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DrCharbonneau

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Reply with quote  #31 
THREE CMEs: A sequence of magnetic filament eruptions around the sun's western limb propelled three CMEs into space on Nov. 3rd. Click on the image to view a SOHO coronagraph movie of the expanding clouds:

Only one of the CMEs appears to be (slightly) Earth directed. If so, it would add to the impact of a minor solar wind stream already en route to our planet, due to arrive on Nov. 4-5. Arctic sky watchers should be alert for Northern Lights in that time frame.Magnetic storm alerts: text, voice.

TAURID FIREBALLS: Sky watchers should be alert for fireballs in the nights ahead. Forecasters say Earth might be heading for a swarm of gravelly debris from comet Encke. If so, meteoroids the size of pebbles and small stones hitting Earth's atmosphere at 25 km/s would produce a slow drizzle of very bright fireballs flying out of the constellation Taurus--hence the name "Taurids." The display is expected to peak with a few fireballs every hour during the nights of Nov. 5-12.

NASA's network of all-sky meteor cameras is already picking up some Taurid fireballs--"6 last night and 17 altogether since Halloween," reports Bill Cooke of the Meteoroid Environment Office. Here are their orbits:

In the orbital diagram, the location of Earth is denoted by a red splat. The orbits of the meteoroids (yellow) roughly match that of parent Comet Encke (orange), confirming their association with the Taurid debris swarm.

"What always strikes me about the Taurids," notes Cooke, "is how deeply they penetrate Earth's atmosphere. On average, they make it to an altitude of 44 miles. Contrast this to the recent Orionids, which burn up at an average altitude of 58 miles. Part of this is due to the speed difference: Taurids are slow (27 km/s) while Orionids are fast (66 km/s). In addition, many Taurids are made up of stronger stuff than the Orionids."

On Nov. 1st, Cooke received this report from a hunter in Tennessee, who was near the terminus of a Taurid fireball which made it all the way down to 18.5 miles altitude: "On the morning of October 30 at approximately 6:00 CDT I was walking into a hunting spot in the middle of the Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge. As I was standing, this bright white light appeared from the north, illuminating the woods like daylight, casting shadows of the trees, and as it passed overhead in a couple of seconds, the shadows quickly reversed direction. It was so intense I felt like a searchlight from an overhead helicopter was on me, but there was no noise. As it disappeared into the southern sky, I heard three extremely loud booms which I also felt much like a sonic boom from a plane. The resident birds all began to call for a minute after. In my 62 years of living on this planet, and witnessing several meteor showers- some very bright- I can tell you I have never witnessed anything like this. The experience was not totally unlike that seen in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind when the man's truck was stopped at a railroad crossing and he was engulfed in light!"

Realtime Meteor Photo Gallery

AMAZING ICE HALO DISPLAY: On Oct. 30th, sky watchers around the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, witnessed something amazing: A complex network of luminous arcs and rings surrounded the afternoon sun. "I've never seen anything quite like it," says eyewitness Bill Cooke, head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. Solar physicist David Hathaway snapped this picture of the display:


Image credit and copyright: David Hathaway/NASA/MSFC

The apparition is almost certainly connected to hurricane Sandy. The core of the storm swept well north of Alabama, but Sandy's outer bands did pass over the area, leaving behind a thin haze of ice crystals in cirrus clouds. Sunlight shining through the crystals produced an unusually rich variety of ice halos.

"By my count, there are two sun dogs, a 22o halo, a parahelic circle, an upper tangent arc, and a parry arc," says Chris Brightwell, who also photographed the display. "It was amazing."

"Very impressive," agreed onlooker Kyle Winkleman. "This was a once-in-a-decade event for our area."

It might not be necessary to wait another decade for a repeat performance. Some researchers believe that superstorms will become more common in the years ahead as a result of climate change, creating new things both terrible and beautiful to see overhead. Sky watchers in the storm zone should remain alert for the unusual.

UPDATE: Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley comments on the Sandy-ice halo link: "Over the last few days there have been spectacular halo displays around the edge of Sandy from New England to Alabama. Hathaway's image like many others shows several very rare halo arcs, an upper Lowitz, helic and Parry supralateral."


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The universe is a hairball. It was created by Fritz the Cat. Einstein said the universe was like a plate of spaghetti. Still, you don't want to know what transpired between him and Elsa to bring about that idea.
DrCharbonneau

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Thirty-five new items have just been added to our Meteorite Jewelry collection. Browse the Space Weather Store for something out of this world.

 

TAURID METEOR SHOWER: Earth is passing through a stream of gravelly debris from Comet Encke, source of the annual Taurid meteor shower. Because the debris stream is not very congested, Taurid meteor rates are low, no more than about 5 per hour. The special thing about Taurids is that they tend to be fireballs. Forecasters expect the shower to peak on Nov. 12th, so be alert for Taurid fireballs in the sky tonight. [photo gallery] [sky map] [meteor radar]

TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN: The staff of spaceweather.com are in Australia this week to witness a total eclipse of the sun on Nov. 13/14. The path of totality cuts right across Port Douglas and Cairns, Qld--a.k.a. the "Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef." People on cruise ships, divers in the reef, and thousands of people standing along beaches of the Coral Sea will witness the early morning sun disappear behind the Moon for more than two minutes. It's going to look something like this:

The only cloud on the horizon is ... well ... clouds. Residents are hoping that the grey skies they have been seeing in recent mornings will turn blue before the big moment arrives. Totality begins on Wednesday, Nov. 14th, at 06:38 am local time in northeast Australia (the afternoon of Nov. 13th in the USA) with the rising sun just 14 degrees above the horizon.

Spaceweather.com author Dr. Tony Phillips will be running the Solar Eclipse Marathon, which begins at 3rd contact when the first ray of sunlight lances over the limb of the retreating Moon. Race organizers say its "the first marathon with an intergalactic starting gun." Actually, it's the first marathon with a rubber chicken. Phillips' running mate in the race will be the fowl Camilla, who is incorporating the 26 mile run into her astronaut training.

Stay tuned for photos and updates from the path of totality.

INCOMING CMES: A pair of minor CMEs is heading for Earth. They were launched on Nov. 9th and 10th, respectively, and are expected to merge into a single cloud before they reach our planet on Nov. 12th. NOAA forecasters estimate a 55% chance of polar geomagnetic storms in the next 24 hours. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

Consider this a preview of the coming display. On Nov. 7th, a minor solar wind stream hit Earth's magnetic field, sparking Northern Lights over Muonio, Finland:

"The whole sky was on fire," says photographer Antti Pietikäinen. "It was one of the best displays of the year in the Finnish Lapland"


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The universe is a hairball. It was created by Fritz the Cat. Einstein said the universe was like a plate of spaghetti. Still, you don't want to know what transpired between him and Elsa to bring about that idea.
DrCharbonneau

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... And the list says November 18th... Voila!

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

MILD LEONIDS: The Leonid meteor shower peaks on Nov. 17/18 as Earth passes through a stream of debris from Comet Tempel-Tuttle. Reports so far are consistent with a weak shower--no more than about 10 per hour. In the past, Leonids have been known to produce fantastic storms of thousands of shooting stars. This year, however, Earth is passing through the outskirts of the comet's debris stream, so the shower is relatively mild. [meteor gallery] [meteor radar]

FAST-GROWING SUNSPOT: Barely visible when the weekend began, sunspot AR1619 has blossomed into a large active region more than three times as wide as Earth. Click to play a 24 hour movie recorded by NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory:

So far the growing sunspot has not produced any significant flares, but the quiet is unlikely to continue if its expansion continues apace. Fast-changing magnetic fields on the sun have a tendency to reconnect and erupt. NOAA forecasters estimate a 20% chance of M-class solar flares during the next 24 hours.Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

INSIDE THE SHADOW OF THE MOON: On Nov. 13/14, the Moon passed directly i front of the sun. This arrangement, which produced a total eclipse, cast the shadow of the Moon directly down on northeast Australia. Using a wide-field camera, eclipse-chaser Alan Dyer photographed the shadow as it raced across the sky over Lakeland Downs, Queensland. Scan the images, then read Dyer's account of the shadow-transit below:

"This collage of wide-angle shots shows the motion of the Moon's conical shadow," he explains. "At top, you can see the bottom edge of the shadow just touching the Sun. This was second contact and the diamond ring effect that begins totality. The middle frame was taken near mid-eclipse and shows the bright horizon beyond the Moons shadow. However, the Sun is not centered on the shadow because we were located well north of the eclipse's center-line, where we had gone to escape nearby clouds. The bottom frame was taken at the end of totality as the first bit of sunlight bursts out from behind the Moon. Notice the sun sitting at the well-defined left edge of the Moon's shadow. The shadow moved off to the right."

People who have experienced total eclipses first-hand say the Moon's shadow is one of the most amazing aspects of the experience. Its arrival causes many birds to stop singing; a hush descends on the landscape as the sky darkens and the air temperature suddenly drops. The Moon's shadow lances more than a quarter million miles across the silent vacuum of space, and when it lands on Earth, it seems to bring a bit of otherworldly cold with it.

For more otherworldly images of the eclipse, browse the gallery:


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The universe is a hairball. It was created by Fritz the Cat. Einstein said the universe was like a plate of spaghetti. Still, you don't want to know what transpired between him and Elsa to bring about that idea.
DrCharbonneau

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SOLAR WIND: A medium-speed (~425 km/s) stream of solar wind is buffeting Earth's magnetic field. The solar wind is not blowing hard enough to ignite a full-fledged geomagnetic storm, but it is stirring up some beautiful auroras around the Arctic Circle. Check the realtime aurora gallery for latest images.

M-CLASS SOLAR FLARES: The magnetic canopy of big sunspot AR1618 is crackling with M-class solar flares. This image taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the extreme ultraviolet flash from one of them, an M1.6-class flare on Nov. 20th at 1928 UT:

This eruption, and another one like it about 7 hours earlier, might have propelled faint coronal mass ejections (CMEs) toward Earth. If so, the impacts would likely commence on Nov. 23rd, with a chance of high-latitude geomagnetic storms following their arrival. Stay tuned for updates. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

FAST-GROWING SUNSPOT (Updated Nov. 21): Only a few days ago, sunspot AR1618 was almost invisible. Now it is a behemoth more than 10 times wider than Earth. A movie from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the sunspot's development on Nov. 20-21:

As the sunspot evolves, so does its intense magnetic field--and this means strong flares are in the offing. Fast-changing magnetic fields on the sun have a tendency to reconnect and erupt. NOAA forecasters estimate a 70% chance of M-class flares and a 15% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours. Because of the sunspot's nearly central location on the solar disk, any eruptions will likely be Earth-directed. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.



__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Well, there you have it, folks. What I find a bit disappointing is no responses or additional commentaries about this. To have hit these all as accurately as I did this year, I must have done something right...

Dr. C...


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The universe is a hairball. It was created by Fritz the Cat. Einstein said the universe was like a plate of spaghetti. Still, you don't want to know what transpired between him and Elsa to bring about that idea.
DrCharbonneau

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CHANCE OF STORMS: NOAA forecasters estimate a 65% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Nov. 23rd when a pair of CMEs is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. The incoming clouds were propelled toward Earth by the recent eruptions of sunspot AR1618. Black Friday might be tinged red and green by the glow of high-latitude auroras. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

BIG SUNSPOT AR1618: The magnetic canopy of sunspot AR1618 is crackling with M-class solar flares, and NOAA forecasters say an X-flare could be in the offing. AR1618 has a delta-class magnetic field that harbors energy for the strongest eruptions. Any flares today would likely be Earth-directed as the sunspot is directly facing our planet. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

Sunspot AR1618 is so large (10 times wider than Earth) that Jett Aguilar was able to see it this morning when the sun came up over Marikina City, the Philippines:


Photo details: Canon 100-400 mm EFL lens, Canon 2x Extender and a Canon 7D DSLR (1/8000 sec, f/81, ISO 100).

"There were some clouds on the horizon," says Aguilar, "but at 06:13 AM the sun came out and I was able to image sunspot AR1618 using an unfiltered Canon 7D digital camera (1/8000 sec, f/81, ISO 100)."

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

WHALE WATCHING UNDER THE NORTHERN LIGHTS: "Today (Nov. 20th) was one of the most amazingly beautiful days that I have ever experienced," reports Norwegian photographer Fredrik Broms. "Here in Kvaløya, outside Tromsø, we said goodbye to the Sun for the year and hello to the period of polar darkness where the sun doesn't rise." The only lights were these:

"Later in the evening, the activities of fishermen could be heard by the fjord. Soon after the first auroras started to play across the sky, a feeding humpback whale passed by only 10 m away from the shore and could be seen in the light from the moon and the auroras that were dancing over the fjord. The blow of more humpback whales could be heard in the distance. This evening will stay deep in my heart forever!"

Another evening like this could be in the offing. A pair of CMEs is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field on Nov. 23rd or 24th, possibly sparking bright auroras around the Arctic Circle. Northern whale watchers, be alert for humpbacks.


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The universe is a hairball. It was created by Fritz the Cat. Einstein said the universe was like a plate of spaghetti. Still, you don't want to know what transpired between him and Elsa to bring about that idea.
DrCharbonneau

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CHANCE OF STORMS: NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% to 65% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Nov. 23/24 when a pair of CMEs is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. The incoming clouds were propelled toward Earth by the recent eruptions of sunspot AR1618. Black Friday might be tinged red and green by the glow of high-latitude auroras. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

SUNSPOT AR1618--UPDATE: Sunspot AR1618 has experienced some decay during the past 24 hours, but it is still potent. The sunspot's magnetic canopy has a 'beta-gamma-delta' configuration that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Because of the sunspot's nearly central location on the solar disk, any eruptions today would be Earth-directed. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

A sunspot, like AR1618, is a vast island of magnetism floating on the surface of the sun. Magnetic fields bubble up from the sun's interior to form the sunspot's dark cores much like a Pacific island forming from the lava of an undersea volcano. Phil Scherrer, a member of the Solar Dynamics Observatory science team at Stanford Unniversity, has prepared an 8-day movie showing the genesis if AR1618:

A companion movie shows the region's magnetic development. In the movie, which Scherrer made using data from SDO's Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI), white denotes positive polarity, black denotes negative. Places with mixed polarities are where the magnetic fields can reconnect and erupt, producing solar flares.


__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

We're still not out of the woods.


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The universe is a hairball. It was created by Fritz the Cat. Einstein said the universe was like a plate of spaghetti. Still, you don't want to know what transpired between him and Elsa to bring about that idea.
DrCharbonneau

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Listen to radar echoes from satellites and meteors, live on listener-supported Space Weather Radio.

 

CME IMPACT: A CME hit Earth's magnetic field on Nov. 26th at approximately 0500 UT (Nov. 25th @ 9 PM PST). The relatively weak impact could spark minor geomagnetic storms in the hours ahead. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

PRESTO! A HUGE SUNSPOT: Yesterday, sunspot AR1620 was barely visible. Today it is a behemoth wider than a half-dozen planet Earths. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the sunspot's rapid growth in a period of less than 20 hours on Nov. 25-26:

AR1620 has a beta-gamma magnetic field that harbors energy for strong flares. Because of the sunspot's proximty to the center of the solar disk, Earth would be in the line of fire of any eruptons. NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% chance of M-class solar flares in the next 24 hours.Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

BREAK IN THE MONOTONY: With sunspot AR1618 in decay, solar activity was very low on Nov. 24th. The only break in the monotony was provided by a 500 ton winged spacecraft:

The International Space Station passed directly in front of the sun over Entre Rios, Argentina, where Leonardo Julio photographed the split-second flyby. "I travelled 250 km to be in the path of the transit," he says. "It occurred just as predicted by CalSky."


________________________________________________________________________________________________________

It appears the last prediction was a "slow mover." IMO this is all fascinating to see how the planets affect the activity on the sun. Now I am wondering how the new evidence for the extra-systematic "Tyche" will prove to affect this. Nemesis has been discounted, but finding Tyche would suggest one thing: It's not alone.

Dr. C.


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The universe is a hairball. It was created by Fritz the Cat. Einstein said the universe was like a plate of spaghetti. Still, you don't want to know what transpired between him and Elsa to bring about that idea.
DrCharbonneau

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MORNING CONJUNCTION: As dawn begins on Tuesday morning, look southeast to find Venus and Saturn less than 1° apart in the constellation Virgo. Venus is very bright, Saturn much less so. A small telescope will reveal the rings of Saturn and the gibbous phase of Venus. [sky map]

Dennis Fitts and John Stetson photographed the two planets converging over South Portland, Maine, on Nov. 26th:

"The lighthouse in the foreground is Bug Light," explains Stetson. "Seeing the conjunction was a nice way to start the day on Dennis's birthday. This morning, the 26th, Saturn and Venus were separated by 0.8 degrees; tomorrow, the 27th, these planets will be separated by 0.7 degrees."

Realtime Conjunction Photo Gallery

BIG SUNSPOT KEEPS GROWING: Sunspot AR1620 doubled in size again yesterday. It is now a behemoth almost 10 times as wide as Earth. A movie from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the sunspot materializing over the past 48 hours:

This sunspot has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for strong flares. NOAA forecasters estimate a 35% chance of M-class eruptions in the next 24 hours. Earth might not be in the line of fire, however, because the sunspot is approaching the sun's western limb.Solar flare alerts: text, voice.


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The universe is a hairball. It was created by Fritz the Cat. Einstein said the universe was like a plate of spaghetti. Still, you don't want to know what transpired between him and Elsa to bring about that idea.
DrCharbonneau

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THE SCALE OF AMAZING: A slow but dense solar wind stream hit Earth's magnetic field on Dec. 1st, igniting bright auroras around parts of the Arctic Circle. "Wow! On the scale of amazing, the sky went from 0 to 100 in only five minutes," " says Fredrik Broms, who photographed the lights over Kvaløya, Norway:

"The sky has been clear for several days without a trace of any auroras here in the north, but tonight all this changed in an instant," he adds. "I witnessed one of the most powerful coronas in a long while with an exceptionally distinct band of purple-pink from excited nitrogen molecules at the lower edge. A wonderful start of December!"

More auroras could be in the offing as Earth transits this stream of solar wind, which is flowing from a coronal hole on the sun. NOAA forecasters estimate a 20% chance of high-latitude geomagnetic activity on Dec. 2nd. Aurora alerts: text, voice.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I put these in here mostly for dated verification of my own findings, but also to encourage others to go to Spaceweather and learn about the sun from some of those many links.


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The universe is a hairball. It was created by Fritz the Cat. Einstein said the universe was like a plate of spaghetti. Still, you don't want to know what transpired between him and Elsa to bring about that idea.
DrCharbonneau

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THE GEMINID METEOR SHOWER IS UNDERWAY: International observers are counting as many as 50 meteors per hour as Earth plunges into a stream of debris from rock comet 3200 Phaethon. Rates could double, or more, when the shower peaks on Dec. 13th and 14th. The best time to look is during the dark hours before dawn on Thursday and Friday. [sky map] [meteor radar] [video]

This morning, Dec. 13th, Bill Metallinos caught a shadow-casting Geminid fireball streaking over Corfu, Greece:

"I was setting up my telescope when suddenly there appeared a fireball so bright it made my heart beat like crazy," says Metallinos. "Spectacular moment!"

Last night, NASA's network of all-sky meteor cameras detected 56 Geminid fireballs streaking over the southern United States. The multi-camera system automatically triangulates to find the orbits of any meteoroids it detects. Here is last night's orbit diagram:

Orbits in the diagram are color-coded by velocity. Yellow orbits correspond to the Geminids; they are a good match to the orbit of parent rock-comet 3200 Phaethon. The other orbits are mostly random meteoroids not associated with the Geminids. The red splat marks the location of Earth.

NASA says that another meteor shower, appearing for the first time this year, could add to the count of Geminids on Dec. 13th. The source of the new shower is Comet 46P/Wirtanen. Veteran sky watcher Doug Zubenel of Kansas sends this report of a possible sighting: "I believe this shower is real, because at ~ 19:30 hrs, CST on Dec. 10th, I saw a very slow-moving meteor nearly as bright as Jupiter enter the frame of my windshield as I was driving east, and it was in Taurus moving toward the Orion/Gemini border. It's path led back through the radiant in Pisces. While this obviously does not prove it was from Wirtanen, it certainly seems likely."

Realtime Geminid Photo Gallery

LITTLE PLANET TOTAL ECLIPSE: One month ago today, observers stationed along the cost of Queensland, Australia, witnessed a total eclipse of the sun. Eclipse chaser Dennis Mammana was there, and during the brief minutes of totality he snapped eight panoramic images of his surroundings. Stitching them together, he has created the first-ever "little planet" view of a total eclipse:

"Early in the morning of November 14, 2012, the resort island of Green Island, Australia fell dark as Moon's shadow drifted across its spectacular scenery," he recalls. Take a close look at the full-sized image, he advises. "Above the eclipse shines the planet Venus; on the other side of the scene--behind the trees--appears the bright star Sirius."

Total Eclipse Photo Gallery


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The universe is a hairball. It was created by Fritz the Cat. Einstein said the universe was like a plate of spaghetti. Still, you don't want to know what transpired between him and Elsa to bring about that idea.
DrCharbonneau

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WILL THERE BE A DECEMBER 22ND? NASA says yes. The space agency is so sure that the world will not end due to a Mayan Apocalypse on Dec. 21, 2012, that they've already produced a video about the day after: Why the World Didn't End Yesterday

MAGNETIC FROTH: None of the spots on the Earthside of the sun is actively flaring. Instead, they are frothing. Sergio Castillo captured the phenomenon on Dec. 19th when he photographed the sun from Inglewood,California:

Castillo used a "Calcium K" (CaK) filter that passes light from singly-ionized calcium in the sun's atmosphere. CaK filters are excellent detectors of magnetic froth--the bubbly, turbulent sea of magnetism that surrounds many large sunspot groups.

"It is amazing to see how much a calcium filter can show you," says Castillo. "Even 'quiet' sunspots look great."

How long will the quiet last? The sun has not produced a major flare in weeks. NOAA forecasters say the trend is unlikely to change today with only a slim 15% chance of M-flares and a 1% chance of X-class flares. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

SIX MONTHS IN A SODA CAN: "Winter solstice is coming!" says Rijk-Jan Koppejan of the Philippus Lansbergen Observatory in Middelburg, the Netherlands. To celebrate, patrons of the observatory have started opening their solargraphs, which they deployed six months ago to record the motion of the sun. "This image with the typical Dutch windmill was made by the Sengers family," says Koppejan:

A solargraph is a simple pinhole camera made from a soda can lined with a piece of photographic paper. "Last June, the Philippus Lansbergen Observatory invited people to hang up solargraphs around the province of Zeeland," he explains. "They have recorded the daily path of the sun since the summer solstice."

In a typical six-month solargraph exposure, high arcs track the summer sun, middle arcs the autumn sun, and low arcs the winter sun. The only interruptions are due to clouds and rain. "The weather in Middelburg wasn't too bad after all!"

Most of the solargraphs deployed last June will be opened on Friday the 21st, the northern winter solstice. Stay tuned.


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The universe is a hairball. It was created by Fritz the Cat. Einstein said the universe was like a plate of spaghetti. Still, you don't want to know what transpired between him and Elsa to bring about that idea.
vger

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Reply with quote  #42 
Dr C,

I'm sure you have seen this site http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/data/
I particularly like the ability to view the images with the magnetic fields superimposed (The PFSS images)



Old Sol has been fairly quiet the past week or so. I keep watching though as the maximum for this cycle is still ahead.
DrCharbonneau

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Reply with quote  #43 
Oh, yes. EIT's SDO and MDI. For many years they were the best we had. I don't go to any of the sites every day anymore because I'm busy with a number of other projects.

BTW... in case I forget elsewhere, welcome aboard. Hope you enjoy the site, vger.

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The universe is a hairball. It was created by Fritz the Cat. Einstein said the universe was like a plate of spaghetti. Still, you don't want to know what transpired between him and Elsa to bring about that idea.
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FIRST METEOR SHOWER OF 2013: Earth is about to pass through a stream of debris from 2003 EH1, a comet fragment that produces the annual Quadrantid meteor shower. The shower peaks on Thursday morning, January 3rd, probably during a few-hour period around 5 am PST (1300 UT). At maximum, as many as 100 meteors/hour could emerge from a radiant near Polaris, the north star. Unfortunately, glare from a waning gibbous moon will wash out many Quadrantids, reducing the visibility of the display. Recommendation: Try listening to the live meteor radar, which is unaffected by moonlight.

FAST-GROWING SUNSPOT: Two days ago, northern sunspot AR1640 was barely visible. Now it measures more than 100,000 km from end to end, and it is still growing. This movie recorded by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the sunspot's rapid development on Dec. 31-Jan.1st:

The magnetic fields of fast-growing sunspots can become unstable and erupt. So far, however, AR1640 is as quiet as all the other sunspots on the solar disk. Solar activity remains very low even as AR1640 boosts the odds of a significant flare. NOAA forecasters estimate a 10% chance of M-class eruptions during the next 24 hours. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

3D JUPITER: This just in: Jupiter is a sphere. You can prove it to yourself by staring at the stereo pair below and crossing your eyes. The third image that appears in the middle shows the shape of the giant planet in three dimensions.

French photographer Sylvain Weiller took the pictures using a 12-inch telescope on December 30th. Jupiter's rapid rotation provided the two points of view necessary for stereo imaging. "The two pictures are separated by about 10 minutes," explains Weiller. "I processed them using SPM (Stereophoto Maker) to make the 3D-couple." More details are given here.

"The moon in the image is Europa," he adds. "I caught it just a couple of minutes from being eclipsed behind the planet." (PS: Europa looks spherical, too.)

Realtime Jupiter Photo Gallery

DOUBLE SPACE STATION FLYBY: In a short span of 13 seconds on Dec. 29th, amateur astronomer Val Germann watched two space stations fly over his backyard in Columbia, Missouri. The ISS and China's Tiangong-1 space station were almost simultaneously visible to the naked eye:

"I have been waiting for a chance at this combination for some time, finally getting an image this evening," says Germann.

Most readers are familiar with the 450-ton ISS. Fewer, perhaps, know about the 8.5-ton Tiangong-1(Heavenly Palace-1), China's first space station. It was launched in Sept. 2011 and briefly boarded by taikonauts (Chinese astronauts) in June 2012. The crew included the first Chinese female astronaut, fighter pilot Liu Yang, 33. Another group of taikonauts is scheduled to visit in June 2013 as the Chinese space program continues to practice rendevous and docking procedures. According to some reports, the Tiangong-1 will be de-orbited in late 2013 to make way for more advanced experimental stations, Tiangong-2 and Tiangong-3, in 2014 and 2015. Ultimately, China hopes to place an Mir-class station in orbit by 2020.

See the Tiangong-1 before it goes! Spaceweather's Simple Flybys app turns your smartphone into a field-tested space station tracker. It works for both the ISS and the Tiangong-1.


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The universe is a hairball. It was created by Fritz the Cat. Einstein said the universe was like a plate of spaghetti. Still, you don't want to know what transpired between him and Elsa to bring about that idea.
DrCharbonneau

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QUIET SUN: WIth no sunspots actively flaring, the sun's x-ray output has flatlined. Solar activity is low. Solar flare alerts: text, voice.

FIRST METEOR SHOWER OF 2013: This morning, Earth pased through a stream of debris from shattered comet 2003 EH1, source of the annual Quadrantid meteor shower. Althogh bright gibbous moonlight washed out much of the display, sky watchers did witness a small number of Quadrantid fireballs. Astronomy professor Jimmy Westlake caught this one flying over Colorado:

"This slow, bright Quadrantid fireball sliced through the frigid night air at 3:56 AM MST on the morning of January 3, 2013 over Stagecoach, Colorado," says Westlake. "The temperature was -12ºF, the sky deep blue, due to the waning gibbous Moon at my back. I used a Nikon D700 digital SLR set at ISO 3200 and a Nikkor 35 mm lens at f4.0 for this 20-second tripod-mounted exposure. In the full-sized image, Jupiter gleams among the stars of Taurus to the right of the meteor as the stars of Orion sparkle to the left."

Realtime Meteor Photo Gallery

QUIET, NOT DEAD: Solar activity is low, but not utterly absent. On Dec. 31st, magnetic fields winding around the sun's northeastern limb un-twisted explosively. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the action:

The movie spans four hours with a rapid-fire cadence of only 30 seconds. It hows a mass of hot plasma flying upward. Unable to break the bonds of the sun's gravity, however, most of the material fell back to the stellar surface.


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The universe is a hairball. It was created by Fritz the Cat. Einstein said the universe was like a plate of spaghetti. Still, you don't want to know what transpired between him and Elsa to bring about that idea.
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