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HUMAN MISSIONS TO VENUS? Venus is hellishly hot and has a crushing atmosphere 90 times denser than Earth's. So why would anyone want to go there? A new blog post from Astrobiology Magazine suggests it might be possible, and maybe even desirable, for humans to visit the second planet from the sun. Hint: It's done using balloons. Read it!
SOMETHING IS COMING: None of the sunspots on the Earthside of the sun are actively flaring. A sunspot just around the bend, however, could break the quiet. Earth-orbiting satellites are detecting flare activity behind the sun's northeastern limb. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observaory recorded this flash of extreme UV radiation on Nov. 3rd at 11:56 UT:
Although the eruption was partially eclipsed by the edge of the sun, it registered M2.2 on the Richter Scale of Solar Flares. This means the actual flare was much stronger, possibly even an X-flare. The same hidden active region produced a C9-class flare and CME on Nov. 2nd: movie. Again, because the flare was eclipsed, the actual eruption was probably much stronger than its nominal classification.
In summary, something is coming. Soon, the sun's rotation will carry this active region into view and it will be possible to assess its potential for more flares. Stay tuned for updates. Solar flare alerts: text, voice
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
SOLAR ACTIVITY ... BY THE NUMBERS: During the last two weeks of October, the biggest sunspot in nearly 25 years, AR2192, rotated across the solar disk crackling with strong flares. Spaceweather.com reader Sean Barnes
has prepared a summary of the eruptions. There were 26 M-flares, 6 X-flares and, perhaps most astronishly of all, zero Earth-directed CMEs. Click on the image below to browse the numbers in detail:
The monster sunspot was remarkable for both the large number of flares it produced and the small number of CMEs. When the magnetic canopy of a sunspot explodes, it typically produces a flash of electromagnetic radiation (a solar flare) and hurls a billion-ton cloud of gas (a CME) into space. The two phenomena don't always go together, but they often do. AR2192, however, was "all flash." It produced lots of solar flares but very few CMEs--only one, in fact. No one knows why.
Because AR2192 hurled zero CMEs toward Earth, our planet did not experience any geomagnetic storms during the sunspot's apparition. For aurora watchers, the Great Sunspot was actually a bit of a dud.
Right now AR2192 is transiting the farside of the sun. If it does not decay too much while it is there, the sunspot could return intact to the Earthside before mid-November. Then the numbers will start increasing again. Stay tuned. Solar flare alerts: text, voice
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
Realtime Eclipse 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 Nov. 3, 2014, the network reported 21 fireballs.
(18 sporadics, 2 Orionids, 1 Northern Taurid)
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 3, 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 |