Space Weather News for June 17, 2009
On June 16th, a remarkably intense display of electric-blue noctilucent clouds (NLCs) swept across Europe.
Sightings were made in Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Poland and the British Isles.
These mysterious clouds are known to flourish during years of solar minimum--and 2009 is such a year.
This means more NLCs may be in the offing, not only over Europe but also North America and elsewhere.
Check http://spaceweather.com for images, movies, and observing tips.
THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING SUNSPOTS:
The sun is in the pits of the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century.
Where have all the sunspots gone?
Scientists studying a jet stream deep inside the sun may have found the answer.
Find the full story at http://spaceweather.com
Friday, June 12, 2009
Hubble's image of the Crab Nebula shows a six-light-year-wide expanding remnant of a star's supernova explosion.
Japanese and Chinese astronomers witnessed this violent event nearly 1,000 years ago in 1054, together with, possibly, Native Americans.
The orange filaments are the remains of the star and consist mostly of hydrogen. The rapidly spinning neutron star embedded in the center of the nebula is the dynamo powering the nebula's eerie interior bluish glow.
The blue light comes from electrons whirling at nearly the speed of light around magnetic field lines from the neutron star.
The neutron star, the crushed ultra-dense core of the exploded star, ejects twin beams of radiation that appear to pulse 30 times a second due to the neutron star's rotation.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
STRANGE LIGHTNING: High above Earth, in the realm of meteors and noctilucent clouds, a strange and beautiful form of lightning dances at the edge of space. Researchers call the bolts "sprites"; they are red, fleeting, and tend to come in bunches. Atmospheric scientist Oscar van der Velde of Sant Vicenç de Castellet, Spain, photographed this specimen on June 5th: