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  1. NASA shows off the best images of Earth taken from the ISS this year There have been 20 continuous years of life on the ISS In brief: In addition to NASA celebrating 20 years of continuous human presence onboard the International Space Station (ISS), crew members took thousands of photographs of Earth during 2020. Now, the agency has revealed the best twenty images of our planet as seen from space. Chosen by the people at the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, the images include Cuba and the Bahamas, the fall colors o
  2. Finally, some good news. At the centre of the our galaxy there's a supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A*. It has a mass roughly 4 million times that of our Sun. Great news! It turns out scientists have discovered that we're 2,000 light years closer to Sagittarius A* than we thought. This doesn't mean we're currently on a collision course with a black hole. No, it's simply the result of a more accurate model of the Milky Way based on new data. Over the last 15 years, a Japanese radio astronomy project, VERA, has been ga
  3. It's the closest astronomers have ever seen a space rock soar by without smacking into our planet. Close enough for a high-five...NASA An asteroid set a new mark on Friday for the closest pass by our planet without actually impacting. The space rock was discovered with the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System, or ATLAS, run by NASA and the University of Hawaii. It has been designated 2020 VT4, and it came within just 240 miles (386 kilometers) of Earth's surface on Friday. That's closer even than objects in low-earth orbit including the
  4. With all the large asteroids hitting the news lately, it would have been easy for a small one to sneak under the radar. In fact, one very nearly did. On April 27, astronomers discovered a new asteroid, a little pixie of a space rock between 4 and 8 metres (13 to 26 feet) across. It was already close to Earth at this point, and the probability of a collision was calculated at around 10 percent. At its size, it would have burnt up on atmospheric entry, so it posed no threat to humans anyway. But the asteroid's trajectory would bring it very close to the geostationary ring
  5. A new timeline of Earth's cataclysmic past The moon's Imbrium Basin may have been formed by a single large impact about 3.9 billion years ago. Credit: NASA Welcome to the early solar system. Just after the planets formed more than 4.5 billion years ago, our cosmic neighborhood was a chaotic place. Waves of comets, asteroids and even proto-planets streamed toward the inner solar system, with some crashing into Earth on their way.
  6. The last magnetic pole flip saw 22,000 years of weirdness When the Earth's magnetic poles trade places, they take a while to get sorted. Enlarge m kasahara / Flickr On their face, this facts are simple: our planet's magnetic poles have traded places with some frequency over Earth's history. At points in the past, compass needles would point south instead of north. But look into the details of these transitions and things will get considerably more complicated. What exactly is it like during the times w
  7. Earth’s Orbital Shifts May Have Triggered Ancient Global Warming A new study combining astronomical and geologic data hints at an extraterrestrial cause for extreme climate change 56 million years ago Quirk in Earth’s orbit may help explain why, some 56 million years ago, the Arctic (seen here covered in ice) was hot enough to harbor crocodiles and palm trees. Credit: NASA’s Earth Observatory Some 56 million years ago, during the transition between the Paleocene and Eocene epochs, Earth caught a fever. In a span of scarcely 20,000 years—not ev
  8. If you look back far enough into Earth's hazy, long-forgotten prehistory, things get weird. Like the battered face of the Moon, our own planet is covered in craters: a scarred legacy of millions of years of brutal, unforgiving asteroid impacts. What's weird, though, is once you look back about 300 million years, the evidence of this onslaught seems to almost disappear. For a long time, scientists assumed the comparative rarity of impact craters dating back beyond 300 million years ago on Earth was linked to erosion; environmental processes like weather or tectonic activi
  9. We humans like to put labels and boundaries on things. For example, the boundary between Earth's atmosphere and space is the Kármán line, the point at 100 kilometres (62 miles) altitude where aeronautics end, and astronautics take over. But Earth's atmosphere is way more complicated than that (there's even some debate about where the Kármán line should be). Now a team of astronomers has discovered that it's bigger than we even thought - extending all the way out to the Moon, and as far again. The region is called the geocorona, part of an atmospheric layer called the exo
  10. Scientists just discovered evidence of a massive solar storm that happened some 2,679 years ago. Such blasts of plasma and electromagnetic radiation from the Sun have the potential to seriously impact life on Earth, so it's important for us to understand them as much as we can. The evidence they dug up is in the form of radioactive particles previously hidden under the ice sheets of Greenland, and experts are saying the ancient event could be one of the biggest solar storms to have ever hit Earth. If a similar-sized storm were to strike our planet today, the consequences
  11. The Earth recently put on a spectacular show for astronauts aboard the International Space Station. And to document it, Alexander Gerst — a German astronaut who arrived at the orbiting complex last month — shot footage of auroras and lightning in two incredible new videos. The first video — posted on the European Space Agency (ESA) website — shows green curtains of auroras, sometimes called the northern and southern lights, shimmering below modules of the space station. The video was taken over the course of a space station orbit; it includes 950 images taken at an interval of half
  12. Oceans cover most of the Earth, including its longest mountain range and the ancient bridges that humans crossed to reach other continents. In a recent remake of a 2008 NASA video, planetary scientist James O'Donoghue shows what it would look like if all that water drained away, revealing the hidden three-fifths of Earth's surface. O'Donoghue works at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and was formerly at NASA. For the video, he took an animation that NASA physicist and animator Horace Mitchell created in 2008 and gave it a few additions. He edited the timing
  13. Earth is screaming through space at 1.3 million mph. A simple animation by a former NASA scientist shows what that looks like. An artist's concept of a newly formed planetary system. NASA As Earth rotates on its axis, it orbits the sun, which orbits the center of the Milky Way, which itself is barreling through space. A simple animation by former NASA scientist James O'Donoghue shows how fast all those objects are moving. Earth is relatively slow, but against the ba
  14. (ESO/S. Brunier) Are Earth, The Solar System, And The Milky Way Gaining or Losing Mass?
  15. Where there's water, there's life, the thinking loosely goes. New evidence suggests starkly otherwise – or at least identifies some harsh new parameters on where life and water may (or may not) be able to co-exist. To find these limits, scientists travelled to one of the most extreme and inhospitable environments on Earth: the Dallol geothermal springs in Ethiopia's Danakil Depression.
  16. What If Earth's Magnetic Field Disappeared? It wouldn't be great, but it wouldn't be like a disaster movie, either. Around Earth, an invisible magnetic field traps electrons and other charged particles. (Image: © NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center) Extending from Earth like invisible spaghetti is the planet's magnetic field. Created by the churn of Earth's core, this field is important for everyday life: It shields the
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