Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.
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FARSIDE BLAST: A magnetic active region behind the sun's eastern limb erupted during the late hours of Jan. 6th. SOHO recorded the flying debris. In a few days the blast site will rotate onto the Earthside of the sun for closer inspection. Stay tuned.
INCOMING CME? A magnetic filament in the sun's northern hemisphere erupted on Jan. 5th and hurled a CME in the general direction of Earth. At first it appeared that the cloud would sail north of Earth and completely miss our planet. Subsequent work by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab suggests a different outcome: the CME might deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field on Jan. 7th. Click to view an animated forecast track:
NOAA forecasters are estimating a 20% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Jan 7-8 when the CME is expected to arrive. High latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. Storm alerts: text, voice.
BE ALERT FOR MOON HALOES: Across much of the United States, there's not much snow on the ground. There is, however, ice in the air. You can see it around the Moon:
"There was a remarkable halo around the Moon this Friday evening," says photographer Dan Bush of Albany, Missouri. "It was the most vivid and long lasting one I've seen in 15+ years."
Moon haloes are caused by ice crystals in cirrus clouds 5 to 10 km above the ground. Crystals catch the light of the Moon and bend its rays into a luminous ring, as shown above. With the full Moon only two days away, now is a good time to be alert for Moon haloes.
more images: from Francesc Pruneda of Palamós, Catalonia, Spain; from Chris Hetlage of Deerlick Astronomy Village, GA; from Eddie Ledbetter of Register, GA; from Tanner Schaaf of Kingston, Minnesota; from Jim Tegerdine of Marysville, Washington; from Guy of Masset, B.C., Canada;
New: Comet Lovejoy Gallery
[previous comets: McNaught, Holmes, Lulin, Tuttle, Ikeya-Zhang]
New: January 2012 Aurora Gallery
[previous Januaries: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004]
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 January 7, 2012 there were 1272 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 |