They came from outer space--and you can have one! Genuine meteorites are now on sale in the Space Weather Store.
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FARSIDE CME: A coronal mass ejection (CME) blasted away from the farside of the sun on March 21st at 0740 UT. SOHO photographed the cloud expanding at 1550 km/s (3.5 million mph). The source of the CME is probably old sunspot AR1429, still active as it transits the farside.
FIRST AURORAS OF SPRING: It's a well-known scientific fact that equinoxes favor auroras. True to form, March 20th began with the vernal equinox and ended with this outburst of Spring-green over Tromsø, Norway:
"It was an absolutely magic moment in a magic place," says photographer Ole C. Salomonsen. "The temperature was -13 C and I was almost alone: The tracks in the snow are from a fox which was there just before me. The auroras were mostly moderate, but at times they burst into strong lightshows, as shown above. It was a beautiful display." Aurora alerts: text, phone.
more images: from Bernt Olsen of Simavika, Tromsø, Norway; from Frank Olsen of Sommarøy / Tromsø, Norway; from Arild Heitmann of Tennevik River, Troms, Norway; from B.Art Braafhart of Salla, Finnish-Lapland; from Einar Halvorsrud of Alta, Norway; from Nenne Åman of Arjeplog, northern Sweden
MARS AND THE SUPERNOVA: "On March 18th, I photographed the planet Mars among the galaxies of Leo," reports amateur astronomer Oscar Martín Mesonero of Salamanca, Spain. "The next morning, I learned that a supernova exploded in the galaxy M95. I quickly checked the photos and there it was!" (continued below)
"Unwittingly, using my ED80, I had photographed a supernova of magnitude +13.5 only two days after its discovery," says Mesonero. "I never expected the night to bring so many wonderful things."
The rapidly brightening supernova is an easy target for mid-sized backyard telescopes equipped with CCD cameras--and it's easy to find only a degree south of Mars. Astrophotographers, now is your chance to catch a supernova in the act.
more images: from Anthony Ayiomamitis of Athens, Greece; from Efrain Morales Rivera of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; from Zlatan Merakov of Smolyan, Bulgaria; from Jeff Donaldson of Enfield, NS Canada;
February 2012 Aurora Gallery
[previous Februaries: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002]