Lights Over lapland is excited to announce that Autumn Aurora Adventures are available for immediate booking! Reserve your adventure of a lifetime in Abisko National Park, Sweden today!
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SOLAR FLARE ACTIVITY RESUMES (UPDATED): After a weekend of relative quiet, sunspot AR2661 is flaring again, producing two C-flares and multiple lesser explosions on June 5th. The sunspot is now facing Earth, so any CMEs it produces should be geoeffective. So far, however, no Earth-directed CMEs have been observed. Free Solar Flare Alerts
TWO SPACECRAFT CHASING THE ISS: Last night, veteran satellite observer Marco Langbroek went outside at sunset to see the ISS soar over his backyard in Leiden, the Netherlands. It was no ordinary flyby. About 25 seconds after the ISS appeared, a second spacecraft followed it. And a minute after that, a third. Langbroek photographed all three:
"The two extra spacecraft were supply ships, the Orbital ATK Cygnus OA-7 (also known as the S.S. John Glenn) and the SpaceX Dragon CRS-11," explains Langbroek. "They were all clearly visible in late twilight with some cirrus in the sky."
The S.S. John Glenn was docked to the ISS as recently as the morning of June 4th. In a surprise move, however, NASA undocked the vessel about a month earlier than originally announced. The John Glenn will now perform an experiment in spacecraft fires called SAFFIRE III before reentering Earth's atmosphere and disintegrating on Sunday, 11 June.
The Dragon CRS-11 left Earth on June 3rd, making history as SpaceX launched its first re-used Dragon spacecraft aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. It will dock with the ISS on June 5th to deliver some 6,000 pounds of research equipment, cargo and other supplies.
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
THE SPACE HAMMER FOR FATHER'S DAY: Just in time for Father's Day: The Space Hammer. On June 2nd, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus flew a payload of hammers to the edge of space, 35.0 km (115,000 feet) above Earth's surface on board a high altitude helium balloon. You can have one for $99.95:
These compact 8 oz. hammers are light enough to fly on a balloon yet dense enough to deliver a powerful blow. The magnetic head holds a nail for one-handed starting, and the stubby 6 in. length is perfect for tight work areas.
Each space hammer comes with a unique gift card showing the tool floating at the top of Earth's atmosphere. The interior of the card tells the story of the flight and confirms that this gift has been to the edge of space and back again.
More edge of space Father's Day gifts may be found in the Earth to Sky Store.
Far Out Gifts: Earth to Sky Store
All proceeds support hands-on STEM education
RED SPRITES OVER EUROPE: High above thunderstorms in Europe, red sprites are dancing across the cloudtops. Martin Popek of Nýdek, Czech republic, photographed these specimens on June 1st:
"The transient forms were shooting up from a storm in Slovenia," says Popek.
Reaching up to the edge of space, sprites are a true space weather phenomenon. Some researchers believe they are linked to cosmic rays: subatomic particles from deep space striking the top of Earth's atmosphere produce secondary electrons that, in turn, provide the spark that triggers sprites. If this is true, then sprites could multiply in the years ahead as cosmic rays intensify due to the decline of the solar cycle.
Although sprites have been seen for at least a century, most scientists did not believe they existed until after 1989 when sprites were photographed by cameras onboard the space shuttle. Now "sprite chasers" routinely photograph sprites from their own homes. "I used up a Watec 910HX security camera with UFOCapture software to catch my sprites," says Popek. Give it a try!
diagram: How to Look for Sprites
Realtime Sprite Photo Gallery
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
Realtime Noctilucent Cloud 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 Jun. 5, 2017, the network reported 13 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 June 5, 2017 there were 1803 potentially hazardous asteroids.
| |Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
|Asteroid || |
|2017 KW31 || |
|418094 || |
|2017 KX4 || |
|2017 KJ3 || |
|2017 KJ5 || |
|2017 LG || |
|2017 KK27 || |
|2017 LD || |
|2017 KR27 || |
|2017 KQ27 || |
|2017 LE || |
|2017 HV4 || |
|2017 KF3 || |
|2010 VB1 || |
|471984 || |
|441987 || |
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.
|2017 BS5 || |
| ||Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere |
Readers, thank you for your patience while we continue to develop this new section of Spaceweather.com. We've been working to streamline our data reduction, allowing us to post results from balloon flights much more rapidly, and we have developed a new data product, shown here:
This plot displays radiation measurements not only in the stratosphere, but also at aviation altitudes. Dose rates are expessed as multiples of sea level. For instance, we see that boarding a plane that flies at 25,000 feet exposes passengers to dose rates ~10x higher than sea level. At 40,000 feet, the multiplier is closer to 50x. These measurements are made by our usual cosmic ray payload as it passes through aviation altitudes en route to the stratosphere over California.
What is this all about? Approximately once a week, Spaceweather.com and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus fly space weather balloons to the stratosphere over California. These balloons are equipped with radiation sensors that detect cosmic rays, a surprisingly "down to Earth" form of space weather. Cosmic rays can seed clouds, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes. Furthermore, there are studies ( #1, #2, #3, #4) linking cosmic rays with cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death in the general population. Our latest measurements show that cosmic rays are intensifying, with an increase of more than 13% since 2015:
Why are cosmic rays intensifying? The main reason is the sun. Solar storm clouds such as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) sweep aside cosmic rays when they pass by Earth. During Solar Maximum, CMEs are abundant and cosmic rays are held at bay. Now, however, the solar cycle is swinging toward Solar Minimum, allowing cosmic rays to return. Another reason could be the weakening of Earth's magnetic field, which helps protect us from deep-space radiation.
The radiation sensors onboard our helium balloons detect X-rays and gamma-rays in the energy range 10 keV to 20 MeV. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.
The data points in the graph above correspond to the peak of the Reneger-Pfotzer maximum, which lies about 67,000 feet above central California. When cosmic rays crash into Earth's atmosphere, they produce a spray of secondary particles that is most intense at the entrance to the stratosphere. Physicists Eric Reneger and Georg Pfotzer discovered the maximum using balloons in the 1930s and it is what we are measuring today.
| ||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 |
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| ||fun to read, but should be taken with a grain of salt! Forecasts looking ahead more than a few days are often wrong. |
| ||from the NOAA Space Environment Center |
| ||the underlying science of space weather |
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