X-37B Secret Air Force Spaceplane Blasts Off on SpaceX Falcon 9 as Monster Hurricane Irma Threatens Florida Peninsula USAF X-37B military spaceplane blasts off with picturesque water reflections at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 UTC) Sept. 7, 2017 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – Amidst the frenzy of ‘Sunshine State’ preparations for Cat 5 monster Hurricane Irma and quite dismal weather favorability odds, the skies surrounding the Florida Space Coast suddenly parted just in the nick of time enabling the Air Force’s secret military X-37B spaceplane to blast offRead More →

The X9.3 coronal mass ejection has arrived at Earth and boy does it pack a punch! While the M5.5 coronal mass ejection turned out to be a huge dissapointment, the X9.3 coronal mass ejection is much stronger than expected and we are seeing some of the strongest geomagnetic storming of the current solar cycle. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

Second Fastest Pulsar Spins 42,000 Times a Minute Pulsars are what remains when a massive star undergoes gravitational collapse and explodes in a supernova. These remnants (also known as neutron stars) are extremely dense, with several Earth-masses crammed into a space the size of a small country. They also have powerful magnetic fields, which causes them to rotate rapidly and emit powerful beams of gamma rays or x-rays – which lends them the appearance of a lighthouse. In some cases, pulsars spin especially fast, taking only milliseconds to complete a single rotation. These “millisecond pulsars” remain a source of mystery for astronomers. And after followingRead More →

A Canadian effort to build one of the most innovative radio telescopes in the world will open the universe to a new dimension of scientific study. The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, today installed the final piece of this new radio telescope, which will act as a time machine allowing scientists to create a three-dimensional map of the universe extending deep into space and time. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

Solar activity is once again at high levels. Sunspot region 2673 continues to be very active as it rotates towards the west limb. Today (thus far!) it managed to produce a couple of M-class solar flares and an X-class solar flare. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

Secret X-37B Military Mini-Shuttle Set for SpaceX Blastoff/Landing Sept. 7 as Cat 5 Hurricane Irma Forces Florida State of Emergency – Watch Live SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket rolls horizontally up incline at Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on 6 Sept. 2017. The rocket is being processed for liftoff of the X-37B OTV-5 mini-shuttle mission scheduled for Sept. 7, 2017. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – Although its far from sunny in the so called ‘Sunshine State’ the secret X-37B military mini-shuttle is set for a SpaceX blastoff and booster landing combo Thursday, Sept. 7 – even as the looming threatRead More →

While we were catching some much needed sleep, the coronal mass ejection from Monday’s M5.5 solar flare arrived at Earth. Our alert system detected the impact and send out a tweet and a push alert when the shock arrived at DSCOVR around 23:08 UTC. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

What a day! The strongest solar flare of solar cycle 24 erupted today at 12:02 UTC and of course it was sunspot region 2673 that took center stage. It was a memorable X9.33 solar flare (R3-strong radio blackout) which was highly eruptive as well. We have to go all the way back to 5 May 2015 to find the last time we had an X-class solar flare and it has been 12 years ago since we had a solar flare which was stronger than today’s X9.3 event! Not bad considering we are already in the declining phase of solar cycle 24! Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

We admit! We have been ignoring sunspot region 2674 since it appeared on the solar disk a few days ago. It was a large sunspot region at the time with two massive sunspots. It however wasn’t all that complicated and there wasn’t much of a risk that it would produce a strong solar flare. That changed however during the past 12 hours or so. Keep on reading to find out what sparked our sudden interest in this sunspot region. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

The Orbit of Earth will be Hiding Earth 2.0 In the hunt for extra-solar planets, astronomers and enthusiasts can be forgiven for being a bit optimistic. In the course of discovering thousands of rocky planets, gas giants, and other celestial bodies, is it too much to hope that we might someday find a genuine Earth-analog? Not just an “Earth-like” planet (which implies a rocky body of comparable size) but an actual Earth 2.0? This has certainly been one of the goals of exoplanet-hunters, who are searching nearby star systems for planets that are not only rocky, but orbit within their star’s habitable zone, show signsRead More →

Supermassive Black Holes or Their Galaxies? Which Came First? There’s a supermassive black hole at the center of almost every galaxy in the Universe. How did they get there? What’s the relationship between these monster black holes and the galaxies that surround them? Every time astronomers look farther out in the Universe, they discover new mysteries. These mysteries require all new tools and techniques to understand. These mysteries lead to more mysteries. What I’m saying is that it’s mystery turtles all the way down. One of the most fascinating is the discovery of quasars, understanding what they are, and the unveiling of an even deeperRead More →

Now We Know When Stars Will Be Passing Through the Oort Cloud To our Solar System, “close-encounters” with other stars happen regularly – the last occurring some 70,000 years ago and the next likely to take place 240,000 to 470,000 years from now. While this might sound like a “few and far between” kind of thing, it is quite regular in cosmological terms. Understanding when these encounters will happen is also important since they are known to cause disturbances in the Oort Cloud, sending comets towards Earth. Thanks to a new study by Coryne Bailer-Jones, a researcher from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, astronomersRead More →

A new study using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton suggests X-rays emitted by a planet’s host star may provide critical clues to just how hospitable a star system could be. A team of researchers looked at 24 stars similar to the Sun, each at least one billion years old, and how their X-ray brightness changed over time. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

Big Solar Storm Coming Our Way, Now’s Your Chance to See Auroras An X9.3 class solar flare flashes in the middle of the Sun on Sept. 6, 2017. Credit:NASA/GSFC/SDO If you’re still riding that high from seeing the recent total solar eclipse and you want to keep the party going, now’s your chance to see another of the night sky’s wonders: an aurora. That said, a totally full Moon is going to try and wreck the party. NASA announced that two powerful flares were just emitted on the surface of the Sun, casting coronal mass ejections in our direction. Over the course of the nextRead More →

For decades, as astronomers have imagined advanced extraterrestrial civilizations, they categorized such worlds by the amount of energy their inhabitants might conceivably be able to harness and use. They sorted the hypothetical worlds into three types according to a scheme named in 1964 for Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev. Powered by WPeMaticoRead More →

NASA, NOAA Satellites Track Hurricane Irma’s Path Record-setting Hurricane Irma barreled over the Caribbean islands of St. Martin, St. Barthelemy and Anguilla early Wednesday, destroying buildings and causing major flooding. The US National Hurricane Center listed the Category 5 Irma as the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded north of the Caribbean and east of the Gulf of Mexico. The storm continues to roar on a path toward the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and possibly Florida, or along the southeast coast of the US. This animation of NOAA’s GOES East satellite imagery from Sept. 3 at 8:15 a.m. EDT (1215 UTC) to Sept. 6 endingRead More →