This Week in Nature: February 1-7

The moon plays tag with four planets:

moon and 4 planets

Mars and the moon appear together on the morning of February 1.
Saturn and the moon appear together on the evening of February 3.
Venus and the moon appear together on the morning of February 6.
And Mercury and the moon appear together on the evening of February 6.

 

Elk dawn:

elk dawn

Elk and some deer are crepuscular – out and about in the twilight hours. In the winter, while the trees are bare and the nights are usually below freezing, dawn and dusk are the best times to see these majestic creatures. The male’s antlers have been at peak growth and sturdiness for a few months now and will soon shed them in the next month or two.

 

Warm fat:

before and after hibernation

Most mammals have to bulk up and store fat prior to winter, whether they hibernate or not, in order to survive the harsh weather. All mammals have two types of fat: white and brown. Brown fat converts to heat directly, without shivering, and is the primary source of warmth in those that do hibernate. Some mammals actually burn off half their bulk during winter. We may think it’s cold outside right now, but they’re nice and toasty.

hibernating bear

 

Photo 1: earthsky.org
Photo 4: Planet-Science

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