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Sat, 16 Feb 2019
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Strange Skies


King of the Monsters Godzilla, gets its own constellation

© SoraNews24
Mt. Fuji constellation joins the kaiju in the gamma-ray-filled heavens.

When Godzilla made his screen debut in 1954, he was, like most Japanese media of the era, designed just for Japan. But in the decades since, the King of the Monsters has expanded his dominion, appearing in theaters around the world.

That international recognition even earned the kaiju his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but now Godzilla finds himself among not just movie stars, but celestial ones as well, as NASA has announced a Godzilla constellation.
Godzilla Constellation3
© PR Times, NASA

Cloud Lightning

Hurricane Michael leaves cities with electric purple sky

ohio purple sky
© Global Look Press/Fotoarena
An Ohio motorist has filmed the night sky appearing to glow a magnificent electric purple over the city of Cleveland. The bizarre celestial light has left many struggling to explain the strange phenomenon.

Captured by Youtube user Jbreez216 as he was driving around Cleveland, the footage depicts a strange hue above the city. Completely freaked out by what he is seeing, the eyewitness puts his camera out the window of his moving vehicle to prove it's not a trick reflection on the windscreen.

"Look at the sky, why is it purple like that?" the motorist says in the video. "That's crazy. I thought it was my [window] tint for a second but... that's out the window. That's crazy."


Sun dog seen over Los Alamos, New Mexico

Sun dog over Los Alamos, NM
© Sandra Chavez
Daily Postcard: A sun dog is spotted in the sky Wednesday evening above Los Alamos.

According to skyandtelescope.com, a sun dog, or mock Sun, is a concentrated patch of sunlight occasionally seen about 22° to the left or right of the Sun.

Sun dogs often form when sunlight refracts through icy clouds containing hexagonal plate crystals aligned with their large, flat faces parallel to the ground.

Technically known as perihelia (singular parhelion) they are often white but sometimes quite colorful, looking like detached pieces of rainbow, with red on the inside, toward the Sun, and blue on the outside.


Stunning supernumery rainbow captured by NASA photographer over New Jersey following Hurricane Florence

supernumery rainbow NJ
© John Entwistle
At first glance, you might mistake the image for a painting - but it's very much real.

A NASA photographer has captured a breathtaking image of a rare 'hall of rainbows .'

The phenomenon appeared after Hurricane Florence passed over New Jersey last month.

The incredible rainbows, otherwise known as supernumerary rainbows, faded in an out for around half an hour, much to the delight of the photographer.

Comment: While Hurricane Florence certainly will have created unusual conditions in the region, it's also highly likely that this spectacular sight is just another example of our rapidly changing atmosphere: And for more information SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Earth changes in an electric universe: Is climate change really man-made?


Rare green flash of Venus photographed on horizon in Rome

green flash venus 2018
© Paolo Palma
Green Flash Of Venus
Taken by Paolo on September 29, 2018 @ Roma
Green flashes on the sun are so rare, they were once thought to be mythological. Saturday evening in Rome, Paolo Palma witnessed a green flash with real ties to mythology: A green flash on Venus. "The planet was low on the horizon and its light looked like a long fiery bubble, with flames of red, orange, yellow and green," says Palma. "When Venus went below the horizon, the last ray was clearly green in color."

"I took this picture using my smartphone at the eyepiece of a 12-inch telescope at 76x magnification," he says.

Green flashes on the sun are formed when the prismatic action of the atmosphere splits the setting sun into basic R-G-B colors. Temperature inversions (usually above a sea surface) create a mirage, magnifying the green into an eye-catching flash. The same physics created this green flash on Venus. "The sea is only 8 km away from me!" notes Palma.

Comment: It would appear that the increase in sightings of rare 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?


'22 degree sun halo' seen in the skies of central India

Sun halo over central India
© The Hindu
It is created when the Sun is aligned with ice crystals at a particular angle; phenomenon is region-specific

The people in the district witnessed a bright ring around the sun for few minutes on Monday, a rare optical and atmospheric phenomenon called '22 degree Sun Halo'.

Haronahalli Swamy, a functionary of Shivamogga Amateur Astronomers Association, told The Hindu that the 'Sun Halo,' a circle of light with 22 degree radius, is produced when sun light is refracted in hexagonal suspended ice crystals and super cool water droplets formed in the cirrus clouds. The halo is created when the Sun is aligned with these crystals at a particular angle.

He said that the halo is region-specific. This time, the residents of Shivamogga, Bhadravathi, Tirthahalli and Hosanagar taluks witnessed it from 10.30 a.m. to 11.45 a.m.


Sun halos seen over Oregon's northern coast

Sun halo over Oregon
© Angi Wildt
Sun halos graced the skies above the north Oregon coast earlier today (Monday). Angi Wildt of Seaside took these photos of the esoteric wonder, which is the sibling of the nocturnal moon halo.

Both are the result of high cirrus clouds, ice crystals and a combination of refraction and reflection.

The common wisdom about moon or sun halos is that they are indicative of a coming rain storm or even snow. That's not always so, as today represents. The forecast for the Oregon coast tonight is not for rain but mostly clear skies, but fog after midnight.

According to EarthSky.org, those high clouds contain millions of tiny ice crystals. Like many Oregon coast sky phenomena - such as the Green Flash at Sunset - halos are made by refraction, which means the splitting of light. However here, the ice crystals also cause reflection, where sunlight is sparkling off the crystals.


Supernova that went unnoticed 14 years ago discovered

NGC 1892
Hubble image of the galaxy NGC 1892, in which a supernova from 2004 was recently discovered.
Observing Explosions

Supernovae - some of the brightest phenomena in our universe - are vast explosions thought to mark the destruction of stars in the end stages of their evolution.

The history of supernova observations is long: the first recorded supernova was seen in China in 185 AD! Because supernovae are scarce (there are perhaps 1-3 per century in the Milky Way) and their brightest stages of are short-lived (lasting just a few months), only a handful of supernova were spotted by naked eye through the ages. The invention of the telescope, however, changed this: as technology improved, astronomers became able to observe bright supernovae in galaxies beyond the Milky Way.

Today, around 50,000 supernovae have been observed. The field has been vastly expanded by recent automated sky surveys that methodically hunt for transients. Nonetheless, intrepid individual astronomers still contribute to this scene - as evidenced by the recent discovery by Brazilian amateur astronomer Jorge Stockler de Moraes.


Sun dogs spotted in the skies of northeastern Ohio

Sun dog over OH
© Fox8
Some of our FOX 8 viewers saw a pretty cool sight in the sky on Sunday. A phenomenon known as a 'sun dog' occurred.

According to Cleveland State University research astronomer Jay Reynolds, sun dogs happen when the sun is 22 degrees above the horizon.

For some, it appeared to look like an upside-down rainbow; for others, it was a bright spot.
Sun dog over OH
© Jay Reynolds
Reynolds says sun dogs can happen any time of the year.


Mysterious infrared signal from a neutron star detected by researchers

Mysterious infrared emission
© ESA/N. Tr’Ehnl (Pennsylvania State University)/NASA
A group of researchers recently observed a mysterious infrared emission coming from near a pulsar in NASA's Hubble Space telescope data. This animation depicts one possible source of the emission: a "fallback disk" or a disk that formed from materials of the parent star falling back into the neutron star after a supernova.
Space is filled with bizarre signals that we scramble to put meaning to - and now, researchers have detected yet another mysterious signal. This one emanated from near a neutron star, and for the first time, it's infrared.

So, what's nearby that could have created the weird signal? Scientists have a few ideas.

When a star reaches the end of its life, it typically undergoes a supernova explosion- the star collapses, and if it has enough mass, it will form a black hole. But if the star isn't massive enough, it will form a neutron star.

Neutrons stars are very dense and, as their name suggests, are made up mostly of closely packed neutrons. Neutron stars can also be called "pulsars" if they are highly magnetized and rotate rapidly enough to emit electromagnetic waves, according to Space.com.

Typically, neutron stars emit radio waves or higher-energy waves such as X-rays, according a statement released by NASA yesterday (Sept. 17). But an international group of researchers from Penn State, the University of Arizona and Sabanci University in Turkey observed something interesting in NASA's Hubble Space Telescope data: a long signal of infrared light emitted near a neutron star, the researchers reported yesterday in The Astrophysical Journal.