Nothing but clouds since May began until last night, when the sky cleared for an hour during twilight. It was wonderful to see Venus again and its close “companion”, the star El Nath in Taurus. One benefit of the frequent rain and clouds is a proliferation of puddles, one of which caught Venus and cast it back at me.
Looks like there’s chance for auroras anywhere from around midnight tonight through tomorrow afternoon Central time for the northern U.S. and Canada. The stimulus for this round comes from a coronal mass ejection shot our way on May 7 by sunspot group 1471, which will soon depart the disk.
Meanwhile the much bigger, more active group 1476 continues to produce significant flares, though none are Earth-directed yet. Here’s the latest NOAA magnetic storm forecast.
Over the past two weeks, meteorite hunters in California have sent photos my way of what they thought might be meteorites from the April 22 fireball. Some of them are clearly not meteorites, while with others it’s to say for certain without a “live” inspection. Not so with the pictures Mitch Carey took of a 35.1 gram beautiful, unbroken specimen he found while spraying for poison oak on his land near Lotus. You can even see dirt on one side from the impact.
I contacted a couple well-known meteorite hunters in the area and Mitch’s find was soon confirmed as the real thing. What’s more, it’s the largest piece or “main mass” of Sutter’s Mill (provisional name) found to date. He’s currently taking offers on the piece.
No word yet on whether NASA researchers have found any meteorites from their ride aboard the zeppelin. More flights are underway. About 60 meteorites weighing 364 grams (0.8 lb) have been found to date.
For regular updates on new finds and their locations in the Sutter’s Mill strewnfield, make sure you visit meteorite hunter Jim Wooddell’s Meteorite Strewn Field for Lotus / Coloma area page.
If you’re out hunting and find a meteorite from this fall, please take the proper care to keep it clean, especially if you want to submit it for scientific analysis. That means not handling it with your bare hands and keeping it away from high humidity and plastics. For more on proper handling, see NASA researcher Peter Jenniskens’ guide near the end of his Sutter’s Mill page.