Space Weather Update

Its been a while since space weather graced this blog, far too long if you ask me. With that in mind, ponder a Sunday night space weather update.

As I write solar wind blows at 354.8 km/second, 1,967 potentially hazardous asteroids are identified within 100 LD (lunar distance) from our planet and 2 observable fireballs have been recorded in the past 24 hours. Despite a lull in solar activity courtesy cyclical expectations of solar minimum, a behemoth Earth facing hole in the Sun’s surface catapults solar wind in our direction. Contact with Earth’s magnetic field is anticipated on February 19 or 20th. Aurora watchers can expect geomagnetic storms.

On Monday February 18, Sirius, the brightest star in our night sky will be eclipsed by asteroid 4388 Jurgenstock (ürgenstock)

In sharp contrast to February 2018 which came and went without a full moon, February 19, 2018 delivers a supermoon designated the closest full moon of the year.

Few people know what space weather is, let alone grasp how it impacts life on Earth. If you were a passenger on NetJets flight 795 from White Plains to Burbank last week, you received a radiation dose of x 68.4 that of radiation exposure at sea level. Space weather is real and it matters. Happy Sunday.

Full, Total, Super And Bloodless

Invitation to the first full moon of 2019 arrives with the promise of cosmic splendor. January 20 marks the first full moon, first total lunar eclipse and first of three consecutive full supermoons ( lunar orbit coinciding with perigee, the closest point of orbit to Earth ). Full, total and super define the show, blood is an inaccurate rumour. Participants sold Blood Moon tickets needn’t despair, absence of Biblical prophecy won’t detract from the spectacle. Missing the show means waiting until May 26, 2021 for another.

See the source image

There was a time when total lunar eclipse viewable from North and South America, Greenland, Iceland, Europe, northern and western Africa and the Arctic was enough to attract participants. Today media dumbs us down with banners of blood moon click bait. In 2013 fundamentalist Christian pastor John Hagee published his book “Four Blood Moons: Something Is About To Change”. Four blood moons refers to a tetrad – four consecutive total lunar eclipses with no partial lunar eclipses in between, each separated from the other by six full moons. The last astronomical tetrad occurred during 2014/2015.  End-timers dusted off the Book of Joel, equating “the sun will turn into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes” with ominous end times prophecy. Never mind that a sun turning to darkness refers to solar eclipse, or science of atmospheric conditions make an early rising moon appear red. Hagee’s book spent weeks on NY Times best seller list, sold millions of copies and solidified full moons as blood. Blood Moons are fundamentalist poppycock, total supermoon lunar eclipses are cosmic gems. Shame on Christian fundamentalists for trying to steal cosmic wonder. Leave the moon alone.

Visit to determine optimal viewing at your location. Watch live at or throw caution to the wind by going outside. 



Supermoon Rising November 14

Moving in an ellipse around Earth, the Moon completes one orbit a month. Once a month the Moon is full, or opposite Earth. Once each month a new moon rises at a point between Earth and the Sun. At closest orbital position to Earth a Moon is called perigee, farthest away is an apogee Moon.When full moons coincide with perigee, a Supermoon is born. At perigee the Moon is 50,000 Km closer to Earth than at apogee.

Supermoon used to be known as full perigee moon. 30 years ago astrologer Richard Nolle coined the phrase and it stuck. On Monday November 14 the Moon becomes full 2 hours away from perigee, a circumstance not witnessed since January 28, 1948 and not duplicated until November 25, 2034. Best seats for supermoon’s 14% larger, 30% brighter show should be secured at Moon rise or set, time-frames when  “Moon Illusion” is star of the show.

Moon illusion is an optical illusion – ponder

Understanding optical trickery satisfies the curious, supermoon illusion tickles the soul. No other illusion stirs inexplicable wonder, smacks consciousness without warning or possesses the power to stop witnesses in their track. Watch Full Moon Silhouettes below, it’s breathtaking.

5 keys to enjoying the closest supermoon

Super Harvest Moon Eclipse

Not since 1982, or until the year 2033 will you hear super harvest moon eclipse in the same breath. Depending on where you live September 27/28 delivers on all three.

Supermoon alone is nothing remarkable, averaging 4-6 a year the term refers to our moon at perigee (closest point to Earth in a given orbit). Astrologer Richard Nolle coined the phrase in 1979,defining it as..

“a new or full moon which occurs at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit (perigee). In short Earth, Moon and Sun are all in a line, with Moon in its nearest approach to Earth”.

The September 2015 supermoon falls about an hour after the full moon reaches perigee, at a distance of 356,877 kilometers. Barely two weeks ago at apogee (farthest distance from Earth) on September 14, 406,464 kilometers separated earth from moon. Below- best link to all things supermoon…

View larger. | Deep colors in the umbral shadow are revealed in a long exposure 15 minutes before the total phase of the April 14-15, 2014 eclipse begins. Photo by Fred Espenak.

Harvest Moon refers to the full moon falling closest to the fall equinox.

Completing September’s cosmic fancy is a lunar eclipse.

Animation of the September 28, 2015, total lunar eclipse, whereby the moon passes through the southern half of the Earth's shadow from west to east. The horizontal yellow line depicts the ecliptic - Earth's orbital plane projected onto the dome of sky. The inner bull's-eye shadow depicts the umbra (dark shadow) and the shadow encircling the umbra represents the penumbra (faint shadow).

Animation of the September 28, 2015, total lunar eclipse. Moon passes through southern half of the Earth’s shadow from west to east. Horizontal yellow line depicts the ecliptic – Earth’s orbital plane projected onto the dome of sky. The inner bull’s-eye shadow depicts the umbra (dark shadow). The penumbra (faint shadow) encircles the umbra.

View larger. | Who will see the September 27-28 lunar eclipse. This diagram from should help you determine if and how it's visible from your location. Visit shadowandsubstance for lots more on the eclipse!

View larger. | Who will see the September 27-28 lunar eclipse. This diagram from should help you determine if and how it’s visible from your location. Visit shadowandsubstance for lots more on the eclipse! Thank you, Larry Koehn!

Super-moon Totally Eclipses the Sun

Mark March 20, 2015 on your calender. If that day rings a bell, you might be pondering the spring equinox – a conclusion worthy of honourable mention yet no blue ribbon because this March equinox is so much more.

In a nutshell, the Earth has a wobbly axis. Twice a year (March and September) the “plane” of Earth’s equator passes the center of the sun, at that point our axis tilts neither away or towards the sun. Imagine a line perpendicular to the equator, a brief time when northern and southern hemispheres are illuminated equally – you have the equinox. Think of it as roughly equal hours of day and night. Due to a blinky wobble in Earth’s axis, this happens at different times each March, roughly on the 20th or 21st.

Lets talk Moon. A super-moon occurs when a new or full moon happens at the “perigee” or closest point of orbit to Earth. 2015 officially has 6 super-moons – new moons in January, February and March, full moons in August, September and October.

Moving on to Sun – a solar eclipse only happens when a new moon passes between Earth and the Sun, casting a shadow on our planet. This conjuncture, or “syzygy” causes the Moon to fully obscure the sun’s “disc”, resulting in shadows cast upon earth.

So we have equinox, super-moon, and solar eclipse – what are the chances of them happening at the same time? If you guessed not very likely, I award you that blue ribbon.

Enter March 20, 2015 – one of those few days when cosmic circumstance delivers. If you miss this one, you’ll have to wait until 2034, 2053, or 2072.

Composite total solar eclipse Aug. 1999 by Fred Espenak.