CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH MARS: In only 5 days, Mars will make its closest approach to Earth since 2012. Australian astrophotograher Anthony Wesley couldnt wait. Using a 16 inch telescope, he took this picture last night: On April 15th there will be a total eclipse of the Moon. Got clouds? No problem. The event will be broadcast live on the web by the Coca-Cola Science Center. 2014 Lunar Eclipse Live QUIET SUN: Solar activity was very low yesterday, and the quiet appears set to continue today. NOAA forecasters put the odds of an X-flare on April 9th at no more than 1%. Solar flare alerts: text, voice CORONAL HOLES: NASAs Solar Dynamics Observatory is monitoring a pair of coronal holes straddling the suns equator. They are the deep-blue wedges in this extreme ultraviolet image of the sun taken mid-day on April 9th: Coronal holes are places in the suns atmosphere where the ambient magnetic field opens up and allows solar wind to escape. A double-stream of solar wind flowing from these coronal holes could reach Earth on April 13-14. It is possible that neither stream will be geoeffective as they flow north and south of our planet. On the other hand, a brush pass might still spark polar auroras. Stay tuned for updates. Aurora alerts: text, voice CLOSE ENCOUNTER WITH MARS: In only 5 days, Mars will make its closest approach to Earth since 2012. Australian astrophotograher Anthony Wesley couldnt wait. Using a 16 inch telescope, he took this picture last night: His high-reolution image shows the rapidly evaporating north polar cap (summer began there in February), orographic clouds over the Elysium volcanoes near the Martian equator, and an even brighter blue cloud over the Hellas impact basin in the southern hemisphere. Hellas is the lowest point on Mars, and some of the haze evident there could be icy fog. Getting such Hubblesque results from a 16-inch telescope requires a combination of good seeing and long years of experience. Wesley is one of the worlds top amateur astrophotographers and he routinely produces images like this. Observers with less experience can take good photos, too, especially in the nights ahead as Mars nears Earth. Look for burnt-orange Mars rising in the east around around 10 p.m. about 5° from the blue 1st-magnitude star Spica.
Posted on: Thu, 10 Apr 2014 06:24:17 +0000
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