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Top headline from Current aroural activity from NOAA POES

M7-CLASS SOLAR FLARE (UPDATED): Sunspot AR2036 erupted on April 18th at 1307 UT, producing a strong M7-class solar flare. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash:

An S1-class radiation storm is underway in the aftermath of the flare. However, this is a relatively minor storm which poses minimal threat to satellites and aircraft.

Of greater interest is a CME that emerged from the blast site. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory recorded the storm cloud racing away from the sun at aproximately 800 km/s:

This CME could deliver a glancing blow to Earth's magnetic field on April 20-21. Two or three minor CMEs traveling ahead of this one are expected to arrive on April 19-20, and the combined impacts could generate geomagnetic activity throughout the weekend. NOAA forecasters put the odds of a geomagnetic storm at 55% on Saturday, increasing to 75% on Sunday. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. Solar flare alerts: text, voice

Realtime Space Weather Photo Gallery

DRAGON SIGHTED: Chalking up another success for commercial spaceflight, SpaceX's Dragon cargo carrier is in orbit and en route to the International Space Station. The spacecraft launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral on Friday, April 18th, at at 3:25 p.m. EDT. Shortly after the launch, observers across Europe watched the spacecraft sail through their darkening evening sky. Astrophotographer sends this movie from Paris, France:

The brightest dot in the movie is the Dragon itself. As for the other three objects, "I don't know what they are!" says Legault. "They are probably debris such as solar panel covers or the rocket cap. I would be interested to know."

Dragon will reach the ISS on Sunday, April 20th, at 7:14 am EDT. Using the space station's robotic arm, ISS Commander Koichi Wakata will take hold of the spacecraft and maneuver it to its docking port, where astronauts will begin to unload 2.5 tons of supplies and science experiments.

On its way to the ISS, SpaceX's Falcon rocket jettisoned five CubeSats. One of the satellites, PhoneSat 2.5, is the third in a series of CubeSat missions designed to use commercially available smartphone technology as part of a low-cost development effort to provide basic spacecraft capabilities. Another of the small satellites, SporeSat, is designed to help scientists study how plant cells sense gravity -- valuable research in the larger effort to grow plants in space.

Dragon is scheduled to depart the space station May 18th for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, west of Baja California, bringing from the space station nearly 3,500 pounds of science, hardware, crew supplies and spacewalk tools. Dragon's ability to return materials from space sets it apart from other cargo carriers that burn up upon re-entry.

Realtime Eclipse Photo Gallery

Realtime Aurora 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. 17, 2014, the network reported 6 fireballs.
(6 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]

  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 19, 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
2007 HB15
Apr 28
6.7 LD
12 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...
Comet Hunter Telescope
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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