The whales spend most of their time in their northern feeding grounds but beginning around November several head south to give birth.
Stretching up to 55 feet long and weighing more than 60 tons, the North Atlantic right whale is one of the world’s largest animals. The species belongs to a class of animals known as baleen whales (as opposed to toothed whales). Up to 270 baleen plates hang from each side of a right whale’s upper jaw. As the animal swims underwater with its mouth open, the plates filter rice-grain-size copepods and other food from the water.
During the whaling era, generations of right whales were relentlessly hunted almost to extinction for baleen and oil. After whaling’s decline, the animals had a limited rebound. Now, they once again face oblivion because of the new threats.
IN THE SKY: From David Dundee, Tellus Science Museum astronomer: The moon will be full tonight. Venus and Mercury are low in the west at dusk. Jupiter rises out of the east just before midnight and will appear near the moon Tuesday night. Mars and Saturn rise out of the east about an hour after midnight and will appear close together Sunday night. Saturn will appear near the moon Friday night.