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Here Come the Leonids 2006 80

yukk writes "The nights and early morning hours of November 17-19 mark the return of the Leonid meteor shower to the skies of Earth. Viewers along the northeastern coast of the United States and Canada, as well as people in Europe and western Africa might get to see a possible 'outburst' of as many as 100-600 meteors per hour. This spike in activity is predicted for 11:45 p.m. — 1:33 a.m. EST on November 18-19 (4:45 — 6:33 UT on November 19)."

Cassini Observes Hurricane-Like Storm On Saturn 69

Aglassis writes "The Cassini spacecraft recently observed a hurricane-like storm on the south pole of Saturn. What makes this storm particularly interesting is that this is the first time that a clearly defined eyewall has been seen outside of the Earth in the Solar System. Neither the Great White Spot of Saturn nor the Great Red Spot of Jupiter have had an observable eyewall. NASA, JPL, and the Space Science Institute have released a short movie of the motion around the eyewall (mirrored at YouTube)."

Space Telescope Catches Monster Flare 158

gollum123 writes, "NASA's Swift satellite has seen a giant flare explode from a nearby star. Our sun also flares when twisted magnetic field lines in the solar atmosphere suddenly snap — but this was on a far larger scale, perhaps 100 million times as strong. The energy released by the explosion on II Pegasi was equivalent to about 50 quintillion atomic bombs. If the Sun were ever to produce such an outburst, it would almost certainly cause a mass extinction on Earth. II Pegasi is a binary system 135 light-years from Earth in the constellation Pegasus. Its two stars are close, only a few stellar radii apart; as a result, tidal forces cause both stars to spin quickly, rotating in lockstep once in seven days compared to the Sun's 28-day rotation period. Fast rotation is thought to be conducive to strong stellar flares."

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