NASA/Steve Cole – An international team of researchers, including a NASA glaciologist, has discovered a large meteorite impact crater hiding beneath more than a half-mile of ice in northwest Greenland. The crater — the first of any size found under the Greenland ice sheet — is one of the 25 largest impact craters on Earth, measuring roughly 1,000 feet deep and more than 19 miles in diameter, an area slightly larger than that inside Washington’s Capital Beltway.
The group, led by researchers from the University of Copenhagen’s Centre for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark worked for the past three years to verify their discovery, which they initially made in 2015 using NASA data. Their finding is published in the Nov. 14 issue of the journal Science Advances.
“NASA makes the data it collects freely available to scientists and the public all around the world,” said Joe MacGregor, a NASA glaciologist at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who became involved in the investigation in its early stages. “That set the stage for our Danish colleagues’ ‘Eureka’ moment.”
The researchers first spotted the crater in July 2015, while they were inspecting a new map of the topography beneath Greenland’s ice sheet that used ice-penetrating radar data primarily from NASA’s Operation IceBridge — a multi-year airborne mission to track changes in polar ice — and earlier NASA airborne missions in Greenland. The scientists noticed an enormous, previously unexamined circular depression under Hiawatha Glacier, sitting at the very edge of the ice sheet in northwestern Greenland. Continue reading →
Here is a look at the coronal hole providing an increase in solar wind and the sporadic aurora
There is a sunspot group now too; called Sunspot 2726 it is about centered on the solar disk (not seen in this image) and a plage in the northern mid-latitudes starting to rotate around the disk. Aside from being an intensely hot area in the solar chromosphere and can be associated with a sunspot, a plage is a great Scrabble word.
The image shown is from ESA/ROB via helioviewer.org. I encourage you to check out helioviewer.org.
ESA: This image show dramatic dark areas in the Sun’s corona and was acquired by the SWAP instrument on ESA’s Proba-2 mission at midday on Wednesday, 7 November.
The dark areas are ‘coronal holes’ – areas of open magnetic field in the Sun’s corona that emit charged particles as high-speed solar wind that spreads into space.
When it reaches Earth, this solar wind can affect the functioning of satellites in orbit.
The nice thing is that these are predictable events, as we can see these gaps or holes on the solar disc before the high-speed wind hits Earth.
ESA’s future Lagrange mission will significantly improve our ability to detect these holes and forecast solar wind effects, providing a lead time of three to five days.
If you are out and about after dark and you are in higher latitudes (meaning towards the poles) northern and southern hemisphere and have clear skies keep an eye out for an aurora. We have had sporadic aurora over the past couple days thanks to a coronal hole on the Sun. Disturbances in the geomagnetic field due to strong earthquakes may be another possible aurora source.
ESA: Earth’s magnetosphere is a region of space dominated by our planet’s magnetic field. The magnetosphere protects Earth from most of the solar wind, a flow of charged particles streaming out from the Sun.
However, some particles are able to penetrate this shield and reach the ionosphere, giving rise to space weather effects, including the beautiful polar lights, or auroras, as well as geomagnetic storms. Space weather has a real impact on our activities on Earth, and poses a significant risk to space-farers – robotic and human alike.
Various space missions, including ESA’s Cluster and Swarm, are investigating the magnetic environment around the Earth and how it interacts with the solar wind.
Meanwhile, Sun-watching satellites like the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), located at the L1 point between Earth and the Sun, monitor coronal mass ejections leaving the Sun and measure the speed of the solar wind 1.5 million km away from our planet, about 1 hour before it reaches Earth.
Here’s the plan. Will it work? We don’t have too long to wait now, just over two weeks on 26 November 2018 a parachute like we saw tested in last Sunday’s video will be put to the test and InSight will touch down gently or at least gently enough in the Elysium Planitia on the Red Planet.
Let’s not forget the two CubeSats: MarCO-A and MarCO-B (nicknamed “EVE” and “Wall-E” by their engineering team). The two little satellites will demonstrate their communications capabilities while NASA’s InSight spacecraft attempts to land on the Red Planet.