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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sunny, windy and hot

Credit NASA/SDO with thanks
As winter wanes...  a good forecast is worth its weight in gold. Don't forget to use your sun tan lotion.

Sadly, this wasn't the forecast for our area... or our planet. A few days ago, NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory noted an enormous burst of plasma--a solar flare. These things happen, you know.

As big goes, this bigger-than-most eruptions from the sun's surface was estimated as a million-plus miles... accompanied by a 4.5 million miles-per-hour wind so hold on to your hats.

Want to be impressed? Take a look at this.

You might suspect I'm a little over-the-top when it comes to the enormity of space and its every facet. A few night ago, I watched the International Space Station cross my section of sky. The ISS has now logged over 1.5 billion miles since 2000 when it was launched, and has been visited by more that 200 astronauts. The space station, including its large solar arrays, spans the area of a U.S. football field, including the end zones, and weighs a little shy of 100,000 pounds. The complex now has more livable room than a conventional six-bedroom house and has two bathrooms, a gymnasium and a 360-degree bay window.

It is only 220 miles from earth traveling at 17,000 miles-per-hour--peanuts by space standards--but it sure is awesome. Want to see it? This website will tell you where and when to look.

Oh, by the way, if anyone should ask, those who know say there are at least 8.8 billion planets that are similar in size and temperature to earth... and lots, lots, lots more that aren't.

I love this stuff!

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