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Windows to the Universe

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Learn about planets outside our solar system through Exoplanets and Alien Solar Systems by Tahir Yaqoob, Ph.D., a book in our online store book collection.
On May 20, 2013, a massive EF5 <a href="http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/Atmosphere/tornado.html">tornado</a> hit Moore, Oklahoma, devastating communities and lives.  The tornado, on the ground for 40 minutes, took a path through a subdivision of homes, destroying block after block of homes, and hitting two elementary schools just as school was ending as well as a hospital. Hundreds of people were injured, and 24 were killed.<p><small><em>Image courtesy of Ks0stm, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license</em></small></p>A near-Earth <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/our_solar_system/asteroids.html">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">Moon</a> and even geosynchronous <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/space_missions/satellites.html">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>This first global map of <a href="http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/Water/ocean.html">ocean</a> surface saltiness, released in September 2012 by the NASA Aquarius mission team, shows the distribution of salt in the first 2 cm of the Earth's ocean. <a href="http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/Water/salinity.html">Salinity</a> variations are one of the main drivers of <a href="http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/Water/circulation1.html">ocean circulation</a>, and are closely connected with the <a href="http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/Water/water_cycle.html">cycling of freshwater</a> around the planet. High salinity is seen in the Mediterranean, Atlantic, and the Arabian Sea.<p><small><em>Image courtesy of NASA/GSFC/JPL-Caltech</em></small></p>There are over 900 <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/the_universe/uts/megalith.html">rings of stone</a> located in the British Isles. The most famous of these stone rings is of course, <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/the_universe/uts/stonehenge.html">Stonehenge</a>.    The stones of Stonehenge were put in place between 3,000 B.C and 2,000 B.C. by neolithic people.Some speculate that the site was built as a temple of worship of the ancient Earth deities. Some say it was used as an <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/the_universe/uts/stonehenge_astro.html">astronomical observatory</a> of sorts. Still others say it was a burial ground.<p><small><em>  Image courtesy of Corel Photography.</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">permafrost</a> in the <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/earth/polar/polar_north.html">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">climate-warming</a> <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/physical_science/chemistry/carbon_dioxide.html">carbon dioxide</a>, to the <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/earth/Atmosphere/overview.html">atmosphere</a> much faster than previously thought.<p><small><em>George Kling, The University of Michigan</em></small></p>This dramatic view of Jupiter's <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/jupiter/atmosphere/J_clouds_GRS.html">Great Red Spot</a> and its surroundings was obtained by <a href="/php/tour_test_sqli.php?page=/space_missions/voyager.html">Voyager 1</a> on Feb. 25, 1979, when the spacecraft was 5.7 million miles (9.2 million kilometers) from Jupiter. Cloud details as small as 100 miles (160 kilometers) across can be seen here. The colorful, wavy cloud pattern to the left of the Red Spot is a region of extraordinarily complex end variable wave motion.<p><small><em>Image courtesy of NASA</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