STEVE ( Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement ) might look like an aurora, but it’s not. STEVE is an atmospheric phenomenon characteristic of northern hemisphere spring and fall. The result of uppity solar wind messing with Earth’s magnetic field. Meddling which allows ribbons of super heated gas travelling at speeds exceeding 13,000 mph to create observable arcs of soft purple hues. STEVE favours latitudes between +50N and +55N. Go STEVE! Hope to meet you one day.
Photo credit – Jocelyn Blanchette
Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance – otherwise known as five widely recognized stages of grief. Make no mistake, our pandemic world is mourning disruption of life as we know it. So where are you? Personally, denial and anger expired days before losing my job, bargaining served no purpose. Unemployment was met with pragmatic inevitability. So where am I a week after realizing I had no job? No indication when life might return to normal, no assurance employment insurance benefits could arrive in timely fashion? Have to admit I’m depressed.
Stay at home orders needn’t be defined by endless hours of television or Netflix. Consider using free time to embrace space weather, specifically Aurora Borealis. Start with https://spaceweather.com/ familiarize yourself with solar wind, sunspot numbers and current auroral oval. If favourable conditions suggest uppity auroras, find yourself a Aurora Cam.
List of aurora cam links below –
In December 2019 astronomers at ATLAS ( Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System ) in Hawaii discovered Comet C/2019Y4, flagging it as one to watch come May 2020. Almost immediately C/2019Y4 became known as comet ATLAS. At first astronomers predicted May 31, 2020 as day to watch ATLAS pass within the orbit of Mercury and the Sun at 0.25 AU distance, culminating in spectacular brightness as dissolving heat set ATLAS ablaze.
This week astronomers watched in amazement as magnitude increased 4,000 fold from +17 in early February to +8 by mid-March, stunned by runaway magnitude several months ahead of perihelion (closest orbital approach to the Sun ). Magnitude is a measure of brightness observed from Earth, the lower the magnitude, the brighter the cosmic object. For perspective, faintest objects visible from Earth with binoculars have a magnitude of +9.5. Venus and Mars at their brightest, magnitude -4.4 and -3.0 respectively. More magnitude linked below –
“Comet ATLAS continues to brighten much faster than expected,” says Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab in Washington DC. “Some predictions for its peak brightness now border on the absurd.”
According to Dr. Tony Phillips at https://spaceweatherarchive.com/2020/03/16/comet-atlas-is-brightening-faster-than-expected/ if ATLAS magnitude continues to bloom at this pace, by May it could range between +1 to -5, possibly brighter than Venus and visible to the naked eye in daylight.
Comet ATLAS (C/2019 Y4) photographed on March 6, 2020, by Austrian astrophotographer Michael Jäger. The comet’s diffuse green atmosphere is about twice as wide as the planet Jupiter.
A fight between rival gangs of monkeys in Lopburi Province, Thailand delivered another global pandemic reality. In the pre-COVID-19 world, throngs of monkey feeding tourists kept peace between city and temple simians separated by a railroad track. Gang warfare driven by starvation ensues when absence of tourists obliterate their primary food source. A local shopkeeper captured this brawl over a single piece of food. –
This time last week it was business as usual, tonight I’m applying for unemployment insurance benefits. Cheerful optimism fell laughably short of calculating the impact of COVID-19 on my livelihood. Corporate client cancellations started trickling in seven days ago. Come Wednesday a swanky event at Science World cancelled with less than 24 hours notice. The following day cancellation notice came moments before guest arrival. Seems coronavirus concerns outweighed $12,000 invoice for calling it quits on the spot. I sent staff home with assurance they’d be paid for time and inconvenience. Yesterday, end of business concluded with notice all venues, universities, conferences and corporate meetings were cancelled until April 30th. As of yesterday I’m a hospitality causality of COVID-19.
Time to buckle down. Went shopping today, grocery store shelves were stripped of canned goods, meat, frozen vegetables, bread and cold/flu medication. Being a workaholic I’ll need time to adjust. On the upside my kitchen needs a fresh coat of paint – looks like I’ll have time to polish my nest.