Space submarines will allow us to explore the seas of icy moons One of the most profound and exciting breakthroughs in planetary science in the last two decades has been the discovery of liquid methane lakes on the surface of Saturn’s largest moon Titan, and liquid oceans under the icy surfaces of many of the giant gas planets’ other moons. Thrillingly, these some of these “waters” may actually harbour life. Unfortunately, we don’t know much about them. Probes such as Juno and Cassini can only get so close.
Marshall Solar Physics The "sunspot number" is then given by the sum of the number of individual sunspots and ten times the number of groups. Since most sunspot groups have, on average, about ten spots, this formula for counting sunspots gives reliable numbers even when the observing conditions are less than ideal and small spots are hard to see. Monthly averages (updated monthly) of the sunspot numbers (181 kb JPEG image), (307 kb pdf-file), (62 kb text file) show that the number of sunspots visible on the sun waxes and wanes with an approximate 11-year cycle. Quadruple Rainbow: How the Phenomenon Happens April showers created a gloomy Monday for most of the New York City area, but this morning, the sun came out -- along with a quadruple rainbow! Amanda Curtis spotted the magnificent phenomenon from the Long Island Rail Road station in Glencove today. She snapped the rare photo and posted it to her Twitter, saying in part, "Today will be 4 pots of #gold #lucky." While the primary rainbow is formed by direct sunlight passing through raindrops at a proper angle, the other three rainbows are formed by reflections of the sun, usually from calm water, according to the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). These other rainbows are known as reflection rainbows. "The reflected rainbow may be considered as a combination of two rainbows produced by sunlight coming from two different directions - one directly from the sun, the other from the reflected image of the sun," the NCAR says.
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Thank You, Houston: Unsung Heroes Star in New 'Mission Control' Doc A riveting new documentary about NASA's journey to the moon pays tribute to the many behind-the-scenes heroes of the Apollo program. "Mission Control: The Unsung Heroes of Apollo," which hits movie theaters today (April 14), tells the story of the men whose strenuous work put the first astronauts on the moon and launched a new era of human spaceflight. Along with plenty of archival NASA videos and photos, the documentary features several of the original flight-control staff who worked in the Manned Spacecraft Center (later renamed the Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission Control Center) at the Johnson Space Center in Houston during the 1960s and 1970s. Unlike the stars of the movie "Hidden Figures," the "unsung" figures in this documentary are all Caucasian men.
Solar Storms Building Toward Peak in 2013, NASA Predicts Solar flares like the huge one that erupted on the sun early today (Aug. 9) will only become more common as our sun nears its maximum level of activity in 2013, scientists say. Tuesday's flare was the most powerful sun storm since 2006, and was rated an X6.9 on the three-class scale for solar storms (X-Class is strongest, with M-Class in the middle and C-Class being the weakest). Flares such as this one could become the norm soon, though, as our sun's 11-year cycle of magnetic activity ramps up, scientists explained. The sun is just coming out of a lull, and scientists expect the next peak of activity in 2013. The current cycle, called Solar Cycle 24, began in 2008.
Lunar Rainbow Photographed in Lightning Storm in England A man captured a photo of a rare and beautiful "moonbow" during a lightning storm in the English countryside this weekend. Interested in United Kingdom? Add United Kingdom as an interest to stay up to date on the latest United Kingdom news, video, and analysis from ABC News. Ian Glendinning, who took the photo of the lunar rainbow, told ABC News today that he snapped the picture in the Coquet Valley in Northumberland, England, at around 2 a.m. local time on Sunday. Lunar rainbows are formed when moonlight, rather than sunlight, is refracted by moisture in the atmosphere, according to ABC News' partner BBC. Glendinning said he did not saturate or color-correct the photo at all, but did reduce the highlights slightly during post-processing in order to more clearly show the lightning in the shot.
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Big Peanut-Shaped Asteroid Caught on Radar as It Zooms by Earth (Video) An asteroid that zoomed by Earth today (April 19) at less than five times the distance between the Earth and the moon has been caught on radar. The new images, which were taken yesterday (April 18), capture features on the near-Earth asteroid 2014 JO25 as small as 25 feet (7.5 meters) across, scientists said. The photos — which were combined to make this video of asteroid 2014 JO25 — reveal that the space rock rotates once every 5 hours and has a peanut-like structure, with the larger of the two lobes about 2,000 feet (620 m) wide.
Mysterious Iridescent 'End of Times' Cloud Phenomenon Spotted in Costa Rica An iridescent, multi-hued cloud phenomenon was recently spotted in Costa Rica skies, and residents were left awestruck and mystified. The spectacle in the sky was reported this past Tuesday afternoon in numerous cities including, San Jose, Parrita, Pavas, Escazu and Hatillo. Coincidentally, the sighting occurred on the country's Independence Day. Many witnesses took to social media to post photos and video of the luminous cloud formation, with some even noting that it looked like an "end of times" scene. Resident Joey Petit told ABC News today that he and his family were at the playground in Escazu for an Independence Day festival when his 11-year-old son, Ariel Joseph Petit first noticed the strange cloud.