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Fri, 28 Oct 2016
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Fire in the Sky


A Chance of Flares?

Sunspot 1260 has developed a delta-class magnetic field that harbors energy for powerful X-class solar flares. Such an eruption today would be Earth-directed as the sunspot turns to face our planet.

Sunspot 1260 is leading a parade of big sunspots across the solar disk--one of the finest displays of solar activity in years. Even the smallest dark cores in these sunspot groups are as wide as planets, and they are crackling with C-class flares. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor developments.


Astronomical Events Coming Your Way

© Unknown
We can't make any promises about your wishes coming true, but we can help you point them in the right direction. Some beautiful stars, planets, and asteroids are going to be visible this year and your family can, at the very least, learn a little bit about astronomy while enjoying the night sky.

Below is a list of some astronomical events for the remainder of 2011. If you are a star gazing novice, SkyMaps.com offers a monthly "sky map" that can help you know where to look.

July 28, 29 - Southern Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower. The Delta Aquarids can produce about 20 meteors per hour at their peak. The shower usually peaks on July 28 & 29, but some meteors can also be seen from July 18 - August 18. The radiant point for this shower will be in the constellation Aquarius. This year the thin, crescent moon will be hanging around for the show, but it shouldn't cause too many problems. Best viewing is usually to the east after midnight from a dark location.

July 30 - New Moon. The moon will be directly between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth. This phase occurs at 18:40 UTC.


Massive Sun 'Twister' Swirls Up 12 Earths High

A stalk-like prominence rose up above the sun, then split into roughly four strands that twisted themselves into a knot and dispersed over a two-hour period (July 12, 2011). NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory took a video of the sun twister.
A NASA satellite has caught a stunning, yet eerie, video of a huge plasma twister rising up from the surface of the sun.

The video, taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, shows a plasma eruption that swirls up like a tornado to a dizzying height of up to 93,206 miles (150,000 kilometers) above the solar surface.

"Its height is roughly between 10 to 12 Earths," solar astrophysicist C. Alex Young of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., told SPACE.com.

The solar twister occurred on July 12 when an eruption of magnetic plasma, called a prominence, spiraled up from the sun in a graceful whirlwind, then split into four separate strands that twisted into a knot before fading away. The entire event lasted just a few hours.

Young said the ethereal twister look of the prominence was largely a matter of perspective. The Solar Dynamic Observatory was seeing the eruption from an angle that caught the prominence's rise up from the solar surface.


Unseen Comet's Orbit Indicates Possible Crash

© John Sebastian Russo / The Chronicle 2010
The Lick Observatory in San Jose, with the Fremont Peak Observatory and a ground site in San Joaquin County's Lodi, monitors the sky for meteoroids.

A stream of dusty fragments from a comet born in the outermost reaches of the solar system has hit the Earth on a path that leads astronomers to conclude the comet itself could be "potentially hazardous" if it crashes into the planet.

The comet's location is unknown, making it difficult to say when it will approach Earth, but "the orbits of the dust trail tells us that the comet is on a path that could eventually hit us," said Peter Jenniskens, an astronomer at the SETI Institute and the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View.

"It's very unlikely," he conceded Wednesday. "Such impacts are extremely rare in Earth's history."

The trail of dust grains, known as meteoroids, were shed by the comet long ago as it passed the sun and Earth on a long orbit that could have taken thousands of years to complete, Jenniskens said.

The comet was born billions of years ago and trillions of miles away in the cold comet nursery called the Oort Cloud, and streams of the comet's dusty progeny have returned to Earth once or twice every 60 years or so when their orbits come under the influence of Saturn and Jupiter, Jenniskens said.


Evidence Found for Undiscovered Comet That May Threaten Earth

© All Sky Cameras / Peter Jenniskens
This February eta Draconid was filmed by Peter Jenniskens with one of the low-light-level video cameras of the Cameras for Allsky Meteor Surveillance (CAMS) station in Mountain View, California, at 07:59:24 UT on February 4, 2011.

A surprise meteor shower spotted by skywatchers in February was likely caused by cosmic "bread crumbs" left over from an undiscovered comet that could potentially pose a threat to Earth, astronomers announced today (July 27).

The tiny meteoroids that streaked through Earth's atmosphere for a few hours on Feb. 4 represent a previously unknown meteor shower, researchers said. The "shooting stars" arrived from the direction of the star Eta Draconis, so the shower is called the February Eta Draconids, or FEDs for short.

The bits of space rock appear to have been shed by a long-period comet. Long-period comets whiz by the sun only rarely, so it's tough to predict when they last came through our neck of the woods - and when they'll come back, researchers said.

That uncertainty is cause for some concern in this case, they added.

"If the meteoroids can hit us, so can the comet," said FEDs discoverer Peter Jenniskens, of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute and NASA's Ames Research Center. "We don't know whether the comet has already passed us by or is still on approach."

Still, Jenniskens stressed that the chances of such a collision are extremely remote.


Sun Grazing Comet

A new video from NASA shows the sundiving comet of July 5th interacting with the sun's atmosphere as it evaporates above the stellar surface.


Bright Meteor Over UK

Caught on a security camera, July 19th, 2011. No location recorded.


Coronal Mass Ejection Billows from Sun's Northern Hemisphere

Solar activity is low, but not zero. This morning a coronal mass ejection billowed away from the sun's northern hemisphere. SOHO (the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) recorded the blast:


Another spiral formation points to Earth's changing atmosphere

Spiral lighting flying object in western Mongolia. June 21, 2011.

This video filmed in the province Gobi Altai of Mongolia, at 47 km northeast of the Altai city, which is the center of the province. We saw this glowing and flying object at 23 pm 21st June 2011, almost for 2 minutes. Unfortunately, we were able to photograph and record it with photocamera Canon and iPhone in the last minute of observation.

Comment: As Niall Bradley wrote about this phenomenon earlier this year on SOTT:
Spectacular Russian rocket launch - more evidence of comet dust loading our atmosphere

Be they rocket launches or cometary arrivals - the amazing displays they're producing in the sky are telling us something about the change of its composition. Laura Knight-Jadczyk wrote recently about the smokescreen of chemtrails, most of which are not chemtrails at all; the suspension of jets' contrails in the atmosphere are another sign telling us that the very sky itself is changing.
Check out the latest edition of Connecting the Dots for more coverage of another sighting of a rocket trail/fireball spotted over Vytegra, Russia on 22d of June this year.


Massive Meteorite Found in China

© Wikimedia Commons
Although the exact location of the newly found meteorite has not been announced, its general location is the mountainous border region of China's Xinjiang Uyghur province.
As the meteorite specialist for the Beijing Planetarium, Baolin Zhang gets all kinds of unusual reports - like the dramatic (but ultimately specious) tale of a peasant woman who recently found a blue-ice "meteorite" in her yard.

But credible reports of a massive, oddly shaped and colored stone in the remote Altai Mountains of Xinjiang Uygur province (in northwest China) got his attention. So earlier this month he assembled a small team to check it out firsthand. The trek was cold and arduous, involving a rented jeep, borrowed horses, and even a camel to cross rugged terrain and rivers still swollen with snowmelt.

On the afternoon of July 16th, after reaching a mountainous crest 9,500 feet (2,900 m) up Zhang and his team finally spotted their objective: a large dark-brown stone jutting from the ground. It took only moments for him to realize what they'd found. "This is a huge iron meteorite," he exulted as cameras recorded the scene.