How Far South Could You See The Aurora With A Perfect Solar Storm?

How far south/north could the Auroras be seen if the atmospheric conditions were perfect and the earth was hit with the perfect solar storm and would there be other effects?
ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst took this image of an aurora as he circled Earth on the International Space Station. Aurora occur when electrons from the Sun hit Earth's atmosphere. Auroras occur frequently over both the North and South polar regions, but are often difficult to see from populated areas. Alexander is a member of the International Space Station Expedition 40/41 crew. He spent five and a half months living and working on the Station for his Blue Dot mission. Image Credit: ESA/NASA

ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst took this image of an aurora as he circled Earth on the International Space Station. Aurora occur when electrons from the Sun hit Earth's atmosphere. Auroras occur frequently over both the North and South polar regions, but are often difficult to see from populated areas. Alexander is a member of the International Space Station Expedition 40/41 crew. He spent five and a half months living and working on the Station for his Blue Dot mission. Image Credit: ESA/NASA

We have a pretty good template for this one, actually, because the Earth was hit with a very powerful solar storm in 1859. The solar flare that started it off was observed by Richard Carrington, who had a history of sunspot-watching...

Read the full article at Forbes!

Have your own question? Feel free to ask! Or submit your questions via the sidebarFacebooktwitter, or Google+.

Sign up for the mailing list for updates & news straight to your inbox!

How Do We Spot White Dwarf Stars Orbiting Red Giants?

Hi, I just read your article on the red giant/white dwarf binaries and loved it! Thanks for the post! My question is, do we have any recorded examples of a RG/WD binary? I sifted through about 20 descriptions of popular binary systems, figuring it would be in a list with that title, but didn’t see any.
New ultraviolet images from NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer shows a speeding star that is leaving an enormous trail of “seeds” for new solar systems. The star, named Mira (pronounced my-rah) after the latin word for “wonderful,” is shedding material that will be recycled into new stars, planets and possibly even life as it hurls through our galaxy. Mira, also known as Mira A, is not alone in its travels through space. It has a distant companion star called Mira B that is thought to be the burnt-out, dead core of a star, called a white dwarf. Mira A and B circle around each other slowly, making one orbit about every 500 years. Astronomers believe that Mira B has no effect on Mira’s tail. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

New ultraviolet images from NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer shows a speeding star that is leaving an enormous trail of “seeds” for new solar systems. The star, named Mira (pronounced my-rah) after the latin word for “wonderful,” is shedding material that will be recycled into new stars, planets and possibly even life as it hurls through our galaxy. Mira, also known as Mira A, is not alone in its travels through space. It has a distant companion star called Mira B that is thought to be the burnt-out, dead core of a star, called a white dwarf. Mira A and B circle around each other slowly, making one orbit about every 500 years. Astronomers believe that Mira B has no effect on Mira’s tail. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

There are lots of red giants and white dwarf stars orbiting each other out in our galaxy, and probably just as many in every other galaxy as well. Any set of binary stars usually forms at the same time, but since the lifetime of a star is tied very closely to its mass, if the two stars aren’t the exact same mass...

Read the full article at Forbes!

Have your own question? Feel free to ask! Or submit your questions via the sidebarFacebooktwitter, or Google+.

Sign up for the mailing list for updates & news straight to your inbox!

Could We Use Magnets To Clear Up Our Space Junk?

Hello! I have no formal knowledge with the technological space industry nor physics for that matter. However, lately I have been researching space debris, and I love how it is a problem the whole world is trying to solve. My question is this; why can’t we consolidate the debris before moving onto a series of steps, ending with eliminating it.

I do know that electromagnetism doesn’t lose its ability in space due to natural physics. Has anyone ever implemented the idea of bringing the debris together to a central point, maybe a controllable magnetic source, with the end goal of maneuvering that magnetic source into a position in which it is no longer a threat; or a position that can act as a destruction point? Thank you!
70% of all catalogued objects are in low-Earth orbit (LEO), which extends to 2000 km above the Earth's surface. To observe the Earth, spacecraft must orbit at such a low altitude. The spatial density of objects increases at high latitudes. Note: The debris field shown in the image is an artist's impression based on actual data. However, the debris objects are shown at an exaggerated size to make them visible at the scale shown. Image credit: ESA

70% of all catalogued objects are in low-Earth orbit (LEO), which extends to 2000 km above the Earth's surface. To observe the Earth, spacecraft must orbit at such a low altitude. The spatial density of objects increases at high latitudes. Note: The debris field shown in the image is an artist's impression based on actual data. However, the debris objects are shown at an exaggerated size to make them visible at the scale shown. Image credit: ESA

The great thing about solutions to space debris is that pretty much every off-the-wall idea has been suggested with some degree of seriousness. (This is also the only great thing about space debris.) Many of these suggestions never make it off the ground, but the suggestions are there. Space debris is a problem with no clear solution - the nature of the debris itself is so varied ...

Read the full article on Forbes!

Have your own question? Feel free to ask! Or submit your questions via the sidebar, Facebook, twitter, or Google+.

Sign up for the mailing list for updates & news straight to your inbox!

Could Dark Matter Ever Form A Star?

Does dark matter have mass? Could dark matter ever form a star?
This artist’s impression shows the Milky Way galaxy. The blue halo of material surrounding the galaxy indicates the expected distribution of the mysterious dark matter, which was first introduced by astronomers to explain the rotation properties of the galaxy and is now also an essential ingredient in current theories of the formation and evolution of galaxies. New measurements show that the amount of dark matter in a large region around the Sun is far smaller than predicted and have indicated that there is no significant dark matter at all in our neighbourhood. Image credit: ESO/L. Calçada

This artist’s impression shows the Milky Way galaxy. The blue halo of material surrounding the galaxy indicates the expected distribution of the mysterious dark matter, which was first introduced by astronomers to explain the rotation properties of the galaxy and is now also an essential ingredient in current theories of the formation and evolution of galaxies. New measurements show that the amount of dark matter in a large region around the Sun is far smaller than predicted and have indicated that there is no significant dark matter at all in our neighbourhood. Image credit: ESO/L. Calçada

Having mass is the one thing that’s really certain about dark matter. Dark matter's existence was discovered by measurements that meant that there had to be some extra, invisible, material, which was contributing mass to the galaxies we were looking at. What kind of material it is exactly...

Read the full article at Forbes!

Have your own question? Feel free to ask! Or submit your questions via the sidebar, Facebook, twitter, or Google+.

Sign up for the mailing list for updates & news straight to your inbox!

Would A Brown Dwarf Near Us Cook The Earth?

If a brown star came close to Earth, how hot would it get? Would it cook us like a roast in an oven? Honest question.

Brown dwarf stars are bizarre objects, which straddle the gap between fully functional stars, and massive planets like Jupiter. Brown dwarfs aren’t massive enough to start nuclear fusion in their cores, which is the process by which our own Sun reaches such tremendous...

Read the full article on Forbes!

Have your own question? Feel free to ask! Or submit your questions via the sidebar, Facebook, twitter, or Google+.

Sign up for the mailing list for updates & news straight to your inbox!