Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.
PERSEID METEOR SHOWER IS UNDERWAY:
Earth is entering a stream of debris from Comet
Swift-Tuttle, source of the annual Perseid
meteor shower. Worldwide observers are now reporting
more than 30 Perseids per hour, a number that could
triple during the weekend when Earth reaches the
heart of the debris zone. Forecasters recommend
looking during the dark hours before dawn, especially
Sunday morning, August 12th, when activity
is expected to be highest.
Got clouds? Tune into SpaceWeather
Radio for live echoes from Perseid meteors flying
over the US Space Surveillance Radar in Texas.
The multi-station Canadian Meteor
Orbit Radar, sponsored by NASA's Meteoroid Environment
Office, is also monitoring the Perseids. Live
data are available here. Bright spots in this
sample radar sky map show the radiants of currently
Clearly, the Perseids are not the
only meteors in the sky this weekend. The Northern
and Southern Delta Aquarids (NDA and SDA) are also
active. These showers, which are minor compared
to the Perseids, spring from 96P/Machholz,
a comet that some researchers suspect is a visitor
from another star system.
This is a great weekend for watching
meteors--but that's not all. Venus, Jupiter and
the crescent Moon are lining up in the pre-dawn
sky right in the middle of the Perseid display.
The conjunction of planets guarantees that you will
see something beautiful even in the unlikely event
that the shower fizzles. Sky maps:
Perseid Photo Gallery
SOLAR FLARE: Sunspot AR1540 erupted
on August 11th, producing a long-duration M1-class
solar flare that peaked around 1220 UT. NASA's Solar
Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme ultraviolet
The explosion hurled a faint cloud
of plasma into space. Judging from the blast site's
off-center location on the solar disk, the cloud
is probably not heading for Earth. This conclusion
is uncertain, however. Stay tuned for additional
analysis. Solar Flare
Space Weather Photo Gallery
Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003,
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
all the time.
August 11, 2012 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.
official U.S. government space weather bureau
first place to look for information about sundogs,
pillars, rainbows and related phenomena.
call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO
is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial
and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
the NOAA Space Environment Center
underlying science of space weather