Are we alone? Your iPhone has the answer. Download the all-new Drake Equation app to calculate the population of the Milky Way.
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NORTHERN LIGHTS VIDEO: Oh to be in Norway! Norwegian photographer Ole C. Salomonsen has sorted through more than 50,000 images of the aurora borealis he took during the past six months and assembled the best ones to create a must-see video entitled Land of the Northern Lights. Click here to watch--and then call your travel agent.
SECRET SPACE PLANE: One of the stars in this image is a classified spacecraft. Click on the arrow to set the secret space plane in motion:
Kevin Fetter of Brockville, Ontario, made the video on March 24th. It shows the US Air Force's X37-B mini-shuttle gliding by the binary star eta Serpentis. The X37-B and the star are both about 3rd magnitude, easily seen with the naked eye.
The X-37B is on a classified mission, and its orbit has not been published by the US government. Nevertheless, we know where it is. Fetter and other satellite observers have spotted the spacecraft on several occasions, allowing an orbit to be calculated. This means you can see it, too. Click here to turn your cell phone into a field-tested secret space plane tracker.
A RAINBOW AT NIGHT: Recipe for a rainbow: Add bright sunlight to raindrops and voila!--a beautiful band of multi-colors arcs across the sky. With such an ingredient list, you might suppose that rainbows can only be seen during the day, yet last night Ethan Tweedie of Kamuela, Hawaii, recorded this spectacular example long after dark:
"It was a moonbow," explains Tweedie. The bright moon played the role of sun, illuminating nightime raindrops falling through the damp Hawaiian air. "I've been trying to photograph a moonbow for a long time. Last night I was driving back from the Volcano there it was!"
Tweedie's long exposure revealed something even more rare: a secondary moonbow. It's the faint 'bow arciing above the brighter primary. Primary rainbows are caused by single reflections inside raindrops; secondary bows are caused by double reflections. It was a night to remember, indeed.
March 2011 Aurora Photo Gallery
[previous Marches: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002]
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 March 25, 2011 there were 1215 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 |
| ||for out-of-this-world printing and graphics |