All-inclusive Northern Lights trips in Tromsø, Norway. Small groups, big experiences! Highly qualified guides ensure unique and unforgettable adventures with a personal touch. Visit Explore the Arctic
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FLIGHT ATTENDANTS AT HIGHER RISK OF CANCER: According to a new study of more than 5,000 flight attendants, the crews of aircraft have higher rates of cancer than the general population. This includes cancers of the breast, cervix, skin, thyroid and uterus, as well as gastrointestinal cancers. What's happening? The researchers, led by Irina Mordukhovich of Harvard University, listed cosmic rays, irregular sleep habits, and chemical contaminants as likely risk factors. Read the original research here.
MIDNIGHT RAINBOW: A rainbow at midnight? Believe it. On June 25th, red rays from the midnight sun in Nome, Alaska, lanced into a bank of rain clouds, producing this strange red arc:
"The rainbow developed, then disappeared and reappeared, slowly growing into a full arc around 1:30am here in Alaska," says photographer John Dean.
At the time, the sun was hugging the horizon, barely half a degree high. This explains why the rainbow was red. Normal rainbows are red, yellow, green and blue. In this case, however, red was the only color available. All of the other colors had been scattered away by air molecules and dust particles in front of the low-hanging sun.
Red rainbows are more common than you might think. They appear with frequency at sunrise or sunset, all around the world. More examples may be found in the realtime photo gallery:
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
NIGHT-SHINING CLOUDS VS. AURORAS: The cockpit of an airplane can be a good place to see space weather in action. "On June 20th I witnessed a rare coincidence of two space weather apparitions!" reports pilot Ulrich C. Beinert. "I was flying from Los Angeles to Munich, passing over Canada, when a rippling band of noctilucent clouds (NLCs) appeared. Soon they were joined by Northern Lights."
Beinert's photo captures an unusual meeting of green auroras and electric-blue NLCs. The auroras were caused by solar wind gently buffeting Earth's magnetic field, sparking a verdant glow 100 to 200 km above Earth's surface. Noctilucent clouds are completely different. They are formed when summertime wisps of water vapor rise to the top of the atmosphere and crystallize around specks of meteor smoke. NLCs float about 80 km high, just below the aurora zone.
Because summer is the season for NLCs, it is the only time they can meet auroras in sub-Arctic skies. "It was amazing to see them together," says Beinert.
Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
ONE RING TO RULE THE STRATOSPHERE: This week, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus are in New Zealand launching cosmic ray balloons over Earth's 8th continent. To pay for the helium, they launched a ring of power to the stratosphere. Here it is floating 33 km above the Sierra Nevada mountains of central California:
You can have one for $119.95. The students are selling these rings as a fundraiser for their trip. They are made of golden-colored tungsten and inscribed with the authentic Mordor script of the One Ring.
Buy one now, and we will fly it again for you over Hobbiton, located in the North Island of New Zealand where our cosmic ray balloons will be released. Just note "Please fly it again!" in the comments section at checkout.
Each golden ring comes with a greeting card showing the ring in flight and telling the story of its journey to the edge of space. Sales support the Earth to Sky Calculus cosmic ray ballooning program and hands-on STEM research.
Far Out Gifts: Earth to Sky Store
All proceeds support hands-on STEM education
Realtime Aurora 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 Jun. 28, 2018, the network reported 23 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 June 28, 2018 there were 1912 potentially hazardous asteroids.
| |Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
|Asteroid || |
|467309 || |
|2018 MG7 || |
|441987 || |
|2018 LD3 || |
|2018 MX4 || |
|2018 LN2 || |
|2018 MH7 || |
|2018 LR3 || |
|2018 LT6 || |
|2018 LJ1 || |
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.
|2018 MB7 || |
| ||Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere |
Readers, thank you for your patience while we continue to develop this new section of Spaceweather.com. We've been working to streamline our data reduction, allowing us to post results from balloon flights much more rapidly, and we have developed a new data product, shown here:
This plot displays radiation measurements not only in the stratosphere, but also at aviation altitudes. Dose rates are expessed as multiples of sea level. For instance, we see that boarding a plane that flies at 25,000 feet exposes passengers to dose rates ~10x higher than sea level. At 40,000 feet, the multiplier is closer to 50x. These measurements are made by our usual cosmic ray payload as it passes through aviation altitudes en route to the stratosphere over California.
What is this all about? Approximately once a week, Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus fly space weather balloons to the stratosphere over California. These balloons are equipped with radiation sensors that detect cosmic rays, a surprisingly "down to Earth" form of space weather. Cosmic rays can seed clouds, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes. Furthermore, there are studies ( #1, #2, #3, #4) linking cosmic rays with cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death in the general population. Our latest measurements show that cosmic rays are intensifying, with an increase of more than 13% since 2015:
Why are cosmic rays intensifying? The main reason is the sun. Solar storm clouds such as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) sweep aside cosmic rays when they pass by Earth. During Solar Maximum, CMEs are abundant and cosmic rays are held at bay. Now, however, the solar cycle is swinging toward Solar Minimum, allowing cosmic rays to return. Another reason could be the weakening of Earth's magnetic field, which helps protect us from deep-space radiation.
The radiation sensors onboard our helium balloons detect X-rays and gamma-rays in the energy range 10 keV to 20 MeV. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.
The data points in the graph above correspond to the peak of the Reneger-Pfotzer maximum, which lies about 67,000 feet above central California. When cosmic rays crash into Earth's atmosphere, they produce a spray of secondary particles that is most intense at the entrance to the stratosphere. Physicists Eric Reneger and Georg Pfotzer discovered the maximum using balloons in the 1930s and it is what we are measuring today.
| ||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 |
| ||fun to read, but should be taken with a grain of salt! Forecasts looking ahead more than a few days are often wrong. |
| ||from the NOAA Space Environment Center |
| ||the underlying science of space weather |
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