Sometimes I complain about the earthly weather, but mostly I like to post about astronomy and space events. Hope you enjoy the articles.
By: Susie77, 3:04 AM GMT on March 01, 2008
Spaceweather.com gives us a solar wind speed of 700+/km/second... Earth's mag field has a south-pointing polarity. Skies are clear near the northern pole. Ingredients are right! Wanna see the aurora tonight from the comfort of your computer chair?
See you there!
By: Susie77, 4:11 PM GMT on February 24, 2008
Would you join me in wishing my big bro a very happy birthday!?
Happy Birthday, Lynn!
[ His age is classified but he is really really old..... lol!! ]
Updated: 5:27 PM GMT on February 24, 2008
By: Susie77, 3:35 PM GMT on February 24, 2008
Here's one the NWS and local weather forecasters didn't see coming..... most of our previous snow/ice had melted yesterday. Woke up this morning to....
By: Susie77, 8:23 PM GMT on February 22, 2008
Eastern towhee finds a fallen sunflower seed by our deck. Two inches of fresh snow are on the ground here in Winfield, with a nice slick underlayer of sleet.
By: Susie77, 3:40 AM GMT on February 20, 2008
LUNAR ECLIPSE: On Wednesday night, February 20th, the full Moon will turn a delightful shade of red and possibly turquoise, too. It's a total lunar eclipse—the last one until Dec. 2010. Sky watchers in Europe, the Americas, parts of the Middle East and Africa are favored for good views of the two-hour event. Visit http://spaceweather.com for full coverage including maps and timetables, live webcasts and discussion.
SPY SATELLITE UPDATE: The US Navy's first attempt to hit malfunctioning spy satellite USA 193 with a missile could come on Wednesday night during the lunar eclipse. This is based on an air traffic advisory warning pilots to steer clear of a patch of Pacific Ocean near Hawaii just when USA 193 is due to pass overhead. Until the satellite is shot down, it remains visible to casual sky watchers during evening passes over US and Canadian towns and cities; experienced observers say the decaying satellite is sometimes as bright as the stars of Orion, making it an easy target for unaided eyes and off-the-shelf digital cameras. Details, photos and more information are available at http://spaceweather.com. Subscribers to Spaceweather PHONE (http://spaceweatherphone.com) will receive email and telephone alerts when the spy-sat is about to appear over their backyards.
By: Susie77, 2:53 PM GMT on February 15, 2008
Not sure how you put this into your blog so it always shows... anyone got a clue?
Create your own visitor map!
By: Susie77, 2:46 PM GMT on February 15, 2008
Malfunctioning spy satellite USA 193 has been in the news lately because of expectations that it will reenter Earth's atmosphere in March and turn into a spectacular fireball. Reentry has not yet begun, but sky watchers are already noticing the satellite as it zips over Europe and the United States shining as brightly as a first or second magnitude star. Typical photos are shown on today's edition of http://spaceweather.com.
In fact, USA 193 may never reenter--at least not in one piece. Today, the Pentagon announced it will attempt to blast the satellite with a missile before its orbit decays. This would lessen the chances of dangerous satellite debris and fuel reaching the ground while increasing the population of space junk in low-Earth orbit.
Would you like to see USA 193 with your own eyes? It is about to make a series of evening appearances over many US towns and cities, beginning this weekend and continuing until the Pentagon intervenes. Flyby timetables may be found at Heavens Above (http://heavens-above.com). You can also receive telephone and email alerts when the satellite is about to fly over your backyard by subscribing to Spaceweather PHONE: http://spaceweatherphone.com .
By: Susie77, 1:38 AM GMT on February 14, 2008
Feb. 13, 2008: On Wednesday evening, February 20th, the full Moon over the Americas will turn a delightful shade of red and possibly turquoise, too. It's a total lunar eclipse—the last one until Dec. 2010.
The Sun goes down. The Moon comes up. You go out and look at the sky. Observing the eclipse is that easy. Maximum eclipse, and maximum beauty, occurs at 10:26 pm EST (7:26 pm PST).
A lunar eclipse happens when the Moon passes through the shadow of Earth. You might expect the Moon to grow even more ashen than usual, but in fact it transforms into an orb of vivid red.
Why red? That is the color of Earth's shadow.
Consider the following: Most shadows we're familiar with are black or gray; step outside on a sunny day and look at your own. Earth's shadow is different because, unlike you, Earth has an atmosphere. The delicate layer of dusty air surrounding our planet reddens and redirects the light of the sun, filling the dark behind Earth with a sunset-red glow. The exact tint--anything from bright orange to blood red is possible--depends on the unpredictable state of the atmosphere at the time of the eclipse. "Only the shadow knows," says astronomer Jack Horkheimer of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium.
Transiting the shadow's core takes about an hour. The first hints of red appear around 10 pm EST (7 pm PST), heralding a profusion of coppery hues that roll across the Moon's surface enveloping every crater, mountain and moon rock, only to fade away again after 11 pm EST (8 pm PST). No special filter or telescope is required to see this spectacular event. It is a bright and leisurely display visible from cities and countryside alike.
While you're watching, be alert for another color: turquoise. Observers of several recent lunar eclipses have reported a flash of turquoise bracketing the red of totality.
"The blue and turquoise shades at the edge of Earth's shadow were incredible," recalls amateur astronomer Eva Seidenfaden of Trier, Germany, who took the picture at right during the European lunar eclipse of March 3-4, 2007. Dozens of other photographers have documented the same phenomenon.
The source of the turquoise is ozone. Eclipse researcher Dr. Richard Keen of the University of Colorado explains: "During a lunar eclipse, most of the light illuminating the moon passes through the stratosphere where it is reddened by scattering. However, light passing through the upper stratosphere penetrates the ozone layer, which absorbs red light and actually makes the passing light ray bluer." This can be seen, he says, as a soft blue fringe around the red core of Earth's shadow.
To catch the turquoise on Feb. 20th, he advises, "look during the first and last minutes of totality." That would be around 10:01 pm EST and 10:51 pm EST (7:01 and 7:51 pm PST).
Blood red, bright orange, gentle turquoise: it's all good. Mark your calendar in vivid color for the Feb. 20th lunar eclipse.
By: Susie77, 11:27 PM GMT on February 09, 2008
SPACE STATION AURORAS: Astronauts onboard the International Space Station have been enjoying some colorful auroras this month caused by solar wind buffeting Earth's magnetic field. Some of their photos have just been beamed back to Earth and you can see them on today's edition of http://spaceweather.com.
Earlier today, space shuttle Atlantis docked with the space station to deliver the new Columbus science laboratory, which will be installed during a spacewalk on Feb. 10th. As they work, the combined crews should be alert for more auroras. A solar wind stream is heading for Earth, due to arrive Feb. 10th or 11th, possibly sparking a new round of geomagnetic storms.
Meanwhile, the shuttle and the space station are putting on a show of their own. Last night, the two spacecraft orbited over Europe where photographers captured their flight. The space station has grown so large that amazing details are now obvious in the eyepieces of ordinary backyard telescopes. See the photos at http://spaceweather.com
By: Susie77, 12:08 AM GMT on February 09, 2008
February 8, 2008: Would you like to name the next great space telescope? Here's your chance:
NASA is inviting members of the general public from around the world to suggest a new name for the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope, otherwise known as GLAST, before it launches in mid-2008. GLAST is designed to probe the most violent events and exotic objects in the cosmos from gamma-ray bursts to black holes and beyond.
"We're looking for suggestions that will capture the excitement of GLAST's mission and call attention to gamma-ray and high-energy astronomy," says Alan Stern, associate administrator for Science at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC. "We hope someone will come up with a name that is catchy, easy to say and will help make the satellite and its mission a topic of dinner table and classroom discussion."
The telescope's key scientific objectives include:
Exploring the most extreme environments in the Universe, where nature harnesses energies far beyond anything possible on Earth
Searching for signs of new laws of physics and what composes the mysterious dark matter
Understanding how black holes accelerate immense jets of material to nearly light speed
Cracking the mysteries of stupendously powerful explosions known as gamma-ray bursts
Answering long-standing questions about solar flares, pulsars and the origin of cosmic rays
Suggestions for the mission's new name may be an acronym, but that is not a requirement. Any suggestions for naming the telescope after a scientist may only include names of deceased scientists whose names are not already used for other NASA missions. All suggestions will be considered. The period for accepting names closes on March 31, 2008. Participants must include a statement of 25 words or less about why their suggestion would be a strong name for the mission. Multiple suggestions are encouraged.
To submit a suggestion for the mission name, visit: http://glast.sonoma.edu/glastname
Anyone who drops a name into the "Name That Satellite!" suggestion box on the Web page can choose to receive a "Certificate of Participation" via return e-mail. Participants also may choose to receive the NASA press release announcing the new mission name. The announcement is expected approximately 60 days after launch of the telescope
By: Susie77, 1:25 AM GMT on February 06, 2008
Space Weather News for Feb. 5, 2008
SOLAR ECLIPSE: This Thursday, Feb. 7th, the Moon will pass in front of the Sun, producing a solar eclipse over New Zealand, most of Antarctica and parts of Australia. It is not a total eclipse; the Moon will only partially cover the solar disk. Nevertheless, the event promises some beautiful moments.
For instance, the partially-eclipsed Sun will dapple the ground with crescent-shaped sunbeams. Observers in New Zealand and Australia should look in the shadows of leafy trees for this lovely phenomenon. On the barren slopes of Antarctica, scientists and explorers can produce the same effect by letting the sun shine through a spaghetti colander or a sheet of paper poked with holes.
It is dangerous to stare directly at a partial eclipse because the exposed portion of the Sun is as blindingly bright as usual. Backyard astronomers with safely-filtered solar telescopes may, however, point their optics at the Sun and watch the mountainous lunar limb glide across the sun's fiery surface. (For solar telescopes, see: http://spaceweather.com/ccount.php?linkURL=http://coronadofilters.com/ )
The best views of all are reserved for an remote stretch of the Antarctic where the Moon will pass dead-center in front of the Sun without fully covering it. A thin layer of star will poke out all around the Moon producing a vivid "ring of fire" or annular eclipse.
Visit http://Spaceweather.com for eclipse maps and timetables and, later this week, photos of the eclipse itself.
Personal note -- we saw one of these some yrs. ago. It was fascinating to see the shadows of leaves cast on the street and sidewalk -- all in the shape of little crescents!