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SET YOUR ALARM FOR DAWN: On Monday morning, Nov. 13th, Venus and Jupiter will converge in the pre-dawn sky only 1/3rd of a degree apart. Look low and to the east about 30 minutes before sunrise. It's definitely worth waking up for! Sky maps: Nov. 12, 13, 14.
David Blanchard took this picture of Venus and Jupiter converging over Flagstaff, Arizona, just before sunrise on Nov.12th:
"Clear skies resulted in a very nice view of Venus and Jupiter in the eastern sky on Sunday morning," says Blanchard. "The two planets will be even closer together on Monday!"
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
HERE COMES THE SOLAR WIND (AGAIN): A wedge-shaped hole in the sun's atmosphere has opened and it is spewing solar wind into space. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory is monitoring the gap, shown here facing Earth on Nov. 12th:
This a a coronal hole--a region where the sun's magnetic field peels back and allows solar wind to escape. An emerging stream of gaseous material is expected to reach Earth on Nov. 14th or 15th.
Fun fact: This coronal hole is connected to another coronal hole that lashed Earth with solar wind on Nov. 7th, sparking Northern Lights in the USA as far south as Nebraska. Could it happen again? NOAA forecasters estimate a 55% chance of polar geomagnetic storms when the solar wind arrives. Auroras will probably be confined to the Arctic, but the events of Nov. 7th show that pleasant surprises are possible. Free: Aurora Alerts.
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
CRAZY CHRISTMAS GIFT: Are you looking for a far-out Christmas gift? Consider the Incredible Solar Eclipse Wristwatch. On Aug. 21, 2017, this timepiece flew to the stratosphere on board a space weather balloon during the Great American Solar Eclipse:
With the sun, Earth, and Moon perfectly aligned, the watch entered the space-cold shadow of the Moon … and kept on ticking! Watch the video.
You can have one for $99.95. Each timepiece comes with a unique gift card showing the watch floating at the top of Earth's atmosphere and touching the shadow of the Moon. The interior of the card tells the story of the flight and confirms that this gift has been to the edge of space and back again.
Far Out Gifts: Earth to Sky Store
All proceeds support hands-on STEM education
HEDGEROW PROMINENCE: On the northeastern edge of the sun, a wall of hot plasma has sprung up, towering more than 40,000 km above the stellar surface. Randy Shivak photographed the enormous structure from his backyard observatory in Estero, Florida:
"Even though the sun is blank (no sunspots) there are still some impressive things to see," says Shival. "I captured this prominence using my Astro-Physics 152mm refracting telescope and a Daystar Quantum PE 0.5 angstrom filter. It's a big one!"
This is a "hedgerow prominence" -- a massive cloud of plasma held aloft by solar magnetic fields. NASA and Japanese space telescopes have taken high resolution images of similar prominences and seen some amazing things such as (1) tadpole-shaped plumes that float up from the base of the prominence; (2) narrow streams of plasma that descend from the top like waterfalls; and (3) swirls and vortices that resemble van Gogh's Starry Night. Got a solar telescope? Take a look!
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 Nov. 12, 2017, the network reported 11 fireballs.
(10 sporadics, 1 Northern 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 November 12, 2017 there were 1853 potentially hazardous asteroids.
| |Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
|Asteroid || |
|2013 BD74 || |
|2017 TZ3 || |
|2017 VC || |
|444584 || |
|2008 WM61 || |
|2015 XX169 || |
|2011 YD29 || |
|2006 XY || |
|2017 TS3 || |
|418849 || |
|2015 YQ1 || |
|2017 QL33 || |
|2015 RT1 || |
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.
|2004 FH || |
| ||Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere |
Readers, thank you for your patience while we continue to develop this new section of Spaceweather.com. We've been working to streamline our data reduction, allowing us to post results from balloon flights much more rapidly, and we have developed a new data product, shown here:
This plot displays radiation measurements not only in the stratosphere, but also at aviation altitudes. Dose rates are expessed as multiples of sea level. For instance, we see that boarding a plane that flies at 25,000 feet exposes passengers to dose rates ~10x higher than sea level. At 40,000 feet, the multiplier is closer to 50x. These measurements are made by our usual cosmic ray payload as it passes through aviation altitudes en route to the stratosphere over California.
What is this all about? 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. Furthermore, there are studies ( #1, #2, #3, #4) linking cosmic rays with cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death in the general population. Our latest measurements show that cosmic rays are intensifying, with an increase of more than 13% since 2015:
Why are cosmic rays intensifying? The main reason is the sun. Solar storm clouds such as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) sweep aside cosmic rays when they pass by Earth. During Solar Maximum, CMEs are abundant and cosmic rays are held at bay. Now, however, the solar cycle is swinging toward Solar Minimum, allowing cosmic rays to return. Another reason could be the weakening of Earth's magnetic field, which helps protect us from deep-space radiation.
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.
The data points in the graph above correspond to the peak of the Reneger-Pfotzer maximum, which lies about 67,000 feet above central California. When cosmic rays crash into Earth's atmosphere, they produce a spray of secondary particles that is most intense at the entrance to the stratosphere. Physicists Eric Reneger and Georg Pfotzer discovered the maximum using balloons in the 1930s and it is what we are measuring today.
| ||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 |
| ||fun to read, but should be taken with a grain of salt! Forecasts looking ahead more than a few days are often wrong. |
| ||from the NOAA Space Environment Center |
| ||the underlying science of space weather |
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