Marianne's Heaven On Earth Aurora Chaser Tours Chasethelighttours.co.uk invites you to join them in their quest to find and photograph the Aurora Borealis. Experience the winter wonderland in the Tromsø Area.
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NO CHANCE OF FLARES: Solar activity is low. There are four sunspot groups on the Earth-facing side of the sun, but not one of them has the type of unstable magnetic field that poses a threat for strong explosions. NOAA forecasters say there is a scant 5% chance of M-flares and no more than a 1% chance of X-flares on Nov. 27th. Solar flare alerts: text or voice
SOLAR PROMINENCES: With no sunspots actively flaring, the face of the sun is quiet. The edge of the sun, however, is not. Astronomers are monitoring three large prominences--plumes of magnetized plasma jutting tens of thousands of kilometers into space. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured all three in a single image on Nov. 27th:
None of these structures is stable. Magnetic fields holding the plasma aloft are twisted, tangled, and prone to explosive magnetic reconnection. Any of the three could erupt at any moment.
Because the prominences are so large--each one is taller than Earth--they make easy targets for backyard solar telescopes. Amateur astronomers are encouraged to train their optics on the edge of the sun. Solar flare alerts: text or voice
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
THE MOLTEN FROSTY MOON: According to folklore, this week's full Moon is the "Frosty Moon," named after the ground frosts of northern autumn, which sparkle so beautifully in full moonlight. When John Stetson of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, watched the moonrise on Nov. 25th, however, the Frosty Moon appeared to be melting:
"Earth's atmosphere, acting as a lens, bent the light on the horizon to create this effect," explains Stetson. "It is called an Etruscan Vase moonrise."
This phenomenon is most often seen when the Moon is rising over a body of water. Stetson was watching from the shore of Casco Bay. The lower Moon (the base of the Etruscan Vase) is an inverted image of the upper Moon produced by refraction in a layer of warmer and less dense air close to the water's surface. "The temperature of water in the Bay was 51 degrees," says Stetson. "This created a layer of relatively warm air just above the water's surface. The ambient air temperature was much lower, only 41 degrees." In short, conditions were perfect for the mirage.
Browse the realtime photo gallery for more images of the Frosty Moon--molten and otherwise.
Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery
THANKSGIVING SKIES (UPDATED): Thanksgiving is the biggest travel holiday of the year in the United States. Millions of people board airplanes and fly long hours to visit friends and family. Dreading the trip? Think of it as a sky watching opportunity. There are some things you can see only through the window of an airplane, like this:
This is called "the glory"--a bulls-eye of softly colored rings surrounding the shadow of the airplane cast on cloudtops.
The picture shown above was taken by pilot and Spaceweather.com reader Ulrich Beinert. "The glory is always centered on the photographer's position in the plane," Beinert notes. "In my case it was around the cockpit." When passengers see the glory, however, the body of the plane is in the bulls-eye: example.
Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley explains the phenomenon: "The rings are formed when light is scattered backwards by individual water droplets in the clouds. The more uniform the size of the droplets, the more rings you will see. They swell and contract as you travel over clouds with smaller or larger droplets."
In this article, Cowley describes even more things you can see through the airplane window. Happy Thanksgiving!
Realtime Comet Photo Gallery
Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery
Realtime Noctilucent Cloud Photo Gallery
Realtime Meteor 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 Nov. 27, 2015, the network reported 12 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 November 27, 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.
| ||Cosmic Rays in the Atmosphere |
These measurements are based on regular space weather balloon flights: learn more.
|Situation Report -- Oct. 30, 2015 ||Stratospheric Radiation (+37o N) |
|Cosmic ray levels are elevated (+6.1% above the Space Age median). The trend is flat. Cosmic ray levels have increased +0% in the past month. |
|Sept. 06: 4.14 uSv/hr (414 uRad/hr) |
|Sept. 12: 4.09 uSv/hr (409 uRad/hr) |
|Sept. 23: 4.12 uSv/hr (412 uRad/hr) |
|Sept. 25: 4.16 uSv/hr (416 uRad/hr) |
|Sept. 27: 4.13 uSv/hr (413 uRad/hr) |
|Oct. 11: 4.02 uSv/hr (402 uRad/hr) |
|Oct. 22: 4.11 uSv/hr (411 uRad/hr) |
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. Our measurements show that someone flying back and forth across the continental USA, just once, can absorb as much ionizing radiation as 2 to 5 dental X-rays. Here is the data from our latest flight, Oct. 22nd:
Radiation levels peak at the entrance to the stratosphere in a broad region called the "Pfotzer Maximum." This peak is named after physicist George Pfotzer who discovered it using balloons and Geiger tubes in the 1930s. Radiation levels there are more than 80x sea level.
Note that the bottom of the Pfotzer Maximim is near 55,000 ft. This means that some high-flying aircraft are not far from the zone of maximum radiation. Indeed, according to the Oct 22th measurements, a plane flying at 45,000 feet is exposed to 2.79 uSv/hr. At that rate, a passenger would absorb about one dental X-ray's worth of radiation in about 5 hours.
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 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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