Space News Archives

Jim Hale’s
State of the Earth Report

For Thursday, 29 September, 2022

This was the 272nd day of the year with 93 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Libra. The Waxing Crescent Moon is in the astro-Nomical constellation Libra and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio, moving into Sagittarius.

Jupiter is still closer to Earth than usual and it will be the brightest object in the night sky until the Moon returns to the night sky view. A slim crescent moon should now be visible in the west after sunset. Jupiter is rising in the east around local sunset and will be a good target for binoculars and small telescopes throughout the upcoming nights.

Saturn is rising a few hours earlier than Jupiter so it will appear farther to the west and set before 3 AM Local Standard Time. Mars rises around 10 PM LST, so the red planet will also be visible through the late night and early morning hours.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 72, down 48 from yesterday. Geomagnetic conditions have been Quiet. The Planetary K Index has ranged around 2 today. No major Meteor Showers are currently active, but several minor showers and the usual influx of sporadic meteors should produce a few visible meteor trails every hour for observers in clear dark skies. The American Meteor Society has logged about 20 fireball sightings since our last report, about half of them from Germany and the Netherlands, and half from California.

A 6.5 Magnitude earthquake was recorded today around 0300 UT near the South Sandwich Islands, a sparsely populated area between Argentina and the Antarctic.

Earlier today NASA’s space probe “Juno” flew within 222 miles of Jupiter’s moon “Europa”. Europa is just slightly smaller than Earth’s moon, and scientists think there is a salt-water ocean lying underneath its frozen surface. This raises the possibility of life on Europa, so the Juno probe could deliver some extremely interesting data within the next few days. This was more or less a brief scouting operation performed in advance of a mission that will be dedicated to doing a more detailed study of Europa later in this decade.

Hurricane Ian left a path of destruction across Florida overnight with some locations experiencing record breaking flood levels, catastrophic storm damage, widespread power outages and an as yet unknown total count of injuries and deaths. Storm surge, tropical storm force winds and heavy rainfall were expected to brush the southeast corner of Georgia today. Ian weakened to a Tropical Storm as it crossed over Florida, but as we predicted on this broadcast last night, it did re-intensify to hurricane status after the center moved back into the Atlantic Ocean. Ian may continue to re-strengthen and will approach the coast of South Carolina Friday, then move further inland and across the Carolinas on Friday and Saturday. Storm Surge, Hurricane, and Tropical Storm Warnings have been issued along the coastal areas of the Carolinas. While no Tornado warnings are currently in effect, the potential for

tornado activity associated with these storms is always a possibility. As much as 10” of rainfall is predicted around Charleston, South Carolina, with 4 to 6” possible for inland areas of the Carolinas, Virginia, parts of West Virginia, Maryland, and DC by the weekend.

Meanwhile, in the Eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Orlene is expected to turn northeast and head toward Mexico’s west central coast line where it could make landfall by Monday. Note that this storm could impact the same area that was hit by a series of strong earthquakes last week.

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For Wednesday, 28 September, 2022

This was the 271st day of the year with 94 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Libra. The Waxing Crescent Moon is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Scorpio.

Jupiter is still much closer to Earth than usual and it will be the brightest object in the night sky until the Moon returns to view. Jupiter rises in the east around local sunset and will be a good target for binoculars and small telescopes throughout the upcoming nights.

Saturn is rising a few hours earlier than Jupiter so it will appear farther to the west and set before 3 AM Local Standard Time. Mars rises around 10 PM LST, so the red planet will also appear very prominent through the late night and early morning hours.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 110, down 10 from yesterday. Geomagnetic conditions have been Quiet. The Planetary K Index has ranged from 1 to 2 today. No major Meteor Showers are currently active, but several minor showers and the usual influx of sporadic meteors should produce a few visible meteor trails every hour for observers in clear dark skies.

On Thursday the 29th, NASA’s space probe “Juno” will fly within 222 miles of Jupiter’s moon “Europa”. Europa is slightly smaller than Earth’s moon, and scientists think there is a vast salt-water ocean underneath Europa’s frozen surface. This raises speculation about the possibility of life on Europa so, armed with a full array of sensors and high resolution cameras, the Juno probe could deliver some extremely interesting data in the very near future.

After wreaking a path of devastation across the Caribbean Sea over the past several days, Hurricane Ian has met or exceeded all expectations for catastrophic conditions along the central west coast of Florida. Storm surge, wind damage and heavy rain are expected to spread slowly across the state and reach the northeast coast of Florida by Thursday. The center of the storm will possibly move back into the Atlantic where it could re-strengthen briefly before making another landfall in Georgia, and South Carolina Thursday and Friday. Widespread flooding, extended power outages, and the ongoing threat of tornado development both near and away from the center of the storm will be likely for several more days.

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For Tuesday, 27 September, 2022

This was the 270th day of the year with 95 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Libra. The Waxing Crescent Moon is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Libra, but now moving into Scorpio.

Jupiter is still much closer to Earth than usual and it will be the brightest object in the night sky until the Moon returns to view. Jupiter rises in the east around local sunset and will be a good target for binoculars and small telescopes throughout the upcoming nights.

Saturn is rising a few hours earlier than Jupiter so it will appear farther to the west and set before 3 AM Local Standard Time. Mars rises around 10 PM LST, so the red planet will also appear very prominent through the late night and early morning hours.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 120, up 24 from yesterday. An unexpected blast of solar wind hit the Earth’s magnetic field just before midnight UT on the 26th and triggered a G2 class geomagnetic storm which produced vivid Aurora displays south of the 50 degree latitude line. The Planetary K Index has generally ranged from 2 to 4 today, but spiked at level 6 just after midnight UT following the solar blast. No major Meteor Showers are currently active, but several minor showers and the usual influx of sporadic meteors should produce a few visible meteor trails every hour for observers in clear dark skies.

Near Earth Object 2022 SZ2 passed within 1.47 LD (Lunar Distance) of our planet at about 1900 UT, or 3 PM EDT today. 1.47 LD = about 350,000 miles or 565,000 km.

NASA’s DART spacecraft made a bull’s-eye strike to a small asteroid named Dimorphos at 2314 UT on Monday the 26th. DART is an acronym for the “Double Asteroid Redirect Test” in which a 1,260 pound spacecraft moving about 14,000 mph was intentionally crashed into the smaller member of a double asteroid system 7 million miles from Earth. This experiment was performed to see if the collision would alter the asteroid’s orbital trajectory and help demonstrate whether the technique can help defend Earth from possible collisions with menacing space rocks in the future. Mission scientists will be analyzing data to look for changes in Dimorphos’ orbit over the next several weeks to learn whether their ultimate goal has been achieved. Stay tuned for updates.

The center of Hurricane Ian has now moved over western Cuba with devastating effects. With sustained winds currently at 120 MPH and the possibility of intensification over open water, this storm is on course to impact southwestern Florida as soon as tonight and Wednesday morning. At 5 PM EDT this afternoon the National Hurricane Center issued an advisory for (Quote) “life-threatening storm surge along the Florida west coast with the highest risk from Naples to the Sarasota region.” (Unquote.)

(Note that this area is slightly farther south than had been predicted yesterday.)

Storm surge refers to sea water being driven over the shore by high winds, and surge levels are predicted to reach as high as 8-12 feet in the most severely affected areas. Lower but still dangerous surge levels are expected along the entire western coast and the Keys. Residents of the warned areas must not take this threat lightly and evacuation orders should be heeded without hesitation!

Devastating wind damage is also expected near the core of Ian, and heavy rainfall will affect most of the Florida Peninsula for the next several days. Ian will move into the rest of the southeastern US on Thursday and Friday with continued heavy rain and widespread flooding likely.

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For Monday, 26 September, 2022

This was the 269th day of the year with 96 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Libra. The Waxing Crescent Moon is also in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and the astro-Logical sign of Libra. The New Moon occurred yesterday, Sunday, September 25th , so a very thin slice of crescent moon might be barely visible low in the west around sunset this evening.

At 0400 UT on Monday the 26th (or 10PM Sunday the 25th EDT) Jupiter, our Solar System’s biggest planet, was at its closest distance to the Earth since 1963. Jupiter is rising in the east around local sunset and will be the brightest object in the sky throughout the next few nights. A look at Jupiter through a telescope or good binoculars should reveal unusually clear details of Jupiter’s cloud bands and perhaps its famous “Red Spot” tonight. You should also be able to see three or four of its biggest moons, depending on when you look.

Saturn is rising a few hours earlier than Jupiter so it will appear farther to the west and set before 3 AM Local Standard Time. Mars rises around 10 PM LST, so the red planet will also appear very prominent throughout the late night and early morning hours.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 96, down 6 from Friday’s report, but on Sunday the Sunspot number was as high as 128. Geomagnetic conditions have been Quiet over the past 48. The Planetary K Index has generally ranged from 0 to 3 with a brief spike to level 4 on Saturday. No major Meteor Showers are currently active, but several minor showers and the usual influx of sporadic meteors should produce a few visible meteor trails every hour for observers in clear dark skies. The American Meteor Society received nearly 250 reports of Fireball sightings between late Friday night and early Monday morning. These reports came from locations all across the US and Canada, as well as parts of Europe.

Near Earth Object 2022 SZ2 will pass within 1.47 LD (Lunar Distance) of our planet at about 1900 UT on Tuesday the 27th. 1.47 LD = about 350,000 miles or 565,000 km.

A 6.2 Magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia at 2052 UT on Friday the 23rd, and a 6.1 quake struck Chile at 2253 UT, almost exactly two hours later.

As we predicted on Friday’s broadcast, Fiona reached the eastern Atlantic Provinces of Canada as a Post-Tropical Cyclone over the weekend, producing historic levels of storm damage in its path.

The tropical disturbance we announced as having been designated Tropical Depression Number 9 on last Friday’s broadcast quickly developed into Hurricane Ian over the weekend. At 11 AM EDT Monday the National Hurricane Center issued an advisory for life threatening storm surge, hurricane force winds, flash floods and possible mud slides in portions of western Cuba this evening through Tuesday. Storm surge is also possible along the south west coast of Florida from around Fort Myers to the

Tampa Bay region. Tropical storm conditions are expected for the Florida Keys northward by late Tuesday, with hurricane force winds and heavy rain by Wednesday morning. The storm will spread to central and northern Florida on Wednesday and Thursday, then begin to move towards Georgia and the Carolinas by the end of this week.

NASA had to postpone the test launch of the Artemis I moon rocket due to concerns over Hurricane Ian, but NASA’s “DART Mission” experiment should have been performed just before tonight’s Yourufoshow went on the air. DART is an acronym for the “Double Asteroid Redirect Test” in which a spacecraft will be intentionally crashed into a small asteroid to see if that will effectively alter the asteroid’s course. This test will help determine if such a technique could be used to prevent the Earth from having an un-intentional collision with an asteroid in the future. We plan to have news about DART’s results on tomorrow night’s broadcast.

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For Friday, 23 September, 2022

This was the 266th day of the year with 99 days remaining. 

The sun is in the astronomical constellation Virgo and moving into the astrological sign of Libra. The waning crescent moon is in the astronomical constellation Cancer and the astrological sign of Leo. The moon is rising after 4:00 a.m. and setting around 6:00 p.m. Local Standard Time. add 1 hour for dst. The New Moon occurs on Sunday September 25th.

The September equinox occurred just after 1:00 a.m. universal time on the 23rd, so today was the first full day of either Autumn or spring for most of us, depending on which side of the equator you live.

On Sunday the 25th, Jupiter, our solar system’s biggest planet, will be at its closest distance to the Earth since 1963! Jupiter is rising in the East around sunset and will be shining very brightly overhead throughout the upcoming nights. (We’ll have more to say about Jupiter and its effect on our planet next week.)

Saturn is rising a few hours earlier than Jupiter so it will appear further to the west and set around 3:00 a.m. local standard Time. Mars rises about an hour before midnight LST, so the red planet will appear very prominently throughout the late night and early morning hours.

The current Boulder sunspot number is 99, up 29 from yesterday. Geomagnetic conditions have been quiet over the past 24 hours. The planetary k index has ranged from 1 to 3. 

An M1 class solar flare occurred at 1807 UT September 23rd. Another solar eruption was also observed at 1330 UT but it was not directed towards the earth.

There are no major meteor showers at this time but several minor showers and the usual influx of sporadic meteors should produce a few visible meteor trails every hour for observers in clear dark skies. The American meteor society received over two dozen reports of fireball sightings overnight, including several from Ontario Canada, several from Texas, and the rest from widely scattered States across the US.

A 5.2 magnitude earthquake hit the southwestern coastal area of Mexico today at 1826 ut. This was yet another significant quake close to the same area struck by the 7.6 quake and it’s numerous aftershocks earlier in the week.

As of Friday afternoon hurricane Fiona was still maintaining wind speeds of 130 mph and is expected to reach the Eastern Atlantic provinces of Canada tonight. Fiona is could produce historic levels of storm impact for Canada, with hurricane Force winds, storm surge, and heavy rainfall from late Friday into Sunday.

Further south, the tropical disturbance in the Caribbean Sea that we’ve been following in this report for the past several days is now officially designated as Tropical Depression Number 9. With maximum sustained winds around 35 mph, this storm is expected to produce torrential rainfall over Jamaica, the Cayman islands, and Cuba over the weekend. 4 to 8 inches of rainfall is likely all across the entire region, with potential for 12 to 14 inches in local spots. Extensive flooding and landslides will be possible. Future intensity of this storm is uncertain, but number 9 will almost certainly impact Florida and the Eastern Gulf Coast of the US with heavy rain and winds by early next week.

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For Thursday, 22 September, 2022

This was the 265th day of the year with exactly 100 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astro-Nomical constellation Virgo and moving into the astro-Logical sign of Libra. The Waning Crescent Moon is in the astro-Nomical constellation Cancer and has moved into the astro-Logical sign of Leo. The Moon is rising around 2:30 AM and setting around 5:00 PM Local Standard Time (add 1 hour for DST).

We are rapidly approaching the September Equinox when the Sun will cross directly over the Earth’s equator from north to south, marking the start of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and the start of Spring in the Southern Hemisphere. The exact instant of the Equinox is between 0103 and 0104 Universal Time September 23rd – which, in Eastern Daylight Time, is about 9:03 PM on Thursday the 22nd __ just a few minutes after Your UFO Show ends tonight, wherever you are!

The word Equinox means “Equal Night,” and it’s often said that day and night are of equal lengths on the Equinox. In fact, however, there will be several more minutes of daylight than nighttime today for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. Eggs are not really easier to balance on their ends today more than any other day, but if you stand at the Equator at precisely Solar Noon on the Equinox you won’t cast a shadow (well not much of one anyway.)

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 70, unchanged from yesterday. Geomagnetic conditions have been Quiet over the past 24 hours. The Planetary K Index has ranged from 0 to 2. All in all, a rather unremarkable day for the Sun, considering that this is the Equinox. There are no major Meteor Showers at this time, but several minor showers and the usual influx of sporadic meteors should produce a few visible meteor trails every hour for observers in clear dark skies. The American Meteor Society received over 40 reports of Fireball sightings overnight, with about 30 coming from Mid-Atlantic States in the US, several from California, and others from France, Germany and Belgium.

Near-Earth-Object 2022 SG3 passed by Earth at 0809 UT this morning at just 1.7 LD, or 1.7 times the average distance to the moon, which equates to about 414 thousand miles (or roughly 666 thousand kilometers.)

A 6.8 magnitude Earthquake hit the southwestern coastal area of Mexico at 0616 UT overnight. This one was very close to the same area affected by the 7.6 quake and its numerous aftershocks earlier in the week. Hawaii has been shaken by at least six minor earthquakes today, all registering around 2.5 in magnitude, and at least 10 other quakes registering between 4.5 and 5.2 have occurred today.

Numerous Volcanic Ash Advisories were issued today due to continuing eruptions from active volcanoes around the world, including warnings about ash plumes exceeding 20.000 feet in altitude from volcanoes in Columbia, Ecuador and Peru.

Fiona progressed to Category 4 status today with sustained wind speeds over 130 miles per hour. The deadly storm will pass near Bermuda with continuing life-threatening effects tonight. The storm is predicted to strike portions of Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces of Canada with hurricane force winds, storm surge, and heavy rainfall by late Friday into Saturday. `A tropical wave located over the Windward Islands north of Brazil is still expected to organize into a Tropical Depression within the coming days. Venezuela and Columbia will experience heavy rain and gusty winds as the disturbance moves west-northwest into the central Caribbean Sea.

Debris from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is forecast to reenter the Earth’s atmosphere on September 23 around 0808 UT, probably somewhere over the southern Pacific Ocean near Antarctica. In its last few orbits the rocket debris will pass over parts of Africa, Europe, and Alaska, so observers in those areas should be alert for possible signs of the debris’ fiery reentry.

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For Wednesday, 21 September, 2022

This was the 264th day of the year with 101 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astronomical constellation Virgo and the astrological sign of Virgo. The Waning Crescent Moon is in the astronomical constellation Cancer and has moved into the astrological sign of Leo. The Moon rises around 1:30 AM and sets around 4:30 PM Local Standard Time (add 1 hour for DST).

Saturn will be visible in the southeast by the middle of the night. Jupiter will rise later and appear farther to the east, moving overhead by the early morning. Mars will appear bright red and high in the sky near the constellation Orion in the hours just before dawn.

We are approaching the September Equinox when the Sun will cross the Earth’s equator from north to south. The exact moment of the Equinox is 0104 UT September 23rd, or 9:04 pm EDT on Thursday the 22nd. The September Equinox marks the first day of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of Spring for the Southern Hemisphere. Equinoxes are often associated with heightened geomagnetic activity, intense Auroral displays, and other Solar-Terrestrial effects, and a minor geomagnetic storm is considered possible on the 23rd. The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 70, down 4 from yesterday. Geomagnetic conditions have been Quiet over the past 24 hours. The Planetary K Index has ranged from 0 to 2. An M1 Class solar Flare occurred at 0702 UT on September 21, and several lesser flares occurred later in the day. There are no major Meteor Showers at this time, but several minor showers and the usual influx of sporadic meteors should produce a few visible meteor trails every hour for observers in clear dark skies. The American Meteor Society received over a dozen fireball reports overnight, primarily from Italy and Greece. It’s also worth noting that Asteroid 2022 SR2, with a diameter of about 9 meters (or about 30 feet), whirled past the Earth today just slightly more distant than the Moon itself – only 1.2 Lunar Distances away. This was the fifth Near-Earth- Asteroid that passed by at less than twice the Moon’s distance within the past week, with another near miss coming tomorrow !

Earthquake activity has not been as extreme today as the past several days, but quakes ranging from Magnitude 5.0 to 5.7 were registered in Indonesia, Iran and New Guinea. Numerous Volcanic Ash Advisories were issued today due to continuing eruptions from active volcanoes around the world.

Hurricane Fiona has developed sustained wind speeds around 130 miles per hour and is expected to pass near Bermuda by late Thursday into early Friday. The storm is predicted to strike portions of Atlantic Canada with hurricane force winds, storm surge, and heavy rainfall late on Friday and into Saturday. A tropical wave located over the Windward Islands north of Brazil is expected to organize into a Tropical Depression within the coming days. Venezuela and Columbia will experience heavy rain and gusty winds as the disturbance moves west-northwest into the central Caribbean Sea.

The International Space Station received 3 additional crew members today following the successful launch and docking of one American astronaut and 2 Cosmonauts lifted aboard a Soyuz rocket. The ISS will still be making visible passes over the United States in the early evening hours, and the Chinese Space Station “Tiangong” will make visible passes over the US in the early morning hours over the next several days.

NASA’s fueling tests for the Artemis I moon rocket did not go as smoothly as hoped today, with unacceptable levels of leakage from the same hose couplings that delayed the rocket’s launch earlier this month. Engineers experimented with modifications to the refueling procedure and, as of this writing, expectations are still good for an unmanned test launch of the enormous rocket on September 27.

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For Tuesday, 20 September, 2022

This was the 263rd day of the year with 102 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astronomical constellation Virgo and the astrological sign of Virgo. The Waning Crescent Moon is in the constellation Gemini and the astrological sign of Cancer. The Moon rises after Midnight and sets around 4 PM Local Standard Time (add 1 hour for DST).

The Moon will appear close to Castor and Pollux, the “Twin Stars” of Gemini, on the nights of the 20th and 21st. The crescent Moon will also be close to a group of stars known as the “Beehive Cluster” in the pre-dawn hours on the morning of the 21st. This sight should present a very special view through binoculars. There are no major Meteor Showers at this time, but several minor showers and the usual influx of sporadic meteors should produce a few visible meteor trails every hour for observers in clear dark skies. The American Meteor Society received over 40 reports of Fireball sightings overnight. About half of these reports were from southern US states, with about half from California and other western and Midwestern states.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 74, up 23 from yesterday as a new group of rapidly growing sunspots has rotated into view. Geomagnetic conditions have been Quiet over the past 24 hours. The Planetary K Index has ranged from 1 to 3. An M1 Class solar Flare occurred at 1122 UT on September 20, and several lesser flares have occurred throughout the day.

A 6.0 earthquake occurred in eastern Russia at 1823 UT on September 20, and at least 4 significant aftershocks ranging from Magnitude 4.5 to 5.8 have rattled the coastal region of southwestern Mexico that was hit by a deadly 7.6 earthquake yesterday. Numerous Volcanic Ash Advisories were issued today due to continuing eruptions from active volcanoes around the world.

Hurricane Fiona was upgraded to a Category 3 Hurricane with wind speeds over 110 miles per hour. The storm dropped more rain on parts of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic today as it moved steadily toward the Turks and Caicos Islands delivering life-threatening floods and winds across the Caribbean. Tropical Storm conditions from Fiona were also beginning to spread into the Bahamas today and are predicted for Bermuda by Thursday. Fiona is expected to strengthen and move North-Northeast over the next several days, steering away from the US mainland, but potentially hitting the Eastern Atlantic Provinces of Canada as a Hurricane Force Cyclone by Friday. A tropical wave located near the Windward Islands north of Brazil is also expected to strengthen and bring heavy rainfall and gusty winds to that area beginning on Wednesday. Meanwhile, in the eastern Pacific, Post-Tropical Cyclone Madeline and two other un-named disturbances are hovering off the southwest coast of Mexico.

The International Space Station will be making several visible passes over the United States in the early evening hours of the upcoming week, and the Chinese Space Station “Tiangong” will make several visible passes over the US in the early morning hours over the next several days.

On Wednesday morning NASA plans to conduct tests to confirm whether the hydrogen leak that delayed the launch of Artemis I a few weeks ago has been successfully repaired. Artemis I is NASA’s next generation Moon launch rocket. Tomorrow’s test procedure will be broadcast live on NASA TV beginning at 7:15 AM EDT. The rocket’s first launch, an un-manned test flight, has been tentatively rescheduled for September 27, with a backup date of October 2.

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For Monday, 19 September, 2022

This was the 262nd day of the year with 103 days remaining.

The Sun is in the astronomical constellation Virgo and the astrological sign of Virgo. The Waning Crescent Moon is in the constellation Taurus and the astrological sign of Cancer. The Moon rises around Midnight and sets around 3 PM Local Standard Time (+1 hour for DST).

There are no major Meteor Showers at this time, but several minor showers and the usual influx of sporadic meteors should produce a few visible meteor trails every hour for observers in clear dark skies. The American Meteor Society received numerous reports of Fireball sightings from all around the world over the weekend, including reports from New Zealand and at least seven US states, as well a continuing spike in the number of reports from the UK where a huge fireball was witnessed by thousands of people last week.

The current Boulder Sunspot Number is 51, down 25 from the previous day as several active clusters of Sunspots have rotated away from earth view. Geomagnetic conditions have been Quiet over the past 24 hours. The Planetary K Index has ranged from 1 to 3. Shortly after 1500 hours UT on September 18 the Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded three nearly simultaneous explosions from the Sun’s southern hemisphere from widely separated sources. The subsequent Coronal Mass Ejections are not believed to be earth-directed however. In fact, the earth has narrowly dodged the effects from numerous intense solar outbursts over the past few weeks. How long will our luck continue to hold?

Taiwan was shaken by two strong earthquakes over the weekend. Extensive damage with hundreds of injuries and at least one death have been reported. Volcanic Ash Advisories were issued following explosive activity from volcanoes in Kamchatka Russia, Indonesia, and Peru. At 1805 UT Monday afternoon a powerful 7.6 earthquake struck the southwest coastal area of Mexico. The epicenter was located approximately 37 km southeast of Aquila. At least one person was killed when a wall collapsed from earthquake. Deadly earthquakes had previously struck Mexico on this same date in in 1985 and 2017.

As predicted on this broadcast last week, Tropical Storm Fiona rapidly developed into Hurricane Fiona and made landfall in Puerto Rico with torrential rains and high winds over the weekend. The devastation is widespread and the entire island of Puerto Rico has been without electrical power. Fiona’s next target is the Dominican Republic where similar damage is expected. Hurricane conditions are also expected over the Turks and Caicos tonight. The Bahamas and Bermuda may be within Fiona’s path by Tuesday. Meanwhile, in the Eastern Pacific, Tropical Storm Madeline appears to have changed course and is now expected to head west, avoiding the coastal areas of Mexico that were affected by today’s earthquake.

The International Space Station will be making several visible passes over the United States in the early evening hours throughout the upcoming week. Observers in western states including California, Nevada, Wyoming and the Dakotas should be alert for a possible view of the ISS between 8:19 – 8:30 PM MDT (2619 – 2630 UT) tonight.

The Chinese Space Station “Tiangong” will be making several visible passes over the United States in the early morning hours of the upcoming week. Observers in the eastern US may see Tiangong between 6:20 – 6:30 AM EDT (1020 -01030 UT), and observers in the western US may see Tiangong between 5:55 – 6:10 AM MDT (1155 – 1210 UT) before dawn on the morning of the 20th.

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Friday 16 September, 2022:

This was the 259th day of the year with 106 days remaining.

The Sun is in Virgo, the waning gibbous Moon is in Gemini.

The Moon and Mars will appear close together early in the predawn sky on the 17th. They will be easily located near the constellation Orion and the Pleiades star cluster. Jupiter and Saturn will also be visible in the late evening and overnight sky.

The Current Sunspot Number is 71

Geomagnetic conditions have been Quiet over the past 24 hours.

The Planetary K Index is 1.

A strong M7 class solar flare occurred at 0949 UT,  followed by an M6 flare at 1559 UT.

These flares were just below the strongest level X Class category, so increased Geomagnetic and Auroral activity is possible on the 17th.

Numerous meteor fireball sighting reports from across the northeastern quadrant of the United States were received overnight.

Volcanic Ash Advisories have been issued following eruptions from two volcanos off the coast of Japan, and another volcano on the Kamchatka Peninsula in eastern Russia.

Tropical Storm Fiona continues to churn toward the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico with sustained winds around 50 mph.

The International Space Station will make a visible pass over the central portion of the United States and eastern Canada this evening from about 9:30-9:40 pm EDT (0130-0140 UT.) The station will be especially bright and high in the sky for observers in New Mexico, Kansas, Iowa, Wisconsin and neighboring states, then it will cross over the Great Lakes and head for Ontario, Canada. 

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Thursday 15 September, 2022:

An unpredicted solar shock wave hit the earth just before midnight UT sparking unsettled geomagnetic conditions and bright Auroras in the far Northern and Southern latitudes. Tropical depression #7 in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean picked up speed and is now officially a Tropical Storm named Fiona headed towards Puerto Rico. The American Meteor Society has received nearly 1000 eye witness reports of a huge fireball seen over Scotland and Northern Ireland at 20:57 UT on the 14th. Seismic activity is at a high level with earthquake and volcanic eruptions,

The ISS will be almost directly over Snowflake between 7:16 and 7:23 pm MST, but it will also be visible across most of the southwest and mid-western states on this same pass. So as it goes over Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin and then Canada, the exact time would be a few minutes later, and it would appear lower in the sky the further east or west an observer is from its exact path. (People in states with other time zones would need to adjust the time accordingly.)

The very next orbit will take it over the Eastern part of the US, directly over southeast Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and on across New York, Vermont & Maine then over the Canadian maritimes. This pass will begin around 8:45 pm Eastern Daylight Time and it will have completely crossed beyond North America by 9 pm EDT.

I just learned that the unexpected solar storm that happened last night actually took out dozens of Starlink satellites.
This group of sats was launched last February, and apparently had not achieved their final orbit position so were especially vulnerable to solar effects.
At least some pieces from these satellites created visible displays seen from the ground.