Archive for the astronomy Category

For the first time ever, astrophysicists have discovered gravitational waves originating from an entirely new source: merging neutron stars.

Posted in 2017, astronomy with tags , on October 17, 2017 by theboldcorsicanflame


For the first time, gravitational waves have been detected coming from the violent collision of two neutron star potentially solving the mystery of where heavy elements like gold come from as well as producing a visible afterglow detected by over 70 telescopes around the world.

To Be Continued on:

Spotless Sun Sparks Bright Auroras

Posted in 2017, astronomy, Galaxy with tags , , on October 16, 2017 by theboldcorsicanflame


Above: On Oct. 12, 2017, the sky above Tromsø, Norway, exploded in a spray of geomagnetic light. Colin Palmer photographed these bright green auroras from the island of Kvaloya. More images may be found in the Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery.

The sun is sliding into a deep Solar Minimum that continues to defy some expectations. For much of the past week, the sun was absolutely blank–no sunspots–and solar activity was deemed “very low.”

Nevertheless, space weather was stormy. From Oct. 11th through 15th, not a single day went by without a geomagnetic storm. Bright auroras were sighted not only around the poles, but also in a number of US states.

The reason for these counterintuitive space storms is explained on today’s edition of–along with expectations for more in the days ahead.


Strange Rainbow

Posted in 2017, astronomy, Galaxy with tags on October 9, 2017 by theboldcorsicanflame


Jon Larsen was driving home east of Spearfish, South Dakota, last Friday morning when he saw a rainbow.

“There was something wrong with it,” he says.  “I grabbed my camera and zoomed in for a closer look.”  This is what he saw.

The rainbow’s primary red band had separated from the rest!” says Larsen.

What happened? Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley says there are at least two ways that rainbows can be distorted in this way:

First, by hot air: “This rainbow over Adelaide, Australia, was bent by columns of rising hot city air, but no cities appear to be near Jon Larsen’s rainbow,” says Cowley.

Second, by mixed-up raindrops: “Rainbows can appear distorted when there are differences in the size of the raindrops along lines of sight to different parts of the bow. Small drops give broader bows.”

The second explanation is probably correct. Larsen notes that “strong surface winds were blowing rain shafts around.” These strong winds may have segregated raindrops into layers of different size–small drops being blown about more easily than large ones–giving the ‘bow a strange appearance, indeed.



Upper atmospheric lightnings : a new kind of sprite spotted over a thunderstorm in western Oklahoma

Posted in 2017, astronomy, Galaxy, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2017 by theboldcorsicanflame


Barely 30 years ago, many researchers did not believe that upper atmospheric lightning existed—until 1989 when researchers from the University of Minnesota captured them on video tape. Now there is a menagerie of accepted forms: sprites, elves, gigantic jets, gnomes. These “transient luminous events” (TLEs) appear above thunderclouds, reaching toward space rather than lancing down to the ground like regular lightning.

On Aug.14th, Thomas Ashcraft may have spotted a new kind of sprite. “I was photographing a cluster of sprites over a thunderstorm in western Oklahoma when something curved snaked up behind the main cluster.” This frame from his video of the event shows the strange form


August 31st: Polar geomagnetic storms (G1-class)

Posted in 2017, astronomy, Galaxy, Uncategorized with tags , , , on August 30, 2017 by theboldcorsicanflame


A canyon-shaped hole in the sun’s atmosphere is spewing solar wind toward Earth. Estimated time of arrival: August 31st.  NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% chance of polar geomagnetic storms (G1-class) when the gaseous material arrives. Auroras, anyone? Free: Aurora Alerts

With little warning, an unexpected geomagnetic storm occurred on August 23rd 2017

Posted in 2017, astronomy, Galaxy, Uncategorized with tags on August 26, 2017 by theboldcorsicanflame


With little warning, an unexpected geomagnetic storm occurred on Aug. 23rd, ringing Earth’s poles with the luminous glow of auroras. Peter Sayers photographed the display from the banks of the Forth River in Tasmania, Australia

“These fantastic auroras came out of left field while I was watching the southern horizon,” says Sayers. “There were beams like search lights for hours–a beautiful naked eye display.”

What happened? The interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) near Earth tipped south, opening a crack in our planet’s magnetosphere. Solar wind blew in through the opening and fueled the display.

Eclipse mania! Millions of Americans sit in some of the ‘worst traffic jams in history’

Posted in 2017, astronomy, Uncategorized with tags on August 21, 2017 by theboldcorsicanflame



  • The eclipse begins its cross-country trajectory over the Pacific Coast of Oregon late Monday morning and will reach South Carolina’s Atlantic shore some 90 minutes later
  • On Monday, the deepest part of the shadow, or umbra, cast by the moon will fall over a 70-mile-wide, 2,500-mile-long ‘path of totality’ traversing 14 states 
  • Officials in Oregon and other states are warning drivers the eclipse could cause the worst traffic jams
  • Experts advise people to wear proper protective eyewear or risk lasting blind spots during the eclipse
  • Monday’s event will be the first total solar eclipse spanning the entire continental United States since 1918
  • It is also the first total solar eclipse visible anywhere in the Lower 48 states in 38 years

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