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Thu, 05 May 2016
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Fire in the Sky


Double Eruption

On October 1st around 10:17 UT, widely-spaced sunspots 1302 and 1305 erupted in quick succession, revealing a long-distance entanglement which was not obvious before. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) recorded the double blast:

Since it was launched in 2010, SDO has observed many "entangled eruptions." Active regions far apart but linked by magnetic fields can explode one after another, with disturbances spreading around the stellar surface domino-style. Yesterday's eruption appears to be the latest example.

The part of the eruption centered on sunspot 1305 hurled a coronal mass ejection toward Earth. The relatively slow-moving (500 km/s) cloud is expected to reach our planet on Oct. 4th, possibly causing geomagnetic storms when it arrives. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.


400-Metre Asteroid Flyby Due In Early November

© Unknown
A 1300-foot-wide (400 metres) asteroid, which is more than one and a half times the length of a soccer pitch, will pass within 0.85 lunar distances of the Earth on November 8/9, 2011.

Discovered on December 28, 2005 by Robert McMillan of the Spacewatch Program near Tucson, Arizona, 2005 YU55 is believed to be a very dark, nearly spherical object.

According to NASA's Near Earth Object Program: "Although classified as a potentially hazardous object, 2005 YU55 poses no threat of an Earth collision over at least the next 100 years. However, this will be the closest approach to date by an object this large that we know about in advance and an event of this type will not happen again until 2028 when asteroid (153814) 2001 WN5 will pass to within 0.6 lunar distances."

Click here to watch the trajectory of Asteroid 2005 YU55 - November 8-9, 2011.


US: Loud Boom Shakes South Carolina

A loud boom shook the coastal Lowcountry Wednesday morning, felt from Mount Pleasant to West Ashley. And once again, no one could say what it caused it.

Seismographs at the College of Charleston didn't pick up any earthquake activity. The Charleston Air Force Base didn't report any military aircraft creating sonic booms.

No commercial vessels responded to a U.S. Coast Guard message asking for reports if it had been felt offshore.

The reverberation most likely came from the "Seneca Guns," a so-far-unexplained phenomenon felt along coasts around the world.


Sundiving Comet - 30th September

This morning a quartet of amateur comet hunters (M. Kusiak, S. Liwo, B. Zhou and Z. Xu) independently noticed a comet in SOHO coronagraph images. The icy visitor from the icy solar system is diving toward the sun--probably a one-way trip. Kusiak expects the doomed comet to brighten to first magnitude between now and the early hours of Oct. 1st.

© SpaceWeather
Realtime images here.


Here We Go Again! Another Dead Satellite to Fall From Space in November

© Reuters/NASA
NASA conceptual image shows the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), launched on September 15, 1991, by the space shuttle Discovery.
A defunct NASA satellite that fell to Earth last week sparked some worldwide buzz, but it's not the only spacecraft falling out of space.

The decommissioned German X-ray space observatory, called the Roentgen Satellite or ROSAT, will tumble to Earth sometime in early November, but it's still too early to pinpoint exactly when and where debris from the satellite will land, according to officials at the German Aerospace Center.

The 2.4-ton spacecraft's orbit extends from the latitudes of 53 degrees north and south, which means the satellite could fall anywhere over a huge swath of the planet - stretching from Canada to South America, German Aerospace officials said.

The latest estimates suggest that up to 30 large pieces of the satellite could survive the intense and scorching journey through Earth's atmosphere. In all, about 1.6 tons of the satellite components could reach the surface of the Earth, according to German Aerospace officials.

The re-entry will be similar to NASA's 6-ton Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS), which plunged into the southern Pacific Ocean on Saturday (Sept. 24).

Comment: Another "Satellite?" Yeah right! More like another meteor!

Check out these links from the last so called "satellite crash".

Video: Aftermath of fireball which destroyed part of Buenos Aires - 1 dead, 8 injured

Argentinian investigators name meteorite victim, rule out gas leak behind Buenos Aires explosion

Witness who photographed Buenos Aires meteor arrested for 'giving false testimony', police force him to change his story

That ain't no satellite! Meteorite impacts Buenos Aires, Argentina


Beautiful Bright Aurora

A stream of charged particles from a massive solar storm gave Earth only a glancing blow, but it was still strong enough to provide skywatchers from New Zealand to Norway with "unforgettable" displays of the aurora.

The coronal mass ejection arrived at about 5 million mph, triggering a geomagnetic storm high in Earth's atmosphere.

© Ole C. Salomonsen
"These were some of the most amazing auroras I have ever seen," said photographer Fredrik Broms of Kvaløya, Norway.

He told Spaceweather.com: "The colors were absolutely stunning with purple and deep blood-red in addition to the green. It was a night I will never forget!"

Observers said the Northern Lights were so vivid across Scandinavia that they could even be seen through rain clouds.


NASA to Announce New Asteroid Discoveries Thursday

NASA will reveal new findings about near-Earth asteroids during a press conference this Thursday (Sept. 29), agency officials announced today.

Scientists will present results based on data gathered by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft. The briefing will take place at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT) Thursday at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., and it will have "implications for future research," NASA officials said in a media advisory.

From January 2010 to February 2011, WISE hunted for asteroids and comets in a mission called NEOWISE (with the NEO standing for "Near-Earth Object"). The observatory found more than 33,000 new space rocks in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter. [Photos From NASA's WISE Telescope]


US: Missouri - Loud "BOOM" Reported Across Laclede County

Fort Leonard Wood answered numerous calls today (9-27) about a loud boom that was heard around 9:30 throughout Laclede County. According to Jeff Maddy, PIO for the Fort, some people even reported hearing it in Greene County.

One woman who emailed KSPR News said "it knocked the dust off the rafters where i work. Thunder doesn't do that!"

Another person tells KSPR News the owner of the Willard Quarry outside Lebanon told him the sound was not the result of any blasting.

Fort Leonard Wood has a cannon range on the west side of the post. It's used often by the Missouri Air National Guard for bombing practice.

"They use no live ammunition," Maddy said. "Just sacks of flour and things like that to mark the drop." Maddy said some people suggested it was a sonic boom, the sound made by a plane that breaks the sound barrier.

Maddy said one caller told him Whiteman Air Force Base told them it wasn't any of their aircraft. Maddy is waiting to hear back from the Air National Guard in St. Louis.

A woman posted on the KSPR Facebook page that she and several others heard a loud boom in Bolivar Sunday evening.


NASA Pinpoints Pacific Ocean Grave of Fallen UARS Satellite?

© NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
UARS Satellite
The defunct Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite (UARS) re-entered the atmosphere at 12:01 a.m. EDT (0401 GMT) on Saturday, falling into the Pacific at 14.1 degrees south latitude and 189.8 degrees east longitude

NASA and the military have pinned down exactly where and when a huge dead climate satellite fell to Earth on Saturday (Sept. 24).

The defunct Upper Atmospheric Research Satellite (UARS) re-entered the atmosphere at 12:01 a.m. EDT (0401 GMT) on Saturday, falling into the Pacific at 14.1 degrees south latitude and 189.8 degrees east longitude (170.2 west longitude), according to the Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. NASA announced the new details today (Sept. 27).

These details close the case on NASA's 6 1/2-ton UARS satellite, which was launched on a space shuttle in 1991 to study Earth's ozone layer. The satellite was decommissioned in 2005, and has been slowly losing altitude since. [Photos of NASA's Huge Falling Satellite UARS]


The Sunspots That Kicked Off This Week's Solar Storm May be Just Warming Up - Or not

That gigantic solar flare that lashed out toward Earth on Saturday is "the geomagnetic storm that just won't go away," the NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) in Boulder, Colo., said via its Facebook page today. And that appears to be true. Active Region 1302, pictured above, continues to pummel earth with solar energy and could disrupt satellite communications as it continues turning toward us in the days to come.

AR1302 unleashed a massive coronal mass ejection on Saturday that struck a glancing blow off Earth's atmosphere yesterday, triggering brilliant auroras across the Northern Hemisphere. So far, the storm hasn't caused any serious trouble here on the ground. Saturday's solar explosion didn't connect with a direct hit, and it is expected to do nothing more than continue to provide electrifying light shows to sky-gazers in Europe and Asia this evening.

But AR1302 is also not slowing down, and as the week wears on it will turn to face Earth more directly. An SWPC bulletin yesterday warned that for the next 3-5 days, we're squarely in the solar storm's sights. Another blast like Saturday's and we may feel it here on Earth in the form of disrupted communications. A larger blast could do even more damage to the power grid and other infrastructure.

Just another thrilling week in the buildup to 2013's solar maximum. See the sun as NOAA's GOES-15 sees it today below.

Today's Solar Activity, Captured by NOAA's GOES-15