The Uranus aurora photos were captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, marking the first time the icy blue planet’s light show has been seen by an observatory near Earth. Until now, the only views of auroras on Uranus were from the NASA Voyager probe that zipped by the planet in 1986. Hubble recorded auroras on the day side of Uranus only twice, both times in 2011, while the planet was 2.5 billion miles (4 billion kilometers) from Earth.
A team of scientists is lofting weather balloons high into Alaska’s northern lights displays, getting a unique inside look at this dazzling atmospheric phenomenon. The two-week expedition is called Project Aether: Aurora, and it’s slated to run through April 13. The goal is threefold: Learn more about the northern lights , test out equipment and help get kids more interested in science, technology, engineering and math, the so-called STEM subjects.
Magnetic phenomenon that causes auroras on Earth has now surprisingly been discovered creating giant magnetic bubbles around Venus, a planet without a magnetic field. The Northern and Southern Lights on Earth are caused by magnetic lines of force breaking and connecting with each other. This process, known as magnetic reconnection, can explosively convert magnetic energy to heat and kinetic energy.
A gigantic dust devil races across the surface of Mars. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) captured the 12 mile-high (20 kilometer) twister as it whirled its way through the Amazonis Planitia region of northern Mars on March 14. According to researchers despite its towering height, the dust devil is just 210 feet (64 meters) wide. The plume’s shadow is also clearly visible in the new image, as are some topographic features on the Red Planet’s complex surface.
The Lyrids are a strong meteor shower lasting from April 16 to April 26 each year. The radiant of the meteor shower is located in the constellation Lyra, peaking at April 22, hence they are also called the Alpha Lyrids or April Lyrids. According to experts the Lyrid meteor shower peaks overnight from April 21 to April 22, with the best observing coming between midnight and dawn on the 22nd local time. The moon will be new at this time, so the Lyrids’ bright flashes won’t be drowned out by the glare of Earth’s nearest neighbor.
An asteroid with the size of a passenger jet zoomed near the Earth Sunday, on April 1,2012. The asteroid, which called 2012 EG5, was closer than the moon when it flew by Earth at 5:32 a.m. EDT (0932 GMT). According to Nasa the space rock is about 150 feet wide (46 meters). The asteroid 2012 EG5 crept within 143,000 miles (230,000 kilometers) of Earth during its closest approach, which is just over half the distance between Earth and the moon’s orbit.
A year from now, it is possible that “comet fever” will be running high when a newfound comet emerges into view in the evening sky. But while some scientists have high hopes for a spectacular 2013 sky show by the comet, it is still far from certain. When astronomers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa announced last June that they had discovered the new comet, it was a distant and inconspicuous object.
On June 5-6 of this year, a rare celestial event, called a transit of Venus, will take place.Venus is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. Venus and Earth are often called twins because they are similar in size, mass, density, composition and gravity. During the transit, Venus will pass directly in front of the sun from Earth’s perspective, appearing as a small, slowly moving black dot.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft has captured video of a massive solar tornado five times wider than the Earth twisting its way across the surface of the sun. As said researchers NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) looked on as the huge, swirling storm raged on Sept. 25, 2011, spinning solar gas at speeds up to 186,000 mph (300,000 kph. Here on Earth, tornado wind speeds top out at around 300 mph (483 kph).