Atlantic Sat Image

Atlantic Sat Image
Clouds over Atlantic

Monday, February 27, 2017

Moon Ride to Solar Flares

Here's a quick look at a few events happening in Space News:

Sun Burped:
A hole in the shape of a canyon has opened up in the sun's atmosphere. This is blowing off solar wind and aiming it towards earth. This solar wind could arrive early Tuesday, Feb. 28th, sparking a northern lights display,  Forecasters at NOAA, say there is a 60% chance of G-1 storms thru March 1st. This may cause some satellite and cell phone outages.
This is what is reporting:
The source of the solar wind is a coronal hole (CH)--a region in the sun's atmosphere where the magnetic field opens up and allows solar wind to escape. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed the structure, above, on Feb. 27th.  

Researchers call this a "negative-polarity" coronal hole because it contains south-pointing (that is, "negative") magnetic fields that tend to be very effective in causing geomagnetic storms when they reach Earth. Arctic sky watchers should be alert for bright auroras in the nights ahead

Side by Side:

After sunset Monday, look west and you'll see a skinny crescent moon. It will appear near Venus giving you a great 2 for the price of one viewing.

And finally, if you have the cash....

Image result for spacex logoPrivate space firm "Space X" is planning on flying 2 people around the moon in 2018. Allegedly these two folks have provided a significant down payment already for the mission. SpaceX says, they'll "begin initial training later this year".
Apparently, other people, have expressed strong interest and we expect more to follow. Additional information will be released about the flight teams, contingent upon their approval and confirmation of the health and fitness test results.

Space X adds, "This presents an opportunity for humans to return to deep space for the first time in 45 years and they will travel faster and further into the Solar System than any before them"

Thursday, February 23, 2017

El Niño on the Comeback?

El Niño is a warming of the Equatorial waters of the Pacific ocean which impacts marine and atmospheric currents. This in turn disrupts many weather patterns around the globe.

The last El Niño was during 2015-16. Scientist say it was one of the most powerful weather events of the last 145 years. They add, that winter beach erosion along the west coast was 76% above typical with most beaches in California erodeding beyond historical extremes.

While El Niño creates havoc in many areas around the globe, for us, it tends to make for more hostile conditions in order for hurricanes to grow.

The 2015 season was below average, with 11 named systems, out of which 4 turned into hurricanes, and out of that number, 2 became major hurricanes. (Cat 3 and above) . An average season calls for 12,6,and 3.

Is there a return of "El Niño" for this year?
There are many factor to consider, but NOAA's outlook is calling for warmer ocean conditions starting in July.

The graphic shows warmer ocean temps in red. The Pacific is looking pretty good into the months of Match, April, and May as illustrated in the first upper left hand panel. But by July, August, and September, in the upper right hand panel, the red streak in the Pacific off South America seems to be growing. 

Could this be the start to an El Niño event? We'll have to wait and see.