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Windows to the Universe

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With Explore the Planets, investigate the planets, their moons, and understand the processes that shape them. By G. Jeffrey Taylor, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.
As permafrost thaws, the land, atmosphere, water resources, ecosystems, and human communities are affected. Coastal areas and hillsides are vulnerable to erosion by thawing of permafrost.  Thawing permafrost also causes a positive feedback to global warming, as carbon trapped within the once-frozen soils is released as <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/physical_science/chemistry/methane.html&edu=high">methane</a>, a powerful <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/earth/climate/cli_greengas.html&edu=high">greenhouse gas</a>.
Watch the NBC Learn video - <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/earth/changing_planet/permafrost_methane_intro.html&edu=high">Thawing Permafrost and Methane</a> to find out more.<p><small><em>Image courtesy of the    USGS</em></small></p>Does Earth science matter?  The power outage experienced by residents in New York City on 10/30/2012 due to Hurricane Sandy demonstrates the interconnectedness of our society, and the power of the Earth system.  Every person should have an understanding of how the Earth system works so they can live better lives, protect those they love, and make wise choices.  Earth science education is critical!<p><small><em>Image courtesy of Hybirdd, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.</em></small></p>A near-Earth <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/our_solar_system/asteroids.html&edu=high">asteroid</a> - named 2012 DA14 by astronomers  passed within 17,200 miles from Earth on February 15, 2013. On closest approach at about 1:25 p.m. CST on February 15, although it was within the orbit of the <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/earth/moons_and_rings.html&edu=high">Moon</a> and even geosynchronous <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/space_missions/satellites.html&edu=high">satellites</a>, it didn't strike Earth!  Find out more from <a href="http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/asteroids/news/asteroid20130201315144.html">NASA</a>! Fragments of a meteorite hit Chelyabinsk, Russia on 2/15/2013 <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/15/us-russia-meteorite-idUSBRE91E05Z20130215">injuring over 500</a>. Learn about <a href="http://www.windows2universe.org/our_solar_system/meteors/meteors.html">meteors and meteorites</a>.<p><small><em>NASA/JPL-CalTech</em></small></p>The massive 9.0 magnitude <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/earth/geology/quake_1.html&edu=high">earthquake</a> off of Honshu, Japan on <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/headline_universe/march112011earthquaketsunami.html&edu=high">11 March 2011</a> generated a <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/earth/tsunami1.html&edu=high">tsunami</a> that exceeded 10 meters on the coast near the epicenter.  This image shows model projections for the tsunami wave height in cm which are in good agreement with the observed waves. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were lost, and their families, as we remember this event.<p><small><em><a href="http://blogs.agu.org/wildwildscience/files/2011/03/680_20110311-TsunamiWaveHeight.jpg">NOAA Tsunami Wave Height Projections image</a></em></small></p>Anti-crepuscular rays are beams of sunlight that appear to converge on a point opposite the sun. They are similar to crepuscular rays, but are seen opposite the sun in the sky. Anti-crepuscular rays are most frequently visible near sunrise or sunset. This photo of anti-crepuscular rays was taken at sunset in Boulder, Colorado. Crepuscular rays are usually much brighter than anti-crepuscular rays.<p><small><em> Image Courtesy of Carlye Calvin</em></small></p>March 2012 marks the first anniversary of the 9.0 magnitude <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/earth/geology/quake_1.html&edu=high">earthquake</a>, <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/earth/tsunami1.html&edu=high">tsunami</a>, and resulting nuclear accident in Japan on <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/headline_universe/march112011earthquaketsunami.html&edu=high">11 March 2011</a>.  The tsunami did massive damage, wiping out entire villages and killing ~16,000 people, and leading to one of the most serious nuclear accidents in history.  This image shows before and after photos of the area north of Sendai, where 10,000 people were lost.<p><small><em>Photos by <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/03/13/world/asia/satellite-photos-japan-before-and-after-tsunami.html?hp">GeoEye/EyeQ</a>.</em></small></p>

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF