.

‘Oumuamua (pronounced oh-MOO-uh-MOO-uh) initially was pegged as a comet, but it lacks the tail of gas and dust characteristic of many comets, and some scientists argued that it was perhaps a dry asteroid.

“It does not display any tail in any observation we obtained,” said astronomer Marco Micheli of the European Space Agency’s SSA-NEO Coordination Centre in Italy, who led the study, published in the journal Nature.

“However, our analysis shows that the amount of emitted gas that is needed to generate this extra force we see would have been so small as to be invisible in our observations,” he said in an email.

This “extra force” acting on the object’s trajectory amounts to only about 0.1 percent of the Sun’s gravitational attraction.

‘Oumuamua was first detected last October by the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS1 telescope. Its name refers in the native Hawaiian language to a messenger arriving from a great distance.

It previously slingshot past the Sun traveling at roughly 196,000 miles per hour (315,000 km per hour) and is heading out of the solar system in the direction of the constellation Pegasus. ‘Oumuamua as of last month was roughly the same distance from the Sun as Jupiter.

Astronomers suspect that more visitors from other star systems will be discovered passing through our solar system.

“The discovery of ‘Oumuamua is an absolute first in the field, and it provided our first opportunity to study an object coming from another star and planetary system,” Micheli said. “The existence of these objects was expected, but seeing one for the first time, and being able to study it in detail, is a unique chance to know more on these distant systems, and how they formed.”

(Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

Israeli scientists complete mock Mars mission in Negev desert

Israeli scientists participate in an experiment simulating a mission to Mars, at the D-MARS Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station project of Israel's Space Agency, Ministry of Science, near Mitzpe Ramon, Israel, February 18, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

RAMON CRATER, Israel (Reuters) – A team of six Israeli researchers on Sunday ended a four-day Mars habitat experiment in Israel’s Negev desert where they simulated living conditions on the Red Planet, Israel’s Science and Technology Ministry said.

The experiment was held near the isolated Israeli township of Mitzpe Ramon, whose surroundings resemble the Martian environment in its geology, aridity, appearance and desolation, the ministry said.

The participants were investigating various fields relevant to a future Mars mission, including satellite communications, the psychological affects of isolation, radiation measurements and searching for life signs in soil.

Participant Guy Ron, a nuclear physics professor from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, said the project was not only intended to look for new approaches in designing a future mission to the Red Planet but to increase public interest.

Israeli scientists participate in an experiment simulating a mission to Mars, at the D-MARS Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station project of Israel's Space Agency, Ministry of Science, near Mitzpe Ramon, Israel, February 18, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Israeli scientists participate in an experiment simulating a mission to Mars, at the D-MARS Desert Mars Analog Ramon Station project of Israel’s Space Agency, Ministry of Science, near Mitzpe Ramon, Israel, February 18, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

“D-Mars is half about the research, and the other half is about the outreach. A major part of this project is getting public interest and getting students interested in space,” he said.

The “D-Mars” project was being held in Israel for the first time in cooperation with the Israel Space Agency. It is one of a number of Mars simulation projects taking place worldwide.

(Reporting by Rami Amichay; Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Edmund Blair)

U.S. government warns businesses about cyber bug in Intel chips

U.S. government warns businesses about cyber bug in Intel chips

By Stephen Nellis and Jim Finkle

(Reuters) – The U.S. government on Tuesday urged businesses to act on an Intel Corp alert about security flaws in widely used computer chips as industry researchers scrambled to understand the impact of the newly disclosed vulnerability.

The Department of Homeland Security gave the guidance a day after Intel said it had identified security vulnerabilities in remote-management software known as “Management Engine” that shipped with eight types of processors used in business computers sold by Dell Technologies Inc, Lenovo Group Ltd, HP Inc, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co and other manufacturers.

Security experts said that it was not clear how difficult it would be to exploit the vulnerabilities to launch attacks, though they found the disclosure troubling because the affected chips were widely used.

“These vulnerabilities affect essentially every business computer and server with an Intel processor released in the last two years,” said Jay Little, a security engineer with cyber consulting firm Trail of Bits.

For a remote attack to succeed, a vulnerable machine would need to be configured to allow remote access, and a hacker would need to know the administrator’s user name and password, Little said. Attackers could break in without those credentials if they have physical access to the computer, he said.

Intel said that it knew of no cases where hackers had exploited the vulnerability in a cyber attack.

The Department of Homeland Security advised computer users to review the warning from Intel, which includes a software tool that checks whether a computer has a vulnerable chip. It also urged them to contact computer makers to obtain software updates and advice on strategies for mitigating the threat. (http://bit.ly/2zqhccw)

Intel spokeswoman Agnes Kwan said the company had provided software patches to fix the issue to all major computer manufacturers, though it was up to them to distribute patches to computers users.

Dell’s support website offered patches for servers, but not laptop or desktop computers, as of midday Tuesday. Lenovo offered fixes for some servers, laptops and tablets and said more updates would be available Friday. HP posted patches to its website on Tuesday evening.

Security experts noted that it could take time to fix vulnerable systems because installing patches on computer chips is a difficult process.

“Patching software is hard. Patching hardware is even harder,” said Ben Johnson, co-founder of cyber startup Obsidian Security.

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Grant McCool)

Exclusive: FBI agents raid headquarters of major U.S. body broker

Exclusive: FBI agents raid headquarters of major U.S. body broker

By John Shiffman and Brian Grow

PORTLAND, Oregon (Reuters) – Federal agents have seized records from a national company that solicits thousands of Americans to donate their bodies to science each year, then profits by dissecting the parts and distributing them for use by researchers and educators.

The search warrant executed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation at MedCure Inc headquarters here on November 1 is sealed, and the bureau and the company declined to comment on the nature of the FBI investigation. But people familiar with the matter said the inquiry concerns the manner in which MedCure distributes body parts acquired from its donors.

MedCure is among the largest brokers of cadavers and body parts in the United States. From 2011 through 2015, documents obtained under public-record laws show, the company received more than 11,000 donated bodies and distributed more than 51,000 body parts to medical industry customers nationally. In a current brochure, the company says that 80,000 additional people have pledged to donate their bodies to MedCure when they die.

FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele confirmed the day-long search of the 25,000-square-foot facility, but declined to comment further because the matter is under seal. A person familiar with the matter said that FBI agents took records from MedCure but did not remove human remains.

The search warrant, though sealed, signals that an FBI investigation of MedCure has reached an advanced stage. To obtain a search warrant to seize records, rather than demand them via subpoena, FBI agents must provide a detailed affidavit to a U.S. magistrate with evidence to support probable cause that crimes have been committed and that related records may be on the premises.

“MedCure is fully cooperating with the FBI, and looks forward to resolving whatever questions the government may have about their business,” said Jeffrey Edelson, a Portland attorney who represents the company. “Out of respect for the integrity of the process, we do not believe that further comment is appropriate at this time.”

It is illegal to profit from the sale of organs destined for transplant, such as hearts and kidneys. But as a Reuters series detailed last month, it is legal in most U.S. states to sell donated whole bodies or their dissected parts, such as arms and heads, for medical research, training and education.

Commonly known as body brokers, these businesses often profit by targeting people too poor to afford a burial or cremation. Reuters documented how people who donate their bodies to science may be unwittingly contributing to commerce. Few states regulate the body donation industry, and those that do so have different rules, enforced with varying degrees of thoroughness. Body parts can be bought with ease in the United States. A Reuters reporter bought two heads and a spine from a Tennessee broker with just a few emails.

MedCure, founded in 2005, is based outside Portland, Oregon, and has offices in Nevada, Florida, Rhode Island and Missouri, as well as Amsterdam, the Netherlands. At some locations, including the one near Portland, MedCure provides training labs for doctors and health professionals to practice surgical techniques. MedCure also sends body parts and technicians to assist with medical conferences across the country.

MedCure is accredited by the American Association of Tissue Banks, a national organization that primarily works with transplant tissue banks. The broker is also licensed by the state health departments in Oregon and New York, among the few states that conduct inspections. According to Oregon state health records, officials renewed MedCure’s license in January, following a routine on-site review.

The Reuters series, “The Body Trade,” can be read at https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-bodies-brokers/

(Edited by Michael Williams)

Exclusive: U.S. needs to improve oversight of labs handling dangerous pathogens – report

Exclusive: U.S. needs to improve oversight of labs handling dangerous pathogens - report

By Julie Steenhuysen

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A year-long audit of the program overseeing U.S. labs that handle lethal pathogens such as Ebola and anthrax found overworked safety inspectors, an absence of independent review and weak biosafety protections that could expose lab workers and the public to harm, a government report will say on Tuesday.

The report by the Government Accountability Office to Congress followed a series of mishaps in which dangerous pathogens were inadvertently released. The report, seen by Reuters, concluded that the Federal Select Agent Program needs an overhaul.

The GAO audited laboratory safety oversight following errors that could have exposed dozens of people to live anthrax bacteria and the deadly toxin ricin. Its report will guide questioning of officials before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight subcommittee on Thursday.

The Federal Select Agent Program is jointly run by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

According to the report, a chief concern is that the program is too focused on physical security measures, such as preventing theft from labs, and needs to focus more on biosafety issues that could protect researchers and the wider public from errors.

The GAO report also noted that many of the labs using high-risk pathogens for research belong to either CDC or the USDA, and recommended that Congress consider setting up a fully independent oversight body to remove potential conflicts of interest.

“The Select Agent Program does not fully meet our key elements of effective oversight,” the report stated.

Safety lapses in CDC labs captured headlines in 2014 when scientists at a high-level biosecurity lab did not properly inactivate anthrax bacteria before sending the material to labs with fewer safeguards. More than 80 scientists were exposed to potentially live anthrax, though no one fell ill.

In the months that followed, the Food and Drug Administration disclosed the discovery of decades-old vials of smallpox in a storage closet, while a U.S. Army lab erroneously shipped live anthrax to nearly 200 labs worldwide.

To address concerns of conflict of interest, CDC and APHIS have made structural changes to increase the program’s independence, but according to the GAO report, the program has not undergone a comprehensive risk management review, even as problems with lab safety continue to come to light.

As recently as last November, the Department of Homeland Security found a private lab inadvertently shipped ricin – a lethal poison – to one of its training centers on multiple occasions in 2011.

“Considering the type of research we’re talking about, we should have a much more robust, systematic oversight approach. That seems to be lacking,” said an aide to the House committee who declined to be identified.

To avoid conflicts of interest, inspections of APHIS laboratories are supposed to be carried out by the CDC, and inspections of CDC labs are to be carried out by APHIS. But the report revealed that at least three times in 2015, APHIS inspected its own laboratories, partly because there is no process in place to ensure compliance.

The report also cited excessive workloads for inspectors, which delay inspection reports and make it harder to retain personnel. In some cases, inspectors have been assigned to tasks outside of their expertise. For example, the GAO found that an APHIS physical security expert was asked to inspect ventilation systems – a critical protection against the accidental release of dangerous pathogens.

Short of a move by Congress to create an independent oversight agency, GAO recommended that CDC and APHIS officials conduct a risk assessment of the Select Agent Program and how it handles conflicts of interest. It also recommended that program officials shift inspection priorities to focus on high-risk activities in labs and develop a joint plan to train and hire inspectors.

The Health and Human Services Department, which oversees CDC, and the USDA, which runs APHIS, agreed with many of these recommendations, according to the report. Officials from the CDC and APHIS will testify at the Thursday hearing.

(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Michele Gershberg)

Senators push bill requiring warrant for U.S. data under spy law

Senators push bill requiring warrant for U.S. data under spy law

By Dustin Volz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A bipartisan group of at least 10 U.S. senators plans to introduce on Tuesday legislation that would substantially reform aspects of the National Security Agency’s warrantless internet surveillance program, according to congressional aides.

The effort, led by Democrat Ron Wyden and Republican Rand Paul, would require a warrant for queries of data belonging to any American collected under the program. The bill’s introduction is likely to add uncertainty to how Congress will renew a controversial portion of a spying law due to expire on Dec. 31.

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is considered by U.S. intelligence officials to be among their most vital tools used to combat national and cyber security threats and help protect American allies.

It allows U.S. intelligence agencies to eavesdrop on and store vast amounts of digital communications from foreign suspects living outside the United States.

The surveillance program, classified details of which were exposed in 2013 by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, also incidentally scoops up communications of Americans, including if they communicate with a foreign target living overseas.

Those communications can then be subject to searches without a warrant, including by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a practice that the USA Rights Act authored by Wyden and Paul would end.

The measure is expected to be introduced with support from a wide berth of civil society groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and FreedomWorks, a Wyden spokesman said.

It would renew Section 702 for four years with additional transparency and oversight provisions, such as allowing individuals to more easily raise legal challenges against the law and expand the oversight jurisdiction of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, a government privacy watchdog.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives earlier this month introduced legislation seeking to add privacy protections to Section 702, including a partial restriction to the FBI’s ability to access U.S. data when seeking evidence of a crime.

But that was criticized by privacy groups as too narrow.

Separately, the Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to privately vote on Tuesday on a bill to reauthorize Section 702 that privacy advocates say will lack their reform priorities.

Wyden sent a letter on Monday urging committee leaders to allow a public vote, saying the bill “will have enormous impact on the security, liberty, and constitutional rights of the American people” and should be debated in the open.

(Reporting by Dustin Volz; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Orionid Meteor Shower, at its peak, will light up the skies this weekend

Orionid Meteor Shower, at its peak, will light up the skies this weekend

By Shirette Stockdall

The Heavens will be providing Earth with a beautiful show this weekend, the peak of the Orionid Meteor Shower. Multiple sources, including Accuweather, USA Today, and ABC 7, state that Saturday morning (just before dawn) will be the ideal time to watch the meteor shower. However, the meteor shower will still be visible Saturday and Sunday from midnight until dawn.

The eastern horizon should have the best views of meteor shower, but NASA reports that the entire Earth will be able to view the event. Bruce McClure of EarthSky told USA Today that the darkest areas should see a maximum of 10-15 meteors per hour. Also, no special equipment is needed to see the shooting stars.

The Orionid Meteor Shower happens as a result of Earth’s orbit intersecting with the path of the legendary Halley’s Comet, last seen in 1986. While Halley’s Comet is still very far away and won’t be seen again until 2061, it leaves behind debris and dust that strikes Earth’s atmosphere.

If the meteor shower originates from Halley’s Comet, why is it named the Orionid Meteor Shower? Despite its source, the meteor shower is named after the constellation, Orion, because the comets seem to radiate from Orion. Space.com suggests looking 30 degrees above Orion’s sword (or club, depending on the lore) to see the most shooting stars. Your fist at arm’s length is approximately the equivalent of 10 degrees, so measure three fist lengths above Orion.

Accuweather reports that clear skies are in the forecast for most of the Southwest, but the central and northwestern regions of the U.S. may have clouds blocking their views of the meteor shower.

If you do miss this weekend’s meteor shower, the Leonids Meteor Shower will take place in November and the Geminds Meteor Shower will light up the sky in December.