Come to Tromsø and share Marianne's passion for rural photography: Chasethelighttours.co.uk invites you to experience "Heaven on Earth" with an aurora, fjord, fishing, whale watching, photography or sightseeing tour.
QUIET WITH A SLIGHT CHANCE OF FLARES: Solar activity is low, but one sunspot could break the quiet. AR2331 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class flares. NOAA forecasters estimate a 5% chance of such an eruption on April 27th. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.
VOLCANIC PLUME, COLORFUL SUNSETS: European MetOp satellites have been monitoring aerosols blasted into the atmosphere by Chile's Calbuco volcano on April 22nd. This 5-day movie shows a plume of sulfur dioxide spreading east from Chile to Brazil:
Credit: The Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment-2 (GOME-2) onboard MetOp-A and MetOp-B
The effect of this plume on Brazilian sunsets has been dramatic. Helio C. Vital of Rio de Janeiro reports: "Pushed by strong winds, aerosols from Calbuco reached Rio today (April 26) and produced an spectacular display of bright unusual colors across most of the western sky during evening twilight. The red-magenta glow lasted until an hour after local sunset."
This is what he saw:
As the sun set and the twilight faded, Jupiter and the Moon over Rio were surrounded by a distinctly purple hue.
Purple is one of the telltale signs of a volcanic sunset. Fine volcanic aerosols in the stratosphere scatter blue light which, when mixed with ordinary sunset red, produces a violet hue. But purple isn't the only thing to look for, says atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. In addition, he advises, sky watchers in Chile and Brazil should "be alert for a very bright yellow twilight arch, fine cloud structure in the arch seen through binoculars, and long diffuse rays and shadows."
Stay tuned for updates from beneath the volcanic plume.
Space Weather Photo Gallery
MAGNETIC FILAMENT: For the 5th day in a row, amateur astronomers around the world are monitoring a filament of magnetism snaking over the sun's northeastern limb. Sergio Castillo photographed the structure on April 26th from his backyard observatory in Corona, CA:
"After several days of poor weather, a break in the clouds finally allowed me to photograph this awesome filament that everyone is talking about," says Castillo. "I'm glad because it is truly an amazing structure. "
Filled with hot-glowing plasma, the filament is more than 5 times taller than Earth and 25 times as long. These dimensions make it an easy target for backyard solar telescopes. The possibility of an eruption adds motivation to look: Bushy solar filaments like this one often become unstable and explode. Debris falling to the sun's surface can produce secondary explosions called Hyder flares--a type of flare that happens without an underlying sunspot.
SPACE YEAST MAKES SPACE BREAD: Thought experiment: Suppose you flew a packet of baker's yeast high above Earth's surface, to the edge of space itself, and exposed the microbes to a blast of cosmic rays. Then you made some bread. How would it taste? "Delicious," reports Eileen Weingram of Highland Lakes, New Jersey, who actually did the experiment:
On March 17th, during the strongest geomagnetic storm of the current solar cycle, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus flew a Space Weather Buoy to the stratosphere. Along with radiation detectors and other sensors, the payload carried packets of brewer's and baker's yeast. En route to the stratosphere, the microbes experienced temperatures as low as -63 C and cosmic ray doses 40x Earth-normal.
To support the students' research, Eileen Weingram bought a packet of the baker's yeast. "It made a huge loaf of bread," she says. "Very yummy."
If this story whets your appetite, you can bake some "space bread" of your own. Packets of yeast are still available for only $49.95. Contact Dr. Tony Phillips to place your order--and let the baking begin! All sales support high altitude balloon flights to measure the effect of solar storms on Earth's atmosphere.
Meteor Photo Gallery
Aurora Photo Gallery
Comet Photo Gallery
Every night, a network
all-sky cameras 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 Apr. 26, 2015, the network reported 3 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.
April 27, 2015 there were 1575
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.
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