On October 8th there will be a total eclipse of the Moon. Got clouds? No problem. The event will be broadcast live on the web by the Coca-Cola Science Center.
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NASA SPACECRAFT DETECTS SUPER X-FLARE: If you thought an X1-class solar flare was bad, how about an X100,000? NASA's Swift spacecraft has detected such a explosion. Fortunately for life on Earth, it did not come from the sun. The source of the super-flare was another star almost 60 light-years away: full story.
THE "FORBUSH REBOUND": Radiation levels in the stratosphere are back to normal following a mid-September dip caused by one of the strongest solar storms in years. The story begins three weeks ago. On Sept. 12th a CME hit Earth head-on, sparking a G3-class geomagnetic storm. Using a helium balloon, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched a radiation sensor into the storm, expecting to measure an increase in energetic particles. Instead of more, however, they measured less. The CME had swept away many of the cosmic rays around Earth and so radiation levels in the stratosphere dropped.
The CME was long gone on Sept. 28th when they repeated the experiment and found radiation levels returning to pre-storm values:
The drop in radiation is called a "Forbush Decrease" after the 20th century physicist Scott Forbush who first described it. That would make the bounce-back a "Forbush Rebound." According to the data, the rebound took less than two weeks and possibly only a few days. The next time a CME hits, the students plan to launch balloons with a faster cadence to better measure the stratosphere's response time.
Pictured below is the group's Space Weather Buoy--an insulated capsule containing an X-ray/gamma-ray detector (10 keV - 20 MeV), multiple video cameras, GPS trackers, and other sensors. The payload was 108,700 feet above the Death Valley National Park when an overhead camera took this selfie:
In collaboration with Spaceweather.com, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have been launching these buoys on a regular basis to study the effect of solar activity on Earth's upper atmosphere. Since Oct. 2013, they have flown the radiation sensor 17 times, providing a unique baseline of high-altitude radiation measurements for the current solar cycle. Soon they will release their analysis of an entire year's worth of measurements.
HEY, THANKS! The students wish to thank Sander Geophysics for sponsoring this flight. Note their logo in the upper right corner of the payload. Sander's generous contribution of $500 paid for the helium and other supplies necessary to get this research off the ground. Readers, if you would like to sponsor an upcoming flight and see your logo at the edge of space, please contact Dr. Tony Phillips to make arrangements.
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
PARTING SHOT: Departing sunspot complex AR2172-AR2173 erupted on Oct. 2nd around 1915 UT, producing an M7-class solar flare. NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed a massive plume of debris flying away from the blast site:
A flash of UV radiation from the flare ionized the top of Earth's atmosphere, briefly disturbing the normal propagation of shortwave and VLF radio signals on the dayside of Earth. Otherwise there should be few Earth-effects from this eruption. Perched on the sun's western limb, the instigating sunspot group is not facing our planet and most of the explosion's debris should sail wide of Earth.
There is a slim chance that a CME emerging from the blast site could deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field in a few days. To evaluate this possibility, NOAA analysts are looking carefully at coronagraph data from SOHO and STEREO. Stay tuned. Solar flare alerts: text, voice
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
Realtime Comet Photo Gallery
Every night, a network of NASA 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 Oct. 3, 2014, the network reported 17 fireballs.
(16 sporadics, 1 Southern Taurid)
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 ones
all the time.
On October 3, 2014 there were 1505 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.
| ||The official U.S. government space weather bureau |
| ||The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena. |
| ||Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever. |
| ||3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory |
| ||Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO. |
| ||from the NOAA Space Environment Center |
| ||the underlying science of space weather |