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NEW PHOTOS OF APOLLO LANDING SITES: NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has captured stunning new photos of the Apollo 12, 14 and 17 landing sites. Images released today show the twists and turns of the paths made when the astronauts explored the lunar surface. [full story]
EARTH-DIRECTED FLARE: This morning at 0150 UT, sunspot 1283 produced an M5.3-class solar flare. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the flash of extreme ultraviolet radiation:
Because of the sunspot's central location on the solar disk, the eruption was Earth-directed--but is a CME heading our way? Around the time of the explosion, a number of plasma clouds were already billowing away from the sun, adding an element of confusion to the analysis. Tentatively, we expect Earth's magnetic field to receive a glancing blow from a CME on Sept. 8th or 9th. Stay tuned for updates.
AURORA SEASON: September is only 6 days old and it has already been a good month for auroras. With the midnight sun doing a late-summer fade, many Arctic sky watchers are seeing Northern Lights for the first time in months. Sylvain Serre of Ivujivik, Canada, photographed this satisfied observer on Sept. 3rd:
"For the first time this season, we had clear dark skies in the village of Ivujivik in northern Quebec," says Serre. "The Northern Lights were very bright, dense and colorful."
As shown in the gallery, similar displays have been observed every night this month. More auroras are possible on September 6th - 7th in response to the expected arrival of a minor solar wind stream. In September, it seems, a minor gust of solar wind is all it takes to produce a great show. Stay tuned. Aurora alerts: text, voice.
NEW: September 2011 Aurora Gallery
[previous Septembers: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004]
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 September 6, 2011 there were 1244 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 |
| ||for out-of-this-world printing and graphics |