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FULL MOON AND JUPITER: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look east. Jupiter and the full Moon are only a few degrees apart. This conjunction is so bright, it can be seen even from brightly-lit cities. [sky map]
Vesa Vauhkonen sends this picture of Jupiter and the Moon converging over Rautalampi, Finland:
Realtime Conjunction Photo Gallery
LAST GASP: Decaying sunspot AR1618 (not to be confused with growing sunspot AR1620) erupted on Nov. 27th (1557 UT), producing a last-gasp solar flare ranking M1.6 on the Richter Scale of Flares. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash:
The movie shows a twisted plume of plasma flying away from the blast site, but only temporarily. The sun's gravity pulled the plume back to the stellar surface before it could escape. Extreme UV radiation from this explosion created some ripples of ionization in Earth's atmosphere above North America and Europe. Otherwise, the blast was not geoeffective. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.
ASPHALT RAINBOW: Usually rainbows are seen near storm clouds. A few days ago, Geoff Chester was riding his bike in Arlington, Virginia, when he looked down and found one in the asphalt. "Here's a picture from my cellphone camera," says Chester. "You can see the rainbow arc to the right."
According to atmospheric optics expert, this is not a rainbow, but rather a glass bead bow. He explains: "Crews marking paint lines on roads often scatter small glass beads onto the paint. The glass beads retro-reflect light and this enhances the visibility of the markings at night. The glass beads - if sufficiently spherical - also produce rainbows. The difference is that the refractive index of glass is greater than that of water and the bow is only about 21° in radius compared to the rainbow's 42°. The glow around the shadow of Geoff's head is an antisolar point phenomenon - a heigenschein - produced by refraction through the glass spheres."
"Looks like the mystery is solved," adds Chester. "Although technically the trail is closed dusk to dawn, I know of many folks who use it as a bike commuter route after dark, especially this time of year. The beads enhance visibility. I got plenty of strange looks from passersby as I was taking the pictures!"
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
Realtime Eclipse Photo Gallery
Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011]
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 28, 2012 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 |