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TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN: The March 9th solar eclipse is over--"and it was incredible," says Dana Crom of Earth to Sky Calculus, who witnessed the event from a beach on Belitung Island, Indonesia. "At first we thought we would not be able to see the eclipse, but morning clouds parted just in time for totality."
Indeed, all over Indonesia, observers spied the eclipse between and, more often, straight through clouds. Janne Pyykkö sends this picture from the nearby island of Terante:
"With the help of local friends, I was able to find a coconut palm standing alone and two brave men willing to climb it for the photo," says Pyykkö. "During totality, high clouds muted the best sky colors. Even so, it was a fantastic experience."
On Belitung Island, Earth to Sky Calculus student Ginger Perez recorded a must-see video of totality. (Turn up the volume to hear the reaction of the crowd and the sound of ocean waves.) "It was hot when the sun rose this morning," says Ginger, "but the temperature dropped when the shadow of the Moon swept over us. It felt so nice! The slight ocean breeze made the eclipse sweeter still."
Japan's Sunflower-8 meteorological satellite saw the Moon's shadow from Earth orbit. Here it is racing across the Pacific on March 9th:
When the shadow engulfed Ternate, Indonesia, "the temperature dropped from 91.3F to 82.5F and the humidity increased from 73% to 85%," reports photographer Donald S. Gardner. "Roosters were crowing after totality."
Meanwhile, 30,000 feet above the Pacific, Alaska Airlines flight 870 from Anchorage to Honolulu diverted to fly through the path of totality. "I took photos every 2 seconds beginning 2 minutes before totality and ending 2 minutes after totality," reports passenger Evan Zucker who, fortunately, had a window seat:
The top frame shows the view from the plane as it crossed the middle of the Moons shadow. The bottom frame shows light returning to the cloudtops as the plane began to exit. More of Zucker's airborne photos may be found here.
Browse the photo gallery for more tales from the eclipse zone:
Realtime Spaceweather Photo Gallery
MAGNETIC REVERBERATIONS: Here on Spaceweather.com, we often say that Earth's magnetic field is "reverberating" from the impact of a CME or a solar wind stream. This is what we mean:
This plot shows the response of a magnetometer in England to a strong geomagnetic storm on March 6th and 7th. The east-west vector of Earth's magnetic field was swinging back and forth, "reverberating" as a stream of solar wind passed by our planet.
"My magnetometer went wild on March 6th as Earth entered a fast flowing and highly geoeffective solar wind stream, creating bright aurora even down to lower latitudes over Europe," reports Stuart Green of Preston, Lancashire, UK. "This is the largest response I've measured so far this year."
Magnetic fields cannot be seen by the human eye, but the magnetic reverberations were anything but invisible. This is what the sky looked like overhead:
Colin Cooper took the picture from Tynemouth, UK, barely 150 miles away from Green's magnetometer. "An incredible display rarely seen this far south," says Cooper. "There were some of the brightest rays and fastest movement I've ever seen for auroras in the UK."
The display was also seen in Scandinavia, Iceland, Canada, several US states, and even in the Southern Hemisphere. Browse the gallery for more reverberations:
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
Realtime Spaceweather 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 Mar. 9, 2016, the network reported 9 fireballs.
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 March 9, 2016 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.
| ||Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere |
These measurements are based on regular space weather balloon flights: learn more.
|Situation Report -- Oct. 30, 2015 ||Stratospheric Radiation (+37o N) |
|Cosmic ray levels are elevated (+6.1% above the Space Age median). The trend is flat. Cosmic ray levels have increased +0% in the past month. |
|Sept. 06: 4.14 uSv/hr (414 uRad/hr) |
|Sept. 12: 4.09 uSv/hr (409 uRad/hr) |
|Sept. 23: 4.12 uSv/hr (412 uRad/hr) |
|Sept. 25: 4.16 uSv/hr (416 uRad/hr) |
|Sept. 27: 4.13 uSv/hr (413 uRad/hr) |
|Oct. 11: 4.02 uSv/hr (402 uRad/hr) |
|Oct. 22: 4.11 uSv/hr (411 uRad/hr) |
Approximately once a week, Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus fly "space weather balloons" to the stratosphere over California. These balloons are equipped with radiation sensors that detect cosmic rays, a surprisingly "down to Earth" form of space weather. Cosmic rays can seed clouds, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes. Our measurements show that someone flying back and forth across the continental USA, just once, can absorb as much ionizing radiation as 2 to 5 dental X-rays. For example, here is the data from a flight on Oct. 22, 2015:
Radiation levels peak at the entrance to the stratosphere in a broad region called the "Pfotzer Maximum." This peak is named after physicist George Pfotzer who discovered it using balloons and Geiger tubes in the 1930s. Radiation levels there are more than 80x sea level.
Note that the bottom of the Pfotzer Maximim is near 55,000 ft. This means that some high-flying aircraft are not far from the zone of maximum radiation. Indeed, according to the Oct 22th measurements, a plane flying at 45,000 feet is exposed to 2.79 uSv/hr. At that rate, a passenger would absorb about one dental X-ray's worth of radiation in about 5 hours.
The radiation sensors onboard our helium balloons detect X-rays and gamma-rays in the energy range 10 keV to 20 MeV. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.
| ||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 |