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.
AFTER CHRISTMAS SKY SHOW: On Dec.
26th, Venus and the crescent Moon will gather together
for a beautiful night-after-Christmas sky show.
Get the full
story from Science@NASA.
MINUTE ASTRONOMY GIFT: Running out
of time? In only a few minutes, you can give the
gift of Northern Lights, space station flybys, and
other heavenly sights to friends and loved ones.
Our unique astronomy alert services, Spaceweather
Text and Spaceweather
Voice, come with a handy e-Card for instant
LOVEJOY FROM ORBIT: Veteran astronaut
Dan Burbank has seen many amazing things. Once,
he even flew
through the aurora borealis. So when Burbank
says "[Comet Lovejoy] is the most amazing thing
I have ever seen in space," it really means
something. Currently serving onboard the International
Space Station, Burbank photographed the sungrazing
comet on Dec. 21st, an experience he describes in
this NASA video:
Burbank describes the tail of Comet
Lovejoy as a "green glowing arc at least 10
degrees long." He saw it just before orbital
sunrise emerging from Earth's limb, which was "lit
up as a bright sliver of blue and purple."
After plunging through the sun's atmosphere
only 120,000 km above the stellar surface on Dec.
16th, and improbably surviving, Comet Lovejoy has
become the finest comet since Comet
McNaught in 2007. Its orbit is carrying it through
the skies of the southern hemisphere where sunrise
sky watchers are seeing the comet almost as clearly
as Burbank did. Amateur astronomer Lester Barnes
sends this Dec. 23rd picture from Port Lincoln,
"Fantastic view--one to remember,"
says Barnes. "The comet was bright; this is
1 minute exposure I took using my Canon 20Da digital
The visibility of Comet Lovejoy should
continue to improve in the days ahead as the comet
moves farther away from the sun. Early-rising sky
watchers in the southern hemisphere should remain
alert for this amazing apparition. [finder
more images: from
Yuri Beletsky of Santiago, Chile; from
Shane Ocean of Whitsundays, Australia; from
Hernán Stockebrand of Vicuña, Chile; from
Giovanni of Paysandù Uruguay; from
Andy Dodson of Huirangi, New Zealand; from
Rodolfo Chiaramonte of Vera Cruz, São Paulo,
James Tse of Christchurch, New Zealand; from
Emilio Lepeley of Vicuna, Chile; from
Rogerio Marcon of Campinas SP Brasil; from
Stephen Chadwick of Himatangi Beach, New Zealand;
Kosma Coronaios of Louis Trichardt, Limpopo
Province, South Africa; from
Paulo Morales Valdebenito of San Francisco de
Mostazal, Chile; from
Willian Souza of Sao Paulo, Brazil; from
Grahame Kelaher of Perth, Western Australia;
Minoru Yoneto of Queenstown, New Zealand;
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.
December 23, 2011 there were 1272
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