They came from outer space--and you can have one! Genuine meteorites are now on sale in the Space Weather Store. They make a unique Valentine's gift.
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MYSTERY OF THE MISSING SUNSPOTS, SOLVED? Two years ago when solar activity plunged into a century-class minimum, many experts were puzzled. Now a group of researchers say they have cracked the mystery of the missing sunspots. Get the full story from Science@NASA.
SUNSPOT SUNSET: The sun isn't blank any more. Just look at the sunset. Photographer Jens Hackmann sends this example from Weikersheim, Germany, on March 1st:
"Because of high moisture in the air, the sunset was spectacular--and then it got even better," he says. "As the sun sank toward the treeline, sunspot 1164 popped into view." Hackmann's two-minute movie of the "sunspot sunset" is a must-see.
The primary dark core of sunspot 1164 is three times wider than Earth itself. This makes it an easy target for backyard telescopes equipped with solar filters. Moreover, the sunspot's magnetic field is unstable and harbors energy for X-class solar flares. The next sunspot sunset could be a lively one! Stay tuned.
more images: from Marek Nikodem of Szubin, Poland; from Michael Buxton of Ocean Beach, California; from Pavol Rapavy of Observatory Rimavska Sobota, Slovakia; from David Cortner of Rutherford College, NC
3D SPACE STATION MOVIE: On Feb. 28th, black belt astrophotographer Thierry Legault recorded another flyby of the International Space Station over Weimar, Germany--and this time it's in 3D. Cross your eyes and click on the stereo pair to set the scene in motion:
Space shutttle Discovery is docked to the ISS and at the beginning of the video "it is possible to see inside the shuttle's payload bay," notes Legault. That's high resolution. How does he do it? Believe it or not, these images come from a garden-variety backyard telescope. The tracking, however, is out of this world.
more images: from Martin Lewis of St Albans, UK; from Jacob Kuiper of Steenwijk, The Netherlands; from Alan Friedman of Knights Key Resort and Marina, Marathon, Florida
NanoSail-D Photo Gallery
[NASA: Solar Sail Stunner] [Photo Contest]
February 2011 Aurora Photo Gallery
[previous Februaries: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002]