SOHO, the Solar & Heliospheric Observatory, satellite built as a joint effort of the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA, monitors the sun. See real-time images of the solar face here and also view movies of our spinning, boiling star.
On my bucket list is for this California girl to witness an auroral display. Now I can do that without leaving my living room thanks to the Canadian Space Agency. They have set up a terrestrial webcam in Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories that is designed to capture the amazing light shows caused by solar discharge hitting the Earth. The cam is only live after dark; follow the Twitter feed for aurora alerts. During the day, check out the Gallery of amazing shots. Video playback requires the free Apple QuickTime player (http://www.apple.com/quicktime).
Visit this searchable database of photos and videos of the Earth taken by astronauts. The shots date back to the early 1960’s with those taken on the Mercury missions. International Space Station astronauts contributed the recent images and videos. Watch as they fly over glowing orange cities while the horizon glows green with last winter’s spectacular auroras. Search by city to see your town from way up high. This database is maintained at the Johnson Space Center in cooperation with the International Space Station program.
The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of the Earth
Take a close look at some of those gorgeous photos from the Hubble Telescope. Look at the stars and galaxies…and then classify them. Afron Smith, Technical Lead of Galaxy Zoo, recalls, “There was the user Hanny van Arkel, who did just that, went a little bit beyond just looking at the task that she was assigned. And she noticed something a little bit unusual in one of the photos, and she wrote to the project staff and asked them, what is this thing?”
Miss van Arkel had discovered a new astronomical phenomenon! “And it’s since been named after her. It’s called Hanny’s Voorwerp,” says Smith. (“Voorwerp” is Dutch for “object.”)
Will you be the next Hanny van Arkel?
Our local galaxy is big but our scientists are few. Can we help them to find the objects in our neighborhood Milky Way? Register for free at The Milky Way Project to examine infrared images taken by the Spitzer Space Telescope. Mark bubbles, dark nebulae, “fuzzy red objects” (often the birthplace of stars) and “green knots.” Human brains are better than computers for noticing these things. So, put yours to work cataloging the sky.
See the world, literally, with the Geostationary Satellite: http://www.goes.noaa.gov. Watch animations of weather systems as they cross the globe in visible light, infrared, and water vapor.