What's up in Space
March 22, 2009

AURORA ALERT: Did you sleep through the Northern Lights? Next time get a wake-up call: Space Weather PHONE.
Translated version of http://www.spaceweather.com/

DEEP SOLAR MINIMUM: Where have all the pots Suns gone? As of yesterday, March 21st, the sun has been blank on 85% of the days of 2009. If this rate of spotless ness continues, 2009 will match 1913 as the blankest year of the past century. A Flurry of new cycle in Oct Suns pots. 2008 prompted some observers to declare that solar minimum was ending, but since then the calm has returned. We are still in the pits of a deep solar minimum.

ISS GETS NEW WINGS: The International Space Station's solar arrays are the largest deployable space assemblies ever built. On March 20th, astronauts unfurled a pair on the star board side of the Outpost, adding more than 8000 sq. feet of light-collecting surface area to the station's profile. Hours later, the ISS Flew over Europe where amateur Astronomers photographed the new additions:


Ralf Vande Bergh took this picture from his backyard observatory in the Netherlands. "As the ISS Flew overhead, I manually tracked it using my 10-inch Newtonian reflector. Note the shuttle with its payload bay doors open. The Canadian Robotic arm, which helped install the arrays, is also visible."

Dirk Ewer or Germany also photographed the new wings. "I caught them only one hour deployment," he says. "It is a great addition to the station - not only for the power, but also for viewers on Earth." The movie he made using a 5-inch telescope is a must-see. (DivX required.)

more images: from Quintus Oostendorp or Vaassen, the Netherlands, from Pawel Warchal or Cracow, Poland, from Ralf Vande Bergh of the Netherlands; from Janusz Krysiak or Koluszki, Poland, from Martin Wagner or Sonnenbuehl, Germany, from Rob Carew of Melbourne Australia; from Mike Tyrrell or Northwich, Cheshire, UK, from Dave Gallant of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada;

The Edge OR NEAR THE SUN: Imagine looking up at noon and seeing a planet with four moons just 0.1 o from The Edge of the blinding sun. Impossible? NASA's STEREO B spacecraft did it this week. Click on the image below to launch a movie or Jupiter and the Galilean satellites in close "solar conjunction."


To view video click on source: below and scroll down...ricklbert
During the 30-hour movie, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto Jupiter circle as a massive CME billows overhead. STEREO-B recorded the action on March 15th and 16th using an occult disc to block the solar glare. This arrangement allowed STEREO's cameras to photograph Jupiter moons or eight thousand billion (8x10 12) adjacent times dimmer than the sun.

STEREO's corona graph (occult disc + camera) is designed to monitor faint but powerful activity in the sun's outer atmosphere. The CME is a good example. With a limiting magnitude of +6.5, it can also see stars, planets, moons Comets and so close to The Edge of the sun, it seems impossible. In fact, it happens all the time. Browse the STEREO gallery for examples.

Translated version of http://www.spaceweather.com/

Translated version of http://www.spaceweather.com/

Translated version of http://www.spaceweather.com/

On March 22, 2009 there were 1046 potentially hazardous asteroids.

Translated version of http://www.spaceweather.com/

Translated version of http://www.spaceweather.com/

Source: Translated version of http://www.spaceweather.com/
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