ellarien: Image of the Sun at multiple wavelengths, with prominence (astronomy2)
Kepler Mission Manager Update: K2 Has Been Approved! | NASA

This is much happier news than my last Kepler post -- and a nice bit of scientific make-do-and-mend. With only two reaction wheels the spacecraft can't point at its original target field with enough stability to be useful, but the engineers figured out that they could stably point it at the ecliptic instead.
ellarien: Image of the Sun at multiple wavelengths, with prominence (astronomy2)

It's pitch black and pouring with rain outside, but I'm watching Venus march across the face of the Sun.
ellarien: yin-yang fish drawing (quirky)
So the final word on that falling satellite seems to be that it came down overnight. Somewhere, most likely at sea. If it had fallen on anything important we'd presumably have heard about it by now.

Meanwhile, the Sun has been flaring away at a brisk pace -- one X-class flare today, and so many M-class that they're kind of merging together and the X-ray flux has barely been below the "M" level since noon today.

Facebook is utterly messed up and full of cranky people. Near as I can figure, they've rolled out way too many changes at once (but not consistently to everyone), and given people too many useless new buttons to twiddle while quietly taking away some useful privacy controls. By anecdotal evidence they may have managed to badly break privacy in the process, at least for some people some of the time by accident and probably by design for a lot more who don't realize the implications of tagging someone, for example. It all makes me even more wary of saying anything over there that isn't utterly innocuous, let along posting photos with actual people in them. (Not that I take a lot of those anyway.)
ellarien: Image of the Sun at multiple wavelengths, with prominence (astronomy2)
Here's the Sun in 171 Angstroms today:

and here's how it looked a year ago:

That's the solar cycle (finally!) in action.

I've been spending a lot of time lately looking at data from very early in the life of SDO, when sunspots were few and far between, and it's startling to look at the current Sun -- now sporting the most sunspots so far this cycle -- and see how much things have changed.

Waking up

Feb. 18th, 2011 11:14 am
ellarien: Image of the Sun at multiple wavelengths, with prominence (astronomy2)
The Sun has been pretty active this week. The highlight was an X2.2 flare on the 15th (that's a big one, though still less than a tenth of the size of the monster flares of late October 2003; the biggest so far this cycle by quite a margin.) There might be aurora tonight even here -- though it'll probably too cloudy and/or moonlit to see much.

Below the cut is yesterday's APOD (2kx2k pix), showing the flare at the 193 Angstrom wavelength as seem by AIA.
Read more... )


Aug. 7th, 2010 10:11 pm
ellarien: sunspot (astronomy)
I wouldn't have pegged active region 11093 as "most likely to produce an M-class flare," but it did. It will be interesting to see what the subsurface flows looked like -- and with the HMI pipeline cranking away, we should have some preliminary indications on that in a couple of weeks.
ellarien: Image of the Sun at multiple wavelengths, with prominence (astronomy2)
Would the St Pancras wifi block the AIA "Sun Today" site? Maybe it's just too bandwidth-heavy? (It also has weirdly apple-specific movies, which is annoying, but basically harmless.)

I'm checked in for my train, and still not a whisper of any industrial-action-related problems, so maybe it'll be okay.
ellarien: sunspot (astronomy)

GOES-15 Solar X-Ray Imager's Miraculous First Light
Originally uploaded by NASA Goddard Photo and Video.

And another solar imager joins the fleet ....

I hope the Flickr comment on this one about the focus and white balance being off is tongue-in-cheek.

ellarien: Image of the Sun at multiple wavelengths, with prominence (sdo)


I want a coronal hole that looks like the Batman logo. Read more... )
ellarien: Image of the Sun at multiple wavelengths, with prominence (astronomy2)
Live! Local! Late-Breaking!

The SDO/AIA team are making current solar images available. I'm not sure how often they're updated, but the stuff below the cut is supposed to link to the most recent image. (There are other wavelengths, but these are my favorites. 171 for pretty loops and flares, 335 for erupting prominences, continuum for sunspots. And 1700, which is UV continuum from the upper photosphere, because it's a novelty to me.)

Cut to avoid friend-page breakage in case of table coding problems, and to spare everybody's bandwidth. )
ellarien: cactus (desert)
So we turned 90 yesterday, for the first time this year. The campus saguaros are thickly crowned with buds and have been opening a flower or two; the air is still sweet and heavy with pollen, but that shouldn't last too much longer. I hope. The air conditioning at work hasn't quite caught up yet; it was 83F in the office this afternoon.

Sunday, on the other hand, was all wind and blowing dust, about the worst I've ever seen it on I10 in the afternoon, and a multi-vehicle accident that closed the southbound side and dumped three lanes of freeway traffic onto a badly-maintained, single-lane frontage road with predictable and interminable results. Someone died, and presumably several others had a much worse afternoon than we did, but taking four hours to get home from Glendale is not fun.

The Sun is being unexpected, as usual. Flavor of the month seems to be middling flares from little active regions that barely even qualify as sunspots; today's flare-productive region managed a C-class before it even got a number, followed by two more Cs and a (just-barely) M. It's also ridiculously far north -- 41 degrees -- but it's going to be gone over the limb in another day or two. (Unfortunately, that positioning is going to make it difficult to do much with its subsurface flows.) Granted, I didn't really start getting up close and personal with sunspots until after the last solar maximum, so most of my intuition is attuned to big declining-phase regions, but colleagues with much more experience seem to concur that this is all a bit odd.

I have my copy of C.J. Cherryh's latest, Deceiver, and started reading it on the bus home. I didn't realize until after it shipped that Amazon is playing games again, this time by deep-discounting the hardcovers of their latest adversary, Penguin, so it was quite a bit less than I expected. Fortunately, Ms. Cherryh has a donation button on her website ...

Finals are looming, and the students around campus seem to have their studies -- or at least their grades -- on their minds more than usual. I seem to have grown out of picking up the free-floating exam anxiety, though.
ellarien: Image of the Sun at multiple wavelengths, with prominence (astronomy2)
On second thoughts, I'm putting it behind a cut, because it is rather big. But it's pretty, and dynamic, and very, very pink. Which is an artistic choice on the part of the scientists; I suppose eventually we'll get used to 304 Angstroms being magenta instead of the black-body orange EIT has been using. The pink frame was my choice, though.

Youtube video )

Found via Facebook. (Seriously, if you like this kind of thing and can stand Facebook, it's worth friending Little SDO over there. Only then you have to be a bit careful what you share with friends-of-friends, because zie has a LOT of friends.)
ellarien: Image of the Sun at multiple wavelengths, with prominence (astronomy2)

Go look, and wonder. And stay tuned.
ellarien: sunspot (astronomy)
No, there's really not much point in sitting here at stupid a.m. waiting for the poor neglected daemons of the old and mostly superseded data system to serve me up the data with which I am not really awake enough to deal at the moment. (You know the old saw about the problem with standards?)

Shiny new embargoed data is getting unveiled in a NASA press conference at 2.15pm EDT on Wednesday, which is not actually tomorrow any more except possibly in Hawaii. It would be nice to be somewhat awake to enjoy that.
ellarien: sunspot (astronomy)
AR 11047 appears to have old-cycle polarity, but it's at new-cycle latitude. It's a southern-hemisphere region, which have been very scarce so far, but we have seen at least one with new-cycle polarity.
ellarien: sunspot (astronomy)
Heroic efforts to keep the bits NASA Goddard needed for the Shuttle and SDO launches open through the Snowpocalypse.

Launch Party in Second Life

Video showing the shockwave as the rocket hit the sound barrier and a thin layer of cloud.

Another video of the shockwave, taken by a 13-year-old girl and showing the destruction of a "sundog" in the cloud.
ellarien: Blue/purple pansy (Default)
Unofficial launch video.

Official launch video.

I'm still somewhat bemused by the whole rubber-chicken aspect of the SDO public outreach effort. There's even a rubber-chicken's-eye view YouTube video of the meeting I was at in Stanford in September. (And yes, I wandered into shot a couple of times, and no, I'm not going to link to it.)

More seriously, some nice launch photos are available at Kennedy Space Center's media archive.. I suspect some of those are going to show up as wallpaper on no few solar scientists' computers for a while.
ellarien: sunspot (astronomy)

SDO Liftoff from Pad 41
Originally uploaded by NYC Comets.

Photographic evidence! (Not mine: I was watching on NASA TV in the conference room at work, and eating too much cake.)

More links later, probably.

Mission Statement

Reading, writing, plant photography, and the small details of my life, with digressions into science and computing.



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