See a solar eclipse from outer space

The moon takes a bite out of the sun's disk in this extreme ultraviolet view from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.

This is simply spectacular!

MSNBC Photo Blog

The heavens have to align just right for a solar eclipse — and for NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, today was the day the heavens aligned. The only place where you could see today’s partial eclipse was in outer space. But don’t worry: Some of us earthlings will get a couple of chances later this year.

The Solar Dynamics Observatory watches the sun in multiple wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light from a vantage point in geosynchronous orbit, about 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) above Earth’s surface.

Sometimes other celestial bodies muscle in on SDO’s view of the sun. Earth itself gets in the way twice a year, around the time of the spring and autumn equinoxes. Today, it was the moon’s turn to take a bite out of the sun’s bright disk.

Although this brief obstruction cut into the $850 million mission’s observing time, the SDO team tried to make use of the opportunity, project scientist Dean Pesnell said in a blog posting. During its transit, the moon blocked the probe’s view of an active region on the sun. That caused a dip in the energy recorded by the Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment, or EVE, which “may allow scientists to calibrate the energy emitted by the active region,” Pesnell said.’s Tony Phillips mentions another opportunity provided by the eclipse: “The sharp edge of the lunar limb helps researchers measure the in-orbit characteristics of the telescope … how light diffracts around the telescope’s optics and filter support grids. Once these are calibrated, it is possible to correct SDO data for instrumental effects and sharpen the images even more than before.”

Observers in a wide swath of East Asia, the Pacific and western North America will be able to see a partial solar eclipse with their own eyes on May 20. Some lucky folks will see something even rarer: an annular eclipse, in which the moon covers up most of the sun but leaves a thin ring of the bright disk shining in the sky. The U.S. West Coast and Southwest will be prime territory for that “ring of fire” eclipse.

On Nov. 13, a total solar eclipse will be visible from a corner of Australia and a long strip of the Pacific Ocean. You’ll be hearing a lot more about these eclipses as we get closer to the events. In the meantime, feast your eyes on this time-lapse view of today’s space eclipse in different wavelengths:

Why MSNBC Dumped Pat Buchanan: His 10 Most Outrageous Statements

Think Progress

Yesterday, Pat Buchanan announced that his tenure as a commentator at MSNBC was finally over, ending months of speculation about his absence from his once-frequent perch aside morning anchors Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

Calls for Buchanan’s firing by groups like Color of ChangeCredo, and Media Matters had been loud and growing, following years of controversial, offensive and outright bigoted statements made by Buchanan without apology or remorse. Here is a look back at 10 of the most offensive and outrageous statements made by Pat Buchanan:

1. Wanted to close the borders to protect white dominance. As he wrote in his 2006 book State of Emergency: “If we do not get control of our borders, by 2050 Americans of European descent will be a minority in the nation their ancestors created and built.”

2. Blamed lower test scores on minorities. In his most recent book Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?, he blames minorities for dragging down the country’s test scores. “[T]he decline in academic test scores here at home and in international competition is likely to continue, as more and more of the children taking those tests will be African-American and Hispanic.

3. Claimed Jerry Sandusky’s atrocities are because of “Homosexual marriage.”Buchanan appeared on a right-wing radio show on November 15 to make some convoluted comparisons: “Let’s take this Penn State thing…these horrors, there’s an organization that marches in the gay pride parade in New York called—used to—called the North American Man Boy Love Association, which advocated voluntary sex along the lines of exactly what was going on at Penn State. Many of our political icons have marched in that parade right behind that NAMBLA float […] This is now, homosexual marriage is now the civil rights cause of the decade.”

4. Said the Jewish population in the United States dropped in the 90s because Jews aborted all their babies. Buchanan explains that the decline in the American Jewish population during the 1990s (a decline that a Brandeis studysays never occurred), “is a result of the collective decision of Jews themselves. From Betty Friedan to Gloria Steinem in the 1970s to Ruth Bader Ginsburg today, Jewish women have led the battle for abortion rights. The community followed.”

5. Asserted Anders Breivik, who murdered 77 people including 69 teens in Norway, “may have been right.” Buchanan called Breivik a coward, evil, and cold-blooded, and then proceeded to defend his twisted rationale for the killings: “As for a climactic conflict between a once-Christian West and an Islamic world that is growing in numbers and advancing inexorably into Europe for the third time in 14 centuries, on this one, Breivik may be right.”

6. Claimed that all great nations punish the gays. In a Human Events column, Buchanan attacked California’s 9th Circuit Judge Vaughn Walker after his ruling of Proposition 8 as unconstitutional as a “judicial tyrant,” before going on to explain that “through history, all the great religions have condemned homosexuality and all the great nations have proscribed or punished it. None ever placed homosexual liaisons on the same plane as traditional marriage, which is the bedrock institution of any healthy society.

7. Penned “The Affirmative Action Nobel.” That’s the title of Buchanan’s October 13, 2009 column on in which he claims that President Obama’s Nobel Prize was simply the result of affirmative action. And the column only got worse from there: “They have reinforced the impression that Obama is someone who is forever being given prizes — Ivy League scholarships, law review editorships, prime-time speaking slots at national conventions — he did not earn.”

8. Argued that Poland and the United Kingdom had it coming in World War II.Buchanan seems to suggest in a 2009 column that World War II—and all the atrocities that accompanied it—was really the fault of Poland and Britain, for refusing to engage in diplomacy with Germany. “Why did Warsaw not negotiate with Berlin, which was hinting at an offer of compensatory territory in Slovakia? Because the Poles had a war guarantee from Britain that, should Germany attack, Britainand her empire would come to Poland’s rescue.”

9. Dabbled in Holocaust denial. Pat Buchanan danced alarmingly close to denying key facts of the Holocaust. In a 1990 column for the New York Post, he defended convicted Nazi war criminal Ivan Demjanjuk (whom he latercompared to Jesus Christ) against charges from Holocaust survivors that he was guilty of murder by accusing the survivors of misremembering all of it: “This so-called ‘Holocaust Survivor Syndrome’ involves ‘group fantasies of martyrdom and heroics.’ Reportedly, half of the 20,000 survivor testimonies in Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem are considered ‘unreliable,’ not to be used in trials[…]The problem is: Diesel engines do not emit enough carbon monoxide to kill anybody.”

10. Argued Hitler was an individual of “great courage.” That’s just one of the quotes that the Anti-Defamation League attributes to Buchanan in theircompendium of offensive remarks from Buchanan over the years. In 1977, he qualified his labeling of Hitler as racist and anti-semitic by adding that “he was also an individual of great courage, a soldier’s soldier in the Great War, a leader steeped in the history of Europe, who possessed oratorical powers that could awe even those who despised him[…]His genius was an intuitive sense of the mushiness, the character flaws, the weakness masquerading as morality that was in the hearts of the statesmen who stood in his path.”

With views like this, Buchanan would probably be a nice, cozy fit for Fox News.

Alice Stewart, Rick Santorum Aide, Explains Offensive Obama Gaffe

So, this is my question.  When Ms. Stewart said “radical Islamic policies”, why didn’t Andrea Mitchell correct her?  MSNBC is notorious for wanting “access” to news makers at the expense of appeasing their guests and making their hosts look impotent.

Rick Santorum’s Press Secretary, Alice Stewart said President Obama has “radical Islamic policies” which is looped three times for you to clearly hear her words:

 The Huffington Post

Santorum press secretary Alice Stewart says it was an accident when she accused Obama of “radical Islamic policies.”

Stewart appeared on MSNBC Monday for an interview with Andrea Mitchell to discuss the controversial comments Santorum made about Obama’s “phony theology” over the weekend. As she repeatedly railed against Obama’s “radical environmentalist policies,” she slipped up and said “Islamic” instead (watch at 1:25).

Mitchell writes that Stewart quickly called her to clarify that she had misspoken.

Stewart called only moments later — while the show was on the air — to say she regretted the slip of the tongue, and to please note that she had misspoken and did not realize until it was pointed out to her that she had used the word “Islamic” by mistake.

Santorum continued a religious critique of Obama on “Face the Nation” Sunday, attacking his theology and deference to “radical environmentalists.” HuffPost’s Josh Hersh reported:

“I’ve repeatedly said I don’t question the president’s faith,” Santorum told host Bob Schieffer, denying what some have said was a signal that Santorum had challenged the legitimacy of Obama’s Christianity. “I’ve repeatedly said that I believe the president’s Christian — he says he’s Christian. But I am talking about his worldview, the way he addresses problems in this country, and they’re different than most people view it in America.”
In a speech to Tea Party conservatives on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, Santorum had dismissed Obama’s politics as being based in “some phony theology.”

“It’s not about you. It’s not about your quality of life. It’s not about your jobs,” Santorum said. “It’s about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology.”

An incredulous Bob Schieffer began his interview with Santorum Sunday by asking, “What in the world were you talking about?”

“I was talking about the radical environmentalists,” Santorum said, suggesting that they believe man should protect the earth, rather than “steward its resources.” “I think that is a phony ideal. I don’t believe that’s what we’re here to do… We’re not here to serve the earth. That is not the objective, man is the objective.”