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HUMAN MISSIONS TO VENUS? Venus is hellishly hot and has a crushing atmosphere 90 times denser than Earth's. So why would anyone want to go there? A new blog post from Astrobiology Magazine suggests it might be possible, and maybe even desirable, for humans to visit the second planet from the sun. Hint: It's done using balloons. Read it!
SOMETHING FLARE-Y THIS WAY COMES: Arriving only a little late for Halloween, a flare-y sunspot is emerging over the sun's northeastern limb. In the past 24 hours AR2205 has unleashed at least four M-class flares including this M6-flare recorded by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory on Nov. 3rd at 22:40 UT:
The explosions have hurled multiple CMEs into space. Not one of the clouds is heading our way. Earth is outside the line of fire. This could change in the days ahead, however, as the sun's rotation turns the active region toward our planet.
NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of M-flares during the next 24 hours. Those odds seem low considering the ongoing activity. In fact, another M-flare is almost certain and an X-flare could be in the offing, too. Solar flare alerts: text, voice
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
EUROPE PREPARES TO LAND ON A COMET: On Nov. 12th, the European Space Agency will attempt something "ridiculously difficult"--that is, landing on a comet. The ESA's Rosetta spacecraft will drop a probe named Philae on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. "The comet will be moving 40 times faster than a speeding bullet, spinning, shooting out gas and welcoming Rosetta on the surface with boulders, cracks, scarps and possibly meters of dust," says Art Chmielewski, the US Rosetta Project Manager at JPL. A video from NASA previews the landing.
What would you do if you landed on a comet? For his answer, Spaceweather.com reader Luca Savorani created this graphic:
"I added some ski tracks to the dusty slopes of the comet's neck," explains Savorani. "The underlying image was taken by Rosetta's NAVCAM on Oct. 28th."
Skiing on a comet? The idea's not so crazy. Astronauts have seriously discussed the possibility of skiing on the Moon, where thick layers of moondust resemble the powder that coats parts of 67P. All you need are teflon skis.
Realtime Comet Photo Gallery
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
Realtime Eclipse 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 Nov. 4, 2014, the network reported 25 fireballs.
(18 sporadics, 5 Northern Taurids, 1 omicron Eridanid, 1 Orionid)
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 November 4, 2014 there were 1510 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 |