When is the best time to see auroras? Where is the best place to go? And how do you photograph them? These questions and more are answered in a new book, Northern Lights - a Guide, by Pal Brekke & Fredrik Broms.
| || |
METEOR ALERT: Sky watchers in North America might see an outburst of meteors during the early hours of June 11th when Earth passes through a stream of cometary debris last seen in 1930. Forecasters Peter Jenniskens (SETI Institute) and Esko Lyytinen (Helsinki, Finland) predict the return of the gamma Delphinid meteor shower this Tuesday morning around 08:30 UT (04:30 am EDT). The shower is expected to last no more than about 30 minutes with an unknown number of bright, fast meteors. Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office will chat about the shower starting tonight at 11 PM EDT. [Meteor radar] SWx alerts: text, voice.
NOCTILUCENT CLOUDS: Researchers working with data from NASA's AIM spacecraft have announced that noctilucent clouds (NLCs) are behaving strangely. Boosted by changing "teleconnections" in Earth's atmosphere, the summertime clouds appeared earlier this year than ever before, setting the stage for an unusually good season of NLCs. "Unusually good" nicely describes the apparition Sunday morning over Troon, Ayrshire, Scotland:
"It was an amazing display," says photographer Mark Ferrier. "The clouds appeared after sunset on June 8th and lasted straight through to sunrise on June 9th."
High latitude sky watchers should be alert for NLCs in the evenings ahead. In recent years they have been sighted as far south as Utah, Colorado, and Nebraska. Observing tips: Look west 30 to 60 minutes after sunset when the sun has dipped 6o to 16o below the horizon. If you see luminous blue-white tendrils spreading across the sky, you've probably spotted a noctilucent cloud.
Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011]
WEIRD SUNSET: Astronomers in the Netherlands have discovered a world where the sun is square. It is Earth. On June 6th Jan Koeman was watching the sunset from Lauwersoog, and this is what he saw:
"The sunset was a very weird one," says Koeman. "Inversions in the atmosphere gave it some very odd shapes."
UK atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley was in the Netherlands last week. "Conditions were favorable for this kind of mirage," he says. "To see weird miraged suns look out at sunrise in very cold weather and at sunset when it is hot. We had beautiful hot sunny weather all last week in the Netherlands. The sun heated the land and topmost layers of the sea to generate by early evening strong temperature inversions, layers of unusually warm air beneath cooler air. The setting sun rays slanted through the layers where they were bent to form multiple image slices that combine into outlandish shapes and even stacked pancakes. Sometimes tiny green flashes can be photographed on the topmost pancake."
"I was looking for the green flash," adds Koeman, "but this time no success. More sunsets will follow."
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
Realtime Comet Photo Gallery
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 June 10, 2013 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 |