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TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE: Today, Dec. 10th, the full Moon passed through the shadow of Earth, producing a total lunar eclipse visible across the Pacific hemisphere. Don Oberbeck sends this picture of the partially-eclipsed Moon setting behind the Rocky Mountains near Boulder, CO:
"The Moon set behind Long's Peak at 6:49 am MST shortly before totality," says Oberbeck.
During the total phase of the eclipse, the Moon turned a beautiful shade of copper-red. Browse the gallery for highlights from the eclipse zone.
Dec. 10th Total Lunar Eclipse Gallery
...AND A TOTALLY DIFFERENT ECLIPSE: On Dec. 8th, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) observed an unusual event on the sun: An erupting cloud of plasma was eclipsed by a dark magnetic filament. Play the movie for a visual explanation:
The source of the explosion is a farside active region due to turn toward Earth in a few days. For now, though, the blast site lies just behind the sun's eastern limb--perfectly situated for this rare kind of eclipse. Note the filament of relatively cool dark material snaking across the sun's surface in the foreground. That filament partially blocks our view of hot plasma exploding behind it. By studying how the light of the explosion is filtered by the foreground material, SDO mission scientists might be able to learn something new about dark filaments on the sun.
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 10, 2011 there were 1272 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 |