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.
| || |
MORE SUNSET PLANETS: On Dec. 27th, for the second night in a row, Venus and the crescent Moon are lining up in the western sky for a beautiful sunset conjunction. Go outside when the sun goes down and enjoy the show. (Scroll past the CME for scenes from Dec. 26th.)
CMEs TARGET EARTH, MARS: The odds of a geomagnetic storm on Dec. 28th are improving with the launch of two CMEs toward Earth in less than 24 hours. NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft photographed this one on Dec. 26th:
According to a forecast track prepared by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the cloud should squarely strike Earth's magnetic field on Dec. 28th at 20:22 UT (+/- 7 hours). Another CME could deliver a glancing blow a few hours earlier on the same date. The double impact is expected to spark mild-to-moderate geomagnetic storms at high latitudes. Aurora alerts: text, voice.
Mars is also in the line of fire. The first of the two CMEs is squarely directed toward the Red Planet--estimated time of arrival: Dec. 30th at 1800 UT. Using onboard radiation sensors, NASA's Curiosity rover might be able to sense the CME when it passes the rover's spacecraft en route to Mars.
VENUS AND THE MOON: On the night after Christmas, the heavens delivered a belated present--a conjunction of Venus and the crescent Moon. Robert Arn sends this picture from Fort Collins, Colorado:
"I arrived at the observing site a few minutes before sunset," says Arn. "Minutes after the sun disappeared behind the mountains I saw a very slender moon pop out of the cold, crisp sky. Soon, Venus joined the show. Over the next two hours I watched the sky turn hundreds of shades of blues, pinks, purples, and blacks as the two heavenly bodies slowly crept across the sky."
more images: from Miguel Claro of Fonte-de-Telha, Portugal; from Robert Snache of Rama First Nation, Ontario; from Stefano De Rosa of Viverone Lake (Turin, Italy); from Mike O'Leary of San Diego, California; from Tavi Greiner of Ocean Isle Beach, NC; from Maximilian Teodorescu of Sinaia, Romania; from Francesco Finazzi of Chiuduno, Bergamo, Italy; from Joe Ziolkowski of Ithaca, NY; from Alex Roca of Hortoneda, Lleida Spain; from Kevin Jung of Grand Rapids, Michigan; from David Smoyer of Truckee, CA; from Megan O'Leary of Captiva, Florida; from Mike O'Leary of El Cajon, CA; from Andreas Walker of Altenrhein, Switzerland; from Ken Maytag of Carpintetia, California; from Adrian New of San Antonio, Texas; from Joe Ricci of Rochester, New York; from Mark Williams of Geneva, Switzerland; from Robert Sparks of Tucson, Arizona; from Gustavo Rojas of São Carlos, SP, Brazil; from Don Roberts of Wintersville, Ohio; from Randy Hollaway of Pittsburgh PA; from Joseph M. Golebieski of Toms River, NJ; from Joe Stieber of Atsion, NJ; from Rob Ferber of Kihei, Maui, Hawaii