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INCOMING CME: Yesterday, Sept. 14th, an eruption near sunspot 1289 hurled a CME in the general direction of Earth. Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab expect the cloud to deliver a glancing blow to our planet's magnetic field on Sept 17th around 04:30 UT. High-latitude magnetic storms are possible when the CME arrives. Aurora alerts: text, voice.
SUNDIVING COMET: Note to comets: Stay away from the sun. On Sept. 14th, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) watched what happened when one got too close. Click on the arrow to play a 6-hour time lapse movie:
One icy comet went in, none came out. Discovered on Sept. 13th by Michal Kusiak of Poland and Sergei Schmalz of Germany, the doomed comet was a member of the Kreutz family. Kreutz sungrazers are fragments from the breakup of a single giant comet many centuries ago. They get their name from 19th century German astronomer Heinrich Kreutz, who studied them in detail. Several Kreutz fragments pass by the sun and disintegrate every day. Most, measuring less than a few meters across, are too small to see, but occasionally a big fragment like this one attracts attention.
GARDENING IN THE MOONLIGHT: According to folklore, this week's full moon is the Harvest Moon. It got its name before the days of electricity from farmers who relied on "Harvest Moonlight" to gather their crops after sunset. In modern times, some people still prefer to do their gardening in the moonlight. French photographer Laurent Laveder caught his friend Michel hard at work on Sept. 13th:
"Michel was very busy digging, watering, pruning--all by the light of the Moon," says Laveder, who arranged the images on a beach in Treguennec, Brittany, France. "We had so many tools to bring to the dunes, that I forget my tripod! Fortunately, we had a small stepladder and I used it to stabilize the camera."
more moonshots: from Martin McKenna of Maghera, Co. Derry, N. Ireland; from Jeff Berkes of West Chester, PA; from Francis Anderson of Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories Canada; from Geoff Chester of Washington, DC; from Alan Conrad of Liverpool, Nova Scotia, Canada
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 September 15, 2011 there were 1244 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 |