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September 11 2012

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EXPLOSION ON JUPITER: Apparently, something hit Jupiter during the early hours of Sept. 10th (11:35 UT), igniting a ferocious fireball in the giant planet’s cloudtops. Amateur astronomer Dan Peterson of Racine, Wisconsin, saw it first through his Meade 12” LX200 telescope. “It was a bright white flash that lasted only 1.5 - 2 seconds,” he reports. Another amateur astronomer, George Hall of Dallas, Texas, was video-recording Jupiter at the time, and he confirmed the fireball with this video screenshot.

The fireball was probably caused by a small asteroid or comet hitting Jupiter. Similar impacts were observed in June and August 2010. An analysis of those earlier events suggests that Jupiter is frequently struck by 10 meter-class asteroids—one of the hazards of orbiting near the asteroid belt and having such a strong gravitational pull.

Astronomers around the world will now begin monitoring the impact site for signs of debris—either the cindery remains of the impactor or material dredged up from beneath Jupiter’s cloud tops. Some impacts do produce such debris, while others don’t. Researchers aren’t sure why; perhaps this event will provide some clues. Stay tuned for news about what happens next.

Update: George Hall has posted a complete video of the explosion on Flickr.

(via Time Machine)


Jupiter Impact Video - Here is a 4 sec. clip of an impact on Jupiter I recorded on 10 Sept. 2012 (by george1895)

September 05 2012

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SUBSIDING STORM: A geomagnetic storm that began on Sept. 3rd when a coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth’s magnetic field is subsiding. The impact at 1200 UT (5 am PDT) induced significant ground currents in the soil of northern Scandinavia and sparked bright auroras around the Arctic Circle. Ole C. Salomonsen photographed the display over Naimakka, Finland, on Sept. 4th.

“There I was standing all alone deep in the Finnish forest, just in awe of this display of light above my head,” says Salomonsen. “This is just one of many images of spectacular auroras I shot on this wonderful night.” …

(via Time Machine)

September 01 2012

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MAGNIFICENT ERUPTION: A filament of magnetism curling around the sun’s southeastern limb erupted on August 31st, producing a coronal mass ejection (CME), a C8-class solar flare, and one of the most beautiful movies ever recorded by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

The explosion hurled a CME away from the sun traveling faster than 500 km/s (1.1 million mph). The cloud, shown above, is not heading directly toward Earth, but it could deliver a glancing blow to our planet’s magnetic field on or about September 3rd. This date is preliminary and may be changed in response to more data from coronagraphs on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). Stay tuned.

(via Time Machine)

Reposted bysiriusminerva siriusminerva

July 05 2012


HIGH SOLAR ACTIVITY: Behemoth sunspot AR1515 is crackling with M-class solar flares and appears to be on the verge of producing an X-class explosion. NOAA forecasters estimate an 80% chance of M-flares and a 10% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours. 

INCOMING CME: On July 4th, sunspot AR1515 hurled at least four minor CMEs into space. Most flew south of the ecliptic plane (the orbital plane of the planets), on track to miss everything. One of them, however, appears to be heading toward Earth. Above is an animated forecast track of the incoming cloud.

According to analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, who prepared the forecast, the cloud will reach Earth on July 7th around 0600 UT. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on that date.

SOLAR STATIC: Sunspot AR1513 erupted on the 4th of July, producing an M2-class solar flare and a burst of shortwave radio noise that roared out of the loudspeakers of receivers on Earth. Amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft of New Mexico recorded the solar static at 21 MHz.  Listen or download at the webpage.

Reposted bysiriusminerva siriusminerva

April 24 2012

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This Hubble image released by Nasa presents astronomers with a puzzle. What appears to be a clump of dark matter has been left behind after a smash-up between a collection of galaxy clusters known as Abell 520 some 2.4bn light years away. The result could challenge current theories about dark matter because these predict that galaxies should remain anchored to the invisible substance even during the shock of a collision

(via A month in space | Science |

Reposted bymakingmoviesmolotovcupcake

March 30 2012

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The Jovian magnetosphere, including the Io flux tube, Jovian aurorae, the sodium cloud, and sulfur torus. This image appeared on the cover of Mercury magazine, Nov/Dec 2000. It’s a slightly updated version of the one custom-made for the fourth edition of The New Solar System, by Beatty, Peterson, and Chaikin….

(via John Spencer’s Astronomical Visualizations)

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The known composition and mass of Jupiter and its gravity field indicate that Jupiter has a solid core. The presence of such a core differentiates between the various Jupiter formation theories. Formation under direct gravitational collapse of gaseous material, much like the formation of the Sun and accretion onto a planetesimal results in different histories and different explanations for how the interior of Jupiter rotates. Thus, measuring the gravity field can inform us about the internal structure. The gravity field is in turn determined by precise measurements from the Juno spacecraft’s motion, in its orbit under Jupiter’s gravity. New knowledge of the gravity field reveals the distribution of mass in the core and the deep structure of Jupiter.

(via Juno - Science: Interior)

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