Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.
| || |
WEAK IMPACT: As expected, an interplanetary shock wave associated with the "double CME" of June 13-14 hit Earth's magnetic field today around 0900 UT. The impact was weak. The solar wind speed in the wake of the CME barely upticked to 400 km/s, and the impact did not trigger a geomagnetic storm.
CHANCE OF FLARES: Sunspot AR1504 has developed a 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for strong solar flares--and the huge sunspot is directly facing Earth. Amateur astronomer Eric von der Heyden photographed the behemoth on June 16th from his backyard observatory in Mühltal-Traisa, Germany:
Each of the dark cores in the image is about twice the size of Earth. The sheer size of the complex makes it an easy target for backyard solar telescopes.
NOAA forecasters estimate a 65% chance of M-flares and a 5% chance of X-flares from AR1504 during the next 24 hours. X-flare alerts: text, voice.
Readers, please scan the Realtime Photo Gallery for constantly updated images of this sunspot plus a huge prominence which has popped up on the sun's western limb.
ELECTRIC-BLUE NOCTILUCENT CLOUDS: Data from NASA's AIM spacecraft show that noctilucent clouds (NLCs) are like a great "geophysical light bulb." They turn on every year in late spring, reaching almost full intensity over a period of no more than 5 to 10 days. News flash: The bulb is glowing. Flying photographer Brian Whittaker photographed these NLCs over Canada on June 13th:
"I was very happy to see my first noctilucent clouds of 2012," says Whittaker. "They were visible to the north for about 3 hours as we flew between Ottawa and Newfoundland at 35,000 feet."
These electric-blue clouds are hanging 85 km above Earth's surface, at the edge of space itself. Their origin is still largely a mystery; various theories associate them with space dust, rocket exhaust, global warming--or some mixture of the three. One thing is sure. They're baaack ... for the summer of 2012.
Observing tips: NLCs favor high latitudes, although they have been sighted as far south as Colorado and Virginia. Look west 30 to 60 minutes after sunset when the Sun has dipped 6o to 16o below the horizon. If you see luminous blue-white tendrils spreading across the sky, you may have spotted a noctilucent cloud.
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
[Submit your photos] [NASA videos: 2012 Transit of Venus, ISS Transit of Venus]
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 16, 2012 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 |