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Sat, 19 Oct 2019
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Strange Skies


Cosmic rays intensifying for the 4th year in a row

Cosmic rays in the stratosphere are intensifying for the 4th year in a row. This finding comes from a campaign of almost weekly high-altitude balloon launches conducted by the students of Earth to Sky Calculus. Since March 2015, there has been a ~13% increase in X-rays and gamma-rays over central California, where the students have launched hundreds of balloons.

COsmic Rays Increasing
© SpaceWeather
The grey points in the graph are Earth to Sky balloon data. Overlaid on that time series is a record of neutron monitor data from the Sodankyla Geophysical Observatory in Oulu, Finland. The correlation between the two data sets is impressive, especially considering their wide geographic separation and differing methodologies. Neutron monitors have long been considered a "gold standard" for monitoring cosmic rays on Earth. This shows that our student-built balloons are gathering data of similar quality.


Pink fog stuns residents of Devon, UK

pink fog
© Jody Bundrick
The pink sky captured by Jody Bundrick in Stoke-sub-Hamdon, Somerset
Fog glowed bright pink and mesmerised onlookers across the UK on Friday morning.

The unusual phenomenon saw the sky illuminated in an unusually bright shade over parts of the south west of England.

People described the sight as "amazing," although some said they found the sky's shade "creepy".

Jody Bundrick, who saw the pink fog in Stoke-sub-Hamdon, Somerset, said: "It was pretty amazing."

Comment: Black, blue, purple and pink snow, thundersnow, dragon shaped auroras, skies glowing blue, and now pink fog... whatever next?

See also: And check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Earth changes in an electric universe: Is climate change really man-made?


NASA releases photo of mysterious 'dragon' aurora over Iceland

A view of the mysterious dragon aurora snapped in Iceland
© Jingyi Zhang & Wang Zheng
A view of the mysterious dragon aurora snapped in Iceland on February 18
Nasa has released incredible pictures of an unusual 'dragon' aurora roaring silently in the sky over Iceland. The stunning natural wonder was caused by particles emited from the sun which smash into the atmosphere to cause a dramatic light display.

Nasa wrote: 'Have you ever seen a dragon in the sky? Although real flying dragons don't exist, a huge dragon-shaped aurora developed in the sky over Iceland earlier this month.

'The aurora was caused by a hole in the Sun's corona that expelled charged particles into a solar wind that followed a changing interplanetary magnetic field to Earth's magnetosphere.

'As some of those particles then struck Earth's atmosphere, they excited atoms which subsequently emitted light: aurora. 'This iconic display was so enthralling that the photographer's mother ran out to see it and was captured in the foreground.

The dragon aurora is strange because it appeared during a time of low sunspot activity, which means our star is not emitting as many charged particles or 'solar wind' as it normally does.

'No sunspots have appeared on the Sun so far in February, making the multiple days of picturesque auroral activity this month somewhat surprising,' Nasa added.

Comment: See also: Also check out SOTT radio's:


Video footage from central Ohio shows rare 'thundersnow'

Thundersnow in OH
© YouTube/Ty's Coins
A rare weather occurrence was caught on camera near Piqua, Ohio -- in the Dayton area -- early Wednesday morning.

That flash of light is called "thundersnow," also known as a winter thunderstorm.

One of the Ohio Department of Transportation's traffic cameras picked it up.

What you didn't hear was the loud boom that went along with it.

Source: CNN

Comment: Footage of the event was also captured 60 miles east in Dublin, Ohio by YouTube user 'Ty's Coins':


Exploding transformer? Strange blue flash of light seen in northern Wales, UK

Flash of light in Wales
© Twitter/NPASHawarden
Conspiracy theorists claim that a strange bright blue light that emanated in the sky over North Wales earlier this month marked the descent of aliens at a secret underground base.

The footage that fuelled this alien speculation was filmed by a member of the Hawarden-based National Police Air Service on 7 February, though some commenters suggested that the eerie phenomenon was caused by a ball lightning or power outage.

However, UFO investigator Russ claims that the light was connected with an underground facility he believes to be lying beneath the North Wales coast.

"I don't know what it was, but it could have been a UFO that came down, something that landed in the area or even something that was brought to the area," he told North Wales Live.

Comment: See also: Exploding Transformers - More than meets the eye?


'Von Braun' space station planned by private aerospace company

Von Braun Space Station
© Universe Today
Since the end of the Apollo-era, one of the main goals of NASA, Roscosmos and other space agencies has been the development of technologies that will enable a long-term human presence in space. These technologies will also help when it comes time to mount renewed missions to the Moon, to Mars, and other locations in the Solar System. Over the past few decades, these efforts have yielded Mir and the International Space Station (ISS).

In the coming years, these efforts will also lead to the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway and commercial space stations - like the Bigelow B330. And if private aerospace companies like the Gateway Foundation get their way, we'll also have a spaceport in orbit around Earth. The company recently posted a video showing exactly what this rotating wheel space station will look like, and how companies like SpaceX could help build it.

The company's concept is known as the Gateway, a rotating space station based on designs proposed by German rocket scientist and space architect Werner von Braun. These designs were featured in a series of articles in the national magazine Collier's during the 1950s titled, "Man Will Conquer Space Soon!" For this reason, the company has named their proposed design the Von Braun station.


New moon discovered around Neptune

© Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited
Scientists have found an entirely new moon in our own solar system - and it had been hiding in plain sight.

The new object, named Hippocamp, has been discovered floating around Neptune. It is the planet's smallest moon, and behaves very strangely, in ways that could shed light on how it first formed.

Hippocamp had already been captured in previous images of the nearby planet. But astronomers' technical abilities were not enough to actually spot it, and only now has the tiny world actually been noticed and catalogued.

When the Voyager 2 spacecraft flew past Neptune in 1989, it spotted six small inner moons orbiting the planet. Each of them is very small, and much younger than Neptune, probably having formed soon after the planet's largest moon called Triton arrived.

But new research shows that there had been another, unnoticed and tiny, moon floating near the planet. That takes the total number of moons around Neptune to 14 and sheds new light on the huge planet.


New 'shape' for coronal mass ejections revealed during observations

Coronal mass ejection
© LV4260/Getty Images
An artist's impression of a coronal mass ejection.
Astronomers using one of the most sensitive arrays of radio telescopes in the world have caught a huge storm erupting on the sun and observed material flung from it at more than 3000 kilometres a second, a massive shockwave and phenomena known as herringbones.

In the journal Nature Astronomy, Diana Morosan from the University of Helsinki in Finland and her colleagues report detailed observations of the huge storm, a magnetic eruption known as a coronal mass ejection (CME).

Unlike the herringbones a biologist might find while dissecting, well, a herring, the team found a data-based version while dissecting the radio waves emitted during the violent event.

The shape of the fish skeleton emerged when they plotted the frequencies of radio waves as the CME evolved. The spine is a band of emission at a constant frequency, while the vertical offshoot "bones" on either side were sudden short bursts of radiation at a much wider range of frequencies.

Herringbones have been found in the sun's radio-wave entrails before, but this is the first time that such a sensitive array of radio telescopes has recorded them. The detailed data enabled Morosan and colleagues for the first time to pin down the origin of the radiation bursts.

To their surprise, the bones were being created in three different locations, on the sides of the CME.

"I was very excited when I first saw the results, I didn't know what to make of them," Morosan says.


Australian police post video of strange light emerging from thunderstorm

Strange light over AUS
© Broome Police Dept
Broome Police in Western Australian shared the spooky CCTV footage on Twitter yesterday - which quickly gained global attention.

The 15-second video begins with flashes of lightning bursting through the skies during a thunderstorm.

Suddenly, a spark of lightning reveals an unidentified object appearing out of the clouds.

The circular-UFO swiftly floats in mid-air before gliding off screen, leaving an almost transparent trail


'Three suns' phenomena seen over China

An optical phenomenon known as a solar halo, or a sun dog, has been caught on camera in China.
Sun dog over China
Video footage courtesy of CCTV can be viewed here.