Weather News

By: Skyepony , 3:54 AM GMT on April 22, 2008

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AIR Worldwide Releases Tropical Cyclone Model for Mexico

UN official: 243 dead after powerful cyclone in Myanmar
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - Myanmar's state-run television is reporting that more than 240 people have died from a powerful cyclone, a U.N official says.

Chris Kaye, the U.N's acting humanitarian coordinator, said state-run television reported that 243 people have died from Tropical Cyclone Nargis.

He said thousands of homes have destroyed, mostly in the low-lying Irrawaddy delta.

Witnesses say Saturday's cyclone blew the roofs off hundreds of houses and knocked out power in all of Yangon, the country's main city.

The military-run Myaddy television station says five regions of the country have been declared disaster zones.


Survivors Search for Belongings Amid Ark. Tornado Wreckage
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Yangon - Severe tropical cyclone Nargis lashed Myanmar's main city on Saturday, downing power lines and tearing roofs off houses as residents took shelter in their homes and waited for the storm to pass.

Electricity supplies in Yangon have been cut since late Friday night as the storm bore down from the Bay of Bengal, packing winds of 190-240 kilometres per hour, residents said.


7 die in severe storms in Ark., raising year's toll to 26
SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) - Residents of communities across Arkansas on Saturday faced the wreckage of homes torn apart by violent weather that has pushed this year's storm death toll in the state up to at least 26.


California braces for wildfire season

Reno's swarm of quakes defies the odds

Disaster Survival House in Deerfield Beach offers tips to weather storms

Don't stop hurricanes, guide them
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Virginians return to tornado-ravaged homes, see what's left

People evacuate Maine, New Brunswick homes as river floods

Scientists seek clues as Reno earthquakes keep shaking

Carbon Dioxide, Methane Rise Sharply in 2007

733 Trees Reign as Nation’s Biggest
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Companion plants..

Some plants get along & help each other. Others will fail to thrive if forced to live with one it doesn't get along with. Last year I couldn't figure why a lonely tomato near the herb garden never got worms while the rest were terrised. Turns out Basil & Tomato grow better together, or atleast very close to each other.

Here is a good site that covers plant's social scenes.

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NHC Tropical Disscusion

Local text Products
Local Forecast Graphics.

Click to make larger


Local Hazards
Wind & Sea....Rip Current......Flash Flood.......Lightning.......Severe Hail.....Severe Winds.....Tornados




These will update automatically with conditions.
Credit~NWS More East Central FL Graphical Hazard maps & these full size are available there.
Local NWS Hazardous Weather Outlook


Watching for rain & minimum temps..
click maps to go interactive








Thurs through weekend...warming & mostly dry








click maps to make bigger & animate

Surfers & Surge
cool wave watch graphic.
NOAA Wave Watch III
Storm surge threat model...Always wondered if or how vulnerable your or friend's place would be to surge? Covers Volusia, Brevard, Indian River, St Lucie & Martin Counties.
Red Tide (FL & TX)


Radar/Satellite/Microwave
Melbourne NEXRAD Radar
NOAA Satellite Services ~ I like the RGB by day, rainbow at night with some Water Vapor thrown in once in a while.
Good place to keep up with invests.

Models~
Local Meso Model (well it covers most the state)~ lots of informative blue bars, each a different model, above it to click on too. Forecasts weather for the nexr 24 hrs.
FSU Model page
Shear loop .
Comparing different models shear, steering & percipitation loops.

Click to make maps bigger.

850mb Relitive Vorticity

Click on map to enlarge, check 2 other shear maps, divergance, convergance, shear tendicy, visible winds, upper & lower winds. To get back to the steering currents click on home & click layer mean wind analysis per basin.

HAZARDS


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La Nina Update

weekly CPC report is out.








most recent ENSO models run
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Visitor Map
Create your own visitor map!
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Pony in the Corn (Skyepony)
For my Corn & the Weather blog. Since I had some corn growing I figured I'd show it. This is also a great example of growing companion plants together. Native Americans called this "The Three Sisters" ~ Corn, beans & squash.
Pony in the Corn
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110. Skyepony
3:03 AM GMT on May 05, 2008
Getting some rain. Sleepy, sleep inducing rain.

73.2º
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 300 Comments: 41219
109. psualum95
6:28 PM GMT on May 04, 2008
12-30 to 01-05__ -1.40__ -1.11__ Down .21 for week
01-06 to 01-12__ -1.34__ -0.91__ Up__ .41
01-13 to 01-19__ -0.82__ -0.78__ Up__ .10
01-20 to 01-26__ -0.78__ -0.43__ Up__ .35
01-27 to 02-02__ -0.40__ -0.33__ Up__ .01
02-03 to 02-09__ -0.78__ -0.46__ Down .39
02-10 to 02-16__ -0.94__ -0.84__ Down .14
02-17 to 02-23__ -1.30__ -0.92__ Down .38
02-24 to 03-01__ -1.35__ -1.30__ Down .05
03-02 to 03-08__ -1.33__ -1.28__ Up__ .07
03-09 to 03-15__ -1.37__ -1.26__ Down .09
03-16 to 03-22__ -1.38__ -1.30__ Up__ .07
03-23 to 03-29__ -1.32__ -1.28__ down .02
03-30 to 04-05__ -1.43__ -1.34__ down .02
04-06 to 04-12__ -1.34__ -1.26__ Up__ .07
04-13 to 04-19__ -1.53__ -1.27__ down .26
04-20 to 04-26__ -2.00__ -1.48__ down .44
04-27 to 05-03__ -1.97__ -1.71__ Up__ .21

ESPI-

04/25 -2.00 ***CURRENT LA NINA LOW
04/26 -1.97 ***.03
04/27 -1.96 ***.01
04/28 -1.94 ***.02
04/29 -1.83 ***.11
04/30 -1.73 ***.10
05/01 -1.71 ***.02
05/02 -1.73 ***(.02)
05/03 -1.76 ***(.03)
05/04 -1.79 ***(.03)



Member Since: August 2, 2005 Posts: 17 Comments: 7998
108. Skyepony
4:00 PM GMT on May 04, 2008
Hey StormJunkie:) ~ local firefighters have been pulling from some close by lakes trying to stop the smoldering, this week. It's pretty close to a nieghborhood. Must really stink there.

Hopeing for some afternoon rain.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 300 Comments: 41219
107. StormJunkie
3:13 PM GMT on May 04, 2008
Morning Skye ☺

Swamp fire... That sounds nasty.

Have a great Sunday
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16970
106. Skyepony
1:16 PM GMT on May 04, 2008
yeah, the poor midwest. This area was hit hard in Feb as well.

Locally we're smelling that swamp fire in Port St John.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 300 Comments: 41219
105. psualum95
8:01 PM GMT on May 03, 2008
Skye- Look at the photo above and look at the 2 by 4 embedded sticking out of the house to the left of the one destroyed in the middle...WOW!!!
Member Since: August 2, 2005 Posts: 17 Comments: 7998
104. Skyepony
7:43 PM GMT on May 03, 2008
Lotta weather news today. Those storms were nasty for the midwest. Should mostly washout across FL looks like.


Yeah Gamms & mother's day is soon too. I get Christmas & the 1st 1/2 of May:)

PSU thanks for the numbers..happy day off.

Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 300 Comments: 41219
103. seflagamma
7:23 PM GMT on May 03, 2008
WOW , you got birthdays and anniversaries the same week?! LOL

yes, plans are always a changing when you have preschoolers! LOL
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 305 Comments: 41026
102. psualum95
7:04 PM GMT on May 03, 2008
Will condense this down later tonight or tomorrow, have another day off tomorrow, must get many chores done!!!

ESPI-

04/12 -1.27
04/13 -1.29
04/14 -1.33
04/15 -1.30
04/16 -1.31
04/17 -1.38
04/18 -1.47
04/19 -1.53
04/20 -1.48
04/21 -1.52
04/22 -1.62
04/23 -1.74
04/24 -1.93
04/25 -2.00 ***CURRENT LA NINA LOW
04/26 -1.97
04/27 -1.96
04/28 -1.94
04/29 -1.83
04/30 -1.73
05/01 -1.71
05/02 -1.73
05/03 -1.76
05/04 -1.79


Link
Member Since: August 2, 2005 Posts: 17 Comments: 7998
101. psualum95
7:02 PM GMT on May 03, 2008
Yes, yes 29 again, only a few years now:)

But I know... :)

Hope you had a happy one. My first day off in 3 weeks, been too busy catching up for b-day wishes :(

Catch ya later :)
Member Since: August 2, 2005 Posts: 17 Comments: 7998
100. Skyepony
6:27 PM GMT on May 03, 2008
Yes, yes 29 again, only a few years now:)

Damon~ Glad you had a chance to sleep a day away.

Gamma~ We're having fun, kids kinda threw off the plans but we'll come up with something. Today's the anniversery...11 years. Day 2 of the birthaversery.

Had 2 bonus quick downpours. That's not ground clutter or smoke on the radar.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 300 Comments: 41219
99. seflagamma
5:11 PM GMT on May 03, 2008
Good afternoon, Sky,

glad you had a wonderful birthday yesterday!

just wanted to pop in and say HI and hope you and the family are enjoying your weekend!!!
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 305 Comments: 41026
98. Damon85013
6:58 AM GMT on May 03, 2008
Oh, {{{{skye}}}} I am so sorry I missed your birthday by a few hours. I slept through Friday, if you can believe that one!! I hope you had a SUPER day filled with sun (a given) and fun!!


Member Since: July 19, 2005 Posts: 256 Comments: 6215
97. whitewabit (Mod)
5:28 AM GMT on May 03, 2008
so were you 29 again???
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 374 Comments: 35077
96. Skyepony
5:18 AM GMT on May 03, 2008
Wow~ Once again totally blown away by all the Birthday wishes:), glittery graphics both real & imagined, wonderful thoughts & cakes galore. The cake was delish as well as the dinner. Fun day. Great ride. I'll post a pic of it as a new avitar.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 300 Comments: 41219
95. stormdude77
2:59 AM GMT on May 03, 2008


Happy Birthday, Skye!!!
94. westoftheashley
11:04 PM GMT on May 02, 2008
Happy Birthday Skye! Hope you are having a great birthday. Since its Friday you should have a whole birthday weekend=).

Susan
93. seflagamma
11:00 PM GMT on May 02, 2008
{{{Skye}}}}

I just got back into town a day earlier than expected (expected tomorrow afternoon) and saw it is your Birthday. So glad I didn't miss it.

Hope it was a great one!

Happy Happy Birthday to you!!!!

gams
Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 305 Comments: 41026
92. Redhead
8:49 PM GMT on May 02, 2008
zwani.com myspace graphic comments


{{{{{{Skye}}}}}}
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 10 Comments: 7042
91. Patrap
8:10 PM GMT on May 02, 2008
Happy Birthday Skyepony!..

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 434 Comments: 133452
90. Gatorxgrrrl
7:50 PM GMT on May 02, 2008
Have a happy Birthday Skye!!
Member Since: May 10, 2007 Posts: 72 Comments: 15605
89. incogkneetoe
5:14 PM GMT on May 02, 2008
Skye



Gary
Member Since: June 18, 2007 Posts: 447 Comments: 9370
88. LowerCal
5:10 PM GMT on May 02, 2008
Happy birthday, Skye! :^) Find your birthday star at .
Member Since: July 26, 2006 Posts: 59 Comments: 9695
87. whitewabit (Mod)
4:59 PM GMT on May 02, 2008
Happy Birthday Skye !!!
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 374 Comments: 35077
85. sullivanweather
4:25 PM GMT on May 02, 2008
Happy Birthday!
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
83. moonlightcowboy
1:58 PM GMT on May 02, 2008
Happy Birthday

Skye, I hope you have a GR8 birthday!
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29610
82. bigtrucker
1:48 PM GMT on May 02, 2008
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!
Member Since: January 9, 2006 Posts: 80 Comments: 6119
81. Rainman32
1:32 PM GMT on May 02, 2008
Good Morning and Happy Birthday! (72.3°F)


To end the week, I am pleased to share with you new "4D" live model of Earth's ionosphere for use in Google Earth. The system used is CAPS, short for Communication Alert and Prediction System; Earth-orbiting GOES satellites feed the data. From Space Environment Technologies / SpaceWx and NASA - Science@NASA, Today's Sat Pics(multimedia) O' The Day!




Current Global Communication Status
HF radio blackout conditions are determined from the TEC conditions. A scaling is applied such that very high TEC corresponds to complete blackout (red), high TEC is upper boundary Lowest Usable Frequency (LUF) and Maximum Usable Frequency (MUF) (yellow), moderate TEC is average condition LUF-MUF (green), and low TEC is lower boundary LUF-MUF (blue). Solar soft X-ray and solar extreme ultraviolet flares will cause immediately enhanced TEC in low and mid latitudes. Geomagnetic storms will produce enhanced TEC at high latitudes. The forecast latency is <15 minutes. The update cadence is 2 minutes for web page, 5 minutes for flares, and 15 minutes for TEC. Forecasts are made using persistence for the 1-12 hour forecasts combined with Earth diurnal rotation. Recurrence is used with 24 and 72 hour forecasts, assuming the lowest average value for a particular ionospheric condition.

The total electron content (TEC) of the ionosphere is an indicator of the number of electrons that a radio signal must pass through. Maximum electron values are generally at the 200-300 km level and high TEC can indicate higher maximum altitudes with more densities (less HF propagation).




Regional Global Communication Status
Radio blackout conditions can affect multiple radio frequencies. HF (high frequency 3-30 MHz) is used for communications, direction-finding, as well as over-the-horizon radar; it is affected by solar flares and geomagnetic storms. VHF (very high frequency 30-300 MHz) is used for television, FM broadcasting, as well as aviation communication;it is affected by solar flares,meteor showers, geomagnetic storms, and line-of-sight obstacles. UHF (ultra high frequency 300-3000 MHz) is used for satellite communication, radar surveillance, as well as television; it is affected by line-of-sight obstacles. SHF (super high frequency 3-30 GHz) is used for satellite communication, radar, navigation, as well as television; it is affected by line-of-sight obstacles and tropospheric scatter.


4D Ionosphere 04.30.2008
+ Play Audio | + Download Audio

April 30, 2008: Today, NASA-funded researchers released to the general public a new "4D" live model of Earth's ionosphere. Without leaving home, anyone can fly through the layer of ionized gas that encircles Earth at the edge of space itself. All that's required is a connection to the Internet.

"This is an exciting development," says solar physicist Lika Guhathakurta of NASA headquarters in Washington, DC. "The ionosphere is important to pilots, ham radio operators, earth scientists and even soldiers. Using this new 4D tool, they can monitor and study the ionosphere as if they're actually inside it."

Click on the screenshot to view a 19 MB video demo:



Above: A screen-shot of the 4D ionosphere. Clicking on the image launches a 19 MB video demo. You can download and launch your own 4D ionosphere by following these simple instructions.

The ionosphere is, in a sense, our planet's final frontier. It is the last wisp of Earth's atmosphere that astronauts leave behind when they enter space. The realm of the ionosphere stretches from 50 to 500 miles above Earth's surface where the atmosphere thins to near-vacuum and exposes itself to the fury of the sun. Solar ultraviolet radiation breaks apart molecules and atoms creating a globe-straddling haze of electrons and ions.

Ham radio operators know the ionosphere well. They can communicate over the horizon by bouncing their signals off of the ionosphere-or communicate not at all when a solar flare blasts the ionosphere with X-rays and triggers a radio blackout. The ionosphere also has a big impact on GPS reception. Before a GPS satellite signal reaches the ground, it must first pass through ionospheric gases that bend, reflect and attenuate radio waves. Solar and geomagnetic storms that unsettle the ionosphere can cause GPS position errors as large as 100 meters. Imagine a pilot flying on instruments descending toward a landing strip only to discover it is a football field to the right.

"Understanding the ionosphere is clearly important. That's why NASA's Living with a Star (LWS) program funded this work," says Guhathakurta, LWS program scientist. Space Environment Technologies, Inc. of California received the LWS grant and they partnered with Space Environment Corp. of Utah and the US Air Force to develop the 4D ionosphere.

"The best way to appreciate the 4D ionosphere is to try it," says W. Kent Tobiska, president of Space Environment Technologies and chief scientist of its Space Weather Division. He offers these instructions:

"One, download and install Google Earth."

"Two, visit our web site and click on the link 'Total Electron Content.'"

Kent Tobiska demonstrates the use of the 4D Ionosphere: 19 MB video.

Wait for the file to load and presto-you're flying through the ionosphere: screenshot.



"Colors represent electron content," Tobiska explains. "Bright red is high density; that's where radio communications are restricted to few or no frequencies. Blue denotes low density; no problem there."

Using the intuitive Google Earth interface, users can fly above, around and through these regions getting a true 3D view of the situation. Make that 4D. "The fourth dimension is time. This is a real-time system updated every 10 minutes," he says.

The 4D model can be fun and even a little addictive, warns Tobiska, who likes to use it to pilot an imaginary plane over the Arctic. "A growing number of commercial business flights are crossing the Arctic Circle," he says. "It's the shortest distance between, say, Chicago and Beijing and many other major cities."

The ionosphere is particularly important to these lucrative flights. While they are over the Arctic, planes lose contact with most geosynchronous satellites and must rely on "old-fashioned" radio communications-a link that could be severed during a radio blackout. Using the 4D model, a flight controller could examine the ionosphere from the flyer's point of view and use that information to anticipate problems that could cause a flight to be delayed or diverted.

The proper name of the system is CAPS, short for Communication Alert and Prediction System. Earth-orbiting satellites feed the system up-to-the-minute information on solar activity; the measurements are then converted to electron densities by physics-based computer codes. It is important to note, says Tobiska, that CAPS reveals the ionosphere not only as it is now, but also as it is going to be the near future. "Forecasting is a key aspect of CAPS available to our customers from, e.g., the Dept. of Defense and the airline industry."

Start your own flight here.

Author: Dr. Tony Phillips | Editor: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA

web links
Living With a Star -- the NASA program that sponsored this work
What is the Ionosphere? -- learn more from wikipedia
How to Launch the 4D Ionosphere -- instructions
4D Ionosphere video demos

NASA's Future: US Space Exploration Policy


Member Since: September 19, 2004 Posts: 32 Comments: 6123
80. auburn (Mod)
1:28 PM GMT on May 02, 2008
Happy Birthday Sky...not getting older...just more experienced!
Member Since: August 27, 2006 Posts: 548 Comments: 51494
79. carolinagal
12:26 PM GMT on May 02, 2008
Happy Birthday!
Hope this is a great day, great year!
Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 157 Comments: 6814
78. aquak9
12:17 PM GMT on May 02, 2008
Happy Birthday Beautiful Skye!! although rarely seen, that smile of yours is ageless, and the loving touch you have for the planet is something we all need to learn from.

Your point of view and great teaching blogs are an inspiration to me, you're an earthmother, a lover of soil, water, and wind. Thank you for being here with us another year! So VERY happy birthday!
Member Since: August 13, 2005 Posts: 192 Comments: 27682
77. OGal
12:12 PM GMT on May 02, 2008
Birthday Myspace Graphics

I now give you your official excuse to eat cake!
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 72 Comments: 19224
76. EmmyRose
11:47 AM GMT on May 02, 2008
Happy Birthday Skye!
Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 347 Comments: 76406
75. StormJunkie
11:42 AM GMT on May 02, 2008
Happy Birthday Skye, hope you have a wunderful day!
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 26 Comments: 16970
74. OGal
11:40 AM GMT on May 02, 2008
Birthday Myspace Icons

Have a wonderful birthday Skye. You can celebrate Cinco de Mayo early. Do something fun just for you!!
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 72 Comments: 19224
73. Alleyoops
11:13 AM GMT on May 02, 2008
Happy Birthday, May you have many more. May today bring you joy, fun and good cheer.
Member Since: April 18, 2007 Posts: 190 Comments: 29459
72. Raysfan70
11:09 AM GMT on May 02, 2008
Happy Birthday To You,
Happy Birthday To You,
Happy Birthday To Skye.
Happy Birthday To You.

Photobucket
Member Since: July 28, 2005 Posts: 138 Comments: 57354
71. ricderr
10:22 AM GMT on May 02, 2008
happy birthday!!!!!!!!



Member Since: June 27, 2006 Posts: 685 Comments: 23565
70. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
10:04 AM GMT on May 02, 2008
Happy Birthday SkyePony =)
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 56 Comments: 50431
69. BarnDweller
10:01 AM GMT on May 02, 2008
Happy Birthday Wuba
Member Since: May 22, 2005 Posts: 125 Comments: 1182
68. auburn (Mod)
3:46 AM GMT on May 02, 2008
Thanks for your input in my Blog...is well respected Sky
Member Since: August 27, 2006 Posts: 548 Comments: 51494
67. Skyepony
2:51 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
Hey Michael~ Yeah guess we should stick a fork in her. Of course the CPC is gonna take a little longer. Needing that 3 month average of above the La Nina conditions threshhold to satisfy.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 300 Comments: 41219
66. Skyepony
2:47 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
A cyclone is moving towards Burma, but it has the people of Bangladesh on edge, as well. Nargis is the first cyclonic storm in the Bay of Bengal since Sidr, which killed thousands of people in Bangladesh, last November. News of the approaching cyclone is already causing some alarmed Bangladeshis to take cover. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from our South Asia Bureau in New Delhi.


Here's a review of a borderline obssesion of mine.. The 1930's Dust Bowl.. Here's the collusion out of it.

The U.S. southwest is currently suffering a serious long-term drought that threatens agriculture and population growth there. Cook said it is unlikely that this by itself will cause another Dust Bowl in the United States. Among other things, the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, founded in response to the ‘30s crisis, has shifted farmers into more sustainable practices. On the other hand, Cook points out that many scientists believe hard-pressed farmers and herders in China and Africa’s Sahel region may be repeating the experience, ruining marginal lands in order to feed themselves in the short term. “This highlights the fact that humans can alter natural events and make them worse,” said coauthor Richard Seager, a modeler at Lamont. Seager says that scientists studying global climate change predict many subtropical regions will dry in coming years. “That, in combination with the pressure from rising population and demand for food, could lead to a similar cycle of drought, dust storms and more drought,” he said. “The lesson of the Dust Bowl is there to be learned.”





Rainman~ Thanks for not passing that one over. Absolutely incrediable. People put their lives in making these things. The heart must have been bittersweet.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 300 Comments: 41219
64. Rainman32
2:15 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
Good Morning! (72.3°F)


Lots of good stuff this week, but didn't want to let this one go by without notice. NASA’s Polar satellite has concluded its successful mission at the end of April and gone out in style after over 12 years or operation, of course it was only designed to go for 2, a real testament to the engineering of these amazing satellites. From NASA -- Earth and Polar Visible Imaging Investigations/Visible Imaging System, Today's Sat Pic(article) O' The Day!


Due to the End Of Mission for the Polar Spacecraft, the VIS was powered down for the final time about noon, 16 April 2008. This was the last Low Resolution image aquired for the mission which spanned over 12 years or operation.

The final Current Image was acquired Wednesday, 16 April 2008, 11:12 CST. (27673 bytes)

Visible Imaging System (VIS)Current Image

This Current Image is generated from data collected by the University of Iowa's Visible Imaging Investigations (VII) Visible Imaging System (VIS) on board the NASA Polar spacecraft. It was designed and built by the Particles and Imaging research group from The University of Iowa. The Principal Investigator is Dr. Kent L. Ackerson, the Project Scientist is Dr. John B. Sigwarth, and the Project Manager is Mr. Gregory L. Pickett.

















'Broken Heart' Image the Last for NASA’s Long-Lived Polar Mission

As far as endings go, this one’s a real heart breaker. NASA’s Polar satellite concludes its successful mission at the end of April with a breathtaking visible-light image of the colorful dancing lights of the aurora. The Polar team has dubbed this final image "The Broken Heart."

When the Polar satellite launched February 24, 1996, the plan was for a two-year science mission to study the lights that form a ring around Earth’s north and south magnetic poles, known as the Northern and Southern Lights, or auroras. Polar has exceeded expectations by a decade.

"We’ve gone well beyond our original plan and into our dreams," says John Sigwarth of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., of Polar’s amazing 12-year run.

Polar orbits from Earth’s North Pole to its South Pole to study how solar wind particles and their energy enter Earth’s magnetosphere, the area surrounding Earth dominated by its magnetic field. Polar also revealed how those particles and their energy end up in Earth’s atmosphere, and how the radiation belts form and dissipate.

The satellite completes an orbit every 17½ hours, passing over one pole at a maximum altitude of about 32,000 miles and diving past Earth’s equator to the opposite pole at a minimum distance of only about 3,200 miles. As Polar flies over the north and south poles, three of the satellite’s 12 instruments capture images of auroras in ultraviolet, X-ray, and visible light. The other nine instruments take measurements of charged particles and Earth’s electric and magnetic fields throughout its journey around Earth.

"Polar ran out of fuel during its final maneuver in February," says Sigwarth, project scientist for the Polar spacecraft. "But even after the fuel was exhausted, we continued to maneuver on the cold helium gas that was left in the tank," he explains.

Sigwarth likens the satellite’s post-fuel feat to "using the force of your breath as you breathe out to propel yourself backwards" if you happen to be traveling through space like a satellite. But now Polar has run out of breath.

The plan is to turn off the satellite April 28 slightly ahead of a likely fatal encounter with the sun. From its current orientation, Polar will drift slowly, allowing the energy from our nearest star to quickly overwhelm the satellite. If Polar were left on, first to go would be its radiators, batteries, and transmitters. These would overheat and probably fail. The satellite’s planned turn off at the end of April will allow controllers to send the final commands before Polar meets its fate.

During its lifetime, Polar has had many accomplishments. Observations of energetic neutral atoms have provided the first-ever global images of substorm injections that are the sequence of events that lead to energetic auroral displays. These neutral atom images clearly show the broad extent in space of these energetic atoms and their instantaneous nature in time.

Polar observations have also revealed that solar storms deposit so much energy into Earth’s ionosphere that it expands to fill the magnetosphere all the way out to its boundaries, yielded the first-ever global X-ray images of auroras, and shown how dynamic pressure pulses, or "gusts" in the solar wind, influence the magnetosphere, ionosphere, and auroral ovals, rings around Earth’s magnetic poles where auroras are seen.

Laura Layton
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center





Member Since: September 19, 2004 Posts: 32 Comments: 6123
63. Skyepony
4:10 AM GMT on May 01, 2008
Evening everyone. I ran across a cloudsat of Nargis.

Rain~ this swampfire with all it's smoke, sounds pleasent next to vog.

Aqua~ Your garden is looking great! Thanks so much for sharing. I think it really inspires. Had a girlfriend show up that had started growing some carrots & tomatos the other day. Something about her kid grazing in my garden... Oh & Your carrots have mine beat:)

MichaelSTL~ His forecast is scary. Fixed the italics. & The food thing~ That's all that is left of a rare rant I did on the manipulation of corn futures. I couldn't agree more with you.

Auburn, Emmy & vort.. Ya'll have a great day:)

Psu~ That was quick to the rebound. we're not too far off from neutral conditions now.

Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 300 Comments: 41219
62. psualum95
4:21 PM GMT on April 30, 2008
ESPI-

04/12 -1.27
04/13 -1.29
04/14 -1.33
04/15 -1.30
04/16 -1.31
04/17 -1.38
04/18 -1.47
04/19 -1.53
04/20 -1.48
04/21 -1.52
04/22 -1.62
04/23 -1.74
04/24 -1.93
04/25 -2.00 ***CURRENT LA NINA LOW
04/26 -1.97
04/27 -1.96
04/28 -1.94
04/29 -1.83
04/30 -1.73
05/01 -1.71
05/02 -1.73
05/03 -1.76


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Member Since: August 2, 2005 Posts: 17 Comments: 7998
61. EmmyRose
2:07 PM GMT on April 30, 2008
Her carrots are showing too.....

great photos Aqua

Hi Skye!
Member Since: July 15, 2005 Posts: 347 Comments: 76406
60. auburn (Mod)
1:35 PM GMT on April 30, 2008
So is that BIG diamond...LOL
Member Since: August 27, 2006 Posts: 548 Comments: 51494

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About Skyepony

Skywarn, Horse Trainer, Artist and Farmer, I help moderate the Blogs at WeatherUnderground.

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Personal Weather Stations

West Eau Gallie
Melbourne, FL
Elevation: 29 ft
Temperature: 75.4 °F
Dew Point: 68.7 °F
Humidity: 80%
Wind: 2.0 mph from the South
Wind Gust: -
Updated: 10:54 PM EDT on August 02, 2015

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