Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.
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DEPARTING SUNSPOTS: The northwestern limb of the sun is hopping as twin sunspots 1147-1149 approach the horizon. Reader with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor the region. They might see something like this.
GREEN SNOW: "Last night (Jan. 25th) was amazing. It was the first time in my life I have seen auroras so bright and clear," reports Bjarki Mikkelsen from a little Arctic village in northern Sweden. The display was so intense, even the snow turned green:
"I also thought I could hear a strange sound coming from the Northern Lights," he adds. "I've decided to stay here to get another chance to experience this again."
Another chance is in the offing. A coronal hole in the sun's eastern hemisphere is spewing a stream of solar wind, due to hit Earth about a week from now. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on Feb 1st or 2nd.
January 2011 Aurora Photo Gallery
[previous Januaries: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004]
3D CORONAL HOLE: Spin it, zoom it, dive right into it. Using NASA's 3D Sun app, you can not only view features anywhere on the sun, but also interact with them. Here is a screenshot of today's big eastern coronal hole:
Cartoon spacecraft in the image mark the locations of NASA's twin STEREO probes. Stationed on nearly-opposite sides of the sun, STEREO-A and -B can see 98% of the stellar surface. The two probes beam their green extreme ultraviolet images to Earth--and right into your iPhone or iPad. The sun you spin is the realtime sun! Download it now. (It's free.)
Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[NASA: Hinode Observes Annular Solar Eclipse]
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 January 26, 2011 there were 1184 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 |