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The Sky this Week, September 27-October 3

“The Sky This Week” appears every Tuesday. It is written by Ian Clarke, Director of the Hatter Planetarium at Gettysburg College.  The planetarium offers regular educational presentations about the stars and the skies; there’s something for early elementary through adults. Field trip requests are welcome. NOTE: field trip request form for Fall 2022 is now live, and the schedule of free public shows has been posted. If you’ve been looking at the night sky lately, you know it’s hard to miss the brilliant planet Jupiter. Currently wandering through the constellation of Pisces, Jupiter rises around sunset and is in the sky through the night. Right now Jupiter is essentially opposite the sun in the sky, a planetary event that astronomers call “opposition.” (The exact date was September 26.) As you can see in the diagram, opposition occurs when an outer planet lines up with the earth on one side of the sun. This brings the earth and planet closer together than at any other time, meaning that that planet is brighter than at any other time. Because the orbits of the planets are elliptical, not all oppositions for a given planet are equally close and bright. During this opposition Jupiter is about 367 million miles away, compared to 373 million miles at its last opposition in 2021. That may not be a huge difference, but it’s still the closest the two planets have been since 1963.

The Sky this Week, September 13-19

“The Sky This Week” appears every Tuesday. It is written by Ian Clarke, Director of the Hatter Planetarium at Gettysburg College.  The planetarium offers regular educational presentations about the stars and the skies; there’s something for early elementary through adults. Field trip requests are welcome. NOTE: field trip request form for Fall 2022 is now live, and the schedule of free public shows has been posted. Let’s talk today about the most distant object you can see without optical aid, the Andromeda Galaxy. You’ll need a moonless night far from artificial lights to see it. If you can easily see the Milky Way, then you should be able to see the Andromeda Galaxy as a faint, fuzzy spot. The accompanying illustration will tell you where to look. If you can’t see it with the unaided eye, a good pair of binoculars should bring it out. Look for a fuzzy oval in the spot shown on the map. That fuzzy spot is the combined light of about a trillion stars at a distance from us of 2.5 million light years. (One light year is 5.9 trillion miles.) As distant as that may seem, the Andromeda Galaxy is a neighbor of ours, a member of our Local Group of galaxies. The Local Group itself is a part of the Virgo Supercluster of galaxies, whose center lies 65 million light years away. The Virgo supercluster in turn is only one of the millions of such groups in the observable universe.

The Sky this Week, September 6-12

“The Sky This Week” appears every Tuesday. It is written by Ian Clarke, Director of the Hatter Planetarium at Gettysburg College.  The planetarium offers regular educational presentations about the stars and the skies; there’s something for early elementary through adults. Field trip requests are welcome. NOTE: field trip request form for Fall 2022 is now live, and the schedule of free public shows has been posted. This week brings us a full moon on September 10. On its journey toward fullness the moon moves eastward about a fist-width held at arm’s length each night. On September 7 and 8 the waxing moon will be passing by the planet Saturn and on the 10th and 11th it will be near Jupiter. Since the moon will be dominating the night sky, here are a few facts about the moon’s appearance to ponder. You may know that the moon always keeps the same side toward the earth. Astronomers say it’s “tidally locked,” and the same is true of many other planetary satellites. However, due to subtle shifts in the earth’s perspective (both east-west and north-south) we actually get to see 59% of the moon’s surface over time. Next fact: the “supermoon” isn’t really that super. The moon’s orbit is elliptical; at its closest the moon is 225,700 miles from the earth and at its farthest it is 251,900 miles. A “supermoon” (more properly called a perigee full moon) is when the full moon happens near that closest point. For some perspective, however, note that an average full moon is the same apparent size as a quarter held 103 inches away from you. If the quarter were 98 inches away instead, that would be a “supermoon.” When looking for a big moon, the “moon illusion” may make a bigger impression. It is a poorly understood optical illusion that causes us to overestimate the size of sky objects near the horizon. 

The Sky this Week, Aug. 30 – Sep. 5

“The Sky This Week” appears every Tuesday. It is written by Ian Clarke, Director of the Hatter Planetarium at Gettysburg College.  The planetarium offers regular educational presentations about the stars and the skies; there’s something for early elementary through adults. Field trip requests are welcome. NOTE: field trip request form for Fall 2022 is now live, and the schedule of free public shows has been posted. As I noted last week, the moon was new on the 27th. That means it is now emerging as a waxing crescent into the evening sky after sunset, growing a little bigger and farther away from the sunset each night. Check out the illustration. The moon will reach first quarter on September 3. Look east this week after it is thoroughly to dark to see Jupiter and Saturn. Jupiter is about as bright right now as it can get. Each planet’s brightness in our sky varies with the changing positions of the earth, that planet, and the sun. Also in the east, you’ll see the constellation Pegasus, famous in mythology as a winged horse. The most noticeable part of this constellation is highlighted in the accompanying illustration. Not surprisingly, it is called the Great Square of Pegasus.

NASA’s Artemis 1 mission to the Moon sets the stage for routine space exploration beyond Earth’s orbit – here’s what to expect and why it’s important

Jack Burns, University of Colorado Boulder NASA’s Artemis 1 mission is poised to take a key step toward returning humans to the Moon after a half-century hiatus. The mission, scheduled to launch on Monday, Aug. 29, 2022, is a shakedown cruise – sans crew – for NASA’s Space Launch System and Orion Crew Capsule. The spacecraft is scheduled to travel to the Moon, deploy some small satellites and then settle into orbit. NASA aims to practice operating the spacecraft, test the conditions crews will experience on and around the Moon, and assure everyone that the spacecraft and any occupants can safely return to Earth. The Conversation asked Jack Burns, a professor and space scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder and former member of the Presidential Transition Team for NASA, to describe the mission, explain what the Artemis program promises to do for space exploration, and reflect on how the space program has changed in the half-century since humans last set foot on the lunar surface. How does Artemis 1 differ from the other rockets being launched routinely? Artemis 1 is going to be the first flight of the new Space Launch System. This is a “heavy lift” vehicle, as NASA refers to it. It will be the most powerful rocket engine ever flown to space, even more powerful than Apollo’s Saturn V system that took astronauts to the Moon in the 1960s and ‘70s. It’s a new type of rocket system, because it has both a combination of liquid oxygen and hydrogen main engines and two strap-on solid rocket boosters derived from the space shuttle. It’s really a hybrid between the space shuttle and Apollo’s Saturn V rocket. Testing is very important, because the Orion Crew Capsule is going to be getting a real workout. It will be in the space environment of the Moon, a high-radiation environment, for a month. And, very importantly, it will be testing the heat shield, which protects the capsule and its occupants, when it comes back to the Earth at 25,000 miles per hour. This will be the fastest capsule reentry since Apollo, so it’s very important that the heat shield function well. This mission is also going to carry a series of small satellites that will be placed in orbit of the Moon. Those will do some useful precursor science, everything from looking further into the permanently shadowed craters where scientists think there is water to just doing more measurements of the radiation environment, seeing what the effects will be on humans for long-term exposure. What’s the goal of the Artemis project? What’s coming up in the series of launches? The mission is a first step toward Artemis 3, which is going to result in the first human missions to the Moon in the 21st century and the first since 1972. Artemis 1 is an uncrewed test flight. Artemis 2, which is scheduled to launch a few years after that, will have astronauts on board. It, too, will be an orbital mission, very much like Apollo 8, which circled the Moon and came back home. The astronauts will spend a longer time orbiting the Moon and will test everything with a human crew. And, finally, that will lead to a journey to the surface of the Moon in which Artemis 3 – sometime mid-decade – will rendezvous with the SpaceX Starship and transfer crew. Orion will remain in orbit, and the lunar Starship will take the astronauts to the surface. They will go to the south pole of the Moon to look at an area scientists haven’t explored before to investigate the water ice there. Artemis is reminiscent of Apollo. What has changed in the past half-century? The reason for Apollo that Kennedy envisioned initially was to beat the Soviet Union to the Moon. The administration didn’t particularly care about space travel, or about the Moon itself, but it represented an audacious goal that would clearly put America first in terms of space and technology. The downside of doing that is the old saying “You live by the sword, you die by the sword.” When the U.S. got to the Moon, it was basically game over. We beat the Russians. So we put some flags down and did some science experiments. But pretty quickly after Apollo 11, within a few more missions, Richard Nixon canceled the program because the political objectives had been met. So fast-forward 50 years. This is a very different environment. We are not doing this to beat the Russians or the Chinese or anybody else, but to begin a sustainable exploration beyond Earth’s orbit. The Artemis program is driven by a number of different goals. It includes in situ resource utilization, which means using resources at hand like water ice and lunar soil to produce food, fuel and building materials. The program is also helping to establish a lunar and space economy, starting with entrepreneurs, because SpaceX is very much part of this first mission to the surface of the Moon. NASA doesn’t own the Starship but is buying seats to allow astronauts to go to the surface. SpaceX will then use the Starship for other purposes – to transport other payloads, private astronauts and astronauts from other countries. Fifty years of technology development means that going to the Moon now is much less expensive and more technologically feasible, and much more sophisticated experiments are possible when you just figure the computer technology. Those 50 years of technological advancement have been a complete game-changer. Almost anybody with the financial resources can send spacecraft to the Moon now, though not necessarily with humans. NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services contracts private companies to build uncrewed landers to go to the Moon. My colleagues and I have a radio telescope that’s going to the Moon on one of the landers in January. That just wouldn’t have been possible even 10 years ago. https://www.youtube.com/embed/7toE-Cd5S2w?wmode=transparent&start=0 Artemis is an ambitious program, but technology has advanced tremendously in the 50 years since humans last went to the Moon. What other changes does Artemis have in store? The administration has said that in that first crewed flight, on Artemis 3, there will be at least one woman and very likely a person of color. They may be one and the same. There may be several. I’m looking forward to seeing more of that diversity, because young kids today who are looking up at NASA can say, “Hey, there’s an astronaut who looks like me. I can do this. I can be part of the space program.” Jack Burns, Professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. Featured image caption: NASA is going back to the Moon. NASA

The Sky this Week, August 23-30

“The Sky This Week” appears every Tuesday. It is written by Ian Clarke, Director of the Hatter Planetarium at Gettysburg College.  The planetarium offers regular educational presentations about the stars and the skies; there’s something for early elementary through adults. Field trip requests are welcome. NOTE: field trip request form for Fall 2022 is now live, and the schedule of free public shows has been posted. With mostly moonless nights, it’s a great time to get outside and see the Summer Triangle and Milky Way. Get as far as possible from artificial lights and be sure to allow your eyes to dark adapt for ten minutes or more. Looking overhead about 10:00 p.m., you’ll see the “Summer Triangle” of the bright stars Vega, Deneb, and Altair. It looks like a big pizza slice pointing south. It is not one of the official 88 constellations, so we call it an “asterism.” Each of these bright stars is within its own constellation: Lyra for Vega, Cygnus for Deneb, and Aquila for Altair. The Milky Way (if your sky is dark enough to see it) runs from the southern horizon through the Summer Triangle. The moon is new on August 27. As we approach that date, you can see it in the early morning sky near the planet Venus. It will be a crescent, getting thinner and thinner as the days go by. Then, a two or three days after new moon, you’ll see it as a crescent in the west after sunset, getting bigger and farther from the sunset each night.

The Sky this Week, August 15-22

“The Sky This Week” appears every Tuesday. It is written by Ian Clarke, Director of the Hatter Planetarium at Gettysburg College.  The planetarium offers regular educational presentations about the stars and the skies; there’s something for early elementary through adults. Field trip requests are welcome. NOTE: field trip request form for Fall 2022 is now live, schedule of free public shows is coming soon. We just passed the full moon phase on the night of August 11-12, and now you may notice that the moon is gone from the evening sky. There are a couple of useful rules of thumb to remember about the moon cycle. First, when the moon is full it is opposite the sun from our point of view. Therefore it rises around sunset and sets around sunrise. This is only true at full moon, and the actual timing varies a bit; but it’s a good approximation. For the next rule of thumb, the moon rises about 50 minutes later each night. So now (Tuesday, August 16) the moon will rise just before 11:00 p.m., and it will rise later each night as the phase wanes. Before the moon comes up, look at the stars in the northern sky. It’s a good place to begin finding your way around. As long as you’re in the earth’s northern hemisphere, you will always find the Polaris (the North Star) due north at a height above the horizon equal to your latitude. For us, that’s 40 degrees, with the horizon being zero and the zenith 90. Contrary to popular misconception, Polaris is not especially bright; it’s only the 48th brightest star. What’s special is its location very near the celestial north pole. This means that as the earth rotates, all the other stars seem to revolve around it each night. No matter what time of night or year, however, you will always find the two constellations Cassiopeia and Ursa Major (which contains the “Big Dipper”) opposite one another.

The Sky this Week, August 8-14, 2022

The moon, now almost full, dominates the night sky. After the full moon, August 11 at 9:36 p.m. it begins the waning half of its monthly cycle. If your calendar says the full moon is the 12th that’s because it’s going by Universal Time, which is four hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time and thus into the next day. As nice as a full moon is to enjoy it drowns out a lot fainter objects in the sky. That is bad news for this year’s Perseid meteor shower (peak August 11-12) because the moonlight will hide all but the brightest meteors. What can you see this week besides the moon? Planets of course! Saturn rises first around 9:00 PM; look east about an hour after that for this yellowish point of light. (You need a telescope to see the famous rings.) Jupiter rises at 10:30 and Mars around 1:00 AM. If you are up in the early morning hours you’ll see these three planets stretched in a line from Mars in the east to Saturn in the southwest. Jupiter will be by far the brightest and Mars will look reddish. Fun fact: the planets are always roughly in a line, because the solar system is fairly flat (at least the major objects, like planets). Astronomers call that line in the sky the ecliptic. The planets may not be right on it, but they are always close by. Think about it this way, the ecliptic is the plane of our solar system as seen in the night sky.

NASA Reveals Webb Telescope’s First Images of Unseen Universe

The dawn of a new era in astronomy is here as the world gets its first look at the full capabilities of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, a partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency). The full set of the telescope’s first full-color images and spectroscopic data, which uncover a collection of cosmic features elusive until now, released Tuesday, are available at https://www.nasa.gov/webbfirstimages. “Today, we present humanity with a groundbreaking new view of the cosmos from the James Webb Space Telescope – a view the world has never seen before,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “These images, including the deepest infrared view of our universe that has ever been taken, show us how Webb will help to uncover the answers to questions we don’t even yet know to ask; questions that will help us better understand our universe and humanity’s place within it. “The Webb team’s incredible success is a reflection of what NASA does best. We take dreams and turn them into reality for the benefit of humanity. I can’t wait to see the discoveries that we uncover – the team is just getting started!” NASA explores the unknown in space for the benefit of all, and Webb’s first observations tell the story of the hidden universe through every phase of cosmic history – from neighboring planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets, to the most distant observable galaxies in the early universe.  “This is a singular and historic moment,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “It took decades of drive and perseverance to get us here, and I am immensely proud of the Webb team. These first images show us how much we can accomplish when we come together behind a shared goal, to solve the cosmic mysteries that connect us all. It’s a stunning glimpse of the insights yet to come.” “We are elated to celebrate this extraordinary day with the world,” said Greg Robinson, Webb program director at NASA Headquarters. “The beautiful diversity and incredible detail of the Webb telescope’s images and data will have a profound impact on our understanding of the universe and inspire us to dream big.” Webb’s first observations were selected by a group of representatives from NASA, ESA, CSA, and the Space Telescope Science Institute. They reveal the capabilities of all four of Webb’s state-of-the-art scientific instruments: SMACS 0723: Webb has delivered the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe so far – and in only 12.5 hours. For a person standing on Earth looking up, the field of view for this new image, a color composite of multiple exposures each about two hours long, is approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length. This deep field uses a lensing galaxy cluster to find some of the most distant galaxies ever detected. This image only scratches the surface of Webb’s capabilities in studying deep fields and tracing galaxies back to the beginning of cosmic time. WASP-96b (spectrum): Webb’s detailed observation of this hot, puffy planet outside our solar system reveals the clear signature of water, along with evidence of haze and clouds that previous studies of this planet did not detect. With Webb’s first detection of water in the atmosphere of an exoplanet, it will now set out to study hundreds of other systems to understand what other planetary atmospheres are made of. Southern Ring Nebula: This planetary nebula, an expanding cloud of gas that surrounds a dying star, is approximately 2,000 light years away. Here, Webb’s powerful infrared eyes bring a second dying star into full view for the first time. From birth to death as a planetary nebula, Webb can explore the expelling shells of dust and gas of aging stars that may one day become a new star or planet. Stephan’s Quintet: Webb’s view of this compact group of galaxies, located in the constellation Pegasus, pierced through the shroud of dust surrounding the center of one galaxy, to reveal the velocity and composition of the gas near its supermassive black hole. Now, scientists can get a rare look, in unprecedented detail, at how interacting galaxies are triggering star formation in each other and how the gas in these galaxies is being disturbed. Carina Nebula: Webb’s look at the ‘Cosmic Cliffs’ in the Carina Nebula unveils the earliest, rapid phases of star formation that were previously hidden. Looking at this star-forming region in the southern constellation Carina, as well as others like it, Webb can see newly forming stars and study the gas and dust that made them. “Absolutely thrilling!” said John Mather, Webb senior project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “The equipment is working perfectly, and nature is full of surprising beauty. Congratulations and thanks to our worldwide teams that made it possible.” The release of Webb’s first images and spectra kicks off the beginning of Webb’s science operations, where astronomers around the world will have their chance to observe anything from objects within our solar system to the early universe using Webb’s four instruments. The James Webb Space Telescope launched Dec. 25, 2021, on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, South America. After completing a complex deployment sequence in space, Webb underwent months of commissioning where its mirrors were aligned, and its instruments were calibrated to its space environment and prepared for science. The public can also view the new Webb images Tuesday on several digital screens in New York City’s Times Square and in London’s Piccadilly Circus beginning at 5:30 p.m. EDT and 10:30 p.m. GMT, respectively. The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space science observatory. Webb will solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. NASA Headquarters oversees the mission for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages Webb for the agency and oversees work on the mission performed by the Space Telescope Science Institute, Northrop Grumman, and other mission partners. In addition to Goddard, several NASA centers contributed to the project, including the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, and others. For a full array of Webb’s first images and spectra, including downloadable files, visit https://webbtelescope.org/news/first-images Featured Image Caption: This landscape of “mountains” and “valleys” speckled with glittering stars is actually the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula. Captured in infrared light by NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope, this image reveals for the first time previously invisible areas of star birth. Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI Learn more about this image. Lee esta nota de prensa en español aquí.

Gettysburg Garden Club Annual Spring Perennial Sale

The Gettysburg Garden Club will hold its Annual Spring Perennial Sale on Saturday, May 21, 8:00 am – 2:00 pm while supplies last at the Gettysburg Firehouse, 35 North Stratton Street. Come early and have your choice of great finds. This year, we have an array of interesting plants, including turtlehead, herbs, Mexican Sunflower (a special annual), coreopsis, hyssop, lupine, wild ginger, bee balm, foxglove firecracker loosestrife, and penstemon. Returning are some popular selections: coneflower, black-eyed Susan, hostas, ferns, bleeding hearts, lamb’s ear, iris, daylilies, baby redbud trees, and many others.  We accept checks and cash. The Gettysburg Garden Club, founded in 1960, promotes interest in all facets of gardening. The club is a nonprofit organization affiliated with the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania and National Garden Clubs, Inc.

Oldest national parks in America

By Lauren Liebhaber Oldest national parks in America We live in a land of giants, legends, and ancient history. Early descriptions of the regions that would eventually become our national parks, most often told by explorers or laborers, were so foreign and fantastical to the average person that they simply weren’t believed. Even today, the parks’ grandeur can only fully be comprehended in person. But the majesty of Yosemite, Sequoia, and Yellowstone proved all too real, prompting a radical idea; some say it was America’s best idea ever. Canva The idea was simple and conceived in earnest: preserve these lands so that they might flourish and feed the human spirit of every generation to come. Thanks to the National Park Service (NPS), more than 14 billion visitors since 1904 have had the chance to do just that: to experience the impressive scale, history, and raw beauty of these environments. The creation of the national parks as we know them today—over 400 areas, with 85 million acres in 50 states and other territories—was a hard-won achievement. It was a battle fought by pioneers, politicians, scientists, and artists alike to preserve these environments well beyond the scope of their own lives. Individuals like John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, and countless others were integral in facilitating these protections. In August 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Organic Act, which officially established the National Park Service as a federal bureau in the Department of the Interior. The NPS was tasked with protecting the national parks and monuments already established up to that point and any future parks that would be created. A 1933 executive order transferred 56 pre-existing monuments and historical sites to the purview of the NPS. Today, new national parks are created through acts of Congress. The importance of these lands goes back further than explorations of the Western wilderness, further than the passage of protective legislation. Many of the regions in which the national parks reside are significant cultural heritage sites for the communities of American Indians, Native Alaskans, and Native Hawaiians who have lived and flourished in those lands since time immemorial. The first stewards of these lands lived here long before the NPS; protecting and sharing these histories is an essential duty of the NPS as it attempts to preserve the legacy of its parks. Using a variety of historical sources such as the National Park Service, Stacker compiled a list of the 25 oldest established national parks in America. The area of each park is current as of 2017. Because 2020 was such an outlier year in terms of visitors because of COVID-19, we included visitor numbers from 2019 as well. Any parks that have been disbanded since their founding or have merged with other national parks are not included in the list. Read on for an overview of the history and defining characteristics of the 25 oldest national parks. You may also like: Greenest cities in America Niagara66 // Wikimedia Commons 25. Kings Canyon – Location: California – Date established as park: March 4, 1940 – Area: 461,901 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 632,110 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 415,077 Kings Canyon resides in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains, adjacent to Sequoia National Park. Its dramatic geography—with glacial valleys, rocky outcrops, and expansive meadows, all of which was brought to prominence in the late 19th century by John Muir—is often compared to the legendary Yosemite. But one of its most well-known and visited features is Grant Grove, an expanse of mighty redwoods, and home to the General Grant Tree, one of the largest living trees in the world. Maurice King // Wikimedia Commons 24. Olympic – Location: Washington – Date established as park: June 29, 1938 – Area: 922,649 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 3,245,806 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 2,499,177 Olympic National Park, located on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, is defined by its geographic isolation. Olympic contains three distinct ecosystems—temperate rainforests, pacific coastline, and glaciated mountains, the most famous of which is Mount Olympus—making it one of the most ecologically diverse parks in the U.S. Canva 23. Shenandoah – Location: Virginia – Date established as park: Dec. 26, 1935 – Area: 199,218 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 1,425,507 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 1,666,265 Just over an hour’s drive away from D.C., Shenandoah offers a stunning perspective on East Coast wilderness, including 300 square miles of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Shenandoah’s most prominent feature is Skyline Drive, a road that traverses the entirety of the park with over 70 overlooks of the Shenandoah Valley. But Skyline Drive and the park as a whole were not always so accessible. Adhering to Jim Crow laws, private operators implemented what they claimed were “separate but equal” facilities throughout the park until it was fully integrated in 1950. Rick Grainger // Shutterstock 22. Great Smoky Mountains – Location: Tennessee, North Carolina – Date established as park: June 15, 1934 – Area: 522,427 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 12,547,743 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 12,095,720 Great Smoky Mountains National Park is regularly among the most-visited parks in the nation. It is also the most biodiverse park in the national park system—over 19,000 species have been documented and scientists believe up to 100,000 undocumented species may live there. Its creation was more complicated than that of other national parks, requiring extensive fundraising, the purchase of thousands of small farms, and the removal of those who lived there previously. Everglades NPS // Wikimedia Commons 21. Everglades – Location: Florida – Date established as park: May 30, 1934 – Area: 1,508,934 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 1,118,300 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 702,319 Everglades National Park—established thanks to the efforts of former-land-developer-turned-conservationist Ernest F. Coe—is the largest subtropical wilderness in the U.S. It was also the first national park created to protect an ecosystem at risk. The park is home to many federally threatened and endangered species, including the West Indian manatee and the Florida panther. Wctr2019 // Wikimedia Commons 20. Carlsbad Caverns – Location: New Mexico – Date established as park: May 14, 1930 – Area: 46,766 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 440,691 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 183,835 Carlsbad Caverns, located in the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico, is defined by its unique and long geological history, most of which is hidden from sight. This national park contains one of the Earth’s oldest and best-preserved fossilized reefs. Capitan Reef is a record of a 250 million-year-old Permian-age ocean teeming with life in the present-day arid, mountainous region bordered by the Chihuahuan desert. Also hidden below the surface of the Earth is an extensive system of limestone caves decorated by a variety of calcite deposits, the viewing of which is a popular activity for park visitors. Unsplash 19. Grand Teton – Location: Wyoming – Date established as park: Feb. 26, 1929 – Area: 310,044 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 3,405,614 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 3,289,638 Grand Teton National Park is characterized by the rugged Teton Mountain range, clear alpine lakes, and the well-known Jackson Hole Valley. Human presence in the region goes back nearly 11,000 years. The park was also a popular destination for mountaineers, fur trappers, and dude ranchers. Jean-Christophe BENOIT // Wikimedia Commons 18. Bryce Canyon – Location: Utah – Date established as park: Feb. 25, 1928 – Area: 35,835 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 2,594,904 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 1,464,655 Bryce Canyon is the land of hoodoos, or irregular rock spires. In fact, it’s home to the largest concentration of hoodoo formations on Earth. The park’s topography is singularly striking, a relic of far off periods in Earth’s evolution. Bryce Canyon was initially designated as a national monument in 1923 before the land was sold to the federal government and established as a national park five years later. Ken L. // Flickr 17. Hot Springs – Location: Arkansas – Date established as park: March 4, 1921 – Area: 5,548 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 1,467,153 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 1,348,215 As its name suggests, Hot Springs National Park is known for its geothermal pools. The city of Hot Springs and successful bathhouse industry grew around and in response to the region’s unique hydrothermal features. Liam Fujita Photography // Shutterstock 16. Zion – Location: Utah – Date established as park: Nov. 19, 1919 – Area: 147,237 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 4,488,268 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 3,591,254 Zion National Park has a long human history dating back to nearly 6,000 B.C. when small semi-nomadic family groups inhabited the region. With its deep canyons, vast plateaus, sandstone cliffs, and river formations, Zion has no shortage of striking geological panoramas. Zion was initially established as Mukuntuweap National Monument by President William Taft in 1909. Fearing that a Native American name would deter visitors, the region was renamed Zion, a Mormon phrase reflective of the population residing there at the time. GoodFreePhotos 14. Acadia (tie) – Location: Maine – Date established as park: Feb. 26, 1919 – Area: 49,075 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 3,437,286 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 2,669,034 Acadia was the first national park east of the Mississippi River and is the only national park in the northeastern U.S. Covered in spruce-fir forests, outlined by the rocky Atlantic coastline and dotted with dozens of lakes and ponds, Acadia is quintessential northeastern wilderness. Popular recreational activities include hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, and leaf-peeping in the fall. GoodFreePhotos 14. Grand Canyon (tie) – Location: Arizona – Date established as park: Feb. 26, 1919 – Area: 1,201,647 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 5,974,411 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 2,897,098 Grand Canyon National Park is characterized by its staggering vastness. At 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and over a mile deep, the Grand Canyon is a uniquely impressive and inspiring geological wonder. It is also a place steeped in spiritual significance for several American Indian cultures. One of the park’s biggest early advocates who pushed to protect and preserve the land was President Theodore Roosevelt, calling it “the one great sight which every American should see.” Denali National Park and Preserve // Wikimedia Commons 13. Denali – Location: Alaska – Date established as park: Feb. 26, 1917 – Area: 4,740,911 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 601,152 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 54,850 Denali National Park and Preserve is home to North America’s highest mountain peak: Denali, formerly known as Mount McKinley. The word Denali means “the high one” in the language of local Athabascan Indians. Charles Sheldon—a millionaire in the railroad industry and an amateur naturalist—was the first person to propose establishing Denali as a national park to protect its wildlife from trophy hunters and even hand-delivered the bill outlining the park’s creation to President Woodrow Wilson. NPS 12. Lassen Volcanic – Location: California – Date established as park: Aug. 9, 1916 – Area: 106,589 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 517,039 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 542,274 The stark landscape of Lassen Volcanic National Park tells the story of a violent, volatile past. Volcanoes, fumaroles, geysers, and other hydrothermal features give this park its distinct eruptive quality, serving as a keen reminder of how active the Earth is just below our feet. Visitors can spend time at Juniper and Butte Lakes, or observe the many hydrothermal features (assuming they follow all safety precautions). Unsplash 10. Haleakalā (tie) – Location: Hawaii – Date established as park: Aug. 1, 1916 – Area: 33,265 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 994,394 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 319,147 Haleakalā National Park, located on the island of Maui, is a place of great cultural and biological importance. According to legend, the demigod Maui lassoed and trapped the sun in order to make the days longer. In Hawaiian, Haleakalā means “house of the sun.” The park, being so geographically isolated, is home to many endemic species of plants and animals, which visitors can glimpse on trails, day hikes, and guided tours. Jo Crebbin // Shutterstock 10. Hawaiʻi Volcanoes (tie) – Location: Hawaii – Date established as park: Aug. 1, 1916 – Area: 323,431 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 1,368,376 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 589,775 Like Haleakalā, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park in a place steeped in tradition and biodiversity. The park is home to Kilauea and Mauna Loa, two of the world’s most active volcanoes. In Hawaiian culture, Kilauea is believed to be the home of the goddess Pele. The park offers several day hikes and additional trails on which visitors can explore the park’s dramatic and culturally rich landscape, as well as its unique wildlife. NPS 9. Rocky Mountain – Location: Colorado – Date established as park: Jan. 26, 1915 – Area: 265,795 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 4,670,053 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 3,305,199 Rocky Mountain National Park provides some of the most dramatic landscapes in the entirety of the National Parks System. It holds the title of being the park at the highest elevation on the popular traverse Trail Ridge Road. Naturalist Enos Mills was the driving force behind the creation of Rocky Mountain National Park after falling in love with the area as a boy. He spent the majority of his life advocating for the park and training the next generation of stewards to do the same. Tobias Klenze // Wikimedia Commons 8. Glacier – Location: Montana – Date established as park: May 11, 1910 – Area: 1,013,126 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 3,049,839 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 1,698,864 Glacier National Park has been nicknamed the “Crown of the Continent” and it’s not difficult to understand why. When it was established in 1910, the park had over 100 glaciers, making its name choice obvious. Today, only 26 remain. One of the most popular features of the park is the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which traverses the length of the park. The road takes visitors on a drive across dramatic landscapes and by several National Historic Landmarks established shortly after the park’s incorporation. Lacee Curtis // Wikimedia Commons 7. Mesa Verde – Location: Colorado – Date established as park: June 29, 1906 – Area: 52,485 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 556,203 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 287,477 Mesa Verde National Park is probably best known for its preservation of the Pueblo cliff dwellings dating back to 600 C.E. In total, the park contains over 5,000 archaeological sites denoting the region’s long human history. Its more modern history is also full of intrigue: The Pueblo sites were discovered by a rancher named Richard Wetherill and were excavated and partially pillaged by a Swedish aristocrat named Gustaf Nordenskiold. The area’s establishment as a federal national park was vehemently opposed by a writer named Virginia McClurg, who believed it should be a “woman’s park.” Bobneiers // Wikimedia Commons 6. Wind Cave – Location: South Dakota – Date established as park: Jan. 9, 1903 – Area: 33,971 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 615,350 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 448,405 Wind Cave was the world’s first cave to be designated a national park. It was named for the winds that pass through its entrance—according to local oral history, it is as if the mouth of the cave is breathing. The cave is also known for its rare calcite formations, including boxwork, an elaborate honeycomb-like structure formed by layers of calcite spears. The park also contains one of the world’s few remaining mixed-grass prairies, home to native species like bison, elk, and prairie dogs. Wollertz // Shutterstock 5. Crater Lake – Location: Oregon – Date established as park: May 22, 1902 – Area: 183,224 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 704,512 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 670,500 Crater Lake National Park has a violent past that begat the pristine vistas we know today: 7,700 years ago, Mount Mazama was taken down by a two-day volcanic eruption. What was left after the swift fall was Crater Lake Caldera. At 1,943 feet, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the U.S., and its water is some of the clearest in the world. Rim Drive is the most popular route in the park; the path takes visitors around the entirety of the caldera rim. Jeffhollett // Wikimedia Commons 4. Mount Rainier – Location: Washington – Date established as park: March 2, 1899 – Area: 236,382 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 1,501,621 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 1,160,754 Mount Rainier National Park’s most prominent feature is its namesake, Mount Rainier. The active volcano is the tallest peak in the Cascade mountain range. Juxtaposed with expansive meadows full of wildflowers, Rainier dominates the park’s landscape. John Muir summited Mount Rainier in 1888 and the experience would compel him to lead the efforts of establishing the region as a national park. Lorcel // Shutterstock 3. Yosemite – Location: California – Date established as park: Oct. 1, 1890 – Area: 761,748 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 4,422,861 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 2,268,313 As it does today, Yosemite had the ability to inspire its earliest visitors with its grandeur. With its ancient giant redwoods, deep valleys, and vast meadows, it was viewed as something to be protected at all costs; not for the privileged few or for profit, but for generations to come. Sen. John Conness, John Muir, and Capt. Charles Young were a few of Yosemite’s most unrelenting protectors. Unsplash 2. Sequoia – Location: California – Date established as park: Sep. 25, 1890 – Area: 404,063 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 1,246,053 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 796,086 As its name suggests, Sequoia National Park is best known for its ancient, giant redwood forests. Home to the world’s largest tree, General Sherman, Sequoia National Park is a testament to nature’s ability to endure not just time, but human meddling. The Giant Sequoias were subject to logging operations in the 1880s. Thanks to the trees’ tendency to splinter and the efforts of advocates like the Sierra Club, the establishment of Sequoia as a national park ended all logging operations. Unsplash 1. Yellowstone – Location: Wyoming, Montana, Idaho – Date established as park: March 1, 1872 – Area: 2,219,791 acres – Recreational visitors in 2019: 4,020,288 – Recreational visitors in 2020: 3,806,306 The early descriptions of Yellowstone recounted by prospectors and explorers who passed through the region were so extreme that they were often laughed off as fantasy. Descriptions of its unparalleled size and eruptive earth—all the things we stand in awe of still today—finally forced an expedition into the territory to validate the claims once and for all. One year after the expedition, President Ulysses S. Grant signed a bill making Yellowstone the first national park.

Quarantine and permitting fight invasive spotted lanternfly, now found in Adams

As the invasive spotted lanternfly’s spring hatch approaches, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced in March that the department has added 11 counties to Pennsylvania’s quarantine zone. Adams, Armstrong, Bedford, Centre, Fulton, Indiana, Lycoming, Mercer, Snyder, Union, and Washington counties bring the total to 45 Pennsylvania counties quarantined. “Spotted lanternflies threaten outdoor businesses and quality of life as well as grapes and other valuable crops Pennsylvania’s economy depends on,” Redding said. “It’s up to every Pennsylvanian to be on the lookout for these bad bugs. Walk your yard, gardens, or land before spring hatch and scrape egg masses. Kill every bug. Check your vehicles before traveling to ensure you’re not transporting them to a new area for new opportunities to devastate crops and outdoor quality of life.” Adult lanternflies do not survive the winter months. However last season’s insects have laid eggs on any outdoor surface in masses of 30-60 eggs, each covered with a mud- or putty-like protective coating. Finding and destroying egg masses now will prevent their hatch and reduce their spread this season. In the seven seasons since lanternflies were first discovered in the U.S., research funded by the PA Department of Agriculture, the USDA, and private industry has advanced our understanding of the insect and how to safely control it in our climate and habitat. To learn how to recognize the insect and its eggs, how to separate common myths from facts, and how to safely control it on your property, visit Penn State Extension’s website, extension.psu.edu/spotted-lanternfly or contact your local PSU Extension office. Known lanternfly infestations are not widespread in the newly quarantined counties, but in scattered municipalities shown on the department’s detailed online map. When the department receives reports of lanternflies in new areas, inspectors confirm the presence of the insect, then survey the area to determine whether it was an isolated insect or a more extensive population. Working with property owners, inspectors treat areas that pose a high risk of spreading the insect, such as high-traffic businesses, tourist attractions and transport centers. The quarantine strictly prohibits the movement of any spotted lanternfly living stage including egg masses, nymphs, and adults, and regulates the movement of articles that may harbor the insect. Businesses that operate in or travel through quarantined counties are required to obtain a spotted lanternfly permit. The permit is designed to educate business travelers — regardless of their industry and whether or not they transport goods – to recognize spotted lanternflies and know how to keep from giving them a ride to a new area. More than 20,000 companies throughout the U.S. and Canada have gotten permits, representing more than 1.2 million of their employees who are doing their part to stop the spread of the invasive insect. For more information on spotted lanternflies, visit agriculture.pa.gov/spottedlanternfly. For more about how Governor Tom Wolf’s historic PA Farm Bill invests in a vibrant, sustainable agriculture industry visit agriculture.pa.gov/pafarmbill.

LASD students learn practical skills through agriculture courses

There is no denying the real learning for real life value of an agriculture curriculum for high school students. Farming, and its wide range of crops, are linked to physical activity, a better quality of life, and a potential source of revenue. Jesse Brant, Chair of Littlestown High School’s Agriculture Department, prepares his students for a world beyond the classroom. Agriculture, Agricultural Construction, Horticulture, and Plant and Animal Science are among course offerings. In addition, classroom learning and hands-on experiences present an unmatched learning experience, transferable to marketable skills. The greenhouse, adjacent to the classroom, and the vegetable garden, in full view from the greenhouse windows, give one the feel of a farmer’s market. Donating to the community is important to the students; the food bank and the Littlestown Garden Club are among recipients. “Corn Day” is a highlight for Littlestown Elementary School kindergartners. They enjoy garden fresh corn for lunch. Also, a room next to the classroom resembles a barn and houses two Holstein calves, a donation from one of the students, and an antique tractor under restoration.  With so much to explore and learn about, this writer asked students why they enrolled in the class. Liliana loves nature and likes seeing plants grow. Christian enjoys the process, from seed to growth. Nicole enjoys taking care of plants and ensuring their health. Corn is Madison’s interest, particularly the biology of corn growth. Gwenith’s reason was sentimental; she grew up on her grandmother’s farm. Sadly, the barn that carried pleasant memories burned down. Faith loves agriculture and comes from a family of farmers. Sam loves horses and lives on ten acres. He also works at the Littlestown Farmers Market. Rebecca loves watching colors develop in different flowers. Aydan was always interested in Rotary and horticulture. Growing your own is very important to him. Matt likes hands-on learning and grew soybeans for a statewide competition. Dylan is always around crops and animals on his family’s dairy farm. After graduation, he plans to move out west, preferably Montana or Wyoming, and work on a cattle farm. Photos by Patricia Green

Watching science unfold

I’ve been captivated by the journey of the James Webb Space Telescope since its launch on Christmas Day. The whole project is astonishing and a bit surreal in the sense that it involves the unfolding and rigging of a football-field sized scientific instrument that was crammed into the nose cone of an Ariane rocket. No one’s ever tried it before. The satellite, which weighs about 8 tons, was launched by NASA in collaboration with the European and Canadian Space Agencies from the Guiana Space Centre in South America and placed into a near-perfect trajectory for its 1 million mile trek to the Second Lagrange point (L2) – a place in the heavens where the gravity of earth and the sun work together to create a neutral point to park. Since the launch, hundreds of commands have been sent to the satellite from the space center at Johns Hopkins University just west of us in Baltimore. Dutifully following each directive, the craft has unfolded its antennas, its 21-foot diameter mirror, and a 5 layer sunshield using a space engineer’s toolbag of hinges, springs, hooks, pins, cables, pullies, explosive devices, motors, and other gizmos, any of which could have failed and doomed the whole $10 billion project. But nothing (so far) failed – the telescope is now fully deployed and after a few months of fine tuning and cooling will start taking pictures. The Webb is not likely to pay us back directly with the development of a new flavor of Tang or a new generation of cordless tools– but that’s OK with me.  This is a conceptual project in which astrophysicists are allowing us all to get a glimpse into our roots — up to 13.5 billion years ago — when things were evidently a lot different. Frankly, the so-called “Big Bang” idea seems preposterous to me and I’m half convinced the scientists are going to discover they’re wrong about the whole thing.  But no matter what, we’re going to get some great infrared photos to light up Instagram. Mostly I think for me it’s been a welcome opportunity over a holiday season to savor the astounding creativity and ingenuity of the human spirit rather than focusing on our less than sanguine sides. Featured image: Artistic rendering of the fully deployed and unfolded James Webb Space Telescope. Adriana Manrique Gutierrez/NASA

Community Forum – dialogue with medical experts on COVID and Children and Adolescents

 A virtual community forum will be hosted by Family First Health on Tuesday, October 6th at 6:30pm. The Forum will focus on “A Provider Conversation and Community Q&A about COVID-19’s Impact on Children”. Family First Health invites anyone to participate via Facebook or Youtube to have a dialogue between medical experts about the impact of COVID-19 on children and adolescents. This session will feature Dr. Oluwatomi Uwazota, a Family Practice Physician at Family First Health, and Dr. Almira Contractor, a Pediatrician at WellSpan Community Health Center. After a brief presentation and provider conversation, the providers will spend the majority of the session answering live questions from the community, in real-time. Join on Facebook or Youtube: @FamilyFirstHealth | FamilyFirstHealthPA

Organization Spotlight: Gettysburg Nature Alliance connects habitat with heritage

The Gettysburg Nature Alliance, founded in 2017 to educate about and preserve Gettysburg’s habitat and heritage, is emerging from the pandemic stronger than before. The organization spent its pre-pandemic years sorting out the logistics that all fledgling organizations deal with. Now, with a recent $50,000 donation from New Leaf Paper Inc. and a new project underway, the Nature Alliance is ready to fulfill its “one habitat, one heritage” mission. “We are kind of in a restart mode. We’ve talked about huge things for the future,” says President Dru Anne Neil. The organization’s first post-pandemic project is constructing a learning barn and restoring the creek bed near Sachs Bridge. The barn will accommodate school groups and host public programs for the Nature Alliance. It will also serve as a satellite location for one of the Nature Alliance’s partners, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Another one of its partners, the American Chestnut Foundation, will plant trees on the property. The learning barn represents the Nature Alliance’s continued emphasis on education. The organization merged with the Heritage Center on Steinwehr Avenue in 2019, and as the headquarters of the Nature Alliance, the Heritage Center’s exhibits educate visitors about the importance of preserving both habitat and heritage. Neil says the Nature Alliance is the only organization in the area that connects habitat with heritage. “We want people to know they can help preserve both those things. They’re not mutually exclusive,” she said. In the era of climate change, making people aware of that connection has become increasingly important. However, getting Gettysburg’s history lovers to also love their habitat is no easy task. “Sometimes there’s a disconnect, people don’t want to hear about it.” To bridge the gap, the organization focuses on how climate change will affect local tourism. For example, Alliance is gathering statistics on how many battlefield carriage rides and ranger programs must be canceled due to excessive heat. “We are not preaching at you, we are just giving you the facts,” she says. Those facts will also be incorporated into the organization’s new line-up of educational public programs for the fall. One program will focus on the natural environment during and after the battle of Gettysburg. The programs will take place at both the Heritage Center and the learning barn. More information about upcoming programs will be posted on the organization’s Facebook page. The momentum from the Sachs Bridge project will propel the Nature Alliance to accomplish a laundry list of future projects. It is looking to work with the National Park Service on a project about agriculture on the Eisenhower Farm, right behind the Sachs Bridge property. In the Heritage Center, look out for membership opportunities and new exhibits. Other conservation projects include testing water quality, removing invasive species, helping pollinators, and building nature trails. To accomplish these goals, the Nature Alliance will start a capital campaign this fall. And while they are still reigning in their ideas for their next project, it will surely have an impact on both habitat and heritage. “We try to focus on what we can control. It’s not going to solve the entire problem, but it’s a start, and maybe it’ll inspire other people to get involved,” says Neil.

Local air quality is unhealthy as upper atmospheric smoke passes by

If you were thinking the sun looked a bit dimmer over the past two days than normal, that the sky looked a bit less blue, and that the air was not all that clean, you weren’t imagining it. A huge cloud of smoke in the upper atmosphere has reduced both visibility and air quality in the county. The smoke, which originated on the west coast of the U.S. and moved into Pennsylvania via Canada, is coming from large forest fires in the west. Because some of the smoke has moved to ground level, the air quality index in the county has been reduced. Today’s AQI in Gettysburg was over 100, bringing with it a recommendation from U.S authorities that children, older adults, and people with lung disease should avoid outdoor exertion. According to the Center for Disease Control, wildfire smoke is a mix of gases and fine particles from burning vegetation and can make people sick. Breathing in smoke can have immediate health effects, including coughing, stinging eyes, shortness of breath, and chest pain. The problems are particularly acute for older adults, pregnant women, children, and people with preexisting respiratory and heart conditions. Some good news: The air quality is expected to be better over the next few days.

Mysterious disease prompts PA Game Commission to ask public to stop feeding birds

Wildlife health experts from the PA Game Commission are asking the public to stop feeding birds in the face of a mysterious disease that is affecting birds across the state. Officials are investigating more than 70 public reports of songbirds that are sick or dying due to an emerging health condition that is presently unknown. Experts are encouraging the public to follow these precautionary measures until more is known: Cease feeding birds and providing water in bird baths until this wildlife mortality event has concluded to prevent potential spread between birds and to other wildlife. Clean feeders and bird baths with a 10% bleach solution. Avoid handling dead or injured wild birds. Wear disposable gloves if it’s necessary to handle a bird. Keep pets away from sick or dead birds as a standard precaution. To dispose of dead birds, place them in a sealable plastic bag and discard with household trash. This will prevent disease transmission to other birds and wildlife. Reports show both adult and young birds exhibiting signs of the condition which include discharge and/or crusting around the eyes, eye lesions, and/or neurologic signs such as falling over or head tremors. Affected birds are being tested for several toxins, parasites, bacterial diseases, and viral infections. To date, test results have been inconclusive. The disease has been found in 12 species: Blue Jay, European Starling, Common Grackle, American Robin, Northern Cardinal, House Finch, House Sparrow, Eastern Bluebird, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Carolina Chickadee, and Carolina Wren. In Pennsylvania, the reports of diseased birds have been received from Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, Schuylkill, and York counties: Numerous reports have also been received across the United States including the Mid-Atlantic region, extending into the Southeast and eastern upper Midwest. Affected birds were first reported in and around Washington, D.C. This is an emerging wildlife health event. The University of Pennsylvania Penn Vet program will provide additional, timely information as it becomes available. The public is encouraged to report any sightings of birds that have died and/or birds that have been seen with swollen and crusty eyes, as well as neurological signs such as stumbling and head tremors. Report incidents online here

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