Don't just watch shooting stars. Wear them! Authentic meteorite jewelry for Valentine's Day is now available in the SpaceWeather Store.
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BACK TO WORK (UPDATED): After a quiet weekend with no flares of any significance, the sun went back to work on Monday morning and launched a bright coronal mass ejection (CME) into space. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory recorded the expanding cloud during the early hours of Feb. 6th:
Update: New images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) show that this was a frontside event. The explosion occured when a magnetic filament draped over the sun's northeastern limb rose up and snapped. An extreme UV movie from SDO shows the structure lifting off. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.
AURORA WATCH: Earth passed through a minor solar wind stream on Feb. 4-5. The weak impact of the solar wind was just enough to spark auroras around parts of the Arctic Circle. Frank Olsen sends this 20-second exposure from the waterfront outside Tromsø, Norway:
"Despite bright moonlight and low solar activity, there were some great auroras last night," says Olsen.
The effects of the solar wind are subsiding, and the auroras might disappear into the moonlight for the next few nights. Geomagnetic activity is expected to hover at low levels for the next 48 hours. Aurora alerts: text, voice.
more images: from Oivind Toien of Fairbanks, Alaska; from Fredrik Broms of Kvaløya, Norway
BE ALERT FOR MOON HALOES: With the full Moon just days away, now is the time to be alert for Moon haloes. Tom Soetaert photographed this spooky specimen over Lawrence, Kansas, on Feb. 2nd:
Moon halos are formed by ice crystals in high clouds, which catch moonbeams and bend them as shown. The brighter the Moon, the brighter the Moon halo, so any halos this weekend should be very bright indeed. The Moon is full on Feb. 7th. Browse the links below for more examples of what's in store.
more images: from Chris Cook of Cape Cod, Massachusetts; from Joni Niemelä of Western Finland; from Mike Peters of Green Bay, Wisconsin; from Tamas Ladanyi of Veszprem (Hungary); from Schmaus Thomas of Oberbernbach, Bavaria, Germany; from Domenico Licchelli of Gagliano del Capo, Italy; from Primoz Kuk of Sempeter pri Gorici, Slovenia; from Dr. Salvador Aguirre of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico; from György Soponyai of Dunakeszi, Hungary
January 2012 Aurora Gallery
[previous Januaries: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2004]
Comet Lovejoy Gallery
[previous comets: McNaught, Holmes, Lulin, Tuttle, Ikeya-Zhang]