Next time you see crepuscular rays extending from a sunset … turn around. Look opposite the the sun. You might catch a glimpse of elusive anticrepuscular rays, as Kenneth G. Smith in the east Texas did in this photo. More about anticrepuscular rays, inside.
You can find the North Star, Polaris, using the two outermost stars in the bowl of the Big Dipper. On September evenings, look for the Big Dipper in the northwestern sky. Notice that a line from the two outermost stars in the bowl of the Big Dipper point to the North Star. The Big Dipper circles the North Star much like an hour hand circling the center of a clock.
Two powerful storms on the sun this week released solar particles that began striking Earth’s atmosphere early Friday morning (September 12, 2014). As a result, many at northerly latitudes – and some at latitudes like those of the northern U.S. – saw beautiful displays of the northern lights last night. These are a few of our favorites. Thanks to all who posted on EarthSky’s Facebook page.
You can find the Pleiades star cluster – sometimes called the Seven Sisters – easily just by looking for it. No other pattern in the sky is so little and yet so clearly shaped like a dipper. Late at night on September 13, 2014, until dawn on September 14, you can see the waning gibbous moon near this star cluster. The bright reddish star nearby is called Aldebaran.
The startling results of a new survey include 17 previously unknown monuments and dozens of burial mounds surrounding Stonehenge.
Due to two recent events on the sun – including an X-flare from Active Region 2158 on the sun on Wednesday – reports from NOAA and elsewhere predict good chances for significant auroral displays. Auroras will be possibly observable at latitudes as far south as the northern U.S. states including, for example, Wisconsin, Michigan, and New York, and maybe even farther south. Spaceweather.com reports:
The first of two CMEs expected to hit Earth’s magnetic field on Sept. 12 has arrived, and a minor (G1-class) geomagnetic storm is underway as a result of the impact. The second and potentially more powerful CME is still en route. NOAA forecasters say geomagnetic storming could become strong (G3-class) during the late hours of Sept. 12 and Sept 13 after the second CME arrives.
Fire in space doesn’t act like fire here on Earth. Untethered by gravity, flames in space curl themselves into tiny balls. Here’s a new NASA video on experiments on combustion in microgravity aboard the International Space Station.
Here is a Rosetta ‘selfie’ with comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in background. It was taken by the CIVA camera onboard the Philae Lander. This is the same camera that will be acquiring images from the surface of the comet itself, when the Philae lander sets down on the comet in November.