Marianne's Heaven On Earth Aurora Chaser Tours Chasethelighttours.co.uk invites you to join them in their quest to find and photograph the Aurora Borealis. Experience the winter wonderland in the Tromsø Area.
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BROKEN QUIET: So much for the "quiet sun." Confounding predictions, sunspot AR2449 erupted on Nov. 9th at 1312 UT, producing an M3-class solar flare and a bright CME. The CME is not heading directly for Earth, but a glancing blow is possible later this week. Stay tuned for updates as more data become available and, meanwhile, watch the sunspot explode. Solar flare alerts: text or voice
WEEKEND AURORAS, MORE TO COME: A CME hit Earth's magnetic field on Friday, Nov. 6th, setting the stage for a weekend display of aurora borealis. "The little town of Sunburst, Montana, seemed like an appropriate place to wait for Friday's burst of solar plasma to arrive," says photographer John Ashley, " so that is where I set up my camera." He calls this snapshot Sunburst Auroras:
"The cap rock and hoodoo figures were a polite and captive audience watching the light show, and the only grumblings I heard about clouds was from the photographer," continues Ashley. "Green was the only aurora color detected, while light trespass from Sunburst colored some of the lower clouds orange. A handful of meteors also joined in."
More auroras are in the offing. NOAA forecasters estimate a 45% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Nov. 9th as a negative-polarity stream of solar wind buffet's Earth's magnetic field. Northern sky watchers should be alert for lights in the sky after nightfall. Aurora alerts: text or voice
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
TAURID FIREBALL SHOWER CONTINUES: For the second week in a row, Earth is passing through a swarm of gravelly debris from Comet Encke, source of the annual Taurid meteor shower. Over the weekend Graeme Whipps observed a pebble-sized fragment of Comet Encke disintegrating over Aberdeenshire, Scotland:
"What a cracking night," says Whipps. "I don't remember seeing so many bright meteors, and the auroras weren't bad either!"
Earth runs unto the debris zone of Comet Encke every year around this time. Usually, the encounter produces a minor meteor shower, but 2015 is different. By some measures, fireball rates are 10x higher than normal. The extra fireballs are coming from a "swarm" of gravelly meteoroids that weaves in and out of Comet Encke's dusty debris zone. In most years, Earth misses the swarm. This year, however, is a hit.
The display is expected to continue until approximately Nov. 10th. The best time to look, no matter where you live, is during the hours around midnight when the constellation Taurus is high in the sky. Got clouds? Listen to Taurid radar echoes on Space Weather Radio.
Realtime Taurid Photo Gallery
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
Realtime Meteor 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 Nov. 9, 2015, the network reported 30 fireballs.
(17 sporadics, 12 Northern Taurids, 1 omicron Eridanid)
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 November 9, 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.
| ||Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere |
These measurements are based on regular space weather balloon flights: learn more.
|Situation Report -- Oct. 30, 2015 ||Stratospheric Radiation (+37o N) |
|Cosmic ray levels are elevated (+6.1% above the Space Age median). The trend is flat. Cosmic ray levels have increased +0% in the past month. |
|Sept. 06: 4.14 uSv/hr (414 uRad/hr) |
|Sept. 12: 4.09 uSv/hr (409 uRad/hr) |
|Sept. 23: 4.12 uSv/hr (412 uRad/hr) |
|Sept. 25: 4.16 uSv/hr (416 uRad/hr) |
|Sept. 27: 4.13 uSv/hr (413 uRad/hr) |
|Oct. 11: 4.02 uSv/hr (402 uRad/hr) |
|Oct. 22: 4.11 uSv/hr (402 uRad/hr) |
Approximately once a week, Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus fly "space weather balloons" to the stratosphere over California. These balloons are equipped with radiation sensors that detect cosmic rays, a surprisingly "down to Earth" form of space weather. Cosmic rays can seed clouds, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes. Our measurements show that someone flying back and forth across the continental USA, just once, can absorb as much ionizing radiation as 2 to 5 dental X-rays. Here is the data from our latest flight, Oct. 22nd:
Radiation levels peak at the entrance to the stratosphere in a broad region called the "Pfotzer Maximum." This peak is named after physicist George Pfotzer who discovered it using balloons and Geiger tubes in the 1930s. Radiation levels there are more than 80x sea level.
Note that the bottom of the Pfotzer Maximim is near 55,000 ft. This means that some high-flying aircraft are not far from the zone of maximum radiation. Indeed, according to the Oct 22th measurements, a plane flying at 45,000 feet is exposed to 2.79 uSv/hr. At that rate, a passenger would absorb about one dental X-ray's worth of radiation in about 5 hours.
The radiation sensors onboard our helium balloons detect X-rays and gamma-rays in the energy range 10 keV to 20 MeV. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.
| ||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 |