There's no place like home. Warm, wet and with an atmosphere that's just right, Earth is the only place we know of with life – and lots of it. JPL's Earth science missions monitor our home planet and how it's changing so it can continue to provide a safe haven as we reach deeper into the cosmos.
bounces radio waves and monitors the bounce backs and converts it into audio equivilent
Visit for more. Enveloping our planet and protecting us from the fury of the Sun is the magnetosphere, a key to helping Earth develop into a habitable planet.
Live meteor echoes at LIVEMETEORS.com
A Kyoto University-based team has unraveled the mystery of gamma-ray emission cascades caused by lightning strikes. Credit: Kyoto University/Teruaki Enoto
For some time, physicists have been aware that small bursts of high-energy gamma rays can be produced by lightning storms – what are known as “terrestrial gamma-ray flashes”. They are believed to be the result of static electrical fields accelerating electrons, which are then slowed by the atmosphere. This phenomenon was first discovered by space-based observatories, and rays of up to 100,000 electron volts (100 MeV) have been observed.
Thanks to the success of their campaign, the team built and installed particle detectors across the northwest coast of Honshu. In February of 2017, they installed four more detectors in Kashiwazaki city, which is a few hundred meters away from the neighboring town of Niigata. Immediately after the detectors were installed, a lightning strike took place in Niigata, and the team was able to study it.
It was here that things really got interesting. As the unstable nitrogen broke down, it released positrons that then collided with electrons, causing matter-antimatter annihilations that released more gamma rays. As Enoto explained, this demonstrated, for the first time that antimatter is something that can occur in nature due to common mechanisms.
A NASA visualization shows 20 years of continuous satellite observations of plant life on land and at the ocean's surface from 1997 to 2017. Vegetation on land is represented on a scale from brown (low vegetation) to dark green (lots of vegetation). In the ocean, populations of phytoplankton are indicated on a scale from purple (low) to yellow (high). Credit: NASA
Image: The Moon’s shadow will dramatically affect insolation — the amount of sunlight reaching the ground — during the total solar eclipse. Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio 160 seconds of totality is a fleeting but, so I’m told, haunting experience. For scientists, though, we’d like a good bit more. Thus it’s welcome news that the European Space Agency is working on Proba-3, a duo of small satellites designed to interact with each other to block the solar disk over and over again. The camera satellite and disk satellite engage in precision flying, creating artificial eclipses of six hours each time the two craft make one 19.6 hour orbit.
A Composite Image of the Earth
NASA has released new, high-definition satellite images of Earth's "night lights" for the first time since 2012. This composite image of the Earth as a "black marble" shows Asia and Australia in 2016.
The first in a series of NASA Earth-observing instruments to be mounted on the exterior of the International Space Station
is scheduled for launch this month. ISS-RapidScat will monitor ocean winds for climate research, weather predictions and hurricane monitoring.
Image Credit: NASA.
The Earth's layers, showing the Inner and Outer Core, the Mantle, and Crust.
Credit: Discover Magzine
This Mollweide projected data visualization shows 20 years of Earth's biosphere starting in September 1997 going through September 2017. Data for this visualization was collected from multiple satellites over the past twenty years. Category News & Politics License Standard YouTube License
NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) spacecraft has detected magnetic activity occurring in a new and surprising way in the environment of near-Earth space. Earth is surrounded by charged particles known as plasma. Most of these high-energy particles are deflected by the magnetosphere, which is the protective magnetic field that surrounds the planet. As Earth's magnetic-field lines absorb this energy, they stretch and eventually snap, releasing powerful bursts of particles toward Earth, which, in turn, can endanger satellites, spacecraft and astronauts in space. This process, known as magnetic reconnection, is commonly observed in Earth's magnetosphere, generally under calm conditions. However, new data from NASA's MMS has shown for the first time that this process also occurs in the extremely turbulent near-Earth environment known as the magnetosheath, according to a statement from NASA.
Visualization of the radiation belts with confined charged particles (blue & yellow) and plasmapause boundary (blue-green surface).
It?s a well-known fact that Earth?s ozone layer protects us from a great deal of the Sun?s ultra-violet radiation.
Were it not for this protective barrier around our planet, chances are our surface would be similar to the rugged and lifeless landscape
we observe on Mars.
Beyond this barrier lies another ? a series of shields formed by a layer of energetic charged particles that are held in place by the
Earth?s magnetic field. Known as the Van Allen radiation belts, this wall prevents the fastest, most energetic electrons from reaching Earth.
Published on Feb 28, 2013 These two nearly identical spacecraft launched in August 2012 and with only six months in operation, they may well be rewriting science textbooks.
The probes study the Van Allen belts, gigantic radiation belts surrounding Earth, which can swell dramatically in response to incoming energy from the sun,
engulfing satellites and spacecraft and creating potential threats to manned space flight.
James Van Allen discovered the radiation belts during the 1958 launch of the first successful U.S. satellite. Subsequent missions have observed parts of the belts, but what causes the dynamic variation in the region has remained something of a mystery. This video is public domain and can be downloaded at:
An artist’s conception of an Iridium-NEXT satellite in low Earth orbit. Image credit: Iridium Communications Inc.
The Earth?s gravitational model (aka the ?Potsdam Potato?) is based on data from the
LAGEOS, GRACE, and GOCE satellites and surface data. Credit: GFZ
People tend to think of gravity here on Earth as a uniform and consistent thing. Stand anywhere on the globe,
at any time of year, and you?ll feel the same downward pull of a single G. But in fact, Earth?s gravitational field is subject
to variations that occur over time. This is due to a combination of factors, such as the uneven distributions of mass in the oceans,
continents, and deep interior, as well as climate-related variables like the water balance of continents, and the melting or growing of glaciers.
The Earth is lumpy. This is a map of Earth’s gravitational field. High areas, colored red, indicate areas where gravity
is slightly stronger than usual, while in blue areas gravity is slightly weaker.
The above map was made in 2005: a more recent and improved version was produced in 2011.
Artist’s impression of the effect Earth’s gravity has on spacetime. Credit: NASA
Artist’s impression of the frame-dragging effect in which space and time are dragged around a massive body. Credit: