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Top headline from Current aroural activity from NOAA POES

CHANCE OF STORMS: NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on April 23-24 when the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) is expected tip south, opening a crack in Earth's magnetosphere. Solar wind pouring in could ignite auroras, like this:

Ronan McLaughlin of Malin head, Ireland, took the picture on April 20th during the Easter Sunday geomagnetic storm. "My son Oisín and I were admiring the Milky Way when, suddenly, the auroras made an appearance "

The Easter storm was sparked by a CME strike. The storms of April 23-24, if any, will be less potent because no CME is involved. The best time to look for faint auroras is during the hours around local midnight. Aurora alerts: text, voice

Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery

PEEP-O-NAUTS TAKE RISKY TRIP TO THE EDGE OF SPACE: On April 20th, the students of Earth to Sky Calculus launched a pair of suborbital helium balloons to the stratosphere. One payload carried a radiation sensor to measure the effects of the Easter geomagnetic storm on Earth's upper atmosphere. The other payload carried a colony of halobacteria in an experiment to find out if the extremophiles could live at the edge of space. In honor of the holiday, the students launched some peeps as halobacteria companions. As this movie shows, it's risky being a peep-o-naut:

The near-miss only 2000 ft. above the launch site almost brought an explosive end to the mission. Fortunately, the two balloons carried on to the stratosphere, gathering data on the solar storm in progress during the flight. Here is what peeps look like at the edge of space. Later, the peeps and halobacteria parachuted to Earth, landing in a tree in the Inyo Mountains of central California. Student adventurers recovered the payload and they are studying the data now.

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

Realtime Mars Photo Gallery

Realtime Comet Photo Gallery

  All Sky Fireball Network

Every night, a network of NASA all-sky cameras scans the skies above the United States for meteoritic fireballs. Automated software maintained by NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office calculates their orbits, velocity, penetration depth in Earth's atmosphere and many other characteristics. Daily results are presented here on

On Apr. 23, 2014, the network reported 20 fireballs.
(11 April Lyrids, 9 sporadics)

In this diagram of the inner solar system, all of the fireball orbits intersect at a single point--Earth. The orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue). [Larger image] [movies]

On Apr. 22, 2014, the network reported 25 fireballs.
(19 sporadics, 6 April Lyrids)

In this diagram of the inner solar system, all of the fireball orbits intersect at a single point--Earth. The orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue). [Larger image] [movies]

  Near Earth Asteroids
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.
On April 24, 2014 there were 1465 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Recent & Upcoming Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2007 TV18
Apr 18
7.4 LD
88 m
2014 GG49
Apr 19
3.9 LD
31 m
2014 HP2
Apr 24
3.8 LD
15 m
2014 HU2
Apr 25
3.7 LD
22 m
2014 HW
Apr 27
2.1 LD
9 m
2007 HB15
Apr 28
6.7 LD
12 m
2014 HL2
Apr 28
8.8 LD
24 m
2010 JO33
May 17
4 LD
43 m
2005 UK1
May 20
36.7 LD
1.1 km
1997 WS22
May 21
47.1 LD
1.5 km
2002 JC
May 24
48.7 LD
1.4 km
Notes: LD means "Lunar Distance." 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach.
  Essential web links
NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
  The official U.S. government space weather bureau
Atmospheric Optics
  The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena.
Solar Dynamics Observatory
  Researchers call it a "Hubble for the sun." SDO is the most advanced solar observatory ever.
  3D views of the sun from NASA's Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  from the NOAA Space Environment Center
  the underlying science of space weather
Space Weather Alerts
  more links...
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northern lights tours
Fine meteorite rings
software & hardware product reviews
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Guide to the Northern Lights
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©2010 All rights reserved. This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.

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Welcome to the official website of the Magic Valley Astronomical Society (MVAS) located in the south central region of Idaho. This website will be a source of information about the club for our members and the public at large.

Founded in 1976, the Magic Valley Astronomical Society is a non-profit [501(c) 3] educational and scientific organization dedicated to bringing together people with an interest in astronomy. The society serves as a source of astronomical phenomena, history and lore by providing educational and observing opportunities and information for its members and the general public and promotes viewing of celestial objects with special events for adults and children in south central Idaho. Since inception, education of members and the public has been the main activity of the organization. We also promote awareness and preservation of the environment and offer opportunities for amateurs to participate in many areas of astronomical research.

Each month we hold educational meetings at the Herrett Center for the Arts and Science (watch for the sign) on the College of Southern Idaho campus. We also assist the Centennial Observatory staff at the Herrett Center with their monthly star parties which are held monthly for the public at no charge. Each meeting features a presentation by members or special guests on some aspect of astronomy.  Recent topics have included telescope operation and construction, use of star charts, constellation, planetary nebulae, the moon, cosmology, astrophotography and CCD imaging. There's something for everyone at all levels. Meetings are held on the second Saturday of each month at 7:00 p.m. MST. All are welcome.

The menu to the left provides access to many helpful resources, browse through the image gallery or read some of our old newsletters. Interested in observing the night sky in the south central Idaho area? How about a star party? The star party provides a great opportunity to meet other people that share your interest in astronomy to view the planets, moon, stars and other celestial sights through telescopes and binoculars of all sizes. Individuals and families - whether beginners or veteran sky watchers . all are invited to join the Society for an afternoon of solar observing or a night of star gazing. The astronomers will stay up far into the night, as long as there are people there and objects to see. Members and non-members are not required to own any equipment or to have any knowledge of astronomy. Your basic curiosity about astronomy is all you need. Star parties are held at the Centennial Observatory following our monthly meeting; weather permitting. We do ask that you view the information on star parties by following the link on the left.

If you have questions, or would like to know more about the club or any of our activities click on the .contact us. link on the left.

We thank you for your visit today, please come back often, or bookmark us, to find out current events.

Look for previous contents of this page here.

Kimberly Lat: 42.538    Lon: -114.364    Alt: 1200    TZ: MST   
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