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Posts Tagged ‘2012’

Leap Second To Be Added to Clocks on June 30th

January 23, 2012 1 comment

On June 30, 2012, a “leap second” will be added to the world’s clocks at 23 hours, 59 minutes, 59 seconds Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). This corresponds to 7:59:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, when the extra second will be inserted at the U.S. Naval Observatory’s Master Clock Facility in Washington, DC.

Full Story (PDF): http://www.usno.navy.mil/USNO/tours-events/2012_Leap_Second%20Press%20Release%20-%20120120.pdf

2012: Magnetic Pole Reversal Happens All The (Geologic) Time

December 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Scientists understand that Earth’s magnetic field has flipped its polarity many times over the millennia. In other words, if you were alive about 800,000 years ago, and facing what we call north with a magnetic compass in your hand, the needle would point to ‘south.’ This is because a magnetic compass is calibrated based on Earth’s poles. The N-S markings of a compass would be 180 degrees wrong if the polarity of today’s magnetic field were reversed. Many doomsday theorists have tried to take this natural geological occurrence and suggest it could lead to Earth’s destruction. But would there be any dramatic effects? The answer, from the geologic and fossil records we have from hundreds of past magnetic polarity reversals, seems to be ‘no.’

Reversals are the rule, not the exception. Earth has settled in the last 20 million years into a pattern of a pole reversal about every 200,000 to 300,000 years, although it has been more than twice that long since the last reversal. A reversal happens over hundreds or thousands of years, and it is not exactly a clean back flip. Magnetic fields morph and push and pull at one another, with multiple poles emerging at odd latitudes throughout the process. Scientists estimate reversals have happened at least hundreds of times over the past three billion years. And while reversals have happened more frequently in “recent” years, when dinosaurs walked Earth a reversal was more likely to happen only about every one million years.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012-poleReversal.html

Killer Solar Flares Are a Physical Impossibility

November 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Given a legitimate need to protect Earth from the most intense forms of space weather – great bursts of electromagnetic energy and particles that can sometimes stream from the sun – some people worry that a gigantic “killer solar flare” could hurl enough energy to destroy Earth. Citing the accurate fact that solar activity is currently ramping up in its standard 11-year cycle, there are those who believe that 2012 could be coincident with such a flare.

But this same solar cycle has occurred over millennia. Anyone over the age of 11 has already lived through such a solar maximum with no harm. In addition, the next solar maximum is predicted to occur in late 2013 or early 2014, not 2012.

Most importantly, however, there simply isn’t enough energy in the sun to send a killer fireball 93 million miles to destroy Earth.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012-superFlares.html

NASA Accepting Applications For Aeronautics Scholarships

September 2, 2011 Leave a comment

NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate is accepting scholarship applications from graduate and undergraduate students for the 2012 academic year. The application deadline is Jan. 15, 2012.

Graduate students must apply under a specific research topic to align with NASA’s aeronautics research programs. The list of available topics is posted online.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2011/sep/HQ_11-279_AERO_Scholars.html