Don't just watch shooting stars. Wear them! Authentic meteorite jewelry for Christmas is now available in the SpaceWeather Store.
Today at 1318 UT, Earth-orbiting
satellites detected an M1-class solar flare (SDO
movie). The source is a new sunspot emerging
over the sun's northeastern limb.
AN ALIEN WORLD: A distant super-Earth
named "55 Cancri e" is wetter and weirder
than astronomers thought possible. The discovery
has researchers re-thinking the nature of alien
HOLE: NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory
is monitoring a dark gash in the sun's atmosphere--a
coronal hole. It's the dark vertical feature in
this extreme UV image taken on Jan. 13th:
Coronal holes are places where the
sun's magnetic field opens up and allows the solar
wind to escape. This yawning hole is about 120,000
km wide and more than a million km long. Solar wind
flowing from its UV-dark abyss will reach Earth
on Jan. 16th or 17th, possibly sparking auroras
for high-latitude sky watchers. Aurora
2012 Aurora Gallery
[previous Januaries: 2010,
STRATOSPHERIC CLOUDS: An apparition
stratospheric clouds is underway around the
Arctic Circle. "It is almost as good as the
aurora borealis," says Göran Strand, who took
this picture last night from Östersund, Sweden:
Eric Schandall of Oslo, Norway, adds
this report: "We have seen them for three evenings
over Oslo, with the ones on Jan. 13th being the
and beautiful so far."
Also known as "nacreous"
or "mother of pearl" clouds, these icy
clouds form in the lower stratosphere when temperatures
drop to around minus 85ºC. Sunlight shining through
tiny ice particles ~10µm across produce the characteristic
bright iridescent colors by diffraction and interference.
"Nacreous clouds far outshine and have much
more vivid colours than ordinary
iridescent clouds, which are very much poor
relations and seen frequently all over the world,"
writes atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley. "Once
seen they are never forgotten."
[previous comets: McNaught,
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 14, 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