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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.
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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.
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
May 29, 2013 | By Richard Verrier
The science fiction movie "After Earth" marks a homecoming of sorts for star Will Smith, a Philadelphia native. A major portion of the Columbia Pictures movie, which opens Friday, was filmed at the new Sun Center Studios outside Philadelphia that is also not far from where director M. Night Shyamalan was raised. In "After Earth," Smith plays a general who returns to earth with his son -- played by Jaden Smith -- 1,000 years after humans have left. Although some key scenes of the film were shot in the redwoods of Northern California , as well as in Costa Rica and Utah, Sun Center Studios wasted no time touting its own ties to the movie -- and its Hollywood stars.
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)
SCIENCE
October 8, 2013 | By Amina Khan
Scientists studying Martian clouds have created them right here on Earth. Using a cloud chamber in Germany and rock from the Mojave Desert, their experiment shows that the Red Planet's ice clouds often need far more humidity to form than clouds on Earth. The findings, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, show that Martian clouds form under very different conditions than many scientists once thought - which may help researchers to better understand the planet's water cycle.
SCIENCE
August 7, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
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.
SCIENCE
June 19, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan
Earthlings, get ready to say cheese! NASA's Cassini spacecraft will be taking your picture next month -- from 898 million miles away. If you happen to have your eyes closed or your hair is out of place, don't worry. All of planet Earth will fit into 1.5 pixels in the final image. Most of the frame will be filled by Saturn and its gigantic rings (though some of the edges will be cut off). Scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge are taking the picture - actually, a mosaic of images - because they can. It just so happens that Cassini and the sun will be on opposite sides of Saturn, allowing the spacecraft to see the planet and its famous rings with unusual clarity.
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.
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