NASA to Broadcast During Asteroid Flyby

On Friday, Feb. 15, NASA Television will provide commentary from 2 – 2:30 p.m. EST during the close, but safe, flyby of the small near-Earth asteroid named 2012 DA14. The half-hour broadcast from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., will incorporate real-time animation to show the location of the asteroid in relation to Earth, along with live or near real-time views of the asteroid from observatories in Australia, weather permitting. The commentary will be available via NASA TV and streamed live online at and

In addition to the commentary, near real-time imagery of the asteroid’s flyby, made available to NASA by astronomers in Australia and Europe, weather permitting, will be streamed beginning at about noon EST and continuing through the afternoon at

Also, a Ustream feed of the flyby from a telescope at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., will be streamed for three hours starting at 9 p.m. EST. To view the feed and ask researchers questions about the flyby via Twitter, visit

For more information, including graphics and animations showing the flyby of 2012 DA14, visit

Asteroid Flyby on Feb. 15

On Feb. 15th, an asteroid some 50 meters wide, neither very large nor very small, and is probably made of stone, as opposed to metal or ice will fly past Earth closer than many man-made satellites. Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, astronomers have never seen an object so big come so close to our planet.



Why the World Didn't End Yesterday

NASA is so sure the world won’t come to an end on Dec. 21, 2012, they have already released a video and news item for the day after.

According to media reports of an ancient Maya prophecy, the world was supposed to be destroyed on Dec. 21, 2012.

Apparently not.

“The whole thing was a misconception from the very beginning,” says Dr. John Carlson, director of the Center for Archaeoastronomy. “The Maya calendar did not end on Dec. 21, 2012, and there were no Maya prophecies foretelling the end of the world on that date.”

The truth, says Carlson, is more interesting than fiction.

To learn more, watch the video below or visit

Credit: Science@NASA.

Web Seminar for Educators: What's New in Planetary Science: A Tour of Recent Discoveries in Our Solar System

Professional Development Web Seminar

As part of a series of electronic professional development experiences for educators, the NASA Explorer Schools project and the National Science Teachers Association are hosting a 90-minute live professional development Web seminar for educators on Dec. 3, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. EST. In this Web seminar, NASA expert Dr. Sarah Noble will be your tour guide on a stroll through the solar system to find out what’s new with each of our planetary neighbors.

For more information and to register online, visit

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

New Study Updates Status of Nearby Exoplanet

A second look at data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is reanimating the claim that the nearby star Fomalhaut hosts a massive exoplanet. The study suggests that the planet, named Fomalhaut b, is a rare and possibly unique object that is completely shrouded by dust.

This article is a great extension for the NASA Explorer Schools lesson, Algebraic Equations: Transit Tracks—Finding Habitable Planets. Access this lesson after logging in to the NES Virtual Campus.

To read more about Fomalhaut’s exoplanet, visit

Active Region on the Sun Emits Another Flare

The sun emitted a significant solar flare on Oct. 22, 2012, peaking at 11:17 p.m. EDT. The flare came from an active region on the left side of the sun that has been numbered AR 1598, which has already been the source of a number of weaker flares. This flare was classified as an X.1-class flare. This flare did not have an associated Earth-directed coronal mass ejection.

For more information visit

NASA's Solar Fleet Peers Into Coronal Cavities

Image of coronal mass ejectionThe sun’s atmosphere dances. Giant columns of solar material – made of gas so hot that many of the electrons have been scorched off the atoms, turning it into a form of magnetized matter we call plasma – leap off the sun’s surface, jumping and twisting. Sometimes these prominences of solar material, shoot off, escaping completely into space, other times they fall back down under their own weight.

This information is related to the NASA Explorer Schools lesson, Geometry: Space Math Problems—Solar Storms. To gain access to this lesson, log into the NES Virtual Campus.

To read more about the sun’s coronal cavities, visit the news page.

NASA Now: Geology: Curiosity-Main Science Goals

NASA NowDr. Ashwin Vasavada, deputy project scientist for the Mars Science Laboratory, discusses the main science goals for Curiosity, including the investigation of the presence of water and evidence of life on the Red Planet. 

This program is available on the Virtual Campus beginning Sept. 19. Preview the program below.


Stay 'Up All Night' to Watch the Perseids

Escape the heat of the waning days of summer for an evening of sky watching. The Perseid meteor shower peaks on the night of August 11 through the morning of August 12. Perseid rates can get as high as 100 per hour, with many fireballs visible in the night sky. A waning crescent moon will interfere slightly with this year’s show, but viewing should definitely be worth a look!

Cloud covering the night sky in your area? Not a problem. On the night of Aug. 11-12, astronomer Bill Cooke and his team from the Meteoroid Environment Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center will answer your questions about the 2012 Perseid meteor shower via an “Up All Night” live chat. To join the chat, simply head over to this page and log in. The chat experts will be available to answer questions between the hours of 11 p.m. – 3 a.m. EDT, beginning the evening of Aug. 11 and continuing into the morning of Aug. 12.

Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.

A Taste of Solar Maximum

Forecasters say Solar Max is due in the year 2013. When it arrives, the peak of 11-year sunspot cycle will bring more solar flares, more coronal mass ejections, more geomagnetic storms and more auroras than we have experienced in quite some time.

On the weekend of July 14, 2012, sky watchers around the world got a taste of things to come.It was mid-Saturday in North America when a coronal mass ejection or “CME” crashed into Earth’s magnetic field and triggered the most sustained display of auroras in years. For more than 36 hours, magnetic storms circled Earth’s poles. Northern Lights spilled across the Canadian border into the United States as far south as California, Colorado, Kansas, and Arkansas. In the southern hemisphere, skies turned red over Tasmania and New Zealand, while the aurora australis pirouetted around the South Pole.

This lesson is a great extension to the NASA Explorer Schools featured lesson, Geometry: Space Math Problems—Solar Storms. To access this lesson, visit: the NASA Explorer Schools Virtual Campus website.

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