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MINOR STORM WARNING: A CME is heading for Earth. The relatively slow-moving storm cloud left the sun on Aug. 22nd and looks like it will take 4 days to cross the sun-Earth divide. NOAA forecasters estimate a 15% chance of polar geomagetic storms on Aug. 26th when the CME arrives. Aurora alerts: text, voice
"M" FOR MAGNIFICENT: In the vocabulary of space weather, an "M-flare" is a medium-sized explosion. Today's M5.6-class eruption, however, was magnificent. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the blast:
An explosion in the magnetic canopy of emerging sunspot AR2151 hurled a dense and twised plume of plasma into space. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) recorded a bright coronal mass ejection emerging from the blast site: movie. If this CME were to ht Earth, the likely result would be strong geomagnetic storms. However, because of the sunspot's location near the sun's eastern horizon, Earth was not in the line of fire.
Nevertheless, the flare did produce some Earth effects. A pulse of extreme UV radiation partially ionized our planet's upper atmosphere. This "Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance" (SID) altered the normal propagation of VLF (very low frequency) radio transmissions over the the dayside of Earth, an effect recorded at the Polarlightcenter in Lofoten, Norway: data.
This sunspot will turn toward Earth in the days ahead, which means subsequent explosions could be more geoeffective. Stay tuned for updates. Solar flare alerts: text, voice
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
MORNING SKY SHOW: On Saturday morning, Aug. 23rd, Venus, Jupiter and the crescent Moon converged to form a bright triangle in the pre-dawn sky. On Sunday morning the triangle dispersed. Pete Lawrence photographed the break-up from the seashore in Selsey, West Sussex, UK:
"Venus and Jupiter were easy targets this morning, but the thin (4%) crescent Moon was a different matter!" says Lawrence. "It was almost invisible in the red glow of sunrise."
Did you oversleep on Saturday? No problem. Another "celestial triangle" is in the offing. Right now the Moon is passing the sun en route to the evening sky. On August 31st it will join Mars and Saturn in the constellation Libra. Visible after sunset, the new triangle won't be quite as luminous as the old one, because Mars + Saturn is not as bright as Venus + Jupiter, but the formaton will still be very pretty. Mark your calendar for the end of the month and, until then, browse the gallery to see what you missed.
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
STRATOSPHERIC SPACE WEATHER BUOY LAUNCHED: An 8-foot diameter ball of helium can be hard to handle. Just ask the students of Earth to Sky Calculus. Yesterday, one of their space weather balloons got caught in a gust of wind and almost got away:
For a good laugh, listen to the soundtrack of this launch video. Despite the troubles, the balloon did make it safely off the ground, marking the group's 58th successful launch. This particular flight was part of a year-long campaign to find out how the stratosphere responds to solar storms. The payload carrried cameras, GPS altimeters, a cryogenic thermometer, and a cosmic radiation detector more than 100,000 feet above sea level. Sensors gathered data for 2.5 hours before parachuting back to Earth. A student team is recovering the payload now. Stay tuned for updates later this weekend.
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
Realtime Comet Photo Gallery
Realtime Meteor Photo Gallery
Realtime NLC 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 Aug. 24, 2014, the network reported 12 fireballs.
(10 sporadics, 2 kappa Cygnids)
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 August 24, 2014 there were 1495 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.
| ||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 |