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.
LYRID METEOR SHOWER: Earth is approaching a stream of debris from ancient Comet Thatcher, source of the annual Lyrid Meteor Shower. Usually the shower is mild (10-20 meteors per hour) but unmapped filaments of dust in the comet's tail sometimes trigger outbursts ten times stronger. Forecasters expect this year's peak, however strong it may be, to occur on April 22nd. [meteor gallery]
SUBSIDING GEOMAGNETIC STORM: A minor geomagnetic storm that lit up the Arctic Circle on Easter Sunday is subsiding. At its peak, just after an instigating CME strike around 1057 UT, the disturbance registered G1 on NOAA storm scales. Arctic auroras were briefly visible despite the brightening spring twilight:
"Here in Kuusamo, Finland, near the Polar circle, spring nights are becoming lighter and lighter, but still the auroras can be seen," says photographer Asko Aikkila.
NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% chance of renewed geomagnetic storms on April 21st as Earth passes through the windy wake of the CME. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras Aurora alerts: text, voice
Space Weather Photo Gallery
SPACE WEATHER BALLOON LAUNCHED: In order to study the effects of the Easter geomagnetic storm on Earth's upper atmosphere, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched a double balloon mission to the stratosphere on April 20th:
The two balloons carried two experiments. One is the group's Rapid Response Space Weather Payload, which measures high energy radiation. The other carried a colony of extreme-loving halobacteria. The purpose of their flight is to discover if they can live in the extreme environment of the stratosphere. Oh, and in honor of Easter, the students sent a team of peeponauts as well.
Update: The two payloads have been successfully recovered from remote landing sites in the Inyo Mountains. Stay tuned for data and images.
Eclipse Photo Gallery
Aurora Photo Gallery
Mars Photo Gallery
Comet Photo Gallery
Every night, a network
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 Apr. 17, 2014, the network reported 6 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
all the time.
April 21, 2014 there were 1465
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.
official U.S. government space weather bureau
first place to look for information about sundogs,
pillars, rainbows and related phenomena.
call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO
is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial
and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
the NOAA Space Environment Center
underlying science of space weather