The Milky Way's Giant Black Hole (Video)

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Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy

Researchers using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory have found evidence that the normally dim region very close to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy flared up with at least two luminous outbursts in the past few hundred years.


This discovery comes from a new study of rapid variations in the X-ray emission from gas clouds surrounding the supermassive black hole, a.k.a. Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A* for short.  The scientists show that the most probable interpretation of these variations is that they are caused by light echoes

CME Activity High- Earth facing M9 Class Solar Flare

Desert Gypsy's picture - 10/14/13

CME Activity:

Earth's magnetic field is about to receive a glancing blow from three CMEs observed leaving the Sun between Oct. 20th and 22nd. Forecast models suggest that the three clouds merged en route to Earth, and their combined impact could trigger a mild polar geomagnetic storm on Oct. 24-25. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

Solar Flares:

Solar activity is high. On October 24th at 00:30 UT, Earth-facing sunspot AR1877 erupted, producing a powerful M9-class solar flare

Solar Wind Speed: 347.6 km/sec

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Orionid Meteor Shower: Leftovers of Halley's Comet

Desert Gypsy's picture - 10/21//13, Elizabeth Howel

Orionid meteor Over Summit County, CO

The Orionid meteor shower takes place in October and November each year, peaking in mid-October. The Orionids are noted for being bright and fragments, according to NASA, with an average speed of about 148,000 mph (238,000 kph).

The Orionids, like all meteor showers, are named after the constellation in which they appear to come from, which in this case is Orion the Hunter. While the constellation is best visible in the Northern Hemisphere, the meteor shower is visible in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

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Halley's Comet Peppers Earth's Atmosphere With Debris (video)

Desert Gypsy's picture - 10/21-13


Published on Oct 21, 2013

Even with the Moon obscuring the view, NASA's All-Sky Fireball network captured Orionid Meteor Shower's fireballs slam into the Earth's atmosphere. The two seen in this video were captured by several cameras in the United States on Oct. 20, 2013. Read more about it here:

Credit: NASA All-Sky Fireball Network
Music: Mark Peterson, Loch Ness Productions
Mash Mix:

Close Encounters: Comet Ison

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Waking Times-10/20/13, Julie Umpleby

Flickr - Comet Ison - UCL Mathematical and Physical Sciences

The space-weather community is abuzz with Comet Ison, dubbed by many as ‘The Comet of the Century’.  As it travels deeper into our solar system en route to a close encounter with our sun later in November there are many watching with intense interest.

As some spectacular images of this significantly sized comet emerge (the comet nucleus is estimated to be anywhere between 0.5km – 4km in diameter), we would be wise to bear in mind the electrical nature of comets and the potential implications of its encounter with the sun. Far from being huge chunks of ice, comets are in fact more like asteroids and are highly electrically charged, with the nucleus acting as a charge capacitor. This often very high electric charge interferes with the plasma sheath of the sun, most often resulting in an outburst of plasma from the solar surface, a Coronal Mass Ejection.

Eyes on the Sky: Oct 21 thru Oct 27

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Eyes on the Sky- 10/21/13 Dead stars are fun to see, especially since they bloat up and turn green - check out how you can find and see one this week! NGC7009 in Aquarius, also known as the Saturn Nebula, is not too hard to find from the stars in Capricornus. See what's up in the night sky every week with "Eyes on the Sky" videos, astronomy made easy.

Orionid Meteor Shower

Desert Gypsy's picture 10/20/13


Orionid meteor shower radiant

The Orionid radiant at 05:00 UT (04:00 BST) in the UK on the morning of October 21st looking south.

With a usual maximum of up 20 meteors per hour the Orionids are sand-grain sized remnants of Halley's comet, seen as they burn up in the upper atmosphere. In 2013 a waning gibbous moon will be in the sky and spoil the view somewhat. However Orionid meteors tend to be bright.

It is best to look away from the radiant as Orionid meteors will appear in any part of the sky, but they appear to originate from a point above and left the bright star Betelgeuse in the constellation Orion the hunter. The distinctive shape of Orion will be seen in the southeastern sky early in the early morning.

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Orionid meteors, debris from Comet Halley, mostly lost in moonlight

Desert Gypsy's picture - 10/20/13

The Orionid meteors are expected to produce the greatest number of meteors tonight, especially in the dark hours before dawn tomorrow morning (Monday, October 21).

The meteors look like streaks of light in the night sky. They’re sometimes called shooting stars. Unfortunately, in 2013, the waning gibbous moon will drown out all but the brightest Orionid meteors.

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