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THE SOLAR SUPERSTORM OF JULY 2012: Today is the second anniversary of a scary near-miss. On July 23, 2012, Earth narrowly evaded a powerful solar storm capable of knocking civilization back into the 19th century. The event confirms that "solar superstorms" are real, and the odds of impact may be higher than previously supposed: full story.
RADIO BURSTS FROM JUPITER: This week, Jupiter is passing behind the sun. Normally that would make it difficult for radio astronomers to pick up Jupiter's shortwave radio bursts. Because the sun is so quiet, however, Jupiter is still able to maake itself heard. "I was able to capture distinct narrow-band radio emissions from Jupiter on July 21st," reports Thomas Ashcraft of New Mexico. They are the sloping lines in this dynamic spectrum he recorded using a RadioJove Project dual dipole antenna:
"At the time Jupiter was 6.3 Astronomical Units (585,621,586 miles) distant from Earth," he adds. "I think this is a neat observation because it means there is always the possibility of receiving Jupiter radio emissions here on Earth--even when the sun is in the way and Jupiter is very distant."
Jupiter's radio storms are caused by natural radio lasers in the planet's magnetosphere that sweep past Earth as Jupiter rotates. Electrical currents flowing between Jupiter's upper atmosphere and the volcanic moon Io can boost these emissions to power levels easily detected by ham radio antennas on Earth. Jovian "S-bursts" and "L-bursts" mimic the sounds of woodpeckers, whales, and waves crashing on the beach. Here are a few audio samples: S-bursts, S-bursts (slowed down 128:1), L-Bursts. The type of emissions Ashcraft picked up on July 21st were S-bursts.
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
MIDNIGHT SUNDOGS: Some of us have seen the midnight sun. Even more have witnessed sundogs. But have many people have seen a mashup of the two--the elusive midnight sundog? On July 21-22, Stine Bratteberg photographed the combo from Bleik, Andøya, Norway:
"These fantastic sundogs appeared near midnight on the last day of the summer Midnight Sun here in northern Norway," says Bratteberg.
Sundogs, the rainbow-colored splashes of light on either side of the sun, are caused by sunlight striking ice crystals in the air. Plate-shaped crystals flutter down from the sky like leaves falling from trees. Aerodynamic forces align their flat sides parallel to the ground, and when sunlight hits a patch of well-aligned crystals at the right distance from the sun, voila!--a sundog. Bratteberg's photo also captured a faint midnight sun halo and a midnight upper tangent arc.
You can see a lot of midnight atmospheric optics from the Arctic Circle. But not for much longer. As northern summer comes to an end, the midnight sun will fade and auroras will chase the sundogs into the darkening Arctic night. Monitor the realtime aurora gallery for updates.
Realtime NLC Photo Gallery
Realtime Aurora 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 Jul. 23, 2014, the network reported 16 fireballs.
( 16 sporadics)
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 July 23, 2014 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.
| ||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 |