iPHONE VS ANDROID! Actually, it doesn't matter which phone you carry. Our cool, new app turns both smartphones into field-tested satellite trackers. Learn more.
| || |
AURORA WATCH: NOAA forecasters estimate a 50% chance of geomagnetic storms on Nov. 15th when one or more CMEs are expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.
SUNDIVING COMET: The solar system has one less comet today after one of the dirty snowballs swung past the sun--a little too close--and did not survive. Click on the image to view a movie of the death plunge:
Japanese comet hunter Masanori Uchina first noticed the sundiver in coronagraph images from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) on Nov. 13th. At the time it was a dim and distant speck, but it rapidly brightened on Nov. 14th as it approached the hot sun. Now it just a dissipating haze of vapor and comet dust.
The comet was likely a member of the Kreutz sungrazer family. Named after a 19th century German astronomer who studied them in detail, Kreutz sungrazers are fragments from the breakup of a giant comet at least 2000 years ago. Several of these fragments are thought to pass by the sun and disintegrate every day. Most are too small to see but occasionally a bigger fragment like this one attracts attention.
EVENING SKY SHOW: A big bright spaceship is flying through the evening skies of North America this weekend. It's the International Space Station. David Blanchard caught the behemoth soaring over Flagstaff, Arizona, on Saturday night:
"What a fabulous flyby," says Blanchard. "The ISS streaked past Mizar in Ursa Major -- located just above the trees -- then on to Polaris, the North Star. In the foreground, the waters of the Kachina Wetlands reflected the last light of twilight while the San Francisco Peaks towered in the distant north."
Readers, a scene like this could be in your future if you know when to look. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for flyby times--or turn your cell phone into a field-tested ISS tracker.
more images: from Christopher Calubaquib of El Sobrante, California; from Richard Glenn of Gold Beach, OR
October 2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Octobers: 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001]
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 November 14, 2010 there were 1164potentially 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 |