They came from outer space--and you can have one! Genuine meteorites are now on sale in the Space Weather Store.
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THE FIREBALLS OF FEBRUARY: A number of unusual fireballs observed around the USA this month have researchers wondering if Earth is passing through a special "February swarm" of meteoroids. [full story]
SUNSET SKY SHOW: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look west. Jupiter, Venus and the crescent Moon are forming a broad line in the sky. Daniele Gasparri photographed the arrangement from Bologna, Italy:
From upper left to lower right, the lights are Jupiter, Venus, and the Moon--all three bright enough to beam through thin clouds.
Soon, this line will collapse to form a triangle. The best nights to look are Feb. 25th and 26th when the crescent Moon glides by Venus, then Jupiter for a lovely display of celestial geometry. Get the full story and a video from Science@NASA.
more images: from Wienie van der Oord of Negev desert; from Ali Al-Hajari of Isa Town, Bahrain; from P-M Hedén of Vallentuna, Sweden; from Laurean of Tirgu Mures, Romania; from Piotr Potepa of Torun, Poland; from Juan Miguel González Polo of Cáceres, Extremadura, Spain; from Ian Griffin of Brill, Oxfordshire, England;
SOLAR TSUNAMI: Tangled magnetic fields on the sun's NW limb erupted today, February 23th, producing a solar tsunami. You can see the shadowy yet powerful wave rippling away from the blast site in this move from the Solar Dynamics Observatory:
The wave is subtle. If you didn't see it the first time, watch the movie again and look for regions on the solar surface that light up as the wave passes by. The nearly transparent ripple of plasma and magnetism was probably ~100,000 km high and, racing outward at a typical speed of 250 km/s, packed as much energy as 2.4 million megatons of TNT (1029 ergs). On the scale of the sun, it doesn't look like much, but you wouldn't want to run into one on Earth.
February 2012 Aurora Gallery
[previous Februaries: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002]
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 February 23, 2012 there were 1287 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 |