Metallic photos of the sun by renowned photographer Greg Piepol bring together the best of art and science. Buy one or a whole set. They make a stellar gift.
| || |
TAIKONAUTS IN SPACE: China's march into space is quickening. On June 15th, the Chinese space agency launched the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft with three taikonauts on board. One of them, fighter pilot Liu Yang, is the first chinese woman in space. The Shenzhou 9 is scheduled to dock with China's Tiangong 1 space station tomorrow. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker or your smartphone for sighting opportunities.
GEOMAGNETIC STORM ALERT: A geomagnetic storm is in progress in the wake of a double CME impact on June 16th. The hit, which strongly compressed Earth's magnetic field, lit up both poles with bright auroras. Stephen Voss sends this photo from Southland, New Zealand:
"We enjoyed a beautiful display of the Southern Lights from the south of New Zealand," says Voss. "A dull arc hung around for a couple of hours before suddenly exploding with a mixture of rays and curtains."
Meanwhile, in the Americas, Northern Lights descended as far south as Oregon, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Washington, and the Dakotas.
Solar wind conditions in the wake of the CME favor continued disturbances. NOAA forecasters estimate a 55% chance of more high-latitude geomagnetic storms during the next 24 hours. Aurora alerts: text, voice.
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
FIRE LIT BY THE TRANSIT OF VENUS: Around the world on June 5th and 6th, millions of people watched the Transit of Venus. Only one man used it to light a candle. Christopher Handler of Adelaide, South Australia, explains how it was done: "The flame that burns in this lantern was lit with photons of light, of which about 0.001% had skipped through the atmosphere of another planet." (continued below)
"While watching the transit with my wife and son, I began to write words on a piece of wood with a magnifying glass, while explaining to my son that some of the sunshine we where using had bounced off the clouds of Venus only minutes earlier. Before long, we had lit a small fire in some kindling and from that lit several candles around the house. The hours passed by and the transit was over, yet we still have the flame. Captivated by the thought that it will take another 105 years before it could be done on Earth again, I feel almost compelled to keep it alight, even now, many days later."
A thousand more unique photos of the event may be found in the Transit of Venus gallery. Note: When you're browsing the gallery, please vote for your favorite images. We'll be creating a gallery of the most popular shots--and your votes count.