Solar Storms Could Impact Earth’s Weather!

 

That white blotch in the upper left quadrant? That’s a Solar Death Storm.

It seems like not that long ago, Earth was facing down some major solar energy activity from the very ball of plasma that sustains life on our planet.  In fact, it was just at the end of January when some massive solar flares impacted Earth’s magnetic field,supercharging the aurora borealisforcing planes to adjust their travel patterns, and generally making scientists nervous.  Well, time to get nervous scientists:  a pair of massive solar flares will be impacting earth within the next 24 hours.

“Super Tuesday? You bet!” said Joseph Kunches, a space weather scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  ”It’s hitting us right in the nose.  By some measures this is the strongest one since December of 2006.”

The solar flare, an X5-4-class sun storm, is expected to cause no major problems, but due to the storm’s strength, people are already taking precautions with their communications systems and air travel routes.  The NOAA’s space weather scale has been set at an R3, which means special communication precautions have been taken, but Kunches expects the storm may peak at a G3/S4 level.  That means power surges may affect the power grid and that the astronauts on the ISS will have to take shelter from the radiation bombardment.

NASA Finds 1200 New Exoplanets

 

While NASA continues to search for more rocky planets outside of the solar system, they’re also still searching for Earth-like planets here in our own backyard.  For example, Cygnus is one of our closest neighbors, from a galactic sense, and NASA has deployed the Kepler Space Telescope to study the Milky Way galaxy. As it turns out, the Kepler Space Telescope is pretty good; NASA has discovered 1200 rocky exoplanets in the constellation Cygnus, including 58 planets with Earth-like life-friendly orbits.

There’s only one problem:  now you have to tell which exoplanets are simply rocks and which are actual planets.

 

Kepler basically measures how many objects of a certain size cross in front of the face of the star.  Given Kepler has an accuracy rating of nearly 80 percent according to CalTech, it’s likely that most of these discoveries are actually planets, which means that Earth-like planet systems may be pretty common.

You can read more about the new discovery on CNN.com or click on the link below:

http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/02/02/nasa.kepler.planets/index.html?hpt=T2

Starry Starry Night: Our Expanding Universe

Image source: Pixabay.com

What are Galaxies?

Did you know that galaxies are the vast islands of stars filling space?  Our own spiral-shaped Milky Way, parts of which can be seen on clear nights streaking across the sky, contain hundreds of billions of stars.

Here Are 3  Fun Facts about Galaxies:

  1. The word ‘galaxy’ is derived from the Greek word galaxias which means “milky”, it is a reference to our own galaxy the Milky Way.
  2. There are potentially more than 170 billion galaxies in the observable universe. Some, called dwarf galaxies, are small with about 10 million stars, while others are huge containing an estimated 100 trillion stars.
  3. Based on shape astronomers have identified various kinds of galaxies including, elliptical galaxies, spiral galaxies, lenticular galaxies, and irregular galaxies.

Can you Identify These Galaxies??

  • Spiral galaxies are rotating flattened disk-shapes with at least two spiral arms of newer stars extending out from a central bulge of older stars. The dense molecular clouds of hydrogen gas and dust in the spiral arms of spiral galaxies are areas of intense star formation.
    See a sample image here: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap031103.html
  • Barred spiral galaxies (like our Milky Way) contain a long bar in the middle with spiral arms coming off the ends. Around two-thirds of spiral galaxies contain a barred structure in their center.
    See a sample image here: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap181009.html
  • Elliptical galaxies are a mass of stars bunched together in the shape of an elliptical disk.
    See a sample image here: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap060520.html
  • lenticular galaxy is a type of galaxyintermediate between an elliptical and a spiral galaxy in classification schemes. It contains a large-scale disc but does not have large-scale spiral arms.
    See a sample image here: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap020408.html
     
  • Irregular galaxies are any galaxy that has no obvious spiral or elliptical structure. Some irregular galaxies would have just formed that way while others are the result of other galaxy types crashing into each other.
    See a sample image here: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap180921.html

Join our HTHT @ Home Science Experiment to make your own Expanding Universe:
https://sciencemadefun.net/downloads/Space%20Case_EOTD_May%208th.pdf