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Here is NASA giving us the explanation for the additional second being added to the clock tonight. The article sounds plausible, the earth "routinely" slows down 1.4 thousands of a second every 100 years - except this is the second time in 4 years they've had to add a second (also 2008)!http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/extra-second.html
NASA is launching 2 satellites today to study the Van Allen belt - NASA saying it will help predict space weather (this is partly true - solar flare activity magnifies the belt(s). However, the belts usually sit over 23,000 km from the earth's surface. The Van Allen belt is only 200 km from the earth's surface in the South America Magnetic Anomaly region. This will be something to keep an eye on going forward.Two good links on the subject: http://www.clavius.org/envrad.html (Good info on the Van Allen radiation belt) and http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-205_162-57503292/nasa-launches-twin-satellites-to-study-van-allen-radiation-belts/ is the "benign" NASA announcement.
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