They came from outer space--and you can have one! Genuine meteorites are now on sale in the Space Weather Store.
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A TASTE OF SOLAR MAX: Forecasters say solar maximum is still a year away. Earlier this month sky watchers got a taste of things to come when a powerful flare sparked Northern Lights over the United States as far south as Arkansas, Colorado and California. [full story] [video]
RADIATION STORM: A low-level radiation storm is underway as solar protons swarm around our planet. Ranked S1 on NOAA space weather scales, the storm poses no serious threat to astronauts or satellites. Nevertheless it is a nuisance. Minor radiation storms can cause occasional reboots of computers onboard spacecraft and add "snow" to spacecraft imaging systems. This SOHO coronagraph image of the sun, taken during the early hours of July 20th, is a good example:
Each of the speckles in the image (a representative handful are circled) are caused by protons hitting the spacecraft's CCD camera. During minor storms it is possible to see through this kind of snow. During severe storms, such images become practically opaque.
The protons were accelerated toward Earth by an M7-class solar flare on July 19th. Although the blast site (sunspot AR1520) was on the farside of the sun, the protons were able to reach Earth anyway, guided toward our planet by backward-spiralling lines of magnetic force. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
SOUTHERN LIGHTS: The geomagnetic storm of July 14-16 was remarkable for the beauty of its auroras in the southern hemisphere. The view was especially good from above the southern hemisphere:
Astronaut Joe Acaba photographed these Southern Lights from the International Space Station on Saturday, July 14th. He was 400 km above Earth's surface, immersed in the fringes of the auroras themselves.
"It was absolutely incredible," says Acaba. "I was working out and in between sets I noticed that we were heading south during a night pass. So I decided my workout could be postponed for a few minutes and I turned out all of the lights in Node 3. Within a couple of minutes, I could not believe what I was seeing. I enjoyed the show for a few minutes [then alerted my crewmates to look]. Even Gennady, with all of his time on orbit, was amazed. Of course I took some obligatory pictures, but then I just sat in the dark, in the peace and quiet of this incredible man made, orbiting laboratory and just looked out the window in awe. What a truly magnificent planet we live on and solar system we live in."
Realtime Aurora 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 July 20, 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 |