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MINOR STORM WARNING: A CME is heading for Earth. The cloud was hurled into space on July 30th when a magnetic filament on the sun erupted, and it appears to be on course to sideswipe Earth's magnetic field. NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Aug. 2nd when the CME arrives. Aurora alerts: text, voice
PLANETS CROSSING AT NOON: This weekend, Jupiter and Mercury are in conjunction. Don't bother looking because the meeting takes place in the noontime sky. What human eyes cannot see, however, spacecraft can. Using an opaque disk to block the glare of the sun, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is monitoring the encounter:
At closest approach on August 2nd, the two bright planets will be less than 1o apart. If such an alignment occured at night, it would surely be headline news. At noon, its just spaceweather news. Join SOHO for a ringside seat.
Space Weather Photo Gallery
RADIO BURSTS FROM THE SUN: Yesterday, the loudspeakers of shortwave radios erupted with static. The source of the noise was the sun. "I have been picking up solar bursts on my RadioJove receiver at 20.1 MHz," reports Kevin Palivec of Hawley, Texas. This chart recording displays 10 minutes of activity on August 1st:
The bursts were triggered by an M2-class explosion in the magnetic canopy of sunspot AR2127. The explosion sent shock waves rippling through the sun's atmosphere. Those shock waves, in turn, excited plasma instabilities that emit static-y radio waves. Becase there are a whole variety of plasma instabilites, there is a corresponding variety of radio burst types. Palivec recorded a mix of two: Type II and Type IV.
More solar radio bursts could be in the offing as sunspot AR2127 and nearby sunspot AR2130 both crackle with M-class solar flares. Visit NASA's RadioJove website to find out how to build your own receiver--and listen up.
Space Weather Photo Gallery
FOUR DAYS TO THE ROSETTA COMET: ESA's Rosetta probe is now only 4 days away from a historic encounter with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. If all goes as planned, Rosetta will become the first spacecraft to orbit a comet, follow it around the sun, and even drop a lander on its surface. Readers got a sneak preview on Thursday when ESA released dramatic new images of the comet's core and atmosphere:
The comet's atmosphere or "coma" (left), is a mixture of gas and dust slowly evaporating away from the sun-warmed core (right). At the moment, the coma is diffuse and relatively calm. That's because the comet is still far from the sun, about 544 million kilometers away in the cold dark space between Mars and Jupiter. A year from now this could change, however, as the comet swings by the sun only 185 million kilometers away. Increased solar heating will liberate jets of dust and high-speed streamers of gas, swelling the coma into something larger and much more dangerous to the spacecraft.
Rosetta is meeting up with the comet now so that researchers can not only study how the comet warms up along its orbit and how activity develops, but also because it is much safer to learn how to operate in such a new environment when the activity is relatively low. Moreover, landing would be significantly more challenging next year when activity is expected to be much higher.
Only 4 days to rendezvous! Follow the action @ESA_Rosetta.
Comet Photo Gallery
Meteor Photo Gallery
Aurora Photo Gallery
NLC 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 Aug. 1, 2014, the network reported 16 fireballs.
(6 Perseids, 5 sporadics, 2 Southern delta Aquariids, 2 alpha Capricornids, 1 August Lyncid)
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.
August 2, 2014 there were 1497
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