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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HOT FATHER'S DAY GIFT: The solar super-explosion of June 7, 2011, has been turned into a unique metallic wall hanging guaranteed to please the Dad who has everything. Take a look.
SPACE STATION FLYBY: On June 12th through 17th, the ESA's Kepler robotic supply ship used its engines to boost the altitude of the International Space Station by a whopping 35 km, from 345 km to 380 km above Earth. Despite the record-setting increase in distance, the behemoth ISS was visible in detail last night when it orbited over Europe. Germany astronomer Dirk Ewers recorded the flyby through his 5-inch refracting telescope:
"I worried that the 10% increase in altitude would diminish the visibility of fine details," he says. "I needn't have worried. The space station looked crisp and clear as it sparkled in the full sunlight of the summer solstice."
Even the relatively small Kepler is visible in the video docked to one end of the space station's backbone. Not for long, though. Kepler is scheduled to undock on June 20th in preparation for a suicide plunge into the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean on June 21st. Check the Kepler home page for updates.
ISS flyby predictions: Simple Satellite Tracker, Simple Flybys smartphone app
LIGHT BRIDGE: The primary core of sunspot 1236 is divided by a brilliant canyon of light--also known as a "light bridge"--measuring some 20,000 km from end to end. Amateur astronomer Howard Eskildsen photographed the phenomenon from his backyard observatory in Ocala, Florida. Follow the arrow:
"I used a violet Calcium-K filter, which highlights the bright magnetic froth around the sunspot group as well as the light bridge cutting the main 'spot in two," explains Eskildsen. "Seeing was excellent."
The nature of light bridges is not fully understood. They often herald the break-up of a sunspot. Some research suggests that magnetic fields at the base of a light bridge are busy cross-crossing and reconnecting--the same explosive process that sparks solar flares. Does this mean the primary core of sunspot 1236 will explode? Or quietly fall apart? No one can say. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor developments.
more images: from Efrain Morales Rivera of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; from Cai-Uso Wohler of Bispingen, Germany; from David Cortner of Rutherford College, NC; from Gianfranco Meregalli of Milano Italy; from Brian Colville of Cambray, ON Canada;
June 15th Lunar Eclipse Gallery
June 2011 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora alerts: text, voice] [previous Junes: 2010, 2008, 2001]
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 19, 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.
| ||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 |
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