SDO and Ham Radio


There are a few good websites for up to date solar data.  Being a ham radio operator I am among a community whose hobby is very dependent on what the Sun is doing.  One of the best sites around is from a Canadian Amateur Radio Station VE3EN called SolarHam.

Check out the video of this event from SDO/NASA.

From the Solar Dynamics Observatory:

One active region at the edge of the Sun pushed out about ten thrusts of plasma in just over a day long period (July 9-10, 2016). All of them, propelled by magnetic forces, quickly withdrew back into the active region. The images were taken in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light.

Credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory, NASA.

Venus Express Science


We a bit more science from Venus and the Venus Express. I should note up-front gravity waves are NOT the same as gravitational waves

Artist impression: ESA

The ESA introduction:
Schematic illustration of the proposed behaviour of gravity waves in the vicinity of mountainous terrain on Venus.

Winds pushing their way slowly across the mountainous slopes on the surface generate gravity waves – an atmospheric phenomenon also often seen in mountainous parts of Earth’s surface. These waves form when air ripples over bumpy surfaces. The waves then propagate vertically upwards, growing larger and larger in amplitude until they break just below the cloud-top, like sea waves on a shoreline. As the waves break, they push back against the fast-moving high-altitude winds and slow them down.

Now for the whole story.

Progress Cargo Ship Leaves Port

The Russian Progress 64 leaves the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, heading for the International Space Station on 16 July. The cargo ship contains carrying three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the station.

The arrival will be in 18 July which is incidentally the same date as a SpaceX rocket will be launching to the ISS. The Dragon cargo ship will transport crew supplies and station hardware including the first of two new international docking adapters. The adapters will allow for docking both the SpaceX CREW Dragon and Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and will bring back the American ability to transport astronauts to the ISS, an ability lacking since the end of the Space Shuttle era.

The SpaceX launch is scheduled for 04:45 UTC / 00:45 EDT on 18 March. The weather looks good, check back for a live look later.

UPDATE:  Check back here for a LIVE link to the launch posting at 04:00 UTC.



WT1190F is a ‘real-world’ example of how NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office along with contributers around the world is keeping an eye on what is sharing our space.

Video by Science@NASA

Cassini’s Unique View Of Enceladus


A unique view of the moon Enceladus thanks to the Sun-Saturn-Spacecraft geometry. Below is zoomed in on the Enceladus region.


NASA’s caption:
Wispy fingers of bright, icy material reach tens of thousands of kilometers outward from Saturn’s moon Enceladus into the E ring, while the moon’s active south polar jets continue to fire away.

This astonishing, never-before-seen structure is made visible with the sun almost directly behind the Saturn system from Cassini’s vantage point. The sun-Enceladus-spacecraft angle here is 175 degrees, a viewing geometry in which structures made of tiny particles brighten substantially.

These features are very likely the result of particles injected into Saturn orbit by the Enceladus geysers: Those injected in the direction of the moon’s orbital motion end up on larger, slower orbits and trail Enceladus in its orbit, and those injected into the opposite direction end up smaller, faster orbits and lead Enceladus. (Orbital motion is counter-clockwise.) In addition, the configuration of wisps may hint at an interaction between Saturn’s magnetosphere and the torrent of particles issuing from Enceladus.

In addition to the wisps, another unexpected detail is the dark gore in the center of the ring, following the moon in its orbit, likely brought about by the sweeping action of Enceladus as it orbits in the center of the E ring.

The view looks down onto Enceladus (505 kilometers, or 314 miles across) from about 15 degrees above the ringplane. Tethys (1,071 kilometers, or 665 miles across) is visible to the left of Enceladus.

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Sept. 15, 2006, at a distance of approximately 2.1 million kilometers (1.3 million miles) from Enceladus. Image scale is 128 kilometers (80 miles) per pixel.

Image and caption: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute