Stars don't last forever. Occasionally, a star bigger than our Sun will end its life in a huge explosion, called a <a href="/the_universe/supernova.html&dev=">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>This historic image is the first ever taken from a spacecraft in orbit about <a href="/mercury/mercury.html&dev=">Mercury</a>, the innermost planet of the solar system.  Taken on 3/29/2011 by <a href="/space_missions/robotic/messenger/messenger.html&dev=">MESSENGER</a>, it shows numerous craters across the <a href="/mercury/Interior_Surface/Surface/surface_overview.html&dev=">surface</a> of the planet.  Temperatures there can reach over 800F because Mercury is so close to the Sun and rotates so slowly.  MESSENGER entered orbit around Mercury earlier in March 2011.<p><small><em>NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington</em></small></p>A near-Earth <a href="/our_solar_system/asteroids.html&dev=">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="/earth/moons_and_rings.html&dev=">Moon</a> and even geosynchronous <a href="/space_missions/satellites.html&dev=">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>On November 7, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda in the Philippines) made landfall, with imated wind speeds of ~315 km/hr - the strongest <a href="/earth/Atmosphere/hurricane/intensity.html&dev=">tropical cyclone</a> to make landfall in recorded history.  As Haiyan moved across the Philippines before reaching Vietnam and China, its <a href="/earth/Atmosphere/wind.html&dev=">winds</a> and <a href="/earth/Atmosphere/hurricane/surge.html&dev=">storm surge</a> left devastation in its wake, leading to massive loss of life, destruction of homes, and hundreds of thousands of displaced inhabitants. <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/09/world/iyw-how-to-help-typhoon-haiyan/index.html">How to Help</a><p><small><em>Image courtesy of COMS-1, SSEC, University of Wisconsin-Madison</em></small></p>An artist's rendering of the moment of impact of a massive <a
  href="/our_solar_system/meteors/meteors.html&dev=">meteorite</a>
  at the end of the Cretaceous (at the end of the <a
  href="/earth/geology/hist_mesozoic.html&dev=">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="/earth/past/KTextinction.html&dev=">mass extinction
  of dinosaurs</a> and many other life forms. Recent research suggests that
 perhaps <a
  href="/headline_universe/olpa/chicxulub.html&dev=">massive
  volcanic eruptions</a> may be been responsible for the extinction.<p><small><em>Courtesy of Don Davis, NASA</em></small></p>An <a href="http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/usc000905e.php">8.6 magnitude earthquake</a> struck on 11 April 2012 off of Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia, followed by a strong aftershock.  Earthquake motion was primarily horizontal.  A tsunami warning was issued for the Indian Ocean, but was cancelled at 12:36 UTC.  A tsunami was observed at 1 meter or less. Find out more about <a href="/earth/geology/quake_1.html&dev=">earthquake</a> and <a href="/earth/tsunami1.html&dev=">tsunami</a> processes. Check out the resources <a href="/teacher_resources/2011_AGU-NESTA_GIFT_Workshop.html&dev=">here</a>.<p><small><em>NOAA</em></small></p>

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