They came from outer space--and you can have one! Genuine meteorites are now on sale in the Space Weather Store.
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OOPS! Yesterday's epic solar flare attracted an overwhelming number of visitors to spaceweather.com. Our server buckled under the strain. Today we upgraded our hardware to handle the load; bring on the flares! The webmaster apologizes for any inconvenience caused by the outage. --Tony Phillips
STORM WARNING: NOAA forecasters estimate a greater than 25% chance of geomagnetic storms on June 9th. That's when a CME from the magnificent flare of June 7th is expected to deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. Aurora alerts: voice, text.
MAGNIFICENT FLARE: On June 7th at 0641 UT, magnetic fields above sunspot complex 1226-1227 became unstable and erupted. The resulting blast produced an M2-class solar flare, an S1-class radiation storm, and an unbelievable movie:
Credit: NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.
"It looks like someone kicked a clod of dirt in the air," says solar physicist C. Alex Young of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in a Youtube video. "I've never seen material released in this way before--an amazing, amazing event."
Much of the plasma thrown up by the blast simply fell back to the sun--indeed, that's what makes the footage so dramatic. In the movies you can see blobs of hot gas as large as Earth making bright splashes where they hit the stellar surface. Some plasma, however, reached escape velocity and left the sun in the form of a coronal mass ejection: movie. Traveling faster than 1100 km/s, the CME should deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field during the late hours of June 8th or June 9th. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras when the CME arrives.
June 2011 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora alerts: text, voice] [previous Junes: 2010, 2008, 2001]
NANOSAIL-D IN BRIGHT TWILIGHT: NASA's Nanosail-D, the first solar sail to orbit Earth, is catching the attention of evening sky watchers. "I saw it on June 3rd in bright evening twilight (sun at -7 degrees altitude)," reports Marco Langbroek of Leiden, the Netherlands. "The sky was still light blue, with the first stars visible. NanoSail-D became very bright, flashing periodically to mag. 0 with a slightly variable flash interval of 1.2 - 1.5 seconds." Look below the snapshot for a time history of the sail's brightness:
Because high-resolution photography of the small sail is so challenging, mission scientists can't be 100% sure how NanoSail-D is oriented or why it is flashing. Probably it is tumbling, with glints of sunlight producing quiasi-periodic "solar sail flares." NanoSail-D will be strobing across the evening skies of Europe and North America this week. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker or your cell phone for flyby times.
Midnight Solar Eclipse Gallery
[NASA: A Rare Eclipse of the Midnight Sun]
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 June 8, 2011 there were 1224 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.
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