HALLOWEEN FIREBALLS: This weekend, Earth could run
into a stream of gravelly debris from Comet Encke, source of the annual
Taurid meteor shower. The last time this happened, ten years ago in
Oct. 2005, the encounter sparked a two-week display of bright meteors
called the "Halloween fireballs." Will it happen again in 2015? Visit http://spaceweather.com for more information and observing tips.
ENCORE: One day, coffee is good for you; the next, it’s
not. And it seems that everything you eat is linked to cancer, according to
research. But scientific studies are not always accurate. Insufficient data,
biased measurements, or a faulty analysis can trip them up. And that’s why
scientists are always skeptical.
Hear one academic say that more than half of all
published results are wrong, but that science still remains the best tool we
have for learning about nature.
Also, a cosmologist points to reasons why science
can never give us all the answers.
And why the heck are scientists so keen to put a
damper on spontaneous combustion?
CME IMPACT: Arriving earlier than expected, a CME hit
Earth's magnetic field on Saturday, Oct. 24th. Polar geomagnetic storms
and auroras are possible this weekend as Earth moves through the CME's
magnetized wake. Visit http://spaceweather.com for more information and updates.
MORNING SKY SHOW:
Set your alarm for dawn. Venus, Jupiter and Mars are gathering for a
three-way close encounter in the early morning sky. Sky maps and
observing tips are available on today's edition of http://spaceweather.com
THE SOLAR FLARE THAT WOULDN'T END:
Typical solar flares are finished in a matter of minutes. On Oct. 22nd,
a solar flare in the magnetic canopy of sunspot AR2434 lasted for more
than 3 hours. The slow explosion produced a CME, which is expected to
deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field on Oct. 25th. Visit http://spaceweather.com for more information.
METEORS FROM HALLEY'S COMET: Earth is passing through a
stream of debris from Halley's Comet, source of the annual Orionid
meteor shower. Forecasters expect the shower to peak tonight, Oct.
20-21, with as many as 20 meteors per hour. No matter where you live,
the best time to look is during the dark hours before sunrise on Wednesday the 21st. Visit Spaceweather.com for sky maps and more information.
MINOR STORM WARNING: High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras after nightfall on Oct.21st and 22nd.
Earth is about to enter a fast-moving stream of solar wind, and this
could spark minor geomagnetic storms. Aurora alerts are available from http://spaceweathertext.com (text) and http://spaceweatherphone.com (voice).
ENCORE: For many, the word virus is a synonym for disease
– diseases of humans, plants, and even computers. Ebola is an example: a virus
with a big and terrifying reputation. And yet the vast majority of viruses are
not only friendly, they are essential for life.
Find out how viruses make plant life in
Yellowstone’s hottest environments possible, and fear your spinach salad no
longer: a scientist recruits viruses to defeat E. coli bacteria.
Plus, a new study presents the disconcerting
facts of just how far a sneeze travels, and viruses in another kind of culture:
but is ours benevolent? Find out from the man who coined the term, “viral
DID COSMIC RAYS KILL THE MARTIAN?
A senior space weather analyst has calculated the odds that astronauts
in the hit film The Martian could have survived solar flares and cosmic
rays during their travels to Mars. Learn more about the science behind
the blockbuster on today's edition of http://spaceweather.com.
Earlier today, a massive and beautiful plume of plasma erupted near the
sun's southeastern limb. The event could herald the approach of an
active sunspot and an increase in solar activity this weekend.
HOLE IN THE SUN'S ATMOSPHERE: A gigantic hole in the
sun's atmosphere has opened up and it is spewing solar wind toward
Earth. Because this "coronal hole" is unusually wide, Earth could be
inside the emerging solar wind stream for days. Minor geomagnetic storms
are already in progress around the Arctic Circle. Visit http://spaceweather.com for more information.
RADS ON A PLANE:
We have just completed a six-month survey of cosmic radiation on
commercial air flights over the continental USA. The results are
highlighted on today's edition of http://spaceweather.com
ENCORE: Is space the place for you? With a hefty amount
of moolah, a trip there and back can be all yours. But when the price comes
down, traffic into space may make the L.A. freeway look like a back-country
Space is more accessible than it once was, from
the development of private commercial flights … to a radical new telescope that
makes everyone an astronomer … to mining asteroids for their metals and water
to keep humanity humming for a long time.
Plus, move over Russia and America: Why the next
words you hear from space may be in Mandarin.
BLUE SKIES ON PLUTO: Earth isn't the only planet with
blue skies. Pluto has them, too. NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has just
beamed back the first color images of Pluto's atmosphere, and they look
a lot like home. Visit http://spaceweather.com for the full story.
GREEN SKIES ON EARTH: This week, sky watchers around
the Arctic Circle have seen some of the most intense auroras of the
current solar cycle. Usually, such displays are caused by CMEs. Not
this time, though. The reason for the outbreak is explained on today's
edition of http://spaceweather.com.
URBAN AURORAS: Last night, Oct. 6th, sky watchers
around the Arctic Circle witnessed an outburst of auroras so bright that
they rivaled city lights. This could herald an even stronger display on
Oct. 7th and 8th when a "co-rotating interaction region" followed by a
solar wind stream is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field.
It’s the starkly beautiful setting
for the new film “The Martian,” and – just in time – NASA has announced that
the Red Planet is more than a little damp, with liquid water occasionally
oozing over its surface. But Mars remains hostile terrain. Mark
Watney, the astronaut portrayed by Matt Damon, struggles to survive there. If
he has a hard time, what chance does anyone else have?
Find out how long you could last just
eating Martian potatoes. Also, author Andy Weir describes how he
prevailed upon his readers to turn his serialized blog posts into a technically
accurate thriller that inspired the film. Plus, the NASA advisor to
“The Martian” sorts the science from the fiction.
And, how the discovery of water on
Mars might change NASA’s game plan.
New images just received from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft reveal a
giant canyon on Pluto's moon Charon, as well as evidence that parts of
Charon may have been resurfaced by strange "water-based lavas."
Dark Plasma Eruption:
On Sept.30th, a massive plume of dark plasma erupted from sun's western
limb. A bright CME flew away from the blast site and might sideswipe
Earth's magnetic field on Oct. 3rd. Check http://spaceweather.com for geomagnetic storm and aurora forecasts.
Daytime Meteor Shower:
As October begins, a radar in Canada is detecting echoes from a fairly
strong meteor shower. The source appears to be debris from asteroid
2005 UD. Don't bother looking for these meteors because they are
streaking across the daytime sky, overwhelmed by the glare of the sun.
You can, however, hear their radar echoes.