Ursa Major, or Great Bear, the constellation in the northern skies that contains the Big Dipper, a name suggested by the shape of the figure formed by its seven brightest stars. In mid-northern latitudes Ursa Major remains above the horizon day and night the year round. It can therefore be seen on any clear night.
Where I live it is pretty common to see "shooting stars" -- streaks of light in the sky at night. How big is a shooting star? Do they land on earth or do they burn up? Do they land on the ground as meteorites?
Doomsday theorists might expect 2012 to be a year of ray-gun-style solar flares, but their assumptions aren't at all backed up by science. What are solar flares, and what happens if they really do hit the Earth?