May 232014
 

The newly discovered meteor shower Camelopardalids will make a history-making appearance tonight sometime between 2 AM and 4 AM (EST). Some astronomers are predicting between 200 to 1,000 meteors an hour.

Scientists are calling the meteor shower significant. This will be the first time in a generation that a new meteor shower will be visible, so this may well be a lifetime event.

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Dec 082012
 
The orbit of the comet of 1680, fit to a parab...

The orbit of the comet of 1680, fit to a parabola, as shown in Isaac Newton’s Principia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A comet discovered on September 21, 2012 by two Russian astronomers hasn’t made the major news outlets yet but it will soon enough. Comet ISON is on its way to bring us a sky show that could be the one of the most memorable since 1680. Gradually increasing in brightness, it will become visible to users with small telescopes or binoculars by August 2013 and visible to the naked eye by late October/early November. It will stay visible in the sky until January 2014 and may actually be brighter then the moon itself. It is not on a trajectory with earth but will pass with 1 degree of the sun. More to come on this later.

 

Dec 082012
 
Planets of the Solar System

Planets of the Solar System (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A mysteriously speeding object whipping through the solar system has caused some initial concern but has now been identified as the elusive Pons-Gambert Comet (aka C/2012 V4). It has been spotted speeding past Mars on a trajectory that will put it near the sun before it speeds out of site and away from us. This is the first time the comet has been seen since 1827. It should be visible to viewers on December 11th in the Southeastern portion of the U.S. with a brightness magnitude between 9.0 to 9.5 but its trajectory is low to the horizon and may be hard to see. It is measuring 5.4KM in size (3.4 miles) and will pass behind the sun and will not come close to Earth.

 

May 172012
 

NASA has just released data from the orbiting WISE telescope that indicates there are a lot more asteroids out there that can hit us then they previously new about.  While letting us know there is no need to panic, NASA has indicated that they are paying much closer attention then they had before.  More asteroids tand larger ones than previously thought are in orbits that potentially could collide with Earth. Impacting with Earth could create a host of environmental hazards not to mention extensive damage and loss of life. A small asteroid of  40 meters in size impacting earth would be equivalent to the detonation of a 3 megaton nuclear bomb.

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Mar 102012
 
Artist's rendition of Earth's magnetosphere.

Image via Wikipedia

The sun has fired another blast directly at Earth. A class M8.4 solar X-ray flare just was just sent hurling in our direction at 12:44 PM (EST) today from sunspot (AR1429) again . This is a major flare that is just a couple of points short of an X-Class flare and it is directly facing Earth so we will feel it with full force. Our magnetosphere is already stressed from the recent barrage and this can’t make things any better. The chance of a strong geomagnetic storm is probable. This post will be updated as more details are determined. Sometime during the morning of March 12, a strong (K7 or higher) geomagnetic storm will arrive in the form of a magnetic cloud resulting from the full halo CME generated on March 9.