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Space Weather

Science news and information about the Sun-Earth environment.

Last Build Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2006 21:55:01 GMT


What's Up in Space -- 23 Apr 2006
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Don't you want your mom to see the space station? Spaceweather PHONE for Mother's Day. VENUS & THE MOON: Set your alarm. Just before sunrise on Monday, April 24th, Venus and the crescent Moon will have a spectacular close encounter in the eastern sky. This is worth waking up for, and a wonderful way to begin the day. [sky map] SOLAR ACTIVITY: For the second day in a row, astronomers are monitoring a veritable forest of prominences. "The way they sprouted from the edge of the Sun made them look like trees," says Larry Alvarez of Flower Mound, Texas, who took this picture yesterday: Solar prominences are among the most entertaining targets for amateur astronomers. They've been known to impersonate trees, giant broccoli, dinosaurs, sea monsters and even spaceships. What's next? Stay tuned. more images: from Eva Seidenfaden and Markus Weber of Trier, Germany; from Robert Arnold on the Isle of Skye, Scotland; from Andreas Murner of Lake Chiemsee, Bavaria, Germany; from Wah! of Hong Kong; from Adrian Guzman of San Jose, California; from Pete Lawrence of Selsey, UK; COMET NEWS: Fragment B of dying comet 73P/Schwassmann Wachmann 3 has split in two. Using a 4-inch refracting telescope, Mike Holloway of Arkansas photographed the pair on April 22nd as they passed the 5th magnitude star chi Bootes: Look also for Fragment G in the full-sized image "If they were going to hit something, would they be the Killer Bees?" jokes Holloway. No worries. Fragment B and all the other pieces of comet 73P will be at least 6 million miles away when they pass Earth in mid-May, close enough for a fantastic view, but no impact. Other astronomers have photographed the breakup as well: [...]

Ernesto Guido & Giovanni Sostero of Italy used a remote-controlled 14-inch telescope in New Mexico to obtain this image on April 22nd.

When he looked through his 8-inch telescope on April 21st, Anton Spenko of Tunjice, Slovenia, saw immediately that "the nucleus had broken in two parts": image

Eric J. Allen of the Observatoire du Cégep de Trois-Rivières, Quebec, was the first to submit a photo clearly showing the split on April 20th: image.