Sunny Sunday

Cottonwood Sunrise 1 810079e (600 x 480)

MAGNETIC STORM ON COMET LOVEJOY? Around the world, observers of bright Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2) are reporting activity in the comet’s sinuous blue ion tail. Last night, Italian photographer Rolando Ligustri used a remotely-controlled telecope in Spain to capture this ‘plasma blob’ billowing down the tail, away from the comet’s core:

This could be a sign that a magnetic storm in underway. Observers of comets frequently witness plasma blobs and ‘disconnection events’ in response to CMEs and gusts of solar wind. In extreme cases, a comet’s tail can be completely torn off.

The underlying physics is akin to terrestrial geomagnetic storms. When magnetic fields around a comet bump into oppositely-directed magnetic fields in a CME, those fields can link together or “reconnect.” The resulting burst of magnetic energy can make waves, blobs, or even ruptures in the comet’s tail. When CMEs hit Earth, a similar process takes place in the planet’s magnetosphere powering, among other things, the aurora borealis.

For readers who wish to monitor the effects of space weather on Lovejoy, the comet is easy to find. It is shining like a 4th magnitude star (barely visible to the unaided eye and an easy target for backyard telescopes) not far from the constellation Orion in the midnight sky. For accurate pointing of telescopes, please use this ephemeris from the Minor Planet Center.



About Den

Always in search of interesting things to post. Armed with knowledge and dangerous with the ladies.
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18 Responses to Sunny Sunday

  1. Den says:

    Space, the final frontier, we the voyagers of DWF like space stuff, far out!

    Also far out is Martha’s Sunday goodie assortment. Dig in!


  2. jimhitchcock says:

    TBPH, Comet Lovejoy sounds like a latenite Skinemax movie.


  3. David B. Benson says:

    Snow mostly melted but no sun here.


  4. jimhitchcock says:

    sometimes you wait for God to make the next move
    ,and God’s reply;

    ” Fuck off, I’m busy. Who are you, do I even know you”?


  5. David B. Benson says:

    P&Q is over.


  6. Den says:

    Rode up the hill today, a dazzling day filled with vital Sun nutrients and clean roads.


  7. º¿carol says:

    Is This Country Crazy? Inquiring Minds Elsewhere Want to Know
    It’s past time to wake up, America, and look around

    This was thee MOST excellent article! Everything it says is why I’ve been so political the past 30 years. Watching our country not step it up to make life better like countries in Europe, and now sinking into pure insanity since the advent of Bush II. That article, what do people in foreign countries think about us, what do they have to say. VERY good read.


  8. º¿carol says:

    Warmed up out there, my back deck is free of snow but that’s because I shoveled the snow the other day. Today it got up to 34°. I’m kind of thinking of going out for about a half hour. Haven’t done that in over a week.

    Cleaned out two closets today, it’s that Carolizing thing. Ran errands into Stockbridge. Didn’t have to cook, still had leftovers on hand. I thawed out what was left of my last pot roast for Monday, will only have to make potatoes and a vegetable. That’s cooking though.


  9. º¿carol says:

    It was Micki’s birthday yesterday. First time I haven’t sent her a card in years.


  10. Den says:

    Ms. Crabby Pants is lurking.The staff of DWF extends B-Day greetings to Micki.
    We are still here enjoying Martha’s fine baking, Rodney’s Kegerator, and the many fine accommodations the internet backwaters can provide. Cue in the tumbleweeds blowing by…
    The Garage is less busy but still open for business, Next!


  11. Den says:

    Next? Count sheep.


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