Something unexpected is happening on the sun. 2013 is supposed to be the year of Solar Max, but solar activity is much lower than expected. At least one leading forecaster expects the sun to rebound with a double-peaked maximum later this year.
A meteoroid fell to Earth on February 15, streaking some 20 to 30 kilometers above the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia at 9:20am local time. Initially traveling at about 20 kilometers per second, its explosive deceleration after impact with the lower atmosphere created a flash brighter than the Sun.
This picture of the brilliant bolide (and others of its persistent trail) was captured by photographer Marat Ametvaleev, surprised during his morning sunrise session creating panoramic images of the nearby frosty landscape. An estimated 500 kilotons of energy was released by the explosion of the 17 meter wide space rock with a mass of 7,000 to 10,000 tons. Actually expected to occur on average once every 100 years, the magnitude of the Chelyabinsk event is the largest known since the Tunguska impact in 1908.
A constant stream of particles and electromagnetic waves streams from the sun toward Earth, which is surrounded by a protective bubble called the magnetosphere. A scientist at NASA Goddard has recently devised, for the first time, a set of equations that can help describe waves in the solar wind known as Alfven waves. Credit: European Space Agency (ESA)
Many areas of scientific research -- Earth's weather, ocean currents, the outpouring of magnetic energy from the sun -- require mapping out the large scale features of a complex system and its intricate details simultaneously.
Describing such systems accurately, relies on numerous kinds of input, beginning with observations of the system, incorporating mathematical equations to approximate those observations, running computer simulations to attempt to replicate observations, and cycling back through all the steps to refine and improve the models until they jibe with what's seen. Ultimately, the models successfully help scientists describe, and even predict, how the system works.
On Feb. 15th an asteroid about half the size of a football field will fly past Earth closer than many man-made satellites. Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, astronomers have never seen an object so big come so close to our planet
ASTEROID FLYBY - SpaceWeather.com: At 2:25 p.m. EST (19:25 UTC) on Friday, Feb. 15th, asteroid 2012 DA14 will fly past Earth only 17,200 miles above our planet's surface. This will put it well inside the orbit of geosynchronous satellites, closer than any asteroid of the same size has come since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s.
Researchers speculate that Earth's gravity might even cause seismic activity on the 50m-wide space rock...click SpaceWeather.com link for more
Feb. 13, 2013: Rewind to the late 1950s. The Soviet Union had just launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik. The United States, caught short, was scrambling to catch up, kick-starting a Cold War space race that would last for decades. Space was up for grabs, and it seemed like anything could happen.
Into this void stepped the United Nations. In 1958, the General Assembly "recognizing the common interest of mankind in furthering the peaceful use of outer space ... and desiring to avoid the extension of present national rivalries into this new field...." established the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). COPUOS became a forum for development of laws and treaties governing space-related activities. Moreover, it set the stage for international cooperation on problems that no one nation could handle alone.
As the years went by, COPUOS membership ballooned from 18 to 74 nations, while items such as space debris, near-Earth asteroids, space-based disaster management, and global navigation were added to the committee's regular agenda. At each annual meeting in Vienna, Austria, COPUOS members confer about these issues, which present some key challenge or peril to the whole planet.
The latest image of sea surface heights in the Pacific Ocean from NASA's Jason-2 satellite shows that the equatorial Pacific Ocean is now in its 10th month of being locked in what some call a neutral, or "La Nada" state. Image credit: NASA-JPL/Caltech/Ocean Surface Topography Team
Sea-surface height data from NASA's Jason-2 satellite show that the equatorial Pacific Ocean is still locked in what some call a neutral, or 'La Nada' state. This condition follows two years of strong, cool-water La Niña events.
A new image, based on the average of 10 days of data centered on Jan. 26, 2013, shows near-normal conditions (depicted in green) across the equatorial Pacific. The image is available at: sealevel.jpl.nasa.gov/images/latestdata.
This latest image highlights the processes that occur on time scales of more than a year, but usually less than 10 years, such as El Niño and La Niña. These processes are known as the interannual ocean signal. To show that signal, scientists refined data for this image by removing trends over the past 20 years, seasonal variations and time-averaged signals of large-scale ocean circulation.
The height of the water relates, in part, to its temperature, and thus is an indicator of the amount of heat stored in the ocean below. As the ocean warms, its level rises; as it cools, its level falls. Yellow and red areas indicate where the waters are relatively warmer and have expanded above normal sea level, while green (which dominates in this image) indicates near-normal sea level, and blue and purple areas show where the waters are relatively colder and sea level is lower than normal. Above-normal height variations along the equatorial Pacific indicate El Niño conditions, while below-normal height variations indicate La Niña conditions. The temperature of the upper ocean can have a significant influence on weather patterns and climate. For a more detailed explanation of what this type of image means, visit: http://sealevel.jpl.nasa.gov/science/elninopdo/latestdata/.
The current prediction for Sunspot Cycle 24 gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 69 in the Fall of 2013. The smoothed sunspot number has already reached 67 (in February 2012)due to the strong peak in late 2011 so the official maximum will be at least this high and this late. We are currently over four years into Cycle 24. The current predicted and observed size makes this the smallest sunspot cycle since Cycle 14 which had a maximum of 64.2 in February of 1906...click source to read FULL report (Note: This forecast will change each month)
CLICK to see ALL forecasts on Solar Cycle 24 from David Hathaway and NASA made so far, they all point to a very low average Sunspot number and the peak being in the fall of this year, time will tell if this forecast is correct....more to follow
In one of the biggest body blows to climate alarmism comes an astonishing new u-turn from NASA. In essence, the prestigious American space agency has admitted it has been shackled for decades into towing a political line over man-made global warming so as to play down key solar factors.
The astonishing NASA announcement comes in the wake of a compelling new study just published titled, “The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth’s Climate.” One of the participants, Greg Kopp of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, overturned mainstream climate science thinking by declaring even slight changes in solar output have a considerable impact on climate. Kopp conceded, "Even typical short term variations of 0.1% in incident irradiance exceed all other energy sources (such as natural radioactivity in Earth's core) combined."
The following article produced by Dr. Tony Philips gives an insight to NASA's Understanding on Solar Variability and Terrestrial Climate..
Jan. 8, 2013: In the galactic scheme of things, the Sun is a remarkably constant star. While some stars exhibit dramatic pulsations, wildly yo-yoing in size and brightness, and sometimes even exploding, the luminosity of our own sun varies a measly 0.1% over the course of the 11-year solar cycle.
There is, however, a dawning realization among researchers that even these apparently tiny variations can have a significant effect on terrestrial climate. A new report issued by the National Research Council (NRC), "The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth's Climate," lays out some of the surprisingly complex ways that solar activity can make itself felt on our planet.