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CHANCE OF STORMS: NOAA forecasters
estimate a 25% chance of polar geomagnetic storms
on Dec. 7th and 8th in response to a possible glancing
blow from a CME. Sky watchers in Scandinavia, Canada,
and Alaska should be alert for auroras. Geomagnetic
storm alerts: text,
ERUPTION: A filament of magnetism
snaking more than 400,000 km around the sun's southwestern
limb became unstable and erupted on Dec. 6th. NASA's
Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the filament
flinging a portion of itself into space:
The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
(SOHO) detected a
cloud of plasma emerging from the blast site;
however, Earth does not appear to be in the line
This event interrupted three days
of low solar activity. With no sunspots currently
flaring, the quiet appears set to resume. NOAA forecasters
estimate a mere 1% chance of strong flares in the
next 24 hours.
Space Weather Photo Gallery
IN A SPOON: Jupiter is supposed
to be a giant planet. Yet on Dec. 3rd, Frankie Lucena
of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, found it contained entirely
inside a kitchen spoon. "Jupiter is so bright,"
he says, "that I caught it reflecting from
a spoon filled with vegetable oil inside by my cast
Catching Jupiter in a spoon is possible
this month because Jupiter is having a close encounter
with Earth--the closest until 2021. The giant planet
rises in the east at sunset, brighter than any other
"star" in the sky, so bright that its
reflection can be found in unusual places. For readers
who would like to try this at home, Lucena notes
that he took the picture using an off-the-shelf
digital camera set at ISO 400 for 8 seconds. [sky
Bonus physics: What if you did compress
Jupiter to the size of a teaspoon? It would become
a black hole. The Schwarzschild
Radius of Jupiter is approximately 3 meters.
Any object squeezed into a space smaller than its
Schwarzschild Radius becomes a black hole. Luckily
for Lucena, the planet in his kitchen was just a
Jupiter Photo Gallery
Aurora Photo Gallery
Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
[previous years: 2003,
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.
December 7, 2012 there were
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