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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METEOR SHOWER PEAKING NOW: Today, Earth is passing through a stream of dusty debris from Halley's Comet, source of the annual eta Aquarid meteor shower. "The Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar (CMOR) CMOR is detecting peak activity from the eta Aquarid stream today," reports Prof. Peter Brown of the University of Western Ontario. "In our radar data, the shower shows up as a strong, point-like source emanating from the head of Aquarius." Click to view the latest CMOR all-sky map:
"Activity from last night was more than 40 per hour - this is about normal for the shower as seen by CMOR but much lower than last year when rates were double this value on May 5," adds Brown.
If it's dark where you live, be alert for meteors. If the sun is up, listen for meteor radar echoes on Space Weather Radio.
Before sunrise on May 6th, Mike Taylor caught this speck of "Halley dust" disintegrating over central Maine:
"An eta Aquarid fireball meteor with an impressive green tail streaked through the sky while I was photographing the reflections of the Milky Way and some trees in a local pond," says Taylor. "I used an ISO setting of 4000 to collect as much light in the foreground reflections as possible."
Realtime Meteor Photo Gallery
A ROUGH RIDE FOR HALOBACTERIA: Extremophiles have returned to the Edge of Space. On May 4th, for the second time in less than a month, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched a suborbital helium balloon carrying a colony of halobacteria. Here they are at the apex of the flight, almost 32 km high:
A similar colony made the same flight on April 20th. Despite being zapped by radiation 25x more intense than Earth-normal and freezing solid in temperatures as low as -60C, those bacteria are now thriving in the student's AP Biology Lab in Bishop, California. They seemed to enjoy their ride to the top of Earth's atmosphere.
Will these bacteria fare as well? When the bacteria landed in a remote area of Nevada, they hit the desert floor hard; the agar "went splat" at the moment of impact. Today, the students are culturing the battered bacteria to find out how hardy they really are. Stay tuned for updates from the incubator. Solar flare alerts: text, voice
MOTHER'S DAY AT THE EDGE OF SPACE: Mother's Day is right around the corner. Looking for a unique gift? How about an Edge of Space Mother's Day Card? The students of Earth to Sky Calculus are about launch another helium balloon to the stratosphere. For only $49.95, your Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthday or anniversary card could be on the payload. Profits from the flight are used to support the students' space weather balloon research program. Contact Dr. Tony Phillips for details.
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
Realtime Mars Photo Gallery
Realtime Comet 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 May. 6, 2014, the network reported 28 fireballs.
(21 sporadics, 7 eta Aquariids)
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 May 6, 2014 there were 1470 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 |