Saturday, April 25, 2009


Space Weather News for April 25, 2009http://spaceweather.comSUNSET CONJUNCTION: When the sun goes down on Sunday, April 26th, step outside and look west. An exquisitely-slender crescent Moon is lining up with Mercury and the Pleiades star cluster for a three-way conjunction in the sunset sky. Click here for the full story and a sky map: SOLAR ACTIVITY: The sun produced an unexpected burst of activity on April 23rd when an enormous prominence rose over the northeastern limb and erupted. A coronal mass ejection (CME) billowed away from the blast site, but the billion-ton cloud is not heading toward Earth. Visit for movies of the event.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Space Weather News for April 21, 2009

MORNING METEORS: Earth is entering a stream of debris from Comet Thatcher, the source of the annual Lyrid meteor shower. Forecasters expect the shower to peak on Wednesday, April 22nd, with a display of 10 to 20 meteors per hour over the northern hemisphere.
Occasionally, Earth passes through a dense region of the comet's tail and rates surge five- to ten-fold. In 1982, for instance, observers were surprised by an outburst of 90 Lyrids per hour. Because Thatcher's tail has never been mapped in detail, the outbursts are unpredictable and could happen again at any time. The best time to look, no matter where you live, is during the dark hours before dawn on Wednesday morning April 22nd. Visit for full coverage.

LUNAR OCCULTATION OF VENUS: Even if the Lyrids fizzle, there is still something wonderful to see on Wednesday morning, April 22nd.
The crescent Moon and Venus are going to have a close encounter of jaw-dropping beauty.
Look low and to the east just before sunrise.
Observers in western parts of North America will see a lunar occultation: Venus will disappear behind the Moon's limb just after 5 am PDT and reappear again an hour or so later.
Details may be found in this Science@NASA story:

Monday, April 13, 2009


Space Weather News for April 13, 2009


On April 11th, an amateur radio astronomer in New Mexico heard loud pops and crackles coming from the loudspeaker of his shortwave receiver.
The sounds resembled terrestrial lightning, but the source was not on Earth. It was a radio storm on Jupiter.
You can listen to the sounds on today's edition of
Astronomers have long known that Jupiter produces strong shortwave radio bursts detectable from Earth; the fact of Jupiter's "radio activity" is not news.
However, now may be the best time in decades to listen to the giant planet.
The sun is in the pits of a century-level solar minimum.
Low solar activity increases the transparency of Earth's atmosphere to shortwave radio waves, allowing signals from Jupiter to more easily and clearly reach the ground.
At the same time, terrestrial radio interference subsides (another side-effect of solar minimum), so Jupiter bursts are easier to identify
2009 is going to be a good year for Jupiter.
The planet is moving away from the sun and may now be seen shining brightly in the eastern sky before dawn.
Students, teachers and amateur scientists who wish to try listening as well as watching should consider building their own radio telescope.
Kits are available from NASA's Radio JOVE program: