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SCIENCE
April 11, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
Early Thursday morning, solar observers watched as a dark spot on the sun erupted with an enormous flash of light, causing the biggest solar flare of 2013. Solar flares themselves don't last long, but this one was powerful enough to cause a bubble of solar material called a CME (coronal mass ejection) to come bursting off the sun. Up to billions of tons of that solar material is now hurtling through space at the mind-bending speed of more than 600 miles per second, and it is heading directly toward Earth.
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NEWS
November 19, 2012 | By Morgan Little
Looking for a sign that the Republican Party might have some leaders who can appeal to younger voters? Mitt Romney cited the Beach Boys, Garth Brooks and the Eagles among his favorite musicians, but Sen. Marco Rubio raised some eyebrows Monday with hat tips to N.W.A and Public Enemy. Rubio, 42, who has sparked early 2016 presidential hype with a headlining visit to Iowa over the weekend, spoke to GQ about a number of topics, but his opinions on music and the Earth's age overshadowed his perspective on President Obama and young Republicans.
SCIENCE
November 8, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
Heads up! A satellite is expected to fall to Earth sometime Sunday night or Monday morning, and scientists can't say yet where it will land. The satellite, known as GOCE, has been circling our planet since 2009, when it was launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) to map Earth's gravity. It weighs 2,425 pounds, and its altitude has been dropping since late October, after it ran out of fuel.  GOCE is a bit bigger than a Volkswagen van, but it won't be crashing to Earth in one piece.
BUSINESS
September 13, 2012 | By Deborah Netburn
On Thursday night, an asteroid about the size of a 14-story building will hurtle past Earth at the mind-bending speed of 7 miles per second. And one month ago, scientists didn't even know it existed.  Asteroid 2012 QG42 was just discovered on Aug. 26 by astronomers at the  Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona. It has been classified as a PHA (Potentially Hazardous Asteroid) by the Minor Planet Center based in Cambridge, Mass.  That sounds kind of scary, but scientists say there's no need to worry -- at least not yet. The asteroid is not expected to get closer to Earth than 7.5 x the distance of the moon from Earth.  (The moon's distance from Earth fluctuates, but it averages 230,600 miles)
NEWS
November 20, 2012 | By Michael McGough
How old is the Earth? Scientists say 4.5 billion years. But Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) isn't a scientist, so he's not sure. That's what the Republican rising star told an interviewer for GQ who posed the question. “I'm not a scientist, man,” Rubio, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said. “I can tell you what recorded history says; I can tell you what the Bible says; but I think that's a dispute amongst theologians, and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States.” In case the interviewer didn't hear him the first time, Rubio added: “I'm not a scientist.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 24, 2013 | By Kate Mather
The Happiest All-Nighter on Earth? Hundreds of people flocked Friday to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Friday, which opened for 24 straight hours beginning at 6 a.m. The Magic Kingdom Park in Orlando, Fla., was also opened for the "Monstrous Summer All-Nighter," part of the promotion for the entertainment giant's upcoming movie, "Monsters University. " The event marked the first time all-night opened for all three parks, Disney officials said. The last 24-hour event at Disneyland -- on Leap Day 2012 -- caused several headaches after a large after-work crowd overwhelmed the park , prompting officials to close gates for several hours.
SCIENCE
May 17, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
It's 1.7 miles long. Its surface is covered in a sooty black substance similar to the gunk at the bottom of a barbecue. If it impacted Earth it would probably result in global extinction. Good thing it is just making a flyby. Asteroid 1998 QE2 will make its closest pass to Earth on May 31 at 1:59 p.m. PDT. Scientists are not sure where this unusually large space rock, which was discovered 15 years ago, originated from. But the mysterious sooty substance on its surface could indicate it may be the result of a comet that flew too close to the sun, said Amy Mainzer, who tracks near-Earth objects at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge . It might also have leaked out of the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, she said.
BUSINESS
December 11, 2012 | By Deborah Netburn
Asteroid 4179 Toutatis will zip past Earth this week. At its closest approach Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning, it will come within 18 lunar distances of the planet. That's 18 times the distance from the Earth to the moon. That may not sound too close, but the asteroid's erratic orbit occasionally has it zipping by a little too close for comfort. That's why the asteroid has been designated "potentially hazardous. "  In 2004 for example, the asteroid's orbit took it even closer to the Earth -- just about four lunar distances.
SCIENCE
July 30, 2012 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
Poring over images of Saturn's icy moon Iapetus, planetary scientists have discovered massive landslides in which the falling ice travels much farther than should be possible given the coefficient of friction of the falling ice. In one spectacular case in the moon's Malun crater, ice broke off the wall of the 5-mile-deep crater and surged 22 miles across the crater floor -- an unusually long distance. Given that cold ice has a relatively high coefficient of friction, such long distances should not be possible unless there are forces at work that researchers don't yet know about, said planetary scientist William McKinnon of Washington University in St. Louis, who led the team studying the landslides.
SCIENCE
January 24, 2012 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
A massive explosion on the sun's surface has triggered the largest solar radiation storm since 2005 and has unleashed a torrent of charged plasma particles toward Earth, though the threat to satellites, power grids and other high-tech hardware is believed to be manageable, scientists said. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration detected a solar flare Sunday night that peaked at 7:59 p.m. Pacific time. NOAA satellites traced the bright flash of X-ray light to an area on the sun's surface known as region 1402 - the same area that had produced a weaker flare Thursday.
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