| AURORA ALERTS:
Did you miss the Northern Lights of June 14th? Next time get
a wake-up call from Space
Sometimes you just can't believe your eyes. Tonight may be one of
those times. Go outside around sunset, look east, and prepare to
be deceived: full
P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden; from
Yuichi Takasaka of Lumby, British Columbia;
Every night for the past week, northern
and central Europeans have witnessed eerie electric-blue noctilucent
clouds (NLCs) gliding overhead. This snapshot taken just before
daybreak on June 17th comes from Jacob Kuiper of the Netherlands:
Clicking on the image launches a time-lapse movie showing 9
minutes of noctilucent motion. "I have been watching NLCs
since 1984 and each time I see their strange glow it gives me a
wonderful feeling," says Kuiper. "Today's clouds were
accompanied by the sound of the first birds singing just before
dawn--it was Nature at its best!"
Summer is the season for noctilucent clouds, so it comes as no
surprise that activity is picking up on the eve of the summer solstice
(June 20th). Readers, especially you at high latitudes, check the
photo gallery for observing
tips and be alert for electric-blue!
Noctilucent Cloud Gallery
Clouds"--the song] [NLC
Where there's smoke, there's fire--except
on the sun where there is neither. The fiery appearance of the sun
comes not from combustion but rather from nuclear fusion, and without
fire there is no smoke.
Or is there? Consider this movie made on June 17th by Yvan Trembley
of Villepreux, France:
"I recorded the view through my Coronado SolarMax90,"
says Trembley. It seems to show a plume of smoke swirling up from
the inferno below. In fact, it is a planet-sized wisp of solar hydrogen
caught in the grip of an unwinding magnetic field--a solar prominence
masquerading as smoke.
The eastern edge of the sun, where Trembley pointed his telescope,
has been alive with this kind of activity all week. Got a solar
filter? Monitoring is encouraged.
more images: from
Mark Seibold of Portland, Oregon; from
Didier Favre of Brétigny sur Orges, France; from
Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from
Stephen Ames of Hodgenville, Kentucky; from
Emiel Veldhuis of Zwolle, the Netherlands; from
Steve Irvine of Big Bay, Ontario, Canada
2008 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora Alerts] [Night-sky