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.
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CME TARGETS MARS: The magnetic canopy of sunspot AR1492 erupted on May 27th at 0551UT, producing a long-duration C3-class solar flare and hurling a coronal mass ejection (CME) toward Mars. Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab say the cloud will hit the MSL spacecraft (containing Mars rover Curiosity) on May 31st at 0100 UT followed by Mars itself about 10 hours later.
VENUS SLENDERIZES: As Venus approaches the sun for a much-anticipated transit on June 5-6, the second planet is turning its night side toward Earth. Seen through a telescope, all that remains of Venus is a vanishingly-slender crescent:
Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK, took the picture in broad daylight on May 26th. "We had beautiful clear blue skies in my part of the UK today, so I took advantage of the great weather to locate Venus before sunset. This beautiful planet has just slipped below 4% phase on it's way to the historic transit on June 5/6."
The crescent of Venus could soon become a ring. When Venus is less than few degrees away from the sun, the horns of the crescent soetimes reach around and touch, producing a complete annulus. The effect is caused by sunlight-scatteriing particles in upper layers of Venus's atmosphere. It is very difficult to observe, and often only black-belt astrophotographers are able to record the phenomenon.
Keep an eye on SpaceWeather's realtime photo gallery to see how Venus shape-shifts in the days ahead.
ECLIPSE SUNBEAMS: For many observers, the best part of the May 20th solar eclipse is not what the Moon did to the sun, but rather what it did to the sunbeams. Gaps in clouds, leafy trees, and window shades cast pinhole images of the smiling crescent sun onto all kinds of happy surfaces:
"My daughter Antonia was sitting in just the right place," says Tino Hammid of Los Angeles, California. "The crescent images are created by small holes in the closed window blinds that act as a series of pinhole cameras."
Many more pictures of the eclipse--from the sun to sunbeams--may be found in our new realtime photo gallery. It's an experimental service, so feel free to report problems. Click on the link below and start exploring:
Space Weather Real Time Image Gallery
[Submit your photos] [NASA video: Solar Eclipse over the USA]
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 May 27, 2012 there were 1293 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 |