NEW AND IMPROVED:
Turn your iPhone or iPod Touch into a field-tested
global satellite tracker. The Satellite
Flybys app now works in all countries.
PLANE X-37B: The US Air Force's X-37B space
plane is making a series of passes over North America this
weekend. It shines about as brightly as the stars of the Big
Dipper as it glides across the night sky. You can find the
X-37B on your iPhone
or check our Simple Satellite Tracker
for flyby times.
X-37B images: from
Dan Bush of Albany, Missouri; from
Farrell Germann of Jefferson City, Missouri; from
Val Germann of Jefferson City, Missouri; from
Gary of Fort Davis, Texas; from
Jason Czech of Brimfield, Massachusetts;
SURPRISE: On May 29th, the interplanetary
magnetic field (IMF) tilted
south and opened a
crack in Earth's magnetosphere. Solar wind poured in and
fueled a G1-class geomagnetic storm. Northern Lights were
sighted as far south as Wisconsin:
"The auroras were amazing last night,"
says photographer Jason Exferd of Iron River, WI. "I
took this 13-second exposure using my Canon
The storm has subsided now. The next storm is
due on May 31st or June 1st when a solar wind stream is expected
to hit Earth's magnetic field. Would you like a call when
the action begins? Sign up for Spaceweather
2010 Aurora Gallery
[previous Mays: 2008,
CONJUNCTION: Earlier today over Athens, Greece,
the International Space Station (ISS) had a conjunction with
Jupiter ... in broad daylight. Amateur astronomer Anthony
Ayiomamitis recorded the flyby:
The trick, says Ayiomamitis, was focusing. "Focusing
the telescope was very difficult against the mostly-blank
blue sky. And there were no big sunspots I could use to fine-tune
the focus by observing the sun. I got very lucky!"
His photo shows that with ISS construction now
mostly complete the space station subtends an angle bigger
than the biggest planet. "Jupiter has an apparent diameter
of 37.5 arcseconds, which is second to the passing ISS at
42.1 arcseconds," he notes.
Last week he also photograpphed the space station
the sun. "Broad daylight is an interesting time for
ISS photography," he says. Blue-sky transit forecasts
may be found at calsky.com.