When is the best time to see auroras? Where is the best place to go? And how do you photograph them? These questions and more are answered in a new book, Northern Lights - a Guide, by Pal Brekke & Fredrik Broms.
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PERSEID METEOR SHOWER--PEAKING NOW: According to the International Meteor Organization, the Perseid Meteor Shower is peaking now with as many as 50 meteors per hour. These rates are sharply reduced, compared to a normal year, because of the glare from the waning supermoon. It is still, however, a significant shower. If it is dark where you live, go outside and look up. Otherwise, try listening to Perseid radar echoes on Space Weather Radio.
Last night, Amir H. Abolfath caught this Perseid fireball streaking across the moonlit skies of Tehran, Iran:
"Despite the moonlight and clouds," says Abolfath, "I still saw some good Perseids."
For more views from around the world, browse the realtime meteor gallery:
Realtime Meteor Photo Gallery
CONVERGING PLANETS: Venus and Jupiter are converging for a stunning conjunction in the pre-dawn sky. At closest approach on August 18th, the two planets will be just 0.2 degrees apart, tight enough to hide behind the tip of your outstretched pinky. Flying astrophotographer, pilot Brian Whittaker, photographed the converging pair 35,000 feet over Northern Ontario, Canada, on August 12th:
"I spotted Jupiter with Venus just 6 days before the super conjunction," says Whittaker. "It was a beautiful view--and it's only going to get better."
Observing tips: Look east about 30 minutes before sunrise. A clear view of the horizon is required to see the low-hanging pair. Each morning between now and the 18th the distance between the two will decrease as they converge for their dramatic meeting next Monday.
No special optics are required to see the amazingly bright pair, but if you have binoculars, use them. A quick scan of the sky around Venus and Jupiter on August 18th reveals that the two worlds are not alone. The planets are converging right beside M44, the Beehive Cluster. Located about 500 light years from Earth, this busy cluster of stars is barely visible to the naked eye, but it is an easy target for ordinary binoculars. At first glance it might seem that a pair of supernovas has gone off inside the cluster—but that's just Venus and Jupiter passing by.
Photographers, if you take pictures of the morning show, submit them here.
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
Realtime Comet Photo Gallery
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
Realtime NLC 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. 13, 2014, the network reported 163 fireballs.
(99 Perseids, 61 sporadics, 1 Northern Delta Aquarid, 1 Southern Delta Aquarid, 1 Southern Iota Aquarid)
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 13, 2014 there were 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.
| ||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 |