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Sun, 21 Apr 2019
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Strange Skies


Sun halo seen over Norfolk, England

Sun halo over Norfolk, England
© Angela Cole
Yesterday's brilliant sunshine brought a fascinating phenomenon to Norfolk skies.

Angela Cole, of Cromer, saw a strange circle around the sun around 12.15pm on Tuesday, April 16 when she was visiting her mum in Beeston Regis. Her husband, who was in nearby Sheringham, also snapped a photo of the heavenly halo.

After a spot of online research they believe they identified the outlandish aura: a -22 degree halo.

Mrs Cole said: "Anyone who looked up at the sky would have seen it. Rainbows come and go, but this was there for quite a while. It must have been there for half-an-hour. I've never seen anything like it before."

Fireball 2

SpaceX contracted by NASA to attempt to 'redirect' asteroid

© Pixabay

Despite an admission last year that it may be impossible to stop the 8.8 ton asteroid
Bennu from annihilating life on Earth, the perennial optimists at NASA have nevertheless granted SpaceX a $69 million contract to assist in the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), intended to save Earth from interstellar armageddon. The test, tentatively scheduled for June 2021, will have Elon's Musketeers crashing a kinetic impactor - in this case, a spacecraft equipped with cameras and solar panels - into a small moonlet accompanying Didymos, an 800-meter-long near-Earth asteroid. NASA notes that the moonlet, dubbed "Didymoon" by scientists, "is more typical of the size of asteroids that could pose a more common hazard to Earth" than its massive chaperone.

The goal, NASA says, is to launch the DART spacecraft atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that will then make its way to Didymos and Didymoon to attempt to alter the latter's trajectory in a rehearsal for what could one day be a high-stakes game of cosmic bumper cars. "By using solar electric propulsion," NASA says, "DART will intercept the asteroid Didymos' small moon in October 2022, when the asteroid will be within 11 million kilometers of Earth." Meanwhile, Earthlings will watch with bated breath.

"The collision will change the speed of the moonlet in its orbit around the main body by a fraction of one percent," NASA promises, "enough to be measured using telescopes on Earth."


Rare moonbow captured over UK's Cumbria heralds arrival of spring

rare coloured moonbow in Alston, Cumbria
BBC Weather Watcher Kimspics captured the rare coloured moonbow in Alston, Cumbria
A moonbow - a rare lunar rainbow - has been photographed over Cumbria during the super worm moon.

It was captured late on Wednesday above Alston by BBC Weather Watcher Andrew Hewison, who posts as Kimspics.

BBC weather presenter Simon King described it as a "rare and amazing colourful moonbow".

He said normally moonbows are much fainter and seen as white but the extra brightness of Wednesday's moon meant colours could be seen.

The super worm moon coincided with the spring equinox, the midway point between mid-winter and mid-summer.

During a full moon, Mr King said, there can be enough light to produce a moonbow.


New York and Chicago may see the Northern Lights this weekend due to an unusual geomagnetic storm

Northern Lights
© Flickr/L.E Daniel Larsson
Northern Lights as seen in Lofoten, Norway, in January 2014.
Cities as far south as New York and Chicago may see the Northern Lights on Saturday due to an unusual geomagnetic storm, meteorologists said.

A giant cloud of charged particles from the solar corona - the layer of gas surrounding the sun - known as a coronal mass ejection (CME) is expected to arrive on Saturday.

This in turn could increase the reach and intensity of the aurora borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, to parts of the northern US over the weekend, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said.

Meteorologist Joe Charlevoix tweeted that the Northern Lights would likely be visible on Saturday night. "This is not a guarantee but conditions are favorable," he said.

Cloud Grey

UAE residents spot rare 'fallstreak hole' - First in a decade

UAE hole punch cloud or fallstreak hole
© Directorate General of Meteorology in Oman
Also known as a hole punch cloud, the fallstreak hole is a large gap that can appear in cirrocumulus or altocumulus clouds.

Also known as a hole punch cloud, it is often attributed to UFOs

A rare cloud sometimes mistaken for an alien invasion was spotted over Al Ain on Sunday.

The fallstreak hole, also known as a hole punch cloud, is a large circular gap that forms in cirrocumulus or altocumulus clouds.

The unusual phenomenon happens when supercool droplets that have not yet frozen mix with ice crystals caused by airplanes passing through the cloud.

The ice crystals then start to fall, causing water droplets around them to evaporate. This process leaves a large hole in the cloud.

Although science has already answered the question of what a fallstreak hole is, because of their rarity and unusual appearance, they are often attributed to unidentified flying objects.

Comment: In recent times this rare cloud phenomena has appeared over Canada, Southern California, UK, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Other strange cloud anomalies seem to be appearing globally with higher frequency and intensity. Factors which may contribute to these 'strange skies' are atmospheric dust loading from increased comet and volcanic activity and changes in the layers of the atmosphere. See also: An indicator of this dust loading is the intensification of noctilucent clouds we are observing. As explained in Pierre Lescaudron's book, Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection:
The increase in noctilucent clouds is one of the effects - among others - of increased dust concentration in the atmosphere in general, and in the upper atmosphere in particular. We suspect that most of this atmospheric dust is of cometary origin, while some of it may be due to the recent increase in volcanic activity.
See also: Chemtrails? Contrails? Strange skies


Helicopter pilot sees UFO through his night vision goggles over Las Vegas

UFO Over Vegas
© Pixabay
Flying some 15 miles west over central Las Vegas over the weekend, the pilot of an air ambulance helicopter caught sight of a strange object that he was only able to detect after strapping on his night vision goggles.

The curious event was described to an air traffic controller by the pilot of an Agusta A109 chopper owned by Colorado-based company Air Methods, The Drive reported. The eyebrow-raising conversation unfolded on Sunday at roughly 9 p.m. local time.

"Just to advise. It looks like I have some sort of object over the southern hills area. It looks to be about 7,000 feet. It could be a balloon or something along those lines," the pilot informs the controller. "It's unlit, so... just advise."

Seconds later, the pilot is told that nothing is showing up on the controller's radar, but that the lack of confirmation doesn't necessarily mean that something isn't out and about trying to spook the concerned flyer.

"Yeah... I got night vision goggles," the pilot told the air traffic controller. "I can only see it through the goggles."

And with that, the air traffic official was amazed. "Oh, that's awesome," was his response.


New celestial phenomenon, STEVE, closely correlated with violent disturbances in Earth's magnetosphere says study

Steve Phenomenon
© Alan Dyer
Researchers find a violent potential origin for the aurora-like phenomenon dubbed STEVE events, pictured here in southern Alberta.
Earlier this year, researchers announced that long, narrow streaks of purple light occasionally observed in the nighttime sky are not a new type of aurora, as first suspected, but a novel upper atmospheric phenomenon. Dubbed Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement (STEVE) because of their association with fast-moving ions and hot electrons in Earth's ionosphere, these celestial lights are often visible at lower latitudes than most auroras and appear to be caused by a different, and still undetermined, mechanism.

To better characterize STEVE, Gallardo-Lacourt et al. conducted the first statistical analysis of this optical phenomenon. Using NASA's Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) ground-based All-Sky Imager array and the Canadian Space Agency's Redline Geospace Observatory (REGO) databases, the team identified and analyzed optical data from 28 STEVE events that occurred between December 2007 and December 2017.


2,700-year-old giant solar storm detected in Greenland ice

Solar Storm
© Solar Dynamics Observatory/ESA/NASA
Flares erupting on the Sun in 2014.
Evidence of an unusually strong solar storm that hit Earth in 660 BCE has been detected in Greenland ice cores-a finding which shows we still have lots to learn about these disruptive events.

An extreme form of solar storm, known as a solar proton event (SPE), struck our planet 2,679 years ago, according to new research published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. If an event of such magnitude were to happen today, it would likely wreak havoc on our technological infrastructure, including communications and navigation. Lund University geologist Raimund Muscheler and his colleagues presented evidence in the form of elevated levels of beryllium-10 and chlorine-36 isotopes embedded within ancient Greenland ice cores.

It's now the third massive SPE known to scientists, the others occurring 1,245 and 1,025 years ago. This latest discovery means solar storms of this variety are likely happening more frequently than we thought-perhaps once every 1,000 years-but more data is required to create more reliable estimates.

SPEs happen in the wake of a massive solar flare or coronal mass ejection on the Sun. These stellar events send streams of particles, including high-energy protons, toward Earth, where they interact with the Earth's atmosphere, triggering reactions that increase the rate of radionuclide production, including carbon-14, beryllium-10, and chlorine-36 (radionuclides are unstable atoms with excess nuclear energy). Traditionally, SPEs have been detected as spikes of carbon-14 in tree rings, but they can also be spotted as spikes of beryllium-10 and chlorine-36 in ancient ice cores. The authors of the new study said scientists tend to overemphasize carbon-14 at the expense of searching for other markers, and that "efforts to find [SPEs] based solely on [carbon-14] data likely lead to an underestimated number of such potentially devastating events for our society."


Is lower latitude aurora evidence of an upcoming Ice Age?

Fireball over central Wales
© Sean Weekly
A meteor enters the earth's atmosphere over the snowy hills of the Elan Valley in Powys while ethereal green 'airglow' spreads across the sky.
A recent article in the British newspaper The Express titled, "Northern Lights in the UK: Can you watch Aurora Borealis from UK? Where can you see it?" raises interesting questions and comparisons with historical events. It also appears to reinforce the climate forecasts for the next few decades.

Source: Daily Express
Sir Edmund Halley (1656 - 1742) was one of the great astronomers in history. He proved his science in the best way possible by making an accurate prediction. He predicted the return of a comet that they then named after him. I became familiar with his work while working on the climate record of the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) at Churchill, Manitoba.

The record was given a great scientific boost when in 1768/9 two astronomers, William Wales and Joseph Dymond arrived in Churchill to measure the Transit of Venus. Halley first identified this event and devised a procedure to gather data to determine the distance of the Earth from the Sun. This distance was critical to accurately testing Newton's theory of gravity. A Transit occurred in 1761, but lack of knowledge and a useable technique resulted in failure. The 1769 Transit was critical because another Transit would not occur for 105 years.

Comment: SOTT has been documenting unusually low latitude auroras as well the increase of previously rare colours - along with a multitude of other rarely or never seen before phenomena. Below is a selection of aurora sightings in the UK, and it's notable that they're still reported as
"rare", which is true, in a way, but clearly with our rapidly changing environment what was once considered rare is now occurring with increasing regularity: Also check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Earth changes in an electric universe: Is climate change really man-made?


Amazing LONG line spotted above the Earth from ISS

line in sky