Are we alone? Your iPhone has the answer. Download the all-new Drake Equation app to calculate the population of the Milky Way.
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WHAT LIES INSIDE JUPITER?The clouds of Jupiter hide many mysteries--from the roots of monster storms to possible stores of exotic matter. NASA's Juno spacecraft, scheduled to launch on August 5th, is going to find out what lies inside the giant planet. [full story] [video]
CHANCE OF FLARES: Sunspot 1260 has developed a delta-class magnetic field that harbors energy for powerful X-class solar flares. Such an eruption today would be Earth-directed as the sunspot turns to face our planet. (continued below)
Note: In yesterday's news item, sunspot 1263 was mislabeled 1262.
Sunspot 1260 is leading a parade of big sunspots across the solar disk--one of the finest displays of solar activity in years. Even the smallest dark cores in these sunspot groups are as wide as planets, and they are crackling with C-class flares. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor developments.
more images: from Efrain Morales Rivera of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; from Rogerio Marcon of Campinas SP Brasil; from John Stetson of Falmouth, Maine; from John Minnerath of Crowheart, Wyoming; from Pepe Manteca of Begues, Barcelona, Spain; from Michael Boschat of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; from Monty Leventhal OAM of Sydney. Australia
NOCTILUCENT CLOUDS: "The morning of July 26th was electric blue!" says Heiko Ulbricht of Freital, Saxony, Germany. "I woke up at 3 clock, looked out my bedroom window to the north and saw a stunning display of noctilucent clouds." Moments later, he dashed outside with a camera to record the view:
July has been an odd time for noctilucent clouds (NLCs). The month began with an extravagant display that stretched as far south as Colorado and Kansas--odd because NLCs are usually confined to higher latitudes. The event seemed to herald a period of widespread sightings. Observers were disappointed, though, when the clouds quickly retreated to their usual northern habitat. Could this German apparition signal renewed activity? Sky watchers at all latitudes should be alert for electric-blue ripples around sunrise and sunset. Observing tips may be found in the gallery.
more images: from Timo Newton-Syms of Helsinki, Finland
2011 Noctilucent Cloud Gallery
[previous years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009]
June 2011 Aurora Gallery
[Aurora alerts: text, voice] [previous Junes: 2010, 2008, 2001]
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 July 29, 2011 there were 1237 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 |
| ||for out-of-this-world printing and graphics |