Based in Tromsø directly under the Arctic Circle, Marianne's Arctic Xpress offers a comfortable 7 seater minivan for aurora, fjord, whale, and wildlife tours day and night. 100% PASSION and a very high % of finding aurora. Book Now
| || |
CHANCE OF MINOR STORMS ON NOV. 19TH: A minor solar wind stream is expected to buffet Earth's magnetic field on Nov. 19th. This could cause geomagnetic activity and auroras around the Arctic Circle. Free: Aurora Alerts.
RETURN OF THE BIG CORONAL HOLE: At the end of October, a hole in the sun's atmosphere lashed Earth's magnetic field with solar wind, sparking moderately-strong geomagnetic storms and almost a full week of Arctic auroras. News flash: It's back. The same "coronal hole" is turning toward Earth again. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed the structure on Nov. 19th:
Coronal holes are regions in the sun's atmosphere where the magnetic field peels back and allows solar wind to escape. Since our last encounter with this hole in late October it has been transiting the farside of the sun, carried around by the sun's 27-day rotation. Now that it is back we can see that the hole is not quite as large as it was a month ago--but it is still impressive, covering almost 1/3rd of the visible solar disk.
NOAA forecasters expect the leading edge of the emerging solar wind stream to reach Earth on Nov. 22nd, bringing with it a chance of G1-class geomagnetic storms. Stay tuned! Free: Aurora Alerts.
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
TAIKONAUTS RETURN TO EARTH: Chinese astronauts (taikonauts) Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong are back on Earth. They've just finished a month-long mission to China's new space station, the Tiangong-2, doubling their countries' record for time in space. Observing from Taipei, Taiwan, amateur astronomer Hanjie Tan photographed their departure from the space station on Nov. 17th:
"This picture shows the taikonauts leaving the Tiangong-2 onboard their Shenzhou-11 spacecraft," says Tan. "They had just separated at the time I took this 20 second exposure."
Less than two days after Tan witnessed the split, Haipeng and Dong parachuted back to Earth, touching down in inner Mongolia. Their landing capsule carried the results of many experiments including microbes grown in orbit, vegetables cultivated in a prototype space garden, and cocoons spun by silkworms. The latter is an experiment designed and built by Hong Kong middle school students; cocoons made in space will be compared to those spun by silkworms on the ground.
Tiangong 2 is expected to remain in orbit for at least two years, with more visits from taikonauts and automated supply craft in the offing. Within a few years, China plans to start launching modules for a much larger Mir-class space station slated for completion in the 2020s.
Although the new Chinese station is not as big and bright as its older cousin the ISS, it is still visible to the naked eye. See for yourself! Tiangong 2 flyby predictions may be found at Heavens Above.
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
FLIGHT OF THE SPACE PICKLE: The ballooning program of Earth to Sky Calculus is funded not by government grants or corporate donations. Instead, we rely on crowdfunding. Hence, the flight of the space pickle:
To raise funds for their ongoing research, Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus flew two dozen Christmas pickles to the stratosphere. On Nov. 5th, the glass gherkins ascended to an altitude of 111,900 feet, experiencing temperatures as low as -55 C and cosmic ray dose rates more than 100x Earth normal.
You can have one for your own tree. Price: $49.95. All proceeds are used to support cutting-edge student research. The space pickle and other edge of space gifts may be found in the Earth to Sky Store.
Realtime Sprite Photo Gallery
Realtime Airglow 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. 19, 2016, the network reported 54 fireballs.
(33 sporadics, 17 Leonids, 2 Northern Taurids, 1 alpha Monocerotid, 1 November omega 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 19, 2016 there were 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 |
Readers, thank you for your patience while we continue to develop this new section of Spaceweather.com. We've been working to streamline our data reduction, allowing us to post results from balloon flights much more rapidly, and we have developed a new data product, shown here:
This plot displays radiation measurements not only in the stratosphere, but also at aviation altitudes. Dose rates are expessed as multiples of sea level. For instance, we see that boarding a plane that flies at 25,000 feet exposes passengers to dose rates ~10x higher than sea level. At 40,000 feet, the multiplier is closer to 50x. These measurements are made by our usual cosmic ray payload as it passes through aviation altitudes en route to the stratosphere over California.
What is this all about? 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. Furthermore, there are studies ( #1, #2, #3, #4) linking cosmic rays with cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death in the general population. Our latest measurements show that cosmic rays are intensifying, with an increase of more than 12% since 2015:
Why are cosmic rays intensifying? The main reason is the sun. Solar storm clouds such as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) sweep aside cosmic rays when they pass by Earth. During Solar Maximum, CMEs are abundant and cosmic rays are held at bay. Now, however, the solar cycle is swinging toward Solar Minimum, allowing cosmic rays to return. Another reason could be the weakening of Earth's magnetic field, which helps protect us from deep-space radiation.
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 data points in the graph above correspond to the peak of the Reneger-Pfotzer maximum, which lies about 67,000 feet above central California. When cosmic rays crash into Earth's atmosphere, they produce a spray of secondary particles that is most intense at the entrance to the stratosphere. Physicists Eric Reneger and Georg Pfotzer discovered the maximum using balloons in the 1930s and it is what we are measuring today.
| ||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 |
| ||a proud supporter of science education and Spaceweather.com |
| ||the underlying science of space weather |
| ||Find homes for sale in Ocala, Orlando and Tampa with the #1 real estate company in Central Florida Local Realty Service |
| ||These links help Spaceweather.com stay online. Thank you to our supporters! |