Come to Tromsø and share Marianne's passion for rural photography: Chasethelighttours.co.uk invites you to experience "Heaven on Earth" with an aurora, fjord, fishing, whale watching, photography or sightseeing tour.
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TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE MOON: On Saturday morning, April 4th, sky watchers in the USA can see a brief but beautiful total eclipse of the Moon. The event will also be visible from Mexico, western Canada, across the entire Pacific Ocean, Australia, Indonesia, and elsewhere. View an animated eclipse map from ShadowAndSubstance.com.
SOLAR WIND STREAMS--HITS AND MISSES: A solar wind stream expected to hit Earth on March 29-30 has apparently missed. It likely sailed south of our planet. The good news for sky watchers is, another one is on the way. It is flowing from this gaping coronal hole on the sun:
Image credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory
Coronal holes are places in the sun's atmosphere where the magnetic field opens up and allows solar wind to escape. In the extreme UV image, above, curved lines trace the sun's magnetic field; arrows indicate the flow of gaseous material (solar wind) out of the deep-purple coronal hole.
Because this coronal hole crosses the sun's equator, the solar wind it spews is likely to hit Earth squarely--no misses, this time. ETA: April 2nd or 3rd. Aurora alerts: text, voice
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
STRESS-TESTING HALOBACTERIA: Astrobiologsts have long wondered if halobacteria, a terrestrial extremophile with a special talent for shielding itself from UV radiation, could survive on the planet Mars. To find the answer, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have been flying halobacteria onboard balloons to the top of Earth's atmosphere. On March 24, 2015, this test tube full of microbes traveled to an altitude of 110,000 feet:
During the flight, onboard sensors registered temperatures as low as -60 C, air pressures of 1% sea level, and cosmic radiation levels 40 times Earth-normal. Those are conditions akin to the planet Mars. Two and a half hours after they were launched, the bacteria landed in the Death Valley National Park. This means they experienced a 100 C swing in temperature, a 100-fold change in air pressure, and a 40-fold surge of radiation. A recovery team collected the microbes from the park's Nelson Range on March 25th.
The students have already shown that halobacteria can survive trips like this. But can they survive multiple trips? This same test-tube of microbes will fly again on April 1st, and a third time on April 7th--an unprecedented stress-test for this species. Stay tuned for results.
Hey thanks! The students of Earth to Sky Calculus wish to thank Fokke Fernhout for sponsoring the March 24th flight. His donation of $500 paid for the helium and other supplies necessary to get the balloon off the ground. In exchange, the students flew a Fernhout family photo to the edge of space:
Readers, if you would like to help send halobacteria back to the edge of space for additional stress-testing, sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact Dr. Tony Phillips for details.
Realtime Eclipse Photo Gallery
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
Realtime Comet Photo Gallery
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 Mar. 31, 2015, the network reported 8 fireballs.
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 March 31, 2015 there were 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 |