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AURORA OUTLOOK: NOAA forecasters say there is a 55% chance of G1-class geomagnetic storms on Aug. 8th when a solar wind stream is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: text or voice
JUPITER MEETS THE MOON, VENUS IS NEXT: Last night, just after sunset on Aug. 5th, the Moon and Jupiter met in the western sky for a bright and beautiful conjunction. Scroll past Mark A. Brown's photo of the meeting over Center Point, Iowa, to find out about an even better conjunction, coming soon:
"A few high thin clouds moved in allowing the Moon and Jupiter to bask in the warm vivid colors of evening twilight," says Brown. "It was an eye-catching sight especially with this being Jupiter's last dance with the Moon this year."
Next on Jupiter's dance card: Venus. On Aug. 27th, the two brightest planets will converge in the sunset sky only about 1/15th of a degree apart--much tighter than the Moon-Jupiter conjunction we just witnessed. If you hold a pencil at arm's length, the eraser would cover both Venus and Jupiter at once.
You won't need a telescope to see the brilliant conjunction; it will be visible to the naked eye even through thin clouds and city lights. Nevertheless, if you have a small telescope, take a look. You can see the cloudy disk of Venus 93% illuminated by the sun alongside the stormy belts of Jupiter and the giant planet's largest moons--all visible, all at once, in the circumference of a single eyepiece. Mark your calendar for Aug. 27th and enjoy the show.
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
ANTARCTIC LIGHTS: For the 4th day in a row, Earth is inside a fast-moving stream of solar wind. This has caused almost non-stop auroras over Antarctica. Gabriel Saiquita sends this self-portrait from Argentina's Belgrano II research station at latitude -78° S:
"Las auroras fueron muy grandes por un momento (hace un tiempo largo que no tuvimos auroras como estas) y logre tomar estas increibles fotos," says Saiquita.
Observers at the Maitri Indian Research Base on the Schirmacher oasis and the Bharati Indian Base Station in the Larsemann Hills have also reported spectacular lights.
NOAA forecasters say there is a 25% chance of G1-class geomagnetic storms on Aug. 6th as the solar wind speed continues to run high. Antarctic sky watchers--all ~1000 of them--should remain alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: text or voice
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
GREEN-BLOODED BOBBLEHEAD: The 50th Anniversary of Star Trek is now. To celebrate (and to support their crowdfunded research program) the students of Earth to Sky Calculus flew the pointy-eared science officer to the stratosphere on July 24, 2016. Here he is at the apex of the flight, more than 32.2 km (112,200 ft) above Earth's surface:
You can buy this collector's item for only $129.95 in the in the Earth to Sky Store.
Proceeds from the sale support space weather research. Bobblehead Spock hitchhiked on a helium balloon payload that carried an array of X-ray/gamma-ray sensors. By launching these sensors 3 or 4 times a month, the students have shown that cosmic rays are intensifying--a trend that affects mountain climbers, air travelers, high-altitude drones, and astronauts on the International Space Station.
Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
Realtime Sprite Photo Gallery
Every night, a network of NASA 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. 6, 2016, the network reported 49 fireballs.
(25 Perseids, 19 sporadics, 3 Southern delta Aquariids, 1 Northern delta Aquariid, 1 Piscis Austrinid)
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 ones
all the time.
On August 6, 2016 there were 1715 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.
| ||Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere |
These measurements are based on regular space weather balloon flights: learn more.
|Situation Report -- Oct. 30, 2015 ||Stratospheric Radiation (+37o N) |
|Cosmic ray levels are elevated (+6.1% above the Space Age median). The trend is flat. Cosmic ray levels have increased +0% in the past month. |
|Sept. 06: 4.14 uSv/hr (414 uRad/hr) |
|Sept. 12: 4.09 uSv/hr (409 uRad/hr) |
|Sept. 23: 4.12 uSv/hr (412 uRad/hr) |
|Sept. 25: 4.16 uSv/hr (416 uRad/hr) |
|Sept. 27: 4.13 uSv/hr (413 uRad/hr) |
|Oct. 11: 4.02 uSv/hr (402 uRad/hr) |
|Oct. 22: 4.11 uSv/hr (411 uRad/hr) |
Approximately once a week, Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus fly "space weather balloons" to the stratosphere over California. These balloons are equipped with radiation sensors that detect cosmic rays, a surprisingly "down to Earth" form of space weather. Cosmic rays can seed clouds, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes. Our measurements show that someone flying back and forth across the continental USA, just once, can absorb as much ionizing radiation as 2 to 5 dental X-rays. For example, here is the data from a flight on Oct. 22, 2015:
Radiation levels peak at the entrance to the stratosphere in a broad region called the "Pfotzer Maximum." This peak is named after physicist George Pfotzer who discovered it using balloons and Geiger tubes in the 1930s. Radiation levels there are more than 80x sea level.
Note that the bottom of the Pfotzer Maximim is near 55,000 ft. This means that some high-flying aircraft are not far from the zone of maximum radiation. Indeed, according to the Oct 22th measurements, a plane flying at 45,000 feet is exposed to 2.79 uSv/hr. At that rate, a passenger would absorb about one dental X-ray's worth of radiation in about 5 hours.
The radiation sensors onboard our helium balloons detect X-rays and gamma-rays in the energy range 10 keV to 20 MeV. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.
| ||The official U.S. government space weather bureau |
| ||The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena. |
| ||Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever. |
| ||3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory |
| ||Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO. |
| ||from the NOAA Space Environment Center |
| ||the underlying science of space weather |
| ||Tobi -- Proud Supporter of Space Education! |
| ||a proud supporter of science education and Spaceweather.com |
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