They came from outer space--and you can have one! Genuine meteorites are now on sale in the Space Weather Store. They make a unique Valentine's gift.
NIGHT SOLAR SAIL: NanoSail-D really
is glinting in the sunlight. NASA scientist
Dean Alhorn, the solar sail's principal investigator,
sends this report from Huntsville, Alabama: "Last
night, Feb. 26th, I saw it flash 3 or 4 times! I
was following the sail's expected path with my eyes
when I saw a flash in the sky above the tree line.
A couple of minutes later I saw a second flash higher
in the sky. A third and maybe a fourth were seen
as NanoSail-D disappeared to the southwest. The
flashes were brighter than anything in the sky."
Alhorn's Saturday-night experience was repeated
by other observers; click on the links for anecdotes
and photos: #1,
DOCKED: Space shuttle Discovery
docked to the International Space Station on Saturday,
Feb. 26, at 2:15 p.m. EST, delivering humanoid Robonaut
2 to join the ISS crew. Just before docking,
observers in Europe witnessed a spectacular double
flyby of the converging spacecraft. In Gloucestershie,
England, amateur astronomer Rob Bullen trained his
8-inch telescope on the pair, and this is what he
"After a very cloudy day, the skies cleared
to reveal this stunning pass of the ISS and Discovery,"
says Bullen. "I could not believe the timing
was so fortuitous to show the shuttle closing in
on the station."
Another opportunity to see the spaceships arranged
thus will come in 7 days when Discovery undocks
from the ISS. Until then, click on the links for
more double shots: from
Tamas Ladanyi of Veszprem, Hungary; from
Emmanuel Marchal of London, England; from
Anton Husek of Svihov, Czech Republic; from
Monika Landy-Gyebnar of Veszprem, Hungary; from
Rafael Schmall of Hungary, Somogy, Kaposfo
HALOES: On Saturday morning, Feb.
26th, the sky above Logan, Utah, erupted in a network
of luminous arcs and rings. This photo taken by
Lyle Johnson shows just a fraction of the display:
"In addition to a halo surrounding
the sun, there were bright sundogs to the left and
right, and a giant
white ring parallel to the horizon," says
Johnson. "[Most beautiful of all] was a colorful
bow directly overhead."
These are all ice haloes. Sunlight
shining through hexagonal crystals, some short and
squat like plates and others long and thin like
pencils, produced the luminous
shapes. The crystals must have been scattered
around the whole sky to account for such a display.
Sounds like winter....
"Look closely at Lyle Johnson's
halo display and you will see two very rare halos,"
urges atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "They
branch upwards from each sundog just outside the
circular 22 degree halo. These are 'middle
Lowitz arcs' rarely seen and probably made by
elongated non regular hexagonal plate crystals.
shows one of them. When the 'ordinary' halos are
as bright as they appeared here it is always worthwhile
to scour the sky for rare ones!"
more images: from
Douglas J. Ede of Logan, Utah, USA
Sail Stunner] [Photo
2011 Aurora Photo Gallery
[previous Februaries: 2010,