They came from outer space--and you can have one! Genuine meteorites are now on sale in the Space Weather Store.
FLARE: Today at 1814 UT, Earth-orbiting
satellites detected an impulsive M9-class
solar flare. The source was an active region just
behind the sun's southeastern limb. NASA's Solar
Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme ultraviolet
Radio blackouts and ionization waves in the upper
atmosphere are possible on the dayside of Earth
as a result of this event. Stay tuned for updates.
METEOR SHOWER--TODAY! Earth is
passing through a stream of debris from Halley's
Comet, source of the annual Orionid meteor shower.
Forecasters expect ~25 meteors per hour when the
shower peaks on Oct. 21st. No matter where you live,
the best time to look is during the dark hours before
sunrise on Sunday morning. Observers in both hemispheres
can see this shower. [video]
On Oct. 19th, as Earth was making
first contact with the debris stream, NASA's All-sky
Fireball Network recorded 10 Orionid fireballs
over the southern USA. Their orbits are color-coded
baby blue in the diagram below:
The location of Earth, where all the
orbits intersect, is denoted by the red 'splat.'
Not every orbit in the diagram is
an Orionid. The orange and green ellipses correspond
to random meteors not associated with Halley's debris
stream. If you watch the sky for a few hours on
Sunday morning, you are likely to see a few of these
'sporadic meteors' among the dozens of Orionids.
Happy meteor watching!
Meteor Photo Gallery
MAKES LANDFALL: A small asteroid
that exploded over the San Francisco Bay Area on
Oct. 17th, shaking houses with its sonic boom, might
have scattered pieces of itself on the ground. That's
the conclusion of Peter Jenniskens of the NASA Ames
Research Center. He triangulated data from a pair
of meteor surveillance
cameras to determine the fireball's trajectory,
denoted by the black arrow in the map below:
"The asteroid entered at a [relatively
slow] speed of 14 km/s. There's a good chance that
a fairly large fraction of this rock survived and
fell somewhere around the North Bay," says
Jenniskens. "Much more accurate results will
follow from a comprehensive study of the video records.
Now, we hope that someone recovers a meteorite on
In the map, red dots represent the
surveillance cameras Jenniskens used to calculate
the trajectory. The black arrow traces the asteroid's
path; 85 km and 39 km are the altitudes of the asteroid
at the two ends of the arrow. Jenniskens adds that
"39 km is not the end point, but the final
bit captured by the San Mateo video camera."
The disintegrating asteroid continued beyond the
tip of the arrow for a possible landfall somewhere
north of San Francisco. Stay tuned for updates
on the meteorite hunt.
Note: This was not
Space Weather Photo Gallery
Aurora Photo Gallery
Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003,