When is the best time to see auroras? Where is the best place to go? And how do you photograph them? These questions and more are answered in a new book, Northern Lights - a Guide, by Pal Brekke & Fredrik Broms.
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A BREAKTHROUGH FROM KEPLER: Today, NASA announced a breakthrough addition to the catalog of new planets. Researchers using Kepler have confirmed 715 new worlds, almost quadrupling the number of planets previously confirmed by the planet-hunting spacecraft. Some of the planets are similar in size to Earth and orbit in the habitable zone of their parent stars. [video]
MORNING CONJUNCTION AND ECLIPSE: This morning, Venus and the crescent Moon converged for a beautiful sunrise conjunction. In some places, the conjunction was so tight that the Moon actually eclipsed Venus. Ravindra Aradhya sends this picture from Bangalore, India, taken moments before Venus disappeared behind the lunar limb:
Like the Moon, Venus has phases, and today it was a 35% crescent. That's why the second planet looked like a "mini-Moon" through Aradhya's telescope. "A crescent Moon occulting a crescent Venus in morning daylight was an amazing sight," he says.
Hundreds of photographers recorded the event. Browse the gallery for more views:
Realtime Conjunction Photo Gallery
X-FLARE! Long-lived sunspot AR1967 returned to the Earthside of the sun on Feb. 25th and promptly erupted, producing an X4.9-class solar flare. This is the strongest flare of the year so far and one of the strongest of the current solar cycle. A movie from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the explosion hurling a loop of hot plasma away from the blast site:
Coronagraphs onboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory tracked this material as it raced away from the sun, eventually forming a bright CME, pictured below.. Radio emissions from shock waves at the leading edge of the CME suggest an expansion velocity near 2000 km/s or 4.4 million mph. If such a fast-moving cloud did strike Earth, the resulting geomagnetic storms could be severe. However, because its trajectory is so far off the sun-Earth line, the CME will deliver a no more than a glancing blow. NOAA forecasters expect a weak impact late in the day on Feb. 26th.
The source of the eruption is long-lived sunspot AR1967, now beginning its third trip across the Earthside of the sun. This region was an active producer of flares during its previous transits, and it looks like the third time will be no different. By tradition, sunspots are renumbered each time they return, so AR1967 has been given a new name, AR1990. After today, that is what we will call it. Solar flare alerts: text, voice
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
Realtime Comet Photo Gallery
Every night, a network of NASA all-sky cameras scans the skies above the United States for meteoritic fireballs. Automated software maintained by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office calculates their orbits, velocity, penetration depth in Earth's atmosphere and many other characteristics. Daily results are presented here on Spaceweather.com.
On Feb. 25, 2014, the network reported 4 fireballs.
In this diagram of the inner solar system, all of the fireball orbits intersect at a single point--Earth. The orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue). [Larger image] [movies]
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 February 26, 2014 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.
| ||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 |