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Windows to the Universe

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An artist's rendering of the moment of impact of a massive <a
  href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/our_solar_system/meteors/meteors.html&edu=elem">meteorite</a>
  at the end of the Cretaceous (at the end of the <a
  href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/earth/geology/hist_mesozoic.html&edu=elem">Mesozoic
  Era</a>). Many
  scientists have concluded for decades that a meteorite four to six kilometers
  in diameter impacted the Earth at this time, resulting in a <a
  href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/earth/past/KTextinction.html&edu=elem">mass extinction
  of dinosaurs</a> and many other life forms.  Recent research suggests that
 perhaps <a
  href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/headline_universe/olpa/chicxulub.html&edu=elem">massive
  volcanic eruptions</a> may be been responsible for the extinction.<p><small><em>Courtesy of Don Davis, NASA</em></small></p>Lunar eclipses are special events that only occur when certain conditions are met. First of all, the Moon must be in <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/the_universe/uts/moon3.html&edu=elem">full phase</a>. Secondly, the <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/sun/sun.html&edu=elem">Sun</a>, <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/earth/earth.html&edu=elem">Earth</a> and <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/earth/moons_and_rings.html&edu=elem">Moon</a> must be in a perfectly straight line. If both of these are met, then the Earth's shadow can block the Sun's light from hitting the Moon.  The reddish glow of the Moon is caused by light from the Earth's limb scattering toward the Moon, which is reflected back to us from the Moon's surface.<p><small><em>Image credit - Doug Murray, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida</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>As temperatures rise and soil moisture decreases, plants are stressed, which can lead to <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/earth/climate/crops_withering.html&edu=elem">crop withering</a>. <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/teacher_resources/online_courses/health/events_health.html&edu=elem">Droughts</a> accompanied by increased temperatures can lead to famine, social and political disruptions. Scientists are  helping with early identification of drought that might trigger food shortages. Watch the NBC Learn video - <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/earth/changing_planet/withering_crops_intro.html&edu=elem">Changing Planet: Withering Crops</a> to find out more.<p><small><em>Image taken by Tomas Castelazo, Creative Commons <a href=&quot;http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/deed.en&quot;>Attribution 3.0 Unported</a> license.</em></small></p>Stars don't last forever. Occasionally, a star bigger than our Sun will end its life in a huge explosion, called a <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/the_universe/supernova.html&edu=elem">supernova</a>. The center of the star collapses in less than a second, blowing away the outer layers of the star.  There are many beautiful images of supernova remnants, the expanding shell of gas made up of the outer layers of the original star. This image is the Vela Supernova Remnant.<p><small><em>Image courtesy of the Anglo-Australian Observatory/Royal Observatory Edinburgh</em></small></p>Scientists at the University of Michigan have found that <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/earth/polar/cryosphere_permafrost1.html&edu=elem">permafrost</a> in the <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/earth/polar/polar_north.html&edu=elem">Arctic</a> is extremely sensitive to sunlight.  Exposure to sunlight releases carbon gases trapped in the permafrost, including <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/earth/climate/earth_greenhouse.html&edu=elem">climate-warming</a> <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/physical_science/chemistry/carbon_dioxide.html&edu=elem">carbon dioxide</a>, to the <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/earth/Atmosphere/overview.html&edu=elem">atmosphere</a> much faster than previously thought.<p><small><em>George Kling, The University of Michigan</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