August 7, 2013 |
The sun's enormous magnetic field is about to flip, and the effects of this massive realignment will be felt throughout the solar system, including here on Earth. But don't expect anything too crazy to happen. Chances are you've experienced a major solar magnetic flip already, probably without even realizing it. The sun flips its magnetic field once every 11 years, at the same time it reaches solar maximum, when sun spots and solar flares are at their height. The magnetic flip doesn't happen all at once, explained Phil Scherrer, a researcher at Stanford University who studies the sun. "It's a long, slow process, and in fact it has already begun," he told the Los Angeles Times.
July 22, 2013 |
Need a little perspective in your life? Take a look at these images of Earth as seen from almost 900 million miles away. In these new images released by NASA, our planet is dwarfed by Saturn's breathtaking rings, and shows up as just a pale blue dot -- a tiny asterisk beneath Saturn's striking beauty. The dot is so small, it would seem insignificant if you didn't know you were looking at our own watery home. Awesome images of Saturn and its rings The first few images in the gallery above were taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on Friday July 19. Cassini is in orbit around Saturn, and at the time of the long-distance photo shoot, it was about 898.5 million miles from Earth.
June 8, 2013 |
An asteroid the size of a truck zipped past Earth on Friday night, and you probably missed it. Asteroid 2013 LR6 is 30 feet in length, or a bit more than half the size of the space rock that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in February. It made its closest approach to our planet on Friday night at 9:42 p.m. PDT, according to a release from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. At that time, the asteroid was just 65,000 miles from the Earth's surface, or about a quarter of the average distance between Earth and the moon.
November 19, 2012 |
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.
September 13, 2012 |
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)
September 14, 2013 |
Rave all you want about the peak of summer at the Hollywood Bowl, but let's not forget about September. With heat dissipating and the moon creeping in earlier, post-Labor Day nights in Hollywood can similarly burn if the vibe and the sounds are right. "Do you remember the 21st night of September? Love was changing the mind of pretenders," sang Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire during the first of three sold-out nights at the Bowl. A song that seemed handcrafted for the occasion (give or take a week)
December 11, 2012 |
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.
July 30, 2012 |
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.
June 22, 2012 |
Billed as "the largest collaboration of media creation in the world's history," "One Day on Earth" is a compilation documentary built for these short-attention-span times. Drawn from 3,000-plus hours of footage from every country on the planet, taken by volunteer videographers on a single day in October 2010, the film is driven by a we-are-the-world connectedness, but remains a travelogue in search of a defining center. FOR THE RECORD: "One Day on Earth": A review of the film "One Day on Earth" in the June 22 Calendar section referred to an image of a Ukrainian bride's painted face.
July 2, 2013 |
You just can't out-gloom an environmentalist. The Atlantic invited some luminaries to answer the question "How and when will the world end?" Some contributions were funny. Others simply plausible - a volcanic eruption from underneath Yellowstone National Park is frightfully overdue. But only an environmentalist like Bill McKibben could be a killjoy about the apocalypse itself. The environmental activist and writer declares the question moot. "In a sense, the world as we knew it is already over.