Thirty-five new items have just been added to our Meteorite Jewelry collection. Browse the Space Weather Store for something out of this world.
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INCOMING CME: NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of strong geomagnetic storms around the poles on April 8-9 when a CME delivers a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field. The cloud was propelled in our direction by a solar filament, which erupted on April 5th (movie). High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: text, phone.
MERCURY-DIRECTED ERUPTION: For the past few days, magnetic filaments have been rising and snapping all around the sun. The latest eruption occured during the late hours of April 7th, shown here in an extreme UV video from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory:
The eruption hurled a CME into space. According to a forecast track prepared by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the cloud will not hit Earth, but it will hit Mercury on April 9th around 02:29 UT (+/- 7 hours). Mercury's planetary magnetic field is only ~10% as strong as Earth's, so Mercury is not well protected from CMEs. When the clouds hit, they can actually scour atoms off Mercury's surface, adding material to Mercury's super-thin atmosphere and comet-like tail.
ANTARCTIC MOON HALO: In the icy lands around the south pole, ordinary things take on an exotic quality. Count moon haloes among them. On April 5th, Sam Burrell photographed this specimen rising above the Brunt Ice Shelf in Antarctica:
"Around midnight, the air on the Brunt Ice Shelf the air was filled with diamond dust," says Burrell. "As the moon rose, we caught this show."
Diamond dust is the atmospheric optics term for tiny, jewel-like crystals of ice. They form on cold days in the air near ground level. When they catch the rays of the low-hanging sun or moon, the results can be spectacular. "In this single display, we could see a moon halo, moondogs, and hints of a moon pillar," says Burrell.
You don't have to go to Antarctica, however, to see ice halos. Browse the links for more examples: from Mohamad Soltanolkotabi of Cameron high lands, Perak, Malaysia; from Pamm Reynolds of Deming, New Mexico; from Phil Loarie of Berkeley, California; from Grover Schrayer of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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 April 8, 2012 there were 1287 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 |