METEORS FROM COMET HARTLEY 2: A
pair of unusual fireballs over Canada and the southeastern
USA have experts wondering if Comet Hartley 2 might
produce a meteor shower in early November. Get the
story from Science@NASA.
SPACECRAFT WALKING: Two NASA spacecraft
that were supposed to be dead a year ago are instead
flying to the Moon for a breakthrough mission in
lunar orbit. The research they conduct could lead
to important advances in space weather forecasting.
For more information, read "Dead
Spacecraft Walking" from Science@NASA.
BRIGHT OBJECT NEAR THE SUN: Don't
panic, it's just Venus. The brilliant evil
twin of Earth is passing between our planet
and the sun this week, making a bright UFO-like
light in SOHO coronagraph images:
The bright rays and luminous bloom centered on
the planet are digital artifacts. Venus is so bright,
it saturates SOHO's CCD detectors, causing electrons
to "bleed" across pixel boundaries. The
same thing happens to a lesser degree with Mercury,
which is bisected by a horizontal bar--another artifact.
Note how the star Spica, dimmer than the planets,
appears as a normal pinprick. It does not saturate
Venus will continue its flamboyant passage for
the next few days. Join SOHO for a
BIG SUNSPOT GETS BIGGER: Behemoth
sunspot 1117 is not merely growing, it is transmogrifying.
Click on the image to launch a two-day movie from
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (8 MB):
Since yesterday, the shape-shifting sunspot has
developed a "beta-gamma" magnetic field
that harbors energy for M-class
solar flares. Any such eruptions will likely be
geoeffective because the sunspot is almost-squarely
facing Earth. Readers with solar telescopes are
encouraged to monitor developments.
more images: from
Rogerio Marcon of CASLEO Observatory, San Juan,
Patrick Bornet of Saint Martin sur Nohain, Nièvre,
David Arditti of Edgware, UK; from
John Stetson of Portland, Maine
2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Octobers: 2009,
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
all the time.
October 27, 2010 there were 1155 potentially
Notes: LD means "Lunar
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.
official U.S. government space weather bureau
first place to look for information about sundogs,
pillars, rainbows and related phenomena.
call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most
advanced solar observatory ever.
views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial
and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
the NOAA Space Environment Center
underlying science of space weather