Red sun phenomenon 'caused by Saharan dust', analysis shows

Electron microscopy image of the particles that made sky redImage copyright University of Nottingham Image caption Dr Beth Steer collected dust samples from her car windscreen and put them under a scanning electron microscope

Analysis of tiny particles has confirmed that dust blown over from the Sahara caused the sun and sky to appear red in many parts of England.

Scientists at the University of Nottingham studied dust particles brought down in rainfall to determine the cause of Monday's phenomenon.

The dust was dragged in from the Sahara by the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia.

Dr Beth Steer collected samples from her car windscreen and put them under a scanning electron microscope.

Red sun 'caused by Hurricane Ophelia'[1]

"I was able to collect the dust from my car due to the rain which mingled with the dust to create the muddy rain that has coated everyone's car yesterday," said Dr Steer, from the university's Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre.

"The particles themselves contain sand grains [quartz], clays and feldspars - all of which are expected in Saharan dust."

Image copyright University of Nottingham Image caption Dr Beth Steer said a lot of the rounded grains are quartz, and the more jagged ones are clays

There were also suggestions the red sky was partly caused by debris from forest fires in Portugal and Spain.

However Dr Steer said she would "have to be inconclusive on that one".

"It's possible that some of the carbon rich material I saw was originating from the forest fire, but it is more difficult to diagnose," she said.

"I didn't see any clear pieces of charred wood or similar.Though I did see flakes of carbon, these could also have come from a variety of sources not linked to the fires."

Image copyright University of Nottingham Image caption Dr Beth Steer said the particles are all "expected in Saharan dust"

"I thought it would be informative for people to know what was causing the phenomenon and of interest to see it on a micron scale," said Dr Steer.

The scanning electron microscope uses a beam of electrons to create an image of a surface rather than light.

This allows things to be seen at much higher magnifications than they could by light.

Image copyright PA/Dominic Lipinski Image caption Central London was one of many parts to witness the phenomenon

Ophelia originated in the Atlantic where it was a hurricane and as it tracked its way northwards it dragged in tropical air from the Sahara.

The dust in the atmosphere caused the shorter wavelength light (blue, violet etc) to be scattered making the sun and sky appear redder.

Hundreds took to social media on Monday to share their theories and snaps of the unusual red sun and yellow skies.

Trending alongside #redsun, #yellowsky and #orangesky was the hashtag #apocalypse....

Image copyright Sun Cloud Gazer Image caption An orange sky was visible in Bransford in Worcestershire Image caption The red-looking sun was seen in Bristol city centre Image copyright PA/Neil Pugh Image caption A red sun was spotted in the sky over Bromsgrove in Worcestershire Image copyright Jan Van der Elsen Image caption This was the view from Gloucester Docks Image copyright Beverley Davis Image caption The "strange-coloured sun" was photographed over Elkesley in Nottinghamshire Image copyright Anoup Kerrai Image caption The sky above Cardiff Castle turned orange

References

  1. ^ Red sun 'caused by Hurricane Ophelia' (www.bbc.co.uk)

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Craig Shakespeare: Leicester City sack manager four months after appointment

Breaking news

Leicester City have sacked manager Craig Shakespeare just four months after he signed a three-year deal to take the job on a permanent basis.

The Foxes are third from bottom in the Premier League and have not won any of their past six league matches.

Shakespeare, 53, succeeded title winner Claudio Ranieri in February, initially on a temporary basis.

After steering the Foxes away from trouble to finish in 12th place, he was given the job permanently in June.

Shakespeare won eight of his 16 games in charge last season, and led the club to the Champions League quarter-finals.

His departure follows a 1-1 draw with West Brom on Monday.

The last time Leicester went six league matches without a victory, Ranieri was sacked - nine months after leading them to the title.

More to follow....

Former Leicester player Gary Lineker highlights his dissatisfaction with some of the decisions made by the Leicester owners

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Ulster players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding to face rape trial

Paddy Jackson and Stuart OldingImage copyright PA/Press Eye Image caption Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding deny raping a woman in Belfast last year

Ulster and Ireland rugby players Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding have been returned for trial on rape charges.

Both men deny raping the same woman at a house in south Belfast in June last year.

They were charged three months ago, but made their first court appearance on Tuesday.

No date has yet been set for their Crown Court trial, but it is expected to be held early next year.

Stuart Olding, 24, is charged with two counts of rape.

Paddy Jackson, 25, is charged with one count of rape and one count of sexual assault.

Also in court were two other men charged in connection with the case.

Blane McIlroy 25, of Royal Lodge Road, Belfast is charged with one count of exposure, and Rory Harrison 25, of Manse Road, Belfast is charged with perverting the course of justice and withholding information.

Both deny the charges against them.

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and Ulster Rugby have said Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding will not play again until the court process concludes....

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Royal baby: William and Catherine's third child due in April

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Media captionThe Duchess of Cambridge and Paddington danced on Monday

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's third child is due in April, Kensington Palace says.

It said the couple were "delighted".They already have two children:Prince George, who is four, and his younger sister Charlotte, who is two.

As with her previous pregnancies, the duchess has suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, or severe morning sickness.

The new baby will be fifth in line to the throne, after its grandfather, father and older siblings.

The duchess is expected to give birth at the private Lindo wing of St Mary's hospital in Paddington, where her other children were born.

An official visit to Norway and Sweden, planned for November, has been delayed until early 2018 because of Catherine's sickness.

However, Prince William is going ahead with a solo trip to Finland in November.

The duchess joined Paddington Bear for a dance on a station platform during a surprise visit to a charity event on Monday....

Image copyright PA Image caption The new baby will be fifth in line to the throne

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County Championship: Middlesex unsuccessful with points deduction appeal

Arrow at the Oval
Middlesex's match at The Oval was abandoned on 31 August when a crossbow bolt was fired into the ground

Middlesex have failed in their appeal against a two-point deduction in the County Championship, confirming their relegation from Division One.

The punishment came for their slow over rate during August's match at Surrey, which was abandoned when a crossbow bolt was fired into The Oval.[1]

Middlesex finished one point below Somerset, who were ready to take legal action[2] if the appeal was successful.

Middlesex, county champions in 2016, will play in Division Two next season.

The Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) ruled that the matter did not need referring to a disciplinary panel hearing as "rules relating to over rates are clear and understood by all teams, coaches, players, and captains."

Somerset chief executive Lee Cooper said in a statement[3] that the club were "confident that the ECB's original decision would stand" and were delighted with the outcome.

"We are pleased that this has now been put to rest and we can concentrate on preparing for next season," he said.

How did we get to this point?

Middlesex were deducted two points after the crossbow incident at The Oval denied them the chance to improve their over rate in the remainder of the final session of that match.

After the punishment was announced on 9 September,[4] Middlesex chief executive Richard Goatley said there was "no scope" for an appeal, despite the fact he was "extremely disappointed" by the decision.

Middlesex went on to lose their final game of the season at Somerset, who leapfrogged the 2016 champions with victory at Taunton[5] to seal their own survival.

A day after their relegation, managing director of cricket Angus Fraser told BBC Radio London they would raise the circumstances of the deduction with the ECB.

Middlesex confirmed they had "made submissions to the chairman of the CDC over the issue" last week.

Somerset beat Middlesex by 231 runs in the final round of fixtures to ensure they would finish outside the bottom two in Division One

The final decision

Cricket Discipline Commission chairman Tim O'Gorman said:"Middlesex have sought to argue that it was only because of the abandonment of the game that they did not make up their overs, but that cannot be entirely correct.

"There was no guarantee that, if the game had run its normal course, those overs could ever have been made up.

"I do not accept that Middlesex only agreed to the abandonment of the match on condition that their slow over rate in the first innings would be overlooked.

"It is not within the power or gift of either the umpires or the players to make deals like that.

"The match was abandoned for safety reasons.Play ended accordingly and the points earned or deducted should stand with effect from that time."...

References

  1. ^ crossbow bolt was fired into The Oval. (www.bbc.co.uk)
  2. ^ ready to take legal action (www.bbc.co.uk)
  3. ^ said in a statement (www.somersetcountycc.co.uk)
  4. ^ After the punishment was announced on 9 September, (www.bbc.co.uk)
  5. ^ victory at Taunton (www.bbc.co.uk)

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