Fire in the Sky
Some say it's much better looking than that other comet, Elenin, that has been needlessly grabbing some headlines. Comet Garradd was discovered two years ago by Gordon Garradd from the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia, and is currently visible through a small telescope at about magnitude nine.
Above is an image of Comet Garradd from Peter Lake (aka Astroswanny) from Australia.
Radio New Zealand
Fri, 05 Aug 2011 15:12 UTC
The Niue police chief says a large bang heard around the island late on Tuesday night sounded like thunder but may have been a meteor exploding.
Mark Chenery says the island has been abuzz about the loud noise and inquiries made at Wellington's Carter observatory suggest it was probably caused by a meteor detonating about 20 kilometres above Niue.
Mr Chenery says he initially thought a boat had blown up down at the wharf.
"There was a large, a huge clap of thunder but it was its normal starry night outside. People have described seeing a white light, like a flare, shooting across the sky. Niue is 64 kilometres around and it was heard in Lakepa in the north west down to Avasele in the south east, so it was certainly heard island wide."Mark Chenery says there have been no reports of damage.
Thu, 04 Aug 2011 11:10 UTC
The eruption propelled a bright coronal mass ejection (CME) toward Earth. Click on the image to view a movie of the expanding cloud recorded by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory:
Moving at an estimated speed of 1950 km/s, this CME is expected to sweep up two earlier CMEs already en route. Analysts at the GSFC Space Weather Lab say the combined cloud should reach Earth on August 5th at 13:55 UT plus or minus 7 hours: "The impact on Earth is likely to be major. The estimated maximum geomagnetic activity index level Kp is 7 (Kp ranges from 0 - 9). The flanks of the CME may also impact STEREO A, Mars and Mercury/MESSENGER."
Wed, 03 Aug 2011 15:50 UTC
"It was 3. 35am on Tuesday morning. I had just looked at my watch as I was heading out to do my round when I looked up at the dark sky and, for about 3 seconds, saw a large, silent green object with a light trailing behind it. About 30 seconds later I there was an loud explosion as if something had hit the ground", says Alexandre, a security agent working at the Toulouse military airport. "It wasn't a plane. I know well that there are no flight paths in the area of the sky where I saw it. It looked like a firework, but silent and a a lot bigger. A colleague who was outside smoking a cigarette saw it too." he added.
Alexandre has 4500 'friends' on Facebook. He reported his sighting on the social networking site. One of his 'friends' sent him a message: "She was unable to sleep last night and saw the same thing as me, with a white light. Another person from Albi saw it too. For me, it looked like a meteorite", explained the security agent.
Yesterday afternoon, Le Geipan, an unidentified aerospace phenomena study and information group, which collects all information on UFOs in France, received two other eyewitness accounts of the same phenomenon at the same time.
Tue, 02 Aug 2011 16:40 UTC
Sunspots are darker, cooler patches on the sun caused when intense magnetic activity blocks heat convection. These spots are normal, but they don't usually align to give the sun's face such character.
Mon, 01 Aug 2011 13:58 UTC
July 2011 to date has been a busy time with that something more when it comes to comets. The preoccupation with comets Elenin and Nibiru also takes away from the comet show that has been taking place since the beginning of the year, but has particularly busy in July 2011.
Rotorua's Rolf Carstens is a keen amateur astronomer and was up at 2.30am on Monday to capture this photo of recently-discovered comet C/2009 P1 (Garradd).
The comet was discovered by Australian astronomer Gordon Garradd at Siding Spring, New South Wales, in 2009 and can be seen in the eastern skies of New Zealand.
The comet will come closest to Earth in March 2012 but will only be seen in the North Hemisphere at that time. Scientists are still trying to work out its orbit and when it will be near Earth in the future but, according to Mr Carstens, that will be "a very long time".
Mr Carstens used a 25.4cm SCT (Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope) on a German Equatorial Mount with a camera attached to take the picture from a system remotely controlled from inside his house. He is also a member of the Rotorua Astronomical Society, which has its next meeting tomorrow from 7.30pm at the old Rotorua West Bowling Club building on Kamahi Place.
Everyone is welcome.