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CHANCE OF FLARES: Despite shrinking by ~10% on Oct. 24th, sunspot AR2192 remains the largest and most active sunspot of the current solar cycle. Earth-directed explosions are likely this weekend. NOAA forecasters estimate an 85% chance of M-class flares and a 45% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours. Solar flare alerts: text, voice
RAPID FIRE X-FLARES: Flares have been predicted, sunspot AR2192 has complied. In the past 24 hours, the giant active region has produced two X-class solar flares: X3 (Oct. 24 @ 2140 UT) and X1 (Oct 25 @ 1709 UT). Using a backyard solar telescope, Sergio Castillo of Corona, California, was monitoring the sunspot on Oct. 24th when it exploded, and he snapped this picture:
"This flare was so intense that it almost shorted out my computer! Well ... not really," says Castillo, "but I knew right away that it was an X-class eruption."
Both X-flares produced brief but strong HF radio blackouts over the dayside of Earth. Communications were disturbed over a wide area for appeoximately one hour after the peak of each explosion. Such blackouts may be noticed by amateur radio operators, aviators, and mariners.
Interestingly, none of the X-flares from this active region has so far produced a major CME. The latest eruptions on Oct. 24-25 appear to be no exception. As a result, Earth-effects may be limited to the radio blackouts. However, stay tuned for updates as analysts look more carefully at coronagraph data for signs of an incoming CME. Solar flare alerts: text, voice
Space Weather Photo Gallery
EDGE OF SPACE SOLAR ECLIPSE: There are many beautiful pictures of last Thursday's solar eclipse in the realtime photo gallery. Only these, however, were taken from the stratosphere:
Just as the New Moon was about to pass in front of the sun, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched a helium balloon carrying a Nikon D7000 camera. Their goal: to set the record for high-altitude eclipse photography. During a two-hour flight to the edge of space, the camera captured 11 images of the eclipse. The final picture, taken just a split second before the balloon exploded, was GPS-tagged with an altitude of 108,900 feet.
To put this achievement into context, consider the following: Most people who photographed the eclipse carefully mounted their cameras on a rock-solid tripod, or used the precision clock-drive of a telescope to track the sun. The students, however, managed the same trick from an un-stabilized platform, spinning, buffeted by wind, and racing upward to the heavens at 15 mph. Their photos show that DLSR astrophotography from an suborbital helium balloon is possible, and they will surely refine their techniques for even better photos in the future.
Hey thanks! The students wish to thank AutomationDirect.com for sponsoring this flight. Their $500 contribution paid for the helium and other supplies necessary to get the balloon off the ground. Note the Automation Direct logo in this picture of the payload ascending over the Sierra Nevada mountains of central California:
Another notable picture shows the payload ascending over clouds, which blocked the eclipse at ground level but did not prevent photography from the balloon.
Readers, would you like to sponsor a student research flight and have your logo photographed at the edge of space? Contact Dr. Tony Phillips to get involved.
Eclipse Photo Gallery
Aurora 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 Oct. 25, 2014, the network reported 57 fireballs.
(32 sporadics, 17 Orionids, 3 Southern Taurids, 3 Leonis Minorids, 1 epsilon Geminid, 1 chi Taurid)
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.
October 26, 2014 there were 1508
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