AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE
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ACTIVE SUNSPOT: Old sunspot 1112 is back and it is crackling with C- and M-class solar flares: SDO movie. So far none of the blasts has been geo-effective because of the sunspot's location on the sun's eastern limb. Solar rotation is, however, turning the active region toward Earth, so stay tuned.
LAUNCH POSTPONED: Space shuttle managers have scrubbed Discovery’s launch attempt for today due to a hydrogen leak at the Ground Umbilical Carrier Plate. The next launch attempt would be no earlier than Monday. Check the launch blog for updates.
COMET FLYBY: Yesterday, Nov. 4th, NASA's Deep Impact (EPOXI) probe flew past Comet Hartley 2 only 435 miles from the comet's active nucleus. Soon after the encounter, the spacecraft turned its high-gain antenna toward Earth and began transmitting close-up images to Earth. The view was spectacular:
The first five close-up images: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5
At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, mission scientists discussed their first impressions. The comet has a dumbbell shape, they noted, with rough ends and a smooth middle. The rough terrain seems to be the "land of jets," with geysers spewing from many specific topographic features. The middle, on the other hand, is relatively smooth and quiet. It is covered with some kind of fine dusty material that seems to have collected in a broad topograhical low point.
Researchers expressed their continued amazement at Comet Hartley 2's hyperactivity. The comet is absolutely bristling with gaseous jets even on the comet's nightside where volatile ices are shielded from solar heating. They also noted distinct lines of jets tracing the comet's day-night terminator, a phenomenon never seen before.
Stay tuned for updates as the analysis continues.
3D BONUS: Spaceweather.com reader Hanno Falk combined two of the comet photos to produce a semi-stereoscopic pair. Cross your eyes to merge the nuclei and scan the 3D terrain:
Click to view a larger pair
"The two images I combined were not ideal for this purpose," says Falk. Nevertheless, they produce a fairly strong 3D effect. Better 3D views will become available after a full set of flyby images have been beamed back to Earth.
more 3D images: from Patrick Vantuyne of Belgium
October 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Octobers: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001]
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 5, 2010 there were 1157 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 |