Universe Today #507 - November 9, 2001
U N I V E R S E
T O D A Y
Space Exploration News From Around the Internet
Updated Every Weekday.
November 9, 2001 - Issue #507
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-- UNIVERSE TODAY STORY SUMMARY --
* A note from Fraser... Houston... We Have a Baby
* SOHO Sees Inside of a Sunspot
* Fewer Earth Crossing Asteroids Than Previously Thought
* Northern Lights Seen Quite Far South
* NASA's HETE Spots Gamma-Ray Burst Afterglow
A NOTE FROM FRASER... HOUSTON... WE HAVE A BABY
Well, I'm proud to announce that Cain family increased over the weekend.
Chloe Cain, a 6lb 10oz bouncing baby girl, was born at 11:57pm PST on
November 3rd here in Vancouver.
Needless to say, this (first) addition to our family has thrown my life
into a crazy world of diaper-changing, unending errands and sleeplessness,
so Universe Today is going to be sporadic at best. I'll do what I can, and
I'm sure I'll get into a new routine in a few days once we figure out the
nuances of her personality.
Fraser Cain, Publisher - Universe Today
SOHO SEES INSIDE OF A SUNSPOT
By analyzing how sound waves travel inside the Sun, a team of scientists
have produced a detailed image of the inside of a sunspot. What they found
was swirling flows of electrified gas or plasma that create a
self-reinforcing cycle, which holds a sunspot together. The data was
gathered by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft which
is currently positioned about 1.6 million km from Earth.
http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/20010919sunspot.html">NASA News Release
FEWER EARTH CROSSING ASTEROIDS THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT
Some good news: the Earth is less likely to be struck by an asteroid than
scientists previously calculated. The odds are only 1 in 5,000 that an
asteroid big enough to wipe out civilization will hit the Earth within the
next 100 years (much lower than the 1 in 1,500 of earlier estimates).
Astronomers from Princeton University used data from the Sloan Digital Sky
Survey to calculate that there are 700,000 asteroids in the solar system
larger than 1 kilometre; but only a fraction of those will ever cross the
http://www.sdss.org/news/releases/20011108.asteroid.html">Sloan Survey News
NORTHERN LIGHTS SEEN QUITE FAR SOUTH
The Northern Lights appeared with rare intensity over much of North America
this week; they were seen as far South as Georgia and Alabama. Emergency
phone numbers received calls from worried skywatchers, thinking this
natural lightshow might be some kind of "terrorist thing". The Northern
Lights, or aurora borealis, are caused when the Sun's solar wind interacts
with Earth's magnetic field. A similar lightshow was also visible in the
Earth's Southern Hemisphere.
NASA'S HETE SPOTS GAMMA-RAY BURST AFTERGLOW
NASA's High Energy Transient Explorer (HETE) was fortunate enough to record
the rare optical afterglow of a gamma ray burst, the most powerful type of
explosion known in the universe. The burst occurred on September 21 in the
constellation Lacerta, and was located 5 billion light years from Earth. By
studying the afterglow, astronomers hope to understand what causes these
tremendous explosions - exploding stars, merging black holes, or something
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