Marianne's Heaven On Earth Aurora Chaser Tours Chasethelighttours.co.uk invites you to join them in their quest to find and photograph the Aurora Borealis. Experience the winter wonderland in the Tromsø Area.
HAPPY NEW YEAR: Today, Feb 8th, the Moon is new. According to the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar, this marks the beginning of a new year--the "Year of the Monkey." A 15-day celebration is underway in China, ending later this month when the Moon becomes full. Happy Chinese New Year!
GEOMAGNETIC STORM: Solar activity is low. Nevertheless, auroras are dancing around the Arctic Circle. Øystein Lunde Ingvaldsen of Bø in Vesterålen photographed a "north Norwegian snowman family enjoying the show on Feb. 7th:
Shortly after this photo was taken, Earth crossed through a fold in the heliospheric current sheet, sparking a G1-class geomagnetic storm. This energized the lights even more.
More auroras are in the offing--especially on Feb. 9th when a minor CME is expected to deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field. NOAA forecasters say there is a 40% chance of polar geomagnetic storms when the CME arrives. Aurora alerts: text or voice
Aurora Photo Gallery
SEA LAUNCH OF A SPACE WEATHER BALLOON: For the first time, a space weather balloon has been launched from the deck of a moving boat. Led by Earth to Sky Calculus graduate Aaron Lamb, students at the California State University Maritime Academy did it on Feb. 5th:
"It was a complicated launch, but we pulled it off," says Midshipman Lamb. "We sailed with the wind to nullify the effect of wind gusts on the balloon. This allowed us to release it in a controlled manner. A second boat followed us to photograph the launch and to provide any necessary rescues in case of 'men overboard.'"
This sea launch is good training for next year's Solar Eclipse Balloon Network: In Aug. 2017 there will be a total eclipse of the sun across the continental United States. Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus plan to launch a dozen balloons from the path of totality to record the eclipse from the stratosphere, creating a unique movie of the Moon's shadow sweeping across the American continent. To fully capture the eclipse from coastal areas in Oregon and South Carolina, a sea launch may be necessary.
"We are also working on a sea landing," adds Lamb. "That is, we plan to build a payload that can land in water and float after returning from the stratosphere."
The flexibility to launch and/or land in water could open new doors for experiments in space weather ballooning. Congratulations to the students of Earth to Sky Maritime for their innovative work!
Spaceweather Photo Gallery
Comet Photo Gallery
Every night, a network
scans the skies above the United
States for meteoritic fireballs. Automated software
maintained by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office
calculates their orbits, velocity, penetration depth
in Earth's atmosphere and many other characteristics.
Daily results are presented here on Spaceweather.com.
On Feb. 7, 2016, the network reported 12 fireballs.
In this diagram of the inner solar system, all of the fireball orbits intersect at a single point--Earth. The orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue). [Larger image] [movies]
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs
are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that
can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the
known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet,
although astronomers are finding new
all the time.
February 8, 2016 there were 1672
potentially hazardous asteroids.
Notes: LD means
"Lunar Distance." 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance
between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256
AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on
the date of closest approach.
||Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere
These measurements are based on regular space weather balloon flights: learn more.
|Situation Report -- Oct. 30, 2015
||Stratospheric Radiation (+37o N)
|Cosmic ray levels are elevated (+6.1% above the Space Age median). The trend is flat. Cosmic ray levels have increased +0% in the past month.
|Sept. 06: 4.14 uSv/hr (414 uRad/hr)
4.09 uSv/hr (409 uRad/hr)
|Sept. 23: 4.12 uSv/hr (412 uRad/hr)
4.16 uSv/hr (416 uRad/hr)
|Sept. 27: 4.13 uSv/hr (413 uRad/hr)
|Oct. 11: 4.02 uSv/hr (402 uRad/hr)
|Oct. 22: 4.11 uSv/hr (411 uRad/hr)
Approximately once a week, Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus fly "space weather balloons" to the stratosphere over California. These balloons are equipped with radiation sensors that detect cosmic rays, a surprisingly "down to Earth" form of space weather. Cosmic rays can seed clouds, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes. Our measurements show that someone flying back and forth across the continental USA, just once, can absorb as much ionizing radiation as 2 to 5 dental X-rays. For example, here is the data from a flight on Oct. 22, 2015:
Radiation levels peak at the entrance to the stratosphere in a broad region called the "Pfotzer Maximum." This peak is named after physicist George Pfotzer who discovered it using balloons and Geiger tubes in the 1930s. Radiation levels there are more than 80x sea level.
Note that the bottom of the Pfotzer Maximim is near 55,000 ft. This means that some high-flying aircraft are not far from the zone of maximum radiation. Indeed, according to the Oct 22th measurements, a plane flying at 45,000 feet is exposed to 2.79 uSv/hr. At that rate, a passenger would absorb about one dental X-ray's worth of radiation in about 5 hours.
The radiation sensors onboard our helium balloons detect X-rays and gamma-rays in the energy range 10 keV to 20 MeV. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.
official U.S. government space weather bureau
first place to look for information about sundogs,
pillars, rainbows and related phenomena.
call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO
is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial
and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
the NOAA Space Environment Center
underlying science of space weather