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Pictures of the Day

Galaxy Cluster Abell 2125

Abell 2125 is a galaxy cluster that lies about 3 billion light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Ursa Minor, and is seen at a time about 11 billion years after the Big Bang, when many galaxy clusters are believed to have formed.

It reveals a complex of several huge elongated clouds of multimillion degree Celsius gas coming together from different directions. These hot gas clouds, each of which contains hundreds of galaxies, appear to be in the process of merging to form a single massive galaxy cluster.

The bright gas cloud on the upper left is the core of Abell 2125 and envelopes hundreds of galaxies. Several galaxies in this core cluster are being stripped of their gas as they fall through surrounding high-pressure hot gas. This stripping process has enriched the core cluster’s gas in heavy elements such as iron.

The bright large cloud on the lower right also envelopes hundreds of galaxies but has an extraordinarily low concentration of iron atoms. It is thought that this cloud, which is several million light-years from the core cluster, has not yet been enriched by the stripping of iron-rich gas from its member galaxies and must be in a very early evolutionary stage. Over time, as this cloud merges into the core and the hot gas pressure increases, iron atoms should be swept from the galaxies.

LINK: [link to annesastronomynews.com]

LL Ori and the Orion Nebula

This esthetic close-up of cosmic clouds and stellar winds features LL Orionis, interacting with the Orion Nebula flow. Adrift in Orion's stellar nursery and still in its formative years, variable star LL Orionis produces a wind more energetic than the wind from our own middle-aged Sun. As the fast stellar wind runs into slow moving gas a shock front is formed, analogous to the bow wave of a boat moving through water or a plane traveling at supersonic speed.

LINK: [link to apod.nasa.gov]

The Star Explosion That Wasn't: Astronomers Solve 150-Year-Old Mystery

After a stellar explosion was reported in 1866, British astronomer John Herschel announced he had seen a bright flare from the same location 24 years earlier.

Herschel's claim was contested almost immediately, with some saying he had seen only a fairly common star in 1842.

Now the question of whether Herschel actually saw a recurrent supernova or a common star has finally been answered, clearing up a point about stars that "go off" periodically.

To solve the 150-year-old mystery, Bradley Schaefer of Louisiana State University dug through the records of the Royal Society in Britain, to which Herschel donated his papers. Schaefer was unable to find the astronomer's original chart, but he found the second best thing: a copy made by Herschel and sent to another astronomer a few short weeks after the 1866 explosion.

LINK: [link to news.yahoo.com]


Yesterday, Feb. 2nd, the solar activity forecast called for "quiet." In fact, says amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft, "it was really loud. There were several strong solar radio emissions including one super-strong Type III burst at 1954 UT. I captured it at 28 MHz and 21.1 MHz as it totally drowned out a short wave voice transmission." The source of the burst was sunspot AR1667, which unleashed a C2.9-class solar flare just before the roar emerged from the loudspeaker of Ashcraft's radio telescope. Type III solar radio bursts are produced by electrons accelerated to high energies (1 to 100 keV) by solar flares. As the electrons stream outward from the sun, they excite plasma oscillations and radio waves in the sun's atmosphere. When these radio waves head in the direction of Earth, they make themselves heard in the loudspeakers of shortwave radios around the dayside of the planet.

LINK: [link to www.spaceweather.com]

Sun News 02/03/2013

Forecast Discussion
:Issued: 2013 Feb 03 1230 UTC
Prepared by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Space Weather Prediction Center

Solar Activity

.24 hr Summary...
Solar activity was low. Region 1667 (N22E51) produced several C-class
flares including a C8/Sn flare at 03/0610 UTC. Separation was observed
in the trailing spots of Region 1667. New flux emerged to the west of
Region 1665 (N10E03) and was numbered Region 1668 (N11W09). No
Earth-directed CMEs were observed during the period.

Solar activity is likely to be low with a chance for M-class flares for
the forecast period (03-05 Feb). The most likely region to produce
M-class activity is Region 1667.

Energetic Particle

.24 hr Summary...
The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit was at
normal to moderate levels. The greater than 10 MeV proton flux at
geosynchronous orbit was at background levels.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit is expected
to be at normal to moderate levels with a chance for high levels on 05
February due to a combination of coronal hole high speed stream and CME
effects. The greater than 10 MeV proton flux at geosynchronous orbit is
expected to continue at background levels.

Solar Wind

.24 hr Summary...
Solar wind speed, measured at the ACE spacecraft, ranged mostly between
430 km/s and 470 km/s while total field ranged between 1 nT and 6 nT due
to continued effects from a geoeffective coronal hole high speed stream.
The Bz component of the interplanetary magnetic field varied between
+6/-4 nT. Phi angle remained mostly negative (towards).

Solar wind speeds are expected to remain enhanced for the forecast
period (03-05 Feb). A glancing blow from the 31 January CME is expected
to become geoeffective by mid to late on day 1 (03 Feb) causing further
enhancement of the solar wind. The current equatorial coronal hole is
expected to be followed by a negative polarity northern hemisphere
coronal hole.


.24 hr Summary...
The geomagnetic field was quiet to unsettled due to continued activity
from a geoeffective coronal hole high speed stream.

The geomagnetic field is expected to increase to unsettled to active
levels with a slight chance for periods of minor storming by late on day
1 (03 Feb) due to a glancing blow from the 31 January CME. Mostly
unsettled conditions are expected on day 2 (04 Feb) as effects from both
the coronal hole high speed stream and CME begin to diminish. Quiet to
unsettled conditions are expected on day 3 (05 Feb).

LINK: [link to www.solarham.net]

Streamer: [link to iswa.gsfc.nasa.gov]
[link to iswa.gsfc.nasa.gov]
[link to www.gdgps.net]

Active Region Map: [link to sidc.oma.be]
STAR Active region map: [link to solen.info]
EVE 3-Day: [link to lasp.colorado.edu]
Magnetometer: [link to www.swpc.noaa.gov]
Ionospheric Electrons: [link to www.ips.gov.au]
Ionospheric foF2: [link to www.ips.gov.au]
Surface Heat Index (USA): [link to weather.unisys.com]
NOAA Temps: [link to ww2010.atmos.uiuc.edu]

Estimated Planetary K-Index : [link to www.solarham.net]

3MIN News February 3, 2013: CME Impact Imminent, Quake Uptick Recap
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