When is the best time to see auroras? Where is the best place to go? And how do you photograph them? These questions and more are answered in a new book, Northern Lights - a Guide, by Pal Brekke & Fredrik Broms.
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SOLAR FLARE AND CME: An M2-class explosion in the magnetic canopy of sunspot AR2146 has hurled a bright CME into space on August 25th at 1511 UT. Although the storm cloud is well off the sun-Earth line, our planet might receive a glancing blow on Aug. 28-29. With another CME already en route, due to arrrive tomorrow, Earth could experience minor geomagnetic storming throughout the period Aug. 26-29. Aurora alerts: text, voice
STRATOSPHERIC SPACE WEATHER BUOY: Have you ever wondered what a lunchbox suspended 112,000 feet above Earth's surface would look like? The answer is, this:
This is actually a Space Weather Buoy--a lunchbox containing a cosmic ray detector, cameras, GPS trackers, a thermometer and other sensors. It flew to the stratosphere on August 22nd tethered to a suborbital helium balloon. In collaboration with Spaceweather.com, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus have been launching these buoys on a regular basis to study the effect of solar activity on Earth's upper atmosphere. Soon, they will release results from a year-long campaign covering altitudes of interest to aviation, space tourism, and ozone research.
The students wish to thank Eden Botanicals for sponsoring the August 22nd flight. (Note their logo on the corner of the payload.) This was the student group's 58th successful launch--almost all paid for by a combination of donations and commercial advertising.
Readers, would you like to sponsor the next flight of the Space Weather Buoy? For only $500 you can send your logo to the edge of space and help students continue their explorations of the stratosphere. Contact Dr. Tony Phillips for more information.
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
"M" FOR MAGNIFICENT: In the vocabulary of space weather, an "M-flare" is a medium-sized explosion. Yesterday it had a different meaning: magnificent. On August 24th at 12:17 UT, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded this M5.6-category explosion near the eastern limb of the sun:
The source of the blast was sunspot AR2151. As the movie shows, an instability in the suspot's magnetic canopy hurled a dense plume of plasma into space. If that plasma cloud were to hit Earth, the likely result would be strong geomagnetic storms. However, because of the sunspot's location near the edge of the solar disk, Earth was not in the line of fire.
Even so, the flare did produce some Earth effects. A pulse of extreme UV radiation from the explosion partially ionized our planet's upper atmosphere, resulting in a Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance (SID). Waves of ionization 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.
Sunspot AR2151 will turn toward Earth in the days ahead, which means subsequent explosions could be more geoeffective. Follow the action @spaceweatherman
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. 25, 2014, the network reported 7 fireballs.
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 25, 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 |