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COLLAPSE OF THE THERMOSPHERE: Researchers
are puzzling over a sharper-than-expected collapse of Earth's
upper atmosphere during the deep solar minimum of 2008-09.
"Something is going on that we do not understand,"
says John Emmert of the Naval Research Lab, lead author of
a paper announcing the finding. Get the full
story from Science@NASA.
FLARE: Sunspot 1087 erupted on July 17th
(1800 UT) producing a long-duration C2-class
solar flare. Click on the arrow to view a 2.5 hour movie from
the Solar Dynamics Observatory:
The leisurely but powerful eruption hurled a faint coronal
mass ejection (CME) into space. Minor geomagnetic storms are
possible on or about July 20th when the cloud reaches Earth.
Arctic sky watchers won't likely see auroras because of the
midnight sun; Antarctic sky watchers, on the other hand, should
be alert for Southern Lights.
more images: from
Michael Buxton of Ocean Beach, California; from
Alan Friedman of Buffalo, New York; from
Wouter Verhesen of Sittard, The Netherlands; from
K. Snyder and J. Stetson of South Portland, Maine; from
Fabio of Imperia, Liguria, Italy
AT VENUS POINT: On July 11th, Canadian astronomer
Alan Dyer was in Tahiti to witness a total eclipse of the
sun. If only that
cloud hadn't spoiled the moment of totality...! He didn't
leave the South Pacific empty-handed, however. "On the
evening of the eclipse," he says, "I was able to
photograph Venus from historic Venus Point."
"This is where Capt. James Cook made his
observations of the transit of Venus in 1769," explains
Dyer. "Cook named the site 'Venus Point' and it became
the mooring point for other expeditions that followed, such
as the infamous Bounty voyage. What a beautiful place to watch
Apparently, missing an eclipse isn't so bad
... when you miss it in the South Pacific. Browse the
gallery to see the shots that didn't get away.
Eclipse Photo Gallery
Pacific Eclipse] [animated