| FLYBY ALERT!
Space shuttle Discovery launches on May 31st. Get your flyby
alerts from Space
NEW MEXICO FIREBALL:
On May 12th, a brilliant green fireball (probably meteoritic) flew
over eastern New Mexico and lit up the ground like a full Moon.
Using a Sandia Labs all-sky camera and a 60-80 MHz radio receiver,
Thomas Ashcraft not only photographed the fireball but also recorded
distant radio stations echoing eerily from the fireball's ionized
here and enjoy the show.
Yesterday's solar "fire
fountain" has subsided and the source has revealed itself.
"It's a crackling, energetic region on the sun's surface,"
reports Pete Lawrence, who sends this picture from Selsey, UK:
The core of the region has not coelesced into an actual sunspot,
but it is nevertheless lively and interesting to watch: "A
few bright flares have been occurring this morning," says Lawrence.
"If you've got clear skies and a solar
telescope, don't forget to keep a look out as anything can happen!"
more images: from
Greg Piepol of Rockville, Maryland; from
Stephen Ames of Hodgenville, Kentucky; from
Peter Paice of Belfast, Northern Ireland
WHAT WOULD GALILEO
SAY? Before you read any further, click
here. That's what Galileo saw in 1610 when he turned his small
telescope toward Jupiter: a fuzzy disk surrounded by four point-like
moons. It wasn't much to look at, but his pioneering
observations upended 17th century cosmology.
Times have changed. Fast forward 398 years to the backyard of amateur
astronomer Paul Haese
in Blackwood, South Australia: "I took this picture of Jupiter
on May 10th using my peltier cooled 14-inch
"The seeing was great," he says. Jupiter's moon Io appears
in the foreground not as a dimensionless point of light, but a true
3D orb. The Great Red Spot, an anti-cyclone
twice as wide as Earth, reveals its inner swirls while two companion
red spots turn nearby: labels.
The overall detail is breathtaking.
"I'm a happy camper, says Haese. "This is my best picture
of Jupiter yet." And it didn't even upend cosmology. What would
Galileo say to that?
[Galileo replies: "If
I had used a 14-inch Celestron back in 1610, I would have undoubtedly
observed that the Medicean planet has more than four moons, and
I would have needed to name them not only for Prince Cosimo, but
for his entire extended family!"]
Readers, Jupiter is a wonderful target for any backyard telescope
and it's easy to find. Before dawn, look south for a bright light
in the constellation Sagittarius: sky
2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night-sky