They came from outer space--and you can have one! Genuine meteorites are now on sale in the Space Weather Store.
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ENDEAVOUR HAS LEFT THE PLANET: The space shuttle lifted off this morning at 8:56 am EDT on a two week mission to the International Space Station. There it will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer--a $1.5 billion cosmic ray detector that could reveal the nature of dark matter and find whole galaxies made of antimatter. This is Endeavour's final flight as the shuttle program winds down. During the mission, Endeavour will make numerous passes over North America, Australia, and other places. Would you like to see it one last time? Turn your cell phone into a field-tested shuttle tracker.
MOON HALO ALERT: According to folklore, tonight's waxing full Moon is the "Flower Moon." It gets its name from northern spring flowers, which bloom in abundance during the month of May. Watch the Moon rise in the east at sunset and you might notice something else in bloom--an icy moon halo. Peter Rosén sends this example from Stockholm, Sweden:
"The sky was very dramatic when this halo appeared on May 14th," says Rosén. He was so inspired that he took ten pictures and stitched them together into a beautiful panorama.
Moon haloes appear when moonlight shines through cirrus clouds filled with ice crystals even more abundant than spring flowers. The brighter the Moon, the brighter the halo, so any haloes around tonight's full Moon could be impressive indeed. Be alert!
MAMMATUS OVER MINNESOTA: On May 10th, a severe storm captured national attention when it dumped golf-ball-sized hail on a Minnesota Twins baseball game. "I missed the hail," reports John Rogers of New Hope, Minnesota, "but I got a nice view of the clouds that formed after the storm passed." He snapped this picture in waning twilight at 8:30 pm local time:
These are mammatus clouds. Named for their resemblance to a cow's underbelly, they sometimes appear at the end of severe thunderstorms when the thundercloud is breaking up. Researchers have called them an "intriguing enigma," because no one knows exactly how and why they form. The clouds are fairly common but often go unnoticed because potential observers have been chased indoors by the rain. If you are one of them, dash outside when the downpour stops; you could witness a beautiful mystery in the sky.
more images: from John A. Ey III of Tucson, Arizona; from Karla Dorman of Burleson, Texas;
NEW SATELLITE TRACKING TOOL: Have you ever wondered, what's orbiting over your head right now? A new satellite-tracking tool called WhatSat can answer that question for you. It's an app for Android phones that tells you what's overhead, helps you find satellites in the night sky, and "tags" satellites you've seen. Many satellite-tracking tools are available, but none is quite like this; view the demo video to learn what makes WhatSat unique.
April 2011 Aurora Gallery
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