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Sat, 16 Feb 2019
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Strange Skies


Sundog seen in the sky over Frisco, Texas

If you looked into sky on Monday, you might have noticed something just a little different with the sun. It was still there, don't worry. But in North Texas, it was obscured behind a haze of wispy clouds and joined on both sides by what looked like flashes of a rainbow.

Except there hadn't been any rain all day.

Instead, what you were seeing was called a "sundog," which doesn't actually look like much of a dog but is a cool name nonetheless. WFAA meteorologist Jesse Hawila snapped a good picture of Monday's sundog in Frisco. Notice the rainbow-like arch above the sun:
Sundog over Frisco, Texas
© WFAA/Jesse Hawila


New supernova discovered in the M77 galaxy

Supernova in M77
© Koichi Itagaki
New supernova 2018 ivc recently appeared in the bright Messier galaxy M77 located in Cetus at R.A. 2h 42′ 41″, Dec. -00° 00′ 48″. The object is northeast of the core along the edge of the bright inner disk.
On November 24th, the DLT40 Survey picked up a 15th magnitude supernova in M77, a bright, barred spiral galaxy in Cetus located 50′ southeast of 4th magnitude Delta Ceti. Whenever a supernova is discovered in a Messier galaxy, I get excited. Messiers are among the closer and brighter galaxies and often host supernovae visible in smaller telescopes.

With an apparent magnitude of 9.6, M77 is easy to find in telescopes as small as 3 inches though a 10-inch or larger scope will be needed to ferret out this supernova - at least at the moment.

Designated 2018 ivc, the new supernova has brightened to about magnitude 14.5 and appears as a tiny pinprick of light 8.7″ east and 16.1″ north of the center of the galaxy along the edge of the bright inner disk. Spectroscopy reveals the "new star" as a Type II supernova in its early stages, implying that the object could brighten further. Not to throw water on the fire, but intervening dust within the galaxy has dimmed and reddened the explosion, so it's difficult to predict how bright it might become. One outlier observation from November 25th put it at about magnitude 13.6.

Comet 2

Newly discovered supernova complicates origin story theories

Supernova ASASSN-18bt
© Carnegie Institution for Science
Six images showing the host galaxy of the newly discovered supernova ASASSN-18bt. The top row shows three images from before the explosion taken by Pan-STARRS, ASAS-SN, and Kepler. The bottom row shows images from ASAS-SN and Kepler after the supernova was visible. The discovery image from the ASAS-SN team is in the bottom middle. To its left is a version with all the surrounding stars eliminated, showing only the new supernova’s light output. On the bottom right is a Kepler image from after the supernova was detected. Kepler’s precision was crucial to understanding the light from ASASSN-18bt in the early hours after the explosion.
Pasadena, CA - A supernova discovered by an international group of astronomers including Carnegie's Tom Holoien and Maria Drout, and led by University of Hawaii's Ben Shappee, provides an unprecedented look at the first moments of a violent stellar explosion. The light from the explosion's first hours showed an unexpected pattern, which Carnegie's Anthony Piro analyzed to reveal that the genesis of these phenomena is even more mysterious than previously thought.

Their findings are published in a trio of papers in The Astrophysical Journal and The Astrophysical Journal Letters. (You can read them here, here, and here.)

Type Ia supernovae are fundamental to our understanding of the cosmos. Their nuclear furnaces are crucial for generating many of the elements around us, and they are used as cosmic rulers to measure distances across the universe. Despite their importance, the actual mechanism that triggers a Type Ia supernova explosion has remained elusive for decades.

That's why catching them in the act is crucial.

Astronomers have long tried to get detailed data at the initial moments of these explosions, with the hope of figuring out how these phenomena are triggered. This finally happened in February of this year with the discovery of a Type Ia supernova called ASASSN-18bt (also known as SN 2018oh).


Sunniest autumn on record for the Netherlands

Sunset over Amsterdam.
© DutchNews.nl
Sunset over Amsterdam.
After the sweltering summer, the autumn of 2018 is set to enter the history books as the sunniest in the history of the Netherlands. Several places set new records for autumn sunshine on Sunday with 12 days of the season to go, NOS reported.

Meteorologists define autumn as the period between October 1 and November 30. Southern Limburg has been the brightest place this autumn so far, with 465.4 hours up to now, though this is not a local record. Almost all central and western areas have set new records already this autumn, including the central weather station at De Bilt, which clocked up 2000 hours of sunlight for the year to date.

Comment: Interestingly, this past winter saw the darkest months on record for some parts of Europe: And for more on the changes our planet is experiencing, check out SOTTs monthly documentary: SOTT Earth Changes Summary - October 2018: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs


Circumhorizontal arc seen over Northland, New Zealand

Circumhorizontal arc over Northland, NZ
© Natalie Richards
MetService has lended its expertise to explain a beautiful rainbow-like phenomena seen over the town of Paparoa in Northland yesterday.

Natalie Richardson was passing through with her mum yesterday when they noticed the phenomena in the sky, saying it was slowing changing colour for about 15 minutes.

"Thought the country should know because it's amazing! Never seen it before!" she said.

MetService meteorologist Tui McInnes said the rainbow was in fact a phenomena called a Circumhorizontal Arc.

"Basically what happens is sunlight enters the cloud and ice crystals in the cloud refract the light and form a rainbow," she said.
Circumhorizontal arc over NZ
© Natalie Richards


Photographer captures Stable Auroral Red arc over Finland

SAR over Finland
© Matti Helin
You've heard of auroras--green and purple lights that dance in the sky during geomagnetic storms. But have you ever heard of an SAR? Stable Auroral Red arcs (SARs) were discovered in 1956 at the beginning of the Space Age and have been recorded by cameras on satellites hundreds of times since.

Most aurora watchers have never seen one, though, because they are usually invisible to the human eye. Last night in southern Finland, Matti Helin saw one.

"The SAR was visible to the naked eye for nearly 30 minutes and, after fading a bit, remained visible to my camera for another hour and a half," says Helin. "Normally we see auroras in the north, but this stable red arc appeared to our south. It was strange shooting in that direction :D"

SARs are related to auroras, but they are not the same. Regular auroras appear when high-energy particles rain down along polar magnetic field lines, hitting the atmosphere (100-200 km high) and causing it to glow like the picture tube of an old color TV. SARs form differently.

They are a sign of heat energy leaking into the upper atmosphere (~400 km high) from Earth's ring current system. Normally, SARs become visible to the naked eye only during strong geomagnetic storms. Last night's G1-storm was far from strong, but the arc appeared anyway--further proof that auroras can be full of surprises.

Comment: It would appear that the increase in sightings of unusual atmospheric phenomena point to our rapidly changing atmosphere: Also check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Earth changes in an electric universe: Is climate change really man-made?

Snowflake Cold

Adapt 2030 Ice Age Report: Electric skies & more crop losses due to cold

snow on apples
Massive cold front from Canada to Mexico first week of November 2018, with colliding hot and cold air masses, electrical activity in Earths atmosphere, red sprites, roll clouds and a push of 25F below normal temperatures to the Gulf of Mexico. Cattle rustling in South Africa as crop production dwindles due to land confiscation. Cold weather crop losses in India, Peru, USA.

Comment: Crop and cattle losses are increasing everywhere, whether it is due to extensive drought, massive hail, epic flooding, unexpected frosts, and even epidemics. See also: Erratic seasons and extreme weather devastating crops around the world

Comet 2

Czech Mate - Confirmation of the Younger Dryas impact event

Gunther Kleteschka
© The Cosmic Tusk
See another blockbuster confirmation of the Younger Dryas cosmic impact below. I keep a pretty close eye on our subject but had no idea such intricate, original and thorough work was underway in the Czech Republic. Gunther Kleteschka has appeared on several YDB papers, but has clearly been busy in his own laboratory collecting entirely new, informative and well dated expressions of the YDB boundary in lake sediments. His work and that of his local colleagues is clearly exciting and in keeping with the predictions made by the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis.

Cosmic-Impact Event in Lake Sediments from Central Europe Postdates the Laacher See Eruption and Marks Onset of the Younger Dryas

Gunther Kletetschka,1,2,3,* Daniel Vondrák,4 Jolana Hruba,2 Vaclav Prochazka,2 Ladislav Nabelek,1,2 Helena Svitavská-Svobodová,5 Premysl Bobek,5 Zuzana Horicka,6,7 Jaroslav Kadlec,8 Marian Takac,2 and Evzen Stuchlik7

Institute of Geology, Czech Academy of Sciences, CZ-252 43 Průhonice 770, Czech Republic; 2. Institute of Hydrogeology, Engineering Geology and Applied Geophysics, Charles University, Albertov 6, CZ-128 43 Prague 2, Czech Republic; 3. Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 903 North Koyukuk Drive, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-7320, USA; 4. Institute for Environmental Studies, Charles University, Benátská 2, CZ-128 01 Prague 2, Czech Republic; 5. Institute of Botany, Czech Academy of Sciences, Zámek 1, CZ-252 43 Průhonice, Czech Republic; 6. Branch of Applied Ecology, T. G. Masaryk Water Research Institute, Podbabská 30, CZ-160 00 Prague 6, Czech Republic; 7. Institute of Hydrobiology, Biology Centre, Czech Academy of Sciences, Na Sádkách 7, CZ-370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic; 8. Institute of Geophysics, Czech Academy of Sciences, Boční II 1401, CZ-141 31 Prague 4, Czech Republic

Comment: Of Flash Frozen Mammoths and Cosmic Catastrophes


Sun dog seen in Newark, California sky

Sun dog in California
© Katie Daniello
With today's photo we get a serving of beauty with a side of science lesson. Katie Daniello snapped this photo of a sun dog in Newark last Friday near the Ohlone College Newark campus. Katie writes, "Sun dogs are created by the refraction of sunlight by the ice crystals in the cirrus clouds." Thank you, Kaite!

If you have an awesome photo of nature, breath-taking scenery, kids caught being kids, a pet doing something funny or something unusual you happen to catch with your camera, we'd love to feature it on Patch.

We're looking for high-resolution images that reflect the beauty that is Northern California, and that show off your unique talents.


Atmospheric radiation continues to increase over the US

atmospheric radiation US increase

Radiation dose rates at the Regener-Pfotzer Maximum, ~65,000 ft high at the entrance to the stratosphere.
So you thought Solar Minimum was boring? Think again. High-altitude balloon flights conducted by Spaceweather.com and Earth to Sky Calculus show that atmospheric radiation is intensifying from coast to coast over the USA-an ironic result of low solar activity.

Since 2015, we have been monitoring X-rays, gamma-rays and neutrons in the stratosphere-mainly over central California, but also in a dozen other states (NV, OR, WA, ID, WY, KS, NE, MO, IL, ME, NH, VT). Everywhere we have been there is an upward trend in radiation-ranging from +20% in central California to +33% in Maine. The latest points, circled in red, were gathered during a ballooning campaign in August-October 2018.

How does Solar Minimum boost radiation? The answer lies in the yin-yang relationship between cosmic rays and solar activity. Cosmic rays are the subatomic debris of exploding stars and other violent events. They come at us from all directions, 24/7. Normally, the sun's magnetic field and solar wind hold cosmic rays at bay-but during Solar Minimum these defenses weaken. Deep-space radiation surges into the solar system.

Comment: By now it is well documented that our Sun is going quiet, Earth's magnetic field is weakening and the planets within our solar system are showing serious signs of change.

See also: And for more, check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Earth changes in an electric universe: Is climate change really man-made? as well as SOTT's monthly documentary: