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INCOMING CME: A faint CME hurled directly toward Earth by sunspot AR2320 is expected to hit our planet's magnetic field on April 9th. NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% chance of minor G1-class geomagnetic storms when the CME arrives. Aurora alerts: text, voice
A MIXTURE OF DISSIMILAR THINGS: Venus and the Pleiades are converging for a close encounter in the sunset sky. This weekend, the planet and the star cluster will cross paths only 2o apart. Jean-Baptiste Feldmann of Nuits-Saint-Georges, France, photographed the Seven Sisters +1 on April 7th, just three days before closest approach:
Consider it a mixture of dissimilar things. The Pleiades are elusive. They're best seen out of the corner of your eye, a pretty little surprise that pops out of the night sky when you're staring elsewhere. Venus is just the opposite. Dazzling, bright enough to cast faint shadows on a moonless night, it beams down from the heavens and grabs you when you're not even looking.
For the next few nights, look west after sunset. Venus pops out of the twilight long before nightfall. As the sky fades to black, you can see the Pleiades, too. The nights of closest approach are Friday, April 10th, and Saturday, April 11th. Bright Venus makes for a stunning contrast against the pinpoint beauty of the star cluster. Observing tip: For maximum contrast, use binoculars.
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
SUN AND MOON HALO: Ice crystals in high clouds have a beautiful effect on sunlight. Sunbeams that strike the crystals are bent into luminous rings called ice halos. Moonbeams are affected the same way. Exactly the same way. Göran Strand proved it with this composite image of the sun and Moon over Östersund, Sweden, on April 1st:
"During the day I took a photo of the 22° solar halo," says Strand. "And later that night, 10 hours later, when the Moon was in the same position in the sky, I took another shot from the same location, showing a 22° Moon halo. Merging the two photos shows the halos are a perfect match."
22º radius halos are visible all over the world and throughout the year. The ice crystals that create them float 5 km to 10 km above the ground. Those altitudes are always freezing even during the warmest months of summer. Look for halos, night and day, whenever the sky is wisped with cold cirrus clouds.
Realtime Eclipse Photo Gallery
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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 Apr. 8, 2015, the network reported 10 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 April 8, 2015 there were 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 |