Updated: The solar ‘vortex’

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solarflare

Updated: A privately-built rocket whose launch was delayed because of the massive solar flare will take off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia at 1:07 p.m. EST today. With clear skies over Pittsburgh today, you might be able to catch the Antares rocket streaking across the sky. Or you can watch a webcast of the launch live on SPACE.com, courtesy of NASA TV, beginning at 12:45 p.m. EST.

Update 2: The launch was successful.

Original post: NASA on Wednesday released a photo of solar flare that was seven times bigger than the Earth and delayed a private rocket launch to the Space Station.  Continue reading

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Sun feasts on comet for Thanksgiving

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Comet ISON moves ever closer to the sun in this image from ESA and NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO, captured at 9:30 a.m. EST on Nov. 28, 2013.  This image is a composite with the sun imaged by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, in the center, and SOHO showing the solar atmosphere, the corona. Photo by ESA&NASA/SOHO/SDO

Comet ISON moves ever closer to the sun in this image from ESA and NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO, captured at 9:30 a.m. EST on Nov. 28, 2013.  Photo by ESA&NASA/SOHO/SDO

It was supposed to be the Thanksgiving comet. But it looks like starwatchers won’t have any leftovers.

NASA scientists at the Solar Dynamics Observatory just tweeted sad news:

“We do not see Comet #ISON.” Continue reading

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Update 2: No damage reported from falling satellite

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Update 2: The European Space Agency reports no known damage.

Update 1: GOCE was last observed at 22:42 Greenwich Mean Time on Sunday as it passed 75 miles above Antarctica, the BBC reports. Early estimates suggest any debris could have fallen somewhere along a path through East Asia and the Western Pacific to Antarctica.

Original post: Ready or not, here it comes. A 1-ton European Space Agency satellite is about to fall out of orbit and hit the Earth on Sunday or Monday. As it enters the atmosphere, it will break up into pieces, with many vaporizing.

But a chunk of molten metal as heavy as 200 pounds is likely to make a thud, or a splash. Continue reading

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