Don't just watch shooting stars. Wear them! Authentic meteorite jewelry for Christmas is now available in the SpaceWeather Store.
CME? A magnetic filament in the
sun's northern hemisphere erupted
on Jan. 5th and hurled a CME in the general direction
of Earth. At first it appeared that the cloud would
sail north of Earth and completely miss our planet.
Subsequent work by analysts at the Goddard Space
Weather Lab suggests a different outcome: the CME
might deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic
field on Jan. 7th. Click to view an animated forecast
NOAA forecasters were already calling
for a 40% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on
Jan. 7-8 in response to a high-speed solar wind
stream. The arrival of a CME would boost the chances
even more. Storm alerts:
WATCH: Even without a CME, auroras
are lighting up the Arctic Circle. Sindre Nedrevåg
sends this picture taken Jan. 5th from Bodø, Norway:
"The Northern Lights sparkled
above us for nearly 20 minutes. It was awesome,"
says Nedrevåg. "These were the first auroras
I've seen and photographed in 2012."
more images: from
Earl Jones of Fairbanks, AK; from
Andy Keen of Inari, Northern Lapland, Finland;
Marketa Stanczykova of Chatanika Alaska; from
Gaute Frøystein of Bodoe, Norway;
MARS PROBE PHOTOGRAPHED: Russia's
Mars probe, Phobos-Grunt,
has been stranded in Earth orbit since a main engine
failure in early November. The spacecraft is now
sinking back into Earth's atmosphere, with re-entry
expected in mid-January. "On New Year's Day,
I traveled to the French Riviera (850km from home)
to record Phobos-Grunt's last passage over France,"
says astrophotographer Thierry Legault. This is
the picture he took through a 14-inch telescope:
"It appears that the satellite
is moving backwards with its solar panels deployed
but not receiving the sunlight," notes Legault.
"This may explain why Phobos-Grunt had no energy
to communicate with Earth." An 80-second
video shows the probe soaring almost directly
above Legault's observing site on the Plateau de
Calern. "At the scale of the video the satellite
would cross your screen in about 1/30s," he
While a telescope is required to see
the outlines of the spacecraft, the human eye alone
is sufficient to see Phobos-Grunt as a speck of
light in the night sky. On high passes, it glows
almost as brightly as a first magnitude star. Check
SpaceWeather's online Satellite
Tracker or your
smartphone for flyby times.
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
all the time.
January 6, 2012 there were 1272
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.
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