Hang the Transit of Venus on your wall! Hubble-quality images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory are now available as metallic posters in the Space Weather Store.
| || |
EARTHSONG: A NASA spacecraft has recorded audio-frequency radio emissions coming from Earth. Some say the signals sound like whales; others liken them to the chirping of prairie dogs. What do you think? [audio] [video] [full story]
PLASMA PUFFS TARGET VENUS: Sunspot 1583 is in a near-constant state of eruption. Magnetic instabilities in the sunspot's magnetic canopy are hurling massive "puffs" of magnetized plasma into space. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory caught some of them emerging during the early hours of Oct. 2nd; click to set the scene in motion:
Because AR1583 is on the farside of the sun, Earth is not in the line of fire. Venus, on the other hand, could receive a glancing blow from these clouds. Because Venus has no global magnetic field to protect it from solar storms, the impacts could erode small amounts of gas directly from the top of the planet’s atmosphere. Moreover, incoming plasma clouds can cause explosions in Venus's upper atmosphere called "hot flow anomalies." The space weather forecast for the second planet is stormy.
SUBSIDING STORM: A strong (Kp=7) geomagnetic storm sparked by a CME impact on Sept. 30th is subsiding. At maximum, during the early hours of Oct. 1st, Northern Lights descended as far south in the United States as Michigan, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, Montana, Minnesota, Washington, Idaho, Illinois and South Dakota. Even California experienced some auroras. Tim Piya Trepetch caught a patch of sky turning purple over the Lassen Volcanic National Park:
"Purple auroras erupted right over Lassen Peak," says Trepetch.
California auroras are not as rare as some people think. The webmaster of spaceweather.com lives in California and has witnessed auroras no fewer than six times. The trick is knowing when to look. Aurora alerts: text, voice.
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
ISS CROSSING THE HARVEST MOON: Two nights ago, Bill Reyna of Sussex County, New Jersey, went outside to see the Harvest Moon (the full Moon closest to the autumnal equinox) when a winged shadow flitted across the lunar landscape. It was the International Space Station:
Reyna captured the station's silouette backlit by the Sea of Clouds (Mare Nubium) using a Canon 7D digital camera snapping pictures in HD video mode. "With the ISS moving at 4.6 miles per second at a range of 321 miles, it crossed the lunar disk in only .45 seconds," he says. "I knew exactly when to video-record the transit thanks to predictions from Calsky."
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011]