It's waiting for you: The most successful Aurora Photo Tour on Earth! 100% success rate 4 years in a row and winner of the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award. Join LapplandMedia's aurora tours in Abisko, Swedish Lapland!
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A METEOR SHOWER IN BROAD DAYLIGHT: The annual Arietid meteor shower peaks this week on June 7th and 8th. The Arietids are unusual because they are daytime meteors; the shower is most intense after sunrise. People who wake up early might notice a small number of Arietids during the dark hours before dawn. The real action, however, occurs in broad daylight. Tune into the meteor radar for echoes.
SOUTHERN LIGHTS: On June 5th and 6th, a stream of solar wind buffeted Earth's magnetic field, sparking bright auroras. Although the lights danced in equal measure around both of Earth's poles, they were best seen in the southern hemisphere. "It is getting frosty, cold, and dark as winter approaches," says Taichi Nakamura of Dunedin NZ. "This allowed us to see a strong display in the south of New Zealand." He took this picture on June 6th:
Some readers have been asking, how can we have such strong auroras without sunspots? Answer: Sunspots are not required. These auroras were sparked by a stream of solar wind fire-hosing out of a coronal hole in the sun's atmosphere. Such holes can form even when sunspots are completely absent. Indeed, there is one opening up right now. An emerging stream of solar wind could reach Earth as early as June 11-12, kickstarting a new display of Southern Lights. Stay tuned. Aurora alerts: text, voice.
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
WHEN A RAINBOW IS NOT A RAINBOW: We've all seen rainbows. But have you ever seen a rainbow of fire? Cata Alonso Castro photographed one over Pine Lake, California, on June 5th:
"I thought the lake, trees, and mountains were wonderful, but when I saw that rainbow in the clouds I just couldn't believe my eyes," says Cata.
The correct name of this phenomenon is circumhorizon arc. It's a colorful splash of light caused by sunbeams striking crystals of ice in cirrus clouds. Commonly called "fire rainbows" or "rainbows of fire," circumhorizon arcs have nothing to do with either rain or fire. They are a sign of ice floating in clouds some 10 km above the ground.
Summer is the season for circumhorizontal arcs because they appear only when the sun is high in the sky--more than 58o above the horizon. The arc's enormous size and pure spectral colors make it one of the most beautiful of all ice halos.
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
SPACE BALLS FOR FATHER'S DAY (JUNE 19th): What do you give the Father who has everything? Space Balls! A few days ago, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus flew a basket of space-helmeted golf balls to the edge of space, 36.3 km (119,000 feet) above Earth's surface on board a high altitude helium balloon:
After the balloon exploded, the balls parachuted back to Earth, landing in the volcanic tablelands north of Bishop CA. For $49.95 you can have one of these balls (space helmet included) along with a unique Father's Day card showing the balls floating at the top of Earth's atmosphere. The interior of the card tells the story of the flight and confirms that this gift has been to the edge of space and back again.
All sales support student space weather research. In fact, the balls pictured above were hitchhiking on a payload equipped with radiation sensors. We send the sensors to the stratosphere every week to monitor increasing levels of cosmic rays. Visit the Earth to Sky store to support this crowd-funded research.
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
Realtime Sprite 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 Jun. 7, 2016, the network reported 12 fireballs.
(11 sporadics, 1 Daytime Arietid)
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 7, 2016 there were 1704 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.
| ||Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere |
These measurements are based on regular space weather balloon flights: learn more.
|Situation Report -- Oct. 30, 2015 ||Stratospheric Radiation (+37o N) |
|Cosmic ray levels are elevated (+6.1% above the Space Age median). The trend is flat. Cosmic ray levels have increased +0% in the past month. |
|Sept. 06: 4.14 uSv/hr (414 uRad/hr) |
|Sept. 12: 4.09 uSv/hr (409 uRad/hr) |
|Sept. 23: 4.12 uSv/hr (412 uRad/hr) |
|Sept. 25: 4.16 uSv/hr (416 uRad/hr) |
|Sept. 27: 4.13 uSv/hr (413 uRad/hr) |
|Oct. 11: 4.02 uSv/hr (402 uRad/hr) |
|Oct. 22: 4.11 uSv/hr (411 uRad/hr) |
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. Our measurements show that someone flying back and forth across the continental USA, just once, can absorb as much ionizing radiation as 2 to 5 dental X-rays. For example, here is the data from a flight on Oct. 22, 2015:
Radiation levels peak at the entrance to the stratosphere in a broad region called the "Pfotzer Maximum." This peak is named after physicist George Pfotzer who discovered it using balloons and Geiger tubes in the 1930s. Radiation levels there are more than 80x sea level.
Note that the bottom of the Pfotzer Maximim is near 55,000 ft. This means that some high-flying aircraft are not far from the zone of maximum radiation. Indeed, according to the Oct 22th measurements, a plane flying at 45,000 feet is exposed to 2.79 uSv/hr. At that rate, a passenger would absorb about one dental X-ray's worth of radiation in about 5 hours.
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 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 |
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