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Supermoon 2017: 12 must-see photos that lit up social media

Did you miss the supermoon that delighted skygazers Sunday night? Here’s the good news: Photographers around the world shared must-see snapshots of the phenomenon on social media.

>> Click here or scroll down to see the photos

>> MORE PHOTOS: Supermoon 2017 around the world

>> Sunday supermoon kicks off trilogy of spectacular lunar viewing

>> Supermoon 2017: How to see, photograph the majestic ‘Full Cold Moon’ this weekend

>> Read more trending news

You’ll also get a chance to see other supermoons on Jan. 1 and Jan. 31, 2018.

Photos: Supermoon delights skygazers around the world

A trilogy of supermoons began Dec. 3, 2017, with a full cold moon that could be viewed in person or online. The other supermoons will occur Jan. 1 and Jan. 31, 2018.

Sunday supermoon kicks off trilogy of spectacular lunar viewing

A trilogy of supermoons begins Sunday night with a full cold moon that can be viewed in person or online, Space.com reported.

>> Read more trending news

The other supermoons will occur on Jan. 1 and Jan. 31, 2018. In addition, there will be a lunar eclipse on Jan. 31 that will cause a “blue moon.”

Sunday’s spectacular lunar view can be seen online beginning at 9 p.m. ET by visiting the Space.com website or by going to Slooh, an online astronomy service.

A supermoon occurs when the full moon is at its perigee, which is the closest point of its orbit to the Earth, Space.com reported. The moon appears to be larger and brighter than a regular full moon and up to 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than when it is at its apogee, which is its furthest point from Earth, Space.com reported.

Australia powers up the world’s biggest battery

The world’s largest lithium battery was activated in Australia on Friday, fulfilling the pledge by Tesla CEO Elon Musk to build it in 100 days or provide it for free, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

The electric car company’s Powerpack battery system stores energy generated by a nearby wind farm in South Australia, and it is capable of providing electricity for as many as 30,000 homes, CNN reported.

“South Australia is now leading the world in dispatchable renewable energy,” the state's premier, Jay Weatherill, said in a statement Friday. “This is history in the making."

Tesla said it hopes the project “provides a model for future deployments around the world.”

Musk made his “100 days or it's free” vow on Twitter during an exchange with Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, CNN reported. The promise began with the official contract was signed in September.

With the battery going online this week, Musk met his deadline. The battery was officially launched Friday, but Australian media reported that it started supplying power to the electricity grid Thursday during peak demand hours.

Scientists say glitter is potential environmental hazard

Glitter's sparkly days may be over, if scientists get their way.

Because glitter is a microplastic, it poses a potential ecological hazard, scientists told The Independent. The threat is particularly serious to marine animals, who have suffered fatal consequences from consuming plastic that makes its way into the ocean.

>> Read more trending news

Glitter is not just found on cards and decorative items, but also in makeup.

Scientists don't necessarily want a complete ban on glitter, but are encouraging the creation of nontoxic, eco-friendly alternatives.

Leonid meteor shower 2017: Here's how to see this weekend's celestial spectacle

If you're looking for a shooting star so you can make your wish come true, this weekend may just be your lucky opportunity.

The Leonid meteor shower will peak this weekend, providing ideal viewing conditions for millions across the United States. With clear skies predicted by meteorologists in many parts of the country, even amateur stargazers should be able to catch a glimpse of the cosmic spectacle.

>> Read more trending news

Experts say 10 to 25 shooting stars will be visible per hour in areas with clear skies this Friday evening and Saturday morning, according to the Smithsonian. Even for the unlucky, such a high number gives anyone decent odds of sighting one of the meteors.

For those hoping to view the shower this weekend, here's everything you need to know:

What is the Leonid meteor shower?

The Leonid meteors are connected to the comet Tempel-Tuttle, according to David Samuhel, senior meteorologist and astronomy blogger at AccuWeather.

"It makes fairly frequent passes through the inner solar system," he said. "This lays out fresh debris in the path of the Earth's orbit every 33 years."

The Earth actually passes through the debris of the comet, making the falling particles visible as they burn up in the atmosphere. Thanks to clear skies and the absence of moonlight, this year's display should give stargazers a decent show.

Where will the meteor shower be most visible?

First of all, stargazers should get as far away from city lights as possible to avoid light pollution. There's no specific spot in the sky to look. But the shooting stars get their name from the Leo constellation, as their paths in the sky can be traced back to those stars.

Peak time for viewing is from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. ET Saturday.

People living throughout the Southeast, the Northern Plains and California are in luck, as meteorologists are predicting clear skies, ideal for viewing the shower.

Those who reside in the Northeast, the Great Lakes region, the central Plains or the Pacific Northwest, however, may have to travel to other areas if they want to spot a falling star.

"A large storm system will be moving from the Plains into the Great Lakes, and cloudy skies are forecast to dominate much of the eastern half of the nation," meteorologist Kyle Elliot said, according to Accuweather. "Rain and thunderstorms will put an even bigger damper on viewing conditions in many of these areas."

The shower will actually be most visible, with the highest rates of visible meteors, in East Asia.

How intense can a Leonid shower get?

While this weekend's display is sure to impress, it's actually considered a light meteor shower, as opposed to a meteor storm. The last Leonid meteor storm took place in 2002. During storms, thousands of meteors can be spotted in an hour.

In 1833, stargazers reported as many as 72,000 shooting stars per hour, according to National Geographic. In 1966, a group of hunters reported seeing 40 to 50 streaks per second over the duration of 15 minutes.

Scientists currently predict the next major outburst won't take place until 2099. But calculations suggest the comet will be returning closer to Earth in 2031 and 2064, meaning more intense storms may be seen sooner. Smaller showers, such as the one occurring this weekend, happen on a regular basis.

So, while you may get another shot at seeing Leonid's shooting stars, this weekend promises to be a great chance for many.

Breathtaking NASA time lapse shows how much Earth has changed over 20 years

This fall marks 20 years since NASA satellites started to continuously observe life on Earth.

>> Read more trending news

To commemorate the monumental discoveries over the years, NASA is sharing stories and videos about how much views from up above have taught us about life on our home planet and the search for life elsewhere.

A new time-lapse animation, shown below, captures 20 years’ worth of the planet’s changing land and ocean life as seen from the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of view Sensor, which launched in 1997.

“These are incredibly evocative visualizations of our living planet,” Gene Carl Feldman, an oceanographer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said in a NASA news release last week. “That’s the Earth. That is it breathing every single day, changing with the seasons, responding to the sun, to the changing winds, ocean currents and temperatures."

>> Related: 15,000 scientists warn it will soon be 'too late' to save Earth

Over the past 20 years, NASA scientists have monitored the health of crops, forests and fisheries around the globe and have learned more about the long-term changes across continents and ocean basins, the agency wrote in the news release.

NASA to launch JPSS-1 weather satellite Saturday morning

NASA, in partnership with the NOAA, will launch a satellite Saturday that will help improve weather forecasts.

>> Read more trending news

The satellite launch was scheduled for earlier this week, but was postponed twice, once because of high winds and once because of technical difficulties.

The launch for the JPSS-1 satellite is scheduled at 4:47 a.m. Saturday, according to NASA.

>> Related: NASA postpones JPSS-1 weather satellite launch

A live stream of the launch will be available on NASA’s website starting at 4:15 a.m.

The satellites will help improve NOAA forecasts for the three to seven day time frame. The data collected from the JPSS is fed into the numerical forecast models to help improve them. The satellites will also collect atmospheric measurements, ground conditions and ocean conditions like vegetation, hurricane intensity and atmospheric moisture. 

The JPSS-1 will be launch from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California pending proper flight conditions. The launch was originally scheduled for Tuesday.

>> Related: NASA scrubs launch of JPSS-1 weather satellite again

This satellite is a polar orbiting satellite, which means it will orbit the earth from the one pole to the other passing the equator 14 times a day. Full coverage of the planet will then be provided twice a day.

JPSS-2 is planned to launch in 2021, and JPSS-3 and JPSS-4 are anticipated to launch in 2026 and 2031.

NASA postpones JPSS-1 weather satellite launch

NASA, in partnership with the NOAA, scrubbed Tuesday’s launch of a weather satellite that will help improve weather forecasts due to a last-minute technical problem.

JPSS-1 is the first of a few polar orbiting satellites to launch from the Joint Polar Satellite System.

>> Read more trending news 

The satellites will help improve NOAA forecasts for the three- to seven-day time frame. The data collected from the JPSS is fed into the numerical forecast models to help improve them. The satellites will also collect atmospheric measurements, ground conditions and ocean conditions like vegetation, hurricane intensity, and atmospheric moisture.

The JPSS-1 was scheduled to be launched around 4:47 a.m. EST from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California. The launch has been postponed until Wednesday.

This satellite is a polar orbiting satellite, which means it will orbit the earth from the one pole to the other passing the equator 14 times a day. Full coverage of the planet will be provided then twice a day.

NASA astronaut Dick Gordon dies at 88

Astronaut Richard “Dick” Gordon, who served as command module pilot on Apollo 12, the second lunar landing mission, died Monday, NASA officials confirmed Tuesday. He was 88.

>> Read more trending news

Gordon served in the U.S. Navy and became in astronaut in 1963, according to NASA.

“Dick Gordon is an American hero, and a true renaissance man by any measure,” Curt Brown, chairman of the Orlando-based Astronaut Scholarship Foundation and an astronaut and veteran of six space flights, said in a news release Tuesday. “He was an American naval officer and aviator, chemist, test pilot, NASA astronaut, professional football executive, oil and gas executive and generous contributor to worthy causes. He was in a category all his own.”

The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, citing family and friends, said Gordon died at his home in California.

According to NASA, Gordon spent more than 316 hours in space on two missions.

“He was the pilot for the three-day Gemini 11 mission in 1966 and performed two spacewalks,” agency officials said. “At the time of the flight, Gemini 11 set the world altitude record of 850 miles.”

Gordon was born Oct. 5, 1929, in Seattle. He graduated with a degree in chemistry from the University of Washington in 1951, according to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. He received his wings as a naval aviator in 1953 and was later assigned to an all-weather fighter squadron at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida.

He served as a test pilot and an instructor before he was chosen in 1963 to become one of 14 astronauts to create Group 3.

“Four astronauts died in training accidents before any left the atmosphere,” according to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. “The surviving 10 astronauts flew in the Apollo program.”

Gordon had more than 4,500 flying hours with the U.S. Navy under his belt before he piloted his first space flight, Gemini 11, in September 1966. He served as command module pilot for the Apollo 12 mission three years later.

“In all, Gordon spent 13 days in space, and his expeditions were portrayed by actor Tom Verica in the 1998 HBO miniseries, ‘From the Earth to the Moon,’” according to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. “Gordon, a voracious reader and chemist, also published several technical papers for the Navy and NASA before retiring from both in 1972 at the rank of captain.”

Gordon is survived by six children, two stepchildren and five grandchildren.

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