In the Headlines

Blog posts about big news stories and issues (i.e. not local news)

Examining the War in Ukraine at 6 months (event video)

Faculty members will examine the current status and global implications of the War in Ukraine. This talk features faculty members: Josh Fulton (History), Jim McIntyre (History), Jason King (Geography), and Kevin Navratil (Political Science & Democracy Commitment). This event is organized by the MVCC Democracy Commitment.

Looking 13 Billion Years into the Past is Just the Beginning

On July 12th 2022, NASA released the first five images taken by the powerful James Webb Space Telescope.

A photo of the James Webb Space Telescope at NASA. A frontal view of the large, gold, hexagonal mirrors held aloft in a large room. Underneath the mirrors stand a crew of NASA workers in white protective suits. Some workers are viewing the telescope, others are holding cables and instruments.
The James Webb Space Telescope in 2017. Image credit: NASA/Desiree Stover (https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/goddard/2017/james-webb-space-telescope-mirror-seen-in-full-bloom)

After 17 years of construction and testing, Webb was launched into orbit in 2021 as a successor to the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes. Built to create high-resolution images by detecting infrared light, scientists expect that Webb will be able to look farther and deeper into space than we’ve ever seen before.

Looking Into the Deep Past

Telescopes allow us to look into the past, rather than see objects as they are now. The further an object is from the telescope, the longer it takes light emitted from the object to reach us. It takes about 8 minutes for light to travel to Earth from the Sun, so on sunny days, you’re seeing the sun 8 minutes in the past.

Now imagine you’re looking at an object one billion light years away. Light from that object has been traveling towards us for one billion years! So when we look at that object in the telescope we’re seeing what it looked like when that light first left the object a billion years ago.

One of first images Webb has taken is a deep field image. This image looks towards a very small, distant part of the cosmos and took 12.5 hours for the telescope to capture. Webb is able to look so far, we can view some of these galaxies as they were about a billion years after the big bang! The farthest galaxy appears to be 13.1 billion years old. Some of the galaxies in the image appear stretched or distorted. Those galaxies are much further away from us and the light they emit is distorted by the immense gravitational pull of galaxies in the foreground.

Thousands of small galaxies appear across this view. Their colors vary. Some are shades of orange, while others are white. Most appear as fuzzy ovals, but a few have distinct spiral arms. In front of the galaxies are several foreground stars. Most appear blue, and the bright stars have diffraction spikes, forming an eight-pointed star shape. There are also many thin, long, orange arcs that curve around the center of the image. For more details, download the Text Description.
Webb’s First Deep Field. Image credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI. (https://webbtelescope.org/contents/media/images/2022/035/01G7DCWB7137MYJ05CSH1Q5Z1Z)

What’s Next for Webb?

Webb will continue to look deep into the history of our universe, looking for some of the earliest star formation, but will also look at places closer to home, like the outer planets and other structures in our solar system. We may even learn more about exoplanets, planets in other solar systems!

Learn About The Moraine Valley Observatory and Telescope

MVCC Observatory Homepage and Events

Explore More

Recommended Reading/Viewing from MVCC Library

Washington Post’s Capitol Coverage Wins Pulitzer

From the Guardian (Washington Post wins public service Pulitzer for Capitol attack coverage)
“The Washington Post has won the 2022 Pulitzer prize for public service journalism, for The Attack, its account of the deadly assault on the US Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump on 6 January 2021…”read more

This reporting involved 75 journalists including 25 reporters who were on the scene. You can watch some of the Post’s video coverage here:

Here is the reaction by the WP reporters when the Pulitzer’s were announced.

How Misinformation can impact political processes, policymaking and election laws (Video)

This event examines the role that disinformation can play in impacting election laws and policymaking. Political Science Professor and Democracy Commitment Coordinator Kevin Navratil will explore how misinformation has influenced recent voting laws, decisions to declare land a national heritage site, anti-GMO labeling, and chemical safety laws.  

January 6 Insurrection: What’s Happened Since?

PBS’ Frontline is an award-winning documentary series that is known globally for its investigative reporting of key issues facing the US and the world.

Frontline has released its documentary on the January 6th insurrection and attack on the United States Capitol. This documentary has available for free online. At the one year anniversary of January 6th, Frontline released an updated version of this episode. You can watch it onlne here:

UPDATE: January 6 Insurrection: What’s Happened Since? (full documentary)

Climate Wars, Leaked Documents, Pentagon, Australia, Iraq & Climate Change

The Pentagon is worried about climate wars. Iraq is being ravaged by climate change. Australia, Japan, and majors companies are hiding the impacts of climate change. This week has been a major week in terms of Climate Change reporting.

Check out these stories!

This years One Book, One College program is focused on building sustainable communities in the midst of climate change. Learn more at our One Book website.

Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples’ Day?

If you have children, chances are they have no school tomorrow (October 11th) due to Columbus Day. If they go to Chicago Public Schools, it’s due to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. (Moraine Valley is NOT closed tomorrow.) So which is it, Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples’ Day? According to an NBC5 article entitled What to Know about Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Columbus Day in Illinois, in 2017, Illinois designated the last Monday of September as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. However on Friday, President Biden made a proclamation that October 11th will officially be known as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

If you are interested in learning more about Indigenous Peoples’, the Moraine Valley Library has you covered. We have many books and videos about Indigenous Peoples’. We have many databases that might be useful for finding articles or videos about Indigenous Peoples. Here are the search results from our Academic Search Complete database on Indigenous Peoples of the Americas.

When in doubt, the librarians are always happy to help. Just be sure to Ask a Librarian.

Photo credits: “National Indigenous People’s Day Celebration” by danna § curious tangles is licensed with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Wildfires can make their own weather!?!

After I finished my library degree, I had the privilege of living in southern Oregon for three of the most adventurous years of my life. Back then, wildfires were frequent, but they rarely turned into the monsters they can be today. Recently, the largest fire in Oregon, the Bootleg Fire, was said to be creating it’s own weather – it even spawned a firenado! This fascinating article by Wired magazine entitled Oh Good, Now there is an Outbreak of Wildfire Thunderclouds, will explain how they do that and what they mean for climate future. For more resources about wildfires, pyrocumulonimbus clouds, or other environmental research questions, please Ask a Librarian for help.

That Smokey Haze Across the Chicago Skyline

Have you noticed that milky haze across the sky? That’s smoke in the upper atmosphere from Western wildfires. There are 80 fires burning across 13 states and the smoke from those fires reaches across the entire US. Check out this NY Times story, See How Wildfire Smoke Spread Across America. (MVCC students and staff can sign up for a free account on the NY Times through our library).

A map from the NY Times traces the route of smoke across the US.
Haze in the sky of Chicago.

Be Ready For Tornadoes

Late last night, Naperville residents had about 3 minutes between hearing their local emergency sirens and the formation of a huge tornado with winds possibly over 100 mph. Residents in Naperville, Woodridge, and Darien suffered damage to their homes and communities. A few individuals ended up in the hospital and many lost their homes. Trees damaged power lines and many lost power. Tornadoes don’t leave a lot of time for you to react, so the best way to deal with them is to prepare ahead of time.

While this event didn’t impact the MVCC campus directly, tornadoes can affect any community. Here are some resources that will help you be ready in case the next disaster is in your area:

Tornado Preparedness Resources:

5 Things to Know When the Tornado Siren Blares (Alternative link)

Tornado Preparedness and Safety

Illinois Severe Weather Preparedness Guide

Building and Emergency Kit

Get Emergency Alerts on Your Phone

Apps and Social Media for Monitoring Severe Weather:

Want to help?

Suburban Chicago Tornado: How to Help Storm Damage Victims

Information about Volunteering, Donations, and Food Pantries

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