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Picture of the Day

Comet Lemmon near the South Celestial Pole

Currently sweeping through southern skies, Comet Lemmon (C/2012 F6) was named for its discovery last year as part of the Mount Lemmon (Arizona) Survey. Brighter than expected but still just below naked-eye visibility, Comet Lemmon sports a stunning lime green coma and faint divided tail in this telescopic image from February 4. The greenish tint comes from the coma's diatomic C2 gas fluorescing in sunlight. Captured from an observatory near Sydney, Australia, the color composite is constructed from a series of individual exposures registered on the comet. Across the 1 degree wide field of view, the star trails are a consequence of the comet's relatively rapid motion against the background of stars near the South Celestial Pole.

LINK: [link to apod.nasa.gov]

Russian Rocket Launches 6 New Globalstar Satellites
Six Globalstar mobile communications satellites were successfully placed into low-Earth orbit Feb. 6 by a Russian Soyuz-Fregat rocket, bringing Globalstarís second-generation constellation to 24 spacecraft and permitting the company to approach full operational status after six years of degraded service, Globalstar and launch services provider Arianespace said.

Covington, La.-based Globalstar said all six satellites were healthy in orbit.

Operating from Russiaís Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Soyuz vehicle, fitted with a Fregat restartable upper stage, inserted the six 650-kilogram satellites into their intended 920-kilometer orbit.

LINK: [link to www.space.com]

Weekend Test on Mars Was Preparation to Drill a Rock
The bit of the rock-sampling drill on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity left its mark on a Martian rock this weekend during brief testing of the tool's percussive action.

The successful activity, called a "drill-on-rock checkout" by the rover team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, is part of a series of tests to prepare for the first drilling in history to collect a sample of rock material on Mars.

LINK: [link to www.marsdaily.com]

Supernova Observation Helps Scientists Make Better Forecasts
New observations have led to a better understanding of supernovae, which could one day lead to even better forecasts for the cosmic events.

Type II supernovae form when a massive star collapses, sending off a giant explosion from the dying star. Having a better way to predict these events would allow astronomers to study them in their earliest stages.

Astronomers wrote in the journal Nature this week that they have observed an energetic outburst from a supernova called SN 2010mc, witnessing a remarkable mass-loss event about a month before the explosion.

ďWhat is surprising is the short time between the precursor eruption and the eventual supernova explosion ó one month is an extremely tiny fraction of the ten-million-year lifespan of a star,Ē said Carnegie Institutionís Mansi Kasliwal.

Models showed that there was just a 0.1 percent chance that the outburst was due to random chance, which gives astronomers evidence that it and the explosion are related. These outbursts are two orders of magnitude more likely to occur in the immediate run-up to the starís explosion, than at other times in a starís life.

Several models of the supernova-creation process predict pre-explosion outbursts, but it has been difficult for scientists to see this process directly.

When the team compared their observations to three proposed models for the mechanism by which this mass is ejected, they found one model to be the best match. This model shows that the high velocities lend credence to the idea that the mass is driven out to the envelope that forms the starís atmosphere by the propagation and dissipation of excited gravity waves.

LINK: [link to www.redorbit.com]

Sun News 02/07/2013

Product: Forecast Discussion
Issued: 2013 Feb 07 0030 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 (N22E01) produced the largest event
of the period, a C8/1f flare at 06/0021 UTC with associated Type II and
Type IV radio sweeps. A coronal mass ejection (CME) from this event,
first seen in LASCO/C3 imagery at 06/0042 UTC appears to have an
Earth-directed component. A disappearing solar filament near Region
1667 produced a second CME that first appears in LASCO/C3 imagery at
06/0418 UTC and also has an Earth-directed component. CME analysis is
ongoing to determine the potential impacts of this activity. Region 1665
(N12W44) was stable, Region 1667 showed slight growth in the trailer
spots, and Region 1669 (N08E38) showed signs of decay and is now
classified as an Axx/Alpha spot group.

Solar activity is likely to be low during the period with a slight
chance for an M-class flare.

Energetic Particles

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

The greater than 10 MeV proton flux at geosynchronous orbit is expected
to remain at background levels through the period (07-09 Feb). The
greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit is expected to
be at normal levels during most of the period.

Solar Wind

.24 hr Summary...
Solar wind speed, as measured at the ACE spacecraft, was steady at
approximately 330 km/s through the period. The total interplanetary
magnetic field (IMF) reached a peak of 6 nT while the Bz ranged between
4 and -5 nT. The phi angle was positive (away) through the period.

No significant solar wind speed changes are expected on day one (07
Feb). On days two and three (08-09 Feb), wind speed should increase due
to potential effects from the 06 Feb CMEs.


.24 hr Summary...
The geomagnetic field was quiet.

The geomagnetic field is expected to be quiet on day one (07 Feb). On
day two (08 Feb), quiet conditions are expected until the arrival of the
first CME from 06 Feb. Conditions are then expected to be unsettled to
active with a slight chance for G1 (minor) storm conditions as CME
effects persist. On day three (09 Feb), unsettled conditions are
expected for the first part of the period as the second CME from 06 Feb
reaches Earth, then gradually decrease back to quiet to unsettled
conditions as the CME effects wane.

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]
Sea Surface Temps (02/06/13): [link to www.ssec.wisc.edu]

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

Plasma Vortex / C8.7 Solar Flare (2/6/2013)

C8.7 Solar Flare / CME Expected to Miss

3MIN February 7, 2013: Many Updates

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