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In the News – Year 2011

WISE Presents a Cosmic Wreath
WISE Presents a Cosmic Wreath
12.22.11 – Sprigs of holly, a big red bow and silver bells appear to dress up this cosmic star-forming wreath, captured by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey…
Comet Lovejoy Plunges into the Sun and Survies
Comet Lovejoy Plunges into the Sun and Survives
12.16.11 – An armada of spacecraft witnessed something that many experts thought impossible. Comet Lovejoy flew through the hot atmosphere of the sun and emerged intact.
Curiosity and the Solar Storm
Curiosity and the Solar Storm
12.14.11 – Curiosity, launched on Nov. 26 on the Mars Science Laboratory, has begun monitoring space radiation during its 8-month trip from Earth to Mars using an instrument called the Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) that monitors high-energy atomic and subatomic particles.
Ten Successful Years of Mapping the Middle Atmosphere
Ten Successful Years of Mapping the Middle Atmosphere
12.07.11 – TIMED has collected data over almost an entire solar cycle, which lasts about 11 years, creating a new picture of Earth's environment as well as how…
Solar Storms Could 'Sandblast' the Moon
Solar Storms Could ‘Sandblast’ the Moon
12.06.11 – A typical two-day solar storm could strip hundreds of tons of material from the moon.
Space Weather Workshop
Space Weather Workshop
12.06.11 – Five scientists speaking at a workshop at the 2011 Fall AGU meeting in San Francisco on Tuesday, December 6 at 10 AM PST will discuss the complex – and relatively new – research area of space weather.
NASA's Swift Catches Asteroid Flyby
NASA's Swift Catches Asteroid Flyby
11.10.11 – As asteroid 2005 YU55 swept past Earth in the early morning hours of Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011, Swift monitored the fast-moving space rock.
A 360 Degree View of an X-class Flare and A CME
A 360 Degree View of an X-class Flare and A CME
11.04.11 – The sun sent out two different kinds of solar activity on November 3, 2011 in different directions: an X.19 solar flare and a particularly bright CME.
Hinode's First Light...and Five More Years
Hinode's First Light…and Five More Years
11.01.11 – Five years after its instruments turned on, Hinode has provided some of the highest resolution images of the sun the world had ever seen -- as well as help solve such mysteries as why the sun's atmosphere is a thousand times hotter than its surface.
Solar Cycle Primer
Solar Cycle Primer
10.27.11 – The number of sunspots on the sun increase and decrease over time in a regular, approximately 11-year cycle. More sunspots mean increased solar…
Stories of Missons Past: Early Explorers
Stories of Missions Past: Early Explorers
10.26.11 – Not only was Explorer 1 the first US satellite launched into space, it was the first in a long line of scientific workhorses that revolutionized our…
'Pacman' Nebula Gets Some Teeth
‘Pacman’ Nebula Gets Some Teeth
10.26.11 – When viewed in infrared light by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, the “Pacman” nebula looks hungrier than usual.
Beautiful Red Aurora
Beautiful Red Aurora
10.25.11 – A coronal mass ejection (CME) shot off the sun late in the evening of October 21 and hit Earth on October 24 at about 2 PM ET causing red aurora in the U.S.
STEREO Celebrates Five Years
STEREO Celebrates Five Years
10.25.11 – On Oct. 25, 2006 STEREO launched to do something never done before: see the entire sun simultaneously.
NASA Telescopes Help Solve Ancient Supernova Mystery
NASA Telescopes Help Solve Ancient Supernova Mystery
10.24.11 – A mystery that began nearly 2,000 years ago, when Chinese astronomers witnessed what would turn out to be an exploding star in the sky, has been…
ESA to Collaborate with NASA on Solar Science Mission
ESA To Collaborate with NASA on Solar Science Mission
10.06.11 – On October 4, 2011, the European Space Agency announced it's two next science missions, including Solar Orbiter, a spacecraft geared to study the powerful influence of the sun.
Incoming Comet; Outcome CME
Incoming Comet; Outgoing CME
10.04.11 – On October 2, 2011, an exceptionally bright comet headed toward the sun and disintegrated; moments later a large coronal mass ejection (CME) blew off the other side of the sun.
Nikolaos Paschalidis: Miniaturized Details and the Big Picture
Nikolaos Paschalidis: Miniaturized Details and the Big Picture
10.04.11 – A profile of Nikolaos Paschalidis, who is in charge of coordinating science and technology advancement efforts of NASA Goddard's Heliophysics division. He builds tiny chips for spacecraft, and thinks big about the future.
NASA Space Telescope Finds Fewer Asteroids Near Earth
NASA Space Telescope Finds Fewer Asteroids Near Earth
09.29.11 – New observations by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, show there are significantly fewer near-Earth asteroids in the mid-size range than previously thought.
Geomagnetic Storm Subsiding
Geomagnetic Storm Subsiding
09.27.11 – The severe geomagnetic storm that began yesterday when a CME hit Earth's magnetic field is subsiding.
NASA to Host News Conference on Asteroid Findings
NASA to Host News Conference on Asteroid Findings
09.26.11 – NASA will hold a news conference at 1 p.m. EDT (10 a.m. PDT) on Thurs., Sept. 29, to reveal near-Earth asteroid findings and implications for future research.
Solar Activity Can Affect Re-Entry of UARS Satellite
Solar Activity Can Affect Re-Entry of UARS Satellite
09.22.11 – The world's eyes are on the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite headed toward re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.
An X1.4 Solar Flare and a CME
A Solar Flare and a CME
09.22.11 – Our increasingly active Sun produced a large CME yesterday evening and an X1.4 class flare this morning. This increased solar activity is a normal…
Six CMEs in 24 Hours
Six CMEs in 24 Hours
09.20.11 – The sun let loose with at least six coronal mass ejections (CMEs) from 7 PM ET on September 18, 2011 until 1 PM on September 19. One may impact Earth…
NASA's WISE Mission Captures Black Hole's Wildly Flaring Jet
NASA's WISE Mission Captures Black Hole's Flaring Jet
09.20.11 – Astronomers using NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) have captured rare data of a flaring black hole, revealing new details about…
Origin of Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Remains a Mystery
Origin of Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Remains a Mystery
09.19.11 – The family of asteroids some believed was responsible for the demise of the dinosaurs is not likely the culprit according to new observations.
Solar Activity Subsiding - Auroras Ablaze
Solar Activity Subsiding - Auroras Ablaze
09.12.11 – After last week's flurry of strong flares from sunspot 1283, solar activity is subsiding as this sunspot rotates over the sun's western limb. Aurora from last week's solar activity will be dancing in the sky for the next several day.
Sunspot 1283 Bristling With Flares: An X1.8 and An M6.7 - UPDATED
Sunspot 1283 Is Bristling With Flares-UPDATED
09.08.11 – The first of what will likely be several CME hits occurred this morning sparking a strong geomagnetic storm. Additional hits will occur over the weekend.
X2.1 Solar Flare and CME
X2.1 Solar Flare and CME
09.07.11 – Sunspot 1283 erupted with another flare yesterday that peaked at 6:20 PM ET. This was an X2.1 class flare, some four times stronger than the earlier flare.
Something New On the Sun: SDO Spots a Late Phase in Solar Flares
SDO Spots a Late Phase in Solar Flares
09.07.11 – Fifteen percent of the flares have a distinct “late phase flare” some minutes to hours later that has never before been observed. This late phase of the flare pumps much more energy out into space than previously realized.
Moderate Labor Day Solar Flare Eruption
M5.3 Solar Flare Eruption-CME
09.06.11 – At 9:35 PM ET on Labor Day, the sun emitted an Earth-directed M5.3 class flare as measured by the GOES satellite.
Researchers Detail How a Distant Black Hole Devoured A Star
How A Distant Black Hole Devoured A Star
08.24.11 – Two studies in the Aug. 25 issue of Nature provide new insights into a cosmic accident that has been streaming X-rays toward Earth.
Sunspot Breakthrough
Sunspot Breakthrough
08.24.11 – Scientists detected several sunspot regions in the deep interior of the sun, 1-2 days before they appeared on the solar disc.
NASA's Wise Mission Discovers Coolest Class of Stars
NASA’S Wise Mission Discovers Coolest Class of Stars
08.23.11 – Scientists using data from NASA’s WISE have discovered the coldest class of star-like bodies, with temperatures as cool as the human body.
Space Storm Tracked from Sun to Earth
Space Storm Tracked from Sun to Earth
08.18.11 – For the first time, a spacecraft far from Earth has turned and watched a solar storm engulf our planet.
Sun Unleashes X6.9 Class Flare
Sun Unleashes X6.9 Class Flare
08.09.11 – On Aug. 9, 2011, the sun unleashed an X6.9 class flare. Though not Earth directed, we may experience radio and communications blackouts.
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Sun Packs a Double Punch-UPDATED
08.08.11 – The August 5, 2011 arrival of the combined August 3 CMEs caused many photographers in the northern U.S. and Europe to race outside with their cameras to record the colorful skies. They were not disappointed.
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LADEE Project Manager Update
08.02.11 – NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) observatory is cleared to go forward and complete the flight hardware fabrication necessary for its 2013 mission to explore the moon.
Friday Night M9.3 Light
Friday Night M9.3 Light
08.01.11 – Active solar region 1261 let loose with a short-lived M9.3 flare on Friday Night. No Earth directed affects are expected.
NASA's WISE Finds Earth's First Trojan Asteroid
NASA’s WISE Finds Earth’s First Trojan Asteroid
07.27.11 – Astronomers studying observations taken by WISE discovered the first known Trojan asteroid orbiting the sun along with Earth.
SDO Spots Extra Energy in the Sunís Corona
SDO Spots Extra Energy in the Sun’s Corona
07.27.11 – Ripples in the sun’s magnetic field called Alfven waves have been shown to carry more energy than previously thought, possibly enough to drive the intense heating of the corona and to speed the solar wind to 1.5 million mph.
An artist's conception of the MAVEN spacecraft orbiting Mars.
MAVEN Mission Completes Major Milestone
07.22.11 – The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN mission reached a major milestone last week when it successfully completed its Mission Critical Design Review.
Space shuttle Atlantis, now docked to the ISS for the last resupply mission of NASA's 30-year shuttle program, was witness to beautiful green curtains of aurora over the Southern hemisphere.
STS-135 Sees Aurora Australis
07.18.11 – Astronauts from STS-135 and crew of the ISS witness a beautiful aurora over the southern hemisphere, a space-based treat for the final mission of NASA's 30-year shuttle program.
The brighter area represents the edge of the coronal mass ejection – a large slinky-like structure known as a flux rope – while the fainter area beyond that represents the bow shock.
New Ways to Measure Magnetism Around the Sun
07.14.11 – NASA researchers have made use of old mathematical techniques and new insights on how CMEs travel.
A close-up of the June 7, 2011 eruption shows dark blobs of plasma falling ballistically toward the surface of the sun.
Dark Fireworks on the Sun
07.11.11 – NASA has just released new high-resolution videos of the solar event recorded by SDO on June 7, 2011.
A "sun grazing" comet as caught by SOHO's LASCO C2 camera as it dived toward the sun on July 5 and July 6, 2011.
First-Ever View of a Sungrazer Comet In Front of the Sun
07.07.11 – For the first time ever, SDO has captured a movie of a comet streaking directly in front of the sun.
In Poland, noctilucent clouds season is the time of young stork births.
Noctilucent Cloud Season Begins
07.06.11 – Noctilucent clouds are back for 2011 and continue spreading to ever lower latitudes.
The Halo coronal mass ejection (CME) as viewed by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory coronograph.
Solstice Flare and CME - UPDATE
06.24.11 – A high-speed solar wind stream is currently impacting the Earth's magnetic field. The mixture of the high-speed stream and CME that erupted from solar corona on June 21 is expected to keep the geomagnetic activity level elevated. Auroral displays are possible at high-latitude locations.
Modern power grids are vulnerable to solar storms.
Getting Ready for the Next Big Solar Storm
06.22.11 – In Sept. 1859 the sun unleashed one of the most powerful storms in centuries. This week, officials have gathered in Washington DC to ask themselves a simple question: What if it happens again?
NASA's Swift Sees Star Gobbled Up by Black Hole
NASA’s Swift Sees Star Gobbled Up by Black Hole
06.17.11 – Swift discovered a series of powerful X-ray blasts coming from a source in the constellation Draco.
New Insights On How Solar Minimums Affect Earth
New Insights On How Solar Minimums Affect Earth
06.14.11 – In 2008, the sun experienced its longest and weakest solar minimum in the modern age.
Nearby Galaxy Boasts Two Monster Black Holes, Both Active
Nearby Galaxy Boasts Two Monster Black Holes
06.10.11 – NASA satellites have found a second super-sized black hole at the heart of an unusual nearby galaxy already known to be sporting one.
STEREO Sees Complete Far Side
STEREO Sees Complete Far Side
06.10.11 – The far side unveiled!
Having a Solar Blast - UPDATE
Having a Solar Blast - UPDATE
06.10.11 – Earth is still waiting for the arrival of the CME unleashed June 7, 2011 but the forecasts of the glancing blow have been substantially reduced. The Sun unleashed an M-2 solar flare, an S-1 radiation storm and a spectacular coronal mass ejection in the early hours of June 7, 2011.
Space Weather affects many modern technologies such as: humans in space, satellites, airplane routes, power and pipe lines.
NASA Invites News Media to Space Weather Enterprise Forum
06.10.11 – The forum will focus on the impact of space weather events on national security, critical infrastructure, human safety and preparedness, and mitigation of those impacts as the sun reaches its peak of activity expected in 2013-14.
Surfing on the Sun, as seen by SDO
Surfing on the Sun, as seen by SDO
06.07.11 – Cue the surfing music. Scientists have spotted the iconic surfer's wave rolling through the atmosphere of the sun. More than just a nice photo-op, the waves hold clues as to how energy moves through that atmosphere.
In the Alberta prairies east of Edmonton, Canada, it looked like it was raining auroras
Memorial Weekend Light Show
06.01.11 – A high speed solar wind caused geomagnetic storms over the Memorial weekend and another high speed stream may produce even more starting June 4, 2011.
A Night with the Stars...in a Confrence Room
A Night with the Stars…in a Conference Room
05.31.11 – Astronomers no longer peer through telescopes up at the night sky. The wonders of the universe can now be accessed right from a laptop.
NASA's Swift Finds Most Distant Gamma-ray Burst Yet
Swift Finds Most Distant Gamma-ray Burst Yet
05.27.11 – After two years of painstaking analysis, astronomers say a stellar blast observed by Swift was the farthest explosion yet identified.
NASA's WISE Mission Offers a Taste of Galaxies to Come
NASA’s WISE Mission Offers a Taste of Galaxies to Come
05.25.11 – An assorted mix of colorful galaxies is being released today by NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer mission, or WISE. The nine galaxies are a taste of what’s to come.
NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer Helps Confirm Nature of Dark Energy
NASA Telescope Helps Confirm Nature of Dark Energy
05.19.11 – A five-year survey of 200,000 galaxies, stretching back seven billion years in cosmic time, has led to one of the best independent confirmations that dark energy is driving our universe apart at accelerating speeds.
Aurora Australis (Southern Lights).
Geomagnetic Storm Light Show at Both Poles
04.30.11 – High Speed Solar Wind causes aurora at both poles
The MMS dual electron spectrometer being built in the Goddard clean room.
Goddard Building Instrument To Study Reconnection
04.29.11 – At NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, scientists and engineers are working on a crucial element of the the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission to study magnetic reconnection: the Fast Plasma Instrument (FPI).
NASA's Swift and Hubble Probe Asteroid Collision Debris
Swift and Hubble Probe Asteroid Collision Debris
04.28.11 – On Dec. 11, 2010,asteroid Scheila flared twice as bright as expected. Hubble and Swift captured the aftermath of this deep space collision.
Ultraviolet Spotlight on Plump Stars in Tiny Galaxies
Ultraviolet Spotlight on Plump Stars in Tiny Galaxies
04.21.11 – Astronomers using NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer may be closer to knowing why some of the most massive stellar explosions ever observed occur in the tiniest of galaxies.
A STEREO Heliospheric Imager (HI-1A) image taken on March 7, 2010
STEREO Spacecraft Discovers New Eclipsing Binary Stars
04.21.11 – Although STEREO is primarily a solar mission, UK scientists were able to use the Heliospheric Imagers aboard STEREO to monitor variations in the brightness of stars.
SDO First Light Anniversary Contest
SDO First Light Anniversary Contest
04.21.11 – April 21, 2011 marks the one-year anniversary of when the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured its first images, an event referred to for all telescopes as “first light”.
Clouds, Clouds, Burning Bright
Clouds, Clouds, Burning Bright
04.18.11 – The NASA mission Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere has shown that night-shining ‘noctilucent’ cloud formation is changing year to year, showing a link between northern and southern weather systems some 13000 miles apart.
WISE Delivers Millions of Galaxies, Stars, Asteroids
WISE Delivers Millions of Galaxies, Stars, Asteroids
04.14.11 – Astronomers across the globe can now sift through hundreds of millions of galaxies, stars and asteroids collected in the first bundle of data from NASA's WISE mission.
The Watched Pot and Fast CMEs
The Watched Pot and Fast CMEs
04.14.11 – Back in 2008, the solar cycle plunged into the deepest minimum in nearly a century. As 2011 unfolds, sunspots have returned and they are crackling with activity.
RBSP Mission Status
RBSP - Mission Status
04.14.11 – The latest update on the Relativistic Proton Spectrometer instruments, the Electric and Magnetic Field Instrument Suite and Integrated Science package, and the Radiation Belt Storm Probes Ion Composition Experiment that will ride on-board the RBSP spacecrafts.
NASA Telescope Ferrets Out Planet-Huting Targets
NASA Telescope Ferrets Out Planet-Hunting Targets
04.10.11 – Astronomers have come up with a new way of identifying close, faint stars with NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer satellite.
WISE Mission Spots 'Horseshoe' Asteroid
WISE Mission Spots 'Horseshoe' Asteroid
04.08.11 – Astronomers using data from NASA's WISE mission have found an asteroid that appears to slowly trace out a horseshoe shape in space, as seen from Earth.
NASA Telescopes Join Forces to Observe Unprecedented Explosion
NASA Telescopes Observe Unprecedented Explosion
04.07.11 – Usually, gamma-ray bursts last hours, marking the destruction of a massive star, but three telescopes have now zoomed in on one lasting for days.
The Art of Making Stars
The Art of Making Stars
04.01.11 – A swirling palette of star-forming clouds can be seen in this picturesque image from WISE.
Suzaku Shows Clearest Picture Yet of Perseus Galaxy Cluster
Clearest Picture Yet of Perseus Cluster
03.24.11 – X-ray observations made by Suzaku provide the clearest picture to date of the size, mass and chemical content of a nearby cluster of galaxies.
Fortuitous Timing for NASA's New Space Weather App
Fortuitous Timing for NASA's New Space Weather App
03.16.11 – NASA officially releases new Space Weather App making images and other data almost immediately available to users.
Speed Demon Creates a Shock
Speed Demon Creates a Shock
03.10.11 – WISE has captured a star zipping through space like a race car driver.
Celebrating 400 Years of Sunspot Observations
Celebrating 400 Years of Sunspot Observations
03.09.11 – On March 9, 1611, Johannes Fabricius, who would become the first person to publish a scientific paper on sunspots, used a telescope to catch his first glimpse of one of these dark spots on the sun.
"Elephant Trunks' in Space
‘Elephant Trunks’ in Space
03.04.11 – A new image from NASA's WISE mission shows a zoo of “elephant trunks” herded together in a star-forming region.
Researchers Crack the Mystery of the Spotless Sun
Researchers Crack the Mystery of the Spotless Sun
03.02.11 – In 2008-2009, sunspots almost completely disappeared for two years. But why? Solar Physicists now know the answer.
Geomagnetic Storm in Progress
Geomagnetic Storm In Progress
03.01.11 – Update: The storm is subsiding now, but it could start up again in response to ongoing high-speed solar wind.
Monster Prominence Erupts from the Sun
Monster Prominence Erupts from the Sun
02.24.11 – A rather large M 3.6 class flare occurred near the edge of the Sun on Feb. 24, 2011, it blew out a gorgeous, waving mass of erupting plasma.
Launching Balloons in Antarctica
Launching Balloons in Antarctica
02.22.11 – A successful test launch in Antarctica for BARREL (Balloon Array for RBSP Relativistic Electron Losses) shows how it will will work hand in hand with.
>Can WISE Find the Hypothetical 'Tyche'?
Can WISE Find the Hypothetical 'Tyche'?
02.18.11 – In November 2010, the scientific journal Icarus published a paper by astrophysicists John Matese and Daniel Whitmire, who proposed the existence of a binary companion to our sun, larger than Jupiter.
Catching Space Weather in the Act
Catching Space Weather in the Act
02.17.11 – Special cameras aboard the Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, spacecraft have snapped the first images of space weather as it happens.
SDO Sundog Mystery
SDO Sundog Mystery
02.11.11 – NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), best known for cutting-edge images of the sun, has made a discovery right here on Earth.
SDO Celebrates One Year Anniversary
SDO Celebrates One Year Anniversary
02.11.11 – Project scientists discuss SDO's first year of science and collaboration with other Heliophysics System Observatory missions.
First Ever STEREO Images of the Entire Sun
First Ever STEREO Images of the Entire Sun
02.06.11 – Four years after launch NASA's two STEREO spacecraft are now 180 degrees apart and able to image the entire Sun.
NASA's NEOWISE Completes Scan for Asteroids and Comets
NASA’s NEOWISE Completes Scan for Asteroids and Comets
02.01.11 – NASA’s NEOWISE mission has completed its survey of small bodies, asteroids and comets, in our solar system.
Tracking the Origins of Speedy Space Particles
Tracking the Origins of Speedy Space Particles
01.31.11 – THEMIS helped track the origin of energetic particles in a kind of space weather called a substorm -- these speedy electrons gain energy from changing magnetic fields far from the origin of the event that causes them.
Runaway Star Plows Through Space
Runaway Star Plows Through Space
01.24.11 – Can you tell which way the central, bright blue star is traveling in this new image from WISE?
Swift Survey Finds 'Missing' Active Galaxies
Swift Survey Finds 'Missing' Active Galaxies
01.20.11 – An international team of scientists using data from NASA's Swift satellite confirms the existence of a largely unseen population of black-hole-powered galaxies.
Partner Galaxies Wildly Different in New WISE IMAGE
Partner Galaxies Wildly Different in New WISE IMAGE
01.13.11 – NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer has captured a new view of two companion galaxies.
NASA Satellites Find High-Energy Suprises in 'Constant' Crab Nebula
High-Energy Surprises in ‘Constant’ Crab Nebula
01.12.11 – The Crab Nebula was once thought to be the steadiest high-energy source in the sky. Not so, according to new data from NASA satellites.
Holes in the Sun's Corona
Holes in the Sun’s Corona
01.11.11 – This SDO image from Jan. 10 shows a “coronal hole,” an area of the sun’s surface that sends magnetic field lines way out into space.
In Distant Galaxies, New Clues to Century-Old Molecule Mystery
In Distant Galaxies, New Clues to Century-Old Molecule Mystery
01.10.11 – a team of NASA and European scientists recorded the “fingerprints” of mystery molecules - thought to be large organic compounds - in two distant galaxies, Andromeda and the Triangulum.
Hotspots Help Explain Coronal Heating Mystery
Hotspots Help Explain Coronal Heating Mystery
01.06.11 – Giant plumes of gas zooming up from the sun’s surface at 150,000 mph may play a key role in heating its corona in excess of a million degrees.
Hinode Observes Annular Solar Eclipse
Hinode Observes Annular Solar Eclipse
01.06.11 – On January 4, the Hinode satellite captured breathtaking images of an annular solar eclipse.