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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CHANCE OF FLARES: NOAA forecasters have raised the odds of an M-class solar flare today to 45%. There are at least two sunspots capable of producing such an eruption: AR1730 and AR1731. Sunspot AR1731 is located near the center of the solar disk, so any eruptions from that one will be Earth-directed. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.
MOOOO-VING UP--EDGE OF SPACE ADVERTISING: To fund space weather experiments in the stratosphere, science students in Bishop, California, have started a new business: Edge of Space Advertising. For a fee, they'll fly ad banners, shoes, US presidents--you name it!--to the edge of space. On April 22nd (Earth Day), they launched a cow:
This is EVA, the mascot of New Zealand Internet service provider EOL. Last month, she traveled from Tauranga, New Zealand, to an Edge-of-Space Port in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. There, students attached EVA to the payload of a helium balloon and launched her to the stratosphere 120,000 feet above Earth's surface. Along the way she experienced temperatures as low as -65o C and air pressures only 1% of sea level--much like conditions on the planet Mars. At the end of the 3-hour flight, the balloon popped and EVA parachuted back to Earth, touching down in a remote corner of Death Valley. GPS signals led the students to the landing site, where they recovered EVA covered with desert dust but still smiling.
The name of the student group is "Earth to Sky Calculus." Mentored by Dr. Tony Phillips of spaceweather.com, they are actively exploring the stratosphere--measuring the effect of solar flares on the ozone layer, capturing high-altitude bacteria, and photographing meteor showers. The profits are going to a good cause.
EVA's flight to the stratosphere and the student's recovery expedition through Death Valley has generated a flurry of news coverage for EOL in New Zealand. In short, Edge of Space Advertising really works. Interested? Contact Dr. Tony Phillips for rates and details.
FARSIDE ERUPTION: As the odds of a flare on the Earthside of the sun tick upward, flares on the farside of the sun are already underway. Yesterday, an active region located behind the sun's eastern limb hurled a plume of red-hot debris into space:
Coronagraph images from SOHO and NASA's twin STEREO probes confirm that a CME emerged from the blast site: movie. Venus could received a glancing blow from the electrified cloud on May 3rd. Next week, Earth will enter the line of fire as the sun's rotation turns the active region toward our planet. Stay tuned for updates. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.
Note: iPhone and iPad users can track events on the farside of the sun using NASA's 3D Sun app. Download it now!
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