Aurora — The Big Picture From 518 Miles Up

What an amazing image! Those cresting wave forms? That’s the aurora seen from 518 miles up by the Suomi-NPP satellite. An intense display lit up the sky across northern Canada on Dec. 22 just hours after the winter solstice, when a mass of energetic particles from the sun smashed into Earth’s magnetic field and funneled down to…
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Cosmic Rays Are Beating Up On Key Space Weather Satellite

Our finest tool for warning us of impending solar storms has been having a tough go since it was launched in 2015. Galactic cosmic rays may be to blame. NASA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) hangs its hat at the L1 Lagrange Point, a handy parking spot where the gravitational pulls of the Earth and sun cancel out.…
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It’s About To Get A Lot More Crowded Up There

Two nights ago at a star party I attended to celebrate Earth Day, a young boy looked up in Jupiter’s direction, saw a moving “star” and shouted out. We all looked up to see a satellite moving swiftly across the constellation Leo. Lots of people love seeing satellites. They provide a unique human-to-cosmos link to outer…
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Space Station Sails Back Into Evening Skies

Woo-hoo! The space station’s back in the evening sky and visible from many locations in the northern hemisphere. If you live in the central and northern U.S. or Europe, you can look forward to about two weeks of non-stop passes. Many more of us are out in the evening compared to before dawn, making this…
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Russian Satellite May Soon Become Brightest “Star” In The Sky

If a Russian crowdfunded group succeeds, we might soon see a satellite brighter than Venus gliding overhead at night. Called Mayak, Russian for “Beacon”, a team from Moscow University of Mechanical Engineering is working to build the orbiting artificial star to launch along with the Canopus-B-IR satellite aboard a Soyuz-2 rocket as soon as the middle of…
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