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.
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DRACONID METEOR OUTBURST: Forecasters say Earth is heading for a stream of dust from Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. A close encounter with the comet's fragile debris could spark a meteor outburst over parts of our planet on October 8th. [full story] [meteor radar]
GEOMAGNETIC STORM: A CME hit Earth's magnetic field on Oct. 5th at approximately 0700 UT, sparking minor geomagnetic storms around both poles. Shortly after the CME's impact, Minoru Yoneto photographed an outburst of auroras over Queenstown, New Zealand:
"It was very good timing to shoot these Southern Lights just as the bright Moon was setting," says Yoneto. "[To the naked eye, the lights were faint], but a 30-second exposure with my digital camera set to ISO1600 revealed their beauty."
High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras as Earth's magnetic field continues to reverberate. Plus, according to NOAA forecasters, another CME may be on the way to keep the storm going on Oct. 6th. Storm alerts: text, voice.
TIANGONG-1 SIGHTINGS: China's first space station, an 8.5-ton experimental module named Tiangong-1 (Heavenly Palace-1), is flying over the United States this week. Last night, Tavi Greiner saw it gliding over Shallotte, North Carolina:
"The Tiangong 1 passed between Cygnus and Cassiopeia shortly after sunset," says Greiner. "It was surprisingly bright, easily seen with the unaided eye."
Readers, check Spaceweather's Satellite Tracker for sighting opportunities in your hometown. You can also turn your smartphone into a Tiangong-1 tracker by downloading the Simple Flybys app.
more images: from Jim Saueressig II of Burlington, Kansas; from Justin Cowart of Carbondale, Illinois; from Stuart McDaniel of Lawndale, North Carolina; from Giuseppe of Fisciano, Italy
September 2011 Aurora Gallery
[previous Septembers: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004]
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 October 6, 2011 there were 1250 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 |
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