iPHONE VS ANDROID! Actually, it doesn't matter which phone you carry. Our cool, new app turns both smartphones into field-tested satellite trackers. Learn more.
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"ARSENIC-BUG" RE-DEFINES LIFE: Biology textbooks beware. A microbe in California's Mono Lake is challenging long-held ideas about the basic chemistry of life. The GFAJ-1 strain of Gammaproteobacteria uses toxic arsenic as a key building block of its DNA, causing astrobiologists to re-think the possibilities for life on and off our planet. Get the full story from Science@NASA.
MAGNETIC FILAMENT: A magnetic filament more than 400,000 km long is snaking around the sun's southeastern limb. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed it rotating into view during the early hours of Dec. 3rd:
This comes as no surprise. NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft has been monitoring the filament for days as it approached the sun's horizon from behind. So far the massive structure has hovered quietly above the stellar surface, showing no signs of instability. How long can the quiet last? Long filaments like this one have been known to collapse with explosive results when they hit the star below. Stay tuned for developments.
RADIO STORM ON JUPITER: Astronomers have long known that Jupiter is a source of powerful shortwave radio bursts. "Last Sunday afternoon (Nov. 28) I received an alert from radio astronomer Wes Greenman in Florida that Jupiter was storming strongly," reports Thomas Ashcraft of New Mexico. "Although it was 4 pm and the sun was still up, I swung my radio antenna towards Jupiter and tuned right into a crashing storm." Click on the image below to hear the alien sounds that emerged from the loudspeaker of Ashcraft's 21 MHz radio telescope:
Radio signals from Jupiter are not a sign of extraterrestrial intelligence. They occur naturally, caused by plasma instabilities in Jupiter's magnetosphere and fueled by powerful electric currents that flow between Jupiter and the volcanic moon Io. These radio bursts are so powerful, they can be picked up with simple antennas and receivers. Indeed, shortwave listeners often detect Jupiter by accident and don't even realize the origin of the crashing sounds they are hearing!
Readers, would you like to tune into Jupiter? NASA's RadioJOVE program will help you build a radio telescope and start recording alien signals of your own.
November 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Novembers: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000]
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs
) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones
all the time.
On December 3, 2010 there were 1164 potentially hazardous asteroids. Notes: LD means "Lunar Distance." 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach.
| ||The official U.S. government space weather bureau |
| ||The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena. |
| ||Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever. |
| ||3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory |
| ||Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO. |
| ||from the NOAA Space Environment Center |
| ||the underlying science of space weather |