Daily Archives: June 3, 2014

The Sun Online and solar activity. June 3, 2014

The Sun produced a M1.3 flare, peaking at 4:09 UT on 3 June. The flare originated from Catania sunspot region 65 (NOAA AR 2077). The latest coronagraphic images suggest the occurrence of an associated CME, but further analysis will be needed once more data are available to determine any potential impact. Flaring activity is expected to be at the level of C-class flares, with a slight chance for another isolated M-class flare.
Solar wind observations from ACE indicate the arrival of the expected (but weak) coronal hole high speed stream  near midnight UT time. Solar wind speed increased from 260 km/s to currently around 340 km/s. The magnitude of the IMF reached a maximum of 10 nT. The Bz component changed from -8 nT to +8 nT, but was mainly positive. The local geomagnetic K-index in Dourbes and Izmiran reached K=4 during one time slot.
Quiet geomagnetic conditions are expected for the next 48 hours.


WR 104: A Pinwheel Star System 

Image Credit & Copyright: P. Tuthill (U. Sydney) & J. Monnier (U. Michigan), Keck Obs., ARC, NSF

Might this giant pinwheel one-day destroy us? Probably not, but investigation of the unusual star system Wolf-Rayet 104 has turned up an unexpected threat. The unusual pinwheel pattern has been found to be created by energetic winds of gas and dust that are expelled and intertwine as two massive stars orbit each other. One system component is a Wolf-Rayet star, a tumultuous orb in the last stage of evolution before it explodes in a supernova — and event possible anytime in the next million years. Research into the spiral pattern of the emitted dust, however, indicates the we are looking nearly straight down the spin axis of the system — possibly the same axis along which a powerful jet would emerge were the supernova accompanied by a gamma-ray burst. Now the WR 104 supernova itself will likely be an impressive but harmless spectacle. Conversely, were Earth really near the center of the powerful GRB beam, even the explosion’s 8,000 light year distance might not be far enough to protect us. Currently, neither WR 104 nor GRB beams are understood well enough to know the real level of danger.

NASA APOD 03-Jun-14

The Blue Horse Head Nebula


 The main part of this imaged molecular cloud complex is a reflection nebula cataloged as IC 4592 located in the constellation of Scorpius. Reflection nebulas are actually made up of very fine dust that normally appears dark but can look quite blue when reflecting the light of energetic nearby stars. In this case, the source of much of the reflected light is a star at the eye of the horse. That star is part of Nu Scorpii, one of the brighter star systems toward the constellation of the Scorpion Scorpius. A second reflection nebula dubbed IC 4601 is visible surrounding two stars on the upper right of the image center.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: TeleVue Tele Vue-101
Imaging cameras: QSI 683 ws
Mounts: Astro-Physics AP1200
Software: PixInsight, photoshop
Filters: Astrodon E-series Lum
Dates: May 30, 2014
Frames: 100×300″
Integration: 8.3 hours

Author: Mark / Scott Rosen
AstroPhotography of the day by SPONLI 03 June 2014